Tom Hanks is a beloved actor. He won two Oscars in a row. He’s a superstar. And yet, there are still some Tom Hanks movies that have fallen under the radar. You don’t need us to tell you about Toy Story or to weigh in on the Forrest Gump debate. On the other hand, these five underrated Hanks movies might help you fill out your Hanks knowledge and perhaps find a new favorite.
1. The ‘Burbs
Joe Dante made his name mixing horror and comedy while also offering meta takes on both genres. He is a singular filmmaker and the man behind movies like Gremlins and Small Soldiers. Dante also directed The ‘Burbs, which stars Hanks. He plays a man who lived on a quiet suburban cul-de-sac who becomes convinced his neighbors are up to nefarious – and murderous – activities.
2. Joe Versus the Volcano
At times, Joe Versus the Volcano is a little overly precious and a little off tonally speaking. Nevertheless, it’s a really good, sweet, and funny movie. Hanks is great, but so is Meg Ryan in not one, not two, but three separate roles.
3. A League of Their Own
This movie is way more than just “There’s no crying in baseball!” It’s a delightful and fun film about a women’s baseball league during World War II. Hanks goes against type as a gruff alcoholic former MLB player who begrudgingly becomes the manager of the Rockford Peaches because he needs the gig. However, ultimately this movie is a showcase for Geena Davis and Lori Petty as sisters who both play in the league.
4. That Thing You Do!
Hanks only has a small part in That Thing You Do!, but it’s his debut as a director and screenwriter. The story of an early rock n’ roll one-hit wonder is well-crafted. It feels of the era and the titular song truly feels like it could be a hit. For that, we have to credit the late musician Adam Schlesinger. As a debut director, Hanks did quite well.
5. Charlie Wilson’s War
Based on a true story, Hanks plays Wilson, a morally dubious politician who maneuvers and manipulates in order to do what he believes is the right thing, which is arming the locals of Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. Hanks is quite good in Aaron Sorkin’s film, but Phillip Seymour Hoffman is the true standout here. Hey, Hanks is a great actor, but Hoffman may have been the best actor of his generation.