With the release this week of Oblivion, what a better time to look back at Tom Cruise’s movie career. There were so many films to choose from and I know that some will disagree with me but these are the films that I have enjoyed the most of the diminutive one. Yes, i know I have left out Rain Man, Born on The Fourth of July, A Few Good Men but I can’t add every film he has made. It wouldn’t be a top ten otherwise.
10. Tropic Thunder
Ben Stiller’s comedy was very much a hit and miss affair. Robert Downey Jr was a high point and so was Cruise’s cameo as the hugely disagreeable Les Grossman. Virtually unrecognisable in a fat suit and bald head, Cruise takes the opportunity to go right over the top and his dance routine is an absolute hoot. Not a perfect film by a long shot but one that was made better by Cruise’s appearance.
9. Knight And Day
Critically savaged on its release and thus a box office bomb, this has guilty pleasure written all over it. So the plot is nonsensical and utterly stupid but I haven’t seen Cruise having so much fun, mimicking his own screen persona. Cameron Diaz is the perfect foil in this dizzy, silly yet ultimately enjoyable spy thriller that I just cannot resist. With me! Without me!
8. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
This was tricky. Four Mission: Impossible films to chose from. Number 2 was immediately out and 3 wasn’t bad but it was a close call between 1 and 4. I do love the original as it’s the closest to the TV show and Brian DePalma is a favourite director of mine but for sheer excitement and blood-pumping entertainment, this took the position.
7. Minority Report
Dark science fiction from Spielberg. The idea of arresting people before they commit the crime is intriguing but it’s the whole style of the film that impressed me as well as Samantha Morton being superb even when just lying in water. Some nail-biting set pieces also did it for me.
6. Top Gun
I felt this had to be in the list somewhere, even though it’s not a real personal favourite. Plotless and lacking in any real character development, the flight sequences, however, are the best around and it is definitely one of Cruise’s most iconic films. Plus the soundtrack reminds me of growing up and being free.
5. Jerry Maguire
A romantic comedy that works on all levels, from Cruise’s own performance, Cuba Gooding Jr’s over-the-top Oscar winner and Renee Zelwegger in the days when she was as cute as a button. Cameron Crowe’s script is sharp and definitely shows the money. It too, had me at hello.
4. The Color Of Money
Many people dismissed Martin Scorsese’s belated sequel to The Hustler but I really like it, mainly for the contrasting performances of Paul Newman, who is magnificent here, and Cruise’s arrogant newcomer. The pace is lesiurely and it’s not one of Scorsese’s best to see a legend up against a modern contender, it’s worth the time and effort.
Completely out of Cruise’s comfort zone but it works brilliantly. Michael Mann’s superb thriller with an equally good Jamie Foxx is a dazzling cinematic experience that grips throughout. It looks incredible and proof that digital is just as good as film. Although my best friend, Sharon, was bothered by Cruise’s trousers, it’s a top notch thriller.
2. Risky Business
The shades, the shirt, the Y-fronts, Bob Seger, the car and Rebecca DeMornay. What more do you want from a film about growing up? Paul Brickman’s film could have easily been another sleazy coming-of-age comedy but instead was intelligent and made Cruise a star. Oh, did i mention Rebecca DeMornay?
Cruise at his best. What is technically a cameo, his performance as the life coach Frank T.J. Mackay is simply outstanding. Paul Thomas Anderson’s ambitious ensemble drama is a must see for many reasons, none more so for Cruise. The “Respect The Cock!” speech has to be one of the 90s most impressive sequences.