Hunt could successfully pull off, trying to negotiate a full summer weekend
absent any knowledge of an impending $100 million-plus action flick. It used to
be that if you didn’t care much for movies, you could, with a little luck,
peaceably go about your business in happy obliviousness — basically avoid the
late night talk show dragnet and a couple nights of primetime television — and
not have to suffer the encroachment of Hollywood into your life. Tom Cruise,
however, is not the biggest movie star in the world for nothing. He has a little
film called Mission: Impossible III coming out. And by Jesus,
you’re going to know about it.
In 2006, this means all the usual blitz of television and radio advertising,
those aforementioned talk show appearances, countless print interviews,
entertainment newsmagazine footage and cross-promotional commercials (“DHL… the
official carrier of Mission: Impossible III”), but also the type of
ridiculous filler shows that litter our overpopulated cable television channels.
If you haven’t stumbled across two gems of this latter genus this past weekend —
Diary, on MTV, and Catering Impossible: M:i:III, on the Food
Channel — you really owe it to yourself to track them down and check them out,
for amusement’s sake.
MTV’s special episode of Diary (in which, yes, Cruise does intone the
series’ trademark line: “You think you know, but you have no idea…”)
finds the Top Gun star arriving at Van Nuys airport by private airplane
(one of the original aircraft from the historic Tuskegee fleet, he claims) and
then taking dreadlocked veejay Sway up for a spin by himself. Before that,
though, Cruise points out the plane’s name, “Kiss Me Kate,” and fetishistically
strokes its emblazoned moniker. Once back on solid ground, the duo ride
motorcycles at the Willow Springs International Raceway in nearby Rosamond,
California, where Sway eventually wipes out and eats asphalt.
The show includes plenty of Cruise’s trademark manic laughter and a sort of
weirdly frenzied masculine bon homie that’s entertaining in its utter
sincerity. But the runoff election for the apex of hilarity is a two-candidate
race between the highest-paid and most sustained, successful movie star of the
past quarter decade saying, in direct address confessional, “I’ve had a great
day with Sway, it’s been very memorable for me,” and, “Hey, Sway, I will fly and ride with you any day, man!” So…
might you say, Tom, he could be your wingman?
Really, it’s not for me to encourage, but there’s an absolutely great
mash-up of wicked double entendres waiting to be made and posted to YouTube.com
from this footage. Get cracking, wiseacres.
Catering Impossible: M:i:III, meanwhile, lets us in on the fact that
there were 7,140 pounds of meat served (to only 5,283 pounds of chicken) during
the film’s production, which spanned the globe from Los Angeles to Italy,
Shanghai and back again. And in case you were wondering how many cappuccinos a
tired movie crew might consume to help stave off Scientology “information
officers,” that number would be 22,312. That’s right, more money really
was spent on cappuccinos on M:i:III than you make in a year. Feel better?