The Tom Hanks Conundrum

As he often does, James Lileks wrote something last night that almost perfectly articulates something I think, but have never expressed. In this case, it is the dichotomy that is Tom Hanks.

As an aside when mentioning that he was re-watching HBO’s “John Adams,” Lileks wrote:

Now and then I hear Mr. Hanks say something that makes me scratch my head and sigh, but it doesn’t matter. When you look at the stuff he’s produced or been involved with – “From the Earth to the Moon,” “Band of Brothers,” “John Adams,” and even the slight but wonderful “That Thing You Do,” I feel a love and reverence for the country and the culture I share completely. Without blinders and without reservation. He does good work.

Yes he does. And yet expresses stunningly wrong-headed political opinions from time to time. But he’s also stayed married to the same woman in Hollywood for decades. He usually exudes the vibe of a decent human being. And as James rightly noted, Hanks is clearly drawn to projects that celebrate some of the noblest aspects of our amazing country.

In Sean Penn’s Hollywood, that ought to count for something.