Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 'Lucy 2' And 'Colombiana 2' Are In Development 'Lucy 2' And 'Colombiana 2' Are In Development Mixed Reactions For Marvel's 'Ant-Man' After First Press Screening Plus New Promos And Pics Mixed Reactions For Marvel's 'Ant-Man' After First Press Screening Plus New Promos And Pics The Essentials: The 5 Best Rachel McAdams Performances The Essentials: The 5 Best Rachel McAdams Performances Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man' Is "Definitely A Sony Picture," Talks Role Of 'Ant-Man' In Phase 3, More Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man' Is "Definitely A Sony Picture," Talks Role Of 'Ant-Man' In Phase 3, More First Reviews For 'Terminator Genisys' Suggest Franchise Didn't Need To Say "I'll Be Back" First Reviews For 'Terminator Genisys' Suggest Franchise Didn't Need To Say "I'll Be Back" Kit Harington & Dakota Fanning Replace Robert Pattinson & Mia Wasikowska In 'Brimstone' Kit Harington & Dakota Fanning Replace Robert Pattinson & Mia Wasikowska In 'Brimstone' The Essentials: The 5 Best Colin Farrell Perfomances The Essentials: The 5 Best Colin Farrell Perfomances The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 10 All-Time Best Episodes Of 'Parks And Recreation' The 10 All-Time Best Episodes Of 'Parks And Recreation' The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

The Most Tolerable Works of Tom Cruise: A Retrospective

The Playlist By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist June 25, 2010 at 3:07PM

While this weekend's "Knight & Day" is on the early track towards being a bomb (or at least to be totally fair, it's underwhelmed so far) and is surely not Tom Cruise's finest work by a long shot (though it does have its charms), the picture does remind us that the while an international star, the consistently maligned actor (perhaps for his personal Xenu beliefs and pitbull-like handlers) is a) a much better, harder working actor then he is generally given credit for and b) generally a much more compelling one when he's taking roles that subvert his all-American, good-looking hero mien (now if only James Mangold's action comedy would have stuck to its guns and let Cruise stick to his insane character for the entire film instead of copping out midway through).
0


While this weekend's "Knight & Day" is on the early track towards being a bomb (or at least to be totally fair, it's underwhelmed so far) and is surely not Tom Cruise's finest work by a long shot (though it does have its charms), the picture does remind us that the while an international star, the consistently maligned actor (perhaps for his personal Xenu beliefs and pitbull-like handlers) is a) a much better, harder working actor then he is generally given credit for and b) generally a much more compelling one when he's taking roles that subvert his all-American, good-looking hero mien (now if only James Mangold's action comedy would have stuck to its guns and let Cruise stick to his insane character for the entire film instead of copping out midway through).

While his box-office clout does seem to be in doubt — there's been rumbling that a "Knight & Day" poor showing may affect the outcome of "Mission Impossible 4" — we're more concerned with what ends up on the screen.


While different aspects of his body of work appeal to different audiences (indie kids naturally swoon over "Magnolia" cause of the PTA association), The Playlist decided to check in on the films in a feature we cheekily decided to call "His Most Tolerable Films" (he does do solid work in the right roles with the right directors).
So without further ado, what you could also call our favorite, errr, more interesting Tom Cruise performances (give or take a few moments). Don't get it twisted, we're not necessarily huge fans, but as always, we give credit where credit is due.

"Magnolia" (1999)
Before his second divorce, TomKat-foolery and jumping on Oprah's couch incident, Tom Cruise was a star. Best known for action packed dramas and pithy rom-coms, Cruise proved himself as an actor with his performance in Paul Thomas Anderson's ambitious third feature-film where he played misogynistic self-help author Frank T.J. Mackey. Cruise scored a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for his rich multi-layered portrayal of Mackey, whose catchphrase "tame the cunt" was haunting when uttered. Frighteningly authentic, Cruise was able to balance the dichotomy of an intolerant sexist, and at the same time a wounded boy thanks to his unloving father who ditched him and his mother years ago. As his character comes to terms with his ailing father, which would be Jason Robards' last role, we watch Cruise show the true depth of his range, and it's gripping. Later, thanks to the many media scuffles Cruise has gone through, you might wonder if "Magnolia" was actually an acting performance or the first time Cruise ever let his true self shine through. We'll never know and this is probably why it's so damn successful.

"Tropic Thunder" (2008)
Ok, while the idea of an entire Les Grossman film is a little much (this idea works because like the dynamics of a middle eight in a song, more is less), but the otherwise underwhelming "Tropic Thunder" was greatly bolstered by the actor's image-demolishing turn as a tumescent, bald, hirsute f-bomb dropping dbag film producer (modeled after Joel Silver). Sure the amazing dialogue (or amazing litany of creative vulgarities) helped, but Cruise definitely sold the character, swung for the fences and connected with his greasy, slimebag portrayal (surely he's been around enough of these power-hungry, megalomanical characters before). The fact that Cruise out-funnied and out-acted Robert Downey Jr. playing an Australian thespian playing an African American character in skin-modified method-acting dedication (what a missed opportunity that was) was not lost on discerning viewers either.

This article is related to: Retrospective, Tom Cruise, Features, Feature


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates