Few actors have a career like that of Tom Hanks. It wasn’t easy to make this list, since there are so many long-forgotten gems in the VHS box. But after careful study, here are my favorite Hanks films.
Saving Private Ryan
Such an honest performance of a man fighting a war out of a sense of honor and duty. He doesn’t want to be there, but thank God he is.
How can you not fall in love with America’s charming man-child as he hijacks history.
Toy Story 2
Better than the original? Just barely!
He’s the dad we all wanted, and the robot we all needed. He was robbed of an Oscar for this one.
Disney’s Catcher in the Rye
A new character was added to the dull and dreary story of Holden Caulfield, and who better to play Holden’s funny and lighthearted chauffeur than Hanks himself! Hanks’ character, Mr. Blythe, uttered the now-iconic line, “You keep Holden on to those dreams, Mr. Caulfield.” One of cinema’s most beautiful death scenes.
Slow Down, Vanessa!
He’s a nerdy helicopter pilot. She’s a college senior on Spring Break who wants to take a flying lesson. And we’re just along for the ride in this early entry into the Hanks oeuvre. Continue reading My Favorite Tom Hanks Movies
A guy behind me at a red light honked his horn. While we were both turning right, it was not safe to turn on red.
I’ll never know why he honked. But I have a few possible reasons…
- He had nothing to do with it. A bee just stung the middle of his steering wheel.
- He thought my car was not a car, but a collection of birds grouped together in car-shape and that by honking the horn, the birds would dissipate and he could be well on his way to the opera.
- The horn wasn’t meant for me. He was the time keeper for a basketball game occurring a few blocks away, and he just ran out to get a coffee and now he realized the quarter just ended so…HONK!
- He didn’t honk the horn. What I heard was the sonic-honk of a nearby duck breaking the sound barrier.
- His dad never let him try out for the school play.
- Me a big dumbo with no foot on go-go pedal! Me thank him for remembering me to vroom!
- The car behind him was driven by the old man who died 10 years ago on this very day, on this very road!
- If he presses the horn, maybe Julie will get back together with him.
- He thinks I’m handsome.
- He’s a spy who just found out the bomb is hidden inside the frame of the painting, and if the kindergarten class trip stands in front of the painting, the bomb goes off and…guess what…the spy’s cell phone has been hacked so he can’t call the museum and has only minutes to make it to the museum and protect the innocent!
- He filled his car with too much horn juice, and it was spilling out of his air vents. By honking the horn, he drains the excess horn juice.
- He thought I was a bank robber getting away, and his honk was meant to signal the police and tell them, “I’ve found him, police officers. He’s over here! I am the Batman of this street.”
- Like music in a movie, the honk sound added much-needed dramatic accompaniment to his Monster Energy Drink sticker.
- If he doesn’t get to the zoo by 4 o’clock, the red pandas will already have eaten! And then what’s the point?
- It’s his first time driving.
- Because this isn’t even about me, bro.
- He’s blind and the only way he can drive is by using echo-location. The sound of the horn bouncing off nearby objects is how he navigates.
- He just saw the new trailer for Fast and Furious 8!
- He’s better than me. I forgot, but the horn reminded me. I’ll call him later to apologize for my crimes.
- His radio is stuck in the in-between space where you hear a little static, but if he just pulls up a few inches, the station comes in clear. So I should move up a bit.
- He’s diarrhea-ing all over.
- His buddy just scored some sick vape juice (apricot) and the weekend is starting early, son!
- He just realized all of his tattoos are pathetic and he lowered his head in shame, thus pressing the horn with his forehead.
- He knows the sound waves of a horn can break up the clouds in the sky, preventing rain and thus saving his trip to the cabin!
- He was expressing himself through his music.
- He just read The Secret and was becoming the master of his own reality.
- He was honking away The Froglins, a race of evil frog goblins who are allergic to loud noises.
- He just got off work and no one else in the entire country worked today besides him, so he deserves this.
- Trump won.
100. Human beings are good, compassionate people. If we see someone fall, our instinct is to help them up — unlike wombats who would just let you fall. Wombats don’t care. Humans are better than wombats.
99. All humans should have the same rights, even the ones with terrible taste in clothes and movies.
98. God is real, but we cannot understand what God is, as a squirrel cannot understand a knock-knock joke no matter how smart or hard-working the squirrel may be.
97. Good, wonderful people are humble. They apologize when they screw up. They do not brag when they succeed. Pride and bragging are different. I’m proud of my squirrel metaphor above, but I will not tell others, “I totally nailed it with that squirrel thing! Just…wow!”
96. Gender and sexuality are far more complicated than can be summed up in one sentence, but if you dared to sum up gender and sexuality in one sentence it should start with, “Everyone is wonderful… .”
95. Words are important. It’s what separates us from the wombats. Continue reading Daily Transmission #24: 50 Things I Believe
Star Wars Episode VIII: Force It
Who are Rey’s parents? What does the Force taste like? Does Luke have secrets? What is BB-8’s origin story? What are the names of every stormtrooper? Where on the sexuality spectrum does Boba Fett live? Can Yoda be in this one? How about two Death Stars at the same damn time!? Is Kylo Ren a ghost? All will be answered!
Back to the Future: Rise of Time
In this all-female reboot, teenager Martha McFly must travel back to 1985 to make sure her parents fall in love at prom. 80s references galore! The movie exists outside of the original movie, and yet there are references to the original movie so that audiences will be left confused. The trailer gives away the only funny joke, which is about Donald Trump being president in 2017.
Untitled PG-13 Movie Starring The Rock
The Rock plays Craig or maybe Eli — a cop (or dentist? or renegade soldier?) who tilts his head often and says, “Not today, bub.” Plot involves jumping/falling from helicopters and a car flips over. Soundtrack relies heavily on 80s pop rock, though the trailer makes great use of “Who Let the Dogs Out.” Kevin Hart is there, also. Movie is somehow based on an old TV show that everyone vaguely remembers. (Not sure what show yet. Doesn’t really matter. Whatever’s available. Maybe China Beach, or Northern Exposure?)
Let’s not fight about this.
“Fill In the Blank” by Car Seat Headrest
It sounds like something from high school that was transported into the future where I listen to it as an adult.
“Lady Luck” by Richard Swift
This came up on my Spotify’s Discover playlist, and is one of the few times when Spotify totally gets me. I don’t know who Richard Swift is, or if his other music is any good, but I loved this song all year.
“715 – Creeks” by Bon Iver
That’s not the correct way to spell the song’s title. The actual title is made of symbols that would require me to hit the control key, or shift, or F7 to generate the accurate text. But let’s just call it Creeks. Bon Iver’s latest album, “22, A Million”, is a weird collection of alien folk rock that sounds like it was made by an artificially intelligent keyboard with a beard. I like it…I think. I listened to the album, and this song in particular, a lot during a very rough August/September period of the year when my family was dealing with a great loss. As such, this song is now associated with that time and those feelings.
“Famous” by Kanye West
Kanye West is an asshole, but I’m glad he exists. Too much pop music is safe and precious. If a pop star dares to try anything new, or say anything strange, Twitter will attack with enough ferocity to kill a career. But Kanye does whatever the hell he wants, and I admire that even if he’s also an egotistical sack of stupid. Plus, this song is great.
“Frankie’s Gun” by The Felice Brothers
Makes me happy, even if the subject matter is grim.
“I Really Like You” by Carly Rae Jepsen
Makes me happy, even if the subject matter is corny.
“Hurdy Gurdy Man” by Donovan
This is an old song, but I “discovered” it this year and put it on most of my playlists. If you haven’t heard the song yet, listen to it. It’s weird in the best way.
“Super Mario World” by Logic
“Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my God!” It gets in your head and lives there all day.
“Walk on the Wild Side” by Jimmy Smith
I heard this jazz song for years, thanks to the Casino soundtrack, but I re-discovered it this year. So good! So jazzy! So cool!
And that’s about it. There are some other great songs, but too many to mention here.
100. What’s more important: Glass or Rubber?
99. Ben Affleck the actor vs. Ben Affleck the director vs. Ben Affleck the person.
97. Who’s your third favorite Beatle?
96. “My friend saw Slenderman.”
95. Did the person who invented the high-five know what he was doing? Or was it an accident like penicillin?
94. Whatever happened to the pilgrims after Thanksgiving? Are there still pilgrims? Did they die out like dinosaurs and leprechauns?
93. “Ssssssuper Moon!”
92. [Just start quietly singing TLC’s “Waterfalls,” until everyone joins in and starts dancing around the table.]
91. Internet lists.
I’m a slow reader. When firing on all cylinders I can probably get through an average-sized novel in three weeks, but usually it takes me a month or more to finish a book. As such, looking over my list of books read in 2015 (thanks, Goodreads, for keeping track!), I was sad and ashamed that last year I read only seven books. I hope to do better in 2016.
But, some of the books I did plow through were great, and because I spent a few months last year whining about a certain vampire novel, I’d like to take a few sentences here to share my favorites of 2015.
The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer
If you and I talked about good books recently, I probably shouted, “Have you read The Southern Reach Trilogy?” into your frightened face. And I’m not sorry. The Southern Reach Trilogy is good. Very good. And I just finished the last book today. I could tell you the entire plot of the three books: Annihilation, Authority and Acceptance, but that would ruin the weirdness of this story.
In broad terms, this is about a strange bit of land where strange things occur, and a government’s feeble attempts at understanding A) what happened there B) why did it happen and C) where did all the rabbits go?
Each book in the trilogy, which has now been collected in a single volume, has a different overall feeling. The first book is similar to the show Lost crossed with H.P. Lovecraft’s genre of Weird Fiction. The second book, to me anyway, reads like a Coen Brother’s film that mixes corporate/conspiratorial satire with rich paranoia. And the third book brings it all home by answering questions you didn’t even think to ask.
Some may criticize the books for being slow-paced, and that’s fair. But I loved the slow burn of these book. It might not be for everyone, but for those who are tired of the same old stories being told again and again, here is something new and weird.
Also, Alex Garland, the director who made the fascinating movie Ex-Machina, is directing the movie version of the first book. So…be cool and read the book first.
The Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
I read this in January of last year and it still haunts me. The story of a young man who copes with tragedy by creating a mail-order role playing game is a strange, dark mystery that slowly reveals itself. This isn’t a happy story, and after finishing it, you’ll probably need a hug and cup of tea. But it’s so beautifully written by Darnielle, who also fronts the lyrically masterful Mountain Goats band, that even when it’s sad and lonely, the book is a page-turner. Again, do not read this if you’re feeling sad.
And that’s all. Other books I read last year include Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, which was interesting, and The Tenth of December by George Saunders because if you don’t read that, everyone calls you a stupid head. (I thought it was okay.) The other books I read in 2015 are rather forgettable.
Next up, I want to read The Phantom Tollbooth, because I’ve never read it. And I hope to get the Chronicles of Narnia blog started soon.
What were some of your favorite books from last year? Tell me in the non-existant comment section below!
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The Force Awakens is leaving many movie-watchers with questions about the story and the plot. Here are a few of the most burning questions from the movie.
SPOILER ALERT! Continue reading The 20 Unanswered Questions of The Force Awakens
The Washington Redskins are still called the Washington Redskins, but that will probably (and hopefully) change soon. What will they pick as the new name? Something bland, like the Washington Nationals? Something just as offensive, such as the Washington C-words? If Mr. NFL is smart, he’ll pick one of the following new team names:
100. The Other Eagles
98. The Durmstrangs
97. The Spider Men