Monday, October 29, 2012

Why Tom Hanks is successful

I have come to the conclusion that Tom Hanks may be one of the coolest people of the last 60 years.

This was a suspicion that I've had for a lot of years after watching most of his movies and a lot of his TV shows. I am aware that he is an actor and he could be acting so his movies and TV shows may not show his just general good human nature.

I drove up to Sunnyvale for an appointment today and during that time I had the opportunity to listen to a podcast where he was being interviewed. The podcast was Nerdist and Chris Hardwick had made a pretty clever plea to get him to the show around antique typewriters. The story is worth checking out on Nerdist if you get a chance to read it. The point being that he was on the show of a web series that doesn't garner any kind of ratings or popularity outside of the nerd community. During his time on the show, he was funny and engaging. He shared stories of his time during Bosom Buddies and his career. And by shared he wasn't spewing a bunch of trite crap meant to make him look good. He just talked. Similar to the way we all talk every day.

Tom Hanks is successful because he is someone we'd all like to hang out with. He is a normal guy who works hard and has a personality that he shares with everyone.

Now why does that make him successful?

How often have you went to see a play or a concert because someone you know was in the band or cast? I know that I go to something like this 6 or 7 times a year just so I can support the person. Tom Hanks is that guy we all go see in a movie because we want to support him. The main difference is that everything  he makes is pretty good. We all want to know Tom Hanks and we go to support him because he seems like a buddy we'd like to hang out with.

There are actors that we'd all like to hang out with but I feel like with Tom Hanks there is some kind of larger chance that it might actually happen. He is a super nice guy who lives in California that I hope someday I'll be in the same Starbucks as him and who'll automatically strike up a conversation with me because I look super interesting to talk to and he is genuinely interested in what I have to say and...oh sorry. I was caught in a monologue.

End of post. Tom Hanks is the bomb. I'd like to drink coffee with him. Go see his movies and enjoy all that is Hanks.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Why I still like Saturday Night Live

I just finished watching the most recent episode of Saturday Night Live a couple days after it aired on Hulu. Saturday nights have too much going on to sit down for late night TV but I really try to watch the show within a couple days after air so I can still understand why it's funny in the context of the political or community satire.  Just for your information, it's the episode with Daniel Craig and Muse. 

I have been a big fan of the show even when it seemed like all the talent had been sucked out of the show. The big deal really is the fact that it continues to be funny despite the change of cast every 5 years. This is a show that is has such a history as to be required to re-invent itself with only one major foundation over the last 25+ years. That foundation has been Lorne Michaels. I'm not really sure how funny he is although in the sketches he's in he seems to play the foil for most the zanies on the show is totally effortless. Being that straight requires some idea of how to be funny in my opinion. Regardless, the thing he does well is finds funny people when other shows are just not ready to handle their particular brand of nuts. I'll focus this comment to one particular actor though I think it does apply in general to most actors/actresses who get on the show and are new at some time. 

Bill Hader. This guy is a goldmine. He has huge chops in the acting arena but you also get a voice actor to boot who I think is more intelligent and less irritating that Seth McFarland. For example, take the Vincent Price Holiday Specials he does on SNL. He is bringing to at least 2 generations the knowledge of the best and most sadistic of the 50's actors and actresses in unadulterated satire. The pure rampant drug use and alcoholism that is not only real but sadly funny because we all know our grandparents were weirdo's for a reason. Add to that the fact that he plays Vincent Price as the uptight straight man versus the screen part he seemed to be cast for over his career and you've got some intelligent comedy gold. It is also the reason that he gets to be part of so many ensemble comedy casts in movies that are actually funny and not related to Kevin James. (My dislike of Kevin James may become noticeable over time, so as a warning, I do not like Kevin James movies. Blame Hitch and my lack of ability to let things go.)

Finally, you get to see some great musical artists jump on the show and perform their number one hits followed by a late night version of something no one usually get to hear unless they are a fan and have the album. It is to this day still a great format and one that I am glad still exists. I expect to be going to bed at 10:30pm on Saturday nights soon and have my kids sneak downstairs to watch the show when they think I'm asleep. What I will really be doing is spying to see how much of the comedy they get and how much I'm going to have my wife explain to them the next day.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Writing what I know about

I have made a lot of first tries into writing a blog. 

It's been painful for me and mostly silent for anyone else since I have not shared the links or site names. God forbid anyone actually see any of the made up stuff I've said in the past. Hopefully the "delete blogs" button has worked and no one will need to be embarrassed by what I've written before. 

So I'm interesting in making another run at it. This time though instead of writing something deep and meaningful about my personal life, I'm going to write about something I think I have a good amount of knowledge on.


I had a couple of fans who have made a point of telling me how much they like to talk about TV with me when I visit them on account calls with my job. We talk business for a half hour and then we settle into the more vital and personal subject of what we are watching during the time we are not thinking about work. It's probably the best part of my job when we get down to something that we both enjoy and can talk about at length. That being the case, I'm going to extend this blog into more than just TV. I'll post about movies, music, books and games that I know about and may possibly have something to say. It may be re-visits of things I've seen or heard in the past and will most likely not be current except by luck or if something has caught my eye that is brand new and I think is fun to talk about. 

I hope if you find something interesting or conversation worthy, you'll chime in on the comments. Admittedly, if you are commenting that you think I'm an idiot, I may block your comments. I can't have too many people call me an idiot in one day if they don't like my opinion on my entertainment choices.