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Lucky Guy: Is It Time To Accept Tom Hanks As One Of The Greats?

Tom Hanks Nora Ephron

Tom Hanks has always plied his trade in the upper rungs of Hollywood's big-budget movies. You want a good looking extravagant type, you try for Johnny Depp. You want a brooding lead who can do action and suspense, you try for Brad Pitt. You want the older looking detective, the revered army general, or simply someone experienced and classy enough to carry off a unique and perhaps risky role, you look at Tom Hanks. Though Daniel Day-Lewis was very much the man of the moment in 2013 - winning his third Best Actor Oscar for Lincoln - Hanks shouldn't be discounted, as his latest venture proves.

This week, he made his Broadway debut in Nora Ephron's Lucky Guy to universal acclaim from critics. Though there were mixed reviews for much of the production - which Ephron was writing when she died last year - the individual performance of Hanks was undeniable. Variety magazine said he took "to the stage like a fish to water," while the New York Post said he was "the star of the show."

Michael Musto of the Village Voice said, "There's a lot of narration in Nora Ephron's last work, Lucky Guy, but that quickly becomes the point [...] Hanks is terrific at capturing the writer's gumption, drive, and vulnerability."

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Premiere of 'Lucky Guy' at the Broadhurst Theatre

Tom Hanks and Nora Ephron - Premiere of 'Lucky Guy' at the Broadhurst Theatre - Curtain Call - New York City, United States - Monday 1st April 2013

Tom Hanks and Deirdre Lovejoy
George C. Wolfe, Maura Tierney, Tom Hanks, Peter Scolari and Deirdre Lovejoy
Tom Hanks and Nora Ephron
Michael Gaston, Courtney B. Vance, Maura Tierney, Tom Hanks, Peter Scolari, Deirdre Lovejoy and Danny Mastrogiorgio
Maura Tierney, George C. Wolfe and Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks Collaborates with Nora Ephron Posthumously in 'Lucky Guy'

Tom Hanks Nora Ephron

Tom Hank's movies are among the most successful in the world and he is still one of the most prized actors across the western hemisphere. Although he's been in 50 movies and a whole host of television roles, he has never acted on Broadway but Hanks is now set to make his debut in 'Lucky Guy', a play by Nora Ephron, who died earlier this year aged 71.

Ephron and Hanks already had substantial history as Hanks has starred in two of her most successful films; Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail. Hank's role in her this posthumous production of her writing will be somewhat a homage to her memory. The LA Times says that “'Lucky Guy' is based on the life of tabloid journalist Mike McAlary, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for his commentary on the Abner Louima scandal that ran in the New York Daily News. Hanks will play the colorful journalist, who died of cancer the same year.”

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Hanks said “It’s heartbreaking to consider [Nora's] absence, but we will continue on be guided by people who have no small desire to maintain her voice... It’s the third great collaboration I would’ve had with Nora, and we actually talked about it for a long time prior, so I think everybody around the table will be able to predict how she would’ve felt about some of our suggestions. We’ll all keep each other honest.”

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attending a screening of New HBO series 'Veep' at the Time Warner Screening Room

Nora Ephron Tuesday 10th April 2012 attending a screening of New HBO series 'Veep' at the Time Warner Screening Room

Nora Ephron

The Public Theater presents the opening night celebration for Shakespeare in the Park's 'Measure For Measure' at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park - Arrivals

Nicholas Pileggi and Nora Ephron - Nicholas Pileggi and Nora Ephron New York City, USA - The Public Theater presents the opening night celebration for Shakespeare in the Park's 'Measure For Measure' at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park - Arrivals Thursday 30th June 2011

Julie & Julia Review

Ephron reunites with Streep for this slightly overlong and very girly drama based on two true stories, both of which are involving and well-played. The comedy is earthy and real, and the film looks good enough to eat.

In 1949, Julia Child (Streep) is living in Paris with her diplomat husband (Tucci), looking to fill her spare time. She settles on cooking, and after completing Le Cordon Bleu teams up with two chefs (Emond and Carey) to write a French cookbook for the American market. In 2002 New York, Julie Powell (Adams) needs something to distract her from her job dealing with claims resulting from 9/11. With the encouragement of her husband (Messina), she decides to cook all 524 of Child's recipes in one year while blogging about the experience.

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Heartburn Review

The backstory of Heartburn is infinitely more interesting than its reality: Jack Nicholson took the role after shooting had begun, after Mandy Patinkin was fired for not being funny enough.

Strange then: Nicholson isn't funny at all, and only the quirky charms of Meryl Streep make Heartburn remotely palatable. Heartburn is Nora Ephron's first comedy, based on her novel of the same name -- a thinly veiled expose about her life with journalist Carl Bernstein. The film casts Streep as a New York food writer and Nicholson as a Washington columnist. They meet, fall in love, decide to marry, have kids. Unfortunately, Nicholson can't keep it in his pants -- and all manner of trouble ensues.

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Hanging Up Review

There's just something really screwy about a family like the Ephrons.

A pair of sisters (Nora and Delia) collectively control the purse strings of many a woman and hold they keys to the heart of the modern romantic through two movies: Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail. Nora Ephron (along with Meg Ryan), redefined delis and male-female interaction with 1989's When Harry Met Sally.... Both are the daughters of a screenwriting duo, children of The Industry, and have become higher-level powerbrokers than their parents ever were with a string of well publicized hits and soon forgotten misses that formed a winning streak that lasted up until now.

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Michael Review

I have a theory about Michael. Take Groundhog Day, substitute William Hurt for Bill Murray. Substitute Travolta as an angel for the groundhog. Take out all the time travel stuff. Oh, and take out the funny stuff. Same movie.

Bewitched Review

Heed my advice before seeing Bewitched: It may fly like a witch and twitch like a witch, but it's certainly not the beloved Bewitched.

While its trailers make you believe the small screen gem has been reincarnated from its TV Land graveyard, those expecting a proper big screen revival will be sorely disappointed. In fact, the sisters Ephron have carefully crafted a film that tries and succeeds at not resembling the original. Too bad the parts they took out are all the best bits. The finished product is new and different, but it's too predictable and remarkably devoid of anything entertaining or enduring.

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You've Got Mail Review

What a complete waste of time. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I saw a movie where it caused such a painful experience. It was so bad that during the last half-hour I fell asleep. Luckily my friends were there to wake me up. Why is this happening anymore? I know people still have faith in the romantic-comedy genre but this is really ridiculous. Taking the same story and molding it a little different each time isn't fun to watch anymore.

You've Got Mail is about a woman named Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan), who's children's book store is in danger of being put out of business because of a new Barnes and Noble type book super store, owned by Joe Fox (Tom Hanks). When they meet each other they (of course) hate each other. What's the problem? They don't know that the other one is their favorite e-mail buddy. The premise is actually creative but they don't do anything with it. Hanks and Ryan have the unnecessary romances with Parker Posey and Greg Kinnear at the beginning, but the audience knows better. We know they're going to be history in about forty-five minutes. Bored yet?

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Sleepless in Seattle Review

When Harry Met Sally... was a minor cultural milestone when it came out in 1989 -- it was the first movie in almost a decade to present marriage in a favorable light. (The 1980s were the decade in which feminism gained a chokehold on the values of Hollywood.) It was a major artistic triumph as well as a commercial success, and it woke a sleeping giant: the old-fashioned romantic comedy.

Unfortunately, there have been many, many successors since 1989, and most of them don't have as much right to exist. Sleepless in Seattle was one of the first and most obvious. It reteamed cute, perky actress Meg Ryan with writer/director Nora Ephron and even included some of the more annoying aspects of When Harry Met Sally... -- the plot coincidences, the unappealing friends, etc.

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When Harry Met Sally... Review

It was the 80s, the time when acid washed jeans went, the Ephrons could turn out a decent script, Rob Reiner could direct something worth watching, and Billy Crystal hadn't succumbed to the sequel curse. And Meg Ryan? Well, Meg Ryan's still pretty much Meg Ryan: sickeningly Top 40, an actress who seemingly lives in fear of picking a role that could be too controversial (never mind her recent marital scuffle).

When Harry Met Sally... closed out a decade fondly remembered by Grosse Pointe Blank and Romy and Michele's High School Reunion and darkly satirized by Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho. It's a romantic comedy that has spawned a plethora of knockoffs so terrifying that, like its counterparts in all other genres, it may have been better if the script were never penned, if only to save us from the aftermath. But still, we have to give When Harry Met Sally... credit for what it did: Make one of the few romance films that bears any kind of truth without also being a dark comedy.

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