Stardom. . . Redeemed

Some years back I abandoned Tom Cruise to his fate and swore off his movies. Ugh. Just couldn’t separate actor from “star.” And there was plenty of the “star” that I found unpalatable and just plain disagreeable. Arrogance, inflated self-importance, nutty ideas, condescencion. Need I go on? And America and Hollywood seemed to fall out of love with the actor just as I did. He lost popularity and contracts and a couple of his movies semi-tanked. . . and even a semi-tank is disastrous for a star of his magnitude.

The last movie I saw with him was “Valkerie,” where he lost an eye, tried unsuccessfully to blow up Hitler, and then died. Not a big winner. He wasn’t Tom Cruise, he was a place holder. I knew I was supposed to be involved in his character’s fate, but I wasn’t. It was still Tom Cruise and I wasn’t a fan. Plus, the movie ended with all the good guys dying. Who the heck in Hollywood thought THAT would be a raging success? Even “Schindler’s List” gave us hope that some of the good people would survive!

Anyway. . . time marches on and when I saw the trailer for “Knight and Day”, it was. . . surprisingly interesting. Humor. There would be humor. And action. I am a sucker for action, especially done with humor and style. So I slated it for a Friday night and waited. And after last Friday night, I am happy to report, I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED! REALLY GOOD MOVIE!
It was a romantic action comedy. . . told with a narrative style that had us skipping over the messy details and landing in the fun action again. . . with character development and everything! Plus, the chemistry between Cameron Diaz and Tom was lovely. Just the right balance between ditzy modern girl in search of something and serious-but-off-the-nut spy in need of. . . something. That something turns out to be each other. Nice. Very nice.
Lots of sexual tension, but not a lot of steamy action– fine for the teenage nieces and nephews who accompanied us. And laughs. . . the guys in the audience laughed quite a bit and the gals giggled at the nuttiness that was actually fairly believable. In short, my kind of story. Totally. Even the bulls.
And each character grew. . . especially Cameron. She began to own her “skills” and to participate and got to kick butt with Tom in the end. You could see respect and affection growing amid the crazy pace of action. And every time things started to get romantic– like on a remote idyllic island– something happened to interrupt, something plausible, and we were off and running again! Great timing and wonderful scenery. Romance and adventure. Gimmmmmeeee more!

So, to make a long story short– Tom Cruise is back on my “to see” list. He has been redeemed in my eyes. At least as long as he doesn’t go dark and weird on me again. And I started to think about forgiveness and about how we should allow people in our lives to recant, recoup and be redeemed. . . whether it’s a friendship, a relationship, or a painful family situation. . . we need to make room for change in our hearts and lives. Even for fallen stars.

Yes, there are plot holes in the movie, but they’re handled in amusing and interesting ways. Yes, it’s a little over the top, but the characters seem so genuine that they get by with it. PLUS they were smart enough to use TANGO music as the score for much of the suspenseful parts! And it worked like magic! So much so that I kinda want to see it again. .. if just to make sure I wasn’t imagining how good I thought it was.
Any of you see it? What did you think? And to think that most of America went to see Adam Sandler and the goofs in Grown-Ups this weekend. They missed a golden opportunity in not seeing Knight and Day, instead.

What about you? Any stars you can’t abide seeing? Any whose off-screen lives/behavior taints their performances? What would it take for you to want to see them on the screen again?

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19 Responses to Stardom. . . Redeemed

  1. I don't often go to see movies so when I went to see "Knight and Day" it wasn't because it was Tom Cruise it was because it seemed like a fresh take on an action movie. And it was I loved it. BTW I do agree that he's been redeemed,as long as his PR people don't let him get into arguments with Matt Lauer.

  2. Oh good – I agree with you with the whole Tom Cruise thing. he did fall off the face of the earth and turned into – well… anyway….I am excited about this movie and glad to hear it delivers!

  3. I agree with Tom Cruise I use to love him and would see every movie he had out, Then I think the whole Katie Holmes stuff he went over the edge. I did like him in Tropic thunder even though I hated the movie itself, I want to see Kinght and Day I hope that he is back.

  4. Michele Hauf says:

    Thanks for posting this, Betina. I needed to read that. I too abandoned Cruise a few years ago. He's just been acting so wacky. But I saw him on Oprah promoting this movie and he was so subdued (I wondered if he'd been coached beforehand) and the movie sounds awesome. So I'm going out to see it this week! I need a good action/romance/spy story.

  5. SusanMallery says:

    Sounds like a great movie! I asked my fans on Facebook last week for movie recommendations, and several mentioned Knight and Day as being good, too. Sounds like one that my dh might like, as well, which is always fun. Date night!

  6. KylieBrant says:

    Sounds like we're all on the same page. I kicked Cruise to the curb a while back and have never been a Diaz fan. But the movie sounds intriguing enough for me to give it a try.

  7. Terrific review, Betiuna!I generally like Cameron Diaz–"In Her Shoes" and "There's Something About Mary"–and I saw her on The Daily Show promoting K&D. She really didn't say much about the movie, but she was a good interview–down to earth."Risky Business" is still my favorite Tom Cruise movie, the one I think he really carried. In "Rain Man" he was a good foil for Hoffman. In "A Few Good Men" Jack Nicholson stole the movie, but Cruise held his own. I liked "Jerry McGuire," but Cuba Gooding outshone Cruise. Cruise was good with Paul Newman (again, Newman carried the movie) in "The Color of Money." I can separate off-screen antics from on-screen performance, but the actors I really enjoy are the ones who transform in a role. Cruise went from cute boy to real life goofball, but he's never really blown me away as an actor the way some of his co-stars have. He gets kudos from me when he holds his own in a movie beside a powerhouse performer. I'll probably wait for the DVD to see K&D.

  8. lois greiman says:

    I've been dying to see this. So glad you liked it, B. I'm sure I will too, then. Thanks for the review. I'm thinking someone gave Tom some good advice about movies….not that any one of us couldn't have given him the same advice but…

  9. catslady says:

    I have a huge problem separating the actor from the person. Possibly I will watch this movie but he's still no longer on my must see list. Mel Gibson is another one – was my favorite actor. I'm afraid Charleton Heston and Tom Selleck got on my list too for some extreme politics. And let's not forget Tiger but since I like to watch golf I just route for other players now.

  10. Betina Krahn says:

    Chudney– you loved it too! So glad! And was I right about the tango music?Sheila and Michele– go see it and come back to let us know what you thought! I really do think this movie will redeem him– maybe not at the box office, but artistically.Michele, Susan, and Kylie– I think it would be a great date movie. As I said, the loudest laughter came from the guys. Really fun.Kathy, I seem to be able to separate with some actors and not with others. It's harder for me to do so with handsome hunks. Hmmmm. Character actors or supporting roles are a little easier for me. Like Johnny Depp– he's been a bad guy before and I really love him as one. Allan Rickman– hero or villain, I adore him. I thought Tom "acted" more in this movie than I recalled him doing before.Lois, he seems to have gotten better career advice as well as better PR. I hope he stays in this vein for a while to re-establish himself.Catslady, I'm with you on the celebs that have fallen from grace. Mel Gibson is probably my first banishment. He lost me forever with that awful movie "Payback." He played a mean, conscience-less character who did despicable things to people over a puny sum of money. Ugh. I walked out of the theater early, feeling dirty! Haven't seen a Mel film since. And he looks ridden hard and put away wet. . . his life (maybe the state of his spirit)shows in his face these days. Still, I'd give him a chance if the movie role seemed interesting to me.These days I'm all about second chances and forgiveness.

  11. krisgils33 says:

    I've never been a Tom Cruise fan. I loved Top Gun, but not because of him. The supporting characters were great. How the actors live their personal lives does not really determine what movies I will see. It is rare now that I have time for movies, so I am very selective in what I choose.

  12. Kathleen O says:

    Won't be rushing to see his movie, might wait until it comes out in DVD in maybe September… Not a really big fan of either of these actors. But if that is what we pick to see this weekend when I am at my cousins house, then I will go with the flow

  13. Oh, I'm so happy to hear this! Sounds like a great movie for Surfer Guy and I to see together. Like many of you, I've been turned off by Cruise-the-man, but I think I can separate given the rec here.

  14. Betina Krahn says:

    Krisgils33, I'm with you on the Top Gun thing. I liked the whole cast and even Val Kilmer was vavavoom! And if you have to choose movies carefully… there are probably ones I'd choose over this one.Kathleen O, come back and report to us what you saw and how you liked it! Christie, I hope you guys like it as much as we did!

  15. Cindy Gerard says:

    Great review, Betina. I was hoping the movie was as good as the trailers. And Cruise was never anyone I wanted to cross off but, like most everyone else, I was more or less, 'meh' as far as seeing him again. Glad to hear he's back in form.Kevin Costner is another actor who has been up and down – more down lately. Still, I always find myself rooting for him – if for no other reason, he was amazing in Bull Durham :o)

  16. Debra Dixon says:

    Betina– I'm so glad to hear this. I'm in the exact boat you were in. I don't bother with Tom Cruise, but the movie looked interesting!I did see where it is tanking at the box office, so either we're in the minority who like this kind of movie or there are a lot more people swearing off Tom than previously thought!

  17. gigi says:

    HI Betina,I saw Knight and Day on Sunday with my family. We all enjoyed it. The action was there the music was good.I told my husband that I wasn't expecting much but I was hoping that with Cameron Diaz in the movie it would at least be funny.Your right about Tom. I fell out with him years ago. He really weird- ed out. Especially when he talked bad about Brooke Shields and her postpartum depression. His movies just lost something . I enjoyed Risky Business and Top Gun. Then it seemed his head just started to swell. I hope he has came back to earth and can turn out a few good movies.

  18. Leanne says:

    Betina, THANK YOU for this review! I trust you much more than the regular reviewers. I'm turned off by the media Tom Cruise, but this sounds wonderful! THANKS!!!!

  19. Betina Krahn says:

    Oooooo, Cindy– Kevin Costner! Another very uneven performing star. but at least his private life hasn't been quite the circus Tom's has been, so I've mostly stayed with him. He seems to do better in westerns and in romantic comedies. But I did really like him in "Swing Vote" and as a serial killer in "Mr Brooks." He was chilling in that movie– so charming and handsome and DEADLY.Deb, Yes it seems to be semi-taking at the BO. . . which worries me. They'll probably see the numbers and swear off making more movies like this. sigh. Just when I find one I really like. . . Gigi, I'm so glad to hear you liked the movie too. The nice thing was that it wasn't just all special effects. . . though there were a few of those. The real fun of the movie was the developing relationship. Don't get much of that these days!Leanne, I'm humbled. Better than listening to the reviewers? MY head may begin to swell! ::grin::

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