Cast Away

Tom Hanks wears a big Christmas sweater. He works for FedEx motivating Russians. Hey Russians move those packages faster, nyet! Nyet! He gets on a FedEx plane and it crashes on an island. Ain’t gonna need that sweater now, Tom Hanks.

Tom Hanks makes fire. Tom Hanks steals a dead man’s shoes. Tom Hanks makes a spear out of a stick. Tom Hanks is now an island man. He finds a volleyball in a Fedex package, puts a bloody hand-print on it and names it Wilson. Now he has a best friend.

Four years go by and Tom Hanks grows a beard and dreadlocky-hippie hair. Look who’s ready to go to Bonnaroo! He gets really good at spearfishing. He stuffs Wilson with sticks. Now Wilson has a new hairstyle made out of sticks. I wish I could get a haircut with sticks in it. Oh my, look at my edgy summer do’!

When I was a kid my grandmother would take me to get my hair cut by a chain-smoking woman named Dean in a Southern ladies’ beauty parlor in the back of a house. I’ll never forget the Georgia heat baking the pavement outside the screen door as we walked into the velveteen darkness of the front hall, inhaling the scent of baby powder and hair products, antique furniture still and silent as a tomb in the main parlor. Whoops, I accidentally started writing my memoirs there for a minute. Dean refused to give me a rat-tail, no matter how cool it looked.

A big chunk of a port-a-potty floats up on the beach and Tom Hanks says that would make a good sail so he makes a little raft and sails away from the island. One thing I liked about the island is there were no smoke monsters or time traveling or caves of light. Mostly fish and coconuts, like the inside of Aquaman’s walk-in closet.

I’ll tell you what Tom Hanks’ situation reminds me of— the Tori Amos song Cool on Your Island. Prepare to have chills run down your spine as I quote a Tori Amos lyric like a 1994 college feminist studies major:

We could buy an airplane/Build a home in the sand/You could tell your secrets/I could understand/But then by the morning/Comes crumblin’ down/And as your leavin’/Wait

If you changed “buy an airplane” to “crash in an airplane” and “tell your secrets” to “tell your secrets to a volleyball”, you’d practically be reading the script for Cast Away. I say they should change the title of the movie to Cool On Your Island.

When he gets back to the real world he delivers a package to a lady who makes art with wings on it. She kind of looks like Tori Amos a little bit. You know they are going to get together, but then again he did just buy a new volleyball so only time will tell if he cuts his hand open to make a new friend. Oh, who is the best man at your wedding? A blood caked volleyball with some sticks coming out of it. Who is the Maid of Honor? A Lady Speed Stick deodorant tube stuffed with flowers and rocks.

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