Turner and Hooch

Turner and Hooch. Touchstone Pictures 1989.

Before watching the movie:

It occurs to me that while this is significant in the zeitgeist, or at least in the Hanksgeist, I’m not sure in what way. It gets referenced as something anyone who knows about Tom Hanks should know, but I’m not sure if that’s meant as a high point or a low point. Opinions will differ, but is it an adorable action comedy masterpiece, or that time Tom Hanks had to spend an hour and a half yelling at a dog? People seem to expect me to know already. Maybe I will now.

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You’ve Got Mail

You've Got Mail. Warner Bros. 1998.
You’ve Got Mail. Warner Bros. 1998.

Before watching the movie: The late 90s, a time when the internet was just beginning to be a thing normal people used, when it was beginning to be treated like the post office or telephone and nobody had a business interest in controlling access to it.

PSA aside, a time when the internet was new but probably safe enough, not something fearful. A time when Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan could be Hollywood’s most bankably romantic couple yet again by somehow meeting online without knowing each other’s real identity, and this is a good thing. Yay technology. Continue reading

Splash

Splash. Touchstone Pictures 1984.

Before watching the movie:

It’s easy to forget that Tom Hanks is in this movie because he’s overshadowed by two big stories: “Disney creates the Touchstone label to distance its core brand from edgier stuff like Splash“, and “Daryl Hannah is gorgeous”.

I think that before The Little Mermaid, it was a common assumption that mermaids were blonde, but I understand that there was a point when this movie owned the image of what a mermaid looked like to the extent that mermaids were blondes because Madison was a blonde, instead of the other way around.

I expect that 28 years later, this movie will look like a soft PG that you might see on Nickelodeon in the afternoon.

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Dragnet

Dragnet. Applied Action 1987.

Before watching the movie:

I was kind of expecting this to be funnier than the show (which I’ve never seen, but am familiar with through homage), but I didn’t know when I first selected Dragnet that it’s intended to be a parody. Maybe if I was a fan of the original show I’d be worried, but Dragnet plays to parody so well I see a lot of potential to be the definitive parody (displacing the Stan Freberg audio sketches).

This movie seems to afford an increasingly rare opportunity to see Tom Hanks do comedy.

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Philadelphia

Philadelphia. TriStar Pictures 1993.

Before watching the movie:

This is a big award-winning film. Tom Hanks’s first Oscar. Apparently he liked drama so much only Pixar can get him to come back to comedy anymore.

This feels like one of those safe messages that Hollywood likes to play with to net awards, but a lot has changed since 1993. The stance was more controversial at the time. Well, it’s still controversial, but the prevailing opinion is now more aligned with the film. I can’t really speak to how it was received because I was five years old at the time.

So much as I’m ever excited, I’m looking forward to starting something fun next week.

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Big

Big. Gracie Films/20th Century Fox 1988.

Before watching the movie:

Once again, an 80s classic with an iconic scene.  Another fantasy comedy. Recommended by the Zeitgeist and provided by a browse through the local library.

I expect to like this film, so I’ll probably be slightly disappointed. I’m not sure if I’ve seen any of Tom Hanks’s early comedy roles before, but even knowing about them, I wouldn’t have necessarily picked him for a story about a kid in a grown man’s body. It reminds me a little of Forrest Gump, but without the depth.

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Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump. Paramount Pictures 1994

Before watching the movie:

Why did I chose this movie? Because it’s definitely in the top ten of the Canon of Movies You Should See In This Era. At the same time, I really don’t know why it’s there.

Sure, I know a bunch of stuff about it already, like the early computer effects used to have the character interact with famous dead people, and he’s supposed to have a low IQ.

There’s also the memes that spread before we knew memes were memes, like “Run Forrest Run,” “Life is like a box of chocolates,” and the way Forrest says “Lieutenant Dan.”

But then, how can I avoid knowing about a movie that’s been parodied by The Simpsons and Weird Al? I even read a MAD Magazine parody of it… not that I got much of it at the time. I’ve even sat on what King’s Island claimed was the actual bench from the film.

I watch this movie because I want to know why everyone knows about this one and not Being There.

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