Face-Off: Tom Cruise vs. Brad Pitt

In last weeks Face-Off, to gear up for the release of Bullet to the Head we threw Marion 'Cobra' Cobretti against Predator's 'Dutch' Schaefer. Dutch ultimately took the verdict, with our readers agreeing by a landslide.

This week, in celebration of the re-release of Top Gun in 3D, we've cooked up a match between the man of the week Tom Cruise with his Interview with the Vampire co-star Brad Pitt. There are great similarities in the careers of these two men, both have been regarded as sex symbols but with the unbelievable talent and overall great choice in roles to back that up. We'll dissect said studliness, the roles they've chosen, and the manner in which they've performed those roles. We'll even dive in to their highly publicized love lives. Two legends, but which have you always been more of a fan of?
A TV spot was playing the other day on the night that Top Gun was to be broadcasted and of course it featured the infamous volleyball scene. My mother squealed, hollered, fanned herself and all that jazz...if that doesn't sum up Cruise's power as "sexy beast" I am unaware of what does. I suppose it helps when the iconic scene from one of the films that launched your career is you dancing in nothing but undies and a dress shirt, food for thought. Thanks to his gravitation towards action roles in his later years, the man is still no slouch when it comes to his physique. How do I find Tom Cruise a stud? Would have to say his dedication to performing his own stunts in his films...the man seems fearless.
How do I find Brad Pitt a stud? I suppose in the way many others do, Pitt has a way of carrying himself in his performances that I wish I could pull off in my every day life. You know the manner of which I speak...it could be found in stars from the golden age of Hollywood like Humphrey Bogart or James Cagney, men of that ilk. Let's not even go into detail about how damn cut the dude was in films like Fight Club and Troy. Also let me just say that I am big on eyes, and I'm not ashamed that if Brad Pitt catered to my sexual sensibilities, I'd think he was swell. Still though, line Cruise and Pitt up...I wouldn't know who to choose. Them's the breaks. TEN EXTRA POINTS for landing women like Jen Aniston and Angelina Jolie.
Early films that I loved like All the Right Moves and the classic Risky Business introduced the word to Tom Cruise...and then Top Gun hit. From there we get films like Rain Man, Born on the Fourth of July, Days of Thunder, Few Good Men, Interview with the Vampire, Jerry Maguire, and the Mission Impossible franchise. Tom Cruise strikes me as an early Leonardo DiCaprio, in the desire to not be typecast as a sex symbol he eventually leaned towards roles that would challenge him as far as acting goes and I dug it. Other great Cruise films include the genius Collateral, The Last Samurai, and War of the Worlds. Also, super pumped for Oblivion.
As far as my taste in films go, I'll say right off the bat I've been a bigger fan of what Pitt has churned out over the years. From 1994 on he starred in films like Interview with the Vampire, Legends of the Fall, Seven, 12 Monkeys, Sleepers, Meet Joe Black, Fight Club, Snatch, Oceans Eleven, The Assassination of Jesse James, Burn After Reading, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Inglorious Basterds, Moneyball...among many others. It all comes down to what you like out of your cinema, and quite frankly at least four of these films are among my favorite films of all time.
Acting Ability
A famous story is one I think sums up Tom Cruise's talent in his performances. Anne Rice, author of Interview with the Vampire despised the idea of Tom Cruise portraying Lestat, but when she saw the final film she praised Tom's performance stating that he was "her Lestat." No greater compliment if you ask me. Other amazing Cruise performances came out Jerry Maguire, Few Good Men (that final courtroom scene), Eyes Wide Shut, Collateral, and his turn in Magnolia. I even thought the man was a comedic genius in films like Tropic Thunder and Rock of Ages. A member of MFC posted a clip of Collateral the other day of a scene where no words were needed, but just a brief glimpse in the eyes of Tom Cruise convey him wondering how his character's life ended up the way it did. I always thought Cruise was a king of the subtle moment. You can watch said clip here
Pitt has many memorable performances in my opinion, my favorite moment of his being the closing minutes of Seven, his pleading to know what was in "the box" although already pretty much knowing was heartbreaking. From there we have the closing minutes of his performance as Jesse James, his interesting character in Burn After Reading, his whole performance (especially the end) in Fight Club...the man has definitely shined. An underrated performance from Pitt I revisited recently was an early role in the film Kalifornia. Also, you have to give love to his extended hilarious cameo in True Romance. Don't fuckin condescend Brad Pitt man...and his hilarious portrayal of a yankee like Aldo Raine trying to speak Italian in Basterds.
A lot of people have brought Tom's eccentricities and the way he chooses to live his life into their opinion of the man, that may be cool when you know the man personally, but I know the Tom Cruise that's on screen...and he's never let me down. He owned the dramatic roles early on in his career and is now carving himself a nice little niche as an action hero, it appears the man can do no wrong. Tom has some very intriguing films coming out in the future with Oblivion and the intriguing concept from the Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill. I appreciate the man most for his dedication to his craft, especially as I said the physical aspects of the Mission Impossible franchise, keep trucking Tom.
How do I explain how I will grade this final vote? To me the enjoyment of an actor is based ultimately on what you think of the work their in and how they did in their films. Pitt's films ultimately hold a bigger re-watchable factor for me, I can watch Fight Club everyday and never get tired of the nature of Tyler Durden. The man has a presence on screen that I've always dug, even in the films I haven't thought the world of. Some of you may think how can you choose Pitt over Cruise if you awarded acting chops to Tom? Well because Pitt is no slouch in talent himself, and at the risk of sounding redundant I have enjoyed his work more. I'll watch most of what Brad is in anytime it is on. How can you beat that?
Brad Pitt
There it is folks, while I admire and respect Tom Cruise for the endless entertainment he's supplied me with over the years...Brad Pitt has had the good sense to choose to be in some truly amazing films that I consider some of the best. But this is just one mans opinion...where do you stand? Let us know!

If you have an idea that you'd like to see in a future FACE OFF column, feel free to shoot an email to me at [email protected] with your ideas and some ideas for the critique to base your ideas off. Thank you and in the meantime...

Which actor is your favorite?



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