Tom Hanks Project – Master Pancake “Hanksgiving” Review

26 Nov


I had seen the ad for “Hanksgiving” at the Alamo Drafthouse, but for some reason, it hadn’t clicked that this would be the PERFECT event for Zack and me. Luckily, Zack has the uncanny ability to put two and two together*, so Friday night we found ourselves sitting in a theater, watching adults jump around on a giant floor piano**.

*Mostly I’m just good about checking movie times every week since the Alamo has so many great events. 

**Oh, we didn’t just watch. This guy jumped all up on that piano … in the final showdown of a competition that came down to giant piano skills.


Hanksgiving is put on by the Master Pancake Theater crew, who are basically Austin’s own Mystery Science Theater 3000*. They pick movies and dub over them to hilarious end. In this case, instead of just choosing one Hanks film to lambast, the guys had cut together scenes from all kinds of gems:  BigThe Green Mile**, A League of Their OwnThe Money PitSaving Private RyanCast AwayForrest GumpSplashNothing in CommonSleepless in SeattleYou’ve Got MailApollo 13Toy StoryThe Polar ExpressThe Da Vinci Code (and its sequel), and, of course, that made-for-TV classic, Mazes and Monsters. The cutting of these films was quite well done, with clips from the beginning, middle, and end all grouped together in themes.

*These are consistently great. Caitlin and I saw a wonderful “Little Mermaid” one w/ Doug Benson guesting and I saw a solid “Braveheart” one. I honestly prefer the ones they have to do w/o prep more, but they’re always a great show.

**A lot of “The Green Mile.” Master Pancaker John told me he watched “The Green Mile” for the first time while compiling this and it shows. 


Some of the most memorable clips were all of the times Tom Hanks has had to pee in a film — it’s a lot of times* — and the “tricked ya!” re-cut of The Green Mile where the asshole prison guard steps on little mouse Mr. Bojangles, and John Coffey brings him back to life. While in the film, the mouse then safely runs back to his “owner” inmate, the Pancake boys re-cut the scene where he’s stepped on to make us think he gets smooshed AGAIN**. Not cool, guys. Not cool.

*Seriously, they should name peeing on film “Hanks-ing” or something. It’s uncanny. He’s done it at least 11 times on film. And his pee face is otherworldly.

**I DIED laughing. Caitlin covered her eyes.


The best part of the evening, from a very biased perspective, was when Zack headed down to the front of the room to compete in a Tom Hanks Trivia contest. He and two other competitors verbally “signed up” in the beginning, but one of them apparently left the screening altogether before the contest was held*. So Zack headed down to face off with Logan, a guy in camp who had jumped around on the Big piano in the beginning of the evening, just as Zack had. The first part was a trivia contest, where the guys were asked three facts about Tom Hanks. Even though Zack couldn’t think of his favorite Tom Hanks film when put on the spot**, he was able to come up with the correct answer to, “What is Tom Hanks’ current wife’s first name?” (Rita!) Logan couldn’t answer, so that was a point for our guy. Both blanked on the name of Hanks’ Bosom Buddies co-star (Peter Scolari), and while Zack was closer with the highest all-time grossing Hanks film (his guess: Toy Story 2,) neither could come up with Toy Story 3*** so Zack won the trivia round. However … there were 2 more rounds.

*The consensus among the Master Pancake-rs was that the other competitor left to have sex. It’s a long story.

**I said “Uhhhh.” and then they made fun of me before I could say an answer. I honestly don’t know yet. We’ll know when the Tom Hanks Project is over.

***So mad at myself. I knew it was a Toy Story sequel. I almost just fudged the 2 so it looked like a 2 or 3. Classic “I don’t know” test trick.


For the next three-part battle, the guys had to do their best Forrest Gump and say, “Life is like a box of chocolates.” Logan won round one*. In round two, they had to shove five chocolates in their mouths and say it again. It was kind of a tie, but then the Pancake dudes shoved MORE chocolates into their mouths for round three. I was about two seconds away from leaping out of my seat and insisting that they stop because Zack was turning blue from choking/almost puking/being in real physical danger. I was glad when the round was over, even if Logan bested Zack and the game was tied.

*His Gump was spot-on. Mine was shoddy at best. I added the “Ya never know what you’re gonna get” part too, but my impression was about as good as Forrest Jr. is at ping pong.

(This video is of our MP leader John demo-ing the piano before the show)

Finally, as the tie breaker, the guys had to do their best chopsticks on the Big piano. Logan’s was perfect, so Zack went for speed and hilarious performance* quality. He just edged out Logan in the applause-o-meter voting, and so Zack won overall**! The Pancakers threatened that they better be featured on Zack’s Tom Hanks blog … so here you are, guys! 

*I was typically over-dramatic with my performance. All that Dance Dance Revolution in jr. high school finally paid off!

**I won us passes to a future Master Pancake, woo!


The drinking game of the night was for every time Hanks shouted “Wilson!” in a clip, we all responded “Jen-nay!” and took a drink. While Zack and I were staying sober that night, we still enjoyed saying “Jen-nay!” in the cadence of the “Wilson!” before it. It was seriously hilarious, with the whole crowd playing up the way that “Wilson” was said. If Hanks was crying it, we’d cry Jen-nay. If Hanks was shouting it, as he is wont to do, we’d shout it*. Well done, crowd.

Overall, it was an incredibly enjoyable night, and I’d recommend it to anyone on the fence. You may never see Tom Hanks the same way again. I want to go every year. 

*I can’t emphasize enough how hilarious this was and how well the crowd collectively decided to mock the cadence.

Laugh Out Loud: Zack: 217 Caitlin: 223 This was truly hilarious. The ridiculousness of some of these films was just brought to light in clever, spot-on ways. The scene where Hanks comes close to losing his mind in The Money Pit. Whatever the hell the horse scene was in Nothing In Common (which we’ll be viewing very soon). Their ridiculous voice-over of the super toothy kid in Sleepless in Seattle that just came across as pitch-perfect. Truly, truly hilarious. We typically laugh 40-75 times per movie. We laughed well over 200 times at this. The numbers speak for themselves. And not just chuckles. These were full-on belly laughs. 

Cry: Both: 0 I came close to crying from laughing, but never quite pushed over the edge.

Cover Eyes: Zack: 0 Caitlin: 8 You saw that they cut in scenes from Saving Private Ryan and the Mr. Bojangle’s Death Scene, right? Of course I was going to close my eyes! They showed no violence in SPR clips, but Caitlin was sure they would, so every time Hanks was in military gear, up came the hand blockers for her eyes.

Romantic Interest: Zack: N/A  Caitlin: N/A The only ones we saw were Meg Ryan and Bonnie Hunt, so it’s really tough to judge here. I’m leaving it blank since I don’t think you can rate a clips show like this. Ditto.

Hanks Performance: Zack: 10 Caitlin: 7 Despite so much ridiculousness, I am rating Hanks’ overall performances as a 7, if only for his amazing, heart-wrenching performance in Big where his best friend leaves him in a very shoddy motel, outside of which someone is being audibly murdered (and his best friend just WANDERED DOWN THE STREET through all of this, apparently?! I was surprised the Pancakers didn’t call that out). Anyway, Hanks huddles under his nasty bed sheets, visibly shaking and crying out of fear. This scene, to me, is perfect. An adult man manages to capture true child-like fear. Brilliant. It tugged at my heart strings, even being pulled out of the overall movie and cut between other silliness. I’m giving Hanks a 10 for peeing. 

Hanksgiving: Zack: 10  Caitlin: 9 The only reason I’m deducting a point for this hilariously funny clip show is because they lose half a point for killing Mr. Bojangles twice, and half a point for trying to make fun of Hanks in Big in that amazing scene where he’s in a hotel and crying out of fear. That is brilliant acting, and I stand by that forever. I loved this event hard. I want to go again right now.

Go to Hanksgiving: Austin: 11/30/13 – Tickets Here Dallas: 12/1/13: Tickets Here

Link to all of our Tom Hanks Project Posts


6 Responses to “Tom Hanks Project – Master Pancake “Hanksgiving” Review”

  1. Logan Carpenter November 26, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    Great review, my Tom Hanks nemesis. A video of our competition should be on the Master Pancake page, and I have a copy if you guys want/need it for your website.

    • Zack November 26, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

      Thanks Logan! You were a worthy competitor. I can’t find that video, so I’d love to see it if you could post it here.

  2. Logan Carpenter November 27, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    Here you guys go.


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    […] Review | […]

  2. Tom Hanks Project – “Hanksgiving” Master Pancake Interview | rockloveaustin - November 28, 2013

    […] guy whose idea this was. I felt like we’d be kindred spirits. Of course we went to the show (and reviewed it) and head Master Pancaker John Erler took the time to respond to a number of questions we had. I […]

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    […] to let me participate in the mid-show Tom Hanks Challenge. I decided not to defend my title after winning the trivia, impressions, big piano competition last year. I knew I could dominate trivia, but my “Forrest Gump” impression (with or without […]

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