Tom Cruise is one of the most famous movie stars in the world. The idea that you may not even recognize the name of one of his films seems completely insane, and yet it's true. The actor has made a name for himself in numerous high profile action movies and major franchises, but we've grown so accustomed to seeing him in that role that when he takes something low-profile or unusual, sometimes it flies right by.
Here are a few of the movies that Tom Cruise made that you might have completely forgot existed, or that possibly you never even knew came out. Each one of them is worth checking out as you complete your Tom Cruise filmography bingo card. Starting with:
Lions for Lambs
Part of the reason that you completely missed Lions for Lambs the first time is that it did not review well. The movie was hit pretty hard for being too talky and way too preachy. It's hard to argue, but at the same time, it never pretends to be anything more than what it is. It has something important to say about something important, in this case the ongoing wars in the Middle East. Maybe this movie works like wine, and after a little aging, you can't believe you didn't like it more the first time.
Why We Love It: You can't put Tom Cruise, Robert Redford, and Meryl Streep all in one place and not have us enjoy the experience (or part of it, at the very least).
Tom Cruise does not, generally speaking, go for the historical epic when it comes to his film choices. This is why Valkyrie is such a unique film, and one that you may have missed. While Tom Cruise is the star of the movie, playing Claus von Stauffenberg -- one of the key German officers who plotted to kill Hitler in 1940 and stage a coup -- the film's marketing never set the film up as a "Tom Cruise movie" which is why you may have missed it.
Why We Love It: Tom Cruise in an eyepatch and with only one hand, plotting to kill Hitler? It has to be seen to be experienced.
Knight and Day
It's possible that until the world met Les Grossman, it had no idea Tom Cruise could even do comedy. He can be funny, to be sure, yet the actor hasn't starred in movies that you'd classify as comedies since his early years. Knight and Day was a return to those old ways, with a bit of the modern Tom Cruise action hero thrown in for good measure
Why We Love It: It features Tom Cruise winkingly playing a comedic version of himself from all his other movies. What's not to love?
The Last Samurai
Tom Cruise is used to playing the guy in the room who's the best at everything. This made The Last Samurai another departure for the actor. He plays US Army Captain Nathan Algren, who's an alcoholic down on his luck. He takes a job training Japanese soldiers in western fighting techniques because he needs the cash. The Last Samurai is a beautiful film that is absolutely worth checking out.
Why We Love It: It's got gorgeous cinematography and a highly underrated performance by Cruise in the lead role. Ed Zwick, who also helms the new Jack Reacher, directs.
Far and Away
After Tom Cruise met Nicole Kidman on the set of Days of Thunder the two wanted to do a big movie together. What they found was Far and Away. In the movie, Cruise and Kidman play Irish immigrants who have come to America in search of opportunity. This movie doesn't do anything small. Everything from the cinematography to the performances themselves are a bit over the top, but it's just that kind of movie.
Why We Love It: Everybody from Cruise and Kidman to director Ron Howard give everything to this one, and we have to appreciate them for that effort.
Rock of Ages
Full disclosure: Rock of Ages is an utterly ridiculous film, but we don't mean that in a bad way. Primarily designed as a delivery method for your personal karaoke playlist, the film is based on the stage musical that took a number of 1980s rock favorites and then built a story around it. If 1980s cheese is too much for you to handle, you may not dig this one, but it's clear that the cast, including Tom Cruise as rocker Stacee Jaxx, is having more fun than anybody watching it.
Why We Love It: Because sometimes you just need to enjoy silly pop music, and Tom Cruise dressed like Axl Rose
This is the most recent film on the list, but as it seems that Tom Cruise's other recent science fiction film, Edge of Tomorrow (or whatever we're calling it this week) was the one that got traction in the long run, and as a result, Oblivion has been completely forgotten. It's too bad because Oblivion was a solid sci-fi flick in its own right. It's got as much action as you could want, but with a solid story and great tension to boot.
Why We Love It: It's an original science fiction story with everything we like in our sci-fi, what's not to like?