Tom Cruise: How He Should Salvage His Image
1. Tone down on the crazy.
Seriously. Tone down on the crazy! You are passionate about your life, wife, child, career, religion, breakfast, car, planet, whatever, but when you use the same amount of enthusiasm to talk about each one ... it comes off a little nutty. There is nothing that the mainstream loves more than to watch an actor being slightly crazy, but when they go too far, like Lindsay Lohan or Amy Winehouse or Mel Brooks, the appeal is missing. So when you go to see Oprah, talk about how happy you are to be in love, maybe laugh in delight (under 60 seconds please), but jumping around on poor innocent furniture is just wrong. Nothing about you is particularly crazy, Tom, but when you go from a six to a ten in a second, we want to see the men in white jackets after you.
2. Make fun of yourself.
Your recent appearance on Letterman wasn't so bad, and your Top Ten List of Crazy Things People Say About Tom Cruise on the Internet had some very good lines. People like it when you're capable of laughing at your own antics, because it indicates that yes, maybe it was crazy, and okay, maybe it won't happen again. Then it becomes an inside joke between you and us, and your good-old-boy charm comes back to steal our heart. It seems you've been a good sport before when people parody your actions, or when Ben Stiller used to mimic you on SNL, and that is a lovable quality. Do a Funny or Die video making fun of Scientology, and you might just get to be People's Sexiest Man Alive 2009 immediately.
3. Pick strong supporting roles.
What did doing Tropic Thunder remind us? That you are a great actor when you want to be, and have a surprising level of comic timing. In fact, Tom, another comedy or perhaps a romantic comedy would be just up your alley way. Remember Jerry Maguire? Interview With the Vampire, when you fell in love with Brad Pitt? Those were great. You were far more interesting as a supporting role in Magnolia than you were in The Last Samurai, so maybe it is time to take a few more complicated side roles rather than sticking to the big action packed leads. Honestly, it seems like you have more fun with it, and we enjoy watching you dance like an idiot on screen.
WARNING: Adult Language
4. Less is more.
This is a continuation of #1, but let's apply to all things, not just your crazy. Privacy is a precious thing, something which you and your wife have very little of. We don't really need to know every aspect of your life, or your faith, or your marriage. The past few years your open mouthed policy toward personal opinions has lessened, no doubt due to your new publicist Paul Bloch. Until you get back to the top, it may be wise to become a mystery to us. If you start answering a question about a movie, and you are thinking about babbling for five minutes, bring it down to two. See. Less is more. And think of those three minutes that won't be made into SNL skits. It's progress. Oh, and try to tie your hands down to the chair arms. You wave them around so much in interviews that they're putting on a mime show all of their own.
5. Reinvent yourself.
Tom, you're the subject of a lot of mocking, even in this article, but the truth is you're a great actor. You've done some incredible films, like Risky Business, Rain Man, Top Gun, A Few Good Men, The Firm, Vanilla Sky, etc. The first Mission Impossible was great! Why is it that slowly your roles appear to be getting more wooden? Help me to help you. Look back at the acting choices you've done in the past, the most innovative and interesting ones that really gained you notice as an actor, and get back into that mind frame. Try something new. There is no one at the moment that needs a makeover more than Tom Cruise, so go for broke. You can always go back to just being the crazy laughing guy who embraces the story of Xenu. To be honest, we'll probably love you either way ... for completely different reasons.
Story by Chelsea 'Dee' Doyle
Starpulse contributing writer
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