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Elvis: Tom Hanks opens up about his movies: From the ‘hooey’ to the ‘genuinely good’ | Culture

At the 2020 Golden Globes, actor Tom Hanks joked with the press about how he always plays the good guy in movies. “My current plan is, I’m about to go to Australia to work with Baz Luhrmann,” he said, in reference to the Australian director who had cast him in an Elvis Presley biopic. “The plan is, I’m playing Colonel Tom Parker, and silence all your stupid questions about why will I never play a bad guy.”

Two years later, ahead of Elvis’s theatrical release, Hanks confessed that Colonel Tom Parker is not all bad. “All you can say is that he’s wrong, not evil,” he said in an interview with The New York Times. It could be said that even when Tom Hanks plays the role of a manipulator, he brings out the most human side of the character, so that even a greedy talent manager can be relatable.

It’s what he’s been doing for most of his career. Compared to chameleon actors, he is an old-fashioned star, one of those celebrities where character and performer are indistinguishable. Hanks has often been compared to James Stewart, an actor who played the trusty neighbor who everyone could identify with. Both Hanks and Stewart represent the common man, the average citizen at his most idealistic and positive. The viewer identifies with them, they aspire to be like them.

In more cynical times, this squeaky-clean image is seen with a certain condescension. While their patriotism and nostalgia are viewed as reactionary and conservative. Being the ideal son-in-law and the perfect father seems less interesting than being an antihero.

But in times of moral crisis, the archetypes of “the good guy” and “the bad guy” have been subverted. Bill Cosby, the father of America, turned out to be a monster; Kevin Spacey, the character actor, a satyr. But Tom Hanks has a bombproof public image. There are no complaints about “inappropriate behavior” on set, no disgruntled colleagues criticizing him, no economic or moral scandals. He has been married to director Rita Wilson since 1988 and there has been nothing scandalous about their marriage beyond the fact that one of their four children is a little prone to conflict. It would seem that Hanks is, despite everything, just what he seems: a decent guy, a great actor who knows how to be humble and is self-deprecating at a time when honesty and integrity are not only desirable but subversive.

Tom Hanks in 1980 promotional photo for 'Bosom Buddies.'
Tom Hanks in 1980 promotional photo for ‘Bosom Buddies.’Walt Disney Television Photo Archives (ABC)

This career of milestones was built and defined little by little. Hanks started acting when he was very young and had not mastered the art, very much in the style of 1980s cinema. Today he is a flawless but realistic hero. Let’s review Tom Hanks’ career through some of his most iconic films and through his own words.

Bachelor Party (1984)

With a humility rarely seen in Hollywood, Hanks acknowledged that his first big hits would have been just as successful without him. “I can’t take credit for the success of Splash and Bachelor Party’s being hits, other than having been in the right place at the right time and having got the job,” he said in an interview in Playboy in 1989.

Big (1988)

Penny Marshall’s film about a 13-year-old boy who suddenly asks to become an adult and succeeds was his first critical and commercial success, it landed him his first Oscar nomination and confirmed him as a box-office star capable of leading ambitious projects (Harrison Ford and Robert De Niro had been considered for the part). At the time, he explained its appeal: “It’s a genuinely good movie that I think is really honest and touches the consciousness.”

The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)

For the film adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s novel, Hanks’ character in The Bonfire of the Vanities was turned into a nice guy. The result was a fascinating fiasco that is still discussed in podcasts today. Hanks was not shy to criticize the film, or his role in it: “It’s one of the crappiest movies ever made!” he told Oprah Winfrey. “I was going contrary to everything about the character and even the screenplay, but I kept telling myself, ‘No, no, no – there’s a way I can get into this.’”

Tom Hanks promoting 'Philadelphia' at the Berlin Film Festival.
Tom Hanks promoting ‘Philadelphia’ at the Berlin Film Festival.Ronald Siemoneit (Sygma via Getty Images)

Philadelphia (1993)

Hanks got his first Oscar for playing a lawyer who was fired for having AIDS at a time when the disease carried tremendous social stigma. In the documentary The Celluloid Closet (1995), Tom Hanks spoke about the impact of the film on the perception of the disease: “My screen persona is pretty non-threatening,” he explained. “And because of that, this idea of a gay man with AIDS was not scary […] partly because little Tommy Hanks is playing the role.” However, he recently told The New York Times that he wouldn’t take the same role today. “Could a straight man do what I did in Philadelphia now? No, and rightly so,” he told The New York Times. “The whole point of Philadelphia was don’t be afraid. One of the reasons people weren’t afraid of that movie is that I was playing a gay man. We’re beyond that now, and I don’t think people would accept the inauthenticity of a straight guy playing a gay guy.”

Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump was one of the highest-grossing films of its year and won numerous awards at the Oscars (Hanks took home his second award for Best Actor). But the movie also had many detractors, with critics calling it overly sentimental and far inferior to Pulp Fiction, its main competitor at the Oscars. This is how Hanks addresses the debate: “The problem with Forrest Gump is it made a billion dollars. If we’d just made a successful movie, Bob [Zemeckis, the director] and I would have been geniuses. But because we made a wildly successful movie, we were diabolical geniuses.

“Is it a bad problem to have? No, but there are books of the greatest movies of all time, and Forrest Gump doesn’t appear because, oh, it’s this sappy nostalgia fest. Every year there’s an article that goes, ‘The Movie That Should Have Won Best Picture’ and it’s always Pulp Fiction,” he says, which he calls “a masterpiece without a doubt.”

Tom Hanks with the Oscar for Best Actor, which he won for his role in 'Forrest Gump.'
Tom Hanks with the Oscar for Best Actor, which he won for his role in ‘Forrest Gump.’Barry King (Getty Images)

That Thing You Do! (1996)

Hanks’ directorial debut came from a script he wrote while promoting Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. “I had talked about myself for a year straight so I started writing to maintain some sort of creative sanity,” he told Deadline magazine. Years later, when he was asked his opinion about the film, he replied: “I love it.” Even though it wasn’t as well-received as his other movies, he defines it as the best filming experience of his life.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

In Spielberg’s epic World War II movie, the director himself seemed to be conflicted about putting Hanks in morally gray situations, but the actor could not be dissuaded. “Steven Spielberg said, ‘I don’t think I want to see [Hanks’ character] John Miller fire his gun and kill Germans.’ I told him: ‘I’m sorry, Steven. You’re not going to get me all the way over here and turn me into some other guy just because you don’t want Tom Hanks to kill soldiers.’”

You’ve Got Mail (1998)

Nora Ephron, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan reunited after the success of Sleepless in Seattle (1993) in a new version of The Shop Around the Corner, a 1940 film starring James Stewart. The comparison between Hanks and Stewart was not lost on the actor. “But I decided to disregard that concern,“ he said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “I mean, you’ll never see me remake Mr. Smith Goes to Washington or It’s a Wonderful Life. But Shop Around the Corner is very different. This is a very young Jimmy Stewart. This is Jimmy Stewart before Jimmy Stewart was Jimmy Stewart.”

Tom Hanks at the Cannes Film Festival to present ‘The Da Vinci Code.’
Tom Hanks at the Cannes Film Festival to present ‘The Da Vinci Code.’Pool BENAINOUS/CATARINA/LEGRAND (Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

The Da Vinci Code (2006)

In the interview with The New York Times, Tom Hanks spoke honestly about The Da Vinci Code and its sequels Angels & Demons (2009) and Inferno (2016). “God, that was a commercial enterprise,” Hanks said. “Yeah, those Robert Langdon sequels are hooey. The Da Vinci Code was hooey.”

He continued: “Those are delightful scavenger hunts that are about as accurate to history as the James Bond movies are to espionage… All we were doing is promising a diversion.”

Hanks said that he has no problem with franchises, as long as they deliver at the box office. “There’s nothing wrong with good commerce, provided it is good commerce,” he said. “By the time we made the third [film, Inferno], we proved that it wasn’t such good commerce.”

“Let me tell you something else about The Da Vinci Code,” he added. “It was my 40th-something birthday. We were shooting in the Louvre at night. I changed my pants in front of the Mona Lisa! They brought me a birthday cake in the Grand Salon! Who gets to have that experience?”

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Top 10 Urban Property Hotspots

Bradford And Blackpool Lead The Pack

Bradford is the top urban property hotspot for the second consecutive quarter, exclusive data from OnTheMarket reveals.

A combination of affordable house prices and growing number of buyers being priced out of nearby Leeds is helping lift Bradford’s property market, OnTheMarket said.

Speaking to This is Money, Robert McCarthy, manager of Hunters estate agency in Bradford, said buyers were attracted to the area because properties are ‘dirt cheap.’

Hotspots: Bradford is the top urban property hotspot for the second consecutive quarter, data reveals
Hotspots: Bradford is the top urban property hotspot for the second consecutive quarter, data reveals

He said: ‘Bradford is seeing a high increase in first time buyers and investors, with properties ranging from around £70,000 for a two bedroomed terrace, £110,000-£130,000 for a three to four bedroom terrace and £120,000 to £240,000 for a three bedroom semi-detached or detached property.

‘This gives a buyer much more for their money, while keeping the mortgage payments lower.’

He added: ‘This week we had a three bedroom semi-detached property go on the market needing some work at £100,000.

‘We we had over 90 requests to view, with some buyers offering before a viewing at well over the asking price.

‘I personally bought a three bedroom semi-detached renovation project in the area with a large garden for £51,000 a few years ago.

‘Now fully renovated, if I was selling to put it on the market it would be around £180,000 to £190,000.’

Mr McCarthy told This is Money that it was possible to buy a one or two bedroom flat in the centre of Bradford for between £20,000 to £60,000.

Urban property hotspots

Blackpool, Rochdale and Plymouth came in second, third and fourth place respectively in OnTheMarket’s latest rankings, with Rochdale climbing from 23rd to third place.

As cities like Manchester become increasingly expensive, Rochdale has ballooned in popularity with buyers.

Andrew Cardwell, manging director of Cardwells Estate Agents, said he wasn’t surprised about Rochdale’s colossal climb in the rankings.

Ample space: The property in Bradford is link detached and perfect for families
Ample space: The property in Bradford is link detached and perfect for families
Time to eat: The dining room in this Bradford property is chic and modern

Time to eat: The dining room in this Bradford property is chic and modern

Outdoor space: the property has a low maintenance garden perfect for entertaining
Outdoor space: the property has a low maintenance garden perfect for entertaining

He said: ‘Earlier this year Rochdale was recognised as one of the most affordable places to buy a property, with an average house price of around £206,000.

‘As well as offering excellent value for money, it’s within easy reach of Manchester city centre and has beautiful countryside.’

Plymouth jumped from 22nd to fourth place in the rankings. It is the only southern location to make it to the top five, OnTheMarket said.

Plymouth is home to HMNB Devonport, the largest naval base in western Europe and the city is brimming with shops and restaurants.

Jacob Tebb, president of OnTheMarket, told This is Money: ‘Property buying decisions continue to be heavily influenced by affordability, according to our latest hotspots index, which reveals that some of the most active or “hottest” areas also offer buyers the best value.”

He added: ‘Overall, the north/south divide is holding firm, with some of the most vibrant and cheapest locations in the north seeing the most heat in terms of housing market activity and only one southern location making it into the top ten.’

Leicester, Stoke-on-Trent, Swindon, Sunderland, Wakefield and Derby also made it to the top ten, while Middlesborough, Burnley and Coventry were just outside the top 10.

Wakefield rose from thirtieth to ninth place, while Birmingham climbed from forty-third to twenty-third place.

Where is the market cooling? Urban property hotspots

OnTheMarket added: ‘Moving in the other direction, demand in Wigan cooled significantly, dropping from second to fifteenth place in our rankings, while Liverpool has fallen from eleventh place in the first quarter to thirtieth.

‘Worthing, one of the few southern locations to be considered a hotspot, fell from twentieth to fifty-third place. The “coolest” hotspot on our list is Brighton.’

The average price of a house in Brighton and Hove was £422,000 in April, according to the Office for National Statistics. Its coastal location and proximity to London makes it popular but expensive with buyers.

Activity in Gloucester, Norwich and Warrington is also cooling, OnTheMarket said.

How is the London property market faring?

OnTheMarket crunched separate data for the London property market. The data suggested there has been ‘less fluctuation nationally and very little movement’, On The Market said.

Within the London-focused rankings, Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Sutton, Redbridge and Newham comprised the top five, followed by Bexley, Hillingdon and Enfield. Hounslow and Croydon also made it to the top 10.

However, Hounslow dropped out of the top five London hotspots in the quarter, while Lambeth, Southwark and Merton all fell four places.

In the last few years, higher mortgage rates have put a dampener on the property market. However, the Bank of England is expected to cut interest rates this summer and some banks and building societies have already started trimming rates on their mortgage deals.

Barclays recently upped the ante in the mortgage price war currently playing out between banks and building societies.

The mortgage lender cut rates by up to 0.33 percentage points across a wide range of deals for both homebuyers and those remortgaging, resulting in several new best-buys.

Halifax also announced it was cutting mortgage rates by up to 0.13 percentage points on selected deals.

What’s on sale now?

1. Three-bed semi-detached house, Bradford, £190,000

This three-bedroom semi-detached house at Hopefield Way, Bierley in Bradford, is on sale via Hunters estate agency for £190,000.

It has a light and airy living room and a spacious kitchen-diner. The property has gardens at the front and rear and comes with one driveway parking space.

Bargain: This three-bed semi-detached home on sale via Hunters could be yours for £190,000
Bargain: This three-bed semi-detached home on sale via Hunters could be yours for £190,000
Chill time: The semi-detached house in Hopefield Way, Bierley, is light and airy inside
Chill time: The semi-detached house in Hopefield Way, Bierley, is light and airy inside
Culinary delights: The Bradford property comes equipped with a spacious kitchen-diner
Culinary delights: The Bradford property comes equipped with a spacious kitchen-diner
Relax: One of the three bedrooms on offer at the property in Bradford
Relax: One of the three bedrooms on offer at the property in Bradford

2. Two-bed flat, Plymouth, £220,000

Plush: This spacious two-bed flat in Plymouth is on sale via Julian Marks for £220,000
Plush: This spacious two-bed flat in Plymouth is on sale via Julian Marks for £220,000
Features: The period features at the two-bed flat in Plymouth are clear to see
Features: The period features at the two-bed flat in Plymouth are clear to see
All the mod cons: The Plymouth flat comes equipped with a newly fitted pristine kitchen
All the mod cons: The Plymouth flat comes equipped with a newly fitted pristine kitchen
Space: The Plymouth flat has a small private garden and communal grounds
Space: The Plymouth flat has a small private garden and communal grounds

This two-bedroom ground floor flat on sale via Julian Marks is set in a substantial end of terrace late Victorian-era property and is listed for £220,000.

The newly fitted kitchen is modern and stylish, and elsewhere charming period features have been retained.

The property has been owned by the same people since 1994 and comes with use of a small private garden, as well as a communal garden.

3. Four-bed house, Rochdale, £325,000

Ideal: This four-bed detached house on sale via Hunters could be yours for £325,000
Ideal: This four-bed detached house on sale via Hunters could be yours for £325,000
Family hub: The living room in this Rochdale property is spacious and calming
Family hub: The living room in this Rochdale property is spacious and calming
Ready to go: The property in Milnrow, Rochdale, is in turn key condition
Ready to go: The property in Milnrow, Rochdale, is in turn key condition

This four-bedroom detached property located in Milnrow, Rochdale, is on sale via Hunters for £325,000.

The house is in mint condition throughout with light and airy rooms. A family could move straight into this home without needing to lift a finger. There’s off-road parking, a single garage and gardens to the front and rear.

It’s an ideal property for a growing family.


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Culture

Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by ‘Savills’ reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Culture

Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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