Why don’t you like Tom Cruise?

UPDATE: May have to reconsider this post in light of finally reading this.

About a week ago I was at an apartment-warming party. Everyone was getting ready to go and I mentioned something about Mission Impossible IV: Ghost Protocol coming out.

“That Tom Cruise movie?” One guest said with a surprising amount of disdain.

“Yeah.” I said, (or something like that. I don’t really remember.)

“Tom Cruise, man, I hate that guy.” The guest continued. (again, those may not have been the exact words. )

“Why?” I asked.

Wrong question. Because suddenly I was subject to an alarming categorical listing of all the crimes Tom Cruise has committed which include: speaking enthusiastically about his religion, dissing Brooke Shields, and jumping on Oprah’s couch.

The harangue was all the more formidable because students/alum from my university–he was one– are not particularly pop culturally literate. Especially the ones that work in labs.

But while the diatribe was certainly dated–it’s been seven years!– it does speak to the lingering effects of Tom Cruise’s massive mid -2000s PR fail.

The release of this latest Mission Impossible has prompted a slew of thought pieces about Cruise, his damaged rep, his legacy, some under the guise of film reviews. But while Angelina Jolie (who wins the ultimate PR prize for the most stunning PR turnaround in modern* history –from sanguinary to saint) got several, indulgent magazine profiles and covers this year, Cruise  seems to have been on the DL for much of his domestic Mission promotion. Some residual haterade, perhaps?

I mean, I’ll be honest, I really don’t get the Tom Cruise hatred. At his worst, he comes across as a narcissistic know-it-all, but is this surprising for someone who was once, and perhaps still is, the most famous actor in the world? (They’re not all Angelinas). And really what are his trangressions?  A few glib words, showing enthusiasm for his girlfriend? I mean, I can think of worse things.  The media machine is a faschinating apparatus, y’all, I really don’t understand it.

Anyway, the main thing is, Tom Cruise is still insanely popular, just not here. I mean, they freaking love him overseas. MI:4 just surpassed Avatar to become the highest grossing Hollywood movie of all time in India. Considering the fact that the foreign box office is doing better than the domestic box office these days, Cruise’s popularity is not to be taken lightly.

As for the movie itself, (didn’t you know this was a review?)–it was decent. I watched it with my immediate family plus my grandmother and great aunt and nobody dozed off-which is pretty remarkable. The film could have been trimmed down, not sure India was at all necessary and Paula Patton, gorgeous black woman that she is, is not a good actress. So keep on doing those hot spy roles, girlfriend! I don’t see any Oscars in your future. Jeremy Renner was surprisingly lackluster in this film, I suppose it’s because the character he plays is less incendiary than The Town’s James Coughlin and The Hurt Locker’s William James. But Brad Bird’s directing was pretty first rate, the action sequences did what they were supposed to and Simon Pegg offered some nice comic relief. Tom Cruise, with his strange, strange body, –he has a weird pot-bellied muscle stomach going on–was compelling enough, and apparently he did his own stunts.

And  MI:4 has been doing quite well in America too. 

So, why don’t you like Tom Crusie?

*by modern I mean 2000-onwards

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