Tom Hanks For All Generations
It’s hard for me not to want to write about Tom Hanks, since he seems to have had a habit of starring in half of my favorite movies. It seemed like every other movie had Tom Hanks back in the 1990s, and most of them were great. It’s hard to imagine that one of Tom Hanks’s earliest roles was a cameo in the truly terrible old show Happy Days, which is well-regarded largely due to the infamous nostalgia filter.
Tom Hanks in general was very much a comedic actor at the beginning of his career. I think even then he managed to stand head and shoulders above most of the people around him in almost any given scene, but he still didn’t really have very much to work with when it came to actually fleshing out the characters. I don’t know why a lot of people seem to be under the impression that comedic actors aren’t good actors or general, or that they can’t switch to dramatic roles if they want. It’s probably an inevitable consequence of the fact that a lot of critics think that comedies are inherently inferior, and only dramas are ever going to count as true art.
Tom Hanks is distinct in the fact that he starred in half of the best movies from my childhood, my teenage years, and my young adult years. The movie Big has practically become synonymous with childhood itself for a lot of people, including me. Splash is still probably the best movie I’ve ever seen featuring a non-human love interest of any kind, and it is certainly the best mermaid movie ever as far as I’m concerned. Of course, nothing can top Tom Hanks’s voice performances in the Toy Story series, which is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed series of all time for a reason. I still never get tired of watching the Toy Story movies. The fact that Tom Hanks managed to breathe so much life into a character that’s technically made of plastic helped make the Toy Story movies so great.
Of course, when it comes to movies from my adolescence that make me cry, it’s hard to top Philadelphia or Cast Away. Really, the fact that we would literally watch a movie that featured Tom Hanks talking to a volleyball on an island in the first place is a testament to his sheer talent.
Tom Hanks is also an outspoken liberal and an environmentalist who has tried to use his star power to get alternative fuels off the ground. Hollywood doesn’t have anywhere near enough actors that have a lot of sheer likability in addition to their talent. Usually, we just have to put up with their personalities because they have so much talent. We didn’t have to do that with Tom Hanks, which just makes him that much more likable.