Wow, didn't realize there was so much Cruise dislike. I'm not saying he's Depp, or Hoffman (either PS or D), or Daniel Day Lewis. But, I'd hardly call his performances in War of the Worlds, Vanilla Sky, or The Color of Money pathetic.
I have long thought that Jack Nicholson plays nothing but Jack Nicholson, but I'll admit that he's a very good actor.
Sure you're not allowing Cruise's bizarre off-screen antics cloud your judgement of what's on screen?