My Top Ten Tom Cruise Movies

Happy Birthday to Tom Cruise, who turns 55 today. Wow… Does he ever age??

To be honest, I’m not a huge Tom Cruise fan. I mean, look at him in that photo up there… How annoying would it be to work with someone who goes around smiling like that? Can you imagine someone so goddamn happy sitting at the desk next to you?! Ugh. However, I have to say that I admire how Cruise treats his fans. He’s always happy to hang around & sign autographs and that’s cool. I hate stars who seem like conceited assholes in real life. He also seems to enjoy making movies and doing his own stunts and all that. So, yeah – I suppose he smiles like that because he does seem to be a pretty happy dude. Which is better than a grumpy famous person. I guess.

Anyway! I figured now would be a good time to finally do a list of My Top Ten Tom Cruise Movies. He’s of course been in loads of films but he does a lot of action dramas, which aren’t really my type of thing. That’s why my number one was a huge surprise… His best movie in years & a genre I love! And number two deserves more credit – It’s a classic. I admit to needing to re-watch some of those outside of the top ten & they’d probably move up the list. How about I shut the hell up & do this list. Is Cruise still smiling like a loon in that photo up there…??

Here are My Top Ten Tom Cruise Movies, counting down to my favorite (ranked by film, not performance):

The Rest That I’ve Seen:

25. Tropic Thunder
24. Cocktail
23. Eyes Wide Shut
22. Born On The Fourth Of July
21. Days Of Thunder
20. Austin Powers In Goldmember
19. War Of The Worlds
18. The Firm
17. Interview With The Vampire
16. The Mission Impossible Films (Think I’ve only seen 1 or 2… Should re-watch & am sure they’d rank higher)
15. Legend (I’m lying. I barely remember this.)
14. Risky Business
13. Endless Love
12. Oblivion
11. Vanilla Sky

Top Ten:

10. A Few Good Men

9. The Color Of Money

8. Collateral

7. Magnolia

6. Jerry Maguire

5. Minority Report

4. The Outsiders

3. Rain Man

2. Top Gun

1. Edge Of Tomorrow

Some I’ve Not Seen:

Taps, Far And Away, The Last Samurai, Lions For Lambs, Valkyrie, Knight And Day, Jack Reacher, Rock Of Ages, The Mummy

(Is he still fucking smiling up there??)

The Color Of Money (1986) Review

Yesterday would’ve been Paul Newman’s birthday so I decided to kick off January with my Blind Spot review of The Hustler (review HERE). And since I’m a completist, I naturally had to watch the 1986 sequel directed by Martin Scorsese. Let’s have a look at Newman 25 years older as Edward “Fast Eddie” Felson in The Color Of Money

The Color Of Money (1986)

Directed by Martin Scorsese

Based on The Color of Money by Walter Tevis

Starring: Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Helen Shaver, John Turturro

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film continues the story of pool hustler and stakehorse Edward “Fast Eddie” Felson from Tevis’ first novel, The Hustler (1959), with Newman reprising his role from the 1961 film adaptation. The film begins more than 25 years after the events of the previous film, with Eddie retired from the pool circuit.

My Opinion:

This was a fun film but certainly not on the same level as the 1961 classic The Hustler plus it also suffers a tiny bit from that “dated 80’s movie” feel. This is unfortunate. However, if you’ve watched & liked The Hustler, I’d still recommend giving this one a go to see what Newman’s “Fast Eddie” is up to 25 years after the events of the first film.

The one thing I found interesting is that Newman is the true star of this movie. Well, of course he is but what I mean is that he so massively outshines Tom Cruise. I find this interesting as this film came out the same year as Top Gun but Cruise seems much younger and less experienced in this one. In my review of The Hustler, I mentioned how Newman had that special “something” that only certain actors have & it gave him a presence and a star quality that is lacking in Cruise in this film. Cruise often does have that movie star quality, though (such as in Top Gun). But I’ve clearly aged as I found the 60-year-old Newman far more attractive than the 20-something Cruise in this. Hmm! Showing my age again (I’d just like to point out that I’m younger than Cruise currently is, at least).

Newman is very good in this & actually won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance. Well, I think the Academy was clearly just making it up to him as it was his role in The Hustler that should’ve won instead. That’s The Academy for you, though! They realize their mistakes then reward someone another time instead. Glad he won one, though.

This isn’t as hard-hitting as The Hustler and doesn’t have the intense relationships that made that film so highly regarded. Cruise’s character comes across as an immature child (I think that’s the point) but it doesn’t make for a story that is as interesting to watch as the first film. He doesn’t have the same sort of chemistry with Newman as those in the first film had. I was never really a fan of Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio but she’s good in this (and was also Oscar-nominated, unlike Cruise) and there’s some decent sexual tension between her & Newman.

The first half of the movie, which focuses on Cruise & Mastrantonio teaming up with Newman, was missing something due to this lack of chemistry between our male leads (and also due to me knowing that the first movie was so strong on its focus on human interaction). However, the second half does pick up as Newman’s character goes on a journey of self-discovery type of thing and he starts to feel more like the complex & somewhat broken “Fast Eddie” from The Hustler. I did enjoy this movie overall and liked revisiting Newman’s character. And it’s reminded me once again that I have to seek out more of Paul Newman’s work. Especially his older films… What a hunk.

Oh yeah – and I had to keep reminding myself that this was a Martin Scorsese movie so I’ve now added another one to my list of Scorsese films seen. I’ve already done My Top Ten Martin Scorsese Movies (list HERE) and The Color Of Money would break into my Top Ten (probably at, hmm… 8 or 9).

My Rating: 7/10

Oh, shit! I totally forgot to add that Iggy Pop has a small role in this! That was an awesome surprise. Check him out:

Also, I’ve know for years that Eric Clapton’s It’s In The Way That You Use It was in this since it had one of those videos with clips from the movie. Here you go! I’m not a big fan of solo Clapton but I like this song okay:

The Outsiders (1983) Review

Welcome to Day 2 of Coppola Week, in which I’ll be reviewing four movies I saw recently directed by Francis Ford or Sofia Coppola. Yesterday I reviewed Sofia’s The Bling Ring (it wasn’t my favorite). So now I’m reviewing one from her father (it’s easily my favorite of the four I’ll be discussing). Let’s talk about The Outsiders! 🙂

The Outsiders (1983)

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Based on The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Starring: C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Diane Lane, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise, Leif Garrett, Tom Waits

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
The rivalry between two gangs, the poor Greasers and the rich Socs, only heats up when one gang member kills a member of the other.

My Opinion:

I still can’t quite believe that I had never read The Outsiders or watched the movie until recently, especially as the movie contains so many well known actors from my generation. I should have had a crush on every single one of them! None of them were really favorites of mine, though. The only one I’d have possibly had a crush on was the one who kind of went on to do the least after The Outsiders – C. Thomas Howell, which is weird as he’s the main star of this one. He was pretty cute! And pretty hot now. I like how he keeps popping up in small roles in things like The Amazing Spider-Man. Well, he did star in Soul Man… Bet he’s not thrilled about that one now!

Sorry to go on about “cute boys” but I was just pointing out that I’m not sure why I never saw this. I read the book a couple of years ago and really liked it (it was my second favorite book read in 2014). It’s less surprising that I never read it since I was never really encouraged to read much when I was younger (I’m glad I decided to become a reader anyway). I have to say that I was perfectly happy with the film and think it was a good & faithful adaptation. I was worried when I looked this up on IMDB as it has a really low “metascore” (which is a collection of reviews from critics) of 38 out of 100 while it has a respectable user rating of 7.2 out of 10. Are you kidding me on that metascore?? I didn’t actually read the critic reviews to see what their problem was with this movie. I don’t care. This is why I don’t read reviews from actual critics – I trust the opinions of us regular movie-loving bloggers more. I’m usually somewhere in between the metascore & user rating (user ratings are always WAY too high on current mainstream movies) but I agree with the user rating this time. It’s a good film, not a great film. But those who love the book and those who love the amazing assortment of hot young 80’s actors that Coppola got together for this will be big fans of the movie. I’m sure it’s a favorite film of some people my age & I’d possibly have the same nostalgia for it if I’d seen it around the same sort of time that I became obsessed with Stand By Me.

As for the acting, I can’t fault anyone. They all felt like genuine teenagers/early twentysomethings and fit the characters from the book very well. Although, knowing of the movie and who played who, I may have been picturing the actors as I read it. That’s why I hate reading a book after seeing its movie… I especially liked Ralph Macchio & C. Thomas Howell, who were the two most important characters to get right from the book. Patrick Swayze & Rob Lowe were also great as Howell’s protective older brothers. Yes! Even Rob Lowe was good!

I also loved seeing Diane Lane, with the most gorgeous shade of red hair, as I’ve become more of a fan of hers in recent years (this movie is pretty high on my list of My Top Ten Diane Lane Movies). It’s quite a small role as boys are very much the stars of this story but, hey, that’s how it was written. By a girl. Speaking of its author, S.E. Hinton, I still love that the book was written when she was only 16. I think that’s so impressive. Imagine a teenager today managing to do that! Or anything, really. Apparently, Hinton played a nurse in this. Cool! I didn’t even know that until looking at the credits for this review. Also, Sofia Coppola played a “Little Girl” and Heather Langenkamp(!) is listed but not given a character name so I have no idea where she was in the movie (okay – I did some Googling & her scenes from the drive-in movie part were deleted).

Hey – look at Patrick Swayze being all tough & sexy like he was in Road House! He’s gonna rip that guy’s throat out. Yes, I’m still obsessed with Road House after seeing it for the first time over Christmas. Road House!! I wish Sam Elliott had been in The Outsiders… That would’ve been awesome. 

Of course, Sam Elliott was too old to be in this as there are hardly any adults to be seen throughout the whole movie. That’s what’s so great about it – it was written by a teenager about teenagers, which is probably what helps make the characters feel so genuine and why so many young people have fallen in love with the book over the years. I totally understand the story’s appeal, even though I experienced it too late to appreciate it as much as I would have as a teenager. It’s one of the first true “young adult” books (back before the young adult genre was this huge thing with the somewhat bad reputation it has these days) so maybe that’s what some critics don’t like about it? I don’t know but it’s a classic story with some very rich characters and I’ll most definitely be passing the book onto my daughter to read as an early teen. Perhaps she’ll fall in love with it in a way that I wasn’t fully able to at my age. And then we can watch the movie together! It’s one I’d definitely watch again sometime. 🙂

My Rating: 7.5/10

Top Ten Actors Who Annoy Me

Here we are with another list first started by the amazing Abbi of Where The Wild Things Are. You can see her list, “The Top Ten Actors Who Irrationally Annoy The Shit Out Of MeHERE. 🙂 I did the list of my most annoying actresses HERE so now it’s time for the boys. Then next week I’ll be all nice with lists of my favorite actors & actresses (but hate is so much more fun…). 😉 And I’ll actually get around to replying to all your great comments on these soon! Sorry – it’s been a very hectic week!

So here are my Top Ten Actors Who Annoy Me:

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Tom Cruise
Best Movie: Top Gun (but Edge Of Tomorrow was surprisingly good!)

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John Travolta
Best Movie: Carrie or Pulp Fiction

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Christian Bale
Best Movie: The Prestige

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Robert Pattinson
Best Movie: Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire

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Shia LaBeouf
Best Movie: Disturbia

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Sacha Baron Cohen
Best Movie: Hugo

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Nicolas Cage
Best Movie: Fast Times At Ridgemont High

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Vin Diesel
Best Movie: The Iron Giant (and now that I’ve seen it, also Guardians Of The Galaxy)

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Chris Pine
Best Movie: Star Trek Into Darkness

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Steven Seagal
Best Movie: No idea – I don’t have a penis

**List likely to change as I’ll have forgotten a bunch of annoying people like I did with the actresses. Would love to hear from all of you on who you hate the most. I seriously will reply when I get a spare second! 🙂

Oblivion (2013) Review

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Directed by Joseph Kosinski

Starring:
Tom Cruise
Olga Kurylenko
Andrea Riseborough
Morgan Freeman
Melissa Leo
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Plot:
I’m being lazy & copying what’s below from Wikipedia. You can click on the link if you want to see more of the plot description but it tells you the plot of the entire movie. I think you’re better off going to this movie knowing only the following basic information – to discuss the plot further gives too much away:

2077: Following an invasion by alien Scavengers (Scavs) sixty years earlier which destroyed the Moon and nearly destroyed the Earth, Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is Tech 49, one of the last few humans stationed on earth. He lives thousands of feet in a work tower above the Earth where he and his communications officer and lover Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are part of an operation to extract the planet’s remaining resources, especially water. Jack and Victoria supposedly have no memory of the past, having undergone a mandatory “memory wipe” five years prior. They now maintain contact with civilization via a video link with their commander, Sally (Melissa Leo), and are due to join the rest of humanity on Titan in two weeks. Jack suffers from recurring dreams and flashbacks of New York before the invasion and an unknown woman. Assisting Jack in his work are weaponised ‘drones’, airborne machines that scour the landscape to destroy the remaining alien resistance.

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My opinion:

I saw this almost a week ago & have been putting off reviewing it as I didn’t know how to go about it & also still haven’t fully decided what I thought of it. First of all – Tom Cruise. I don’t tend to watch Tom Cruise movies much these days. I haven’t been a fan since, I suppose, the days of Top Gun. To me he’s become one of those actors that I just always see as himself – I don’t see him as the characters he’s playing in movies. Tom Hanks has become this way for me too although I still like him fine. And Nicolas Cage! As I said in my review for The Croods, Nicolas Cage can be too Nicolas Cage-y. Likewise, Tom Cruise is far too Tom Cruise-y in Oblivion. 😉

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But this is a sci-fi movie. I love sci-fi – it’s possibly my favorite movie genre (even though the concepts are more than my little brain can cope with half the time). So I wanted to see it despite Tom Cruise’s Tom Cruise-y-ness. The movie starts out good and I was thoroughly enjoying the first half. The look of the film is great. The drones and the work station where Cruise and his assistant live are very sleek and cool and… science fiction-y looking! (Yes, I’m great at descriptive words – I just add a “y” to the ends of things. Should really work on my writing skills someday!). I totally want to swim naked in the pool in their work station and wear the dresses & high heels Cruise’s assistant wears for work every day (although I did wonder why she didn’t just stay in her pajamas every day – surely that’s one of the benefits of working from home!). Um, am I talking about dresses & high heels? Sorry – I don’t go girly-girl TOO often! Back to the movie…

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Like I said, the first half is good and I was thoroughly enjoying it. Unfortunately, the second half does NOT live up to the first half. It turns into a combination of every classic sci-fi movie you’ve ever seen. Which SHOULD work. But it doesn’t. I just didn’t want to see something I’ve already seen in other, more superior sci-fi movies. I found the ending disappointing & predictable. Now, I’m not saying the movie is BAD. If I was new to the genre & hadn’t seen so many classic 70’s sci-fi films, I’d think Oblivion was very good. So it might be good if it manages to get a new generation into sci-fi but I can’t see that happening as this movie doesn’t seem aimed at a slightly younger crowd, especially with its choice of stars. And for those who love Morgan Freeman, like I do, you may be disappointed in how little he’s actually in the movie. He was wasted in this.

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AND… I’m sorry but is New York City the ONLY city that exists in our future?! (Even in a “totally destroyed” way except for a few pieces of identifying landmarks). I have nothing against the city but why is it used so often in these types of movies? There are lots of other big cities around the world & in America, right? And Tom Cruise wearing a baseball cap & reliving some Super Bowl game he read about or whatever isn’t going to really appeal to a worldwide audience or keep the movie feeling very sci-fi & timeless. (I’m not being anti-American as I’m American – I’m just being anti-sports. I hate sports! Especially football. So I’m sure it’s just me who was annoyed by this bit). And… Led Zeppelin? Again? Didn’t Argo do that already (and more effectively)?

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Um. It’s not a bad movie, really. I don’t think. But my thing against Tom Cruise’s Tom Cruise-y-ness & slight snobbishness about already seeing and loving lots of classic sci-fi films makes me think I’m possibly judging Oblivion a little unfairly. I was entertained, especially in the first half, and it looked fantastic. And it was totally science fiction-y! 😉 I’ve gone back & forth on the rating I’d give it – was going to go with a 6 but that’s what I gave Trance and it’s definitely a better movie than that is. And at least it’s reminded me that I really need to watch some of the sci-fi classics that I’ve been meaning to watch for years.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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