Celebrity Instagram Appreciation Corner: Tom Hanks

Hanx. (Getty Images via WBUR)

Most celebrity Instagram accounts are boring, featuring Photoshopped selfies, obviously staged “private moments,” and way too much promotional material. Not every celebrity’s, however. Here at KQED Pop, Anna Roth celebrates the oddball Instagram accounts that are clearly run by the celebs themselves … perhaps even against the best advice of their publicists.

Let’s all take a moment to admire the steady hand guiding Tom Hanks. Unlike a few of his celebrity contemporaries, America’s Dad™ has built a career on being the smart, reasonable grownup in the room—often goofy, occasionally sanctimonious, but always worthy of our love and respect.

Hanks has already given us so much: That Thing You Do!, Sleepless in Seattle, "There’s no crying in baseball," his moving Academy Awards acceptance speech for Philadelphia, “There’s a snake in my boot!,” The Man With One Red Shoe, a plethora of World War II docs and miniseries, the continued existence of the giant keyboard at F.A.O. Schwartz, the ongoing hijinks of Chet Haze.

I didn’t know it was possible to love him more, but then I found his Instagram account, and learned that one of America’s most powerful and wealthy celebs spends a not-insignificant amount of time taking photographs of abandoned gloves. What a weirdo.

Hanks, or "Hanx," as he signs off all of his posts (<3), joined Twitter in 2009. The 60-year-old Concord native has been documenting missing articles of clothing in the wild since the beginning. (Back then, he was also fond of photos of ailing body parts, which I’m kind of glad he stopped doing.)

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But Twitter’s text-heavy format cut off many of these photos at bad angles, making it difficult to tell exactly what’s going on. Instagram’s a much better fit for his strange collection, and Hanx has been taking full advantage. When he’s not cracking dad jokes or occasionally promoting a movie, he’s posting lost objects. A baby bonnet. A sock. A high heel (caption: “She left in a hurry!”).

And lots and lots of gloves. So many gloves. Sometimes his captions are poignant ("Waiting. For a mate. Like so many."); sometimes they’re vaguely clever ("If I made a 2001 reference, would anyone get it?" he wonders about a photo of a lonely white glove next to a monolith-esque object).

My favorites are the ones that are so sincere in the face of absurdity that they can't help but make you laugh — and love the man behind them. Kind of like Tom Hanks has been doing his entire career.

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