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The Good, The Bad and the Badass: Tom Hanks

Oct. 7, 2013by:
Last week, we took at look at the career of big-screen alpha-male Sean Connery. While nowhere near the macho tough guy Connery is, this week's subject is just as much of an icon in his own way, with a career as a leading man that goes back thirty years...

Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks has been called our generation's James Stewart in that more than any other leading man of our era, he's embodied the everyman hero. What he lacks in brawn he makes up for in compassion, righteousness, and good-natured humor. He's an actor that's more-or-less universally beloved, and his filmography is jampacked with great films.

It's hard to imagine that Hanks got his start on a low-brow TV show like BOSOM BUDDIES, but his career skyrocketed after being cast in Ron Howard's SPLASH. For the following decade, he was primarily considered a comic actor with movies like DRAGNET, TURNER & HOOCH and THE MONEY PIT. Other than the serio-comedy BIG, his forays into drama were disastrous (THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES).

That all changed with his stirring performance as AIDS-afflicted lawyer Andrew Beckett in PHILADELPHIA, which garnered him an Oscar for best actor. He followed that up with another Oscar-winning part in the mega-hit FORREST GUMP, and from there he's kept his place at the top of the Hollywood A-list, which will likely be reinforced by the release this week of his much buzzed-about CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, which just may be another one of his iconic roles. And heck, I haven't even mentioned his producing work (BAND OF BROTHERS, THE PACIFIC) or his voice-acting (the amazing TOY STORY trilogy). Hanks' career is one of a kind.

His Best Role

My favourite Tom Hanks performance came in Steven Spielberg's 1998 WW2 epic, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Here, Hanks once again played the everyman, but one pushed to his physical and mental limits by the horror of war. It's a brutal, devastating film, and it's Hanks at his most intense. His Captain John Miller is far from your prototypical big-screen war hero, with him being just another guy trying desperately to earn his way home so that he can reunite with his family. Think of him as the anti-John Wayne. It's a brilliant part in a phenomenal movie.

His Most Overrated Film

My choice here is bound to be controversial. I don't hate FORREST GUMP. Actually, I quite like it. It's heart-warming, sweet and well-acted. But, it's not the all-time instant Hollywood classic the world seemed to think it was in 1994. Not only did FORREST GUMP beat PULP FICTION at the Oscars, but it also beat THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, which oddly enough was a huge flop in it's initial release. Time has gone on to prove both PULP FICTION and SHAWSHANK as classics. FORREST GUMP? Not so much. If you haven't seen it in a while, watch it again and be surprised at how cheesy it often comes off as. Again though, it's not a bad film. Far from it. It's just overrated.

His Most Underrated Film

I loved Tom Hanks' nostalgic ode to early sixties pop music THAT THING YOU DO. Hanks only has a small part in it, but he also directed it, and it's a real, wholesome gem. One of the really great things about the movie is how all the pop-bands, from The Wonders, to all the others in the film, all sing original songs composed for the film. It's essentially a musical, and if you've seen it, I guarantee you're humming the title song to yourself right now. The director's cut DVD, which is a good forty minutes longer, is also worth checking out. It's too bad Hanks' next film as a director- LARRY CROWNE- was so bad. THAT THING YOU DO is one that I revisit every few years, and it's sad that the film was all but ignored in it's initial release, despite coming out at the peak of Hanks' popularity.

His Most Memorable Scene

There are tons of possible choices here. JoBlo.com's own Nick Bosworth, who converts all the videos for this column, suggested the Christmas telephone call from CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, which was a tempting choice. So was the department store scene in BIG. But for me, I've rarely been as moved by a performance as Tom Hanks in PHILADELPHIA, and this stirring scene, where he explains the meaning of Maria Callas' La Mamma Morta but really expresses his anguish over his looming death, while Denzel Washington looks on mesmerized. It's absolutely brilliant.

His Top 5 Films

1. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN
2. PHILADELPHIA
3. APOLLO 13
4. ROAD TO PERDITION
5. BIG

Next Up

Hanks is as busy as ever, with this season seeing another potentially Oscar worthy performance from him as Walt Disney in SAVING MR BANKS. From there, Hanks has another Robert Langdon movie in the works (boring), as well as several intriguing productions in the pipeline, both as a producer and actor. I imagine Hanks will only get better with age, and his choice of projects is often impeccable.

Source: JoBlo.com

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+1
11:22AM on 10/29/2013

Forgot one of Hanks' best and most underrated performances

The Terminal! One of Hanks' best performances as the great heartwarming Viktor Navroski. A character who life should imitate.
The Terminal! One of Hanks' best performances as the great heartwarming Viktor Navroski. A character who life should imitate.
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7:37AM on 10/08/2013
By following this simple advices you can bring $15000 of income every month... ⅇxit35.ℭom
By following this simple advices you can bring $15000 of income every month... ⅇxit35.ℭom
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+5
2:45AM on 10/08/2013

Tom Hanks: Most Underrated Role

Most Underrated Role- Joe Vs. The Volcano

Also, Tom Hanks has the most believable crying scene in Saving Private Ryan after Wade's death. I cry every time.
Most Underrated Role- Joe Vs. The Volcano

Also, Tom Hanks has the most believable crying scene in Saving Private Ryan after Wade's death. I cry every time.
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+4
1:27AM on 10/08/2013
There's no crying in baseball.
There's no crying in baseball.
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11:53PM on 10/07/2013
love hanks
love hanks
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8:00PM on 10/07/2013
Honestly, the movie I most associate him with (besides Toy Story, of course) is Castaway. Not the best Tom Hanks movie, but definitely memorable. He's absolutely brilliant in it. After that, I'd go with Saving Private Ryan (best Hanks movie ever), Apollo 13, and the Terminal.
Honestly, the movie I most associate him with (besides Toy Story, of course) is Castaway. Not the best Tom Hanks movie, but definitely memorable. He's absolutely brilliant in it. After that, I'd go with Saving Private Ryan (best Hanks movie ever), Apollo 13, and the Terminal.
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6:29PM on 10/07/2013
Hanks is one of the all-time greats. Roles like Saving Private Ryan, Apollo 13, Forrest Gump, and to many others to name show why he's so talented. Although I'm not sure I'd put it with his best work, I really liked his work in Cloud Atlas and the numerous different roles he played. Probably up there with his more underrated films.
Hanks is one of the all-time greats. Roles like Saving Private Ryan, Apollo 13, Forrest Gump, and to many others to name show why he's so talented. Although I'm not sure I'd put it with his best work, I really liked his work in Cloud Atlas and the numerous different roles he played. Probably up there with his more underrated films.
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5:20PM on 10/07/2013

My favorite Hanks' performances.

1. Saving Private Ryan
2. Apollo 13
3. Cast Away
4. Charlie Wilson's War
5. Big
Honorable Mention: A League of Their Own.
1. Saving Private Ryan
2. Apollo 13
3. Cast Away
4. Charlie Wilson's War
5. Big
Honorable Mention: A League of Their Own.
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2:26PM on 10/07/2013
Huge Hanks fan here.
Huge Hanks fan here.
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1:17PM on 10/07/2013
He is great in Captain Phillips. Really enjoyed that flick as a whole. Personally, I'd pick Road to Perdition as his most underrated. I completely agree about Forest Gump. I own it, but every time I go to watch it, I find at least 1 reason to not watch it.
He is great in Captain Phillips. Really enjoyed that flick as a whole. Personally, I'd pick Road to Perdition as his most underrated. I completely agree about Forest Gump. I own it, but every time I go to watch it, I find at least 1 reason to not watch it.
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1:11PM on 10/07/2013
I love That Thing You Do. Great choice for underrated but I might have gone with The Terminal. I've always loved that movie. Even being a kid when it came out I loved it. Saving Private Ryan rightfully takes the top spot. I like both his Dan Brown films. I've never understood the hate. I don't get enough of the mystery genre and I think those are well made films.
I love That Thing You Do. Great choice for underrated but I might have gone with The Terminal. I've always loved that movie. Even being a kid when it came out I loved it. Saving Private Ryan rightfully takes the top spot. I like both his Dan Brown films. I've never understood the hate. I don't get enough of the mystery genre and I think those are well made films.
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11:39AM on 10/07/2013
The lack of Joe Versus the Volcano mentioned made me want to watch it. and a bonus fact, Favorite Cartoon: Fairly Oddparents
The lack of Joe Versus the Volcano mentioned made me want to watch it. and a bonus fact, Favorite Cartoon: Fairly Oddparents
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10:38AM on 10/07/2013
My three favorite Tom Hank films are Road To Perdition, Forrest Gump, and The Green Mile. All brilliant, wonderful films of Mr. Hanks with terrific performances in every one.
My three favorite Tom Hank films are Road To Perdition, Forrest Gump, and The Green Mile. All brilliant, wonderful films of Mr. Hanks with terrific performances in every one.
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10:30AM on 10/07/2013
Saving Private Ryan is definitely his best role in my opinion. I really like Forrest Gump though I don't find it overrated at all, but to each his own of course.
Saving Private Ryan is definitely his best role in my opinion. I really like Forrest Gump though I don't find it overrated at all, but to each his own of course.
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9:58AM on 10/07/2013
Spent the last 45 minutes reading EVERYTHING about James Stewart on Wikipedia. Haha.

On topic, loving your top 5 Chris. For me, I always feel Road to Perdition to be his most underrated.
Spent the last 45 minutes reading EVERYTHING about James Stewart on Wikipedia. Haha.

On topic, loving your top 5 Chris. For me, I always feel Road to Perdition to be his most underrated.
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+0
9:41AM on 10/07/2013

“Big, bad, stupid-looking”. Always found that hilarious.

I hadn't realised I'd seen so many Hanks movies until I read this post. Always remember enjoying Big, Gump, Saving Private Ryan...and Road To Perdition (was absolutely gutted the way that ended). Philadelphia, for me, has a special place in my movieverse...as it's not the kind of movie I usually watch unless I turn on the TV with nothing else to do...but I actually saw it at the cinema. Strange. Still...enjoyed that too. Funny thing about Hanks...but back in the early days...I always used
I hadn't realised I'd seen so many Hanks movies until I read this post. Always remember enjoying Big, Gump, Saving Private Ryan...and Road To Perdition (was absolutely gutted the way that ended). Philadelphia, for me, has a special place in my movieverse...as it's not the kind of movie I usually watch unless I turn on the TV with nothing else to do...but I actually saw it at the cinema. Strange. Still...enjoyed that too. Funny thing about Hanks...but back in the early days...I always used to mix him up with that guy from the early Police Academy movies and 3 Men and a Baby :o)
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8:52AM on 10/07/2013

Hmmm....Nah...

Loved Forrest Gump and it still remains my favorite Tom Hanks movie, and I love his stuff. I would also agree that "Road To Perdition" is a true gem and possibly the most underrated movie of his. I too liked "That Thing You Do", but it doesn't touch RTP. "Saving Private Ryan" still remains my pick as the best WWII ever (and that's saying something).
Loved Forrest Gump and it still remains my favorite Tom Hanks movie, and I love his stuff. I would also agree that "Road To Perdition" is a true gem and possibly the most underrated movie of his. I too liked "That Thing You Do", but it doesn't touch RTP. "Saving Private Ryan" still remains my pick as the best WWII ever (and that's saying something).
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8:02AM on 10/07/2013
Road to Perdition would be my vote for most underrated. Such a great movie and Hanks' performance was fantastic.
Road to Perdition would be my vote for most underrated. Such a great movie and Hanks' performance was fantastic.
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-30
6:49AM on 10/07/2013

Hardly

He isn't a bad ass. He is a bland asshole who needs to make comedies again.
He isn't a bad ass. He is a bland asshole who needs to make comedies again.
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6:13AM on 10/07/2013
Badass indeed. I'd also add Cast Away as his underrated movie. To carry the movie alone is tough and it's even tougher that his co-star for most of the time is a Volleyball.
Badass indeed. I'd also add Cast Away as his underrated movie. To carry the movie alone is tough and it's even tougher that his co-star for most of the time is a Volleyball.
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6:14AM on 10/07/2013
WILSON!!!!
WILSON!!!!
8:48AM on 10/07/2013
Ya, I think I agree, tho he has so many movies I'd have to go through them all first
Ya, I think I agree, tho he has so many movies I'd have to go through them all first
9:41AM on 10/07/2013
You should try "Big". If I have to choose which is the best Comedy by Hanks, I'll say Big.
You should try "Big". If I have to choose which is the best Comedy by Hanks, I'll say Big.
5:41AM on 10/07/2013
Though it's certainly no Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump is still a classic in my book. That film was really far ahead of its time. It surpises me upon every viewing how harsh it actually is, especially the Vietnam parts and Gary Sinise's character.
Though it's certainly no Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump is still a classic in my book. That film was really far ahead of its time. It surpises me upon every viewing how harsh it actually is, especially the Vietnam parts and Gary Sinise's character.
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8:53AM on 10/07/2013
True...true. A great film that still tugs at your heart strings every time you watch it.
True...true. A great film that still tugs at your heart strings every time you watch it.
9:44AM on 10/07/2013
Love how lovingly Mr. Marx is raising his eyebrows at me.
Love how lovingly Mr. Marx is raising his eyebrows at me.
3:52AM on 10/07/2013
I like Tom Hanks, but I think he was miscast for the Dan Brown movies.
I like Tom Hanks, but I think he was miscast for the Dan Brown movies.
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3:33AM on 10/07/2013

Hanks

I like the list even though I believe Hanks should've lost to Liam Neeson in '93 for Schiendler's List, but won his second award for Saving Private Ryan. I'm a fan either and to be honest one of my all time favorite characters was Jimmy Dugan in A League of Their Own. Talk about owning a movie, he was fantastic in the movie with a ton of memorable scenes.

I'd love for him to go back and do some comedy in the veins of Dragnet or The Burbs I thought those were solid comedies.

My top 5:
1.
I like the list even though I believe Hanks should've lost to Liam Neeson in '93 for Schiendler's List, but won his second award for Saving Private Ryan. I'm a fan either and to be honest one of my all time favorite characters was Jimmy Dugan in A League of Their Own. Talk about owning a movie, he was fantastic in the movie with a ton of memorable scenes.

I'd love for him to go back and do some comedy in the veins of Dragnet or The Burbs I thought those were solid comedies.

My top 5:
1. Saving Private Ryan
2. A League of Their Own
3. Big
4. Forrest Gump
5. Road to Perdition
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5:13AM on 10/07/2013
In the year that Liam Neeson was up for Best Actor for Schindler's List, Hanks won for Philadelphia. The year Hanks was up for the Best Actor Oscar for Saving Private Ryan, he lost to Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful).
In the year that Liam Neeson was up for Best Actor for Schindler's List, Hanks won for Philadelphia. The year Hanks was up for the Best Actor Oscar for Saving Private Ryan, he lost to Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful).
8:55AM on 10/07/2013
Hanks should've won for "Saving"...no doubt. The Roberto Benigni movie ranks right up there though. You know everyone bought it on DVD and watch it over and over (can you tell I'm being cynical here)?
Hanks should've won for "Saving"...no doubt. The Roberto Benigni movie ranks right up there though. You know everyone bought it on DVD and watch it over and over (can you tell I'm being cynical here)?
5:23PM on 01/26/2014
Jedd thanks for clearing up my mistake. I completely meant to say Hanks should've won his second award for Saving Private Ryan and not Philadelphia. I thought Neeson was better much like Hanks was better than Benigni
Jedd thanks for clearing up my mistake. I completely meant to say Hanks should've won his second award for Saving Private Ryan and not Philadelphia. I thought Neeson was better much like Hanks was better than Benigni
2:53AM on 10/07/2013
That Thing You Do was great in that it was a fun, nostalgic movie, but not cloyingly or cheesily so. There are conflicts and tensions but it's a story that feels really honest and of a bygone era.

Tom Hanks is an incredible actor in that you really can't find anybody who hates him. Sometimes, actors with a reputation for being personable and friendly might not necessarily be great actors - but Tom Hanks is a remarkable actor. He's someone who made the transition from comedy to drama
That Thing You Do was great in that it was a fun, nostalgic movie, but not cloyingly or cheesily so. There are conflicts and tensions but it's a story that feels really honest and of a bygone era.

Tom Hanks is an incredible actor in that you really can't find anybody who hates him. Sometimes, actors with a reputation for being personable and friendly might not necessarily be great actors - but Tom Hanks is a remarkable actor. He's someone who made the transition from comedy to drama effortlessly and who still dips his toes in comedy every so often. The adage "every comedian wants to play Hamlet" has a kind of negative connotation to it, that most comedians wouldn't be able to - but if Tom Hanks wanted to play Hamlet, he'd be an incredible Hamlet (he apparently played Reynaldo in a school production of the play.) So many iconic movies under the guy's belt: Big, Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Toy Story, Saving Private Ryan, Castaway, Road to Perdition, The Green Mile, Apollo 13...the man has truly earned his status as an icon of American cinema. I was fortunate enough to sit in for a press conference when he was in town to promote Larry Crowne and it seemed like all of a sudden, he was the best friend of every single journalist in the room, and not in that annoying, false "buddy buddy" sense.
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2:36AM on 10/07/2013
Tom Hanks has done some amazing stuff, but my Top 3 Tom Hanks roles has got to be Cast Away, The Terminal, and Toy Story. Toy Story because he just gets lost in that role to a point where not once do you see Woody as Tom Hanks. That's amazing. Cast Away and The Terminal because those roles really tugged at the non-macho parts of my heart.
Tom Hanks has done some amazing stuff, but my Top 3 Tom Hanks roles has got to be Cast Away, The Terminal, and Toy Story. Toy Story because he just gets lost in that role to a point where not once do you see Woody as Tom Hanks. That's amazing. Cast Away and The Terminal because those roles really tugged at the non-macho parts of my heart.
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3:03AM on 10/07/2013
I didn't really like The Terminal when I saw it as a kid, but on re-watching it I really appreciated how thorough Spielberg was in constructing the world of the JFK airport terminal from scratch and how believable Hanks was a man who's lost, both physically and emotionally, but in a rather amusing fashion. He plays it with a naivete that's actually quite different from Forrest Gump, instead of recycling the performance to a degree which is what he very well could've done. It's also got Zoe
I didn't really like The Terminal when I saw it as a kid, but on re-watching it I really appreciated how thorough Spielberg was in constructing the world of the JFK airport terminal from scratch and how believable Hanks was a man who's lost, both physically and emotionally, but in a rather amusing fashion. He plays it with a naivete that's actually quite different from Forrest Gump, instead of recycling the performance to a degree which is what he very well could've done. It's also got Zoe Saldana playing a Trekkie in a rather prescient bit of casting.
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