In Defense Of Tom Cruise

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Tom Cruise in Edge Of Tomorrow 2014It's Tom Cruise‘s birthday today, so I'm invoking the right of parley and demanding that you hear me out for exactly one blog post as I defend him. I mean c'mon guys, the day that I decide to rally behind an unpopular celebrity might as well be a national holiday, I do it so rarely. So come along with me and let's chat about why I'm slowly coming around to Old Tommy Couch-Jumper.

He's a talented actor.

He really really is. Mentally I'd written him off because his real-life level of intensity is scary high, but when he brings that to a movie, it's like a laser focus. He can do the wide shot action stuff, like in Mission Impossible, but he's doing some really great stuff when the camera pulls in close, too. It's easy to forget, but he really nails those little facial movements that show us what's going on in his brain without spelling it all out with dialogue?

Who else do we honestly have who can do the running and the jumping and the feeling and the thinking? Matt Damon? I guess he comes close, but I don't think he quite has the nuance that Tom brings to the table. (Oh my god, someone stop me, I'm on a first-name basis with the guy.) There's Daniel Craig, but he tends to read as pretty cold, and doesn't have Tom Cruise's versatility with humor.

Tom is really unmatched in terms of action movies, and he's one of the last true movie stars that we have left, who can consistently draw audiences into big blockbusters and have them walk out without feeling let down. I mean, did you see Edge Of Tomorrow? Eff that, that movie is getting its very own category in this discussion.

Edge Of Tomorrow.

Is. The. Best. Everyone in the office is tired of hearing me say that, but until you go and see it for yourselves, you have zero legs to stand on. And since I've already invoked parley, I'm going to keep effusing about it now, and there's nothing you can do to stop me.

I wasn't a big fan of Tom Cruise when I walked into that movie, but OH MY GOD HE'S SO CHARMING. He's like, our most charming resource here in America, which is why we export him to other countries via the cinema in order to collect money.

But seriously, the guy is charming, witty, quick, expressive, focused, intense, and consistent. Those adjectives are a little serial killer-y when applied to a normal person, but this is an A-List actor we're talking about, so they're pretty ideal. More and more, I'm coming around to the idea that Tom Cruise actually has it all together.

He has a great professional reputation.

No matter what we think of his beliefs, everyone who's ever worked with him on a film has nothing but great things to say about him. His Edge Of Tomorrow costar Emily Blunt said that on set, he was always smiling and optimistic, and he's famous for doing his own stunts as much as possible. It's a rare person who truly loves what he does and is able to immerse themselves in it without being a super annoying prick to the people around them. (See: Daniel Day LewisChristian Bale, etc.)

Basically he shows up, puts the work in, and goes home, and everyone involved ends up with an excellent effing movie, which makes him an incredibly valuable actor. It's only in his interviews that he tarnishes his image somewhat, with that enthusiastic couch-jumping incident and, of course…Scientology.

I could go on and on about my personal objections to Scientology (and I have!), but I don't really need to go into it here, because I'm defending Tom Cruise the professional actor, not Tom Cruise the human being who thinks Brooke Shields‘ post-partum depression is not a thing. The dude has beliefs that I don't agree with, but he's been able to keep that side of his life separate lately, so why shouldn't we?

He's self-aware.

Tom Cruise is a funny guy, y'all! Anyone who's seen Tropic Thunder has gotten an insane wake-up call to how ridiculous he's willing to make himself look, but there are clues all over the place that he knows what's up. Look at his Twitter profile, for example, which has the line ‘Running in movies since 1981', or the fact that he's really scaled back on the public sphere since he's realized that we don't really like him in it.

And that hasn't changed for me, but my opinion of Tom Cruise's work in movies has. And if you're still sitting here thinking I'm a crazy person for saying this, just go see Edge of Tomorrow already, wouldja? Just trust me. (Parley revoked.)