Film - Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise

Steve Taylor-Bryant makes a claim about Tom Cruise's brilliance and then gives you his Top 10. Sorry, we tried to stop him...

Tom Cruise has never made a bad film! Or rather Mr Cruise has never been bad IN a film, Far and Away was pretty awful but he was very watchable in it. Each year another film comes out and I lap it up like a thirsty cat in a milk factory, I just can't help myself, I can't help but adore every performance. He comes across as a guy who appreciates how lucky he is and is unrivalled when it comes to spending time with fans, more than once missing the film he was starring in whilst he remained out the front signing autographs, taking photographs and phoning friends and family of the fans. It's that this kind of commitment to his supporters that allows me to ignore his controversial religious choices, although, if I was to find a spiritual wanting in my empty life, an alien created by a science fiction author would likely be my way in rather than so called conventional religious practices. From his debut appearance in Endless Love through to Edge of Tomorrow (Live/Die/Repeat in some places) I've been transfixed by an actor cruelly underestimated by critics and shunned by the film going public who think all visual art should be high brow. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is out soon and looks like being a fantastic addition to a great franchise and I'm really excited by Mena due in 2017. Add to this a great concept for Top Gun 2, a possible Les Grossman film, more Jack Reacher, and yet another upcoming project with Mena director, Doug Liman, in El Presidente and there is lots to be looking forward to in the coming years.

I'm aware I'm writing this as an avid fan and many of you will disagree with me but your very wrong opinion is duly noted and ignored. There are some films in the filmography that are weaker than others but in none of them are the fault of the performance of Cruise. I was set the project of producing a Top 5 Tom Cruise performances which I have had to argue up to a Top 10, and the ranking order is today's only as my love for his various projects fluctuate with my mood as is normal for fans.

10 - Eyes Wide Shut 

Eyes Wide Shut

Millions of years of evolution, right? Right? Men have to stick it in every place they can, but for women... women it is just about security and commitment and whatever the fuck else!

In an era dominated by sex, the Internet, 50 Shades, more Internet, more 50 Shades (someone stop that woman!) it's hard to remember a time when sex was done well. Stanley Kubrick only made exceptional films and Cruise, alongside Kidman, helped Eyes Wide Shut become possibly my favourite film about the psychological effects of sex.

9 - Lions for Lambs

Lions For Lambs

In a sense we're both on the same team. We're teammates. We're both have a responsibility. You've already sold the war. Now I'm asking you to help me sell the solution.

Another slow burner, a film told across three perspectives and Cruise more than holds his own a presidential favourite opposite the wonderful Meryl Streep who herself was on top form. Dig through our files there's a review in there somewhere.

8 - A Few Good Men

A Few Good Men

eeehhhhh! I'm sorry, your time's run out! What do we have for the losers, judge? Well, for our defendants, it's a life time at exotic Fort Leavenworth! And, for defense counsel Kaffee, that's right, it's a court martial! Yes, Johnny! After falsely accusing a highly decorated Marine officer of conspiracy and perjury, Lieutenant Kaffee will have a long and prosperous career teaching... typewriter maintenance at the Rocco Globbo School for Women! Thank you for playing "Should we or should we not follow the advice of the galactically stupid!"

Very few men let alone a few good ones could follow an Aaron Sorkin dialogue from the page to the screen in such a way they could take down Jack Nicholson. Whilst Nicholson on the stand is what the film is remembered for it was Cruise's portrayal of Kaffee that allowed Nicholson to let loose. That's the truth and I can handle it.

7 - Minority Report

Minority Report

You see the dilemma don't you. If you don't kill me, precogs were wrong and precrime is over. If you do kill me, you go away, but it proves the system works. The precogs were right. So, what are you going to do now? What's it worth? Just one more murder? You'll rot in hell with a halo, but people will still believe in precrime. All you have to do is kill me like they said you would. Except you know your own future, which means you can change it if you want to. You still have a choice Lamar. Like I did.

I've always loved this film. The story, the effects, the direction by Spielberg, even Colin Farrell was great in it. Proper sci-fi with a director that understood his source material and a performance by Cruise that was spellbinding.

6 - Collateral

Collateral

Max: You killed him?

Vincent: No, I shot him. Bullets and the fall killed him.


Collateral was elegant in its simplicity. Collateral gave me a proper chance to see Cruise do something different, to play a real bad-ass villain, and he and Jamie Foxx stole the show. Foxx was unlucky not to win his Oscar and Cruise was criminally not even nominated.

5 - Oblivion

Oblivion

Earth, before the war. New York, before I was born. A place I've only seen pictures of. I know you... But we've never met. I'm with you... But I don't know your name. I know I'm dreaming. But it feels like more than that. It feels like a memory. How can that be?

A lot of people absolutely slated Oblivion upon release but I got it. It wasn't a CGI led action sci-fi thriller, it was a slow burner, a throwback to clever sci-fi before we became an audience of explosion seeking popcorn munchers. It was Arthur C. Clarke sci-fi. A story. A film about the characters with the CGI included to enhance the journey from beginning to end not to drive the story due to lack of narrative. It was one of my films of the year 2013.

4 - The Outsiders

The Outsiders

Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.

Growing up as a boy suffering dyslexia in a decade where you were a problem child not a young lad frustrated because he couldn't do what others did was tough. I got very lucky though and discovered an English teacher, Miss Pearce, who helped me through S.E. Hinton's book and my coursework with a VHS copy of the film. Without Miss Pearce or the film I wouldn't be sat here writing now so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

3 - Rain Man

Rainman

When I was a little kid and I got scared, the Rain Man would come and sing to me.

Possibly one of Dustin Hoffman's greatest performances needed a man to play off that was cunning, uncaring, and yet could grow as character as the story unfolded. Rightly so Hoffman won the plaudits but Cruise did more than go along for the ride.

2 - Magnolia

Magnolia

Respect the cock! And tame the cunt! Tame it! Take it on headfirst with the skills that I will teach you at work and say no! You will not control me! No! You will not take my soul! No! You will not win this game! Because it's a game, guys. You want to think it's not, huh? You want to think it's not? Go back to the schoolyard and you have that crush on big-titted Mary Jane. Respect the cock. You are embedding this thought. I am the one who's in charge. I am the one who says yes! No! Now! Here! Because it's universal, man. It is evolutional. It is anthropological. It is biological. It is animal. We... are... men!

What a great film! What a great cast! What do you do to fit Mr Hollywood in with all those stunning actors? Play him against type is what. I love Paul Thomas Anderson, and I loved Magnolia. Cruise as a sexist pig motivational speaker for other women haters was a stroke of genius in both casting and payoff but yet again The Academy in their twisted wisdom picked someone else for the Oscar.

1 - Born on the Fourth of July

Born on the Fourth of July

Sometimes, Stevie, I think people, they know you're back from Vietnam, and their face - changes: the eyes, the voice, the way they look at you, you know.

I'm a real sucker for war films and Oliver Stone does them brilliantly. Casting Cruise at the time was a risk as he had little to show in the way of real acting chops in his past films but was deserving of the Oscar nomination he received for his portrayal of Ron Kovic. I don't remember who won Best Actor that year but it must have been immense to keep Cruise from the top prize.

Image/Quote - IMDb.