> I'm curious, why do you think Tom Cruise is a mediocre actor?
I've seen his films from Risky Business to this one, plus Rain Man, Born on the Fourth, Magnolia, Jerry Maguire, Minority Report, Mission Impossible, Few Good Men, all his reputedly good performances.
First, he has a weak voice, it's not very deep, it's not very resonant. He sounded like a teenager and still does, and when he yells, which is his way of indicating anger or determination, it breaks.
Second, he relies on his eyebrows to indicate intensity. An actor should use his physical characteristics well, but overreliance on a single set of traits tends to indicate an insecure actor. Jack Nicholson has an impressive pair of brows, but along with the brows are his drawl, his timing, and the overall sense you have of a formidable presence.
Third is his choice of roles, which indicates a clear pattern, of a callow man who grows in the course of the story; the problem is, when this 'callow' man finally matures, we don't see it--he still looks callow. Again, some actors have done
great things with a limited range--Cary Grant, for example--but what little they do they do well, and anyone with North by Northwest, Charades, Notorius, To Catch a Thief, Gunga Din and Bringing Up Baby under his belt can limp along on bad performances for the rest of his life and still he's a very welcome actor. Cruise's range has given us a scant number of movies to admire--Risky Business, his performance in Magnolia (a miraculously atypcial performance, and the one thing in
the movie that I do like), maybe the physicality in his Mission Impossible
movies and Minority Report. That's it.
When he steps out of his range, he's embarrassing--Born on the Fourth of July is a lot of bugle blat, Few Good Men shows how weak he is opposite a real actor, Interview with a Vampire is so campily bad it's funny.
Hope that answers your question.