What Happened to Kinder, Gentler Tom Hanks?
In search of the actor's earlier persona
By Amelia Atlas,  Newser User
Posted May 31, 2009 9:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – Where has Tom Hanks gone? Sure, he's still around on the big screen, currently breaking the bank with Angels & Demons, but what happened to the Tom Hanks that is "our Jimmy Stewart, a heartland guy, good people," wonders Betsey Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times. The "hero and stand-up guy" of movies like Big and Forrest Gump has given way to the cynicism of Charlie Wilson's War.

Sharkey doesn't begrudge Hanks the paycheck of the Hollywood blockbuster, but she does question who's responsible for the lack of better material. Middle-age is a hard place for a movie star. In the "rules" of Tinseltown, "market metrics are more interested in another Angels & Demons than in Saving Private Ryan." As for Tom Hanks, "I miss him," writes Sharkey. "You know the one I mean."