Tom Hanks' Filmography (Part II)

I truly enjoy Tom Hanks in romantic comedies such as The Terminal (♦♦♦♦♦), You’ve Got Mail (♦♦♦♦♦) and Sleepless in Seattle (♦♦♦♦). In You’ve Got Mail, he has the opportunity to team up again with Meg Ryan after Sleepless in Seattle, and with equally delectable result. In Sleepless in Seattle, both Hanks and Ryan were younger and cuter, and the film has the allure of old cinema. In it, Hanks stars as Sam Baldwin, a widower, father to an eight year old son who, worried about his father not being able to move on, calls a radio station to tell his father’s story to a psychologist. Annie Reed (Meg Ryan), a newspaper employee on her way to meeting family for Christmas, hears the conversation on the radio and realizes she has found her soul mate. But uniting these two star crossed lovers won’t be an easy feat considering they live on opposites sides of the continent and that they have never met. You’ve Got Mail is a contemporary look on the power of modern means of communications, namely the internet. In this motion picture, Hanks and Ryan are business rivals competing for a place in the selling books market. They fall in love online without suspecting each other’s identities, but when his family’s enterprise puts her out of business, they both have to live with the consequences and must ultimately decide if they are good for each other. Adorable movie! The Terminal is a romantic movie without intending to be so. This film is more about friendship and the sacrifices made in its name, with an ill-fated romance thrown into the mix. When political upheaval overtakes his native country, Viktor Navorski gets stranded at Kennedy Airport, NY City, without the possibility of leaving the facilities because authorities don’t recognize his passport or the authorities that emitted it. He keeps on living as normally as possible within the terminal perimeter, until the head of security focuses on him, making his life a living hell, all the while tantalizing him to cross the airport’s doors to get to NY City. Catherine Zeta-Jones (The Mask of Zorro, Entrapment), Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada, Shall We Dance?) and Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Vantage Point) co-star.

In Philadelphia (♦♦♦♦♦), Tom Hanks showed that he is not afraid to tackle controversial social issues. In this motion picture, Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks in an Oscar winning role), a young attorney, is fired from his law firm when the partners learn he is homosexual and suspect he is HIV positive. He sues the law firm on the basis of wrongful termination. He wins with the help of a homophobic lawyer, skillfully interpreted by Denzel Washington, but Andy doesn’t have too much time at his disposal. Very sad movie! Another Best Actor Oscar came the following year for his performance in Forrest Gump (♦♦♦♦♦). “My name is Forrest, Forrest Gump…” That’s the phrase with which the main character always starts conversations with strangers. Forrest Gump, a slow witted man, becomes the quintessential American hero after saving his fellow soldiers in the Vietnam War, for which he is awarded a medal. After the war, he goes into business with his former officer and becomes a millionaire…Has a son with his best friend…Along the way, he manages to be at the center of every major American political and social event in the 1960s and 1970s. In my opinion, this role defined Tom Hanks’ career because he WAS Forrest Gump. Robin Wright Penn (The Pledge, Message in a Bottle), Gary Sinise (Snake Eyes, Truman) and Sally Field (Norma Rae, Brothers and Sisters) co-star.

Apollo 13 (♦♦♦♦♦) and From the Earth to the Moon (♦♦♦♦♦) both cover the topic of American space race. Apollo 13 recounts the days when a crew of three astronauts led by Jim Lovell, suffered a mishap on their way to the moon and lost their one-in-a-lifetime chance to walk on our only satellite. The crew of the Apollo 13 not only missed the chance to visit the moon, but came very close to orbiting the Earth forever if they hadn’t made it on their first entrance attempt, due to their spacecraft drifting 200,000 miles from the Earth. The rescue of those astronauts and subsequent entrance to the Earth’s atmosphere is the stuff of legends! From the Earth to the Moon is a 12-hour HBO miniseries that tells the story of the American space program from its beginnings until the last man left the moon. If you ever wanted to become an astronaut, or are a space buff, then this series is for you. Very inspiring!

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