2005-06-30 12:38:34 UTC
he understands the power of
1. A for effort
2. prestige by association.
the 80s saw many pretty new faces. rob lowe and the whole brat pack
while cruise wasn't part of this gang, he was considered teenybopper
material, fluff, lightweight.
he was perfect in risky business but he seemed typecast. not a REAL
actor. no one thought he would become a big big star with lasting
so how he done it?
there was the prestige via association. he was very eager to work with
top name directors and actors like martin scorsese, paul newman, and
dustin hoffman. the older stars rode on tom's youthful popularity but
their prestige also rubbed off on tom. though tom didn't do shi* in
color of money, there he was, right alongside paul newman. it was like
he was carrying the torch. in rain man, he was there next to dustin
hoffman. he became a serious actor by association.
notice how tom, though mega-bankable, is always careful to alternate
between HIT movies and art movies. he will work with guys like PT
Anderson and Oliver Stone cuz even if the movies are risky, cruise
gains recognition as a SERIOUS actor, as someone willing to lay
everything on the line for ART.
it is a risky business after all. 'risky business' actually
anticipated the dynamics of tom's future career. he's been playing both
earnest and sneaky in a the whore-ish game of the movie industry. he's
a gigolo with the heart of gold. in the movie, joey gets both pussy,
makes sleazy dough, and gets into princeton. in real life, cruise
plays big star celebrity and gets recognition as a genuine actor.
also, tom also knows the power of effort. he tries so very hard that
we end up rooting for him, sympathize with him, wanna like him.
consider 'born on the fourth of july'. he wasn't great but he tried so
very hard that he was more than good, or it impressed us that way.
he did the same in magnolia and some other riske flicks.
at a cynical time when most actors wanna be just hip or cool, tom gets
all emotional and heavy and intense. it's kinda embarassing but
effective too. when he gets all hammy in last samurai or minority
report or goes gaga over katie holmes, and we are impressed by his
sincerity... though we wonder, how truly sincere is it?
and just when we think he's too sincere, he stars in a michael mann
movie as a badass coldhearted killer. he surprises us.
so, tom knows how to alternate between earnest and badass, between
popular and arty, between teenybopperish and serious/mature.
i'm really surprised that he's survived for so long. take sean penn
who's very talented. among the 80s young actors, penn is one of the
great survivors cuz he had talent. cruise didn't have great talent.
he was pretty but there were plenty of pretty boys in the 80s. yet,
tom survived and grew ever bigger and bigger thru the 90s and even as
you gotta give credit where it's due. tom is career-smart. and give
scientology credit for giving him the inspiration to transform his
limited talent into megasuccess.