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In Defense of Da Vinci Hair 

Wednesday, May 17 2006
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Let me first say, I have always loved Tom Hanks. We both stuffed our bras, and I saw Big 24 times one summer. I even own Joe Versus the Volcano and sat through You’ve Got Mail without vomiting. The highlight came one summer when I was interning in the promo department of Columbia Tri-Star (now Sony) Pictures and was invited to attend the premiere of Sleepless in Seattle. Scorsese was there, Madonna was there, but who did I want to talk to? Tom Hanks. He was polite, kind, and he asked me if I’d seen his wife in the crowd after autographing my reserved-seat sign. I still have it. It reads, “Linda, God Bless. Love, Tom Hanks.” I keep it in my jewelry box next to my great-grandmother’s locket and my baby teeth.

So I feel it is my duty to defend Tom Hanks against the many mean remarks that have been flung his way about his recent coiffure choice. I mean, sure, when I saw the posters for The Da Vinci Code, I thought, “What the fuck?!” Same as you. Test audiences were hung up on his hair (they hated it), and some fear the movie will suffer because of it. It may be the biggest career-wrecking hair move since Keri Russell chopped her locks at the height of her Felicity popularity. But Hanks puts a lot of thought into the looks of his characters. And when I went over his most successful roles, I realized that there is emotion and depth in every wave, flip and poof. Each strand tells a story. His hair is like Nicholson’s eyebrows. If Meryl Streep were a head of hair, she’d be Tom Hanks’ head of hair. Here’s what I think his hair says in each film:

Forrest Gump: “I am retarded but lovable. Look at me. I don’t even have the guile to hide my receding hairline. I’m so damned wholesome. And lovable. And retarded.”

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Castaway: “I’m a wild man. The sun has bleached my flowing locks, and no, I don’t have a brush. I have a volleyball. I am battling insanity. Who could think about hair brushing at a time like this?”

Big: “Oh boy, I’m a big boy. Ain’t I cute? Trapped inside me is a little boy. Where do you think this mischievous grin came from? I got pubes!! Overnight!”

Bosom Buddies: “Yes, I’m the kind of guy who would dress up like a chick to save money on rent. Really, I look like half a chick already. You know how many dudes got perms in the ’80s? This is all natural.”

And just what does his hair say in The Da Vinci Code? I think Hanks knows that all true scholars have long, flowing locks. His hairdo says, “I’m smart. Smarter than you. I know things. Things you don’t.” But ultimately, as one Newsweek writer recently put it, “On the list of controversies that movie is going to have to weather, I think hair is probably pretty low.” Let’s hope so. Let’s hope so. God Bless YOU, Tom Hanks.

Riding roller coasters at midnight with a crew of teenage skate kids was the last thing I expected to be doing Thursday night, but hey — sometimes you just gotta go with the flow.

I had MySpaced Danny Minnick, the pro-skateboarder turned cinematographer, to ask if he would talk to me about choreographing the skate sequences in Larry Clark’s upcoming movie Wassup Rockers. Minnick wrote back with his phone number and I called him at around 10 p.m.

“We’re about to go to Six Flags, you wanna come?” he said.

“Er . . . Six Flags . . . as in Magic Mountain? The theme park with crazy roller-coaster rides?”

“Yes. I’ll be with all the kids from the movie; we’re taking our skateboards. You comin’?”

Fifteen minutes later, Minnick picked me up in a truck full of his buddies outside the House of Pies in Los Feliz. When we arrived at the park I saw a big red carpet, a bunch of limos and a press check-in area with a Brent Bolthouse Productions placard beside it. Ahh, this was to be no ordinary night at Six Flags. In fact, it looked like the whole of Hollywood had been transplanted to the usually ultra-cheesy tourist attraction. I spotted Petro Zillia designer Nony Tochterman wandering around, and Indie 103.1 DJ Matt Sorum (formerly of The Cult and Guns N’ Roses), who came over to talk to Kiko, one of the Wassup Rockers.

I noticed that many of the partygoers seemed waaasted, in a suspiciously wide-eyed sort of way. Added to the beautiful full moon, it all made for a pleasantly insane atmosphere. Oh, and I have never seen so many hot, scantily clad girls at an amusement park in my life. As you can imagine, my new teenage skater friends were literally in heaven — hot chicks, candy floss and roller coasters in one place.

“We have to come back,” said Wassup Rocker Milton, a.k.a. Spermball, who seemed under the impression that Six Flags is always this glam.

Meanwhile, our Pied Piper–like leader Danny Minnick led me and his proteges to the biggest and scariest roller coaster I have ever seen. We stood in line and I played Mom, looking after the kids’ iPods and beanie hats. But I didn’t pussy out — I ended up taking a turn on Tatsu, Magic Mountain’s newest roller coaster — whose debut was the whole reason the event was being thrown in the first place. Once on it, you spend most of your time being flung through the atmosphere upside down. And if you’re brave enough to keep your eyes open, you get to enjoy some rather lovely views over Los Angeles.

For more Style Council adventures, check the blogs page at laweekly.com.

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