Monday, November 12, 2007

Favorite Movies and Movie Stars

A couple of years ago, while out shopping, my oldest boy asked me, "Dad, what's your favorite movie?" Without hesitation, I replied, "Saving Private Ryan."

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I got to thinking about this last night, after I caught the last hour of "Saving Private Ryan" on TNT. Not only is the Spielberg WWII epic my favorite movie, Tom Hanks is my favorite actor as well. Hanks' "Captain John Miller" genuinely captures the essence of the middle-American fighting man, the guy who has a job to do, and who completes it without a bunch of complaint. Miller's even too moral for his own good, for the German POW he releases ultimately fires the fateful shot at the movie's conclusion (right before the P51 Tankbusters zoom in to destroy the German armored assualt).

But I like Hanks in a lot of other roles too.
Forrest Gump is corny, but Hank's portrayal of Gump's idiot savant again captures some essential human dignity and goodness, and the film pulls it all together with some powerful Baby Boom nostalgia.

While some of the reviews were poor, I also really liked Hanks in "
Cast Away." The film was criticized for its long segments without dialog (when Hanks' character, "Chuck Noland," is stranded on the tropical island). But I like Noland's survival instincts, his escape from the island, and his heartbreaking return to his previous life and fiancee, Helen Hunt's "Kelly Frears". For me, Noland's near-death on the plane crash, his survival and return, presented metaphorical recollections of my own early difficult life experiences (my one time physical and romantic isolation and recovery).

In any case, I could go on about Hanks. He's certainly not my only movie hero. The truth is, I need to get out to the movie theaters more often. I'm getting behind the times, at least as far as my familiarity with younger stars, like Vince Vaughn (the favorite actor of Angevin13,
over at The Oxford Medievalist).

I would note that Jodie Foster's one of my favorite actresses. She's both attractive and tough, and (obviously) she's starred in some of America's greatest films (Taxi Driver, Silence of the Lambs). I missed Foster in "
The Brave One" when it was in theaters, although I don't mind, as the film will be a nice addition to my modest DVD collection.

What's your favorite movie, and who's your favorite actor?


UPDATE: I found this cool "Saving Private Ryan Online Encyclopedia" while responding to comments and surfing around for information about the film. Beware of plot spoilers, however, if you haven't seen the movie.