Tom Cruise: A Star in Slow-Motion Career Meltdown

Mena Tom Cruise
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

If there’s one thing you can count on when you see a Tom Cruise franchise action movie, it’s the look on his face. It is cool and poised, sleek and alert; it’s all dashing resolve. But during “The Mummy,” I kept looking at Cruise and having a strange sensation, which is that the emotion those familiar features seemed to be radiating was, in a word, confusion. Throughout the movie, he looked a little slack and a little blank, a little what-the-heck-is-going-on? It could, theoretically, have been an element of Cruise’s performance. His character, a tomb raider named Nick Morton, gets invaded by the spirit of an Egyptian mummy; his soul then becomes a battleground between good and evil (at least, that’s the idea). That could be enough to leave one confused. The truth is, though, that the slightly discombobulated look on Cruise’s face throughout “The Mummy” didn’t really strike me as an aspect of his performance. It seemed more like Cruise himself thinking, deep down, “Where am I?”

For the last 10 years, Tom Cruise has been doing a version of what he’s always done — making “Mission: Impossible” thrillers, and also big-scale flashy-concept sci-fi movies (like “Oblivion” and “Edge of Tomorrow”) and introducing new franchises, like “Jack Reacher” and, now, the Dark Universe films. He’s become a bit of a franchise addict. The very thing that allows a film series to define a brand is that a star tends to do one of them at a time, so that it can be…you know, defining.

But Cruise now seems to be throwing franchises against the wall to see which of them will stick. Another “M:I” film, another “Jack Reacher” mystery, now “The Mummy,” and what’s next? He’s all these characters, but in another way he’s none of them, because the characters (except for Ethan Hunt) aren’t sinking into moviegoers’ imaginations. They’re like suits of clothing he’s rotating through. He has just announced the sequel that no one was clamoring to see, “Top Gun: Maverick,” which sounds like a case of cannibalizing his greatest star hit by grinding it up into another franchise. What could be less of a maverick move?

Some of what’s faltering is Cruise’s judgment. Take the “Jack Reacher” series. The whole premise of it is that Jack Reacher is a nihilistic loner who investigates crimes — a pursuit that, in his case, involves recklessly dressing people down and beating the crap out of them. He’s Sam Spade meets Dirty Harry. But, of course, the problem with “Jack Reacher” (2012) and its recent sequel, “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” (2016), is that the character of Jack, as portrayed by Cruise, is a badass who isn’t bad enough — a hellion polished and honed to be “audience-friendly.”

Yet why take on a role like this one if you’re only going to water it down? Cruise, as an actor, is like an image consultant, or a studio executive giving notes to himself (“I think there’s an opportunity here to make the character a little more likable…”). What’s insidious is that the reason he was drawn to playing Jack Reacher in the first place is that he obviously regarded it as an act of image management — a way to keep pace with the times by letting himself get down and dirty (but not too much). Is it any wonder that these films are tonally out of focus? With deadening calculation, they whipsaw Cruise’s image in two directions at once. That’s why they barely even feel like a franchise. They’re just two more middling Tom Cruise films.

The middling Cruise movies are stacking up, and over the last 10 years he has squandered his star capital with them. He now seems devoted to working with anonymously talented journeyman directors (Bryan Singer, Christopher McQuarrie, Joseph Kosinski, Alex Kurtzman). Is that his way of retaining the power? Let me say up front that I’ve always been a Tom Cruise believer (just check out my gallery of his 10 best films, in which my reverence for movies like “Top Gun” knows no shame), but the eerie thing about Cruise’s career in the last decade is that he has been churning out the cinematic equivalent of holograms. It walks like a Tom Cruise movie, it talks like a Tom Cruise movie (it’s got speed and “intensity,” even a soupçon of cleverness), but it’s a Tom Cruise movie that leaves no shadow. It’s a piece of virtual entertainment.

The new Cruise era really kicked off with “Valkyrie,” the 2008 historical-curiosity thriller that cast him as a one-eyed German officer who became a secret member of the anti-Nazi resistance, leading a plot to assassinate Hitler. As ideas for movies go, this one wasn’t bad, but I remember being struck by how jarring it was that Cruise didn’t even try for a German accent. I realize, of course, that this isn’t exactly an issue of the strictest historical accuracy (the Germans didn’t just speak with German accents, they spoke German), but the point is: If you’re going to sign on to do a film like “Valkyrie,” why not use it as the opportunity to change up your persona? Don’t just give us the same-old same-old Tom Cruise, only now in an eyepatch and Iron Cross costume.

The movies that Cruise has made since then — “Knight and Day,” “Oblivion,” etc. — have played like imitation Tom Cruise movies, and that’s because the thing that they’re mimicking, as if it were there in the way it always has been, is his identity as a superstar. Another big summer movie, another franchise, another brand boost, another countdown to the opening-weekend gross — and even if those numbers are not what they used to be (“Jack Reacher”: $22 million, “Knight and Day”: $20 million, “The Mummy”: $31 million), at least they look like they’re in the blockbuster ballpark; globally, the final tallies often are. They prove, each time, that Tom Cruise is still in the game. And that’s what matters to him: his continued existence as an ageless movie demigod — the Cruise we’ve known and loved, hopping from one hit to the next, never even changing his haircut.

But does he really want his legacy to be “Look! My last movie grossed as much money as ‘Warcraft'”? For a long time, not just in the ’80s and ’90s but right up through the middle of the ’00s, Tom Cruise did vigorous and sometimes extraordinary work with great filmmakers who challenged him. (Most stunning example: His lacerating and revelatory performance in “Magnolia.”) Have the great filmmakers stopped calling? I can’t believe that the answer is yes. This fall, he’ll star in “American Made,” a true-life drama of drug-running and politics directed by Doug Liman.

Tom Cruise could still be a powerful actor, but the irony of his career, at least for now, is that at the very moment when he should be taking on more character roles, easing into a post-superstar creative freedom zone (as actors from Julia Roberts to Kevin Costner to Meryl Streep to Leonardo DiCaprio have done), he’s doubled down on one thing and one thing only: the awesome global transcendence of his image. He’s still choosing movies like he’s king of the world. He’s got it half right: He is Hollywood royalty. But proving that, each and every time, by making movies that exist for no organic reason but to win the box-office contest they’re not even winning anymore has become, for Cruise, a game of diminishing returns: for his fans, and for himself, too.

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  1. WaltDittrich says:

    I enjoy Tom Cruise movies quite a bit (The Mummy was disappointing, though).
    Going backwards ten years:
    Jack Reacher Never Go Back
    Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation
    Edge of Tomorrow
    Jack Reacher
    Rock of Ages (not fantastic)
    Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol
    Knight and Day
    Valkyrie (should have been better)
    Tropic Thunder (arguably the absolute best part of an otherwise okay movie)
    Lions for Lambs (I haven’t yet seen, but was the movie that broke Cruise’s long-time running $100 millon movie streak)

    Except as otherwise mentioned, all of those movies I have truly enjoyed, and most are 5 star films in my book.

    Watching Tropic Thunder made me think, “Why doesn’t Tom Cruise do comedies?!”
    All these action roles, they’re wonderful fun, but wow! If he did comedy? He could be the biggest movie star in the world! (wink, wink, he already is)
    Besides that, Risky Business and Jerry Maguire are about the only comedies he’s ever done (though Knight and Day had a LOT of funny parts).

    I would add on to the author’s request above that Mr. Cruise do a comedy or two. His likeable personality could really transcend into wonderfully fun roles, even romantic comedies!
    Not to compare, but Will Smith was a big-time action movie star, and then did roles such as Hitch or action-comedies such as Men in Black (1 and 3 were hilarious!).

    Otherwise, Mr. Cruise, keep doing what you’re doing. I’m loving it.

  2. Nan says:

    It reminds me of Monty Cliff actually, it feels like a long, slow suicide. Tom is talented, I just can’t watch him any more because I can no longer separate his private life from the screen, so I can’t take the journey with him. Stars of yore used to keep their views and religion out of the public so we could see them as stars. Cary Grant was smart about that? Past stars only opened up when they retired. Hepburn, remember? I know too much about Tom that is not flattering and I can’t get that out of my head, so I don’t go to his movies any more. Ticket’s are too expensive and it’s not fun for me to sit there and think of what he is and does.

  3. CJB says:

    Hey, he still has good hair!

  4. BernieHillary says:

    Tom Cruz is one of those mediocre so-called’ stars’ that always seemed to be force-fed onto America by Hollywood. Like Will Farrell, a hapless watered down putz that keep getting shoved in our faces… when there is so much real and legitimate talent in Hollywood that never gets tapped for opportunity.

  5. shane says:

    an absolutely diabolical actor who makes terrible pictures. Playing a german and not speaking with a german accent. That speaks volumes about his acting
    Wouldn’t hold a candle to the megastars of yesteryear in Hollywood.

  6. Tom is a 100% movie, but not he Mummy :(

  7. CJ Marbrook says:

    Simply put, Tom Cruise is the Greatest Hollywood Star of my generation.

  8. Tamie says:

    You sound jealous that you are not Tom. He is awesome both in acting and especially looks.
    Your as I said negative and jealous.

  9. Turd Burbler says:

    Personally, I will not see a Tom Cruise movie while he is involved in Scientology.

  10. J says:

    “But does he really want his legacy to be “Look! My last movie grossed as much money as ‘Warcraft’”?”

    The Church of Scientology wants more profits. That’s what this is, and all this is.

  11. Darold Reed says:

    I am an atheist and think all religion is wrong and stupid, and scientology is not any worse than the rest. So I wonder, if Tom were a Mormon would he be catching the same slack for his religious choice? This great country of religious freedom sure does like to discriminate on the basis if religion.

    • May West says:

      Thanks for putting ‘religion” into perspective, Darold! What’s more, why is it that everybody always goes after Tom not as an actor but because of his religion. Tom is one of the single most hardworking actors in Hollywood – totally dedicated and committed to his art. He delivers – most of the time – and people still pay to be entertained by an actor who lives for his craft. Leave (his) religion out of it and start appreciating him for what is: a dedicated and much underrated actor who has been entertaining us for over 30 years! As Darold so rightly pointed out” If Tom would have been a Mormon, would he be catching the same slack for his religious choice?”

      • Nan says:

        Well, we didn’t vote for Mitt because of religion. Paul Walker was raised Mormon, so maybe. It’s hard to say. American’s want to see people as people not as a religion. Tom has pushed the religion on us and so it is hard to separate that from the character on the screen. What “faith” was Cary Grant?

  12. Stephen Conn says:

    The Reacher films and Edge of Tomorrow were fine. Every star has hits and misses.

  13. Cruise should stick to sci-fi movies oblivion,edge of tomorrow and minority report are all excellent.

  14. Tom Cruise says:

    hello this is Tom Cruise what ? I’m confused !

  15. John Trapp says:

    Why doesn’t he remake the Al Pacino movie “Cruisin” and it can say “Tom Cruise in Cruisin”

  16. i don’t need tom cruise to blow my mind or make a ton of money. the movies he’s in doesn’t need to change my life or make me feel complete. if i can watch a movie he is in, be entertained for 90-150 minutes, and experience some exciting action/witty humor more often than not tied in with a sci-fi premise then i have no reason to be unhappy. his legacy and franchise exploration has nothing to do with me. i must say i am a master at not giving a good god damn about what anyone on this planet says or does.

  17. Virginia says:

    A talented guy – think “Rainman” and “Tropic Thunder”. But IMO full of hubris, and think this article is an absolutely accurate analysis. It’s mystifying why unlike many actors who seem to long for important, unusual roles where they can work their craft, Cruise seems unable to let go of a vision of himself as handsome cheeky action guy. Even when he should, he really should. I’ll never forgive him for having the options for Jack Reacher, and unlike Clint Eastwood and others who have stepped behind the camera – oh no, not Cruise.

    I about passed out when shorty Tom Cruise decided he was THE guy to play a well known, 6’4″ force of nature book character. Cruise could have done a world-wide search for THE Jack Reacher, given the world a new iconic film badass – but oh-no. Instead of being praised for giving us Jack Reacher, we got – Tom Cruise being Tom Cruise. Thanks so much, Tom!

    And I had hopes for the Mummy. The trailers looked cool. I liked the first Brandon F. vehicles but OK, maybe this reboot was gonna be a terrifying new take. I’ve read where the best directors are getting more and more pricey so Hollywood is reaching into the pool of indie directors because they’re cheaper.
    Great, but you don’t hand a film w. CGI and all that to an inexperienced director IMO. So I can believe Cruise stepped in. Maybe somebody had to because the studio didn’t think things through in the first place – like you have to spend money, a lot of times, to make money.

    As for Cruise – dude, you’re a handsome guy, talented – but you are getting older. Nothing wrong with that. Look at the career Ian McKellan has – he’s beloved. Or maybe you should take your millions and just reboot your life and consider another career. Because at this point your name for me – outside of Mission Impossible – is a negative when I’m choosing a film. Because I’ve seen enough of you and your cheeky handsome good guy stuff. I really have. It’s OK to sit in the back seat once in while.

  18. SalULloyd says:

    Rarely did he tackle gutsier themes like Brad Pitt.

  19. Emma says:

    Maybe he doesn’t WANT to make more artsy stuff. Maybe he enjoys hanging out of planes etc. Every interview I’ve seen him in and he appears to be a nice guy who genuinely loves what he does. Your comment that actors of his age usually start taking ‘character’ roles but is this because is it about choice or is it that that’s all they get offered once you reach a certain age in Hollywood? If people are still offering Cruise the tentpole parts why shouldn’t he take them?

    True some of his output has been ropey, but that’s true of any actor. I thought he was miscast in the Mummy, but the worst thing about that film was the dreadful writing. He was fantastic in Tropic Thunder and Collateral. I loved Edge of Tomorrow and Oblivion, and Mission Impossible is that rare occurrence of a franchise that gets better with every movie. So, yeah, he’s done plenty of clunkers but he’s hardly in meltdown.

  20. Cherrie says:

    I, for one am gearing up to see Top Gun – Maverick. It’s due to the fact that I still watch the first Top Gun for nostalgic reasons. The best part in the film for me is when Iceman Kazanski started to warm up towards Maverick by allowing himself to fly alongside him during the second flyby – don’t you just love that? It’s interesting to see the same characters again after the years have gone by and the actors are maturing into their roles.

    I totally disagree that Jack Reacher is fond of beating the crap out of people. He’s like Ethan Hunt without all the fancy gadgets. He’s like a private investigator without the long coat. He’s also a drifter which is awesome because like a true hero, he’s just there when you need him. You must obviously like Ethan Hunt a lot because you don’t say anything bad about him but it’s truly remarkable that Tom is able to play Ethan Hunt, Jack Reacher and soon enough Maverick almost together.

    You can’t really criticize the way he makes his acting choices not just because it’s his to make but because he’s a great actor. If it’s a Tom Cruise movie wouldn’t you just go and see it? That’s the thing about him, it’s what he’s earned. Personally I watch his movies because they’re brilliant and Tom has evolved into an actor who doesn’t mind going beyond the fact he’s a handsome man. Your article implies that since some people aren’t able to make sense of his movie plots, he should just pack up and go. That sucks. Think of what the body of works he’s done and consider if you’ve really appreciate them.

  21. Daniel says:

    I’m surprised he’s still able to bring people to a theater. I’d say his demographic is poorly-educated people with lacking lives. You’d have to be under a rock to think this person is stable. Like many, I cannot separate his personal life enough to suspend my disbelief of him as anyone other than Tom Cruise. I also haven’t seen a movie with him since 2002 or 03, and plan to never again.

  22. Jon apple says:

    It is refreshing to see someone so comfortable being a big movie star. I loved “oblivion” it’s one of my all time favorite films. It resonates with me deeply. How he finds the Roman book in the old
    Library. That film I feel was made for me. He makes no apologies. If Julia Roberts or Kevin Costner could still make these massive films they would. Shut up. Go away. Give me another mission impossible before it’s too late. You want him to hang himself in a bathroom or something?

  23. Michael Smith says:

    Cruise is a great professional actor. His movies aren’t always good but he always commits to the role and to the promotion of the movie and he never publicly blames others for failure.

    The scientology thing is nuts of course but there are plenty of Hollywood people involved with nutty cults, and criticism of scientology is completely hypocritical. If your imaginary superfriend and associated cult was invented on a middle eastern mountain thousands of years ago then we must all treat the cult and the followers with obsequious and reverent respect and fear being labelled a bigot or a racist if we don’t. If your superfriend and associated cult was invented in America in the last 200 years then sneering sacastic criticism and character assassination based on your beliefs is perfectly OK.

  24. HAL- 9000 says:

    The elephant in the room is Scientology. My family has ‘DISCONNECTED’ from Mr. Cruise and ALL his movies.

  25. Dheep' says:

    This is just WAY to much. Sure, it’s probably true – every word you wrote, but really …
    I hate to say it but, man – it’s just a movie and he is just a a “movie star”. It really is not important in any way. If you like him – watch. You don’t ? DON’T

  26. Tarheelpup says:

    Cruise is suffering from a combination of ego: (“I and I ALONE can turn this movie into a hit…by being TOM CRUISE”); more ego (“I am Tom Cruise of Scientology and therefore must continue to prop up this sham of a “church” in order to save the world and my investment in this religion”) and a dearth of good original scripts. I find it fascinating that Cruise is pretty much the only Xenuvian who has stayed even somewhat relevant after becoming involved with the “Kult of Miscavage”.

  27. I like Tom Cruise movies more than this article.

  28. How convenient that you left off of your list of Cruise’s worst performance of all: his decades long membership in the abusive, criminal Cult of Scientology. If anything was causing that vacant look in his face that you allege, it is Scientology, and perhaps the fact that his having given Scientology’s abusers millions of dollars is finally catching up with his conscious reality.

  29. Tell The Truth says:

    $300 million worldwide gross and counting….. for a flick that cost $124 million is a “Flop” ?

    • Wayne says:

      A film has to earn back 3x its production cost including the cost for advertising which isn’t factored into the budget mentioned here. The marketing along probably cost $100 million.

  30. Tropical Thunder was Tom’s best performance.

  31. AddisonDeWitt says:

    Does he ever see his daughter?

  32. Schadenfreude says:

    Critics have been bemoaning Cruise’s “decline” since 2005 at least. Yet he, along with Hanks and Denzel, are the only ’80s guys who are still around and can still open movies. Even the old “Mr. Summer,” Will Smith, has fallen off. Anybody who’s been around as long as Big Tom is bound to make a few clunkers. But overall, he still brings the heat. The dude’s over 50 and hung out of an actual, moving airplane in “M:I Rogue Nation”! I look forward to the next impossible mission of Ethan Hunt and team.

    • That's What She says:

      I thought Will Smith was “Mr. Fourth of July”, considering that Independence Day and Men in Black opened around that weekend.

  33. Ginger says:

    A Great read but… He’s still Hottt as Hell I must add!!

  34. Kat says:

    It seems to me that the author of this article personally doesn’t like Cruise. If Cruise is a star making billion dollar shit, then so are Dwayne Johnson and Ben Affleck. I mean, the first Jack Reacher was fine and Edge of Tomorrow was downright rad sci-fi. Every M:I movie is FUN! Honestly, just not quite sure what the world wants from Cruise. Even in his brightest star days, he made a ton of clunkers. It happens. It happens to the best of middle-aged men.

  35. Jane says:

    He’s throwing franchises at the wall, because he needs to be raking in as much money as he can to hand over to his overlord Miscavige. I feel bad for some of the people in scientology who were brought up in it, so brainwashed from the time they were born, and the ones like Travolta who are obviously being blackmailed into staying but Cruise himself buys INTO the bullshit that Miscavige spouts about him actually being this be all end all savior of the human race. It’s pathetic on SO many levels, but shows just how damn much Cruise is driven by ego.

  36. I’m looking forward to the TOP GUN sequel. They’ve been talking about it for a while. Tony Scott’s death seemed to put the kibosh on it but I’m glad they’ve got it up and running. AMERICAN MADE looks really good too. I think he’ll be just fine.

  37. L. Ron Hubbard says:

    Mr. Gleiberman’s piece is a little bit unfair:

    ““Top Gun: Maverick,” which sounds like a case of cannibalizing his greatest star hit by grinding it up into another franchise. What could be less of a maverick move?”

    Right, but what would you call “Alien: Covenant”, “T2: Trainspotting”, “Blade Runner 2049”,
    “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”, “Jurassic World”, “Avatar 2-5” etc etc etc etc etc etc etc….

    That’s the movie world we live ein today: Create new cash cows or milk old ones.
    Cruise didn’t invent this game, he only plays it as long as he can.
    He knows that his days as a leading man are numbered, so he drinks his milk shake.

    “I remember being struck by how jarring it was that Cruise didn’t even try for a German accent. I realize, of course, that this isn’t exactly an issue of the strictest historical accuracy (the Germans didn’t just speak with German accents, they spoke German), but the point is: If you’re going to sign on to do a film like “Valkyrie,” why not use it as the opportunity to change up your persona?”

    The “Valkyrie” movie was a Scientology PR move against Germany where Scientology had a bad standing. The Scientologists presented now themselves as principled men against an unprincipled mass of Nazis. It kind of worked.

    And the decision to drop the accent was very good.
    It never quite works.
    Very well done.

  38. Crepuscule says:

    Given what’s going on with Scientology, I’m surprised Tom Cruise can get out of the bed in the morning.

  39. Eric says:

    If you’re someone who’s a self-proclaimed fan of Tom Cruise I don’t know how you can disagree with this article. Growing up in the 80s and 90s I used to be a big fan of Tom Cruise’s films. I thought he was one the most challenging, adventurous, and underrated actors in Hollywood at the time. He used to make incredibly bold, smart, creative, thought-provoking, and risky films like Born on the Fourth of July, Rain Man, A Few Good Men, Interview with a Vampire, The Firm, Jerry Maguire, Magnolia, Minority Report, and Collateral on top of great popcorn flicks like Top Gun, War of the Worlds, and the Mission Impossible series.

    At the height of his career he was working with the best directors your could envision like Scorsese, Spielberg, Kubrick, Scott, Stone, Pollack, Mann, Crowe, and Paul Thomas Anderson. Now he seems content to continue making the same bland, generic, CGI-laden blockbuster films that typify the rest of what the film industry churning out. I personally miss the old Tom Cruise who would have likely reached out to established directors like Quentin Tarantino, the Coen Brothers, Ang Lee, Spike Jonze, David O. Russell, Kathryn Bigelow, Alejandro González Iñárritu, or Alfonso Cuarón and found a way to work with them on their next projects. I hope to god he abandons this Top Gun sequel he’s been talking about for the last year and focuses more on smaller films like the upcoming American Made, which is probably the Cruise movie I’ve been most excited about in years.

    • heyroman says:

      Those directors you listed are one trick ponies who hace never delivered a 100% film. Cruise and his old directors have quite a few 100%.
      I think people are made at cruise cause he wont work with the new guard. But why work with all these limits when you could just get a working director and call it a day.
      The directs you listed can’t direct them. Denzel w, glenn c, kevin spacey, and a few others are in the same boat. The directors cant direct them. Robert deniro makes an effort to comform but you can tell he is working with the material/director.

      • squeesh says:


        None of these directors are what anyone would call “one-trick ponies”—-I mean,seriously—you obviously don’t know jack about movies if you don’t know anything about any of the directors mentioned. Bu, yeah, Cruise is still killing it, whatever he’s in.

  40. boltuprite says:

    What utter rot. When many aging stars have managed to transform themselves into box office poison (as actors from Julia Roberts to Kevin Costner to Meryl Streep to Leonardo DiCaprio have done) Cruise continues to crank out consistently exciting and thought provoking movies and he’s not afraid of letting his cast shine. He develops his own projects and assumes a lot of risk while many other actors his age are coasting or putting out drivel or fulminating about Donald Trump..

  41. blisterpeanuts says:

    Tom Cruise net worth $470 million. I’m not too worried about his “career meltdown” and I doubt he is, either :)

  42. Anyta Rose says:

    First, please, do not talk on behalf of Tom Cruise’s fan at the end of your review, it will get you nowhere. I enjoyed The Mummy, it has all the elements of a great entertainment movie. There are not so many actors that actually can say I’m leading 2 successful franchises, that speaks a lot about “the actor” himself. Would you like to see Tom in a Shakespeare’s role? I would but, producers, studios and distributors will always shout : Show me the money!!!

    • Anna Bolic says:

      I’ll show you the money: The Mummy has made a $38 million domestically in two weeks. The $170 million it’s made internationally hardly counts. This kind of project make a half-billion internationally to get a decent return on it’s investment. The Mummy is a BOMB and was a terrible mistake, and the responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of one Tom Cruise, who micromanaged the entire project.

  43. zina bleck says:

    Enjoyed The Mummy. I thought there was a lot of verisimilitude in it for a movie of that type. I enjoyed the humor and the fact that Cruise’s character was actually afraid of those icky mummies even though he did still soldier on as it were not pretending to not be afraid and all that. Also thought The Emotions were dealt with in a more realistic manner than Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman was a disappointment to me in terms of it being a Wonder Woman movie. It was a great superhero action adventure kind of thing but not Wonder Woman.

  44. Robert says:

    ‘But does he really want his legacy to be “Look! My last movie grossed as much money as ‘Warcraft’”?’

    Ouch, that’s gotta hurt.

  45. Kathy D Kack says:

    Watch out Scientologists are pissed off about this article LMAO

  46. Owen I don’t really get your point — are you saying you should be in charge of directing the path of Tom Cruise’s career? That his desire to continue to enjoy making movies he likes to make that still earn mega-millions for studios, himself, and provide great paychecks for other actors and crews, and continues to maintain legions of his fans worldwide, is not what you would recommend for him? He should stop doing that and make films that generate far less money like your all-time favorite Cruise movie “Magnolia” just to appease you? (Your list also ranks “Tropic Thunder” above “A Few Good Men?”) You criticize him for juggling multiple franchises — didn’t Harrison Ford do that with Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and the Jack Ryan movies? You say he should follow the lead of Kevin Costner and Leonardo DiCaprio. Who says they would not have done what Cruise is doing if they had the choice — did you forget that Costner’s ability to open big blockbusters fell off, and THEN he started making smaller and more interesting movies? Cruise always has the option of doing that when he can no longer get audiences big enough to justify the blockbusters. In the meantime, who are you to sit in judgment of an actor’s career choices? Should we write blogs about your career path of leaving Entertainment Weekly to writing nasty articles about the career and personal religious and parenting choices of actors?

    • Hurleybird says:

      Many actors will do both mainstream movies and mix in a few independent movies they are passionate about. It doesn’t have to be either/or.

      I think Cruise picked Tropic Thunder for a similar reason. Playing Les was FUN.

      Also, he did SO much publicity for THE MUMMY that it sounded rote. The clip was great, and we usually see Cruise movies. Not this one.

      There Will come a time when action movies are just too much. Even Jackie Chan had to slow down. Cruise might want to try a few different things now, while he has options.

    • Anna Bolic says:

      A two-week domestic box office take of $38 million is hardly “mega-millions,” dude. Granted, the film is doing better overseas, but *domestic* box office is what brings the best return on investment and thus, far more important.

      Who is this writer to sit in judgement? Um…it’s his JOB. He’s a film critic and it is his JOB to critique. Is it your job to attack him personally for doing it? SMDH

      • It didn’t take long before a rabid Scientologist chimed into this discussion about Cruise. You could have waited a bit longer before outing yourself as a staunch member of a diabolical, killer cult.

      • Well Anna Bolic, you’ve made two points, both of which I believe are inaccurate, and asked me a question that I will answer first — yes, when a writer publicly posts an editorial and leaves place for comments, that is encouraging both positive and negative comments, the latter of which I submitted. As to your first point, Domestic box-office does not necessarily bring the best return on investment (presumably you are talking about the split studios get from theatrical owners?) – it varies in each country but generally money is money no matter where it comes from. In less than a week, “The Mummy” has generated nearly $200 million. That’s mega-millions, and it will only grow significantly in the coming weeks. His last Mission Impossible movie released just two summers ago made nearly $200 million in U.S. and nearly $700 million worldwide. Do you or Owen know any actors who should choose to walk away from that money? Finally, you said that personally criticizing an actor about his career choices and taking potshots about his faith and his haricut is Owen’s “JOB.” It’s not – he’s a movie critic and that means discussing the merits of a particular movie — this is not a movie review but a personal and professional attack on Tom Cruise himself.

  47. adriana lara says:

    I’ve sometimes wondered why Mr. Cruise doesn’t do more movies like ‘born on the 4th of july,’ or ‘magnolia,’ but it’s really no one’s business why. Mr. Cruise is having the career he wants to have, and he has earned that privilege.

  48. Jesse Vandewall-Fortier says:

    Tom Cruise Sucks

  49. Lacey Sheridan says:

    The Cruise-bashing meme that’s been popular with critics for the last decade is not simply off base; it’s offensive and foolish. Frankly, the public is tired of reading about Cruise’s “meltdown” when his movies always generate a profit, often a substantial one. If the term “movie star” is passe, then let’s settle for entertainer; that’s what he’s been to audiences for over thirty years. You could do a “where are they now?” Piece about his contemporaries if you want to showcase his incredible tenure at the top. Is it jealousy? Perhaps. After all, aren’t critics actors manque? Whatever the reason, stop pouring out your bile. Tom Cruise has earned better from you.

    • LisaB says:

      I’m not tired of hearing about that!

    • Seamus McCalin says:

      What an odd reaction to an article in which the writer fawns over the subject and wishes he would make more compelling choices. If you think this is bile, you might want to stick to US Weekly.

  50. Janet Sutton says:

    What the hell! Come on back off Cruise okay! This dude like your opinion does not counts for anything really I can judge for myself on which actors and movies I like. so far every movie he has done has been great and I will buy them all! Why his movies are blockbusters, what makes you an expert? you sit and type out this long nonsense and call yourself an authority on what to tell me how to think? Really This is pathetic go back to your other job please! Brook Shields get over it! Leah Remmy as well! Okay, Keep attacking Trump I will come back and attack you and get my friends as well. Okay knock it off

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