What Should We Think of *Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation*'s Tom Cruise?

A roundtable.

Should art be subjected to the personal life of an artist? Should an artist’s beliefs influence your opinion of the work? With just days until the release of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, two Inverse staff members debate these questions in regards to the polarizing Tom Cruise.

Lauren Sarner: Many actors in this world are dicks. The nature of the profession, coupled with the Hollywood environment, is ripe for the little known “D” type on the Myers-Briggs personality scale. Usually, this isn’t really an issue — as long as they can convince us they’re someone else for an hour or two and get us immersed in a good story, why should we care what they’re like in their personal lives? But Tom Cruise is my one exception. (OK, maybe my second). But for other celebrities I’m iffy on, if they’re in a movie that looks good enough, I’ll still see it. Cruise is the only one I go out of my way to avoid. Looking at his manic-eyed intensity and shark smile, I have to agree with Christian Bale. This guy is not human and no amount of watching him dance in his underwear or repel from ceilings to catchy music can trick me into thinking otherwise.

This just isn’t enough…

…to make me forget this:

That guy is not someone you want to see in his underwear. That’s a guy you want to cross the street and get a pretend phone call to avoid.

Eric Francisco: I try. I try very, very hard when watching a Tom Cruise movie to look past whatever reprehensible things he may have done in his personal life. It’s an effort. I probably shouldn’t have to make that kind of effort in the first place if I just want to watch a hot guy with great hair sprint, but when I do, it’s worth it.

Because of amazing moments like these.

Or this:

Top Gun, Mission Impossible, Edge of Tomorrow, not Oblivion, whatever. I’m in for a ride. I don’t want to busy myself with the real world too much for two hours.

Lauren: The separation of art and artist is alway a tough issue, especially when they do something highly questionable offscreen. If you watch the documentary Going Clear, you’ll see real footage of Cruise looking like a cross between an old-timey dictator and a comically over-the-top overlord from a dystopian movie:

When I watch this:

Rather than get immersed in the world the movie is conjuring, it just makes me think of his real life. It’s distracting and disturbing — and not in the way the movie wants it to be.

Eric: Okay, Lauren, but…

Lauren: OK, but see this scene, where Cruise’s character is warned not to mess with a powerful, secretive organization that has been known to be responsible for people going missing…

…it’s just too disturbing in the context of actual missing persons cases.

Eric: OK but…

Lauren: Look, I don’t want to poop on your party, but Cruise literally turns a blind eye to child labor. Also Tom Cruise, if for some reason you’re reading this, of course you don’t I’m totally joking please don’t sue me.

Eric: BUT…

Lauren: You want to see fun? look at Alec Baldwin here:

Or Christian Bale here:

Why am I bringing up Baldwin and Bale? Because they, too, have indulged in some questionable behavior offscreen, but it’s different. Christian Bale yells at someone? I can deal. It’s an isolated incident. Alec Baldwin punches a paparrazo? He plays douchebags anyway, so if anything, it adds to it. And they often play morally ambiguous characters. Cruise, on the other hand, plays leading men and good guys. I can’t get on board with him being a good guy. He’s a terrible human being for perpetuating something that ruins people’s lives — even if he’s not part of the life-ruining, participating is condoning. No amount of entertainment is worth supporting that. I will never see a Tom Cruise movie again, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.

Eric: OKAY, BUT LAUREN YOU NEED TO SEE EDGE OF TOMORROW. THERE ARE ALIEN ROBOTS GIANT ARMOR AND HE SHOOTS GUNS AND LIKE makes shooting gun noise with mouth. And you see Tom Cruise die a lot so there’s that.

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