Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Those "fans" that Tom Hanks reimbursed at a Pacific Palisades gas station were a couple of jerks

Tom Hanks is a well-liked actor whose most recent effort, Larry Crowne (which he also co-wrote and directed) hasn't fared particularly well at the box office. Nor has it exactly been a hit with critics. It's Cinemascore grade was "B," which was the same as Green Lantern's. Over all, it would seem that there are some people out there who weren't exactly bowled over by the film.

But, should Mr. Hanks reimburse unsatisfied customers of his artistic efforts? Allegedly, that's just what he did with one couple he happened to meet at a Pacific Palisades gas station.
They explained they'd just seen ["Larry Crowne"], promoting [sic?] Tom to quiz them on their thoughts.

The man immediately said is "wasn't that good", while the woman tried to ease the situation by explaining they'd come to expect more from their favourite star.

"Gee, I'm sorry you were disappointed, how about letting me refund your ticket money?" Tom is quoted as saying by National Enquirer.

He then reached into his pocket and plucked out $25.
First of all, Mr. Hanks made a mistake in asking the couple what they thought of the film. When they said they'd just seen it, he should have thanked them for their support. "Thank you, I really appreciate that," he could have said, in his unmistakably charming way. After all, these are strangers who have approached you at a gas station as you're filling your car. I don't know about you, but it's rarely ended well when I've been approached by anyone while I'm filling my car.

Second of all, art is subjective. Some people are going to like what you've done, some people aren't. How many people were "disappointed" by Angels Ampersand Demons? Or The DaVinci Code? Charlie Wilson's War?

Do you really want to open that Pandora's box of worms?

The next time I see Mr. Hanks at a gas station I will walk right up to him and put out my hand and say "I want you to reimburse me for all the time I spent huddling under the covers because of the psychological damage done to me by that creepy Polar Express movie. Seriously, that should have had some kind of warning about that Uncanny Valley stuff. I still have nightmares!"

He's setting a bad precedent.

The Polar Express is one of the most disturbing films of all time, and I want some money to pay for the pills my former connection Dickie Chi-Town sold me to try to kill the memories.

But his fans stated that "they'd come to expect more from their favourite star." This implies that Mr. Hanks's work has provided them with hours of trouble-forgetting entertainment. Shouldn't that more than make up for the fact that one of his movies "wasn't that good"? For crying out loud, Mr. Hanks has appeared in some of the best films of the last twenty-five years, for instance:

The Ladykillers
Cast Away
Toy Story 2
Toy Story
Forrest Gump
Big

Haven't those films earned him the right to a few misfires? I hated Saving Private Ryan, The Green Mile, Road to Perdition and of course The Polar Express -- among others of his films -- but that doesn't diminish the achievement of the six movies I listed above.

Mr. Hanks was pumping gas at a gas station, like an average every day shlub. He was accosted by a couple of "fans" who insulted his work. That almost sounds like a threatening situation to me. Perhaps Mr. Hanks felt he had no choice but to give them the money in his wallet so they'd leave him alone. Like a robbery.

I don't know the circumstances, obviously, but the situation was handled badly by everyone involved. Artists can't go around reimbursing people who were "disappointed" by something that can only be judged subjectively (if he were a plumber fixing a toilet, and the toilet leaked after he left, that would be another story).  The fans shouldn't have taken Mr. Hanks's money. A picture, maybe, or an autograph. But his money? Nope. They should have thanked him for Forrest Gump instead.

1 comment:

A.Jaye said...

I like the idea of superstar actors feeling responsible for the movies they star in. Considering they're the ones who false advertise the dreck anyway.