“If you want to make a documentary you should automatically go to the fiction, and if you want to nourish your fiction you have to come back to reality.”
Jean-Luc Godard

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tom Cruise: A Hollywood Phenomenon

A spotlight on the actor's career on the occasion of his 51st birthday

A Potpourri of Vestiges Guest Post

By Alex Smith

Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, Hollywood Actor, 51st Birthday
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV
Tom Cruise was born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV in July 1962 in Syracuse, New York. His mother was a special education teacher and his father was an electrical engineer, and the soon-to-be actor claimed to have a rough upbringing, especially in his relationship with his father. In elementary school, Cruise dabbled in acting and took part in several plays, but by his teenage years he had joined a seminary school with the hopes of becoming a priest.

But priesthood was not in the cards - Cruise caught the acting bug in 1981 when he was just 19 years old, and after his first bit part in Endless Love that year and a supporting role in Taps, he never looked back.

Tom Cruise in Tony Scott's Top Gun
Tom Cruise in Tony Scott's Top Gun
Cruise’s career peaked in the 1980s and 90s with films like Risky Business and Top Gun. Cruise also starred in the series of Mission: Impossible films, ultimately spread across 15 years (and another film, MI:5, is slated to debut in 2015). Critics have suggested that these roles have secured his position as one of the most bankable actors of all time. More recent roles that helped Cruise secure his reputation include less conventional characters in films that aren’t straight-ahead action or drama, like Eyes Wide Shut, Vanilla Sky and Magnolia. The actor has also established himself as a philanthropist, having been given a humanitarian award from the Museum of Tolerance.

Tom Cruise in Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia
Tom Cruise in Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia
Many of Cruise’s films and the roles he played in them are still very relevant today. For instance, his role in Rain Man helped introduce many people to autism, forming some of the first public perceptions (some might even say the first stereotypes) of people with this condition. In the film, the autistic character was a savant, which is not true of most autistic people, but nevertheless became the perception for many. Advocates for people with autism still battle the stereotype that they are all “human calculators” (or something similar), though the film should get some credit for at least bringing the concept of autism into the public awareness in ways it never had been in the past.

Tom Cruise in Rob Reiner's A Few Good Men
Tom Cruise in Rob Reiner's A Few Good Men
The film A Few Good Men, a courtroom drama based on a true story of murder and intrigue and the subsequent trial of two marines at the military’s Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, the existence of which is still a contentious issue today. With recent media shedding light on the events occurring in Guantanamo Bay’s detention facilities, unknown to the public at the time, this is an intriguing look back in history.

Tom Cruise as Nathan Algren in The Last Samuraii, directed by Edward Zwick
Tom Cruise in Edward Zwick's The Last Samurai
Another Cruise film that remains particularly timely is Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July, which addresses a number of issues that still affect today’s veterans and still play out in today’s society. Cruise plays a paralyzed Vietnam War veteran, dealing with what his sacrifices for his country have cost him, his cool reception upon returning home from an unpopular war, and his own evolution into one of the leading voices for withdrawal from the conflict. Modern parallels abound for veterans of our current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this remains one of Cruise’s most powerful, if sobering, roles.

Tom Cruise in Michael Mann's Collateral
Tom Cruise in Michael Mann's Collateral
Cruise has of course made a considerable amount of money in his career, and has achieved popularity as one of Hollywood’s absolute top A-list celebrities, and has been a constant presence in gossip rags and supermarket tabloids. In 2012, Cruise was established as the highest paid actor in Hollywood, with more than 30 of his films grossing in excess of $100 million. In fact, tallying up his whole career, his films have grossed more than $7 billion worldwide.

Tom Cruise as bald studio executive in Tropic Thunder, Directed by Ben Stiller
Tom Cruise in Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder
While his public perception has undeniably suffered somewhat in the last few years thanks to his association with Scientology, Cruise remains especially popular in Japan, with the country even declaring a day in October “Tom Cruise Day”. Japanese citizens claim he has visited Japan more often than any other American celebrity.

Tom Cruise as Ethan Huntin Brad Bird's Mission: Impossible 4
Tom Cruise in Brad Bird's Mission: Impossible 4
Cruise has plans for several upcoming projects in the near future. He plans to reprise his role as Ethan Hunt in a fifth Mission: Impossible film and is rumored to star in a new Van Helsing movie. Perhaps the most tantalizing rumor, as yet unconfirmed, is that he will return to the role of Maverick in an upcoming sequel to Top Gun - and despite being 51 years old today, it seems that if anyone could pull this off, it would be the ever-youthful Tom Cruise.  

About Author - 

Alex Smith is a freelance entertainment blogger for Direct4TV.com covering television, movies, and the wider world of entertainment. He’s been a huge Tom Cruise fan since he first saw Top Gun as a child, and has been daydreaming about flying an F-14 ever since. He lives and works in Washington, D.C.

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your feedback is highly appreciated!  

11 comments :

  1. Oh, this guy has really made a big hit in the industry! Very talented!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah... he is surely very talented... destiny may have had a major role to play in his colossal success but the hard work that he has put in all these years just cannot be overlooked!!!

    *Best Regards,

    Murtaza Ali*
    *
    Check out the latest at my blogs:
    **A Potpourri of Vestiges Murtaza Unplugged


    Find me on Facebook *

    ReplyDelete
  3. Right on! What can you say also on the women side? I'm on Michelle Rodriguez...if you check my profile, you'd see a link to my blog, actually at http://bit.ly/11G3pCI. She's one that I'm a big fan of... :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well... she is seriously good... I really admire her talent... thanks for sharing it!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can decide what my favorite Tom Cruise film is - maybe one of the MIs. But I definitely know which one was the most awful one - Vanilla Sky. How much I hated those 2 hours I spent watching it!
    Nice, detailed piece.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for sharing your valuable thoughts, Rickie!!! :-)

    *Best Regards,

    Murtaza Ali*
    *
    Check out the latest at my blogs:
    **A Potpourri of Vestiges Murtaza Unplugged


    Find me on Facebook *

    ReplyDelete
  7. lovely post ! Tom has been through thick and thin throughout !! loved the stills .. he is versatile !!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Irrespective of what his critics says, Cruise is a highly versatile actor... glad you liked the article!!! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Love Tom Cruise..he is still a heart throb. I remeber how he jumped around the set, hopped onto a couch, fell to one knee and repeatedly professed his love for Katie holmes on the Oprah Winfrey show...super romantic! very nice post...pefect ode to this great actor.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Can't agree with you more... glad you liked it!!! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Agree. And just can't forget music from Top Gun.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for sharing for valuable opinion. We would be delighted to have you back.

 

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