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Larry Crowne: What to Study at Tom Hanks U

by Ethan Alter June 30, 2011 7:00 am
<i>Larry Crowne:</i> What to Study at Tom Hanks U

In Larry Crowne Tom Hanks plays an ordinary, blue-collar kinda guy who gains a new set of life skills when he enrolls in his local community college. Which got us thinking -- what has this star taught moviegoers over his many years in Hollywood? Here are some of the suggested courses eager students could audit at the Tom Hanks College of Arts & Sciences.

Gender Studies: Understanding the Female Mind from a Male Perspective
Source Material: Bosom Buddies
Instructors: Kip and Buffy Wilson
Men have always wanted to know what exactly goes on inside a woman's head. Now they can find out via this intensive, immersive course led by someone who lived on the front lines of femininity for two years: Kip Wilson a.k.a. Buffy Wilson, author of the bestselling book, Do the High Heels Match the Suit Jacket? Note: Kip will occasionally share lecturing duties with his good friend and adjunct professor, Hildegarde Desmond.

Psychology: When Dungeons & Dragons Becomes More than Just a Game
Source Material: Mazes and Monsters
Instructor: Robbie Wheeling
Classic role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons and new iterations like the massively multiplayer online adventure World of Warcraft offer players an opportunity to escape from their ordinary lives into a wondrous otherworldly realm. But what happens if they start to confuse fantasy and reality? Robbie Wheeling has survived such an experience, recently emerging from a decades-long psychotic state in which he believed he was a mystical cleric tasked with an important quest. Hear the details of his story and learn to recognize the signs that you're spending too much time in another world.

Nursing: Introduction to Geriatric Care
Source Material: Nothing in Common
Instructor: David Basner
Like former ad-man turned geriatric care specialist David Basner, you probably never thought you'd wind up looking after the very people that raised you as a child. But that's the position Nurse Basner found himself in when his parents unexpectedly divorced and his elderly father moved into his home. Though they got off to a rocky beginning, the two eventually learned how to get along and David embarked on his new career after nursing his dad through a bout with diabetes. Under his tutelage, you'll master the basics of geriatric care and learn how to handle even the most ornery patients with the appropriate restraint.

International Relations: The Role of the Peace Corps in Democratizing Southeast Asia
Source Material: Volunteers
Instructor: Lawrence Whatley Bourne III
Amidst the turbulent '60s, wealthy heir Lawrence Whatley Bourne III turned his back on the family fortune and enlisted in the newly created Peace Corps. Dispatched to Southeast Asia, ex-Ambassador Bourne found himself having to negotiate between the American military, a Communist-led insurgency and a narcotics kingpin. Hear the real story behind the Corps' role in that region of the world and how they continue to make their presence felt today.

Veterinary Studies: The Psychology of Police Dogs
Source Material: Turner & Hooch
Instructor: Scott Turner
Just like their human counterparts, police dogs often put themselves in harm's way in pursuit of the bad guys. Taught by retired detective Scott Turner -- who will share stories of solving crimes with his deceased canine partner, Hooch -- this course will give you a new appreciation for these canines' bravery under fire and the sacrifices they make to ensure that justice is done.

Women's Studies: Why Can't There Be Crying In Baseball?
Source Material: A League of Their Own
Instructor: Jimmy Dugan
Revisit the glory days of America's pastime with someone that experienced them first-hand. Former player and coach Jimmy Dugan compares and contrasts the male-dominated Major Leagues with the upstart All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which flourished between 1943 and 1954. For the final exam, the class will be split along gender lines to play a full AAGPL-regulation ballgame, complete with 12-inch ball and underhand pitching.

History: Standing in the Shadows of Greatness
Source Material: Forrest Gump
Instructor: Dan Taylor
Sometimes history is made not by kings and presidents, but by ordinary people. Decorated lieutenant Dan Taylor presents a unique survey of forty years of American history from the perspective of a single individual who unfailingly happened to be in the exact right place at the exact right time to experience major world events. Students will be invited to share their own stories of meeting famous people and learn how to construct simple, elegant and annoying metaphors to explain what life is really like.

Philosophy: Can a Toy Have a Soul?
Source Material: Toy Story
Instructor: Sherriff Woody Pride
Lest you think that toys are simply pieces of plastic inevitably destined to end up in some scrap heap, this emotionally wrenching, intellectually stimulating lecture series will make you think twice about throwing away your childhood playthings. Sherriff Woody Pride (Woody to his friends and students) explores the ethical and moral issues of toy ownership, posing deep questions that you'll be pondering both in and out of the classroom.

Physical Education: Man vs. Wild
Source Material: Cast Away
Instructor: Chuck Noland Learn how to make nature your bitch under the watchful eye of Chuck Noland, who spent years living alone on a remote island with only a volleyball for company. Through exhausting physical challenges and a demanding diet, you'll master all the skills you'll need to survive your own unplanned desert island exile or compete on the next season of Survivor.

Latin: How to Master a Dead Language and Piss off the Vatican in the Process
Source Material: The Da Vinci Code
Instructor: Robert Langdon
Latin's not just for theology geeks anymore! Decoding this ancient language will also allow you to uncover centuries-old conspiracies, most of which were set in motion by the Catholic Church. Internationally renowned symbologist Robert Langdon provides students with a helpful overview of Latin's many uses in daily life, whether it's translating a thousand-year old scroll or avoiding the wrath of a self-flagellating albino monk.

Bonus Course: Street Economics 101
Source Material: Pretty Woman
Instructor: Vivian Ward
There's the rule of law and then there's the law of the streets. Corporate takeover specialist -- and ex-hooker with a heart of gold -- Vivian Ward teaches students how the economics of the prostitution racket can be applied to big business. Just don't go in expecting any happy endings.

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