I don’t like Tom Cruise but I like Tom Cruise movies

by Lorin Michel Monday, July 30, 2018 10:06 PM

In my former Los Angeles life, I spent several painful episodes working with various celebrities. Then, as now, many thought their relative success in television or on film made them equally talented when it came to putting their name on the latest skin care goop (apologies to Gwyneth Paltrow). Most of them didn’t have a clue how to create something that wasn’t pre-scripted, or how to interact with people as decent human beings. After I embarked on my freelance career, I was often referred to people who were looking to get into the beauty business. At first I was intrigued, and a little star struck. That quickly turned to disgust. I got to the point where I would cringe when I got a call to work on a celebrity product. As a freelancer, it was hard to turn anything down – still is – but any jobs I took I took with trepidation.

And no, I won’t name names. I don’t write and tell. 

Which leads me to Tom Cruise. I don’t know him, never met him and to my knowledge, he never wanted to get into beauty, skin care, jewelry, or clothing. Based on his near agelessness, perhaps he already has the secret stashed away somewhere in one of his compounds. What I do know of him, however, makes me think I probably wouldn’t like him very much.

I’ve never heard that he’s nasty or rude. But I know he’s odd, and while I tend to like odd, his kind of odd is spooky. I never really gave him much thought until he got weird when describing Katie Holmes, his soon to be third wife. It’s an infamous episode, broadcast to the world from Oprah Winfrey’s couch, and while I only saw snippets of it, it was just too out there. And then he decided that, unlike other celebs dabbling in the exterior, he was an expert on the interior, namely the psyche, condemning Brooke Shields for her post-partum depression and medication. 

Not sure he ever completely recovered from those episodes. It made a lot of people think differently about him. 

People love to idolize celebrities, to ascribe some sort of persona to them that makes them as funny and charming and loving and well-spoken and strong and sentimental and invincible as the characters they play. But the thing is, those characters are created, initially, by a writer. 

Regardless, I’m not a Tom Cruise the human fan. I am, however, still a fan of Tom Cruise the movie star. Over the decades that he’s been making films, I have come to count many – hell, most – as just great entertainment. 

I first saw him in The Outsiders and All the Right Moves, when he still had bad teeth. I didn’t think much of him at all. I liked The Outsiders because I’d read the book. Then came the blockbuster Top Gun which is on just about every man’s list of favorite movies of all time. It was my first husband’s favorite; it remains one of my favorite husband’s top picks. It’s a bit sacrilegious to say, but I wasn’t a huge fan. I liked it – didn’t love it. Then came The Color of Money and Rain Man, and I thought both the films and the actor were pretty damn good. It didn’t hurt that he was starring with Paul Newman and Dustin Hoffman, respectively. 

One of my favorite films remains The Firm. I stop and watch it every time I come across it. Ditto A Few Good Men, and The Last Samurai. I loved the first Mission Impossible and have seen all of the sequels, the most recent of which just this weekend. It was a thrill-ride of a movie. Pass the damn popcorn and keep it coming. 

Looking at his list of films I realize I’ve seen nearly all of them. Some are amazing; some are cotton candy. A guilty pleasure remains the absolutely atrocious Cocktail. And of course, there’s Jerry Maguire, from which our beloved Maguire got his name (“show me the money”). 

It occurred to me on Friday when we were discussing going to see Mission Impossible: Fallout that it’s nice when you can feel some camaraderie with a star of a film. It makes the movie-going experience more intimate, like spending time with a friend. But it’s not necessary, not when you have enough real friends. Sitting in a movie theatre and getting your hair blown back by jaw-dropping stunts and non-stop action is great escapism, and it’s one of the things Tom Cruise movies consistently provide. And it’s why, now, in this outrageous time in which we live, I love Tom Cruise movies.

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