With so much bad criticism hitting Tom Cruise these days, I thought it'd be best to remember the reasons why Tom Cruise is so famous. He's acted in successful movies - maybe because of his acting or maybe not; but, his films are enjoyable, and his films have earned buttloads of money.
1. Magnolia (1999) - Paul Thomas Anderson directs this epic movie about life and relationships. Magnolia's many characters interweave throughout the movie's many subplots to create cohesion where once incohesion existed. Tom Cruise plays Frank T.J. Mackey, a male sex guru, who is crude, fake and frank. This is his best performance as an actor because his character might just be the most "real" person that he's ever played.
2. A Few Good Men (1992) - Rob Reiner's best film (other than Stand By Me) tells the tale of two marine cadets charged for the murder of a fellow marine. Tom Cruise is a hot-shot attorney assigned to defend the marine cadets. This movie is good, but is probably more well-known for Jack Nicholson's protrayal of Col. Nathan R. Jessep.
3. Collateral (2004) - Michael Mann's ode to Los Angeles was one of the best films of 2004. Tom Cruise plays a hitman, Vincent, who uses a cab driver (Jamie Foxx) to drive him to his killing destinations. Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx have tremendous chemistry, and it shows with their conversations on life and work.
4. Top Gun (1986) - The action scenes in this movie are terrific. I'm not praising Cruise's acting in this movie, but I'm praising the movie's entertainment value. The dialogue is cheesy, but fun. It helps create the standard for a guy film.
5. Minority Report (2002) - Tom Cruise's first duet with Steven Spielberg is one of the best science-fiction films of the new millenium. Top-notch special effects and probably Spielberg's best recent directing effort make for one entertaining and intellectual film.
Honorable mention: Born On The Fourth Of July (1989), Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Interview With The Vampire (1994), Mission: Impossible (1996), Rain Man (1988)
When Tom Cruise was sprayed in the face during the London premiere of War Of The Worlds (2005), he said that he was upset because he doesn't deserve being ridiculed when he "works so hard to make people feel good." His statement was correct. Entertainers work hard to entertain us. Cruise works hard to make people feel good, and at the very least, we should cut him some slack.
I always quote from Top Gun because I'm always looking for a new wingman.