YES! The man with 3 front teeth! When I decided to start doing celebrity Top 5’s, I wanted to do actors that would be challenging. I figured who better to start with than Cruise, who happens to have a hell of a resume. For those of you that aren’t Cruise fans… TOUGH! I think he is one of the most intense and dedicated actors working today, regardless of his personal politics… and beliefs… in aliens. So, let’s get into it:

SIDENOTE: I haven’t seen Born on the 4th of July so that will not be in contention.


Some might dismiss Cruise’s performance in this film. After all, it is a tentpole action film. I would say though that Cruise’s dedication to the part is what makes these films work. While MI:2 is forgettable and MI:3 gets by on it’s plot, villian and style, MI manages to shine by Cruise’s determination to make a legitimate film from a cheesy TV show.


P.T. Anderson is such a great director that he can get actors to do just about anything. He even managed to make Cruise look straight and got him to say cock… many, many, many times. This turn for Cruise is amazing because not only did he take a supporting role but he stepped so far outside his wheelhouse that it’s almost jarring upon first viewing. Well worth the Oscar nomination that it earned him.


If you blink you’ll probably miss how solid Cruise is in this film. Especially set against the background of a super cool LA hitman film directed by Michael Mann. Where Cruise shines through in this movie is in the subtleties. After all, this is a less is more role. Proof: Watch the manner in which Cruise does away with the would be robbers of his briefcase in a back alley. Cruise absolutely inhabits this character.


How good is Cruise? He can even make those Renaissance, Twilight style vampires look cool. While Pitt broods all over the screen in this film, Cruise manages to chew up the scenery every time he’s on the screen. Again, a departure from his typical leading man action role… I wonder if he shouldn’t try that more often???


I’m sick of people bagging on this film for being too over the top or sappy or cheesy or whatever. Jerry Maguire is a great film and it falls flat if not for Cruise’s performance. Without his dedication to the ego, swarminess, depression and all out insanity that accompany Maguire on his journey to finding love, this film is a throw away quirky rom-com. I’m of the opinion that not only was Cruise robbed of his Oscar (by Geoffrey Rush for Shine) but that Jerry Maguire is Tom Cruise’s best performance… hands down!


  1. Tough to rank Tom Cruise performances…the films that stand out arent perhaps his best work as an actor (Top Gun for example). Magnolia is the one that stands out for me though. It was the first time I’d seem him play completely against what he had appeared to stand for before. I’d stick Eyes Wide Shut in there too, and maybe Rain Man.

    • Yeah, I’m gonna follow up performances with best films cuz they aren’t different lists. For Rain Man, I don’t know his performance would stand ouit more than these. Eyes Wide Shut is seriously underrated and very outside the box for Cruise as well but wouldn’t make my performance list.

  2. No love for The Last Samurai or Tropic Thunder???

    I’m with Dan on this one though, Magnolia is tops for me from Cruise. “I’ve got my lasers, my tasers and their pointed at you!”

    • G-Man, Welcome to the site!
      I actually like the Last Samuraii alot. Tropic Thunder while funny isn’t a great performance. Liked it alot though but doesn’t make my list.

  3. Damn skippy man! You completely rocked this one! I’m so happy you put Lestat in your top five. Even for people that didn’t love the movie, his performance was a huge stretch for him, and so sexual, deviant, maniacal, and inviting. Everything the Brat Prince Lestat revels in.

    I re-watched Jerry Maguire recently and remembered how much I fucking love anything Cameron Crowe writes, even when I’m not a fan of his casting. (Elizabethtown) I’m not sure I’d put Maguire at number one, or even my personal five, but it makes me smile you had the kahunas to rock it at number one.

    Frank T.J. Mackey would probably fill my #2 spot and I could see Collateral slipping on there too.

    Ethan Hunt is one of the most fun and exciting characters ever created and is why another MI flick is in the works so I’m down with his addition as well.

    I’d want to add The Last Samurai, but not for his greatness, just because I love the movie so much. And Legend, because I’m a fan of fantasy films that no one else likes.

    Can’t think of him without mentioning Top Gun or Risky Business though. But here’s his great performances, not his best films. A good, solid list Kai.

    And I didn’t like Born On The Fourth Of July, but he was incredible in it.

    • Yeah, I hear he was. We seem to be fairly on the same page but I’m sorry to admit I have never seen Legend which I realize may end our friendship! 🙂

  4. I think Collateral takes the cake! It was just so unlike Cruise to be playing a bad guy, and, on top of that, his performance was fantastic!

    Also, no love for Minority Report? Come on!

  5. I just did a Cruise list a few weeks ago, but it was my faaavorite Tom flicks. Suffice it to say that the list was almost totally different than this one.

  6. Editor In Chief Says:

    “I want the truth!” no love for a few good men…or war of the worlds…deadbeat dad saves the day, gotta love it!!
    great list, love! maybe should have made it a top 10, though!!

  7. HAHA I never noticed it had 3 front teeth 😉 I would include A Few Good Men in my top 5 but glad to see Collateral in there. Love that movie!

  8. I’m a big fan of his in Minority Report and A Few Good Men.

  9. Ya know, he really did fucking rock as Vincent in Collateral. Think that’d be my pick. But thank god he signed up for Tropic Thunder, his career needed some humor in it.

  10. 5. Tropic Thunder
    4. A Few Good Men
    3. Minority Report
    2. Collateral
    1. Jerry Maguire
    Great list! Although he gets so much crap for being a nut ball in real life, his acting is just always spot on.

    • This is where I agree 100%. He’s batshit crazy and his whacko grin is such an utter turn off, but I’d easily say I like 95% of his movies. That’s a damn feat.

      He was quite good in The Firm as well.

      • He is fun to watch even in the WORST movies like Top Gun and Cocktail. You can’t say he doesn’t commit to a part.
        @Heather: I like The Firm as well. That’s one of the scripts, along with Chinatown and a few others, that screenwriters are encouraged to read because it is a structurally written dream.
        @CMRok: I like that list but not sure I agree about performance for #3 thru 5. I could see giving him TThunder. He’s good in a Few Good Men… my wife picked that one too… and Minority Report is a good flick but not strongest acting wise… in my opinion.

  11. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA…the three front teeth line killed me.

    Collateral was a great role for Cruise. It’s a new side of him that I wish we’d see more of. I think it deserves a spot above Jerry but that’s just me. Although, the more I watch Rain Man the more I realize Dustin Hoffman wasn’t the only one who really made that movie work.

    But I have to second Heather with the inclusion of The Last Samurai (LOVE that movie).

    • Yeah… lot of Samuraii love goping around.
      McG is with you on Rain Man.
      And, in fairness, Dylan did the 3 front teeth joke before me though he hardly invented it! haha

  12. really good list Kai B. as a fellow Cruise-ite, i too am teased. but who cares? the guy’s a movie star. so what if he hasnt made anything that great recently, hes got a great repertoire.
    interesting you mention Mission Impossible – thats probably my favourite Cruise missile. he totally sells you the movie in his performance. great action movie.
    Vampire is another great forgotten Cruise role. How boring is that film in the second hour when hes not in it? and how great is it when he is?
    best Cruise performance? Magnolia is the obvious choice i suppose, and it probably is for good reason, but ive recently started realising that Cruise’s finest hour might be Rain Man. he plays a complete dick and you totally believe in his character’s transformation. if you didnt the film wouldnt work. Hoffman is great and got a deserved Oscar, but Cruise’s performance is the real key.

    • Nice point on Rain Man… maybe I need to give that another looksy.
      Agreed on MI being all due to Cruise selling it.
      Vampire is good when he leaves because of Banderas but definitely better when he’s there.

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