Rocking With Tom Cruise

During our most recent power outage my husband and I went to seek air conditioning in the movie theatre. We stared at the posters and picked Rock of Ages  knowing nothing about it. The list of cast and featured music caught our eye so we bought tickets. “How bad could it be?” my husband asked as he pointed to the Music Featured section, “Poison, Twisted Sister, Journey.” He pointed to Alec Baldwin wearing a KISS t-shirt, sealing the deal with the prospect of my favorite band making an appearance. We bought a bag of popcorn and waited for the film to begin.

The opening scene featured a girl taking the bus from mid-America to the City of Angels. The blonde shuffled through photos from home fending off the homesickness, and that’s when the music started. Not just background music, but live music. The actress started belting out Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian” while sitting on the bus. Fellow passengers chimed in, singing “Motoring!” My husband and I looked at each in fright. We had just bought tickets to a musical! “What else are we going to do?” asked Don. I shrugged and began to relax.

Once Tom Cruise came on the screen, we were blown away! His performance as Stacee Jaxx was absolutely hilarious! His character is an exaggerated stereotypical heavy metal rocker. He wanders around wearing a variety of scarves, fur pieces, sunglasses and bandanas speaking as if reciting poetry; and he’s never too far from a girl or a bottle of scotch. Every time Tom Cruise came on the screen, we would belly laugh uncontrollably. I don’t think we’ve ever had so much fun watching a movie! In all the roles we had seen Tom Cruise in, we never realized he had a sense of humor. Usually he plays the leading man who is way too serious and is on some type of mission.

I came into work early the next day to see what OWL had on Tom Cruise. I went through the list of movies thinking, “Oh yeah, I forgot he was in this.” I had watched most of his filmography over the years. Join me in saluting Stacee Jaxx…I mean Tom Cruise:

Tom Cruise is a bit of an adrenaline junkie. His hobbies include scuba diving, sky diving and piloting stunt planes. His love of action and adventure shows through in the parts he plays. Top Gun was his first mainstream action film in which he is recruited into the Top Gun Naval Flying School. Cruise went on to earn his pilot’s license eight years after filming this movie. Another classic, Days of Thunder, takes place on the ground instead of in the air. The Mission Impossible series features Cruise doing a variety of his own stunts, including a rock climbing scene in Utah from Dead Horse Point, and scaling the tallest building in Dubai at a mere 2,723 feet!

Over his prolific career Cruise has played a soldier six times. He began the 1980s as a Cadet Captain in Taps, taking control and saving the military school from being demolished. He went through Flight School in Top Gun in the mid-eighties, and finished the decade by joining the anti-war movement after coming home from Vietnam a wheelchair-bound paraplegic in Born on the Fourth of July. His roles were more spread out since then, moving up in the ranks from Lieutenant in A Few Good Men to Captain in Last Samurai and Colonel in Valkyrie.

Cruise has married two actresses who have played Batman’s love interest in the movies. Nicole Kidman, Cruise’s second wife, played Dr. Chase Meridan, Val Kilmer’s love interest in Batman Forever in 1995. Ten years later Katie Holmes, Cruise’s third wife, played Christian Bale’s girl-next-door in Batman Begins.

I hope his latest venture into the comedy world isn’t his last. You could see a peak of his sense of humor in 2008’s Tropic Thunder, a parody about actors taking their job too seriously written by Ben Stiller. He played a studio exec who needs to get all the “self-important” actors to finish filming a movie set in Vietnam. Not a newbie to wearing prosthetics for all of his spy films, he wore a bald cap, a fat suit, and fake hands to alter his appearance for the role. I can’t wait to see what the future brings!

Lisa Shaia is the children’s librarian who can’t get Poison’s “Nothin’ But a Good Time” out of her head.