Remember a few years ago when Tom Cruise achieved virtual pariah status? He jumped on Oprah's couch, he had a falling out with Viacom's Sumner Redstone, he ridiculed Matt Lauer's glibness (our favorite part of Matt Lauer outside of his smile is his silver tongue), sparred with poor Brooke Shields, convinced people that Katie Holmes had been brainwashed and made us forget all of the awesome work he'd done in his career. He, therefore, became the target for the largest Schadenfreude campaign that the snark-arazzi had ever launched.
His height was derided, revisionists panned the homoerotic volleyballing in Top Gun (who didn't want to be Maverick growing up?), people left in droves for the Nicole Kidman camp and even the Smiths and Beckhams caught heat for their proximity to Cruise. The interweb glee due to the delay and delay and delay of Valkyrie made us sad. How much do you have to dislike a star's antics to be happy that a picture about killing Hitler might fail?
But during the whole nasty affair, he had wife Katie Holmes (and her fabulous haircuts) and daughter Suri Cruise at his side. And everyone still loved Suri Cruise, the most powerful baby in Hollyweird. Maybe Katie Holmes' move east (independent woman!) shook something loose in the superstar. His wife was allowed to do whatever she pleases (though contact with Pacey Whitter is still frowned upon). And Tom Cruise can do what he wants. Tom Cruise didn't have to be either manic or serious about everything, all the time. We'd seen inklings of his ability to laugh at himself with Ben Stiller's Tom Crooze. But he came out of Tropic Thunder looking like a whole new man. Sure, Les Grossman wasn't directly making fun of Tom Cruise, though he did mock Stiller's Cruise pastiche, Tugg Speedman. But we all sort of got a new appreciation for TC. And then he called Matt Lauer a "glib putz" during a roast and we realized that he was roasting himself (per the NY Post, he's to do another Lauer interview soon). Now, according to Sponkit, he's willing to talk (and laugh) about he Oprah couch-jumping episode. And he even went out of his way to lower himself to television and give Spencer Pratt some marriage advice. Brilliant!