WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME, DOC? I LIKE TOM CRUISE

Tom Cruise and Toi are connected by a relationship of love and hate.

There are some days I wake up in the morning and think that this guy is a complete jerk, but at the end of the day, after doing some thinking I always reach the same conclusion: he earned a tiny corner in my heart, thanks to certain things I’m about to tell you now.

Whenever I think of him attending a Franciscan seminar in order to become a priest I can’t help laughing. Can you imagine Cruise overacting during the homily with a mic? That’d be worth experiencing, instead of yelling “Respect The Cock! And tame the Cunt” it could be something like “Respect the Bible, and Love Jesus!”. This guy has serious issues with religion as far as I can tell, Catholic, Scientologist? WTF?

When I was attending the nun school and wasn’t even a teenager yet, Cruise appeared in my life already triumphant. Coppola had discovered a new generation of talented young actors, the Brat Pack, and gathered them to be part of The Outsiders cast: Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon and our Tom. His role as Steve Randle wasn’t very prominent, but that’d be the actual starting point to the top.

RISKY BUSINESS  (1983)

1983 was an important year for Cruise. Outsiders was relevant for what’s been mentioned before, for Coppola Cruise was a rough diamond, and right after several teenage films followed, Losin’ It, All the Right Moves and Risky Business, Legend was a different style though.

Cruise was to be the next teenager hero, a guy with a very expressive and beautiful smile, targeted to fill up most of American teenage girls’ walls bedrooms, this is, the new soaking pants machine. I must admit I was more up to Rob Lowe, he wasn’t so perfect, especially after his sex tapes having sex with an underage.

There are certain scenes or images which for some reason keep in your mind forever. Risky Business had several. Apart from the hot scene on the train with Lana (Rebecca De Mornay), and the classic pic of Cruise with the Ray-Ban Wayfarer, the dance scene with Joel Goodsen singing Bob Seger’s  Old Time Rock and Roll is a blast.

That kind of relief we used to experience when our parents were off for some days and the possibility of do whatever you want, is perfectly reflected in that scene.

Growing in the 80’s, all these American high school / university films made an impact on me, and Risky Business is included in my personal  top 10 of this genre, together with Animal House, Porky’s, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or Revenge of the Nerds among others.

For Cruise  this was the propeller to stardom, exploding his funny side and also his sensuality.

COCKTAIL (1988)

You can have a laugh now but yes, I love Cocktail. I might have seen it around 20-30 times for sure, and I purchased it on DVD 3 years ago in an attack of nostalgia.

If I ever had a bar, I’d have trouble deciding the name for it, but let me tell you one to be considered is Cocktails & Dreams.

At school, the advanced courses were showing pictures to raise funds for the end of school-year trip at lunch time, and Cocktail was so popular, it was featured every two weeks. My favorite part, no doubt is when young Flanagan starts working for Doug Coughlin (Bryan Brown) as a bartender in Manhattan. Those choreographies serving cocktails with Hippie Hippie Shake, Cruise singing Addicted to Love trying to pick a female customer, and his poetry at the posh club are bigger than life.

I’ve always felt fascinated for the hairstyles of Cruise in this film, they change a lot. Final mullet at the end of the story is a bit disturbing, but have to admit at this point I realized Cruise’s hairstyles are usually very cool, even nowadays his hair always look perfect.

EYES WIDE SHUT (1999)

When I heard the news about Kubrick’s movie featuring the couple, my first reaction wasn’t very enthusiastic. I never liked Cruise and Kidman together, they were one of these Hollywood perfect couples hard to believe. I didn’t buy their happiness with all those adopted children. Beside I had read something about Cruise first ex-wife, Mimi Rogers, the one who apparently introduced him into Scientology, related to the false impossibility of having kids due to her conditions…bullshit! She had two kids after their marriage. It was the time when rumors on homosexuality were a hot issue.

No, I couldn’t understand why Kubrick had counted on them for being the main characters of what would be his last film. Let’s talk serious here, none of them are good actors, she’s a Barbie and Cruise is too histrionic and very exaggerated.

The fact is that I eventually saw the film, after too much buzz, and I liked it. In fact, I dig it a lot, the story, the decadence, the filth…it’s disturbing.

Probably the scene which captivated me most, leaving the orgy at the mansion aside, was that scene, after the initial party, under the effects of a weed joint, when Alice confesses during holidays in Cape Cod, she’d give up everything including her marriage and her daughter for spending just one night with a stranger she met at the hotel.

During the revelation, Kubrick makes use of intense close-up takes, and Tom Cruise, Bill here, is not really doing anything but staring, and yet, the shock is so clear in his face, I can’t help loving it. Brutal!

MAGNOLIA (1999)

Love these films in which separate characters and acts eventually are related. I never get tired of this film, although many people hate it.

Tom Cruise is Frank T.J Mackey, the author of Seduce and Destroy, a self-help book providing they keys to the doors of women. He’s manly, charismatic, strong, with a developed point of arrogance, misogyny, focusing on improving self-confidence to get to  women’s pants.

During a break of one of his speeches, he’s to be interviewed by a very attractive woman, Gwenovier. He tries to project all his strength and security but once the interview starts, she recalls a series of facts and life details which unmask his true identity. Again his face in an extreme close-up, Frank/Cruise just stares at her, and he only says “I’m quietly judging you”

MINORITY REPORT (2002)

This time I have to give credit to both Cruise and Steven Spielberg for making a film out of one of Philip K. Dick’s short stories in a more than decent way.

We had seen the actor moving among drama, comedy, action and fantasy, but had never participated in real sci-fi project. Coming from the same author, Minority Report shares common elements with Blade Runner, Total Recall and A Scanner Darkly.

Cruise had already played the role of Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible, and despite the fact that I’m not very interested in this saga, I have to admit all the action and dangerous scenes are visually amazing and brilliant.

I’ve mentioned Minority Report as a reason to like Cruise, but what I really respect is his taste for action scenes and the willing to take the risks himself, rejecting any stuntmen. I like to think Tom Cruise, a guy who has achieved everything thanks to his successful career despite his low-average acting skills, whose one of the wealthiest actors in the world, needs the adrenaline to feel alive and wants to emulate Steve McQueen in order to be proud of himself. Think of it, if a tragedy occurred, this guy would pass away happy and fulfilled, leaving his wife, ex-wife and kids in a safe position, taken care of. He’s got nothing to lose and he knows it.

If the legend was true, and contracts with the devil were for real, no doubt Cruise signed one of the best. Like Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, the actor doesn’t grow old, he’s still taking risks in films, and his religious freak conditions  and dark and mysterious personal and family life, rather than sinking him into poisonous gossip, keep him floating triumphant.

What can I say? Once you assume his Hollywood histrionic attitude, just his smile and the reasons I’ve just explained, make me think “Cruise, you asshole, yet adorable”.

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