If you only named movies for which he’s been nominated Best Actor by the Academy, that would already consume half the list; and that doesn’t even include Golden Globes nominations, Kids’ Choice Awards, any of his work with Meg Ryan or Ron Howard, or Bosom Buddies.
So, yes, this list is going to have some omissions—certainly of some personal favorites, maybe a few you consider inexcusable. We ask, in advance, for your forgiveness.
But Hanks’ prolific career and its quality makes him the perfect subject for a Fan Favorite Friday.
And, remember, you can borrow any and all of these from Mentor Public Library.
Without further ado:
1. Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Big and Saving Private Ryan. Yes, this is pretty much how we’re going to have to do it—every single film for which Hanks has been nominated for an Academy Award. You see, if we’re going to get into any deep cuts from Hanks’ ouevre, we might have to bunch some of his films into a single points.
Consider this: For pretty much any actor, this quintet would represent a great career. For Tom Hanks, it’s just the first point.
2. Band of Brothers. If you loved Private Ryan and wished it could have been a miniseries instead of a movie (or, contrarily, if you didn’t like it and demand more historical accuracy from you WWII stories,) you owe it to yourself to watch Band of Brothers.
The HBO miniseries tells the history of Easy Company. Hanks helped executive produce, direct and write the series. However, he did not act in it; but there’s no dearth of talent in front of the camera. Michael Fassbender, Tom Hardy, James McAvoy and even a couple recognizable Americans appeared in the miniseries.
3. A League of their Own. I don’t have to tell you why this movie is great, right? There’s no crying in baseball!
4. Apollo 13, Splash, The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. Ron Howard and Hanks have had a fruitful working relationship. Their Dan Brown adaptions are probably their most financially successful films, Apollo 13 is the most critically adored, but you can’t convince me that Splash isn’t the best thing they ever did together. (OK, no, it’s still Apollo 13, but I do love Splash.)
5. You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle and Joe Versus the Volcano. Similarly, you can’t tell me the best Meg Ryan-Tom Hanks movie isn’t Joe Versus the Volcano. By the way, Ryan and Hanks are teaming back up for Ithaca this year (and Ryan is directing.)
7. Toy Story and Saving Mr. Banks. If you have kids or a pulse, I don’t have to tell you how good the Toy Story films are—all of them. Woody means as much to some children as Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh and, yes, Mickey Mouse. You can borrow all of the Toy Story movies from us, but don’t try to watch them in a single marathon. That’s a whole lot of feelings to feel all at once..
You might not have caught Hanks’ turn as Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks, which tells the story of how P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins became a film. As good as the movie is, I hope Mr. Banks is just the tip of the iceberg. I want this to be a Nick Fury-Samuel L. Jackson situation in which only Hanks can play Walt Disney until he dies, retires or decides he doesn’t want to do it anymore.
8. That Thing You Do! Pardon me for schilling for a personal favorite. Tom Hanks isn’t a prolific director, but he has two films (and an episode of Tales from the Crypt) tucked inside his belt. That Thing You Do! tells the story of one-hit wonders (seriously, the band’s name was The One-ders) and it’s funny and sad and a great movie if you love music. (And who hates music? That’s like hating air.)
Bonus: Punching Tom Hanks: A Guide to Beating Up Anyone. In no way do we support violence against Tom Hanks; but, you have to admit, that’s an attention-grabbing book title.