Tom Cruise – What Went Wrong?

It is not easy to rise to the top of the entertainment food chain. But Tom Cruise did just that and in a relatively short period of time. The real success has been his holding power. Actors and actresses demanding millions can fade (think Demi Moore) from sight, but Tom has hung in there.

His last five movies have each grossed over one hundred million dollars. A film that doesn’t do so well for Tom is considered a blockbuster for other actors. He’s been nominated three times for an Academy Award and won three Golden Globes. He cruises the red carpets with some of the world’s most beautiful women on his arm. He was chosen People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive in 1990 and voted one of their 50 Most Beautiful People in the World three times. He’s won the admiration of many for being open about his bout with dyslexia. All in all, he has the adoration of thousands if not millions of fans worldwide.

He’s survived controversy seemingly unscathed. Remember Mimi Rogers comparing Tom to a monk in the bedroom at the time of their divorce? How about his abrupt divorce from Nicole Kidman just months before their ten month anniversary? Even his longtime involvement with the somewhat controversial religion Scientology has not affected his career. So, it is good to be Tom CruiseâÂ?¦until now.

It all started with the whirlwind romance with Katie Holmes. Not that anything is wrong with that; it just seemed to be too much, too soon. Then there was the infamous Oprah appearance. I don’t usually watch Oprah, but saw that Tom was going to be on that day, so I decided to tune in. At first, it was kind of cute; aw, look at Tom, Tom is in love. Then it got a little uncomfortable. It was like a high school pep rally to cheer on the team. By the third time he had jumped on the sofa then crouched down to tap the floor, it was like a car wreck.

I didn’t want to watch anymore, but somehow, I couldn’t turn away. At the end of the show, he dragged Katie out to show her off to the audience. I am guessing it was like a mass hysteria thing because the audience cheered even though Katie looked uncomfortable making an appearance. As a psychology major, I can only equate his enthusiasm with that of someone in a manic episode. It was almost as if he was professing his love just a little too much. Now there is the engagement. What must Nicole Kidman and Penelope Cruz, beautiful women in their own right, be thinking?

Next came the Brooke Shields post partum depression statements. In case you missed it, Brooke announced that she took Paxil to combat the post partum depression she suffered after the birth of her daughter. Tom thought it was a good idea to throw in his two cents worth by telling the world that Scientology didn’t believe in the use of medication such as Paxil and that psychologist, by providing Ritalin, were ruining our children.

Then, if that weren’t enough, he started a heated argument with Matt Lauer on the Today show saying that “You don’t know the history of psychiatry. I do.” He later stated that chemical imbalances cannot be proven and should be treated with vitamins and exercise.

Moving right along, he recently announced that we are not alone in the universe. Which is a fine statement to make, but the point is – what the heck is going on with Tom? This is a man who previously had been pretty hush hush about his romances and low-keyed with his opinions. Now, in a little over a month, he has acted crazy on television, offended Brooke Shields as well as the entire psychiatry community and announced there are aliens just as his new movie about aliens, War of the Worlds, is about to be released.

Why is Tom being outspoken about everything all the sudden? And it is good for his career? I think the problem is nepotism. About three months ago, Tom fired his long time publicist, Pat Kingsley, and hired his sister, LeeAnne Devette. Not that there is anything wrong with hiring your sister, provided she is actually a publicist and not just your sister taking up space on your payroll.

For 14 years, Pat Kingsley saw her client through many different difficult times, such as divorce. Even his religion, a sore spot to many because of Elron Hubbard’s science fiction writing background, has not hurt his box office numbers nor his popularity. And so far, the numbers for War of Worlds is great. It opened number one on the 4th of July holiday weekend – a big weekend for movies – earning a reported $77.6 million.

But what about his next picture? What happens when Mission Impossible III opens and all people can remember is Tom cavorting around Europe posing with Katie? Will audiences stay away in groves because they are tired of hearing about his love life, opinions on post partum depression and aliens? A good publicist realizes that not all publicity is good publicity.

Right now, Tom is speeding down a road to career death and he needs to put the brakes on as soon as possible. Maybe he got tired of being the nice guy that everyone loves and having successful movies. If that is the case, then he is headed in the right direction with all this controversy. But I have always thought Tom was smarter than that. Maybe it is time for Tom to step back and see what is going on. He’s always been one of my favorite actors, but even I am having a hard time swallowing all the lovebird pictures I see of him and Katie.

And when he shows me a medical degree and proves to me that he’s suffered post partum depression, I will be open to his advice on mental illnesses. Until then, I think Tom needs to go back to doing what he does best – being Tom Cruise, looking great and making good movies. Maybe he should give Pat a call.

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