“Rock of Ages” Review: In Defense of Tom Cruise

Spencer Cain

 Rock of Ages Review: In Defense of Tom CruiseA lot has been said about Tom Cruise. Between the Scientology, the infamous “couch incident” on his pal Oprah Winfrey‘s talk show and the “lifts” he wears on the red carpet, it seems that the popular opinion about Tom Cruise is not a positive one — and that is something I just can’t understand.

Last night, The Venetian Las Vegas hosted a special screening of his latest film Rock of Ages at the storied Landmark Cinemas in New York. I’ll admit that I was skeptical going in, and was not expecting much more than a cheesy romp accompanied by tired ’80s music. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the quick and humorous writing, spot-on costumes and the solid ensemble cast. Candidly, however, I was most impressed by Tom Cruise.

While his role as Stacee Jaxx wasn’t a lead — despite being billed as such for marketing purposes — his cameo was as genius as his hilarious turn as Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder. Stacee is a rock legend with a penchant for Wild Turkey, leather chaps and lots of women. Sure, this certainly differs substantially from Cruise’s public persona, but that’s what makes him so good at it. It’s almost like he’s spitting in the face of every hater who has ever questioned his ability to inhabit a new character.

It would have been very easy to cast someone more used to playing a chauvinist, and the producers probably would have saved a pretty penny if an actor like Matthew McConaughey was involved. Cruise was a controversial choice, but at this point in his career, he makes no apologies for being who he is. Candidly, it makes his performance that much stronger.

I’m not going to go all Chris Crocker on you guys and tell you to leave Tom Cruise alone, but you should. Oh, and another thing you should do is see Rock of Ages. At the very least, you’ll walk out of the theater and have “Don’t Stop Believin'” stuck in your head for weeks.

Image via W Magazine