Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay arrive for a screening of their movie, Risky Business, at the Director’s Guild in Hollywood, California in 1983. The couple fell in love during the filming and dated for about two years. He was 21 and she had just turned 24 when these photos were taken.
One of the things I’m noticing in filmgoers now is noticing true effort in what they see on screen. You can ask anyone and they won’t be able to tell the difference in a meticulously crafted action scene like the finale in The Raid 2 and a horribly shaky and incoherent “fight” like The Hunger Games cornucopia scene. There are so many people that are over appreciated and under appreciated in the film industry. One of the biggest crimes of this is Tom Cruise. The common thing I hear about him is that he’s just another fun action hero that makes some fun movies every now and then. I wholeheartedly disagree, because Tom Cruise is special. He puts so much EFFORT into what he does that he is undeniably a force to be reckoned with. If you haven’t thought much of Cruise please take what I say into consideration, and hopefully you will begin to appreciate his work even more.
Most of this now will be focused on Cruise and his work. And the first thing I hear when I hear criticisms of him is that he just isn’t too great of an actor. He can’t be convincingly dramatic or show much range. This couldn’t be more wrong. Yes he is prominent in action filmmaking, (and does show great acting in those) but for the sake of this argument I’ll only reference non action films. Tom Cruise actually got his start in dramedies with his big breakout Risky Business. As an incredibly young man he showed his ability to capture a feeling and a scene beautifully. You feel his presence constantly in the film and it’s so hard to take your eyes off of him. A great performance can also be easily spotted if the character goes through an arc, and if you’ve ever seen Risky Business you know his character does. He does it so convincingly through his surprisingly good comedic chops and just displaying emotions on his face for the audience to soak in. He’s shown this kind of talent in many other films most notably Magnolia, The Last Samurai, Jerry Maguire, A Few Good Men, Collateral and others. He puts so much effort and heart into these performances. Just because something isn’t a showy Oscar grab doesn’t make it bad in any way, and the fact that it isn’t showy or Oscar-bait like is something to commend him for. He pulls off AND makes drastically different characters very relatable. That’s very hard and circling back to our main point; the effort this man puts into his performances is incredible.
I did bring up effort in action set-pieces earlier in my intro, and I want to talk about what makes Tom Cruise a SPECIAL action hero. We know he is good. There’s no refuting that, but he’s lasted so much longer than most. We know it’s easy for an actor to start out strong in a fun action film then just fall into obscurity later like Brendan Fraser. What Tom Cruise does that very little actors do is dedicate to the stunts. He does a lot of them himself. This is a common trend in many action stars that last with Keanu Reeves being another favorite of mine. Tom Cruise as a man has a passion for film stating on many occasions that he tries to watch at least a film a night. This to me speaks volumes. He knows what looks good in a film, and what looks bad. His passion for what he does and the art of it makes him push himself to be better and better each time (and he’s in his 50′s by the way). When you see Ethan Hunt hanging off of the tallest building in the world or holding onto a plane as it’s taking off that is really Cruise. It makes the director’s job FAR easier and it also helps the audience feel the danger more. You see a man with a face you know strapped to this plane. Not a wide shot so you can’t see the stuntman’s face; a shot of Cruise on that plane. This of course takes dedication and you guessed it effort. You see this kind of effort in every film he does, and that’s why he’s lasted. Every time you see him you just know you will get something that had a lot of passion and love put into it. Which is something we need now that more and more of the big blockbuster films seem to be made by a committee.
If you agree with me and thank Tom Cruise is a man that is severely underappreciated please share this. We need to spread the word around of just why this man is great and why we need to pay more attention to him. Yes, he’s an incredibly rich and famous movie star, but if it’s for the wrong reason than what’s the point. Please make this man remembered for his love and dedication for his beautiful pieces of art. And yes. Action films are art and they can be beautiful.