YES! The man with three front teeth! When I decided to start doing celebrity Top 5′s, I wanted to do actors that would be challenging. I figured who better to start with than Cruise, who happens to have a hell of a resume. For those of you that aren’t Cruise fans… TOUGH! I think he is one of the most intense and dedicated actors working today, regardless of his personal politics… and beliefs… in aliens. So, let’s get into it:
SIDENOTE: I haven’t seen Born on the 4th of July so that will not be in contention.
5. ETHAN HUNT in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.
Some might dismiss Cruise’s performance in this film. After all, it is a tentpole action film. I would say though that Cruise’s dedication to the part is what makes these films work. While MI:2 is forgettable and MI:3 gets by on it’s plot, villian and style, MI manages to shine by Cruise’s determination to make a legitimate film from a cheesy TV show.
4. FRANK T. J. MACKEY in MAGNOLIA.
P.T. Anderson is such a great director that he can get actors to do just about anything. He even managed to make Cruise look straight and got him to say cock… many, many, many times. This turn for Cruise is amazing because not only did he take a supporting role but he stepped so far outside his wheelhouse that it’s almost jarring upon first viewing. Well worth the Oscar nomination that it earned him.
3. VINCENT in COLLATERAL.
If you blink you’ll probably miss how solid Cruise is in this film. Especially set against the background of a super cool LA hitman film directed by Michael Mann. Where Cruise shines through in this movie is in the subtleties. After all, this is a “less is more” role. Proof: Watch the manner in which Cruise does away with the would be robbers of his briefcase in a back alley. Cruise absolutely inhabits this character.
2. LESTAT in INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE.
How good is Cruise? He can even make those Renaissance, Twilight style vampires look cool. While Pitt broods all over the screen in this film, Cruise manages to chew up the scenery every time he’s on the screen. Again, a departure from his typical leading man action role… I wonder if he shouldn’t try that more often???
1. JERRY MAGUIRE in JERRY MAGUIRE.
I’m sick of people bagging on this film for being too over the top or sappy or cheesy or whatever. Jerry Maguire is a great film and it falls flat if not for Cruise’s performance. Without his dedication to the ego, swarminess, depression and all out insanity that accompany Maguire on his journey to finding love, this film is a throwaway quirky rom-com. I’m of the opinion that not only was Cruise robbed of his Oscar (by Geoffrey Rush for Shine) but that Jerry Maguire is Tom Cruise’s best performance… hands down!