A couple of months back I dove into the world of Lego Dimensions with my kids. We all enjoyed the game itself and the element of building and collecting Lego figures appealed to us as well. Since then, I have been taking advantage of sales when I can find them and storing Lego packs away for Christmas presents for the kids.
But frankly, I like Lego Dimensions too and some of the packs don’t appeal to my kids at all. Case in point: The Mission Impossible Level Pack. While franchises like Harry Potter, The Simpsons and Ghostbusters are popular with my girls, they don’t know who the heck Ethan Hunt is nor do they have any interest in finding out. I picked up the new level pack anyway because Target had all their Lego Dimensions product on sale 40%. Since the kids aren’t interested, I figured I’d break this one out of the box and play it now rather than wrap it up and put it under the tree in December.
If you’re a movie star, any year in which you have a hit movie is a good year. Twenty years ago, Tom Cruise had two. In 1996, he starred in the franchise-launching adaptation of the TV show, Mission: Impossible as well as the Oscar-nominated romantic comedy, Jerry Maguire. These were the third and fourth highest-grossing movies of the year in the US making 1996 an excellent year to be Tom Cruise.
It is with a very heavy heart that I write this article about the recently deceased Philip Seymour Hoffman. I learned of his passing the day of, through a tweet alert from Val Kilmer, and his lamenting of the passing of someone he very much admired. The internet was similarly set ablaze with sad posts, articles, and remembrances of performances. I watched the Ides of March because I didn’t want anything as heavy as The Master, Capote, or Happiness. The truth is, it was such a hard choice because Hoffman’s career is filled to the brim with great films and greater performances. He was one of my favorite working actors, and one of the top 5 actors working today. He was one of my acting idols, a chameleon that I aspire to be like. In Memoriam, we look back at a career that was cut short, much too soon.
Originally, I set out to make a list of the current crop of a-list actors. I was going to write up arguments for and against the inclusion of certain actors on the list. But I quickly realized that this was unwieldy. Not only was it time consuming, it made for very scatter-shot reading. Instead, I have decided to handle this subject in a series of one-offs.
For my first subject, I have selected Tom Cruise. Cruise’s career has always been a fascinating one to watch. His reign atop the A-list in almost unprecedented. After gaining acclaim in films like Risky Business, Cruise became an international box office super star with Top Gun. And for 20 years after that, Cruise was the consummate Hollywood super star.