May 26th, 2005

A hairy situation

He's got a ticket to crazytown and he don't care

Has anyone else in the history of celebrity gone batshit crazy as quickly as Tom Cruise?

Here is how I define batshit crazy: If you learned that the person in question was currently whiling away his days soaking in a tub of heated bat guano would you be A) Disbelieving B) Shocked C) Indifferent or D) Relieved.

Take Michael Jackson. If newspapers reported that he had secluded himself in Neverland and was currently enjoying a restorative batshit bath to settle his nerves, would you think twice? If the papers added that no young boys were in the bath with him, only a helper monkey and Buddy Hackett's decomposing corpse, you might even feel relief. Michael Jackson is batshit insane.

Tom Cruise has been crazy for awhile now. Scientology will do that to a fellow, with its brainwashing and nonstop lies and such. He's been quiet crazy though, the kind of crazy that looks perfectly normal until you realize that the phone it's been yelling into for the last half hour had its cord pulled from the wall about 15 minutes in.

Now he's taken a dive off the deep end, and there's no water in the pool. It started with forcing people to tour Scientology centers in order to work with him, and his Scientology booths on the set of War of the Worlds. That seemed related to his previous nuttiness, and in a world where government officials are holding semi-mandatory prayer sessions in government buildings and the president talks to God whenever he's not busy having life-threatening pretzel encounters it's almost charmingly eccentric. Oh those Hollywood types, they're all a little nuts.

Then came Katie Holmes. This seemed like a normal publicity stunt at first, two Hollywood types pretending to be in love so people would be interested. Or an older guy fucking a hot young woman to show that he wasn't gay, either or, maybe both. That was before he tried to eat her face. Now I admit that I'm no expert on kissing, but that doesn't look like a woman who's been smooching it up with the man of her dreams. It looks like the survivor of a zombie attack, who managed to fend the creatures off after losing just a little lip to their ravenous hunger. Is Tom Cruise undead? I don't know. Can't prove it.

Post-chomp Cruise went even crazier. He got on the Oprah Winfrey show and proceeded to leap up and down like a hobbit on crack, at one point pummeling Oprah with both hands and at others crouching on the floor in bewilderment. There are reports that during commercial breaks he ripped off his shirt and started scrubbing his chest with steel wool, shouting "UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN."

After that he announced that Brooke Shields had ended her acting career (she had one?) by taking antidepressants instead of curing her post-partum depression with vitamins, and claimed that he didn't go to marriage counseling with Nicole Kidman because "They say, 'Hey, promiscuity is part of marriage, it's OK.' You have this whole thing going out there."

Seriously, at this point if you were at a mall and Tom Cruise burst in wearing nothing but a lampshade on his head and carrying an AK-47 would you really be surprised? If he proceeded to demand to be taken to the Orange Julius stand and purchased 1,000 premium fruit smoothies for his army of Scientologists waiting in the parking lot, would that even be newsworthy? If Tom Cruise spent an entire month marinating in a swimming pool of bat guano in the nation of Guinea-Bissau would that change your opinion of him or his sanity?

I thought not.

Congratulations Mr. Cruise, you've officially graduated.

You're batshit insane.
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The Butterfly Effect makes me want to go back in time and keep it from being made. It's a peculiar film that seems to have been done by a competent director who has no idea what makes a movie any good. The script is three shades short of dreadful, the cast (headlined by one Ashton Kutcher, playing a brilliant psychology student) makes it even worse, routinely taking inane dialogue and making it sound flat out pathetic. The special effects are sort of cruddy, but that doesn't matter so much as the rest of it. It's a movie about a form of time travel, so one expects some continuity issues, but this film has holes that you could drive not just a truck but an Antonov 225 through. It dances between unwatchability and entertainingly stupid with surprising grace. I'm not sure why the movie was made as it was but it inspired me to write up a theory of how the final meetings might have gone. Keep in mind that it was written on the tail end of a migraine, so don't expect it to be good. IT'S NEVER GOOD.

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