Hall of Idols # 55: Tom Hanks


Fifty-fifth installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.

Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it.

Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.

As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.

I like movies. However, I’m not a specialist and I’m miles away of what you might call a movie critique. I just like to have a good time every time I watch a film. However, I can spot a good performance by an actor. I think everybody is able to do it.

And one of the things I like most is when the actor shows talent portraying the most different kinds of characters in the most different kind of movies. And for that kind of actor, you need to look no further than Tom Hanks.

Thomas Jeffrey Hanks was born in Concord, (CA) July 9, 1956. His mother was a hospital worker and his father was a cook. They divorced in 1960.

At school Tom was not popular with the kids and with the teachers, although he was responsible and didn’t get into trouble. He started acting in school plays in High School in Oakland.

When he was studying theater in Sacramento, he used to go to plays, not only as a spectator, but also as a student. He used to study the actors and the play. He used to watch plays by Brecht, Tennessee Williams, and others.

He then went to work as an intern at the Great Lakes Cleveland Festival, which landed him a job and later a role in Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona for which he won an award from the Cleveland Critics Circle.

And from then on, there was no stopping him. After a few roles in series, low budget films and plays, Tom got his big break with a leading role in the surprise box office hit, Splash. That was followed by the wonderful and hilarious Bachelor Party (who can forget that coke-fueled donkey?) and one of his most remarkable performances in Big. He was actually able to portray a child being a grown man.

However, he was seen as a funny, comedy actor until his breakthrough as a dramatic giant in Philadelphia. But that could be a one hit wonder. Thus, to avoid this he followed it “only” with Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, That Thing You Do! and Saving Private Ryan. How’s that for a box-office smashes streak? By the way, in That Thing You Do! he wrote the screenplay and that catchy, great, title-song. And his role is much inspired by what Brian Epstein did with the Beatles. That’s another one of his qualities; Tom’s a huge Beatles fan.

He then returned to his romantic-comedy side, teaming up with – at that time still rather hot- Meg Ryan on the very entertaining You’ve Got Mail. Afterwards, it was another deep powerful movie, The Green Mile. That’s Stephen King and Tom Hanks together, impossible not to work out.

And it seems that he could do no wrong. Castaway, Catch Me if You Can, the cult Ladykillers, the dark Road to Perdition and The Terminal.

And then it was time for The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, which completely seals the deal for me. I mean, he is Robert Langdon for Chrissake! No need to be anyone else ever again in his life!

Besides, he is a democrat and he worked with Steven Spielberg on the 4D movie Beyond All Boundaries that I had the privilege to watch at the WWII Museum in New Orleans. And it is actually beyond all words. Another masterpiece, a total must see if you ever go down to the Big Easy.

Therefore, Mr. Hanks, do that thing that a lot of other great people did and step into the Hall of Idols.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

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