It’s not an over-exaggeration to say that Tom Hanks is the Most Likable Man in Hollywood. He’s got immense box office draw and universal appeal. This week’s release of Captain Phillips should prove no different. This harrowing film takes audiences inside the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the American cargo ship that was hijacked by Somalian pirates in 2009. With Hanks at the helm, it should be one hell of a movie. It may also turn the the MV Maersk into a symbol for heroism and survival in this coming awards season. Tom Hanks has a knack for transforming his inanimate co-stars into mega stars, because, well, he's Tom Hanks. Here’s a list to show just how famous Tom Hanks can make inanimate objects:
Wilson the Volleyball (Cast Away)
Everyone applauded Hanks’ ability to carry an entire film by himself on an island. But he wasn’t really alone, was he? I’m getting choked up now just hearing Hanks cry out, “Wilson! WILSON!” in the dark, lonely water.
Image: Cast Away, Twentieth Century Fox, Dreamworks
A Box of Chocolates (Forrest Gump)
In the post-Forrest Gump era, no one could escape uttering the phrase, “Mama always said,” after opening a box of chocolates. Though no one could ever duplicate the charm of Mr. Hanks, that phrase remains in our cultural lexicon.
Image: Forrest Gump, Paramount
A Toy Cowboy (Toy Story)
Woody isn’t technically inanimate, but hey, it IS a toy. No one could have brought the character to life quite like Tom Hanks. The moment where Buzz and Woody clasp to each other and accept their end at the trash incinerator in Toy Story 3, oh, I can’t even.
Image: Toy Story, Disney/ Pixar
The Big Piano (Big)
Hanks’ bright-eyed wonder perfectly captured the spirit of childhood in his starring role in the movie Big — nor was it better portrayed in the famous giant piano scene. That scene also turned "Heart and Soul" from the song you learn in your first week of piano lessons to, “That song Tom Hanks plays on the giant piano in FAO Schwarz.”
Stuffed Bras (Bosom Buddies)
Sure, Thora Birch may have patented pudding-filled water balloons in Now and Then for the perfect bra stuffing, but it was Tom Hanks who made stuffed bras famous. His biggest contender: Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie.
Image: Bosom Buddies, Paramount Television
Crying in Baseball (A League of Their Own)
Once again, not technically an inanimate object, perhaps more of a concept. Regardless, Hanks made crying in baseball (or the lack thereof) famous in his role as coach Jimmy Dugan in A League of Their Own. Why was it so famous? BECAUSE THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL.
Revitalizing Ray Bans (That Thing You Do!)
Tom Hanks played Mr. White, the brains behind the Wonders in That Thing You Do! He very wisely made sure Tom Everett Scott kept on those slick shades to keep up his persona as the cool-guy drummer. Though it’s never been confirmed in the Wonders’ fictional universe, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have reached the top of the charts without ‘em.
Image: That Thing You Do!, Twentieth Century Fox