• Thu, Jul 3 - 3:20 pm ET

In Defense Of Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise in Edge Of Tomorrow 2014It’s Tom Cruise‘s birthday today, so I’m invoking the right of parley and demanding that you hear me out for exactly one blog post as I defend him. I mean c’mon guys, the day that I decide to rally behind an unpopular celebrity might as well be a national holiday, I do it so rarely. So come along with me and let’s chat about why I’m slowly coming around to Old Tommy Couch-Jumper.

He’s a talented actor.

He really really is. Mentally I’d written him off because his real-life level of intensity is scary high, but when he brings that to a movie, it’s like a laser focus. He can do the wide shot action stuff, like in Mission Impossible, but he’s doing some really great stuff when the camera pulls in close, too. It’s easy to forget, but he really nails those little facial movements that show us what’s going on in his brain without spelling it all out with dialogue?

Who else do we honestly have who can do the running and the jumping and the feeling and the thinking? Matt Damon? I guess he comes close, but I don’t think he quite has the nuance that Tom brings to the table. (Oh my god, someone stop me, I’m on a first-name basis with the guy.) There’s Daniel Craig, but he tends to read as pretty cold, and doesn’t have Tom Cruise’s versatility with humor.

Tom is really unmatched in terms of action movies, and he’s one of the last true movie stars that we have left, who can consistently draw audiences into big blockbusters and have them walk out without feeling let down. I mean, did you see Edge Of Tomorrow? Eff that, that movie is getting its very own category in this discussion.

Edge Of Tomorrow.

Is. The. Best. Everyone in the office is tired of hearing me say that, but until you go and see it for yourselves, you have zero legs to stand on. And since I’ve already invoked parley, I’m going to keep effusing about it now, and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.

I wasn’t a big fan of Tom Cruise when I walked into that movie, but OH MY GOD HE’S SO CHARMING. He’s like, our most charming resource here in America, which is why we export him to other countries via the cinema in order to collect money.

But seriously, the guy is charming, witty, quick, expressive, focused, intense, and consistent. Those adjectives are a little serial killer-y when applied to a normal person, but this is an A-List actor we’re talking about, so they’re pretty ideal. More and more, I’m coming around to the idea that Tom Cruise actually has it all together.

He has a great professional reputation.

No matter what we think of his beliefs, everyone who’s ever worked with him on a film has nothing but great things to say about him. His Edge Of Tomorrow costar Emily Blunt said that on set, he was always smiling and optimistic, and he’s famous for doing his own stunts as much as possible. It’s a rare person who truly loves what he does and is able to immerse themselves in it without being a super annoying prick to the people around them. (See: Daniel Day Lewis, Christian Bale, etc.)

Basically he shows up, puts the work in, and goes home, and everyone involved ends up with an excellent effing movie, which makes him an incredibly valuable actor. It’s only in his interviews that he tarnishes his image somewhat, with that enthusiastic couch-jumping incident and, of course…Scientology.

I could go on and on about my personal objections to Scientology (and I have!), but I don’t really need to go into it here, because I’m defending Tom Cruise the professional actor, not Tom Cruise the human being who thinks Brooke Shields‘ post-partum depression is not a thing. The dude has beliefs that I don’t agree with, but he’s been able to keep that side of his life separate lately, so why shouldn’t we?

He’s self-aware.

Tom Cruise is a funny guy, y’all! Anyone who’s seen Tropic Thunder has gotten an insane wake-up call to how ridiculous he’s willing to make himself look, but there are clues all over the place that he knows what’s up. Look at his Twitter profile, for example, which has the line ‘Running in movies since 1981′, or the fact that he’s really scaled back on the public sphere since he’s realized that we don’t really like him in it.

And that hasn’t changed for me, but my opinion of Tom Cruise’s work in movies has. And if you’re still sitting here thinking I’m a crazy person for saying this, just go see Edge of Tomorrow already, wouldja? Just trust me. (Parley revoked.)

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  • capoupascap

    Thank you! I legit don’t get all the hate Tom Cruise gets. He IS super talented and the only offensive thing I can think of that he’s done is criticize anti depressants/ anti psychotic drugs. celebs have done way worse and have way less detractors! Now I definitely do not agree with him but it’s probably because I went to grad school in crunchy hippie granola land that I just roll my eyes and think be glad you have no idea what it’s like before you get on them and how your life markedly improves after. Ugh, now I sound like some deranged fan probably, but I’m really not, I’m just somebody who doesn’t understand the level of vitriol thrown at a fairly harmless dude. If I’m missing other offensive things he’s done, tell me and I may change my mind. But I do think Jeremy Renner is on his level when it comes to running, jumping, feeling, and thinking. EtA: Edge of Tomorrow was surprisingly good, much better than the trailer made it out to be.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      You don’t sound like a deranged fan at all, you sound very rational! Especially when you talk about how good Edge of Tomorrow isssssss!

  • Jessalyn Champignon

    He runs a lot. :)

  • Napoleon

    I never understood the hatred for Tom Cruise. His criticisms of the pharmaceutical industry, psychiatry and anti-psychotic drugs didn’t seem to intentionally belittle their recipients and his claims weren’t entirely unfounded. He actually raised some good points regarding drugs like adderall. In addition, there are numerous celebrities who ascribe to hateful religions and philosophies and yet they are still praised and exalted. It doesn’t make it right but it’s extremely hypocritical to include some and not others. I don’t think he’s a particularly talented actor but he gets the job done.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      I’m newly in the camp that he’s very talented! But that’s just me!

    • Guest

      Yep, nothing wrong with Tom using Scientology slave labor to trick out his houses and cars. Nope, nothing wrong at all.

    • Lacey Sheridan

      And you know this how? Oh, you read it on the internet. I see.

    • Guest

      I’ve read the accounts of the people who were forced to do the work, and they have proof of it. But sue-happy Tom has never sued these people for slander, or asked for a cease-and-desist order to stop them from making these claims publicly, so, I see, they must be false.

    • Lacey Sheridan

      But …you did read this stuff on the internet? People can claim anything – including proof – but I’d have to see police reports, not be told about them, before I’d believe any claims of this type. “Slave labor” is not legal in this country; a slave is deemed property, and cannot leave his/her habitat voluntarily. If by slave labor you mean people working for less than minimum wage, well why on earth did they agree to work under those conditions? This sounds to me like just another whine from adults who made poor life choices and now want to blame others.

  • abby k.

    He is a little nutty in real life, but I feel like he’s kind of just come to terms with it an it works :-). I LOVED Edge of Tomorrow!!! It was absurdly good, and now I want to see more movies with Emily Blunt as the lead lady.

  • carrie

    I don’t care about the private life or political ideas or attitude of an actor and Cruise is talented and charismatic.Now he needs to stop sci-fi movies and to show what great actor he can be ( Magnolia!!!!)

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      I would love that!

  • Samantha Escobar

    Screw it. I’m seeing Edge of Tomorrow this weekend. GIRL YOU HAVE CONVINCED ME. Also, I know my dad will love it a lot :D

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Did you see it??

  • Valerie

    Honestly, I’ve always liked him. Crazy IRL antics and all. I have always been a big believer in his talent even if he is a touch intense.

  • JB

    Cruise has been a steady player since the 1980s. The guy deserves a ton of credit.

  • Raquel

    Thank you. I’m a huge TC fan. He’s just so damn charismatic and it’s hard to take your eyes off him. I tried reading “Interview with the Vampire” because I loved him as Lestat soooo much. I quit reading after Lestat dies because Louie (Brad Pitt) is such a bore.

    • Raquel

      Also remember when he kept calling Matt Lauer “glib.” Lulz that’s still one of my favorite things to laugh about.

  • Lacey Sheridan

    Agree absolutely! The level of vitriol that appears – repeatedly – is completely disproportionate; the wildest accusations and allegations are given credence without any objective evidence. Even the reviews of EOT, which were overwhelmingly favorable, contained backhanded “digs.” This man is a talented, versatile actor with an incredibly long career in successful films. He is the highest paid actor in Hollywood and he has never made an unprofitable picture. My guess? Much of the venom is caused by jealous people gnashing their teeth; movies aside, just look at him! You’re on the money, Alexis – no need to be apologetic.

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  • Ms Dobell

    Edge of Tomorrow is awesome! completely agree. I’ve seen it a few times now and there’s a lot built in for second viewing.
    Tom Cruise seems like a good person. I just think he says the wrong thing sometimes – which all celebs do.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Yeah, I don’t agree with his beliefs, but I can enjoy him as an actor.

  • paula

    I agree. First, EOT was great, Ever since seeing EOT, I’ve been looking for a way to see it a second time. Second, I think a lot can be learned from people with longevity in the film industry. Cruise has so many credits to his name – his perspective on film is a valuable one. I am upset that you feel the need to apologize to write good things about a clearly successful person.