Re: RISKY BUSINESS (1983)
I'll start by admitting that the problem may be me and not Cruise -given his success as a movie star vs mine as a, uh, being?-, but I think the man may just be the worst actor who ever appeared on screen, and I'm including porn in the "on screen" consideration.
Risky Business works beautifully at illustrating my stance.
I saw it in the late eighties, and it was my first Tom Cruise movie. In time, I' ve come to read many reviews prizing this as one of Cruise's best performances, even from people who criticize his every other role, but all I remember thinking when I first saw his face on screen was "Douchebag". It was an instant, knee-jerk reaction: "Douchebag" - instantly rendering any other consideration null. All I could see was a guy with a mammoth ego and an even bigger short guy syndrome, jumping in one place and shouting "Look at me, look at MEEEEEE!"
Everything else about the movie was interesting, or at least intriguing: the cinematography (way too artsy for an 80's teen flick), the tone (almost creepy at times), that blonde (oh, Rebecca), and what the hell
is that music!? If Risky Business had no other merits -which it does- I'd be grateful to it for giving me Tangerine Dream.
Over the years since then, I have seen many other films with Cruise in them, and the only time I remember not getting heartburn from his mere sight was his admittedly brilliant against-type cameo in Tropical Thunder.
People with monumental egos thrive in the media, be it the movies, TV, or music.
People with attention-seeking disorders always find an audience, as the current success of reality TV clearly shows: sinking quality = escalating audience levels; and I think Cruise may be the single most telltale case of this phenomenon.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not making him responsible for The Invention Of Douchebaggery. Many other movie stars, current and past, have based their entire careers on the "Ain't I cute" premise.
Jack Nicholson comes to mind as probably the most successful advocate of this technique; he's never played any character other than Jack Nicholson Playing That Guy -okay, maybe in Schmidt-, but we all love to see Jack up there doing his thing, so what the hell, we buy the ticket.
Michael Caine is an insanely likable alum of the Playing Michael Caine School of Acting - same case here; we love the guy.
Mel Gibson almost pulled it off, all the way up to that scene in Braveheart when Angus Macfadyen betrays him and he Opens His Angelic Blue Eyes In Bewildered Agony, and loses me as an audience forevermore.
Richard Gere used to be a case of near-Cruise-ism until something happened around Shall We Dance and he started to actually act. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
My point is, there's nothing wrong with basing your entire performing career on your own, probably Grandma-fed, supposition that you must
be the greatest thing ever.
Half the stars we love and follow wouldn't even exist if it wasn't for that. George Carlin even put it in those very words: Look at me, ain't I cute?. That's what kept him returning to the stage. There are many people in the movies who aren't especially talented, or who are talented at one thing only, but whom we love to see because they're charming, or funny, or just drop-dead gorgeous. "Is Kat Dennings a talented actress?"
"Oh yeah, she was great in, in, that movie where she... wait, that one with the... who friggin' cares dude, have you seen her???!!!"
It only puzzles me that a man who elicits such visceral and well-documented (just google his name) hatred in such large numbers of people only by showing his face as Cruise does, has had the opportunity to even make a career at all.
So, there you have it.
Jus' my opinion.
No hard feelings, Tom.COUGH!DoucheCOUGH!