It’s Saint Patrick’s Day, and I’m taking a break from politics, which always includes watching a movie.
I’ve been a Tom Hanks fan since his Bosom Buddies days (1980-1982, that’s how old I am), a series oddly prescient of some of today’s headlines,
Two young single ad men must disguise themselves as women to live in the one apartment they can afford.
Hanks went on to star in dozens of movies, many of which involve travel-related mishaps.
Hanks’s mismatched shoes at the airport get him into trouble in The Man With One Red Shoe. He goes to the boardwalk as a child and turns into a grownup in Big. He has a fateful car accident in The Bonfire of the Vanities. He and Gary Sinise nearly get blown to smithereens twice – first in battle, later in a hurricane – in Forrest Gump, and let’s not forget when he and Meg Ryan came thisclose to being human sacrifices in Joe Versus the Volcano.
As Hanks’s career took off, he starred as astronaut Jim Lovell in Apollo 13, where he said one of cinema’s most-quoted lines, “Houston, we have a problem,” after the capsule sprung an oxygen leak and lost power following an on-board explosion:
Hanks was hounded by a cabal which counted as a member a self-flagellating albino in The Da Vinci Code. East German punks stole his coat in Bridge of Spies, and Somali pirates his ship in Captain Phillips. He even played Chesley ‘Sully‘ Sullenberger, the most-skilled pilot who landed an airplane full of passengers on the East River. Speaking of passengers, his character was stranded for months at JFK airport in The Terminal.
But Tom Hanks’s most famous movie involving disastrous travel is Cast Away (2000), where he plays Chuck Noland, a FedEx executive who spends years talking to a volleyball named Wilson while stranded on an island somewhere in the Pacific:
Tom Hanks loves “you can’t get there from here” plots.
It’s all entertainment, and he does it very well. So does Denzel Washington, also in the same generation, but if I’m ever at Lowe’s and Denzel comes in followed by five Russians, I’m dropping everything and heading out the door.
Just in case.
Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog