Tom Cruise is let loose from his contract at Paramount supposedly due to his bizarre behavior over the course of the past year. Bizarre behavior that included jumping up and down on Oprah Winfrey’s couch while expressing his love for another human being; advising Matt Lauer to do a little more homework in his reportage; engaging in his Constitutional right to doubt the validity of certain legal pharmaceuticals; and spreading his religion, Scientology. Please, please, please let’s hope the real reason Tom Cruise got dumped by Paramount is because Mission Impossible III only made a $1.65.
Okay, so Mel Gibson can condemn an entire religion as being solely at fault for all the wars of the world-including what would have been his dad’s favorite, World War II, if only the bad guys hadn’t won-and still no official word from any studio that they are no longer interested in doing business with him. Walt Disney is even planning to go ahead with releasing his movie about an ancient South American civilization who were the victims of genocide by Catholic warmongers from Spain. No surprise there; after all Walt Disney himself was at the forefront of the movement pushing for the Communist blacklist. (A communist for Walt Disney, by the way, was any employee who asked for pay raise.)
Then there’s everybody favorite crackhead Robert Downey, Jr. This guy can practically walk around Beverly Hills with a crack pipe attached to his hip when he’s released from his jail sentenced every six months and still manages to get prestige parts in prestige pictures. Julia Roberts has as much as admitted she’s had sex with every one of her co-stars and yet she still gets parts as America’s Sweetheart. Not that there’s that many movies about America’s Slutheart, I guess.
Notice a faint trace of hypocrisy here? I can’t help but wonder what Tom Cruise really did wrong. It’s not like his movies have suddenly flopped spectacularly. Didn’t War of the Worlds just last year rake in huge truckloads of money? And don’t actors usually get the chance to make a bunch of flops their career stalls? How many more flops does Bruce Willis get before he’s handed his walking papers. John Travolta still gets starring parts and if you can remember the last hit he had without going all the way back to his last comeback movie Pulp Fiction, you’re doing better than me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Tom Cruise fan. The only performance of his that ever impressed me was Jerry Maguire. But the simple truth of the matter is that Tom Cruise is really the only movie star of the last two decades whose name alone has turned movies into hits. I mean, come on, the guy’s batting average must be around .900! And what’s really astounding is how many of those monster hits have been thoroughly unwatchable dreck. Has there ever been a star who has made so much many blockbusters but so few classic films?
- Top Gun: Great if you’re into Air Force recruitment films.
- Days of Thunder: Top Gun drives a race car.
- Cocktail: Umm…is this a movie or an SNL sketch?
- The Color of Money: The only reason Gangs of New York isn’t Scorsese’s worst movie ever is because of this one.
- A Few Good Men: One good line and Cruise didn’t even get to say it.
- The Firm: For crying out loud, it was a based on a John Grisham novel!
- Interview with the Vampire: His interview with Oprah was scarier.
- The Mission Impossible series: Entertainment impossible.
- Eyes Wide Shut: Proof that even Stanley Kubrick could make a stinker.
With the exceptions of Risky Business and Jerry Maguire, it’s hard to imagine Cruise showing up a hundred years from now in a retrospective of great movies from the late 20th century. And yet he has made billions for the studios that produced all that garbage. And what does he get for ability to turn what probably would have been at least twenty surefire flops into blockbusters? Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Just goes to prove that even someone as seemingly rich and powerful as Tom Cruise can be exploited by those who are truly rich and powerful in this country. What chance do you think you’ve got if you ever have to go up against The Man?