I remember when I was a pre-teen and first hearing the name Tom Hanks. He was in a new TV show called Bosom Buddies. I hadn’t seen any episodes, but I’d heard over and over how funny it was. It would be two years after that show was cancelled that I saw my first Tom Hanks movie–Splash. My friends, siblings and I absolutely loved it. I was too young to understand the difference a skilled actor or actress would have on a movie or TV show, so I just thought I liked it for the story and, of course, the funny parts. Hanks really knew how to do funny. I discovered that years later watching The Money Pit, Dragnet, Big, A League of their Own, and my personal favourite of his comedies, The ‘Burbs. By now, Hanks was in the class of actors where people would say, “Oh, it’s a so-and-so movie? I want to see that!” It wasn’t until I watched Philadelphia that I realized how much of a powerhouse actor he really was. It seems everyone else did too, because after that movie, he not only starred in this week’s MOTW, he also went on to star in some of the most memorable movies like Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, and Captain Phillips.
To me, Tom Hanks was like a favourite uncle. He had the lines he’d deliver that you would laugh later about with your siblings and you knew most of the reason for your belly laughing was his delivery than his actual joke. He also had the voice of an experienced, wise man who could really make a statement mean something.
Now I have to admit that I can relate to my friend Josh and his misgivings about Forrest Gump. I love this movie and it’s one I can watch multiple times, but pop culture has over-quoted it to the point of eye-rolling irritation. The same has happened with one of my favourite movies, Jerry Maguire. For me, the final scene is powerful and one of the few romantic scenes that I find is done right and believable. However, hearing “You complete me,” and “You had me at hello,” with exaggerated sappiness for a laugh, and hearing that just as often as bald jokes (Hey, I’m not angry about it… it’s just true. They’re overdone. I will never speak of this again.), it does wear on you. In 1994 when someone was running down the hall at school and someone yelled, “Run Forrest, run!” everyone laughed and slapped that kid on the back. Today, they get either a cold shoulder or a punch to the shoulder and the terrible feeling of being lame.
However, that being said, Forrest Gump was, and still is, a unique movie compared to any other. It’s all about one man, and we all feel for him. We all have a part of him inside of us and could relate to the one time he gets emotional in the movie (SPOILER ALERT) : when he asks if his son is smart. And it doesn’t only mean something to those who have children. I didn’t at the time that I watched the movie and that moment struck a chord in me. We all have a little part of us that feels inadequate and not measuring up to the rest. When someone who appears slower or more challenged than everybody else seems to not let that bother them and they beat the odds, it inspires us. And when that person feels the pangs of low self-worth, we’re there feeling the same pain. And perhaps what brings that emotion out is when something we have made or done is either celebrated or run down.
Congratulations Forrest Gump. This is your week.
And the Oscar goes to:
Best actress: Robin Wright definitely deserves this one, though I hope she doesn’t find out–she has virtually no competition. You don’t see too many women in men’s prisons and not as many were on the front lines in wars as there are now. I’m counting on it that she won’t find out about this.
Best actor: We definitely need to pick someone other than Hanks for this, and this week it goes to Gary Sinise. I remember when the movie Ransom came out. It starred Mel Gibson and Rene Russo, but Joy and I were wanting to see it mostly because of Sinise.
Best quote: If we’re talking about making its way into pop culture’s vernacular, Forrest Gump has a ton of them. Maybe it would be good to pick another one. Like “Things have taken a turn for the surreal.” (Captain Miller, SPR)
And finally, the three things I love about Tom Hanks aside from his acting:
1) The fact that he was the first actor since Spencer Tracey to win back to back Oscars for Best Actor.
2) The pictures he took with a fan who pretended to be drunk. According to Snopes, he’s not really drunk as the story has been spun since.
3) His guest appearances on SNL. Even considering Christopher Walken, Steve Martin and Father Guido Sarducci, I think the episodes with him are the best.