I like Tom Cruise. Shane likes him too. Indeed like is not strong enough a word. Expletives would be involved in a description of how great Shane thinks Tom is, and that’s not just because he comes from a great Irish family. Who were patrons of the arts, and warriors.
‘Did you know that Carolan wrote at least seven tunes called ‘Brigid Cruise’?’ Shane asked me at breakfast. ‘No, in truth I did not,’ I responded.
‘Yes, he was madly in love with her. But he went blind and her family would not allow the marriage. Did you know that Cruise means ‘Of the Cross?’”
‘No, I did not know that either, but I supposed it should have been obvious.’
‘Why do you like Tom?’ I enquired.
‘I like him because he can be obnoxious and violent and good humoured and charming to women and because he is completely convincing in whatever role he is in, and he never pretends to be a really nice guy, because he knows he isn’t one,’ Shane responded.
Having seen everything Tom has done since ‘Risky Business’, it was with considerable excitement that we set out to go and see his new film with Cameron Diaz. We felt it would be a nice treat, and we brought along a friend (who perhaps should remain nameless) because we thought she would enjoy it too.
On the way to the cinema, a young man stepped out in to the road in front of us, causing me to slam on the brakes. When I avoided running him over, the young man did not thank me, but instead began waving his fists and threatening me. I momentarily envisioned myself as Tom Cruise, and pictured myself flooring him with a flashy foot movement. It gave me the satisfaction that I needed, in order to avoid full scale road rage.
Tom is the master of the cheesy action film, and he is also a top rate comic, as well as being a great actor. But towards the end of ‘Knight and Day’, while Shane and I were totally enraptured, I noticed that our friend was holding her head and groaning. Immediately after the film, she made a rubbish excuse and jumped on a bus. Later, she informed me that she thinks Tom is a creepy monomaniacal robot with the acting skills of a three legged stool and the sex appeal of a syphylitic baboon.
Luckily, Shane and I are both the kind of people who make up our own minds and don’t care what other people think. But Tom Cruise elicits exceptionally strong reactions in people, and that arouses my curiosity. According to psychologists, people who see the best in others are more likely to be happy, kind hearted, and emotionally stable, themselves, while people who express negative perceptions of others are more likely to exhibit narcissism, personality disorders and anti-social behaviour. So bearing this in mind, I was naturally curious to see which of my friends would say nice things about Tom and which of them would slag him.
It was interesting that whether they liked him or loathed him, a huge variety of people had opinions and wanted them known. Some of them were positive, obviously indicating nice, happy people. My friend Fiona Fay, who is a life coach, thinks he is wonderful.
‘I love him, he’s mad as a brush and his own man,’ was what Glen Hansard had to say. Kirsten Sheridan liked him a lot, especially in ‘Gerry Maguire’. Both of my fathers like him, my actor father Dave admires his talent and my biological father Tom is particularly enthusiastic about the way Tom handles the fans when he meets them in Leicester Square.
‘He talks to their mothers and sisters and bed-ridden aunts on their phones. Maybe a candidate for canonisation?’
Pat Mc Cabe liked Tom’s hands in ‘Tropic Thunder,’ a favourite film of mine too, although I cant say I noticed the hands.
Gavin Friday was impressed with ‘Magnolia’ which he says proves Tom is a great actor, an opinion shared by Shane’s manager Joey Cashman. Johnny Depp’s PA reckons Tom puts up with a lot of shit and handles it with decorum, and so deserves credit for that.
The artist Dorothy Cross thinks he is like a Ken doll. Kevin Allen the film director thinks he tries too hard to seem nice, and must be faking it. A lot of people said he was weird. Rebecca Guinness said she couldn’t get past the Scientology, as did quite a few otherwise rational people.
The main objections were to his height, his sofa bouncing on Oprah Winfrey, and his connection to Scientology. And of course a few people said he is gay. I did not feel that any of the arguments held water. Tall actors are the exception, rather than the rule. Being enthusiastic about your loved one is surely not a crime? And since when is a person’s religion or sexuality a reason to criticise their acting ability?. And if we are talking about religion, do Scientologists have a history of crusading around the world killing people in the name of God? I think not.
I suspect that the real problem is that people are scared that Tom is not a human being but is actually omnipotent, and that if he got anywhere near them, they would unwittingly be converted to Scientology and made to bounce on Oprah Winfrey’s sofa. But we are not scared. If Tom wants to come round our place and try converting us, he is more than welcome.
I was surprised and a bit disappointed by the prejudice that Tom engenders. But as Shane says, sure they are only jealous f***ers and begrudgers. And Tom may be short, but he’s big enough to ignore them.