You kinda knew it was coming…
It is widely known that I am an unabashed fan of Mr. Tom Cruise. He has been my favorite actor for as long as I can remember. And even when he started acting crazy (I know many of you will say that he was always crazy, but I’m referring more to the whole couch-jumping thing… although I have been known to defend him on that one too) I was always on the side. And will always be on his side. Part of it, in all honesty, does come from the fact that I have been told since I was about 13 that I resembled the man, both by friends and strangers alike. I have yet to tell someone that they were wrong…
And it’s not that I just love him. I love his movies. Now while I haven’t seen every single one (it’s actually much closer to half when you consider all of his work) this is my Top 10 movies list based on the ones that I have seen.
Without further ado…
Honorable Mention: Tropic Thunder
In his most comedic role, Cruise portrayed mega producer Les Grossman, a vulgar, loud, and brutal man who bared very little resemblance to the suave form we were used to seeing him in. I know there were some who didn’t even know that it was Cruise until the end credits! It was such a b0ld turn for him that it really set his reputation back on the right track after a few years of rough patches (this was after the Katie Holmes/Oprah Couch stuff). He was funny and really seemed to lose himself in the role, so much so that there was even a spinoff film suggested at one point (thankfully, this was only discussed – I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t work for 90 minutes).
10. Rain Man
Acting opposite Oscar winning actor Dustin Hoffman as Charlie Babbitt, Cruise got to do a little of everything in this Best Picture winner. Whether it was counting cards with his brother in Vegas, getting back to the room in time for Judge Wapner, or taking part in one of the most tear-jerking scenes of his career (the one the picture shown is from) he was well cast and held his own, showing that he was much more than Maverick (we’ll get to him later…).
9. The Last Samurai
Despite the displeasure shown by the likes of Paul Mooney, I was a big fan of the historical epic that put Cruise in Japan, fighting alongside the amazing Ken Watanabe. Easily one of his most underrated movies, Samurai teamed strong action (having the director of Glory, Ed Zwick, at the helm, certainly helped) with heavy drama and showed that he was much more than Maverick (oh wait, I already said that once…).
8. A Few Good Men
“I want the truth!”
We all know what comes after that, sure, but this is more than just a legal drama with an iconic scene. Surrounded by Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, and the great Kevin Pollak, Cruise brought back the goods after a brief post-Born on the Fourth of July let-down. You can credit the direction (Rob Reiner) or the screenplay (Aaron Sorkin) but Cruise is the man and when he goes toe-to-toe with Jack himself, you can tell that he’s a bit scared (who wouldn’t be) but knows that he’s got the upper hand in the end.
7. Jerry Maguire
Man, how many classic lines has this guy spoken?!? As the title character, he did something that no one thought was possible (both then and, in retrospect, especially now): he made Cuba Gooding, Jr. look like an actual actor (and yes, upon further review, he did win an Oscar for playing the loud mouth wide receiver, Rod Tidwell). So for that, his impressive acting against the one and only Jonathan Lipnicki, and for the classic “You complete me” speech, I couldn’t help but give him the credit and put this one on here.
6. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
I spoke plenty about this one in my End of the Year Top 10, and after a few months, it still holds up in my mind. Bonus points to Cruise for doing the harrowing stunts (yes, that’s him on that building). Super bonus points for having Josh Holloway (AKA Sawyer from “Lost”) in a role, albeit a very small one.
5. Mission: Impossible 3
Since this is a movie list and not a character list, I felt the need to put my favorite of the Mission: Impossible franchise on here as well (instead of bunching it together as an Ethan Hunt special). This is my favorite for several reasons, a few of them being the suspenseful direction by J.J. Abrams, the deviousness of the best villain the franchise has had in Philip Seymour Hoffman, and above all, for the fantastic scene on the bridge where Cruise shows that you can take down an attacking airplane as long as your name is above the title of the film you’re starring in.
After being everybody’s favorite hero for twenty years, Cruise did some hair coloring, grabbed a gun, and went serial as a trained killer in Los Angeles hell-bent on taking out a list of potential witnesses. Directed by Michael Mann, the film co-starred Jamie Foxx and was a literal two-man show for much of the time. Their banter is intense and there is no scene more indicative of that then the Jazz Club scene (those who’ve seen it can attest that I am indeed correct). It was exciting to see Cruise as a villain and yet, I found myself rooting for him, as his charisma was at an all-time high and his confidence in his craft was displayed in ways we had never seen before. Totally underrated flick and performance – check it out if you haven’t done so.
3. Top Gun
Maverick. Enough said.
2. Minority Report
This Steven Spielberg-directed science fiction thriller jumps in and out of my All-Time Top 10 on a pretty regular basis (depending on my mood). The universe that Spielberg creates is amazing and the film is eerie, dark, and intense. The visuals alone in this one make it an impressive film, but the story (based on a short story by Philip K. Dick) fit the scenery and it sticks with you long after you turn it off. Surrounding him were several fantastic performances (namely Colin Farrell and Max Von Sydow as well as Samantha Morton as the PreCog, Agatha) and Spielberg was doing his thing from behind the camera for sure. In my opini0n it his best work to date and this is his BEST MOVIE.
But this is my FAVORITE. My biggest guilty pleasure movie, I fell in love with Cocktail one high school night when I was supposed to be reading for school. TNT was playing it for probably the millionth time and I happened to catch it about halfway in (Brian is already in Jamaica). I learned about Coughlin’s Laws (including my favorite, “Everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn’t end”) and was immediately attracted to Elizabeth Shue. When the movie ended (“Bar is open!”) and then it started up again (classic TNT), I decided to see what I had missed. I enjoyed every minute, from the terribly good basketball scene (do you know anyone who actually shoots like that?) and the horrible college professor (“Bankrupt!”) to the sexy love scene in the vacant lagoon (who among you doesn’t want to try out a little giggity giggity under a waterfall?!?) and Flanagan’s many poem readings. I’ve re-watched it many, many times and I enjoy it the same every single time. It’s Cruise at his most charming and I felt, while watching it that first time especially, that I was not only watching him grow up, but that I was changing too. I understood him and it connected with me in a way that only a mid-1980s overly dramatic soap opera of a movie could. And to this day, I continue to feel that connection with Cruise and maybe that’s why I support him so strongly – he’s a bit off, a bit misunderstood, and really a bit too big for his britches, so to speak. I feel the same way about myself. Maybe we share something a bit more than just stunning good looks…
Remember, we here at Man, I Love Films don’t do definitive lists. We do our favorites and we want to hear yours. So, make sure and tell us about them in the comments section below.