26. 'Lions for Lambs' (2007)
Director Robert Redford's political drama-cum-lecture was roundly dismissed by audiences and critics alike — but Cruise is quite good in it, playing a Republican Senator and military hawk who tries to sell veteran journalist Meryl Streep on a new strategy in the Afghan war. The film cuts between their exchange and two other events – a conversation between Redford's lefty professor and promising absentee student Andrew Garfield, and a failed mission involving stranded soldiers Michael Peña and Derek Luke. All three story strands are connected in interesting ways, though the film's attempt to draw some kind of broader insights about America at war are muddled. Still, Cruise isn't flying jets and recruiting for the U.S. Navy's aviation program, so it's got that going for it.