It’s all been downhill for Tom Cruise since that day he jumped up and down on Oprah’s couch. Not for him, strictly, but for us, consumers of Tom Cruise content. Living in a Post-Couch World, we know he still has that bit of wackiness inside of him — that there is some constant chaos percolating within the Maverick. And yet, we only rarely get a hint of it. Instead, we get his occasional leaked outburst, and his deeply mundane Instagram feed.
Let’s be clear: Tom Cruise likely doesn’t even run his own Instagram account. Leading up to the release of Top Gun: Maverick, his feed is nothing but professional shots promoting the film for the last three years. We saw the same bland cycle for Mission Impossible: Fallout prior, and that’s it. No evidence of a pandemic quarantine, no photos with his kids, no selfies with friends, no shitty pictures of his meals. It’s as though Tom Cruise is his own restrictive nation, and his Instagram serves as the state-sponsored media. Which, given what else we know about Tom Cruise — i.e., the Scientology — seems to be an even more apt comparison. There is no life behind Tom Cruise on Instagram, just a presentation of a carefully curated cultural object.
And while I do believe that celebrities are entitled to their privacy and don’t necessarily owe fans a look into their personal lives, it’s not like I’m asking Tom Cruise to publish his Social Security number. I am, however, asking for a little of that Tom Cruise flair. A little more of that “psychiatry is pseudoscience” jazz. He’s been caught ranting at production staff and arguing with interviewers — why not turn some of that energy toward his front-facing iPhone camera, instead?
It’s not like Tom Cruise is even “cancellable,” whatever that actually means. He is one of the highest grossing actors of all time, continually beloved by millions despite all of the bizarre shit we already know about him. Tom Cruise could get away with promoting Scientology on Instagram, no problem.
All of this, of course, is purely selfish. I’m just bored, and I know Tom Cruise is holding out on us. Why would I go to the Tom Cruise Instagram just to see movie trailers and red carpet photos I could see on literally any entertainment website? I go to the Tom Cruise Instagram, instead, in hopes of witnessing a little celebrity chaos. Tom Hanks, for example, who hasn’t posted in a year and a half, at least has an account filled with photos he’s taken of his TV screen while watching sports and shitty vacation photos. Robert Downey Jr., meanwhile, is a semi-regular poster with plenty of fun selfies and silly costume photos.
Ultimately, the banality of Tom Cruise’s Instagram leaves me suspicious, above all else. I assume that the main reason he doesn’t even post seemingly normal content is because he is incapable of doing it. Given his wealth, it’s likely that he wouldn’t know how to act like a regular person even if he tried. Maybe Hanks and Downey Jr. aren’t all that capable of it either, but are instead just a little better at faking it. Regardless, Tom Cruise’s Instagram is boring because there’s simply no other way for him to be. We don’t catch a glimpse of the real Tom Cruise on Instagram, because there is no real Tom Cruise to see.