Citizen Dame 5: Favorite Tom Cruise Movies

If there’s one thing you know about the Dames it’s that the heart of Ms. Karen Peterson belongs to Thomas Cruise Mapother IV (*Mapother…really?). So when it came time to discuss a top 5 around the release of Mission Impossible: Fallout we all knew what we’d be doing…whether we liked it or not. So, in honor of Tom Cruise here are our top five favorite Cruise movies. Feel free to list yours in the comments!

(*Why do you think he goes by Cruise??–Karen)

Karen’s 5

Having to choose my favorite Tom Cruise movies is always hard because, honestly, out of 43-ish, all of which I’ve seen, at least 35 of them are good. Not Oscar winners or anything, but he really doesn’t have a lot of misses in his nearly four decade career. And there are only two films on his entire list of credits I actively dislike. Let’s go 2 1/2 because I do still find The Mummy watchable even while admitting it’s pretty terrible. But narrow it down I did. But the beauty of our Citizen Dame Fives is that, unlike what the boys all do, we don’t have to rank our five. We just list them. And so I don’t have to say I love one of these more than the others because I really don’t know if I do anyway.

Oh, and I love the entire Mission: Impossible franchise, but really can’t just choose one, so I chose none and picked a few others I adore.

Top Gun Cruise

Top Gun (1986)

It’s the one that started it all. I know I’ve told the story, and it is 100% true: I was 9 and I didn’t know what love was, but I definitely felt it. I reconnected with my childhood best friend not too long ago. She asked, “Are you still obsessed with Tom Cruise and Star Wars?” Yes, Amanda. Yes, I am.

Jerry Maguire

Jerry Maguire (1996)

Truth be told, I do have one very favorite Tom Cruise movie and it is Jerry Maguire. I love everything about it. I have a soft spot for guys learning not to be douchebags anymore. What can I say? Plus that tiny Jonathan Lipnicki is so damn adorable, and watching Tom Cruise go toe-to-toe with a four-year-old just makes my heart burst. Plus it’s probably one of the best written films Cameron Crowe ever did, and that’s saying a lot for the guy who also wrote Say Anything, Vanilla Sky, and Almost Famous.


A Few Good Men (1992)

Tom Cruise delivers pitch perfect Aaron Sorkin dialogue like he was born to do it. Even though it was a play before it was a screenplay and a film, Cruise is such a perfect Dan Caffee that I would fully believe Sorkin had him in mind while writing it. Caffee is funny and smart, and constantly relegated to a particular box by people who think they have him pegged. Hmmm…kind of sounds a little like Cruise himself.


Collateral (2004)

The man is 56, so if he ever decides to embrace the Silver Fox look, we’ve already seen it works for him. Ever the hero, Collateral was exciting and new because Cruise became the villain. And, no surprise, he was really good at it because of course he was. This was probably the first movie where I realized just how dance-like a lot of his moves are. The way he grabs a gun and keeps moving in a crowded club. The way he moves along a metro platform. I know people love to make fun of him, but he gives everything to his films, and it’s great to have one where he gets to punch Jamie Foxx a few times.

Minority Report

Minority Report (2002)

I waited YEARS for a collaboration between Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise and that wait was rewarded with this future-set sci fi film. There’s a lot going on in this movie, but it is just so compelling. A fascinating story from the mind of Philip K. Dick turns into a film with pre-cognitive beings, conspiracies, eye removal surgery, and Lois Smith planting a big kiss right on Cruise’s lips. It’s part intense thriller, part heart-wrenching drama, and all adds up to some serious entertainment.


Kristen’s 5

I would never presume to call myself a Tom Cruise fan and yet scouring his filmography I realized, I’ve seen a fuckton of his movies. I could have easily done a top 8 probably. I will say, honorable mention goes to Tropic Thunder because his Les Grossman is fantastic and we did not talk about the Harvey Weinstein comparisons enough back in 2008. (Okay, and yes the movie is technically co-written by Justin Theroux but that never factored into my decision.) Note: I’m listing in order of release year, not preference.

Risky Business (1983)

Risky Business skirts the line between being a fantastic ’80s teen movie and being one of those misogynistic, creepy bro movies that defined the decade. (Looking at you, Animal House!) Up until about a decade ago I only knew this movie from the references drawn to it in Not Another Teen Movie, which sums up how this movie should have gone in reality. Cruise plays Joel, a good kid with a bright future who, through a series of hijinks, ends up operating a brothel out of his house. Now, said brothel also includes the drop-dead gorgeous Rebecca de Mornay who, don’t at me, totally overshadows our lead. That being said, this is a fun movie with a tagline I’ll probably chisel on my tombstone.

Interview with the Vampire (1994)

Ah, Lestat. The character everyone loves to hate. This is Tom Cruise Ground Zero for me and, this might be controversial to say…but he’s a character you root for if you’re of a certain personality. I mean, Louis (Brad Pitt) does nothing but whine for two hours. Jesus, I’d have dumped him ages ago, great hair be damned. Really, this movie could have been two hours of Cruise and Kirsten Dunst’s Claudia acting like queen bitches to each other and I’d have been content.

Jerry Maguire (1996)

I loved Cameron Crowe as a director and writer for a number of years. Can’t say much good about his recent work, but several of his movies during the ’90s were flawless masterpieces in my opinion. As an adult, I do have reservations about Jerry Maguire, both the movie and the character. The story of a sports agent whose attack of conscience ends up changing him is…problematic. Mostly because Jerry Maguire is a total asshole for much of the movie. Crowe created the concept of the manic pixie dream girl so it’s expected that Renee Zellweger’s Dorothy is going to change him, but I still never buy it. The whole “you complete me” stuff, yeah, I’d have sent him packing. But I do think the script gives relationships such complexity and humanity. Cruise is funny and charming, which is why I think the other movie on my list with him and Crowe is better because it deconstructs all that. And Kelly Preston rocks so much here.

Vanilla Sky (2001)

Controversial statement: I think Vanilla Sky is Crowe’s second best work after Almost Famous. I know this movie got crapped on back in 2001 because people love the original. I saw this one first and having watched the original a few months ago – I love the remake more. Vanilla Sky tells the story of a millionaire playboy whose life is turned upside down after a car accident and I think a lot of this movie is a comment on Cruise himself. Cruise’s David Ames is a charming, charismatic guy who doesn’t understand that his selfishness is hurtful. He’s a man who believes everything revolves around him and at the end…nothing really changes. But everything looks beautiful, Cameron Diaz is the best baddie, and Cruise actually has  to do some intense acting that’s not reliant on his toothy grin. I’m telling you, commentary on Tom Cruise this movie.

Rock of Ages (2012)

Speaking of commentaries on Cruise, why not have him play a rock star? The movie version of Rock of Ages is an entirely separate entity from the Broadway musical. (I heavily endorse seeing both if you can.) On-stage the Stacee Jaxx character is a total dick and for Cruise that just wouldn’t do. I give Cruise credit for everything he does in this movie because he goes full force. He sings into a woman’s ass for crying out loud! He’s larger-than-life, both on-screen and off, and he gets to sing. Pretty awesome.

Lauren’s 5


Mission: Impossible II (2000)

Yes, it is a ripoff of Notorious. Yes, it has some of the silliest shots known to man (*slow-mo doves*). Yes, it has a goddamn motorcycle joust at the end. But Mission: Impossible II is still loads of fun; one of those movies where I can shut off my brain and just enjoy the silly, silly ride. And I also have a thing for Richard Roxburgh.


Tropic Thunder (2008)

OK, so this is not a “Tom Cruise movie,” per se, but Tom gives one of his best, most entertaining performances ever as the constantly angry, very swear-y studio executive Les Grossman. He’s so unrecognizable that several of my friends didn’t realize it was Tom Cruise until the credits; but, more than that, he’s just funny which, in a film full of very funny people, says a lot. I will never unsee that dance to “Get Back.”

A Few Good Men 1

A Few Good Men (1992)

Although he’s now just an action star, Cruise has done more intellectually challenging roles in the past, including A Few Good Men, which is a great, solid thriller with a solid performance from Cruise. Rewatching it reminds us why he became a big star in the first place—yes, he’s good-looking and does cool stunts, but the guy has enough undeniable screen presence that he can battle it out with Jack Nicholson. Not bad.


Mission: Impossible (1996)

Or, as I like to call it, The One Brian DePalma Movie I Don’t Want To Throw Into The Sea. This was the film that started the whole franchise, and it’s far, far different from what the series became. But for that reason, I quite like it. There’s an underworld spy-vibe going on here that the series all but abandons by the time John Woo gets ahold of it. And that vault heist scene is still iconic.


That One Scientology Video (2008)

I mean, tell me that’s not a compelling performance.

Kimberly’s 5

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’ve never been into Tom Cruise beyond “He’s kinda cute.” Read on at your peril…

Minority Report

Minority Report (2002)

This is actually one of the few Tom Cruise movies I’ve seen in theaters. The sci-fi drama came out smack dab in the middle of my Colin Farrell phase, and beyond that the Steven Spielberg-directed movie is pretty damn good! Check it out if you haven’t.


Jerry Maguire (1996)

“You complete me…” (sob). Rene Zellweger was the romantic leading lady of the moment as I was coming of age. I watched a fair amount of work when I was an annoying, hormonal pre-teen. Plus, Cruise is really cute in this one. I haven’t seen it in far too long, but I remember legitimately remember liking this.


Tropic Thunder (2008)

I don’t think of this film as a Tom Cruise vehicle. I remember seeing this film in theaters and legitimately liking it. The comedy felt unique and original. Cruise puts forward a chameleon-like performance so I didn’t recognize him in until I IMDB’d the movie after watching it.


Mission: Impossible II (2000)

I had a lengthy John Woo phase during film school; that’s not abnormal, I think most film students have a John Woo phase. We know the director has a flair for stylistic action sequences, some combining him with Tom Cruise? It’s a cheesy, delightful match made in heaven.

Jack Reacher (2012)

This really isn’t a great movie, but Jai Courtney is in it. So, there is that.



1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s