Top Five: Tom Cruise
In the ’80s, he was sexy; in the ’90s, he was fierce; in the 2000s, well, he was kind of crazy. While Tom Cruise has changed so drastically in his illustrious career, one thing has remained consistent: we do love some Cruise screen-time. In his final Mission Impossible appearance, Ghost Protocol, Cruise received raving reviews, finishing his only movie series with undisputed success. Though his latest film, Rock of Ages, didn’t garner as much of a critically acclaimed reception, his performance was regarded as humorously engagin. Just by comparing his role in that film to that of his early work, it is abundantly clear how astronomically different Cruise has become. Cruise is no longer trying to impress the girls, or heed to the pressures of the critics, but can now enjoy himself on stage in ridiculous but fitting roles. While there is definitely something to be said about current Cruise, let us journey back to a younger cruise. The one that was full of spark and had that loveable arrogance, hitting Hollywood with a bang. So to celebrate this renowned, legendary actor, we recognize his crowning achievement throughout his career by presenting the Top Five: Tom Cruise.
5. Risky Business (1983)
Its 1983, the year of Tom Cruise’s ascension into the spotlight. Although the Coronation would have to wait until Top Gun in 1986, Risky Business took Cruise from being regarded as an up-and-coming actor, to a hot must-watch. With the double-barreled success of the teen romantic comedy Risky Business and the teen sports movie/drama, All the Right Moves, Cruise had arrived. After Risky Business, Cruise and his Ray-Bans were everywhere: posters, magazine covers, publicity shots. And so goes the story of Tom Cruise’s birth into stardom. In an era when the teen film was gravitating toward the sex comedy, Risky Business bucked the trend by using the skeleton of a tried-and-true “boy meets girl and falls for her” formula. Cruise’s magnetism, amply on display for more than 90 minutes, is the engine that drives this vehicle. He’s had the charisma to hold the camera when he’s on his own (the “Old Time Rock’n Roll” dance sequence) and his scenes with Rebecca De Mornay sizzle, (their first time having sex, although overly stylized, is tasteful and erotic). Viewed a quarter of a century after its release, Risky Business shows signs of being dated, but nothing is so overt that the picture becomes cheesy or unwatchable.
4. Top Gun (1986)
Before you begin with the complaints, allow us to explain our reasoning. Yes, it’s cheesy, Yes, it’s not great acting, Yes, it’s become more of a comedy. But despite all this, it’s still a cult classic that everyone remembers. Millions of adoring Cruise fans, (girls openly, guys inwardly), rushed to see Cruise once again after his breakout role in Risky Business. In a career that featured many iconic films, no role resonates more than Maverick and his cocky and charming persona. The film solidified Cruise’s mark on cinema, letting us know that he was here to stay. Now to be clear, we’re not praising Cruise’s acting in this movie, but appreciating the movie’s entertainment value for the time and its pivotal moment for Cruise’s career.
3. Minority Report (2002)
With the turn of the new millennium, we see a different Cruise on screen. Less romantic; less pretty-boy sexy; and more rigid and rough, but still very much attractive. It was almost as if Cruise’s characters changed with his maturity and adoption of Scientology. Minority Report embodies that change to a tougher Cruise, where internal struggle is replaced with external challenges, which lend themselves to a traditional, yet original action film. After being wrongly accused for a murder he was not going to a commit, Cruise is forced to be on the run from the law, as he attempts to unravel the mystery behind his false accusation. Entertaining and unique, Cruise creates a suspense and thriller that grips audiences attention throughout. The duet between Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg is masterful, producing one of the best science-fiction films of the new millennium. With top-notch special effects and a plot that harks back to the Blade Runner-esque style of sci-fi, it’s hard for a film of this caliber to not succeed.
2. A Few Good Men (1992)
To be clear, Jack Nicholson made this movie. Okay, that being said, we can turn to Cruise’s performance where he plays a hot-shot Navy attorney assigned to defend the marine cadets. Co-staring with Demi Moore, Cruise struggles to uncover the truth about a court martial, as he delves deep into the internal conflict dividing a civilization and the barbarity committed in its defense during the Vietnam War. Cruise’s dialog delivery with his costars is on-point, causing us to more feel intrigued and tense with each word he speaks. Smooth and sly, with a hint of that Tom Cruise arrogance, Cruise talks to the characters in a subtle interrogatory way, bringing the plot alive in a well-written script that just feeds into the final passing of lines between Cruise and Nicholson. With nominations across the board, A Few Good Men has passed the test of time – the final scene continues to be used on the Jumbotron at sports games, and heard over the radio on numerous sports stations to excite the crowds.
1. Jerry Maguire (1996)
Anchored by dazzling performances from Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Renée Zellweger, as well as Cameron Crowe’s tender direction, Jerry Maguire meshes romance and sports with panache. Cruise changed sports films with his masterful performance as a sports agent whose moral epiphany led to being fired. In a well-constructed letter to the press he expressed his thoughts on loyalty to the athlete client rather than the agency firm. Despite receiving initial praise for his courage to speak out, Cruise quickly lost his day job after a swift decision by the partners of the agency. Alongside the brilliant direction of Cameron Crowe, the chemistry between the actors is sensational, leading to a breakout moment for Zellweger, an Oscar nomination for Cruise, and an Oscar win for Gooding Jr. The film embodies that Tom Cruise arrogance, but also contains a nice blend of professional vulnerability and romantic comedy. While we can go on about the movie forever, the most impressive part about the film didn’t come until way after it left the theaters. With highly memorable lines such as “You complete me”, “Help me help you”, “Show me the money” “You had me at ‘hello,” it is no surprise that even twenty years later, we will still hear both young and old moviegoers quoting a Cruise line, speaking to a legacy that will never be forgotten.
Longing for some Tom Cruise in your life? Don’t worry, its a common symptom after reading about him. So why not relieve that urge and satisfy your craving by clicking on each film’s respective title (above)and buy all the movies. Come on, sooner or later you’ll want to do it.
Check out our other Top Five pieces.You may be surprised.