SNARK WEEK: Man-Ick Monday – Tom Cruise

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Oh, Tom Cruise. Many people find Tom Cruise attractive. I can see it. He’s got that charming smile that works in many contexts. But he’s not really the thinking person’s guy. He’s cute, but that’s the extent. Plus, there’s the scary Scientology weirdness that just freaks me out. He’s fine in action movies, and he’s kind of good in sci-fi. Will I see Top Gun 2 for nostalgia’s sake? Sure. But Cruise needs to stick to his lane, stop trying to be a thespian, and stop getting into my frock flicks. We know he went to the Furrowed Brow School of Acting. Point made.

 

The Outsiders (1983)

I feel like everyone I know was forced to watch this movie, and the book it’s adapted from, in middle school, and somehow I lucked out. I’m sure this story of guys getting into trouble in 1960s Oklahoma would be super meaningful to 12-year-old me, but I’m not feeling it.

1983 The Outsiders

Did Cruise wear a prosthetic bad tooth? Or was this pre-tooth straightening? Photo by Moviestore/Shutterstock (1644472a)

1983 The Outsiders

Okay, he does have good eyebrows.

1983 The Outsiders

But, no.

 

Losin’ It (1983)

An early 1980s comedy film about four guys in the 1950s who go to Tijuana to lose their virginity. Charming.

1983 Losin' It

Okay, vaguely 1950s?

1983 Losin' It

There’s the charming smile.

1983 Losin' It

Guy in the yellow sweater is at least making an effort?

 

Legend (1985)

Not the least bit historical, actually 100% fantasy, and yet I’m filling out this post. All I remember from this story of a “pure being” (Cruise) who tries to stop the Lord of Darkness is All The Pollen.

That’s Mia Sara, who is Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend.

1985 Legend

Okay, so the tunic is HILARIOUS!

1985 Legend

Ah yes, the child of nature.

 

Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

One of the films that Cruise gets rave acting reviews for, about a real-life Vietnam vet dealing with the aftermath of his service. Never seen it.

1989 Born on the Fourth of July

I’m guessing this is pre-war.

Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

Aaaand post (Photo by Universal Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

 

Far and Away (1992)

I’ve already confessed that I watched this movie, about two Irish-American immigrants in the 1890s and based on Cruise’s real-life ancestors (allegedly, I wanna see documentation), a million times in college. Nicole Kidman is fab. Cruise demonstrates emotion through running.

Such jauntiness!

There’s also a lot of unattractive, sweaty boxing scenes.

1992 Far and Away

HE’S POOR, GET IT.

FAR AND AWAY (1992)

Emoting via bean-eating.

 

Interview with the Vampire (1994)

I’ve never read any Anne Rice (sorry!), so I enjoyed the movie when it came out but was confused by elements — specifically, Cruise as Lestat. When a friend explained that Lestat’s character was supposed to be an irresistibly charming rockstar type, so much became clear to me, because I in no way got that from Cruise.

Alright, Brad Pitt isn’t great either.

1994 Interview with the Vampire

Cruise doesn’t pull off that wig.

1994 Interview with the Vampire

OR THE EMOTION.

1994 Interview with the Vampire

Those are some shiny, shiny layers in his hair!

1994 Interview with the Vampire

I’m getting zero charm.

 

The Last Samurai (2003)

In no way does this sound like a good idea: “Tom Cruise portrays a United States Captain of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, whose personal and emotional conflicts bring him into contact with samurai warriors in the wake of the Meiji Restoration in 19th-century Japan. The film’s plot was inspired by the 1877 Satsuma Rebellion led by Saigō Takamori, and the westernization of Japan by foreign powers” (Wikipedia). I don’t know, maybe I’d watch it if it wasn’t centered on Cruise (the white bro) and instead focused on the Japanese characters?

2003 The Last Samurai

What is period about that hair?

2003 The Last Samurai

HE’S COMMITTED Y’ALL.

2003 The Last Samurai

I mean, cross-cultural studies are interesting. But you need to be careful not to make it about the white guy.

2003 The Last Samurai

OF COURSE some beautiful woman falls in love with him.

 

Valkyrie (2008)

Cruise plays real-life German Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who led a plot to assassinate Hitler. See it for Carice van Houten‘s amazing outfits, enjoy laughing at Cruise’s accent.

2008 Valkyrie

Luckily the rest of the cast is good.

2008 Valkyrie

HE WEARS AN EYE PATCH. As, I’m guessing, the real von Stauffenberg did. But still. Cruise in an eye patch.

 

What’s your least favorite Tom Cruise frock flick role?

 

 

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40 Responses

  1. EA Gorman

    When I saw Legend, I just wanted to know why Tom didn’t have on any pants. Did the wardrobe department dislike him that much?

    Reply
  2. yosa

    Def. work on his teeth. They were very crooked in Legend, then he had them all moved/replaced with veneers. The result was that in a bunch of photos afterward his two front teeth don’t meet in the middle of his face but off to the side. Once you see it, you can’t not see it, but here it is:
    https://pyxis.nymag.com/v1/imgs/4e5/1f7/a917c50e70a4c16bc35b9f0d8ce0352635-14-tom-cruise.rhorizontal.w700.jpg
    It humanizes him a bit. I had braces galore and know the pain and humiliation of having huge front teeth. Still- that offset is super weird.

    Reply
  3. Michael McQuown

    I still haven’t figured out his best. Any time someone mentions the “S word,” all I can think of is Isaac Asimov’s quote: “I knew L Ron Hubbard when he was a SMALL-time crook.”

    Reply
    • Susan Pola Staples

      He leaves me feeling meh. Or cold. And I love WWII films, and von Stauffenberg not only had an eye patch, missing fingers but was a staunch Catholic. When I found out Cruise was playing him., I decided to pass on the film

      Reply
  4. Donna Smith

    Guy in the yellow is, I believe, Jackie Earle Haley. He has had many remarkable supporting roles, from “Breaking Away” to “Lincoln.”

    Reply
  5. Liza Jane

    Thank you. I hate everything about his movies. Trying not to make this about him personally, but … let’s just say that I actively avoid any movies he’s in. Though my DH says the one where he dies over & over is satisfying.

    Reply
  6. Emelye

    Actually, the Tom Cruise factor in interview with a vampire is heavily outweighed by the Antonio Banderas factor. Rrrrow!

    Reply
  7. Author Jennifer Quail

    Colonel von Stauffenberg did in fact have an eyepatch and was also missing fingers (so eyepatch and gloves!) He was very seriously injured in the war.

    And I am actually good with Cruise in Interview, because his lines at the end (“Louis, Louis, Louis….still WHINING! I’ve had to listen to this….”) pretty much summed up my feelings about dull-surprise Brad Pitt through the whole movie.

    Reply
  8. Lynn Anderson

    Thanks – I love “Far and Away” but your blog is incorrect that it is based on Tom Cruise’s ancestors. It’s mostly a fictional story, however, the Oklahoma Land Rush was true and based on director Ron Howard’s own family who participated in it in 1889.

    Reply
  9. Trystan L. Bass

    When he was announced as Lestat in Interview with a Vampire, all of us who were fans of the book howled in disgust! But then, watching the movie, you remember, yeah, Lestat is a real asshole & Cruise can play that pretty well. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    Reply
  10. Constance

    None of these films are ones I would watch no matter who starred in them. I am not into fantasy, or war-related or vampires etc,,,but he does look “off” in nearly every case.

    Reply
  11. Cecily

    Legend is one of my favorite movies. Grew up watching it and both of Lily’s dresses are amazing. It is a delightful fairy tale. And like all Tom Cruise movies, everyone else is superb. And it has Tim Curry.

    Reply
  12. Boxermom

    Thanks for this post! I never cared for Tom Cruise, even before the whole Scientology thing. Can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us the rest of the week.

    Reply
  13. Kathleen Norvell

    I recommend that you watch “Born on the Fourth of July.” It’s the best acting job Cruise ever did. OTOH, “Valkyrie” was painful to watch for many reasons, including cruise.

    Reply
  14. Lisa H

    My dislike is visceral, along with justified for the reasons you state plus:
    Ticks all the boxes for ‘handsome’ yet you feel…nothing,
    Gopher in a man-suit,
    He’s the popular jock who got the lead in the high school play and ruined it for everyone,
    Acting style that’s a mashup of Shatner and Keanu and,
    No matter the role, he’s never NOT Tom Cruise.
    Thanks you for reading my rant.

    Reply
  15. Mary

    “Legend” became the yardstick for bad movies between my friend and me. If we didn’t care for a movie, one of us would inevitably say, “Yeah, but it wasn’t as bad as ‘Legend.'”

    Reply
  16. LadySlippers

    Tom looks like my ex-husband and for some reason I never found Tom to be good looking. (Probably was a sign I missed!) lol

    Tom’s early movies are meh. I cannot stand most of his recent movies and typically avoid him like the plague.

    Born of the 4th of July was a decent movie. Tom actually acts in it. Not kidding either. Although I probably wouldn’t watch it again, I remember being very much shocked he pulled this off.

    I used to live in Japan and will definitely watch The Last Samurai when I miss Japan (I have a few other movies that fall into this category). While the movie focuses in on Tom’s character, it still brings Japan, Japanese people, and Japanese culture into the story. And in a good way. The supporting cast is phenomenal and really highlights Japan’s struggles with itself vs Western cultures and how to modernise (if at all). Full disclosure I have a huge crush on Ken Watanabe.

    If anyone wants to see a good Japanese movie, check out Sweet Bean. Not a frock flick but an adorable movie.

    Reply
  17. susan l eiffert

    I don’t like him much either and do feel he’s a nut job for the Scientology thing. I was floored when I heard he was cast as Lestat but thought he actually pulled it off. He was terrible and unbelievable as Von Stauffenberg.

    Reply
  18. Lily Lotus Rose

    Ok, I LOVED (and still LOVE) Tom Cruise as Lestat–even though appearance-wise and age wise he is nothing like Lestat is described in the novel (same for Antonio Banderas’s character). But both Cruise and Banderas pulled off their roles phenomenally for the movie version. In fact, Interview with the Vampire is at the top of my list of franchises I’m disappointed that didn’t continue (and no, the Stuart Townsend version of The Queen of the Damned does NOT count). I mean I wanted the franchise to continue with Cruise and Pitt and Neil Jordan at the helm. My least favorite of these films was Far and Away. Overall, I think Tom Cruise is a very good actor and I also think he is very good-looking. As a fan, I prefer to see him in ensemble pieces rather than in a “Tom Cruise movie.” (Ditto for Will Smith.) I’ve never been able to bring myself to watch The Last Samurai even though I am totally in love with Ken Wantanabe. It reeked of being a focused-on-the-white-guy, Tom Cruise movie and I’m just not into that. P.S. Now I have to re-watch Legend just for the tunic!

    Reply
  19. Elizabeth Kerri Mahon

    I feel like the Mannions of America is a much better version of haughty Anglo-Irish woman falls in love with lower-class Irishman. And I liked the beginning of Valkyrie when Tom Cruise is speaking in German, and then the whole thing became a hodge-podge of different accents. Interview with a Vampire is actually one of the few historical films that I’ve liked him in. The Last Samurai is a total white savior movie.

    Reply
    • florenceandtheai

      I think of The Last Samurai as Dances With Wolves in Japan. I did enjoy Valkyrie. The accents didn’t bother so much, more as giggle fuel.

      Reply
  20. florenceandtheai

    Has to be Interview with the Vampire. I’ve read some Anne Rice. It was fine? I was truthfully too young to see the film – old enough to stay home along, too young to understand the ramifications of Claudia’s situation. Even then I couldn’t take his wig seriously.

    Reply
  21. Lisa Joseph

    “The Last Samurai” has a lot of things wrong with it, Cruise included. That having been said, the costuming and production values are quite good. When Cruise’s character first arrives in Japan, very few Japanese are wearing Western clothing. When he comes back down into Yokohama (?) with the samurai, there are telegraph lines strewn everywhere and you see Japanese in everything from full Western clothing to a single novelty item – someone in kimono, hakama and a bowler hat, for example. That sort of thing is very true to the period, so, I have to give the film props for that if nothing else.

    Reply
  22. Roxana

    IMO Legend should have been about Lily and the Unicorn getting the better of Darkness. Who needs Tom Cruise.

    Reply
  23. Saraquill

    It’s a tough call. The Outsiders did nothing for me, and I have no idea if I would have understood a thing if I hadn’t already read the book. The Last Samurai made sense, but I don’t care for mighty whitey narratives.

    Reply
  24. Kendra

    I’m sorry, did I mention Scientology? My argument, if it’s that confusing to understand, is that Tom Cruise doesn’t suit historical movies. Based on his acting and general persona. That’s all. Clearly you’re not enjoying Frock Flicks, maybe time to take a break?

    Reply
    • Kendra

      Okay wait, I did mention Scientology. My apologies for misremembering. Well, Scientology is a cult, and that does freak me out, so…

      Reply
  25. Nzie

    I don’t think I’ve seen a single one of these all the way through… and I’m not regretting it, lol.

    Reply
  26. Leigh Aldrich

    I grew up where they filmed The Last Samurai so enjoyed watching it to recognize where scenes were shot and what was CGI’d in and out.

    Reply
  27. Charity

    Interview with the Vampire is so, so good, though. Campy good, but fun. And that’s the only time I’ve found Tom Cruise remotely attractive (Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas outdo him tho; those men look good in long hair).

    Reply
  28. Crystal

    Wasn’t it Christian Bale who said Cruise was aggressively friendly but there was nothing behind the eyes? Sums him up pretty well, I think

    Reply
  29. Sophie

    I’m glad to see him included in Snark Week, haha! I liked Far and Away when I was a teen but I only ever saw it with local-language dubbing, which spared me Cruise’s accent. I was shocked when I finally heard what he sounded like, LOLZ. The Last Samurai is greatly disadvantaged by focusing on his character.
    But, like many others here, I love Interview with the Vampire and his Lestat toally worked for me. It might be my favourite role of his, I don’t care for his action hero movies.

    Reply
  30. Kerry

    I’m not a fan of Tom Cruise. But I can really find no fault with him in anything he has done. As wacky as he is and can be, he just seems to make it work.

    I like his comedy work. Rock of Ages. He could pull off the rock star and I wished he continued as Lestat.

    Reply

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