Can This Tom Cruise Be Saved?

Kim Masters thinks so, judging by her career assessment in The Daily Beast today. She discusses the troubled actor's path to redemption—funnee movie roles and Matt Lauer apologies—and determines him on the mend.

Or is he? She also mentions that the actor—who lost ground with fans because of a) getting older b) becoming crazy and c) lashing out against people who don't cotton to his wacky Scientology cult—may be on the delusional side when it comes to realizing his slipping position in the ol' Q score department.

A source close to Cruise acknowledged then that he was "teetering on the brink of a certain kind of trouble that no star like him has ever been in before." But this knowledgeable source said Cruise still hadn't gotten the word. "You've got to be very careful in conversations with him," he explained. "Tom is not ever going to face facts."

And the facts seem to be that no one is willing to pay him as much money as they used to. Though he still demands his elite "20 against 20" salary, no one will give him Mission: Impossible or Minority Report money anymore. Fox is reportedly considering him for Wichita, an action-comedy maybe costarring Cameron Diaz (so it must be good!), and payment negotiations are stalling.

The studio is apparently willing to promise Cruise $20 million but it wants him to hold off on his gross participation until its costs are recouped. So far, Cruise's representatives have responded that the star won't do that. And that's left some at Fox fuming that Cruise still hasn't gotten the memo.

This is all to say that Cruise's Please Still Love Me Tour, with its Tropic Thunder and Jimmy Kimmel appearances and soft-touch sit downs with Oprah to explain that wacky couch jumping, has been calculated since day one, even if Cruise himself doesn't really understand what's going on. And though Masters' equivocating gets a bit irksome—he's rehabbed! Or not. He's back on top! Or maybe not—she does have a point that maybe Cruise hasn't been such a disaster of late. Valkyrie, though panned by critics and easily mockable because of the crazy eye patch, did respectable business and really, even though he's a lunatic ringleader of a batshit cult, we still kinda like him in movies, don't we? I mean, I kinda do, at least.