There’s no denying Tom Cruise’s superstar status, but his long career isn’t all impossible missions, daredevil stunts and a need for speed. And if you want the truth, as Tom so diligently demanded of Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, we’ve curated a special Cruise movie marathon of some of his more atypical – and just plain peculiar – roles. So microwave the popcorn, kick back, and set your mind to Cruise control…
ALL THE RIGHT MOVES (1983)
Cruise plays a high school jock whose only ticket out of a dying steel town is a football scholarship. Naturally, he locks horns with the coach and navigates girlfriend issues. An artifact of the ‘80s teen movie boom with lots of gratuitous T&A – as Rose McGowan notes in Scream, “if you pause it just right, you can see his…”
Ridley Scott’s dreamy, soft-focus and blatantly studio-bound fairytale fantasy cast the then rising star as a puckish hero named Jack of the Forest. Cruise is nothing if not earnest – and check out those teeth! – but his performance is completely overwhelmed by Tim Curry’s imposing red devil.
BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY (1989)
The pick of this bunch. Oliver Stone’s blistering biopic of Vietnam vet Ron Kovic is one of the Cruiser’s finest performances to date – an Oscar-nominated turn that seemed positively revelatory back in ’89, and still is. Moreover, the film’s themes remain depressingly relevant to those fighting abroad today.
FAR AND AWAY (1992)
This big budget misfire from director Ron Howard teams Cruise with his then missus Nicole Kidman as Irish immigrants seeking to start a new life in America. The part requires him to adopt a convincing Irish accent, but sadly he’s no Meryl Streep in that department, to be sure.
INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE (1994)
In the wake of Anne Rice’s furious declarations of miscasting, Cruise makes a fearless attempt to breathe life into undead villain Lestat. With a blonde wig, powdered face and frilly shirt, Tom looks like he’s stepped out of a Duran Duran music video, and is ultimately upstaged by 11-year-old Kirsten Dunst.
Respect the cocksure Cruise! The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences certainly did, with a Best Supporting Actor nomination. He’s refreshingly – and unexpectedly – cast against type as an incredibly vain self-help guru, and stands, err, tall amongst the strong ensemble cast of P.T. Anderson’s rambling drama.