Out of 40something films he’s made since the mid ‘80s, Tom Hanks has said that only four cut the mustard. And that doesn’t even mean that the un-named four are great or A-level films — Hanks is only allowing that they’re “pretty good.”
Which films could he be referring to? I’m guessing Big, Philadelphia, Forrest Gump and Saving Private Ryan.
“Road to Perdition Was Hanks’ Last Big Serious Score,” posted on 4.23.16: I would say that Hanks peaked from Splash (’84) to Road to Perdition (’02), or a run of 18 years. Okay, 14 years if you feel that Hanks’ career really took off with Big in ’88.
And yes, I would say that since Perdition luck was not really been with him except in the case of Charlie Wilson’s War (’07) and Captain Phillips (’13).
Once your cards have gone cold, it’s awfully hard to heat them up again. There’s nothing more humiliating than for a man who once held mountains in the palm of his hands having to push his own cart around the supermarket as he buys his own groceries and then, insult to injury, has to wait in line at the checkout counter. Then again he’s stinking rich.
Hanks’ finest early-career-building films: Splash (’84), Dragnet (’87), Big (’88), Punchline (’88).
Hanks’ amazing six-year, nothing-but-pure-gold period: A League of Their Own (’92), Sleepless in Seattle (’93), Philadelphia (’93), Forrest Gump (’94), Apollo 13 (’95), Toy Story (’95), Saving Private Ryan (’98), You’ve Got Mail (’98), Toy Story 2 (’99).
Hanks’ first big-time stinker — a movie I’ll hate with every fibre of my being for the rest of my life: The Green Mile (’99).
Commendable: Cast Away (’00)
Hanks’ last, best serious role after his ’90s kissed-by-God period: Road to Perdition (’02).
Hanks & Spielberg films that aren’t that bad but which nobody really wants to re-watch, much less own: the absurdly over-rated Catch Me If You Can (’02), the all-but-disappeared The Terminal (’04).
Hanks/Coen Bros. shortfaller: The Ladykillers (’04)
More and More (a) Paycheck Roles, (b) Genial, Family-Type Stuff with Edges Sanded Off, or (c) Dramatic Misfires or Under-Performers: The Polar Express (’04), The Da Vinci Code (’06), The Great Buck Howard (’09), Larry Crowne (’11), Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (’11), Cloud Atlas (’12).
Decent, sufficient if over-praised Hanks: Captain Phillips (’13).
Passable Hanks-Spielberg: Bridge of Spies (’15).
From a 22 year-old Tony Curtis interview that I posted on Reel.com: “At one point, I handed Curtis a list of his 120 films and asked him to check those he’s genuinely proud of. He checked a total of 18. He didn’t check The Vikings. He didn’t check The Outsider. He checked Houdini. Every film he made after Spartacus in 1960 up until 1968’s The Boston Strangler, he didn’t check. He checked his role as a pair of mafiosos — Louis ‘Lepke’ Buchalter in 1975’s Lepke and Sam Giancana in the 1986 TV movie Mafia Princess.
“Among his ‘notable TV guest appearances,’ Curtis checked only one — the voice role of ‘Stony Curtis; in a 1965 episode of The Flintstones.”