So I see that Tom Cruise has landed on his feet with a new two-year deal forged with Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.
To which I say: Fabulous. I am so glad.
First, let me say that my view of Tom Cruise’s movie career is something of a paradox.
On the one hand, I have never thought of him as a great actor and I certainly don’t expect him to ever win an Academy Award.
On the other hand, many of the pictures he has starred in are among my favorites (including Rain Man, Jerry Maguire, A Few Good Men, Born on the Fourth of July, The Color of Money, and Mission Impossible, to name just some!). I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he is in all these films. He is a big part of what made them great.
So I look forward to seeing him in yet more great movies in the years ahead. Which is also why I continue to be amazed and dismayed at the extent to which Cruise’s off-screen behavior has apparently affected the ticket sales of his movies. Frankly, unless he has done something illegal or grossly immoral, I could care less.
As far as I can tell, the problems with Tom center on three main incidents: (1) his couch-jumping on Oprah; (2) his beliefs in Scientology and (3) his critical remarks about taking anti-depressants for post-partum depression.
To which I reply in turn:
(1) It was a bit weird to watch but, come on, it was just silliness. What does it matter whether he climbs a couch or not?
(2) Scientology is about on the same level as a belief in little green men on Mars. So I think Tom must be ignorant, stupid, or lying when he says he believes it. But many or even most movie stars can be stupid or ignorant on occasion. So what’s the big deal here?
(3) I believe the statement was wrong and offensive. I think less of Tom as a person as a result. But it still won’t affect whether or not I see his movies — unless I were to decide to boycott his films as a form of protest against his remarks (which I am not even contemplating doing).
Personally, I think the public’s interest in and over-reaction to Tom’s behavior is much weirder than anything Tom has done. So I am glad that, despite the public response and Paramount’s decision to dump him, he is going to be just fine.
Of course, with his money, even if he never earned another penny from his films for the rest of his life, he would still have millions more than I (or almost anyone else in the world) will ever see. So it’s hard to feel sorry for him no matter what happens.