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Everything that Irritates Me About Tom Cruise Reduced to a Two-Minute Gag

By Dustin Rowles | Miscellaneous | April 18, 2013 | Comments ()


Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 1.05.42 PM.png

Tom Cruise is not a particularly likable celebrity, and most people have their different reasons for not liking him. Many cite Scientology, while others offer his relationship to Katie Holmes. No one dislikes Tom Cruise because he may be gay, but many fault him for not admitting as much, or allowing himself to be repressed by his religious beliefs. I don't really care about any of that.

I don't particularly like Tom Cruise as a person, either, but as an actor, he's probably the best blank slate in the business. He's a vessel through which others add words and direct his movements. He has no particular style, no flash or substance, but he is a supremely competent cypher. Add that to the fact that he also chooses projects better than most, and you've got a guy that ends up being a very serviceable placeholder in better than average movies.

But here's what bugs me about Tom Cruise. It's not his religion or his personal life: It's his lack of self-awareness. He's soulless, a studio suit trapped inside a leading man's body. He's the male version of Anne Hathaway, a guy that desperately wants to be liked, but doesn't understand how to be liked. He's the kind of actor who wants badly to be in on a joke, but he can't be in on something he doesn't seem to understand. He's like a toothy robot that laughs because someone else is laughing, even though he has no idea what they're laughing about. He's missing something upstairs, and I think it might be empathy.

Here's a perfect example of what I'm trying to illustrate. Last week, he was on Jimmy Fallon's show, where they played a game, Egg Roulette, involving smashing eggs on their heads.

The entire clip makes me uncomfortable. Cruise holds his over-exaggerated laughter a beat too long. He's too eager, but he doesn't know what he's supposed to be eager about. He has a certain Michael Scott quality, a guy who would rattle off Internet acronyms without any knowledge of what they meant.

Look, Tom: You're 50. For better or worse, you're a goddamn screen legend. Act like it. Don't try to win the kids over with a bit that's better suited to Timberlake. Is Robert Downey, Jr. smashing eggs on his forehead? Are Brad Pitt or George Clooney making lame viral videos? Is Matt Damon trying to be something he isn't? No. I'm not saying there's anything wrong the Fallon's gag, I'm saying that Cruise should stop acting like a college kid showing up to a high-school prom. Try and remember you're the guy with twenty $100 million movies, and not the oblivious dad in a teen comedy trying to explain the birds and the bees to the teenage kid that's already lost his virginity.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Dude123

    I can't stand the guy either - for a variety of reasons. But wow. This is a real pathetic attempt to fault him. He had some fun of Jimmy's show. End of story. You're really reaching to draw some sort of deeper meaning/critique out of this one. Why not wait a little longer? I guarantee he'll do something worth writing about soon enough.

  • kali yuga

    No way is this guy an OT VII. Any Clear worth his weight could easily distinguish raw from hard-boiled. I'm starting to think the whole thing is a sham.

  • e jerry powell

    Ya think?

    :-D

  • SlurpyDurp

    Cruise has actually grown on me over the last year or so. He may be koo koo for Cocoa Puffs but he is waaaaay better than he was during the hardcore Scientology days. And I maintain that quali directors pull out great performances from Cruise (e.g. Collateral, Magnolia, Minority Report)

    And I totally just checked to see if I was supposed to use i.e. or e.g. there

  • Mrs. Julien

    I check my spelling and word choice all the time and I think, if you could get them to admit it, other Pajibans would tell you the same.

  • kirbyjay

    If one didn't check their spelling and word choices occasionally, then one would be a maroon

  • Salieri2

    Yep.

  • e jerry powell

    Hmmm.

  • Mrs. Julien

    SEEEEE!

  • Man, you folks are harsh! I've met a ton of celebrities because of several different jobs I've had, and Tom Cruise was one of the nicer ones I've met. He wasn't demanding, he seemed genuinely concerned that everyone around him was having a good time, and seemed genuinely interested in what I was saying.

    I mean, he was no Carl Perkins, but I was glad to have met him.

  • e jerry powell

    So he's a relentless people-pleaser?

  • You make that sound like a bad thing. I don't see it that way. It's how I've made my living my whole life.

  • Mrs. Julien

    a. I thought you loved Tom Cruise for his work ethic and being the embodiment of the American Dream.

    b. I've been calling him an automaton for years now.

    Edit: He has had fantastic quality plastic surgery. +5

  • Rochelle

    His plastic surgery is sooooo goood. I think Satan is his surgeon.

  • yocean

    that header picture CREEPS the dead egg fetus out of me. I did not know what that was but juxtaposition of that grin and the broken shells. My first reaction was : did someone photoshopped to make it look like his head is a broken egg, and is that xenu fluid coming out? It just really freaks me out

  • Bert_McGurt

    I think "Tom Cruise" is just another role, albeit one he's been playing for 30 years. If there was ever a real Thomas Mapother, he's long gone now.

  • Yes, this is right, I think. When he first broke through, he built himself around a model or idea of who he wanted to be, and has shown extraordinary resistance to the forces of humanity around him. Plus, watch first 20 mins of War of the Worlds...dude throws like a sexist-cliche girl. Seriously, if I was his kid, I wouldn't play catch with him out of embarrassment.

  • kirbyjay

    I KNOW!!! I was shocked when I saw that scene and even more shocked that he allowed it to stay in the movie. Maybe he is totally oblivious and thinks every thing he does is perfect but DAMN, man throws like a sexist cliche girl.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Aren't people who lack empathy called sociopaths?

  • mograph

    That's an old term. A more recent one is Narcissistic Personality Disorder. But there's a bunch of them. http://www.psychologytoday.com...

  • Grand Leaf

    This is wrong. Narcissistic & Antisocial (sociopathic) personality disorders are separate diagnoses. However, they commonly coexist.

  • Drake

    This. Egg-zactly.

  • NateMan

    I don’t particularly like Tom Cruise as a person, either, but as an actor, he’s probably the best blank slate in the business. He’s a vessel through which others add words and direct his movements.

    I feel the opposite of this. To me he's always Tom Cruise playing a role, always pretend. There are a few, small moments when he break out of this (Tropic Thunder springs to mind), but the rest of the time he's just Tom Cruise. It's one reason I'm very hesitant about Oblivion

  • Agree that I don't think he's the best blank slate. I think he's the easiest to mold into relatively shallow characters. He's not empty, but what he brings has no depth.

  • lowercase_ryan

    He has absolutely no idea who he is. No personal identity, he doesn't belong anywhere. I'm positive this is how he got wrapped up in Scientology. Looking to find a place he belonged. Unfortunately he found Miscavige and an army of yes men that only compounded the problem. I feel bad for him actually. Even the most suspended adolescence ends in the mid 30's, but not for this poor sap.

  • dizzylucy

    There is definitely something off about him. I wonder if he was always like that or if it's some weird combination of extreme fame and the brain washing of Scientology.

    Anne seems to have the same push to be liked, but with her it just seems like neediness. His comes across more as "have to fit in so they don't know I'm really just a clone/robot/alien".

  • carrie

    the rumor says Bale's Patrick Bateman is inspired by Tom Cruise

  • bonnie

    Well, Tom Cruise does make a guest appearance in the book...

  • I caught Cruise on Graham Norton recently (someone else had the remote) and he came across pretty well. I don't have quite the strong negative reactions to him as most seem to. The religion and personal stuff definitely tarnish his image way more than his acting and choice of movies. Though even on the personal (non-religion) stuff (more the being weird and possibly gay), I tend to give him a break as long as he isn't hurting anyone.

  • marya

    He's a major contributor to a cult that does a lot of harm. A whole lot. He may not be hurting anyone in a direct way, but it's like someone donating to the NRA. It's not a good thing.

  • Good point. I had forgotten they crazy shit they do.

  • Wicked

    I still don't understand why people dislike Hathaway, I mean... she is not as bad as Gwyneth Paltrow.

  • AH may try to hard, but she has arguably too much self-awareness versus Cruise's abject lack of same. Plus, dude's 50 and she's not yet 30.

  • King Push

    wait why are we supposed to hate her again

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    "Empty " is an excellent way to describe him as a person. He's just, there.

  • Wicked

    I think Scientology does that to people.

  • Slash

    That's the problem with religious nutjobs. When they try to act like regular people, it comes off creepy, because they're not regular people. They're zealots. They're always on the lookout to not say or do shit that might offend the many rules of their chosen fairy tale. And because a lot of humor depends on offending (esp. religion), they usually stick to self-deprecation, which is a line that is really easy to cross, over into pathetic "Please love me! Look, I'm cool!" land.

    His problem is Scientology. If he wasn't such a visible symbol of it, he could probably relax and act like a real person instead of an incredibly lifelike robot.

  • ,

    Hmmm ... I think Fallon's the one who held the laugh a little too long.

    Neither of them seems aware that IIRC there's a way to tell whether the egg is hard boiled or not. I don't mean by smashing it on your head, something with spinning the egg on the table or something ... I'd have to look it up, but I bet someone here with brains knows.

  • momo

    Spin it, stop it with a finger and then let go again. If it continues to spin it's not cooked. You're welcome

  • kirbyjay

    but the dude with the weird speaking voice said once you picked it you had to smash it. No testies.

  • Salieri2

    Wait, what? It starts spinning after you've stopped it? Does that mean the innards are still sloshing around or is this some kind of Exorcist thing?

  • chump

    Meh, i didn't think that was so bad. Too be honest Fallon annoyed me more taking so long. It was like he had a director in his ear telling him to stretch.

  • VonnegutSlut

    When I see Cruise, I am always reminded of how Dexter Morgan had to work REALLY HARD to pretend to be normal in the early days of the show.
    And yet, I am excited to see Oblivion. Maybe I'm the one with the problem...nah, it's him.

  • BarnabyJones

    Exactly! His smiles seems to be just a mask he wears while darker well greased wheels turn in his psyche. He seems so cleansed of all emotion save for the faintest gossamer of what he perhaps once was, but now lays strewn about his vacuous soul.

  • Bob Law Law Blog

    Adam?

  • danobc

    i have to be honest. this was a remarkably well written comment. especially the use of the word "gossamer".

    OT: i really like Tom Cruise the Actor that i see on screen. he is loveable and charming most of the time and he is nice to look at and i have enjoyed many of his movies and even now i still think that a movie he is in has potential. i might be disappointed in the end by some of his later work but i dont dread his movies nor do i think he should stop.

    all i can say about his hollywood persona: maybe "grow up" a litte, lay back, chill, be more "classy" like clooney. i dont want him to go full MJ on us :/

  • I used to think Cruise lacked awareness, but his turn in Tropic Thunder did a lot to combat that impression.

    He should do more comedy. Not because it might rehab his image. Just because it's a different set of skills and he's been on autopilot for far. too. long.

  • Renton

    I think I must be in the minority when I say I didn't find that in the least bit amusing. (Actually, that's a lie. The Reeves & Mortimer-esque giant arms amused me. But Cruise didn't do the makeup.) I can't ever imagine him doing comedy because I can't even imagine him being amused by anything. I get the feeling it would be like a recent Mike Myers film, just wild lunges at slapstick and gurning.

  • Jezzer

    I completely agree. He probably wouldn't "get" any of the jokes, but would dutifully and bemusedly perform all the wakka wakka wakkas and collect his paycheck.

  • the other courtney

    You nailed it. Cruise has a social cognitive deficit. Mimics because he's learned it's necessary but the instinct to relate isn't there. Saw his interview with JStewart and the whole thing was really... awkward. Clever, somewhat funny but incredibly forced and Stewart seemed to be measuring his words in order to elicit an appropriate response. Kind of like when an adult has to make small talk with a teenager.

  • mograph

    Just compare his segment with Ricky Gervais'. Odd.

  • e jerry powell

    Gervais, I think, is a little closer to being a real person somehow.

  • e jerry powell

    Frankly, I thought Cruise was mostly sitting back and letting Stewart do all the work to avoid getting caught unguarded and saying or doing something that would get him pilloried in the middle of a press junket for a movie that will open imminently.

  • Yes! That's what I thought watching him on Daily Show. Same, laughing longer and more exuberantly than is warranted, because he's thinking he should laugh and wants to be seen as likable and fun. Has little ability to improvise in a human way.

  • DataAngel

    "He’s like a toothy robot that laughs because someone else is laughing, even though he has no idea what they’re laughing about. "

    Yes. I just saw him on The Graham Norton Show the other night and it was creepy. He really seems to be lacking something that would make him human. He does seem like he doesn't exactly understand what he's laughing at. Stories that he thinks are funny are not. He really doesn't seem to understand exactly what's going on. Fortunately Gerard Butler was also on that GNS. He was personable, funny, charming... everything we're told Cruise is supposed to be.

    The partner-in-crime said "the best thing he's ever done is Nicole Kidman." I said even that was up for debate.

  • Kristen Mc

    "He’s the male version of Anne Hathaway, a guy that desperately wants to be liked, but doesn’t understand how to be liked."

    Yes. This exactly. It's just like the time she did a rap on a late night show. Maybe Conan. Just seemed desperate and awkward.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    It was Conan and it made me embarrassed for her, her kin and her ancestors.

  • nachosanchez

    He is a perfect representation of the uncanny valley.

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