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Tom Tom Club 

Wednesday, May 10 2006

THIS PAST JANUARY, 30-YEAR-OLD former lawyer and would-be filmmaker Jeremiah Gall sat down to watch every Tom Cruise film ever made. Two months later, he edited together a one-minute, 16-second “Tomontage,” as he calls it, of Cruise running, over and over in film after film, broken up with the occasional head bang, tuck and roll through enemy territory, bicycle getaway and fist pump.

The piece, titled Just Cruise, is cut to the AC/DC anthem “Rock ’N Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”and is a parody of Jake Scott’s Nike Air Awake commercial, as well as an amusing meditation on Tom Cruise, actors and the media in general.

Since completion, the video spoof has been seen, in Gall’s estimation, by some 60,000 people, thanks to its placement on YouTube, ifilm, Defamer and his homemade Web site Gall would like to segue into a film career, and is encouraged by the attention his “little video” has been receiving. He sees it as a sign that, with video distribution becoming essentially a wide-open playing field, there will soon be a larger demand for such creative content.

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This is Gall’s first video project. But he has friends in the industry who have expressed interest in developing other irreverent projects and “fictional shorts” with him; advertising people have also contacted him via his Web site.

“I recognized this thing [about] Tom Cruise running in every film,” Gall explains from his home back in Cambridge, after a night out with friends. “I was thinking how there are different actors who keep doing the same thing in every film. They have patterned behavior; it’s probably natural they end up carrying that over to every role. I just thought it would be a good way to get film experience.”

Gall made Just Cruise at home on his Titanium 15-inch Apple PowerBook G4, using Final Cut Pro, and says the whole thing cost less than $500.

You watched every Tom Cruise movie?

“I did, yes. I am well-versed in the Cruise catalog. The only ones I didn’t watch were Interview With the Vampire, Eyes Wide Shut andEndless Love.”

Why those in particular?

“I already had so much material to work with.”

So what did you think while watching all those films?

“Tom Cruise has been in so many movies, and from way back, he has always been running. Then you look at some recent movies, and running turns into the main feature, like Collateral and the Mission: Impossible movies. I also was thinking, ‘I can’t believe I am sitting here watching all these Tom Cruise movies.’ ”

Gall, who says his favorite Cruise film is The Color of Money, but considers Top Gun the seminal Cruise vehicle for his generation, explains that he is not passionate about Tom Cruise in either direction; he just thought it was a “silly” idea and one that had something to do with the culture at large.

“I think it’s interesting that Tom Cruise’s personal life is like a whole public-relations media event,” says Gall, who admits his taste in actors veers more in the direction of Owen Wilson and Bill Murray.

“The behavior is eye-catching. People are into it. It feels like, to me, there has been an increase in celebrity in the last few years and he is right in the middle of it.”

I noticed that you included the Oprah moment. It was the only piece of footage not from an actual film performance. Was that a statement about something?

“The jumping on the couch with Oprah was a triggering moment in his public image, and it fit in. It goes with the original Nike commercial in a way that is funny. The piece is called Just Cruise. Obviously that is a play on Just Do It. The entire video is all these different shots, and it’s just him the entire time. So it’s just Cruise.

Oh, you didn’t intend it as a verb? Like how people can jump on a couch and “pull a Cruise.” You know how people say that?

“I actually didn’t know they said that. That’s funny. I didn’t mean it as a verb.”

Do you feel Tom Cruise is like you, like if you were an action hero?

“Not really.”

Well, who would play you in a movie?

“I couldn’t say. I don’t really look at things that way.”

All right, one last question: Katie or Nicole?

“I don’t know. But you know what is great? Nicole does have a little scene in Days of Thunder where she says, ‘Go, Cole!’ And does a little fist pump herself.”

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