Renegade Staff Picks: Best Tom Cruise Movies

best Tom Cruise movies
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Best Tom Cruise Movies

 

best Tom Cruise movies

Collateral

Rick Tym: Besides Magnolia it’s my favorite performance of his. Growing up in the Top Gun era I realized early that Cruise was one of those actors who could believably play unbelievable people – whether it be a fighter pilot, Nascar driver, pool hustler (“On the snap, Vincent”) etc. etc. So I loved it when an all grown up movie viewer (myself) and a slightly older Cruise explored one of the ultimate bad guy personas – that of a hired hit man. Even better than that, he acts as a perfect mirror to Jamie Foxx’s Max, not afraid to call him out on endeavors not undertaken and opportunities not pursued. Just a great film and a great Cruise performance. I don’t care what the guy does in his personal life…he commits to every part he plays and deserves to command the utmost respect because of this dedication to his craft. And if you doubt that, go look up Anne Rice’s apology for the whole Lestat thing.

LJAY: For some odd reason I was watching a Johnny Depp movie last week (transcendent) and was wondering why is he so famous? I mean I understand Depp has been in a few really good movies but nothing he has been in compares with Tom Cruise. While thinking about my fav Cruise flick, you could go back decades and have Risky Business, Days of Thunder, The Color of Money and Top Gun on the list. Or one could keep it current and have the Mission Impossible series, Valkyrie, War of the Worlds, Oblivion (yes I liked Oblivion) or Tropic Thunder ok maybe that last one was a push. But my point is Cruise has such a vast catalog you could break it down into decade to try and find your favorite. Being the outsider that I am I’m not going to go with the movies that everyone has picked. I have to go with my favorite “type” of movie because it has no official genre. “Crazy, twisted/ heist movies”. I know it’s really listed as a thriller but I like my classification. That’s why my pick is “Collateral”.What would you want more than an insane hit-man taking a cab driver hostage and throwing people out of windows, killing thugs in a alley all in a attempt to murder an entire witness list and prosecutor all within a few hours. To top it off you get a look at a young Mark Ruffalo. Cruise was fantastic in this movie playing the bad guy, something he rarely does. To be honest I can’t think of Cruise in a buy guy role ever. Jamie Foxx was brilliant as well and this movie in my opinion opened the door for him. As great as Cruise was in this movie a lot of credit has to go to Michael Mann and his genius behind the helm. All of these components make “Collateral” my favorite Tom Cruise movie.

John “D-Rock” Dotson: The man may have a few quirks of weirdness in his personal life, however, I can’ t think of many actors who will go to such lengths to entertain his audience the way this man does. Collateral is one of those movies where Cruise willingly steps outside his usual comfort zone and becomes someone to root against. His portrayal of Vincent is ruthless, charismatic, and without a doubt engaging from start-to-finish. It’s a shame we don’t get to see Cruise play more villains because he absolutely knocked this performance out of the park.

best Tom Cruise movies

Magnolia

Shawn S. Lealos: Honestly, Magnolia is still – to this day – my favorite movie of all time. Whenever I sit down to work on a new script, this is the screenplay I always pull out and I read it at least once a year. I consider it to be a perfect movie when it comes to the filmmaking aspects. As for Tom Cruise’s character, PT Anderson really brought out something special in his performance, letting him cut loose as the misogynist and then reeling him back in for the moments when he finally confronts the dying father that he hates. I absolutely love this movie and I even think the sing-a-long was perfect.

James Cochrane: Mr. Cruise’s best performance of his career. Leave it to PT Anderson to see the character in him, and bring it out. The beauty of Tom’s portrayal of Frank T.J. Mackey is that we are first given what seems like a simple, out of the box, asshole character, unremarkable, as is effrontery of the subject matter he is violently spewing. But then in the interview, when Frank is confronted with his past (all the while we the viewer know of his father’s dying wish to see him one last time) we get a shift that is both scary, and heartbreaking. “I am silent judging you.” says Frank to the woman. And finally, at his estranged father’s deathbed, the tears of hate, and hurt; the clasping of the hands as they want to strangle, and at the same time, hold his father, all pull you in without having to spell it out: This man has been hurt to his core, and hates that the hurt is still there. It is a performance which shows Tom is not just the action star we all loved, but a solid, serious actor whom we desperately need to see more of. Solid film. Solid performance.

 

best Tom Cruise movies

Tropic Thunder

Bethany Lewis: Les Grosman from Tropic Thunder. It took me about half the movie to realize it was even him, even though I knew I knew who I was looking at. The performance itself is out of this world, just lewd and obscene and over the top and reprehensible and deeply funny. I am not usually a fan of Tom Cruise at all, but I will always admire him for picking up this role and running with it like he did. As a person, Cruise has always come off as capricious and unpredictable – qualities that feature prominently in his portrayal as the foul mouthed studio boss – so it is a surprise he accepted the role in good faith and gave it his all.

 

best Tom Cruise movies

Interview with a Vampire

Ruby Le Rouge: So not a fan of that man. I guess I’ll say interview with a vampire, I think he did the character justice being that he was pretty much just playing himself.

Caliber Winfield: There’s a reason Anne Rice literally published an apology to Tom for doubting his ability to play Lestat, because he was fantastic. His performance helped to make Lestat the original Edward in terms of popular, except Lestat was a legit bad-ass with a fantastic sense of humor, even if it hung in the gallows. He over shadowed everyone in the film, and seriously was so good he almost completely over took the entire film. There’s a thousand reasons why the sequel, Queen of the Damned was absolute trash, and a big reason was the absence of Cruise as Lestat. That and the story line of nu-metal bringing him back from his slumber.

Tamica Phipps: I thought “Interview with a Vampire” was great. It made vampires awesome over a decade before Twilight was popular on screen. Tom Cruise was entertaining, funny, and scarily warped.

 

best Tom Cruise movies

A Few Good Men

Derek Johns: -Jack Nicholson may have been the standout performance of this film but surprisingly the young Tom Cruise more than holds his own. While I’ve never been crazy about Cruise as an actor, he gave a fantastic performance here as the Lt. Daniel Kaffee, the U.S. Navy lawyer constantly living under his late father’s shadow. What at first appears to be a simple plea bargaining case soon turns into one the greatest courtroom dramas in cinematic history thanks to a first rate cast and a fantastic screenplay by Aaron Sorkin.

 

best tom cruise movies

Minority Report

Caleb Masters: Minority Report might not necessarily highlight the furthest extent of Tom Cruise’s range, but it is one of the few performances where he’s inhabited a role that isn’t so obviously Tom Cruise. He’s a fantastic actor who has been in a number of my favorite movies including Magnolia, Jerry McGuire, and Tropic Thunder, but his struggle to overcome the loss of his son and find the murderer of Anne Lively is one of the most heartfelt I’ve ever seen from him. He leads what is a truly underrated and exceptional sci-fi film the is just as much about his character’s journey as it is is the big and weighty philosophical questions.

 

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About the Author

John "D-Rock" Dotson
is a film critic and film-maker from Dallas, Texas. He attended Midwestern State University where he received a Bachelor's in Business Administration in the field of Marketing. He's a huge lover of all things cinema... except The Last Airbender. Follow him on Twitter @DRockDot
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