Best and Worst movies of Tom Hanks
For an actor who begun his career with a ‘Big’ ‘Splash’ and is today not only one of the most bankable stars in the world but one of the most critically acclaimed it is hard to imagine that Hanks had begun to lose his way in the mid to late Eighties. By the time of the disastrous non-comedy that was Bonfire of the Vanities perhaps Hanks was grasping at straws and over-reached as badly here as did it’s director Brian De Palma. Thankfully he came back on track with his memorable comic cameo in A League of Their Own, his easy charm and comic timing in Sleepless in Seattle followed by his most serious and against type role to date as the dying lawyer in Philadelphia. The rest as they say is history.
And what a history, as Hanks went on to star in some of the most iconic parts in some of the best movies under the direction of some of the most important directors (Spielberg, Nichols, Demme) of the last 20 years. Invariably the best reason for seeing these movies is Tom Hanks and in all his roles he exudes a disarming and easy persona which immediately lets the audience in no doubt that his character is a real easy person with which to spend some time and get to know. But never once is he a great black hole sucking all the energy from his co-actors; even in Cast Away he is generous enough to share his ample screen time with a volleyball!
Forrest Gump (1994)
Portraying the eponymous slow witted young man into adulthood through some of the most tumultuous and iconic events of 20th Century American history, to which he is a close at hand and guileless witness. What one remembers is the heart warming human story at its core.
The Green Mile (1999)
In Frank Darabont’s overlong and fanciful take on another Stephen King gothic prison drama Hanks is memorable as an empathetic but professional prison guard who is haunted through to old age by a momentous event and his part in it.2
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
An outstanding and nuanced portrayal of an ordinary man in the midst of the extraordinary hell on earth situation that was the WW2 Normandy landings.
Catch Me If You Can (2002)
In another Spielberg outing Hanks in an unusual second billing role is never less than compelling as the FBI man more consumed by the prey than the pursuit.
Hanks’ early career triumph as a 12 year old boy in a young mans body is one of the greatest, funniest and affectionate portrayals of youthful innocence on screen.
The Da Vince Code/Angels and Demons
Plodding workmanlike performance by Hanks in a plodding workmanlike movie from a plodding workmanlike (and way overrated) novel. The leads lack of chemistry is so bad it’s good.
Joe versus the Volcano
Hanks’ has spent his whole career finding new depths in everyman roles but here he is all at sea in a ludicrously contrived and manipulative plot which drains even Hanks normal effortless charm of all its humour.
The Money Pit
For a lot of this movie Hank turns in a great comic performance but when the movie veers way beyond farce and slapstick the movie loses its reality based humour and Hanks his way.
These days Hanks does as much behind the scenes with his TV (Band of Brothers, The Pacific) and movie production work (Where the Wild Things Are, Mamma Mia!) and has even directed two of his own movies to date, That Thing You Do and Larry Crowne. In an acting capacity Hanks is still thankfully active and his upcoming projects are both based on acclaimed contemporary novels, Cloud Atlas and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
What is your favorite movie of Tom Hanks. What do you think about this article. Share your thoughts in comments.