Why We Can't Take Cruise Seriously
Nazi role won't be a career-changer a la Nicholson, Newman
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2008 1:43 PM CST

(Newser) – The prospect of Tom Cruise as a renegade Nazi has moviegoers snickering already, and with good reason, Stephen Metcalf writes for Slate. No one expects Cruise to pull off a mid-career tour de force as the giants who came before him did. “Place Cruise next to Nicholson, Newman, and Tracy,” Metcalf writes, “and he is a riddle.” Cruise follows a different template. “Place him next to Reagan, and he is not so confounding at all.”

A re-viewing of Risky Business, featuring Cruise in his breakthrough role, shows his transformation into a symbol of '80s market excess. It “is to be present again, not only at the creation of Cruise, the movie star, but at the death of Cruise, an actor bounded by normal human proportion.” The regard we afford him mirrors the regard we give the capitalist dreams of his decade of dominance. “The Cruise persona, like a junk bond, was never meant to reach maturity.”