Thursday, 12 June 2014
TOM CRUISE Feature-THE SCIENCE OF CRUISE
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Jimmy Fallon just broke Tom Cruise's face...literally! Things got a little competitive on his 'Late Night' show last week when the top T.V. talk show host threw a Football at the head of Hollywood's biggest star. OK...it was a picture of Tom Cruise's face in a glass frame, but after the host and star took turns on throwing hail Mary's at each others mugs it was clear the celebrity whose actually more approachable than some critics claim was making 'All The Right Moves' like his football film in not taking himself so seriously and having a laugh with the funniest man on television. Disappointed? Wish Fallon took a step back and literally punched this mans own face? Hate Tom Cruise? Well you'll get to see him punched, kicked, shot and everything else your sick mind can handle as you watch him die over 200 times in his new science-fiction movie 'Edge Of Tomorrow' with Emily Blunt. 'All You Need Is Kill' right? The novel idea of this new Cruise movie based on the Japanese book by Tokyo writer Hiroshi Sakurazaka mixes 'Groundhog Day' with 'Starship Troopers' as Tom's soldier character gets to live his day again and again each time he dies on the battlefield. In something that will repeat on you, you'll get to watch over and over again how good this actor is as you realise it's all love for Hollywood's biggest and boldest star. Hate him now, but the man who caused controversy with his scientology support (but after all his beliefs are his beliefs) is actually leading the future with the science fiction he's putting on screen. In a digital day and age dominated by Marvel, monsters and the technological, special effects advances of future fables that would make forefather Phillip K. Dick proud, from 'Elysium' to 'Oblivion', Cruise has been living in these days of future for some past times now. Ever since awakening Dick's 'Minority Report' story with Steven Spielberg, Tom has been in a 'War Of The Worlds' and summer box offices with aliens. In quite the 30 year career for Cruise that began boldly and then went straight to the 90's primetime of Hollywood hills where few men had gone before, the third act of this middle-aged actors life see's him take a dystopian turn into the future of films and new cult classics for sci-fi fandom.
At 51 years old, this kid from Syracuse, New York is right there with the Pitt's and Depp's still in his prime and still looking like he's pushing 30...and not retirement. Like his peers too he's making some of his best movies now and he's said himself he won't stop until the Clint Eastwood years come knocking on his door with a magnum. Right now it's looking like 'Endless Love' for the star whose career began with a small but significant part in that Brooke Shields film. Since then this guy has survived box office blunders, critical ink, divorces to Mimi Rodgers, Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes and destroying Oprah's couch like his name was Rick James. Despite all this too he's still here and on top of his acting game. Besides everything else you've seen, heard or read has nothing to do with how he reads and acts out the script of his cinema career. When you put everything else aside and get down to the only business Cruise wants the public eye to witness then you get to see how good an actual actor he really is. After the 'Taps' of a military strong supporting role this kid joined the epic ensemble of 'The Outsiders', before 'All The Right Moves' and 'Risky Business' saw him slide into everyone's living room wearing nothing but a shirt and sunglasses. This young stud then began to become the Hollywood heartthrob his pin-up status was destined to be as he soared to new skies in 'Top Gun'. 'Risky Business' may have been his breakthrough, but after melting the hearts of female fans and the ice cool of Val Kilmer in Tony Scott's flight simulation this Maverick broke the sound barrier of Hollywood success. The films a classic, no matter how you look at it. Whether as an 80's great or a fathers day, collectors edition perfect present. Speaking of Jimmy, Fallon even showed his laser disc copy to Tom during the show in it's huge DVD, vinyl cased package for the record. A sequel is still in the works, even in the grounded, tragic wake of Tony Scott's death, the director who was hoping to reunite with Tom for another cruise in the sky. Still, even on a new flight plan you now this made leading man will do the franchise as much justice as he does the director tribute.
After proving he was the 'Top Gun', Cruise became a 'Legend'...literally as the Jack O' the Green character added to his lasting legacy. Hustling everyone in Hollywood this man became the iconic poster-child of big Hollywood pictures in the industries most important decades. He even racked them up with the great Paul Newman, cashing in on 'The Colour Of Money', playing billboard billiards with an absolute legend before becoming one himself. If this bar-room bout wasn't your particular brand of cognac then Tom really mixed it up for another classic in 'Cocktail' adding a dash of salt, lime and an umbrella to the tonic of his superstar reign. Still before Cruise left this definitive decade and became the 80's to dominant 90's second star Tom not called Hanks in Hollywood he gave two of his boldest and best pictures to date. In 'Rain Man' alongside Dustin Hoffman he shone behind shades, as this Oscar winning film dealt with the learning difficulty struggles of Autism for the academy that was dealing with the glitz and glamour world of Hollywood that often ignored tough subject matters and didn't deal with the real issues that lied beyond these weekly cinematic stories of human struggle and emotion. This was decades before leading man Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence drew the Academy to David O. Russell 'Silver Linings Play Book' adaptation of anxiety sufferers stories. Still, straight after 'Rain Man' and after supporting Hoffman's best role, Cruise portrayed paralyzed Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic for his own in 'Born On The Fourth Of July'. This brave, bold and beautiful performance gave this young leading man a Golden Globe, his first Oscar nomination and along with 'Rain Man' the career you see that he has earned today from showing the 'Jerry Maguire' millions to the bold choices he can take in this out of this world modern day. Most quote on quote "Hollywood" actors start to make these defining roles that stretch their star status and real range when they reach Cruise's age now, but Tom made these choices and starred in these at then controversial and classic roles when his young career and status as a man was still hanging in the balance. Still with equal amounts of all due respect and courage the man not only gave his career something new, he made his career something nobody knew was coming.
That was his legacy and it lasts until today for a man so much in the public eye that's never been afraid of exploring who he is in all his character complexity for the better benefit of the movies he makes. This action hero may still be kicking at 60, but as he reaches his later years don't bet against him reaching greater depths in acting and character like he did in the beginning, because this man doesn't forget where he's come from and all that its lead him to. Roaring into the 90's and a new marriage with the 'Days Of Thunder' this man was leading the Hollywood race in pole position in an automobile franchise that rivals his planes one and may even take off to it's own reboot one day, especially with Tom cruising around for more and new box office success. 'Far and Away' continued the love with Nicole Kidman, before Cruise collaborated with his contemporary Brad Pitt, getting his teeth into the inspired 'Interview With A Vampire' which could take a bite out of all of the 'Twilights' today as well as anybody that doubts Cruise's charismatic versatility and show where the real 'True Blood' lies. Even the stories original outspoken writer Anne Rice came around when the best-seller finally saw the blockbuster. This franchise face got his own for the ages when Hollywood remade the 'Mission: Impossible' series and gave film-goers a new one that still lasts to this future day of a fifth instalment in the works. It looks like this spy franchise to rival Bond and even Bourne in this day and age isn't running out of fuse and with all the James and Jason's we have, the age-defying Cruise to this day still accepts the mission to play Ethan Hunt. The slick but sick sequel may have almost self-destructed the franchise in five seconds, but after the terrific third in the trilogy alongside the late, great Phillip Seymour-Hoffman we even had a 'Ghost Protocol' two years back. With the new 'Bourne Legacy' maker himself Jeremy Renner joining Cruise's side many thought this man would take over this other Bond rivalling franchise but it looks like Cruise will be joined by Hawkeye behind the bow for a few more missions that defies the improbable age gap and makes this all so potentially, powerful possible.
"SHOW ME THE MONEY" screamed this Hollywood million-dollar movie star to Oscar winning Cuba Gooding Jnr for his second Academy Award nomination in Cameron Crowes 'Jerry Maguire' which at the time completed his career like a tear-jerking, guilty pleasure of a final scene. This was this Tom's 'Philadelphia', complete with his own stellar Springsteen soundtrack song (the bosses most beautiful 'Secret Garden') like Hank's. Playing a sports agent with a new mission statement this was more than just the quotes and the cute kid. It was one of Cruise's most honest and heartfelt performances. Simple, sweet and straight-forward Hollywood big bucks budget, cinema seat filler, like the man himself. It doesn't get much better or 90's than this. Then came Kubrick and Kidman's sex-romp in the dark 'Eyes Wide Shut' which comedians claimed that it may as well have been called 'Legs Wide Open'. Still in delving into darker roles with style and conflicting substance Cruise showed more human sides of the character coin from his all balls male motivational speaker in 'Magnolia' (a scene where he breaks down under his own stage-presence pressure and flips a table over is truly inspired) to the weird, wacky and somewhat wonderful 'Vanilla Sky' which had the most famous man on the planet shut down the biggest most busiest place in the world, deserting New York's Times Square like he does London's Trafalgar Square in his new 'Edge Of Tomorrow' opening. Leaving the 90's that saw formidable legal force in 'The Firm' and 'A Few Good Men' the case was looking like Cruise couldn't handle the truth of all that was coming his way in critical and commercial collapse but the new millennium would also find new ages and opportunities for the mainstreams most marketable. He played 'The Last Samurai' with classic conviction for an old Chinese proverb of power before he entered a new world of science fiction which would come to this day to define the post 2000 years of this mans career.
First came 'Minority Report' with his director equivalent of the 90's Steven Spielberg in an awesome adaptation of sci-fi writer and forefather of future forewarnings Phillip K. Dick's iconic vision. The late, great writers legend and legacy lasts to this day thanks to his before their time stories, but also due in some part to the awesome 'Total Recall' and 'Blade Runner' films they've inspired and influenced by the book. Still throughout all the classics, no film has ever captured and continued this mans futuristic penned down promise than this. Cruise and Spielberg's star power shines throughout, even with scene stealer, star-to-be Colin Farrell's breakout role. Still from cars on the morning skyscraper scaling and plunging commute to electronic pulse, shotguns set to stun this big pictures perfect portrait is something else entirely. This visionary masterpiece of the mainstream lead Cruise and Spielberg to go even more out of this world for their classic adaptation of the 'War Of The Worlds' radio show that tuned into the dramatic side of a family apart losing each other to real end of the world stakes in a stellar sci-fi of alien and human extremes. Cruise had some more real world stuff to handle before he left this reality for more science-fiction turns that mark the last few years of his career, but this wasn't before making sure he didn't take himself too seriously, especially with all the harsh jokes made at his expense in the public eye. First came a classic cameo as 'Austin Powers' in 'Goldmember' that was truly groovy baby and who can forget the bald, fat suit man he played in his un-credited, classic surprise of a cameo in Ben Stiller's 'Tropic Thunder'? Or that dance to Flo-Rida's 'Low' that is as viral a success as the moves he made on Oprah. Then of course there was the hairspray and Bon Jovi leather in his 'Rock Of Ages' that showed that this man could sing as well as have a laugh. In a performance that showed he really was a rock star in one of his funniest and most favourable turns in recent memory the former 80's breakout star helped with our nostalgia of that fun decade. With more fun films like his 'Bourne' comedy with Cameron Diaz in 'Knight & Day', Cruise played comedy chess and then also got serious with Streep for 'Lions For Lambs' and with the war for 'Valkrie' minus the German accent. Still it was an action drama of a few years prior that was truly thrilling.
Being drove round in a taxi for Jamie Foxx's Academy award introduction in Michael Mann's 'Heat' hot crime thriller 'Collateral', Cruise went all Richard Gere in 'Pretty Woman' to play a silver fox of a killer assassin character in this underrated crime classic. Sinisterly smouldering and tensely troubled, Cruise showed he could play it straight serious as this good guy proved he could go bad with a real rouge performance. As a hit man being chauffeured round the lonely Los Angeles night this guy armed up an artillery of action, but most of the more thrilling moments in this formidable force of a film where saved for the backseat. As the claustrophobic confides of the back of the cab made for the most dramatic, pull no punches scenes of back and forth between these two leads. Jamie almost became the well deserved, first man to win both Oscars for best actor and supporting after his piano play as 'Ray', but Cruise should have at least been nominated and by this point deserves his award. His underground crime tales from the seat of a car continued recently with the surprising superb 'Jack Reacher' film based on author Lee Child's character and book saga and oh yes you can look to turn the page on this mans franchise following future with this next chapter. Still no matter how funny or formidable this man has become it seems that the advancements of science have shaped his career in more ways than one. After his classic stories of 'War Of The Worlds' and 'Minority Report' gave him new middle-aged life in this future this last year has seen him become the go-to-guy for surprise Summer blockbusters of a sci-fi nature in a geeks dream of comic book and action figure blockbusters. For all the reboots out there in this redux age, Cruise faces the 'Apocalypse Now' by starring in somewhat new and original ideas that refresh this recycled industry. Last years cinematic delve into 'Oblivion' didn't just look good, or like a white-hot app from Apple, it also helped take a dark bite out of a lightweight script idea Summer. Along with Matt Damon and our generations Phillip K. Dick, Neil Blomkamp's 'Elysium', the two freshest films of last year made for an effective team. Still todays 'Edge Of Tomorrow' obliterates 'Oblivion' and takes Tom further and further into the science spectrum of fiction over and over until we see another episode in the form of a stellar Star Wars cameo. Now with one of his best films garnering critical acclaim as the surprise of the year, the tilting cinema seats are about to sit down. For this leads future is looking more alive by the day. It looks like he's living this great life over and over again as he is about to wake up to more 'Top Gun' and 'Mission Impossible' success and even some 'Van Helsing' to go with a 'Reacher' sequel that is set to 'Never Look Back'. Something Tom Cruise doesn't have to do, but if he did he'd see duplicated success on a day to day basis. Sound familiar? If you don't think today that in tomorrows future Cruise can win this war of the Hollywood worlds then it's time to come find him when you wake up...again!