Cake expectations … Stuart with this year’s gateaux. Photograph: Courtesy of Stuart Heritage
Two more deluxe coconut gateaux winged their way to me this year, without any begging. Evidence if ever it was needed of Cruise’s very hectic year
You may remember, not least because I haven’t shut up about it even for a second since it happened, that Tom Cruise sent me two cakes last Christmas. The story is long and overtold but, in summary: every year Tom Cruise sends a white chocolate and coconut bundt to all the people he has ever worked with. In January 2021, I embarked on a year-long campaign to receive one of these cakes myself. Two, in fact, because (and I promise this made sense at the time), Tom Cruise once ate two curries in a restaurant on the same night.
December rolled around and, to my astonishment, Tom Cruise sent me two cakes. Which is objectively too much cake, especially when every single person you know refuses a slice because they have an aversion to coconut. Nevertheless, it was a lovely touch; a solid PR move for Team Cruise and the mother of all school-gate flexes for me.
But that was last year. Since then, Tom Cruise has enjoyed perhaps the most successful year of his career. Top Gun: Maverick wasn’t just a highly enjoyable, if entertainingly preposterous, action movie of the sort that people don’t make any more, but it almost single-handedly kept the concept of theatrical moviegoing afloat. This has been a year where several cinematic titans have wobbled precariously – The Rock’s latest film lost its studio $100m, Pixar hit the dirt twice and even Steven Spielberg’s big return found itself without a willing audience. But Top Gun Maverick bucked the trend with ease.
The biggest film of the year (so far: it could still be usurped by Avatar), Maverick has made $1.5bn in theatrical receipts alone. It is now the 11th biggest movie of all time, the second most successful movie that Paramount has ever made (after Titanic) and comfortably the biggest money-maker of Tom Cruise’s career. Cruise is a 60-year-old man operating during a time when people would rather have their teeth pulled than go to the cinema. It is an extraordinary achievement.
He has also been busy in other areas. There is next year’s Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning to promote, which he has been doing in a myriad of gut-churning ways. There was the trailer drop, obviously, promising a film that makes 2018’s stupendous Mission: Impossible – Fallout look like a training run. But there was also the method in which he chose to present the trailer, hanging off the side of a speeding biplane so casually that it felt specifically designed to give you a tummy ache.
And that hasn’t been all. He was one of the last humans to have met the Queen, appearing at her Platinum Jubilee horse show. While he was there he found the time to stroll through Windsor like a returning hero, and also somehow became lifelong BFFs with Alan Titchmarsh. And, although it didn’t happen this year, Cruise apparently called Emily Blunt a “pussy” on the set of Edge of Tomorrow. But that was only just reported, so it counts as a 2022 achievement anyway.
Which is to say that Tom Cruise has been incredibly busy all year. I know this because he apparently forgot to update his spreadsheets properly. That’s right: this weekend, despite my near-total lack of begging, two more Tom Cruise white chocolate and coconut bundts appeared on my doorstep. They are reliably delicious, and I am as grateful as I am surprised. As ever, the cakes came with Christmas decorations, which means I now have a gratuitously Cruise-y tree. And it has provided me with a chance to correct the mistakes of last year, by forcing the cake on to almost everyone I come into physical contact with.
This has comfortably become the weirdest part of my year now, and one of the most giddy. And better yet, it has given me the perfect campaign for 2023. Operation Politely Ask Tom Cruise to Send Me 50% Less Cake Next Year begins now.