When it comes to being an on-screen mariner, Tom Hanks takes his orders from no one. To celebrate his recent birthday and the release of his new WWII film, “Greyhound” (2020), Chance and Noah dive into the boat-bound roles of Hanks’ storied career.
Beginning with his first starring role in “Splash” (1984), moviegoers are not only introduced to Hanks as a lovable everyman but also as a cog in the machine of shipping. Here, he plays a distributor of fresh produce–while later Hanks characters will be employed by FedEx, Maersk, and the US Navy to transport cargo (one of the bizarre coincidences of this category we didn’t expect).
Next, Hanks takes on the grief of losing a spouse in Nora Ephron’s “Sleepless in Seattle” (1993), a houseboat-set romantic comedy that pairs Hanks with Meg Ryan for the second time in their careers. While freight doesn’t play a key role here, the waters of Lake Union certainly contribute to the Hanks character’s isolation, another theme of this category.
Speaking of loneliness, our next film, “Cast Away” (2000), famously takes a modern man away from his modern world, as Hanks’ everyman is lost on a desert island, making do with the trash of capitalism and an affable volleyball. We then discuss “Captain Phillips” (2013), a docu-realist pirate thriller primarily remembered for its famous declaration, “I’m the captain now!” but maybe not so well remembered for its glorification of the military-industrial complex as well as the racism inherent to keeping a supply chain intact.
Finally, the new Apple TV + film “Greyhound” tries to suck the thrilling glory out of WWII action fare and replace it with a stoic look at the alienating process of evading U-boats in the black depths of the North Atlantic. Playing a tight-lipped captain is certainly a familiar role for Hanks, but is it too familiar? Permission to come aboard!
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