Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I can't stop reading every possible word available about Tom Cruise's whole career/image implosion. It's all just too bizarre.

I will admit -- I have not been a Tom Cruise fan for a very long time. He lost me during the whole "Top Gun" thing. I went to see that movie with my friends and was like, "huh?" Why did everyone worship that movie? They would show planes flying in the sky and expect you to know which one was which. They killed Goose! And did they even notice that the sparks flying between Tom and Val Kilmer during their homo-erotic "hostile" exchanges generated far more heat than any scene between Tom and his so-called romantic lead, Kelly McGillis? So yeah, whatever. Tom was adorable in "Risky Business," but when he became this huge movie star, that was it for him and me. When I was a senior in high school, a couple of my good friends called to invite me to see "Cocktail" and I just started laughing and told them I'd meet them to get something to eat afterward, because... no.

That being said, I've never actually avoided a movie just because he was in it or anything. He was good in "Born on the Fourth of July" and decent in "Rainman," and when we actually sat through that trainwreck "Eyes Wide Shut" a few years ago, I pretty much thought his performance was the only good thing about it. He's a decent actor, and I don't see many of his movies mainly because they tend to be of the ginormous, action-packed summer blockbuster variety, which doesn't appeal to me a whole lot. But that doesn't mean I dislike him as an actor.

I don't really care for him as a movie star though. I tend to develop an antipathy for anyone who generates a lot of hype, so I definitely started getting really sick of him starting in the late 80s. Then there was his marriage to Nicole Kidman and all the press and the icky "we're on our honeymoon for the rest of our lives" and bleah, spare me. I pretty much always believed the rumors that he was gay -- I mean, they're pretty persistent, you know? An uncle of mine in the entertainment industry was telling us a few years ago that Tom was in love with the mailroom boy at Paramount and had also had a thing with Nicole's brother, and you know, I could buy it. People in normal healthy relationships don't need to proclaim to the world over and over again how happy they are in their marriage, you know?

Then there was the weird break-up and "Nic knows what this is about" (I saw an interview with Nic a year or two later where she said something like "I think I know what it was about now") and immediately he starts dating Penelope Cruz, and no one says a word about how she was his co-star in a movie he made before he and Nic broke up -- what's that about? How come all this attention is focused on Angelina and Brad in the same situation but not on Tom and Penny? Yeah, I don't get it either. Then the two of them go on to have the most boring, non-newsworthy relationship in the history of celebrity journalism, then they break up and no one cares, and then...

Tom evidently makes a list of cute young actresses. Kate Bosworth and Jessica Alba are busy or not interested or something, so Katie Holmes ends up in his office, and within a couple of weeks, the two of them are making out in public, flashing their ultra-white teeth at the cameras, and declaring their adoration for each other every time anyone comes near them. Tom goes on Oprah and embarrasses himself. They're in love, people! Love!!! He thinks she's an amazing woman. Amazing!!!

Please see my comment above about people in happy relationships not needing to keep proclaiming how happy they are.

Some are hypothesizing that this is somehow a big, misguided publicity stunt directed at promoting the upcoming films "War of the Worlds" and "Batman Begins." I don't really buy that, given how badly it's all been handled. I think, quite simply, that Tom Cruise is a) pretty weird and b) not real bright about dealing with the public, and that now that he's handed the reins of his PR over to his sister and fellow Scientologist, what we're seeing is the "real" Tom. I do think the whole Katie thing is largely for show, that somewhere in his weird little mind the idea germinated that it was time for him to hook up with some adorable piece of industry fluff -- preferably one that couldn't out-act him this time -- and make a big show of how happy he is with her and marry her and maybe have some babies and therefore cement his image as the virile, masculine, wholesome family man with the pretty actress wife again.

You know what this reminds me of? Remember in "Groundhog Day," when Bill Murray first has a good date with Andie MacDowell, and they build a snowman, and then they end up in a snowball fight with some kids and they fall down in the snow together and it's a nice moment? And then he wakes up alone and starting over again the next morning, so that night he tries to do everything the same as the night before, only it's totally artificial and weird and she's freaked out when he wants to build the snowman and he pulls her down in the snow next to him. Well, Tom and Nicole is that first night where it all happens pretty naturally, but Tom and Katie is that second night, where he's trying to recreate it and he thinks he's saying and doing all the same things, but this time, the public is just kind of going "ew" and "what's wrong with them?" and stuff like that. It's pretty sad.

And the scariest thing about it is that Katie seems to be buying into it all -- at the beginning she seemed sort of embarrassed but now she's parroting all the stuff about how happy they are and she's moving in with him and becoming a Scientologist, and, you know -- what? She just met the guy a couple of months ago -- why in the world is she not, like, freaking out and filing a restraining order? Obviously I am not privy their private conversations, but I'd sure like to know what he's saying to her away from the cameras to sell her on all this shit, because wow.

Okay, I've gone on about all of this long enough, and I'm not even going to get started on Tom's asinine comments about Brooke Shields using medication to get over post-partum depression, because if I haven't already stated outright that I think he's a fruitcake, please consider it done. In these next few months I will be trying to rip my eyes away from this car wreck but, as a shameless watcher of celebrities, I cannot make any promises.


Erin Nicole said...

hello...stumbled onto your blog courtesy of the "next blog" button.

i enjoyed your replay of tom's career and have to agree with you (although i did enjoy "eyes wide shut" for some reason i have yet to explain--i think it's my facination for kubrick).

anyway, i too am caught up in the drama that is cruise's self-destruction. it's like watching a car accident happen in slow motion--you know you should focus on something else, but you're so wrapped up that you can't help but watch.

as an aside, i think it's awesome that "strictly ballroom" is one of your favorite movies. :) that movie rocked!

Chad said...

I agree with you that the man is becoming a fruitcake. I have a theory of my own that his own fame could be doing him in kind of like Michael Jackson. Now Michael had some childhood issues that he never worked through and the result of him being so distanced from the public because of his intense fame has scewed his reality.

Now him being gay would prove my theory correct. Most of the time he is playing a pretty macho role and he might feel if he doesn't keep up the mask he is wearing he might let people down or something. As for the Katie Holmes thing on Opera, he is a good actor and that could have been his rendition of someone supposedly in love.

I have actually enjoyed his last two movies (Collateral and Last Samuri) as well as liked "Top Gun" (could be a guy thing - it was sort of a cult movie for roomates in college). Then again I still like to listen to some classic Michael Jackson as well. Does that make me weird?

Tracie said...

Welcome, Erin :-) "Eyes Wide Shut" could have been a good movie. It was certainly weird enough that it shouldn't have been boring -- maybe if it had been cut by about 45 minutes? Look at "Strictly Ballroom" -- 90 minutes long and practically perfect ;-)

Chad -- I like to listen to old Michael Jackson too. "Rock With You" and "Wanna Be Starting Something" are particular favorites. Ryan thought "Collateral" was really good too...

Erin Nicole said...

yes, i will definitely agree that the movie is too long.