How great is Tom Hanks? I dare say we don’t have a more beloved leading man from his generation. And it’s an affection that’s well-earned: he’s given us a career of thoughtful, funny, powerful work, and his offscreen persona - genuine, self-deprecating, and often hilarious - just tends to galvanize the whole thing into something singular and magical. No hyperbole: we’re a better world for having Tom Hanks in it with us.
To wit: back when Bridge Of Spies was released, an Alamo Drafthouse regular named Tyler McCabe caught the film at the chain’s Winchester, Virginia location, and brought his grandfather. Tyler’s grandfather hadn’t seen a film in theaters since 1972; that film was The Godfather. We’re not sure how it came to pass that Bridge Of Spies was the film that finally got Tyler’s grandpa back to the big screen, but it’s a safe bet that the specific brand of dignified, human drama presented in Steven Spielberg’s film, so wonderfully personified by Mr. Hanks, played a large part. We likewise aren’t sure why Tyler decided to then write Tom Hanks to tell him about this experience, but again we can assume that the gentle everyman approachability of Mr. Hanks was a factor. That affable public impression was confirmed last week by the arrival of Mr. Hanks' response.
The text of his letter:
8 March 2016
Dear Tyler McCabe,
What a wonderful letter!
You and your grandfather have once again proven the power of cinema, that going to the movies makes life a little more exciting and connects us to something larger than just ourselves.
I’m thrilled that it was BRIDGE OF SPIES that was playing nearby. Did you have popcorn and soda? Nothing wrong with a little of both.
Please give my best to your grand dad, for he -- and you -- are grand folks.
All good things,
p.s. Included: a photo of your photo.
“All good things” indeed. From the typewritten letter (Mr. Hanks is apparently really into typewriters), to the included Polaroid, to the overall vibe of human beings being kind to one another in this story, finding out about it made my day just a little bit better. Hopefully it does the same for yours.