So I was up until nearly two in the morning two nights ago (on a work night!) watching Tom Hanks in “Cast Away.” I should also mention that just before hunkering down for this cinematic adventure, my boyfriend and I spent nearly three hours watching the 1993 classic Hanks film “Philadelphia.” Since I’d never seen either and actually had a free evening, it was six hours of Tom Hanks, some Rainbow Chips Deluxe cookies and a can of Diet Pepsi Max for me.
I’m probably one of the last people on Earth who hasn’t seen “Cast Away” — as evidenced by several office conversations I had about the film yesterday. Even though my dad tells me he likes it and never called it “boring,” I could have sworn we had that conversation years ago — and stayed away from the movie after that.
Despite my apprehension, I love Tom Hanks — and couldn’t change the channel once I’d started the film. The movie is awesome. It rattled me, for sure, but I guess in a good way. Late at night on my sofa with my junk food and dim lighting, I was totally sucked into this world where Chuck Noland — a FedEx executive who winds up taking a seriously ill-fated flight and winds up on an incredibly remote Pacific island without any foreseeable hope of getting home — manages to survive for four years by drinking coconut milk, figuring out how to catch wild fish and developing a unique, sustaining friendship with a volleyball. I didn’t have any real intention of staying up to watch the entire thing, but once I started going on this terrifying journey with Chuck, I had to see it through to the end.
Would I survive after a plane crash sends me sailing out into the deep, wide, remote and dark Pacific Ocean? Considering I don’t know how to swim, I’m going to say I would probably be in serious trouble. Also, I’m afraid to death of crawling things like snakes, spiders, etc., and would probably have a heart attack from the stress of the sounds such crawling things make at night, my overall abandonment and later seeing the bodies of my fellow travelers eventually wash up on shore.
Chuck doesn’t let any of that break him, though. He has his pocket watch, a gift from his girlfriend Kelly (Helen Hunt), with her picture inside. And miraculously, tons of FedEx packages begin to wash up on shore, each of them holding random items like ice skates and video tapes that Chuck is able to use as some element of his survival. And when he’s ultimately ready to try and make a break for it, leaving the relative “safety” of the island for the open water in the hope of being found, a piece of metal (a bathroom door?) finds its way up to the shore. He fashions it as a sail and leaves with Wilson, where he’s finally found by a passing New Zealand ship.
All of these random items come together on his beach to help him, to guide him in his quest to get back home. Chuck never gave up hope, he says at the end of the film, because “who knows what the tide could bring?”
Pretty hopeful — and pretty amazing. And despite everything, the movie ends on a high note. Loved it.