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40 Years of Winning and Grinning – The Tom Cruise Episode! – Episode 150

In this 150th episode, Dara decides not to lean into what makes the show what it is, but rather opts for the easy entertainment of the career of Tom Cruise. A recent rewatch of Top Gun Maverick prompted the question – what is it about Tom Cruise that audiences continue to buy? What is it about that smile, and that ever-young body?

Dara looks at the Cruise filmography and identifies 1983 as his breakout year. That means it is a neat 40 years to last year’s Mission Impossible instalment. So, which half of Cruise’s career would you take over the other? The first 20 years, or the second 20? At exactly the halfway mark there is a 2003 film that Dara reckons red-flagged the beginning of a Cruise wobble and save for a few notable exceptions, laid the groundwork for dialled-in performances far beneath the leading man’s capabilities.

Dara wonders who would represent Ireland if there were an acting Olympics. He argues it wouldn’t necessarily be the best actor, but perhaps the one that does the best job of representing what we want to believe about ourselves. He thinks Cruise would be the US choice and considers representatives from other countries too.

It was in an early Cruise film that Dara responded to two disparate iterations of masculinity – one that he knew was very far from his own natural leanings, and one which he hoped he might one day embody.

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