Wednesday, 16 October 2013
TOM HANKS Feature-HANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
That's not to discredit the 30 plus year of three terrific decades of time on the screen that Hanks has given is for the memories, from his humble beginnings to the honesty of his current output. It's just the 10 years of the new age of cinema and his career that just stand out as being that iconic, influential and inspirational. This was a regular Joe, everyman that grabbed the attention of everybody with his straight forward roles, even in a decade that saw dinosaurs run rampant in theme parks. I mean...dinosaurs!! Just like they don't make films for kids anymore like 'Jurassic Park' ('Twilight', come on!), they don't make actors like Hanks, with all due respect to the DiCaprio's, Pitt's, Damon's and new greats of the world. At 57 years of age Thomas Jeffrey Hanks has made more than 8 and a half billion dollars for his movies and so many more memories for his family and fans. It started with a move to New York one year shy of the 1980's and a low budget slasher thriller ('He Knows You're Alone') to start the decade and be the first cut of a classic career. T.V. and game show followed before Tom won big on the biggest of screens.
His 'Moneyball' strike and hit alongside pop queen Madonna came with 'A League Of Their Own', as Hank's knocked it out the park, playing a down and out but rough and ready female baseball coach, punch drunk off piss and vinegar. He told the aptly named 'Vanity Fair' make that this modern era of films took him from the fake facade of previous funny films. Showing his range in playing real characters with darker depths and all sorts of flaws he rose like elevators to the top of the rock. 'Sleepless in Seattle' turned his career supersonic and gave his on-screen muse Meg Ryan more star-power and claim that their "relationship" partnership could rival those director/leading man combos. With chemistry to the letter that went electric with the now dated but then forward thinking internet of 'You've Got Mail' and those old bricks and blocks laptop. This leading males career was anything but spam in this new age. In the spectrum of this stars career it really got stellar on the streets of 'Philadelphia'. Springsteen laid the intros superb soundtrack and pink ribbon, haunting and moving tour of the city, while fellow top leading man of his generation Denzel Washington held counsel while the Academy provided the Oscar. An award worthy performance of a man who lost De Niro weight and ultimately sacrificed his health (Hanks has recently revealed he suffers from diabetes, we wish him good health) to portray an AIDS sufferer never jeopardised his reputation. Alongside Washington in 'Philadelphia', Hanks inspired and ignorant time to open their mind and hearts to the rights of homosexual people in the community and workplace.
The heartfelt performances didn't end their for the boss of movies who truly brought that American heartland music feel to the scores of his Hollywood pictures. In 1994 he followed his Oscar year of 'Philadelphia' with another Academy Award for another born in the U.S.A. classic. You could even see the Springsteen similarities in a snow scene of fall family moment, black and white, photographic capturing that you can see in the press photo's of Bruce in the 80's. 'Forrest Gump' is just that timeless a movie. Good enough to beat the 'Pulp Fiction' of Travolta no matter how commercial this is just THE cult classic that will take your emotions all over the place and world as still to this day you'll be unsure whether those tears are of joy or sorrow. From war to peace, the Beatles and John Lennon and all the entertainment and real world inbetween Gump literally runs and runs through it all. With inspired performances throughout (Sally Field goes from 'Punchline' love interest to 'Gump' box of chocs mother in 0 to 60 greys) it's Hanks who owns this storyteller from the bus stop. The comedy is classy, the mix of real world footage a homage and anything but tasteless (they just can't pull things off like this today) and the drama of love and loss devastating. Put it this way it's the "is he smart or dumb" question that will leave you lump in the throat unable to answer. This film grossed it all, even realising Bubba Gump's shrimp dream, to the tune of a multi-million business of nationwide chain restaurants inspired by the movie. I guess Bubba got to go home after all.
By this tip of the cartoon stetson cap the sheriff of leading man had done it all from action to animation. All that was left was the light and cameras of directing and chairing that role Hanks brought a coming of age story in the light and warm star shine of 'That Thing You Do'. Recently Tom also starred in front and behind the camera alongside his female equivalent Julia Roberts for a hallmark nice and sincere romantic comedy 'Larry Crowne'. Neither film broke blockbuster budgets or billboard charts, but to Hanks and his formidable filmography they where still great successes. After taking it to the future of space travel with 'Apollo 13', the only way for Tom to go forward was to go back somewhat and that's where he made history and started his classic collaborative legacy with his 90's directing equivalent Steven Speilberg. 'Saving Private Ryan' remains the epic war movie that is haunting, harrowing, moving and meaningful, unlike the tasteless, stylised copycat army of war films that followed. 'Saving Private Ryan' turned Matt Damon into a star, showed the dark depths of last remaining action hero Vin Diesel in a cameo performance and really started the acting talent of a 'Band Of Brothers' that lead to 'The Pacific'. No expense or emotion was spared in a Hanks performance that confirmed him as the best. Today Tom and his 'Captain Phillips' role wants to make factual movie they can show in class, well we where watching this one for countless history lessons when I was just a high-school kid. It's safe to say I got an education.