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C Entries
Edward L. Cahn
James Cameron
Lewis John Carlino
Richard Carlson
John Carradine
Helena Bonham Carter
Leo G. Carroll
Maurice Cass
Lon Chaney
Lon Chaney, Jr.
John Cho
Arthur C. Clarke
Phyllis Coates
Joan Collins
Sir Sean Connery
Roger Corman
Buster Crabbe
Richard Crane
Tom Cruise
Peter Cushing
 
CRUISE, TOM
(Thomas Cruise  Mapother IV 1962– ). American actor and producer.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Acted in: Legend (Ridley SCOTT 1986); Interview with the Vampire (Neil Jordan 1994);  Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley KUBRICK 1999); Minority Report (Steven SPIELBERG 2002); War of the Worlds (Spielberg 2005); Oblivion (Joseph Kosinski 2013).

Acted in and produced: Mission: Impossible (Brian DE PALMA 1996); Mission: Impossible II (John Woo 2000); Vanilla Sky (Cameron Crowe 2001); Mission: Impossible III (J. J. ABRAMS 2006); Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (Brad Bird 2011).

 
No, he isn't one of my personal favorites, and yes, he made a rather questionable choice in his religion. But none of this alters the fact that Tom Cruise, as I announced while reviewing Oblivion, is one of our greatest living actors, though his talents have predictably earned little recognition from a film community that lamentably fails to understand the true nature of film acting. For, unlike his more acclaimed but less skillful contemporaries, Cruise has always met the medium's two requirements:  he is unfailingly comfortable in front of the camera, and he projects an appealing and consistent personality in almost all of his film roles.

Strangely enough, we are told, the young Cruise originally aspired to become a priest, perhaps indicating that a genuinely good heart lurks beneath the more secular Tom Cruise persona, which  was effectively established with his first major role, in Risky Business (1983). Therein, he played a likable youngster who gets involved in some adult troubles; apparently in way over his head and unable to cope, he manages to triumph nonetheless. In describing his later film roles, one only needs to revise that description to say "overgrown youngster." It is the sort of character who can fit comfortably into a variety of film genres, and while the young Cruise did seem a bit tentative in Ridley SCOTT's fantasy epic Legend, he was much more successful in the crowd-pleasing action films Top Gun (1986) and Days of Thunder (1990), and when such films increasingly moved into science-fictional territory, the Cruise character proved equally effective in entertaining exercises like the Mission Impossible films, War of the Worlds, and the recent Oblivion.

However, Cruise has always craved respect as well as financial success, and the prevailing attitudes of the age have forced him into ostensibly more serious films wherein he must figure out how to adjust his persona to more complicated circumstances. Thus, in the 1980s, his competent support brought Academy Awards to Paul Newman (The Color of Money [1986]) and Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man [1988]); he earned a nomination of his own for Born on the Fourth of July (1989), playing a disabled Vietnam veteran; and in the field of science fiction and fantasy films, he took on some strange and challenging assignments in Interview with the Vampire, Eyes Wide Shut, Vanilla Sky, and Minority Report. One can epitomize these offbeat roles in this fashion: sometimes, Cruise seems to understand what's going on and does reasonably well (Interview with the Vampire, Minority Report);  sometimes, he seems a bit unsure about what's going on and doesn't do nearly as well (Vanilla Sky); and sometimes he seems utterly baffled by what's going on and fails miserably (Eyes Wide Shut, wherein he is stunningly out-acted by former wife Nicole Kidman even though she is granted about one-fourth as much screen time).

Today, as Cruise begins to struggle with the inevitable problem of growing too old to portray his trademark character, he seems less inclined to undertake prestigious assignments, preferring more comfortable territory like Oblivion and three announced future projects: a fifth Mission Impossible film, an adaptation of the television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964-1968), and a reboot of Van Helsing (2004). Presumably, he wants to get in as much action as he can before he is obliged to start looking at roles as friendly grandfathers and deskbound bosses of younger heroes. Perhaps he will conclude his career by reenacting his original goal, playing an elderly priest with a secret passion for video games. For the always-smiling Tom Cruise, appealingly, seems unable to take anything entirely seriously, even his own uncertain future as a top box-office star.

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