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Hanks Very Much: Tom's Two Top Tens

  Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, is in cinemas everywhere from 17th February. The film tells the story from inside the young mind of Oskar Schell, an inventive eleven year-old New Yorker. Oskar’s discovery of a key in his deceased father’s belongings sets him off on an urgent search across the city for the lock it will open.


Adapted from the acclaimed bestseller by Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is Oscar® nominated, including for Best Picture. To celebrate its release and the magic of the Academy Awards, here’s a list of top 10 films from its Oscar-winning star, Tom Hanks, provided by the PR people.

Big - 1988
An appropriate title as this was Hanks’ big break. As Josh Baskin, a kid trapped in a man's body, working for a toy company and winning the heart of cold exec Elizabeth Perkins, Hanks was hyperactive, endlessly curious, near-perfect, and Oscar-nominated for the first time.

Sleepless in Seattle - 1993
Hanks’ everyman good looks made him the perfect lead for a host of romantic comedies. In Sleepless in Seattle he is a widower who is set up by his young son to tell his story on the radio. A young woman hears his cry for help and, you’ve guessed it, love isn’t far behind. All say aah!

Philadelphia - 1993
The harrowing Philadelphia storyline gave the fight against AIDS some of the best publicity it ever had. Hanks’ performance as a lawyer sacked when he contracts AIDS and his subsequent fight for justice was rightly rewarded with an Oscar for Best Actor.

Forrest Gump - 1994
This film is the reason we all know ‘Life is like a box of chocolates’. Hanks’ career was on a high and his performance as the idiot savant who raised the hearts and minds of all he encountered, is probably Tom’s best loved. It also gained him his second Oscar.

Toy Story - 1995
In the most successful animated franchise in film history, Hanks’ vocal work as the cowboy hero Woody holds the whole film together. Toy Story and its subsequent sequels mean that most kids know Tom’s voice even if they don’t think they have ever seen a film starring him. He is taking over the world one subliminal step at a time!

Apollo 13 - 1995
Truth really is stranger than fiction as this nerve-jangling thriller proved. Hanks starred as astronaut Jim Lovell who, along with his crew, faced an agonizing journey back to Earth after their spaceship lost its oxygen supply. Hell, who wouldn’t want Hanks alongside them in an emergency?

Saving Private Ryan - 1998
Tom’s ongoing success was followed by a role as an army captain in Steven Spielberg’s war epic. Hanks’ is charged with bringing home Private Ryan, a paratrooper whose three brothers have been killed in Normandy. It’s a groundbreaking film that showed the full horror of war as well as the fears of the men having to fight. Another Oscar nomination duly followed.

The Green Mile -1999
Tom’s moving role as a kind-hearted guard of Death Row who realises that the condemned Michael Clarke Duncan might be some kind of mystic healer ensures there won’t be a dry eye in the house. It’s the best adaptation of a Stephen King novel bar none.

Cast Away - 2000
Despite being one long ad for FedEx, Cast Away proved that Hanks can command the screen even when there is no one else involved – except for Wilson the volleyball! His fifth Oscar nomination proved that the critics all agreed.

Catch Me If You Can - 2002
Tom plays the cat to Leonardo DiCaprio’s mouse in the fascinating tale of super con man Frank Abagnale. Hanks is the FBI agent who has to follow the clues to trap the master of disguise and in so doing display that the government has a heart. Who knew?

The Da Vinci Code - 2006
Starring as Robert Langdon in the Dan Brown phenomenon (and its sequel Angels & Demons) was never going to be easy, but Hanks managed to dodge the critics’ complaints by turning in an engaging performance. He also showed that he could be the ‘action man’ when called upon, giving him a range that few actors can manage.

On the other hand, we came up with an alternative Top Ten to complement this, so how about this lot instead? See which you prefer…

He Knows You’re Alone – 1980
Every major star should have a skeleton in their thespian closet, and here’s Tom’s: he made his debut in this bog standard slasher movie. He wasn’t even the star, just in support, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

Mazes and Monsters – 1982
OK, it was a TV movie, but this was an awful warning about the dangers of, er, Dungeons & Dragons where Tom plays a man who gets too deep into the game, man, and goes nuts. A cautionary tale for us all.

Splash – 1984
The movie which made Tom a star around the world, seeing him falling in love with a mermaid and also the best collaboration he’s made with Ron Howard so far. Plus you got to see him share the screen with John Candy.

Bachelor Party – 1984
The same year he made Splash for Disney, something more grown up appeared with Tom as the star, if you could call something this juvenile grown up. Supported by eighties icons (?) Tawny Kitaen and Adrian Zmed, what more could you ask for?

Nothing in Common – 1986
Tom appeared in Honeymooners star Jackie Gleason’s last movie too, maybe not that memorable as a family drama – until Jackie reveals horrifyingly that he has a blue foot in the restaurant!

The ‘burbs – 1989
Joe Dante’s takedown of suburban paranoia may have troubles resolving its story, but there’s plenty to amuse here as Tom begins to suspect his neighbours are actually serial killers. Like most of Dante’s movies, it has a strong cult following.

Joe versus the Volcano – 1990
A notorious flop when it came out (the same year as he starred in the even more notorious Bonfire of the Vanities), Tom played it sweet here as a dying man setting out to sacrifice himself in a volcano and meeting a trio of Meg Ryans. Some people love this.

That Thing You Do! – 1996
After a string of high profile hits in the nineties, Tom decided to direct his own, and this tale of a one hit wonder pop band in the sixties may not have been a blockbuster, but damn those songs are catchy.

Charlie Wilson’s War – 2007
Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s attempt to make sense of the mess that is Afghanistan in recent decades, Tom got to star as a manipulative senator who may have done more harm than good, an excellent performance in a film which offers food for thought.

Toy Story 3 – 2010
Sure, the first one was good, but the second was better and this final instalment (or so we think) of the franchise was a stone cold classic, with Tom deftly voicing Woody the Cowboy to make audiences laugh and - gulp – cry.

See Tom Hanks in his latest role in EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE, IN CINEMAS 17th FEBRUARY.
Author: Graeme Clark.


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