Summer of Cruise III: The era of the “Tom Cruise Picture”

“I’m more afraid of being nothing than I am of being hurt.” – Cole Trickle, Days of Thunder

The only thing more difficult than becoming a movie star is remaining one, and that is the challenge Tom Cruise faced in the wake of Risky Business and Top Gun. Many an actor has gotten big breaks like those, only to quickly fade away into the background. However, if you are familiar with Cruise’s personality and work ethic, you know he was not going to let that happen. In fact, he barely even took a moment to appreciate his own success, and he spent the rest of the ‘80s stringing together hit after hit in order to keep his name in the spotlight. He was smart about it, too, balancing commercial projects with slightly more prestigious fare. We will get to the latter category in a later post, but for now, let us focus on three films in which he attempted to capitalize on the “young hotshot” image he so successfully created in Top Gun. Continue reading