Before all the couch-jumping and mesoscreepy
laughter in leaked Scientology videos, before public spats withMatt
Lauer and Brooke Shields, Cruise wasn't just THE A-lister amongall
Hollywood A-listers, he was also an actor who could really act.
recent years, his off-screen antics have overshadowed his
on-screentalent. "Knight and Day," coming out this week, should turn
thataround: Cruise is at his charismatic best here, equally adept with
thestunts in the action sequences as he is with the banter with
So it's a good opportunity to look back at his strongest performances — the ones that made Tom Cruise, Tom Cruise:
"Magnolia" (1999): Pretty much universally recognized as his bestwork
ever, it earned him the third of his three Oscar nominations, thistime
for supporting actor. As cocky self-help speaker Frank T. J.Mackey,
Cruise electrified Paul Thomas Anderson's opus aboutintertwined lives -
and falling frogs — over one day in Los Angeles. Hewas totally
commanding in his arrogance on stage, yet also laid himselfbare
watching the death of his father (Jason Robards) and strugglingwith the
conflicting emotions it stirred.
? "Jerry Maguire" (1996): OK, wow goldso
maybe the "You complete me" scene is more than a little cheesy
inretrospect. Still, his performance as a sports agent trying to
rebuildhis career and his personal life allowed him to show the full
range ofhighs and lows within him. And that line from Cameron Crowe's
filmremains famous largely because he's the one who says it — just like
themovie's catchphrase, "Show me the money!" ("Jerry Maguire" also
earnedCruise one of his two best-actor Oscar nominations.)
on theFourth of July" (1989): Here's where Cruise showed his ability to
digdeep, and do more than just charm us by flashing that sexy smile of
hisand working his high-energy, verbal magic. He'd had plenty of
dramaticscenes in "The Color of Money" and "Rain Man," but in Oliver
Stone'ssearing film about Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic, who returned from
the warpartially paralyzed and fully disillusioned, the transformation
inCruise occurred not just superficially but internally, as well.
(Thiswas his first Oscar nomination for best actor.)
? "Minority Report" (2002): Sure, the visuals and the bold ideas are what you probably remember from Steven Spielberg's darkly buy wow goldthrilling
sci-fi drama, based on the short story by Philip K. Dick. ButCruise is
at the center, holding it all together confidently as thestraight man
in a fantastic, futuristic world, even as his detectivecharacter, John
Anderton, goes on the run for a crime he hasn't yetcommitted.
Delivering a rare understated performance really works forhim here.
? "Risky Business" (1983): Of course, the movie that madehim a star in
the first place. In retrospect, it's a classic Tom Cruiserole, the
prototype: a young guy who has it all and thinks he has allthe answers,
only to experience a comeuppance and learn more than hebargained for.
It's a performance that solidified his place in popculture; nearly 30
years later, the scene in which he dances around inhis undies to Bob
Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll" is still beingparodied.
Cruise has had so many of those in his career, though, how do you choose just five? Sometimes, you just gotta say,cheap wow gold what the ... well, you know.