Something happened last year, and I'm not entirely sure how.
My friend Jeramy (@JeramyWainwrigh) is a huge Tom Cruise fan, and early on in the summer he started talking about his rewatch of all of the Mission Impossible films. His mission was to watch the series over before the new movie, Rogue Nation, was released. Jeramy's genuine enthusiasm and insights stuck with me, because the Mission Impossible films were ones I remembered enjoying, but not having that strong of feelings about.
Because, Tom Cruise.
In late January 2013, I went to see Django Unchained with a friend. We were both beyond excited to finally see Tarantino's new movie, which had opened almost a month before, on Christmas Day. Cancelled and rearranged plans finally found us at a midday screening, happy and anxious for what would unfold over the next three hours. In the interest of telling a more compact story, I'll simply say that because of a technical issue, they didn't show Django that day. We understood and weren't that disappointed, especially after the theater a) refunded our money, b) gave us free passes for another time, and c) told us we were welcome to go see something else, free of charge, since we had made the trip to the theater. Ruling out movies that had already started or were starting in the too-distant future, we ended up in the auditorium a few minutes before Jack Reacher began. Neither one of us was enthused about the choice, but as I mentioned: free.
|If you're looking for summer reading, how about Ruthless?|
My distaste for Cruise bloomed somewhere around the Scientology promo video and the couch-jumping on Oprah and his general overexposure of that time. I became unable to see him as anything other than Tom Cruise, Scientologist and Movie Star. That bias completely ruined Jack Reacher, which my friend and I mocked, whispering to one another in the mostly empty theater, figuring out the plot soon after it was explained. (The presence of Jai Courtney didn't help matters either.) So: as recently as 2013, Cruise was little more than a punch line to me.
(Full disclosure - I did see and enjoy MI3, and Ghost Protocol. Maybe because their over-the-top beauty and jacked-up stunts suited the persona? I don't know. They both worked for me in a big way, especially MI3.)
Despite the odds and inspired by Jeramy's enjoyment, I decided to rewatch all of the Mission Impossible films last summer before seeing Rouge Nation. It was fun, and somewhere in there I felt myself thinking, plainly, "Tom Cruise has been in a lot of movies. A lot of movies I haven't seen. I'd like to watch some more Tom Cruise movies."
I've wanted to undertake a project as massive as watching all of an actor's work for a while, but it seemed too daunting. Example: I've been working on The Coen Project for well over a year (where I've been watching all of the films they've directed, in an effort to educate myself), and I still have a handful of films to get through. ("Get through," because... I'm not loving every single one? "Get through," because... I don't really...get...a lot of them? Admitting that fills me with dread, because the Coens are so loved and revered, and that's what the project was about, really. Trying to see the big picture[s] and find out for myself what the appeals are. The Coen Project will eventually get its own post, but this post ain't it.)
But as a regular person who enjoys movies, I had already seen a ton of Cruise's films in my life. A Few Good Men, Top Gun, Interview With The Vampire; these were American classics. I thought I could fill in the gaps with what I'd missed, rewatch the ones I'd seen, and finally have a completist accomplishment under my belt.
That's how Cruise Summer was born.
It's no longer summer, though, and I'm not finished with the task. But the whole thing will be a post of its own when finished, so this post ain't that post either.
This post is about Jerry MaFuckingGuire.