Tom Cruise and Me

Tom Cruise and Me

by Charlie Haviland

Let’s talk about Tom Cruise and me, shall we?

In 2012,I served Christmas dinner to a warm and loving Birmingham, Michigan family. Their holiday joy somewhat allayed my winter dolefulness as seasonal affective disorder had started to take root in my psyche and hold my spirit hostage. I finished cleaning the kitchen as they ate cookies, sipped hot chocolate, and opened presents by the huge fireplace. I needed an elixir for my holiday blues, so I went to see “Jack Reacher.” I traded in Norman Rockwell for Tom Cruise.

It was just the thing. There he was, Tom Cruise saving justice as Jack Reacher. I found myself pulling for the anti-hero. Like that pulled muscle that gnawed at you for weeks–one day you noticed the pain was completely gone. I fell in love with Tom Cruise again. Or, the first time. I’m not sure. But,

Tom Cruise pulled me from the blues on Christmas night  in 2012.

I never disliked Tom Cruise, but I’m sure I was jealous of his starry elact when I was in my thirties. He was wrong in 2005 to call out Brooke Shields as “Irresponsible”  for getting medical treatment for postpartum depression. Brooke told People magazine, “Tom should stick to saving the world from aliens.” And, I won’t even mention the Tom Cruise affiliation with Scientology. Oops. Too late.

Say what you will about Tom Cruise. You can be a hater, but his collective opus cannot be waved off. He has made forty-one flicks since his 1983 tighty-whitey dancing scene in “Risky Business.” And, the list of directors Tom Cruise has worked with is daunting: Spielberg, Coppola, Crowe, Scott, Scorsese, Levinson, Stone, Howard, Reiner, Pollack, De Palma, Anderson,  and Redford.

Directors so famous, you don’t need to know their first names.

Have you ever driven across town or down the interstate, arrived at your destination and wondered, “How did I get here?” The miles behind you a complete blackout? This seems to be the arc of Tom Cruise’s career. I never saw “Risky Business,” but there have been moments in my life when Tom Cruise brought me joy. The Color of Money. Rain Man. A Few Good Men. Mission Impossible 3.

When my editor Luke Castle asked me to do a Fourth of July themed column, the thing that came to mind was Tom Cruise and “Independence Day.” Wait. Tom Cruise wasn’t in “Independence Day.” Was I confusing Cruise with Will Smith? Or, Jeff Goldblum? We all hope not. Obviously, I had never seen “Independence Day.” (Hell, I’ve never seen “Risky Business.”) And, Independence Day: Resurgence, the sequel also has nothing to do with the Fourth of July. Wait. Born on the Fourth of July? That was it. That 1989 Tom Cruise flick. Who would want to read about that?

I don’t know what Hollywood insiders say about Tom Cruise’s box office draw these days. He’s pissed off enough people. But, I do know one thing: Tom Cruise took away my pain on Christmas night, 2012. And, I’ll let him do it again when his next movie comes out, which happens to be Top Gun 2, btw. I’m not in love with Tom Cruise, but I love looking at him on the big screen. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Just take those old records of the shelf.

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