Fierce Anticipation: June 25-27


a blogumn by Ryan Dixon

Fiercely Anticipating

Tom Cruise in Knight and Day

I come to praise Tom Cruise, not to bury him. That I can present you with this brief, but spirited defense, is due to one major reason: I used to work for the man. If you’ve spent any time employed in the entertainment industry, it will come as no surprise that Hollywood loves cranking out horror films. What’s unexpected to those on the outside looking in is the fact that, more often than not, working at an agency, production company or studio often provides the inspiration for those films. And the Freddy Krueger’s who prowl the feng-shuied halls are the A-listers, those 800lb gorillas– whether they be directors, producers or actors — who love to beat their chests at even the slightest disturbance.

Compared to most, Tom Cruise (or TC as he was referred to by us at work) is a proverbial King Kong, yet in the six months I worked at his production company and, from what I heard afterwards by the employees I kept in touch with, the man with the supernova smile was nothing but a consummate gentleman. In fact, I would go so far as to say that one would be hard pressed in finding a boss, with approximately 400 billion times the wealth and fame of those working under him, who had a better relationship with his employees.

Whenever TC was in the office he made a concerted effort to be pleasant and attentive to all of us who were killing ourselves for the betterment of his career. When he talked to you, he had a laser-like focus that is missing from the vast majority of middle managers over-populating office parks across the country. But if you think being a former employee biases me, then let me ask you this, TC trashers: What exactly do you hate about Tom Cruise?

Let’s be honest, if Tom Cruise were an athlete he would be placed on such a high pedestal that even Andre the Giant couldn’t touch him. The characteristics he’s endowed with (professionalism, studiousness, suffocating religiosity) are the same ones that are far-too-often unabashedly celebrated by sports writers, yet they are often the major mocking points wielded by the Cruisemies.

Take his religion, Scientology, for example. Like almost all religions, I have little respect for its exegesis, but despite a few questionable incidents during the publicity tour for Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, has TC ever publicly wielded his faith in a way to even remotely embarrass himself? No.

So then why is someone like Tim Tebow praised on high for harping about Jesus more than the pre-decapitated St. John the Baptist while Cruise is crucified for arguing with Matt Lauer?  Let’s face the hard fact that we atheists have known all along: On the believability scale, there’s really no difference between angels and aliens.

And if you  proclaim to hate Cruise’s movies, which ones exactly do you hate? Jerry Maguire? Minority Report? A Few Good Men? Magnolia? Collateral? Tropic Thunder? Do you really want me to go on? Sure, there’s the occasional Last Samurai or Vanilla Sky, but I challenge anyone to argue that those films are truly terrible rather than well-intentioned artistic misfires. A brief look at the CV’s of the directors TC has worked with makes it clear that he’s interested in delivering a quality product to the movie going public, something very few actors share as a priority (See the “Wouldn’t Go If you Paid Me” section for five unfortunate examples.)

So, for you TC haters out there, when someone asks you this weekend whether or not you want to see Knight and Day, before you reply saying that you’d never see it because he’s in it, take this under consideration: With the possible exception of Tom Hanks, is there any other star you’d rather want to raise as a child?

Kinda Wanna See

(Due to construction, this section is currently closed. It will reopen next Friday.)

Wouldn’t See It If You Paid Me

Grown Ups

Before I leave you to your weekend, let’s take a quick quiz. After watching this trailer for Grown Ups, what do you think is the most likely reason this movie was made:

A. Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider were so enthralled and emotionally devastated by the script that they all agreed to add to the betterment of cinema by starring in it?
B. Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider were so jealous that the Oceans crew of Clooney, Pitt, Damon et al kept getting to spend their shooting days at paradisiacal resorts that they wanted their own vacation that doubled as principal photography?
C. Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider agreed to make Grown Ups because Sony was willing to pay them a shitload of money?
D. All of the Above
E. None of the Above
F. Some combination of B,C and D

Please provide your answers in the comments section below.

P.S. If you’re having trouble figuring out the answer, then follow me on Twitter and I will tell you. You can find me @ryanbdixon

Tom Cruise Top Gun Image Credit: PVBroadz

Tshirt Image Credit: [AndreA]