Happy birthday, Tom Cruise (and soon Ron Kovic). Get ready for Oliver Stone's next by revisiting one of his best.
Tom Cruise is 50 years old today. Tomorrow Ron Kovic turns 66. This weekend Oliver Stone has a new movie out. That makes this a pretty good occasion to look back at the film that brought them all together. Born on the Fourth of July is the middle part of Stone's Vietnam trilogy (bookended by Platoon and Heaven and Earth), and in many ways it might be the best. Born on the Fourth of July brings the war home, and it follows the way that Vietnam left an eternal impact on the boys who served there.
It has one of the all-time great Tom Cruise performances; even through the wonky wigs and facial hair he creates a totally three-dimensional version of a man. It's incredible to see the change in Cruise from the beginning of the film to the end, and it's amazing to realize that Universal wasn't sold on him starring as he had never carried a heavy dramatic role before. It's the last film to get Stone an Oscar, and he really deserved it - the movie is sweeping and epic and incredibly emotional.
Born on the Fourth of July also has a couple of Easter Eggs - the real Ron Kovic shows up, and Badass Hall of Famer Abbie Hoffman makes a cameo, filmed not long before his suicide.
If you're in LA Born on the Fourth of July is playing tonight at the New Beverly Cinema. Go see it!