Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tom Cruise and Mangroves

Others have said it, and I agree: Tom Cruise is a little strange.

I’m not basing that on the Oprah couch-jumping episode, which seemed pretty harmless. I’m basing it on an overall eccentricity he seems to project these days, a defensive sort of anger. Plus, while I hate to knock anyone’s religion, I just don’t see how one could so fervently support a church founded in the 1950s by a science fiction writer.

I’m thinking about Tom because I watched “Cocktail” last night, one of his lesser movies from the ‘80s. I’d never seen it, and though it’s often slammed for being bad, I thought it was actually pretty entertaining. Tom was the “it” boy for my generation, or at least one of them, and there was a time during his “Top Gun” period when I thought he was just about the hottest thing on two legs.

He’s proven himself a capable actor, in movies like “Magnolia,” and he’s also committed some egregious career missteps. Hollywood has never quite respected him. As for his eccentricity, I can’t imagine what it must be like to live in such an intense, prolonged glare of publicity -- particularly in this age of ethically questionable celebrity “journalism” and creepy photographers lurking in the shrubbery.

So, yeah, he’s a little strange. But I still kind of like him!

(Photo: Urban mangroves in downtown Tampa, Fla., June 2009)


  1. I understand and respect the mangroves more than I do Tom Cruise. As i recall, the mangrove is a really ancient plant... or am I confusing it with the ancient manatee? Florida is full of old things and old people, isn't it?

  2. Cruise reminds me of 'Beaker' from the Muppets...

    As for his acting ability, there are very few roles he's had where I can't think of a contemporary that would have been a better choice. For example, recent movies, like War of the Worlds or Minority Report would have been better served, I think, by somebody like Will Smith. Were it not for Jerry Maguire and Risky Business, I'd tag Cruise as totally worthless as an actor. As a person, at least from my perspective, I think he's worse.

    I don't buy the celebrity boohoo thing either. Give me 200 million dollars and the press can snap a billion pictures of my naked butt. I only feel bad for celebrities who get wrapped up in drama caused by somebody else, like Jennifer Aniston being blindsided by the Pitt/Jolie affair. That has to be hard to handle under a microscope.

    Friendly Question...Why the Entertainment Tonight flavor on the blog today?

  3. Barbara: There's a saying in Southwest Florida: "Everyone's parents live in Sarasota, and THEIR parents live in Venice."

    Utah: Watching "Cocktail" can't help but produce an "Entertainment Tonight" reaction. I think you're right about some Cruise movies, where other actors would have been better. But aside from the two good ones you mentioned, I'd add "Magnolia" and the first "Mission: Impossible" to the roster of films where he was spot on.

  4. What a great post.

    He kind of creeps me out, now of course, but always in a certain way. Thanks for putting some language to it - yes, he seems angry.

    Really perceptive of you!!

  5. He was spot on in Top Gun but apart from that movie, I never cared for him. I didn't find his acting riveting and since he doesn't have the kind of looks that appeal to me, what was there to like?

    I haven't followed his career but anybody who becomes poster boy for the Scientologists must be angry when it dawns on him he's been had - although I don't know how anybody can go for that crowd in the first place.

  6. TC always struck me as being cocky, which is why I think he was perfect in both Top Gun and Magnolia. He's one of those "hot" celebrities, though, that never did anything for me: the presumed cockiness has always been a major turn-off.

    Give me Brad Pitt any day. ;-)

  7. Steve, there was a time when I could enjoy Cruise's work. That train left the station. These days I think of him as a self-important jerk. Sorry, but that's how I see it.