Tom Cruise weirds me out a bit…

Leaving Malibu today to drive down to San Diego, where we’ll connect with Nicki.  Probably see “Mission Impossible” tonight.


Of course, one motivation is to watch Tom Cruise’s insanity manifesting onscreen. Since Douglas Fairbanks (at least) we’ve been fascinated by stars who “do all their own stunts” and yes, it DOES add to the enjoyment of the film itself. Hard to say “that’s impossible!” when you know a stuntman actually did it, that it isn’t green-screen.


And it is hard to say: “no one person could do all those things” when you know that, yes, one human being really did do all (or MOST…even Jackie “all his own stunts!” Chan used stuntmen for certain stunts, at least as far back as “Rumble In The Bronx.”)


When you have a star vehicle like “MI”, clearly tailored to one actor’s personality…well, that’s when you start seeing the difference between a “star” and an “actor”.  A “star” is someone whose personal charisma  brings people to the theater.  They may or may not be fine actors, and fine actors are rarely stars. When you get both in the same human being (say, Meryl Streep), you have something special.


Cruise’s personal picadillos never bothered me much. Really.  So I could just watch his movies and enjoy his performances without worrying about Xenu or whatever. He DID weird me out in MI-2, however.   In that movie, he suddenly began doing acrobatic martial arts moves.  He was about 40 at the time, and NO ONE starts doing moves like that at 40. They just…don’t.  Either you have been doing them prior to that time, or you just don’t learn them. That is a rule that is easy to support.


But he did.

I remember thinking that if other Scientologists demonstrated similar capacities, I’d have signed up for an e-meter session the next day.  (Well…ANOTHER e-meter session.   I’ve had one, of course, and found the experience like working with a low-level therapist who has you wired to a galvanic skin response monitor while asking you personal questions.  Not a bad set up at all, but nothing I cared to go more deeply into).


Since that time, he has demonstrated other high-level body-mind skills that suggest some things to me about him.


  1. He has VERY high integration with his fear response.  Especially around heights.
  2. Very high pain tolerance. No way to learn all those things, or push himself that way, without de-inhibiting the emergency brakes that reserve our life-and-death energies for…well, for emergencies.
  3. Very “clear” motivations, leading to bizarrely high discipline.  And here Dianetics might come into it–if he removes the distractions and complications, so that he can just “be”. But he is also, by all accounts, insanely driven, and an adrenaline junkie.   Makes for a hyper-active, hyper competent solo human being. Not much of a marriage partner or parent, however.


What we’re looking at is a human being who has near total permission to go all-out every day.  I’d bet he gets about 4 hours sleep a night, has a satyr’s sex drive, and a phenomenal memory.   In other words, he is fully actualized in a narrow and probably imbalanced range of being.


Remember that thing about relationships.  The truth is that most human beings have about the same amount of “stuff”.  Human clay.  There are certainly people who seem to just have “more” to begin with. But most of the real excellence you see is people who form and shape their basic clay into attractive forms.  Most of the REALLY excellent people are excellent in one arena, average or less than average in others.  They have pushed all their “stuff” into one corner, and stand atop that heap. Its like those houses at Universal City…look great from one direction, but have no back walls, and are empty.  It may be a house, but it ain’t no home.


Easy to have the best body in the gym if you sleep in your van, and do nothing but train, sleep, and eat tuna fish.  That’s not a life.

Not saying that about Tom.   I hope he’s having a great life, with stupendous fun, and is being who he wants and needs to be in life. But…if he was my Dad, I’d wish he was more…present.


Cruise really does fascinate me, and I’d love to have an hour of his time one day. But then, so would millions of others.  I doubt they’d ask the questions that puzzle ME, however.  Oh, well…I guess I’ll just sit back and watch the fun.  Damn, I love movies.





(P.S.–just for fun, here’s an article about his workout routine.


  1. I don’t know about that “no-one learns acrobatic martial arts at 40” thing. I was 37 when I started capoeira, didn’t really get serious about it until I was 40. Aside from a quarter of gymnastics in college and about 13 years of stage-combat falls (basically aikido and/or judo falls with dramatic flair), I’d never practiced anything that acrobatic. I finally managed the most difficult _floreio_ move I know I can perform when I was around 50 – what my tradition calls _folha_seca_ (though it looks nothing like the move of the same name I’ve seen in other traditons) at least as difficult as anything I remember Cruise performing without wires (he needed them for at least one impressive-looking move I remember) in “MI:2”. I haven’t seen any of his films since then – unless you count “Tropic Thunder”. 😉


    1. Went back and re-watched the fight on the beach in MI:2, the wired move I remembered being in that fight actually isn’t. Cruise was doing the choreography “for real”.

      I stand by my point, though; there’s nothing in that fight I couldn’t have recreated at the same age, having begun learning at roughly the same age as Cruise. Of course, I had been studying other (non-acrobatic) martial atrts my whole adult life, and had been performing fight choreography and minor stunts for years when I first started capoeira. I don’t know what Cruise’s movement background was, prior to taking on his acrobatic-fight training; if he started roughly “from scratch,” then yeah, impressive.


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