We have watched him growing up. Watched him changing, taking on ever larger projects, risking his money and his reputation -- professional as well as personal. We have had the privilege of watching a feisty, cute, young guy become a major producer, writer, director, star.
Here's a list of films he's acted in and produced, and here's a list of awards and nominations. Both are are impressively long lists, and gee -- to me -- they are very significant. There are other film stars who have done what Cruise has done, and yes -- facts and lies surround every star, but Cruise has kept expanding, taking on challenges, apparently undeterred by success/failure fears, and money concerns.
Good reviews, bad reviews, gossip column jabber, rumblings and mumblings with ugly, disturbing headlines about his private life -- but no matter what is said about him, the artist in this guy keeps reaching -- wider, broader, higher, and bolder -- reaching for universal ideas about what a man believes in and what drives him.
Do I love his films? Some of them I do love; others are not my cup of tea. Even so, I bow to him. I don't bow to a many artists, but this one is growing, and very much in tune with the times.
He's fifty-one now -- here's a photo -- not a posed studio shot. I snipped it from the trailer of "Edge of Tomorrow" -- a moment when the actor's face says everything.
I'll be part of the audience that watches and takes in the next and the next and the next artistic venture of artist Tom Cruise.