As we’ve noted, I often call upon my family to assist me in the creation of the MS-QOTD, because even my brain can’t always parse things into a coherent query, especially in these tempestuous times.  Today, my daughter wanted me to ask whether ‘Top Gun’ was a better movie than ‘Jack Reacher,’ problematic for two reasons: First, the answer is yes, but ‘Top Gun’ still isn’t a particularly good movie, Val Kilmer aside.  Still, it does give us a little something pop culturey to talk about in the Tom Cruise range, leading to today’s risky business query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) will always go for ‘Legend,’ but that choice may contain more than a little spillover from the wonder that is Tim Curry, asking: What’s the best Tom Cruise performance in his entire filmography?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. I’ve never been a big Tom Cruise fan, but I really did enjoy him in Edge of Tomorrow/Live Die Repeat. Taking his usual annoying swarmyness and then having it be put through the ringer was enjoyable.

  2. Rain Man. I’m not a big Tom Cruise fan, but that is one of the few movies of his I really enjoy (along with Legend and Interview with the Vampire). Not that I avoid his movies, I just generally do not enjoy the majority of them.

  3. Not a huge fan of Cruise. I liked last samurai, were he was probably his least Cruisie. I loved his character in tropic Thunder though as well.

  4. Robert Howatt Jr. on

    For years, Tom Cruise has fallen into the trap that others like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and even Clifton Webb had fallen into. They developed an on screen persona and forever play a variation of that persona. Whether it is Top Gun, Mission Impossible or The Last Samurai, he is the cocky Mary Sue we all know will win in the end.
    To this end my choice is a bit part he played but chewed the scenery like no other.
    Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder. An obnoxious jackass who spent most of his scenes in an office on the phone and doing nothing heroic at all and having no action to react to.

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