If his family of origin had their say, Tom Cruise would have went through life as an anonymous Franciscan priest. Of course, things turned out differently. With his Napoleon complex, switching obssessively from one extreme religious approach to an opposite extreme end religious fad, questionable treatment of wives, narcissitic salary demands, rants against psychology, an embarassing appearance on Oprah Winfrey, and purported paranoia over box office standing, Tom Cruise seems to make himself an easy target. In some quarters, he is likened to the personality meltdowns of Michael Jackson and Lindsay Lohan. Except, there is a major difference: Rather than being self-destructive, Cruise seems downright zealous regarding self-preservation and apart from personality quirks, he ranks as one of Hollywood’s most consummate professionals, often picking interesting, against type roles. That professionalism has paired him with the industry’s most established directors and, as a producer, Cruise takes additional risks with first-timers.
Cruise started off roughly around the same time as Johnny Depp, and early in their careers the contrast between the two could not have been more pronounced. If anyone was the patron saint of loud, dumb summer blockbusters, it was Cruise. He set the model with Top Gun (1986), and who could forget Cocktail (1988)? That box office bonanza, one of the worst movies of the last half century, is proof that the masses will buy just about any excrement if it is marketed right. Cruise went on to act in and produce Mission Impossible (1996). Despite having Brian DePalma in charge, it was not an ideal start to the franchise. Yet, the franchise dramatically improved, especially with Ghost Protocol (2011) and Rogue Nation (2015).