Tom Cruise is a very good actor, with three Academy Award nominations and three Golden Globe wins under his belt, but it wouldn’t be unfair to say that he doesn’t test his dramatic chops all too regularly. Of course, that can easily be forgiven when he’s instead decided to push himself to the limit physically, as he consistently risks life and limb performing insane stunts all in the name of our entertainment.
The 58 year-old is content to rely on his established persona and undeniable star power when it comes to choosing his projects, and he hasn’t appeared in a straightforward drama since 2007’s Lions for Lambs, although he did play it straight in Valkyrie the following year, but seeing Tom Cruise as an eyepatch-wearing Nazi with an American accent hardly allowed audiences to suspend their disbelief.
Before he comfortably settled into his groove as an all-conquering A-lister, though, Cruise regularly tried his hand at a variety of different genres, and one of his best dramatic efforts just landed on Netflix. Rain Man was a critical and commercial monster hit when it arrived back in December 1988, earning $354 million at the box office on a budget of $25 million, going on to score eight Oscar nominations.
The film went on to scoop Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor for Dustin Hoffman, although Tom Cruise was largely shut out during awards season despite giving one of his best ever performances. The plot follows a brash car dealer who discovers his late father’s entire fortune is being left to the autistic older brother he never even knew that he had, before they bond on a cross country trip. It’s pure Hollywood schmaltz, but that’s not an entirely bad thing in this case, and Rain Man is well worth checking out on Netflix.