Tag Archives: tom hanks

Cast Away (film)

Robert Zemeckis directs Tom Hanks in Cast Away, the story of a FedEx worker who gets stranded on an uninhabited island after a plane crash. The last time they collaborated together they made Forrest Gump, truly a landmark film. Cast Away is a solid film, but is nowhere near a masterpiece. Tom Hanks carries the movie but gets upstaged by a volleyball. Tom Hanks has won multiple Oscars and Golden Globes for Best Actor and a volleyball ends up having the best performance in the movie. Wilson didn’t even have any lines.

Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) is a systems analyst for FedEx. He’s obsessed with time and making things more efficient. He’s got a girlfriend (Helen Hunt) and life is pretty good. Then he ends up stranded on a deserted island in the South Pacific. He spends the next four years fighting for survival with only a volleyball and a picture of Helen Hunt to keep him going. After four years of isolation he manages to build a raft and escape the island.

He returns home and there’s nothing waiting for him. His girlfriend has moved on, gotten married, and had a kid. He lost Wilson at sea. He doesn’t have a Facebook account. He doesn’t have anything except for some stupid mantra that “tomorrow the sun will rise” so he has to keep going. Then he delivers the FedEx package that he kept for four years and never opened. But he delivers it to the chick that sent it, not to the recipient. He works for FedEx; he should know how deliveries work. The movie ends with Chuck standing at a crossroads wondering which road to take and where life will take him next. If you like deserted island movies, Tom Hanks, or vague and unsatisfying endings, Cast Away is the movie for you.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Simpsons Movie

The Simpsons Movie is the movie based on The Simpsons (just in case you couldn’t work that out from the title). Springfield is dangerously polluted and Homer’s ignorance pushes it over the boiling point. The US Government quarantines the town by trapping the citizens under a giant glass dome. The Springfieldians discover what Homer did, and the Simpsons are forced to flee to Alaska. Oh yeah, hijinks ensue.

The Simpsons were already a staple of American entertainment by the time the movie was released. It came out a few months before the start of the 19th season. The Simpsons rewards you for watching it. It’s overwhelming how many jokes, characters, and references there are that allude to early episodes. The movie feels like an extended episode. It’s really fast paced and doesn’t drag on or anything, But it really doesn’t feel like anything is at stake. Bart finds a surrogate father in Ned Flanders, something he’s done a few times on the show. Lisa finds a boyfriend, something that’s happened multiple times on the show. Marge gets mad at Homer, which happens a few times each season. And Homer does something stupid, which happens in every single episode. A cameo from Green Day and Tom Hanks isn’t that surprising considering the galaxy of stars that have appeared on the show.

The Simpsons Movie is raunchier and has better animation than the show, but there are episodes of the show that are funnier and smarter than the movie. The movie isn’t bad. It’s funny and smart and has a message. They just waited too long to make it. It would have been awesome if it came out in 1997. The show has had so many episodes and zany situations that nothing surprises you in the movie. Except for seeing Bart’s wiener. Nobody saw that coming.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Big

If you’ve ever wanted to perform a duet with an old man on a giant keyboard in a toy store, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that you’ve seen this gem from the ‘80s. Penny Marshall directs and Tom Hanks is Big. It’s the story of a kid who makes a wish and becomes trapped in an adult’s body. It’s a scenario that’s been done a thousand times before, but this is the gold standard of body switching movies.

12-year old Josh is too short for a ride at a carnival. He sees a Zoltar Speaks wishing machine, and wishes that he was big. The next day he wakes up and he is now a 30-year old man. His mom thinks that he was kidnapped, so Josh turns to his friend Billy for help. Billy gets Josh a hotel room in the city, and helps him get a job, and essentially teaches him how to be an adult, even though he’s still a kid too.

Josh is working for a toy company, and since he’s still a kid, he knows what kids want. His boss notices him and promotes him. A yuppie executive named Paul dislikes Josh for his instant success, and Paul’s girlfriend Susan starts to become attracted to Josh. She dumps Paul and starts a relationship with Josh. He likes her, but he knows that he can’t be thirty forever and so he goes back to being a kid.

On the surface, this is just a lighthearted comedy. Josh and Billy are great friends, and they have a lot of fun just playing and being immature. Tom Hanks goes a great job of acting like a kid. Compare Tom Hanks in Big to Robin Williams in Jack. Tom Hanks seems innocent and childlike, while Robin Williams just does a parody of what he thinks kids are like. Jared Rushton plays Billy, the best friend. He really is the glue that holds this film together. He helps Josh out; he is his guide to the adult world. It’s also kind of weird that no one would say anything about a 30-year old man constantly hanging out with a 12-year old boy and they clearly aren’t related. Plus Billy is constantly going in and out of the city by himself. His best friend was seemingly kidnapped, but Billy’s parents just let him do whatever he wants apparently. Maybe they don’t love him.

So Josh is just a little kid, but Susan doesn’t know that and basically instigates a relationship with him. She uses her body as a sexual weapon. She seduces him and has sex with him. It’s a very weird case of statutory rape, but rape is rape, and she definitely raped him. He isn’t emotionally or mentally capable of making adult decisions.

The Zoltar Speaks wishing machine raises a few questions. I know that this isn’t Harry Potter or anything, it’s trying to be a fantastic depiction of the real world, but the fact is that some company can manufacture magic. Even if there is only one wishing machine that actually grants wishes, the implications of such a device would change the world. If you knew there was a machine that granted wishes you would use that shit all the time. When Josh wishes to go back to being a kid, he should have also asked for a puppy. And Susan knows about it, why doesn’t she wish for something to make her happy, like a puppy? And even best friend Billy knows about it, but he didn’t wish for anything either, like a puppy. There are three main characters that know about a mechanical genie that will make your dreams come through, and only one character that uses it to make wishes. And he didn’t even ask for a puppy.

Watch this movie. Watch it again if you’ve seen it before. It’s always enjoyable.

Critically Rated at 14/17

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That Thing You Do!

Tom Hanks directs this fun movie about the rise and fall of a fictional ‘60s rock band.  A good cast and a soundtrack full of pseudo-sixties hits highlight the film. I imagine the ‘60s were a lot like this, but with way more drugs and hippies.

Tom Everett Scott stars as Guy Patterson, a drummer who joins up with a local group called the Wonders for a talent show gig. He plays the wrong tempo, and their ballad becomes a catchy pop song that takes America by storm. The Wonders get a manager, a recording contract, a new different manager and go on tour. There are lots of parallels to the rise and fall of a little band called the Beatles.

Adam Schlesinger from Fountains of Wayne, known for their song Stacy’s Mom, wrote the title song. It is catchy and gets stuck in your head, but you don’t get annoyed with hearing it fifty times throughout the movie. The majority of the songs heard in the film are written for the movie, but they capture the vibe of the ‘60s music scene.

Johnathon Schaech plays Jimmy, the lead singer of the Wonders. Liv Tyler has a supporting role as Faye, Jimmy’s girlfriend. Ethan Embry plays the unnamed bass player. The underused Steve Zahn plays Lenny the guitar player and provides comic relief.

The movie is fun, lighthearted, and entertaining. The soundtrack is original and nostalgic at the same time. It has a lot of heart and is rewatchable, two important attributes to making a classic movie. A few more years and this will be.

Critically Rated at 13/17

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