Authored by Phil Dotree in Movies and Television
Published on 01-05-2010
Tom Cruise has become a bit of a social pariah. There’s no denying the fact that the guy acts a little weird sometimes. In between his antics on shows like Oprah, though, he’s made some fine movies. Here’s a look at a few of the best movies that Tom Cruise has made in his long career.
Interview With a Vampire – The movie that brought Anne Rice’s hugely popular vampire saga to life was one of Cruise’s most chilling roles. Cruise plays an apprehensive vampire fighting his inner (and a few literally outer) demons. He greatly humanizes the vampire, which led to a resurgent interest in vampires. In other words, if you’re looking to blame Twilight on someone, here you go. Cruise’s brilliant performance changed horror and mainstream cinema. For his detractors, it proved that he could handle a dark role. For his fans, it proved that Cruise looked sexy as a vampire.
Jerry Maguire – This is probably Cruise’s most famous role. Why? Well, he’s pretty damn hot in it. He’s a sports agent, fighting his tendency to be a jerk (and often losing). Cruise makes himself despicable before the inevitable turnaround. It’s a movie with an immense amount of heart and enough humor to keep the guys interested. It inspired a million other 90’s romantic comedies. That’s another trend you can blame on Cruise. Still, it holds up over time–it’s as well done as it has any right to be. It also inspired a barrage of catch phrases. Most notably, “show me the money” was turning up everywhere in the mid to late ’90s.
Minority Report – This sci-fi epic was one of the bright spots in post 2000 science cinema. Cruise plays a police officer accused of murder by specially engineered “psychics.” The psychics are never wrong, but Cruise feels that he’s framed. He must escape the very technological advances that he uses in his day-to-day job to avoid capture. It’s a very deep movie, but it keeps a surface level of action and tension. Whether you want smart sci-fi or a good adventure, Minority Report fits the bill. The last act drags on a bit, but you can’t fault Cruise for that. He creates a character that the viewer cares about. In science fiction, that’s becoming a lost art.
Rain Man – As the somewhat uncaring brother to a mentally disabled Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise exemplified yuppie. His character was unfeeling, money obsessed, and basically worthless. It was quite a change for Cruise. The audience learns to hate him early, but, as in Jerry Maguire, there’s the inevitable good-hearted shift. Unlike in Maguire, there’s a pretty deep message here. Few films effectively convey how the adult mentally disabled are ignored by society. Whether or not Rain Man set out to accomplish that great feat, it certainly shook things up. Rain Man has become an important classic. Tom Cruise deserves some of the credit for the film’s importance.
What are your favorite Tom Cruise roles? Have one that belongs on this list? Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section below this article.