The original Woody doll – with a cowboy hat, a bandana and an empty family case – came into my possession after a lot of crying and moaning when I was about five. Like Andy’s Toy story, I scribbled my name in all caps on the bottom of his cowboy boots. He went to class with me, he watched cartoons with me, he slept by my side, he flew with me on my first flight. (I still remember how the assistants treated him like a real passenger to my delight.) It was not a cartoon character or an Oscar winner Tom Hanks; he was my best friend, just like I dreamed of him every time I watched Toy story.
Then, about a decade later, I saw the two Insomnia in Seattle and You have an email – a powerful double head. With words provided by Nora Ephron and chemistry alongside Meg Ryan, like Sam Baldwin and Joe Fox, Hanks has become somewhat more charming. These characters were stubborn, sarcastic, but engaging and kind, and experts in jokes – an attractive unconventional cocktail.
Soon i will find out Philidelphia, The Green Mile, Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Apollo 13 and Save Private Ryan. And then Hanks would turn into a movie star caliber hero; Commander, moving, worthy of an Oscar. In between, there was Big, The Money Pit, That Thing You Do, Splash, Turner & Hooch, A League of Own, Road to Perdition, Catch Me If You Can, 30 Rock, this video by Carly Rae Jepsen, the list goes on.
The star of so many flagship films is not only that he is good at what he does (and very bankable at that), it is that there is an inimitable recipe for Being Tom Hanks. And it starts with a specific ingredient: it’s particularly sweet. It’s the crossing line found in so many of his characters and what makes them so constantly charming. Think of Forrest Gump or Andy Beckett or Captain Miller or Chesley Sullenberger. Their heroism or triumph comes from their hearts, but not in a superficial sense. Many Hanks performances seem to say that it takes courage to be nice. Even Joe Fox and Charlie Wilson melt and become charismatic figures when they discover that, to succeed or lead, they must be gracious.
Given the long list of good deeds that can be gathered from newspaper clippings over the years, it is no exaggeration to assume that Hanks is compelling to project benevolence because he practices it in life real. Consider the time he found her and returned her an identity card; this time he sent a taxi driver free tickets to his Broadway show and remembered his name; this time he bought an espresso machine from the White House press service after learning that they got their coffee from vending machines, and then improved it several years later; this time he reimbursed a couple he met at a gas station who told him they didn’t like his movie very much Larry Crowne; this time, he made everyone laugh and cry during his speech at the Michael Duncan Clark memorial; this time, he treated everyone in an In-N-Out to free burgers after he and his wife Rita Wilson stopped for lunch.
That is why Saturday Night Live once called him “American Daddy”. It is funny, even, in a generous way, the kind of late night guest who always has a great anecdote to spare. All of this adds to a warm, easy-to-understand personality – once the best friend, then the boy next door, now the figure of the delicious father. Take a look at his Instagram, where he shares photos of the many missing gloves he tends to find on the street, signing each message with a simple “Hanx”. To make him even more dad, he collects typewriters and wrote his first book, Uncommon type, on some of the 300 he owns.
With such a likeable nature, Ephron thought he could make the perfect presidential candidate – it was in 2012, when Barack Obama hoped for re-election. Her friend Arianna Huffington reminded Jordan Roth of the story for her blog, saying, “I remember, shortly before his death, having dinner with Nora Ephron, and she said,” Politics is is the casting. Literally, she was going to ask who the Democrats should name the Democrats who should launch … she thought the Democrats should launch Tom Hanks. “
While that doesn’t mean so much that Hanks would make an ideal president, it does imply that there is no other man who could appeal to an American audience – whatever his demographics – like him. It seems only natural that his last role was that of Fred Rogers, the beloved children’s television host who was most revered for his compassion and empathy. There are only three paths to success, Rogers has often noted, “The first way is to be nice. The second way is to be nice. The third way is to be nice. “
I watched Mr. Rogers neighborhood religiously like a child – with Woody nestled next to me. Her show filled me with positivity and optimism – a bit like when I watched Toy story or Large or A separate league. I would put on a jacket and shoes just so I could take them off one by one alongside Rogers, singing on the theme, which is still embedded in my brain, much like Hanks’ voice.
In fact, one of the most popular accounts of Hanksian kindness came in 2015, when the actor went to a typewriter shop with his son. Along the way, they encountered a group of Girl Scouts who were having trouble selling cookies. Hanks bought four boxes and donated an additional $ 20. He agreed to take photos with passing fans, but only if they bought cookies. “He was so nice, so down to earth,” said one of the mothers, according to Page Six. Another added, “I never realized how distinctive his voice is. It was straight out of a movie. “
Two decades later, my Woody doll is the only trace of my childhood to have crossed my youth, now comfortably nestled on an office chair in my apartment, bandana and hat long lost. His voice box no longer works, half sticking out from the top of his blue jeans, the hanging drawstring. It’s a shame because it’s a voice I grew up with. When I hear it, I am transported in a time and a place, in the way the films should move you; I think of a great friendship, the sweetest romance, so many heroes and their epic adventures. Therein lies the power of a movie star with a real heart.