6.20.2005

Tom Cruise Saves the World

I think we've decided Monday will be Movie Day here at Barrelhouse. Movie. Monday. Get it? Yeah, we know. But hey, we're not smart, so we can use every helpful mnemonic device we can get. So, to kick off Mega Movie Monday Madness (too much?) how about a flick that doesn't come out for another nine days but which I'm already conflicted about.

There's a part of me that really wants to see the new War of the Worlds remake. It's an entertaining story, and with the studio throwing $150 million at it, I'm sure the thing will be, if nothing else, visually stunning. Sure it won't be much of a "think piece," but with my brain fried from summer humidity and too much booze, I'm like every other moviegoer between late June and early September: just give me something pretty to look at for a couple hours or, failing that, a few dick and fart jokes.

There's two things holding me back from War of the Worlds, though, and the first is Tom Cruise. Cruise isn't a bad actor: I liked Risky Business and Top Gun as much as the next testosterone-addled adolescent male. He was great in last year's Collateral, and even more impressive in Magnolia. Even 1983's Losin' It has its moments.

But with his recent, well-publicized escapades, Tom Cruise has finally reached that crucial tipping point where I can no longer separate Tom Cruise the Actor from Tom Cruise the Completely Batshit Scientologist. I don't think I could sit through War of the Worlds without muttering jokes under my breath about e-meters and the evils of modern psychiatry (and come on: the alien jokes will pretty much write themselves).

Please note that I'm refusing to comment here on Katie Holmes, as Dave so eloquently did last week. I'm hoping that particular national nightmare will soon be over and it can become another thing we choose never to speak of again, like Bob Dylan's Christian phase or Saved by the Bell: The College Years.

Anyway, the second thing that's holding me back from War of the Worlds is Spielberg. The man's done some great work, of course. But he keeps insulting our collective intelligence by tacking on these awkward "I have a message and am now shoving it down your throat" endings that make me want to impale myself with a sharp stick.

At the end of Saving Private Ryan, did we really need the Tearful Visit To the Graveyard for us to understand what the movie was about? And let's not even get started with the clunker of an ending Spielberg tacked on to AI.

For a movie that's supposed to be about invading aliens, the sappiness potential of War of the Worlds seems high – never a good sign for a Spielberg flick. Cruise's character is a down-on-his-luck everyman who just might save the world. Dakota Fanning plays a prominent role (Spielberg + precocious children = me throwing up in my mouth). The entire Future of The World is at stake.

Still, I'll probably go. This summer I'm living in a house with no air-conditioning, and it's nice and cool inside the local megaplex. And War of the Worlds has to be better than Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, right?

1 comment:

joe said...

I actually wrote a piece defending Tom Cruise. I didn't post it becuase I didn't quite agree with myself. I couldn't figure out why. Then he freaked out on Matt Lauer this morning. Question answered.