American Made

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Rated Greg’s Top 10 Tom Cruise Performances

  1. Vincent – Collateral
  2. Barry Seal – American Made
  3. Jerry Maguire – Jerry Maguire
  4. Les Grossman – Tropic Thunder
  5. Ethan Hunt – Mission Impossible 1, 3, 4, and 5*
  6. Vincent Lauria – The Color of Money
  7. Cole Trickle – Days of Thunder
  8. Maverick – Top Gun
  9. Cage – Edge of Tomorrow
  10. John Anderton – Minority Report

*2 never happened

It doesn’t seem like people realize that Tom Cruise can still make a REALLY GOOD movie in 2017.   Are you aware?   How about you in the back?  A few weeks ago I was raving about Cruise’s latest, American Made, to my brother and his only response was “Wait, you still like Tom Cruise?” No Scott, you pompous lush, I fucking love Tom Cruise.  He’s an American treasure.  In fact, on the Mount Rushmore of Toms, he’d be Washington to Tom Petty’s Lincoln, Tom Brady’s Jefferson, and Tom Sandoval’s Roosevelt.

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Without a doubt, Tom Cruise is my favorite actor of all time.  The number of bonafide hits he’s made the past 35 years is absolutely unparalleled, a desert island filmography if there ever was one.  But somewhere down the road my guy became a punch line.  What with the couch jumping incident on Oprah, a curious lack of aging, and an apparently damning segment in the HBO Scientology documentary, I can understand that some side-eye is warranted.  Sure, Cruise is also prone to duds here and there at this stage of his career (i.e. The Mummy), but if we’re going to make fun of him for his recent bad movies, he deserves high praise for his recent good ones.  He’s the opposite of George Clooney, who low key has made exactly one good movie (Gravity) in 6 years and yet is still thought of at the top of his game (not to mention, SPOILER ALERT, he’s killed off 20 minutes into Gravity!).

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American Made is based on the escapades of real life pilot Barry Seal, who was simultaneously running various operations for both the C.I.A. and Pablo Escobar throughout the 1980’s, unbeknownst to each other.  Before you even know that Cruise is involved, doesn’t that just sound like an awesome movie?!  This entertaining as hell script would have been catnip for an A-lister like Leonardo DiCaprio or Christian Bale, a project that would allow them to have fun and get a nomination at the same damn time because they are who they are (see Damon, Matt in The Martian).

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But those actors, while obviously serviceable, wouldn’t have been as good as Cruise is here.  He isn’t going to be nominated for American Made because of Academy politics, but he damn well should be.   You could argue that this is the best Maverick has ever been and it’s directly because director Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow, Bourne Identity) has given him so much to work with.  Because his brand in the 21st Century has almost exclusively been PG-13 good guy action hero, it’s so refreshing to see Cruise let loose and get filthy in a hilarious R Rated movie.  American Made is basically Blow meets Wolf of Wall Street.  Grade: A+

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