Archives for posts with tag: Tom Hanks

“Radio Flyer” (1992) is a heartwarming tale of child abuse and a possible suicide. Even better, it’s narrated by a dad who is telling this heartwarming tale to his own kids. Even better still is that the dad is Tom Hanks. Who thought this was a good idea? The film is filtered through a wistful haze of sepia-toned memories, supported by a fanciful musical score. Ohhh, so it’s a fairytale story of child abuse and a possible suicide. That makes it OK. The only positive is the abused young boy who (maybe) commits suicide grows up to be Frodo Baggins.


Based on his performance in “Sully” (2016), I nominate Aaron Eckhart for Best Supporting Mustache. In today’s age of media oversaturation, this is another one of those based-on-a-true-story films in which everyone is already super familiar with the “true story.” So how do you create drama? Play up Capt. Sullenberger’s wife, make the National Transportation Safety Board dude extra dicky (the birds weren’t enough of an antagonist), and plow a buncha money into special effects. Also, hope the audience can calibrate its expectations and lose itself in the re-creation of one of the all-time greatest airplane landings. Worked for me.

As you have probably heard, “Joe Versus the Volcano” (1990) is lousy in many ways. Tom Hanks with a floppy mullet. Schmaltzy and sitcommy throughout (even the end credits, they look like a “Bewitched” ripoff). But it’s also cute and funny at times. Hanks’ mullet. Occasional clever dialogue. Meg Ryan chewing the scenery. Remember, just as a big pile of horse manure can yield a beautiful garden, this movie set the stage for “Sleepless in Seattle,” “You’ve Got Mail,” and, to a lesser extent, “Cast Away.” So the next time someone makes fun of it, don’t reflexively agree. Be kind.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011) is an extremely poignant but incredibly hard-to-watch object lesson on trying to find meaning from tragedy. The payoff is minimal given the emotional effort the viewer has to put forth, making it seem too much like work and not enough like entertainment. I don’t go into every movie expecting to be served ice cream, but I also didn’t deserve this monster helping of broccoli. I would recommend it for someone who feels guilty that they did not suffer enough from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This movie is heavy, but my conscience is not.