I love Tom Cruise. There, I said it dammit. I love him. Always had from Taps to Mission Impossible:Rogue Nation, I have gone to every Cruise movie in the theaters! So when I heard that Tom has signed up for Top Gun 2, well, lets just say my silly movie star heart skipped a beat. Call is a man crush, bromance, strange fascination, I've got in my head that Mr. Cruise is one of the greatest movie stars of our lifetime. But like every bromance, my affinity towards the diminutive film icon did not start off so.
In the 80's Cruise went on a strings of hits, decent movies of course, where he simply had to be the best at the interchangeable professions. At Football(All the Right Moves), Pool playing (The Color of Money), Bartender (Cocktail and the behemoth of 80's egoism, Top Gun. I liked him back then sure, but his movies were laughable. Then he got all "Tom Hanks" on us with Rain Man, Born on the Fourth of July and Jerry McGuire where he went a serious Oscar tear of nominations. Now he had some missteps, Days of Thunder, Interview with a Vampire? Miscast! But in the 90's he began his MI franchise and poked fun at his own celebrity with the gutsy performance in Magnolia. Yes, I was hooked man.
Come the 2000's, Cruise was again churning out big dramas with The Last Samurai, the underrated Vanilla Sky and as a brilliant anti-hero in Collateral. Smart and daring, Cruise continued his MI franchise while delving into more anti-hero themed flicks like the new Jack Reacher series. I happened to love Valkyrie as well. He held his own with Brit, acting stalwarts Kenneth Brannagh and Tom Wilkinson. And there the bromance happens. Cruise is by no means the greatest actor of our generation, leave that noise to Del Toro, Day Lewis or DeCaprio. Cruise at his best is an above average actor, but a grade A star. He is our gutsy "Rudy" if you will. The boy next door looks and Stallone bulldog determination of being the best star he can be. He has entertained us all now for over 30 years. How many actors working now can still say that?
Now back to the Top Gun 2 announcement, Top Gun will always hold a strange place in my heart. When I was a 17 year old high schooler I was working at the Main Santa Monica movie theater, off Wilshire and 14th street. That summer Top Gun was a huge hit and din't leave our screens till later that fall. I memorized the movie that summer; lines, scenes, gestures and songs. Its no coincidence that Berlin's Take My Breath Away is in my Spotify rotation.
Anyways, there was a chubby kid, Henry Cuesta, who worked with me at the theatre. He was such a cool dude and like automatic on the Top Gun lines. Henry, always there with his dead pan delivery and sweet confidence. We dug and made fun of Tom together. I quit my job shortly and months later had heard that the theater had been held up. They shot and killed Henry. Dear Lord, they shot a 17 year old kid. I thought about his Sister and family at that time. My hands are shaking now as I type his name. We were both the same age. That really could have been me. So I have a dear, deep fondness for Top Gun and Mr. Cruise. Even though Henry would probably make fun of me, I love Tom Cruise still to this day. God bless you Henry. See you on down the road.
It;s no coincid