July 9, 2016, marks sixty years since one of the finest living American actors came into this world and brought with him an immeasurable amount of joy and genius. Yes, Tom Hanks is 60 years old today, and to celebrate this momentous occasion we’ve compiled a list of our 5 favourite Hanks performances from throughout his career. Prepare for some surprises!
GUMP, FORREST (1994)
Though an at-times excruciatingly sentimental film, and one in which Hanks occasionally threatens to go “Full Retard”, Forrest Gump is difficult for a 90s child not to love. Hanks has never been more adorable.
WOODY (1995, 1999, 2010, 2018)
Without Hanks’ tones piping through his speak-hole, toy cowboy Woody would be a REPUBLICAN! Well, maybe not, but he wouldn’t be half the beloved character he has become over 21 years and 3 (soon to be 4) Toy Story films.
In Robert Zemeckis’ The Polar Express– one of BuzzHub‘s favourite Christmas films ever- Hanks provides motion-capture and voice work for 6 major characters, including the child protagonist and old St. Nick himself. Hanks is the making of this film. His incomparable value and range has never been more undeniably apparent.
NAVORSKI, VIKTOR (2004)
Hanks and Steven Spielberg’s most underrated collaboration is the charming 2004 immigrant comedy The Terminal, which sees Hanks’ Viktor trapped in JFK Airport while he attempts to gain citizenship. Any other actor would have taken the eastern European accent and personality to stereotype level, but Hanks enacts extraordinary restraint and provides a tragic hero almost equally Forrest and Woody in pure warmth.
LANGDON, ROBERT (2006, 2009, 2016)
Yes, we could’ve chosen many roles for our fifth favourite Hanks performance: Walt Disney, James B Donovan, Captain Phillips, Chuck Noland or Captain Miller. This is, after all, one of the finest living American actors, who has but a handful of bad films under his belt. So our final choice is Professor Robert Langdon, creation of author Dan Brown, portrayed by Hanks in 2006’s much-derided The DaVinci Code, it’s far superior prequel/sequel Angels & Demons and this October’s Inferno. The Langdon films, all directed by Ron Howard, will be Hanks’ second complete trilogy (and first as live-action star). That’s quite an accomplishment for a series of semi-factual, largely absurd theological conspiracy thrillers. But throughout all the ridiculousness, Hanks has so far remained as watchable and capable as ever. A really good Hanks performance in a really mediocre film is perhaps what we should value most from the man. Anyone can be good under good direction. It takes a really spectacular talent to be good when all else is so, so bad.
Thank you, Tom, for never failing to be brilliant.