Not everyone in Hollywood is on the same page as Steven Spielberg.
The directorial legend recently praised Tom Cruise for his 2022 blockbuster, “Top Gun: Maverick”
Spielberg was caught on video telling his “Minority Report” star how much that sequel meant to the industry following a pandemic that shuttered theaters nationwide.
“You saved Hollywood’s a–, and you might have saved theatrical distribution,” Spielberg is heard saying in the video. “Seriously, ’Maverick’ might have saved the entire theatrical industry.”
The industry has a funny way of showing its gratitude to the 60-year-old superstar.
Golden Globes host Jerrod Carmichael joked that Tom Cruise’s returned awards should be exchanged “for the safe return of Shelly Miscavige,” the wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige. https://t.co/KcDeVY7x3a
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) January 11, 2023
The Golden Globes inexplicably skewered Cruise during its opening monologue. The Jan. 10 soiree found host Jerrod Carmichael mocking the actor for his Scientology ties. Cruise has been a Scientologist for decades but hasn’t spoken on the subject for many years.
“Backstage I found the awards that Tom Cruise returned,” Carmichael said, recalling how the actor turned in his previous Globe statuettes to protest the group’s lack of diversity.
“I think, maybe, we take these three things and exchange them for the safe return of Shelly Miscavige.” That line drew audible gasps from the crowd as it referenced the wife of the leader of Scientology, David Miscavige. Shelly Miscavige was last seen publicly in 2007, and many have speculated as to her whereabouts.
Allegations of a woman’s disappearance matters, of course, but bringing it up during an awards show seemed odd. The Church of Scientology shared this information from the Los Angeles Police Department regarding her whereabouts.
LAPD News: LAPD Responds to Comments Made by Leah Remini pic.twitter.com/ri6RYp53r5
— LAPD PIO (@LAPDPIO) November 12, 2022
Still, it was one gag targeting a rich and famous star, and there’s nothing wrong with that, on paper.
Enter Judd Apatow.
The far-Left director recently signed a letter bullying The New York Times into ignoring critics of the trans community.
The man behind “Knocked Up” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” once worked as a stand-up comedian, and he returned to those roots while emceeing the Directors Guild of America Awards Saturday night.
Apatow didn’t just name check the “Mission: Impossible” star in his monologue. He attacked him with a series of pointed, and personal, jokes.
The host mocked Cruise’s height, or lack thereof.
“The special effects in ‘Maverick’ were so top notch, I couldn’t even see the stack of phone books Tom Cruise sat on to reach the flight controls.”
Next? He brought up Cruise’s infamous couch-jumping episode with Oprah Winfrey 18 years ago.
“Remember when Tom Cruise jumped up and down on the couch and we all thought, ‘What a lunatic!’ … And now he rides a motorcycle off a cliff and BASE jumps and we’re all like, ‘Tom’s fine!’”
“Tom is not fine. Someone needs to explain to him something called CGI. You’re 60. Calm down.”
Apatow’s next line took the skewering to a new level.
“But every time he does one of these new stunts, it does feel like an ad for Scientology. I mean, is that in Dianetics? Because there’s nothing about jumping off a cliff in the Torah.”
Apatow’s monologue took a cruel turn next.
“The only thing he seems to be afraid of is co-parenting and antidepressants … I doubled my Prozac today just for this. I doubled it! Do you think if Tom Cruise took antidepressants, he’d be like, ‘I’m not jumping out of a f***ing cliff. I’m rich!’”
None of this is accidental.
The industry should be grateful for Cruise’s handiwork, luring audiences back to theaters with an all-American sequel. Cruise did more than that, though. He personally thanked audiences for supporting his work, the kind of personal touch rarely seen in La La Land these days.
Tom Cruise Jumps Out of Plane in New ‘Mission: Impossible’ Promo: ‘Thank You for Allowing Us to Entertain You’ https://t.co/V8Ijkj8u6Z
— Variety (@Variety) December 18, 2022
Hollywood should be taking copious notes, not thinking of ways to belittle someone many dub the last movie star.
Perhaps that’s partly what bugs industry insiders about what Cruise accomplished.
“Top Gun: Maverick” is so fervently apolitical it’s … political. No lectures. No woke asides. No nods to America’s sins.
Just pure entertainment, good enough to win an honorary Best Picture nomination. There’s no one on planet Earth who thinks the film will win the night’s biggest trophy come March 12.
Are Apatow and co. jealous of Cruise’s approach and his staying power in a brutal industry like Hollywood?
Comedians are very particular about both their jokes and satirical targets these days. They won’t lay a finger on President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris or spokeswoman Karine Jean Pierre, for example, fearing gags will diminish their political clout.
Targeting Cruise, over and again, is meant to send a message.
More importantly, will Jimmy Kimmel take the cruel baton from Apatow during his third Oscars monologue next month? If so, what does that say about modern Hollywood?
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated with information from the LAPD regarding Shelly Miscavige.