Hanks For Nothin'

Dec 2, 2017
Originally published on May 29, 2018 2:04 pm

Break out your multiple Oscars for a game that mashes up Tom Hanks movie titles! It's his best work since Apollo 13 Going On 30.

Heard On Jason Mraz: Choco-mole And Pie

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Hey, Jonathan.


EISENBERG: Hey. So today we're playing a game about Sherlock Holmes. So speed round - what was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original name for Sherlock?

COULTON: I believe that was Sherrinford.

EISENBERG: That is correct. The first Sherlock Holmes film was a silent movie made in the year 1900. What was it called?

COULTON: It was called "Sherlock Holmes Baffled."

EISENBERG: You got it. And what's the one mystery Sherlock Holmes never solved?

COULTON: It was the perplexing case of, who let the dogs out? Who? Who? Who?


COULTON: From NPR and WNYC, coming to you from the Bell House in beautiful Brooklyn, N.Y., it's NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and trivia, ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. And now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.


EISENBERG: Thank you. Jonathan. We have a great show for you. Four brilliant contestants are backstage making an advent calendar out of only prime numbers.


EISENBERG: But only one contestant will be our big winner. And our special guest is musician Jason Mraz.


EISENBERG: He's starring in the Broadway musical "Waitress." And he came up playing music in the San Diego coffee shop scene, which sounds like a pretty great place to pay your dues, right? You're in sunny California, totally relaxed atmosphere. Everyone's sipping lattes and eating croissants and writing in their journals. I guess the only downside would be that you have to compete with the sound of the milk frother, right? You'd be like, OK, my next song is...


EISENBERG: Our first game is about Tom Hanks. So it's already been nominated for an Academy Award.


EISENBERG: Let's meet our contestants. First up is Christine Sirois on buzzer number one.


EISENBERG: You're a freelance writer and copy editor. Welcome.


EISENBERG: Your opponent is Demian Vanderputten on buzzer number two.


EISENBERG: You work in IT security at a university. Welcome.

DEMIAN VANDERPUTTEN: Thanks for having me.

EISENBERG: Christine and Demian the first of you who wins two of our games will go on to our final round. Let's start with a word game called Hanks For Nothing. Tom Hanks, of course, is the only man in Hollywood we're still allowed to mention.


EISENBERG: So we're mashing up titles of his films with other people, places and things. Let's go to Jonathan Coulton for an example.

COULTON: If I said, in the woods made famous by Robin Hood, one man thwarts not only King John but also Richard Nixon all while learning that life is like a box of chocolates, you would answer Sherwood Forrest Gump.

EISENBERG: Pay attention to the order of the clue. Because sometimes the movie will come first in the mash up. Sometimes it will come second. Ring in to answer. And here we go. In World War II, we land on Omaha Beach. The mission is the man. And the man is the incredible handsome star of "The Notebook."


EISENBERG: Christine.

SIROIS: Saving Private Ryan Reynolds - Ryan Gosling.



EISENBERG: Hey, girl. I knew you could do it.


EISENBERG: She's your private dancer. He's a cop who teams up with a slobbery dog. And together they're probably a bad idea.



VANDERPUTTEN: Tina Turner & Hooch.

EISENBERG: That is correct, yeah.


COULTON: MSNBC hosts Scarborough and Brzezinski star in this romantic comedy where they try to throw themselves into molten lava to appease a fire god.


COULTON: Demian.

VANDERPUTTEN: Morning Joe Versus the Volcano.

COULTON: You got it.



COULTON: An adaptation of Walt Whitman's famous 1865 poem about Abraham Lincoln's adventure pirating a ship off the coast of Somalia.


COULTON: Demian.

VANDERPUTTEN: Oh, Captain - I don't know.

COULTON: You don't want to try something? I feel like you're close to it, Demian.

VANDERPUTTEN: Captain Ahab - I don't know. It doesn't work.

COULTON: OK. In that case, Christine, can you steal?

SIROIS: O Captain, my Captain...


SIROIS: I don't know the name of the character movie because I didn't see the movie.

COULTON: All right. Well, you both got it wrong, I'm sorry to say.


EISENBERG: I think collectively they got it right somewhere in there.

COULTON: I mean, you - yeah. If you had - if you could...

SIROIS: It's in there.

COULTON: together. Yeah. See, as a team, you would get it. But you're opponents so you can't do that. What we're looking for is O Captain, my Captain Phillips.

SIROIS: Good grief.

EISENBERG: Sinead O'Connor sends in MP3 of her hit song written by Prince to Meg Ryan in an America Online email attachment. It takes five hours to download.


EISENBERG: Christine.

SIROIS: Nothing Compares To You've Got Mail.

EISENBERG: That is correct.


COULTON: This is your last clue. Google's device for streaming content to your TV gets stranded on a desert island. Its only companion is a Wi-Fi network named Wilson.


COULTON: Demian.

VANDERPUTTEN: Chrome Castaway.

COULTON: That's right.


EISENBERG: By the way, if people were stranded on a desert island...


EISENBERG: with Wi-Fi...

COULTON: With Wi-Fi - I know.

EISENBERG: ...They would be fine.


COULTON: It seems like the best case scenario for getting stranded.

EISENBERG: Yeah. It'd be like rescue. They'd be like, no, no, no.

COULTON: No, I'm good. I'm good.

Let's go to our puzzle guru Greg Pliska to find out how our contestants did.

GREG PLISKA: Well, I have to say both of our contestants did an amazing job with one of our hardest games. So congrats to you both. But Demian has the edge and won that first round. So you're one step closer to the final round.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.