Actor of the Week: Tom Cruise
Arguably the biggest name in Hollywood’s history, Tom Cruise is this week’s Actor of the Week. Cruise is a favourite of mine and with the release of the Mission: Impossible 6 - Fallout this month, there was no better time to do this piece on the legend himself. Cruise may not have a cabinet of critically acclaimed awards, but that hasn’t stopped him becoming one of the most well known household names. What has made Cruise so successful is his authenticity. Not only is he a brilliant actor who has starred in some award-winning films, but he pushed the limits of action films as we know them, by not only performing his own stunts, but performing some of the most radical stunts you will see on the big screen.
Tom Cruise was one of those actors that started his career at a very young age, making his name in in the 1983 hit film Risky Business. A film about a teenage boy, Joel, who enjoys the luxuries of his parents being away on vacation, but things soon get out of hand, causing Joel to get himself out of some sticky situations.
Risky Business was really just the tip of the iceberg for Cruise when it came to introducing himself to the world. If Risky Business was the start of his career, 1986’s Top Gun is what made him one of the most wanted actors in the world. Top Gun sees Tom Cruise play Maverick, a fighter jet pilot whose daring style of flying lands him a chance at being a student at the United States Navy’s elite fighter weapons aka TOP GUN. With his partner Goose, Maverick competes with his fellow classmates to be the best, but with the death of his father constantly haunting him, his attitude towards flying starts to become a hindrance. Top Gun is a true representation of the 80’s. An unforgettable score, a Kenny Loggins theme tune, sunset shot and horrendous amount of slow-mo shot. Cruise, not only made a film which men loved, but also a film which women adored also. With a strong romantic under-current throughout the film as Maverick falls for one of his teachers, but Cruise also winning the heart of many ladies at the time, most likely during the slow-mo volleyball scene. Top Gun will go down as one of Cruise’s greatest films, and rightfully so.
Cruise may not have won any academy awards himself, but he has received 3 Oscar Nominations for his roles in Magnolia, Jerry Maguire and Born on the Fourth of July, but the one film that stands out for me, which went on to win Best Picture was Rain Man. Cruise plays Charlie, a hardened entrepreneur whose business is tight for cash. Finding out that his distant dad has died, Charlie is eager to claim his inheritance to help save his business, only find out that all of his dad’s money has gone to a secret brother, Raymond, played by Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman went on winning an Oscar for this role. Charlie furious that he isn’t entitled to anything, he tracks his secret brother down, to find out that his brother is a genius who struggles with severe autism. Charlie essentially kidnaps his brother and tries to take him home so that he can work out a way of getting his dad’s money from him, but during his long trip home, Charlie comes very close to Raymond, in the end changing his priorities from being money driven, to just wanting to be closer to the brother he never knew.
Cruise has gone on to star in countless more successful films, and some not so successful. He has also worked alongside some of the best directors in the business, with Stephen Spielberg being top of that list. Cruise is a favorite of Spielberg’s, with Cruise starring in the director's War of the Worlds and the brilliant Minority Report.
If there is one thing that you automatically think of when Tom Cruise is mentioned, that is Mission: Impossible. This month we see the 6th installment of this franchise released, with each film seeing Cruise push the boundaries to stunts in film, in turn, creating one of the most iconic film franchises ever. Mission: Impossible tells the story of Ethan Hunt an agent of IMF (Impossible Mission Force). Each film concentrates on a single mission that pushes Ethan to the limits in new and creative ways, like hanging on to the side of a plane for example! What I love about these movies is that since Cruise does all of his stunts, the camera shots they can get are like none you will see in many action films, as most of the time a stuntman replaces the actor so the shots are usually at a distance or an unusual angle, but not in MI.
I could go on forever talking about the successful films Cruise has been in, or the ones I particularly enjoy, such The Last Samurai or A Few Good Men, but this isn’t what Actor of the Week is about. Actor of the Week is about celebrating some of the best actors around and Cruise is without a doubt one of the best ever.