May 13, 2006

"Mission: Impossible III"

Excerpts from my review in the upcoming American Conservative: (subscribe here):

With Tom Cruise, the glass is always about five-eighths full. Sure, as an actor he's memorable merely as the personification of youthful energy, and as a celebrity, the Scientologist has turned into a pest as his once-bulletproof public relations skills have broken down.

Yet, Cruise's movies are consistently better than they need to be. Since 2001, he's made the artistically ambitious science fiction films "Vanilla Sky" and "Minority Report," the silly but magnificent-looking "Last Samurai," and the limited but effective "Collateral" and "War of the Worlds." Only Russell Crowe's films have been consistently better, but offscreen he seems too, uh, tired and emotional (as the Brit tabloids like to say) to work as often as Cruise. Hollywood likes its leading men to set an example for the whole film crew. "Superstars do not get where they are by throwing temperamental fits, malingering on the set, or not following directions," a talent agent explained to reporter Edward Jay Epstein...

Since 1983's "Risky Business," the boyish Cruise has epitomized the shift in American preferences about the age of its heroes that began with the replacement of the wise Dwight Eisenhower by the vigorous John F. Kennedy. Many 1930s actors, especially hard drinkers like Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable, looked older than their years, while today's health-crazed male leads (with the exception of that throwback, George Clooney) seem almost adolescent. (Cruise, however, isn't quite Dorian Gray: like many 43-year-olds, his nose keeps growing.)

Maybe you just need more energy to remain a star these days.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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