Re: Random Thoughts
I found this neat essay about Tom Cruise in M:I6 that made me think about Quinn:
Acting isn’t about pretending. Acting is about truth, and it’s about discovering the truth in yourself and presenting it through a fictionalized lens.
Tom Cruise inhabits a world very different from our own. His truth is not our truth. And I don’t mean this in some hacky class war way. I mean it in a spiritual way, he exists on a different wavelength than the rest of us. Tom Cruise could have been President – his tragic flaw is that he fell in with a bunch of hucksters and scumbags and ended up being the only person to benefit from their scam system.
When he walks into the room he brings with him this energy that is palpable and exhilarating, and it isn’t a messy ball of energy, randomly bouncing about. The energy that Cruise carries with him is focused and disciplined. Tom Cruise doesn’t not know how to do things. Tom Cruise just hasn’t learned something yet, and there’s a huge mental difference between those two concepts.
No actor has ever run with such truth and honesty.
Tom Cruise is ambition in human form. He’s the anthropomorphic embodiment of achievement. He’s work ethic made flesh. It’s not that things come easy to Tom Cruise, it’s that working for things comes easy to Tom Cruise.
In the moments when he runs, Tom Cruise is clearly in a state of singular focus, with all of his attention – all of that intense energy that swirls about him like electrical storms around a mountain top – beamed in at one spot ahead of him. This is the truest moment for Cruise, when he is all about achieving the next step, and then the next, and then the next. This is his soul on screen, a man aimed forward, launched like a missile, existing only for each pump of the leg, for each arm gracefully knifing through the air.
https://cinemasangha.com/2018/08/03/the … om-cruise/
There is nothing that Quinn Mallory doesn't know how to do -- just things he hasn't learned how to do. Yet. There is a huge mental difference between those two concepts. I think this is as true for Quinn as it is for Ethan Hunt, and I do see the mid-50s Tom Cruise character as a representation of who Quinn would be today. And this essay had me wondering, what's the difference between the two characters?
Looking at the actors, Tom Cruise's confidence is cocksure yet scrambling; he's perpetually emphasizing the strain it takes for his Ethan Hunt to pull off the impossible feat that he must in order to disable a nuclear missile or fry a bomb injected into his skull. It's not that Ethan is destined to win; it's that he's prepared to endure insane physical distress and suffering like a human crash dummy until he staggers towards victory and from MI:4 - 6, Cruise has played Ethan with a certain weary resignation to the next beating he'll have to go through.
In contrast, Jerry O'Connell's confidence is unsteady and nervous. Jerry's hypercaffeinated twitches and gesticulating indicate that Quinn isn't entirely sure he can muddle through, is less-than-sure he can survive the next round of lunacy and he takes on Sid and tries to save Daelin and wins over the Oakland Raiders with a low-key astonishment that his crazy gambit actually paid off. When Jerry runs, it's with a panicked desperation aiming at whatever direction is away from danger.
Ethan Hunt is never running away. Even if someone's chasing him, he's running to something -- a trap, a friend, a plan. His fleeing is methodical and strategic. Ethan Hunt is a secret agent. Quinn Mallory is a college dropout who can occasionally ascend to being Ethan, but even if Quinn is Ethan, Quinn is a fundamentally dysfunctional Ethan Hunt, much as Jerry O'Connell's career trajectory was a shabby Tom Cruise impersonation.
Tom Cruise's truth is in running, in his willingness to commit and plow through each step towards his goal. What is Jerry O'Connell's truth? I have no idea, maybe that's why he never became a leading man film star. What is Quinn Mallory's truth?
To me, there are two definitive Quinn-scenes: "Gillian of the Spirits" where he sits quietly with Gillian and looks at this flawed, troubled, broken, lost little girl and tells her with earnest sincerity and full honesty that that she has a gift and a purpose. On one level, he's heartening a desperately needed ally; on another, he is simply calling it as he sees it; there is no false sentiment or comfort in his words. He means it.
Then there's "In Dino Veritas" where after being absent for most of the episode, Quinn reappears and starts looking around the cave the sliders have been trapped in. The sliders regarded the cave with helplessness and fear. Quinn looks around and sees points of egress and opportunity to escape, each look granting him new information to put together a solution and a plan with Jerry performing Quinn's calculation and problem solving in silent perfection.
Quinn's truth is in looking at people and their surroundings and seeing their meaning, value, purpose and importance -- and I suspect that this is not Jerry's truth as much as it's John Rhys-Davies' truth which he imparted to Jerry as his unofficial acting coach.