14Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2012)

Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has a strange, difficult legacy. The film received reviews that could charitably be called “mixed”, with critics either finding it to be crassly exploitative of a national tragedy and overtly pandering for award consideration, or earnest, heartfelt, moving, and capably produced. As

with most things, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

You may read this entry and wonder why such a divisive film would even feature on a list of an actor’s best. But it’s a testament to Hanks, though, that the worst (to some) of his best work is still a film that is well-liked by many, and in fact was nominated (surprisingly) for a Best Picture Oscar. It’s as though Tom Hanks’ misses are merely foul balls, instead of embarrassing whiffs.

Getting back to that award nomination – there is a funny dynamic that is almost certainly at play with a film like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, wherein an initial overrating leads to a delayed underrating. Today, the film is mostly remembered as an unfair and unjust inclusion in an arbitrary awards procession, instead of what it is: a somewhat hammy, potentially insensitive, but nevertheless well-made and well-acted, bit of shiny awards fodder.

Tom Hanks in The Ladykillers
Next 13 The Ladykillers (2004)

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