15. Minority Report (2002)
Cruise's first collaboration with Steven Spielberg remains his coolest. Loosely based on a Philip K. Dick story, this sci-fi whodunit stars the actor as the head of a futuristic "pre-crime" unit who becomes a fugitive himself after being accused of a murder he'll eventually commit. The movie had Cruise basically doing what he does best: being cocksure and steadfast, this time outrunning hovercars and jetpack police.
14. Collateral (2004)
After years of playing a goody two-shoes, Tom Cruise got his bad guy on for director Michael Mann. Rocking frightful white hair, he played a sociopathic hitman in this grungy, nocturnal drama, which co-stars Jamie Foxx as a cabbie forced to drive Cruise around Los Angeles to perform a series of hits. At least he's a likable hitman.
13. Tropic Thunder (2008)
For this balls-out Hollywood satire, director/star/longtime Cruise fan Ben Stiller called on Cruise to slap on a bald cap, facial hair, and a fake gut to play Les Grossman, a crude-yet-savvy studio head who keeps a watchful eye on an out-of-control Vietnam war epic. At one point, there was talk of a Les Grossman spinoff movie in the works. I would still like to see that.
12. The Firm (1993)
There was a point in the '90s where, whenever John Grisham dropped a novel, short story, or whatever, it would immediately get turned into a movie. Tom Cruise starred in the first (and best) one, a paranoid thriller where Cruise, playing a young-Turk lawyer, gets stuck between a rock and a hard place when his mob-tied firm starts killing their lawyers and the Feds want him to snitch on the whole operation. He makes some incredible faces in this movie.
11. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
The first great Mission: Impossible movie, or at least, the first great Mission: Impossible popcorn movie. This is mostly thanks to animator-turned-live-action director Brad Bird (The Incredibles), who realized what a rubbery-limbed action figure he had in Cruise, whose body gets worn out in many inventive action sequences.