My 5 Favorite Tom Cruise Movies

Hey gang, welcome back to The Tagline! It's Saturday, and that means it's time for me to list some stuff probably (that's exactly what I'm going to do). You all undoubtedly are acquainted with Tom Cruise. He's a famous movie star, in countless movies that have grossed huge mountains of money (a long with a collection of less than great films). He's also a well known crazy person, one of many very, very rich people belonging to the church of scientology (it doesn't get capitalization). I'm not going to talk about all that crazy stuff though. Despite his... eccentricities (or perhaps because of them) Tom Cruise has played a lot of roles that I've really enjoyed. I want to go over my favorite 5 now. Bear in mind that I'm not saying these are the best movies he's been in necesarily, they're just my personal favorites.


I officially have more money than God. I give it a thumbs up.
#5)Top Gun (1986): One of his first major roles, and the one that more or less solidified his status as a superstar, Top Gun was a movie where Cruise played the role of Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (who I will only refer to again as Maverick) a fighter pilot training with the F-14 Tomcat. The film follows him through training as competes with other pilots, becomes involved romantically with a female instructor (played by Kelly McGillis) and attempts to regain his confidence after a fatal training accident (not for him obviously but someone dies, I won't say who). The film shot on an estimated budget of 15 million, but grossed more than 353 million, making it the top grossing film of 1986. In addition, it's VHS sales in the then still emerging home  video market, it's soundtrack is certified 9x platinum (making it one of the most popular soundtracks of all time) and U.S. Navy recruiting was reported to have increased by around 500 percent after the release of the movie. In short, it was a really popular movie. I liked it because it featured guys in really fancy fighter jets shooting down other guys who had their visors down and never spoke, making them sound like Darth Vader (I assume they were communist robots or something) and all of this while Kenny Loggins "Danger Zone" played in the background. What wasn't to love about that? Oh right, I almost forgot, Val Kilmer was in it. That's what's not to love.

Apparently Rolling Stone is in French now.
#4)Mission Impossible II (2000): Now I know what most of you are thinking. Mission Impossible II? The one directed by John Woo that was not about sneaking around and crazy spy games so much as it was about gunfights and explosions? Well yeah basically that's it. Don't get me wrong, I liked the original Mission Impossible a lot (and I even liked 3 and 4 for that matter. Ghost Protocol was actually really good) but my favorite was M:I-2. I won't deny, it doesn't bear much resemblance to its source material, but I frankly don't really give a shit about that in this case. M:I-2 might not have had an especially clever or deep plot (let me amend that, it definitely didn't) but what it did have was a plot that adequately supported an awesomely paced, seamless action film, that was entertaining and explosive straight from beginning to end. It featured running gunfights, and some of the most patently ridiculous things I've ever seen a person do on a motorcycle in a movie (and remember I've seen both Ghost Riders), but M:I-2 isn't making apologies or going for realism. John Woo knows what he does best, and he sticks to it, and that really works in this movie. Despite being decried by many fans and critics alike as the weakest link in the M:I chain (I personally think that is M:I-3) this movie grossed 546 million against its 125 million dollar budget. A lot of critics might complain about an "empty-headed plot" but they're clearly missing the point. If they want to think hard they should go read Finnegan's fucking Wake. Action movies are about just that: ACTION.

Then Tom Cruise killed a bunch of people.
#3)Collateral (2004): This next one you all might not have heard of, I know its the movie on this list that the largest number of my friends have not seen. Collateral is a movie where Jamie Foxx plays cab driver Max Durocher, who is forced to drive hit man Vincent (Cruise) around town to his five stops, where he is killing four witnesses and the prosecuting attorney in a drug case. Max attempts to survive the situation, while saving the attorney (played by Jada Pinkett Smith) who he had met earlier that day. What follows is a tense movie where both Foxx and Cruise deliver really spectacular performances (you spend most of the movie with just the interplay between the two of them, so their performances are pretty key). I liked this movie not just because it was a cool premise executed well, but because it featured Cruise playing heavily against form. Traditionally Cruise has always been the hero in the movies he's starred in, but here he plays a convincing and truly chilling villain, who is as charming as he is amoral and murderous. This movie is slower paced, but if you're looking for some quality suspense with your action, then look no further. This qualifies as a lesser film for Cruise, and so only grossed 217 million (snort) dollars against its 65 million dollar budget, making Cruise only moderately more insanely wealthy than he already was.

Everyone did not run June 21.
#2)Minority Report (2002): Being a big budget science fiction film, Minority Report was obviously based on a short story written by Philip K. Dick. Tom Cruise stars as Captain John Anderton, chief of the controversial PreCrime police force in Washington D.C. The long and short is this: three psychic siblings see murders before they happen, then the PreCrime unit arrests the perpetrators before they can actually commit the murders, and puts them in stasis. Anderton is caught in a conspiracy when the precogs predict he will commit a murder, that Anderton believes to be a setup arranged by an auditor from the Department of Justice (Colin Farrell). The primary action of the film centers around Anderton attempting to assert his innocence, while trying to avoid commiting his apparent future murder. The movie is both an exciting neo-noir suspense film, and also an exciting action movie. It presents questions about the nature of free will, and explores problems with imaginary technology (like so many Philip K. Dick works. The guy loved to borrow trouble from the future, and it's frankly really entertaining). Minority Report received positive reviews, grossed a massive 358 million dollars in the box office, and sold more than 4 million dvds in the first month of its release.

Tom Cruise is not the last samurai.
#1)The Last Samurai (2003): So I expect that at least a moderate portion of the people who see this will have a reaction like "Psh what the fuck, Tom Cruise as a samurai? That's the dumbest thing anyone has ever thought, said, or done." To which I have to say: fuck you. Almost anyone who has ever had that reaction to me mentioning I like this movie has almost immediately admitted afterward that they had not seen the movie, and had only seen a preview or something once and then just thought "that seems dumb" and accepted that as being the obvious and immovable truth. I am here to tell you that they are wrong. In The Last Samurai, Cruise plays a troubled army captain named Nathan Algren, who goes to Japan to train the Emperor's modern army during the Meiji Restoration. During this time he is captured by the rebelling samurai, and taken to the village of their leader Katsumoto (Japanese star Ken Watanabe, who you probably have seen in Batman Begins and Inception). Algren sees the virtue of the samurai uprising, and sides with them against the corrupt capitalist faction that is pre-empting the Emperor's rule. Many critics, American and Japanese, were impressed with this movie, and rightly so, as it is (for Hollywood) pretty well researched, in addition to being stunningly shot, both in its scope and the beauty of its scenery. The film actually did a better in Japan than in the U.S. but despite that grossed well in both markets, netting a total of 457 million during its theatrical run. Detractors complain that the film is historically inaccurate, as the Meiji Restoration was in fact a step towards unseating the corrupt samurai, who had long been a brutal noble class that exploited the common people of Japan. While I admit that is very much the truth, I will also point out that history isn't always fun, and that movies don't actually have to be slaves to what actually happened (and rarely are). This movie wasn't supposed to be a documentary about the Meiji Period, it was a movie about a guy who fights with a bunch of samurai. If you skipped it because the trailer made it seem ridiculous, I urge you to take this moment to dismount from your high horse and watch it. You'll be glad you did.

That just about wraps it up! Join me again on Tuesday, when I review one of the movies mentioned somewhere in this post!
Oh shit now you've done it.

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