Five Favorite Films

Colin Hanks' Five Favorite Films

The star of Life in Pieces and director of All Things Must Pass talks about the allure of Tower Records.

by | October 16, 2015 | Comments

(Photo by Andrew H. Walker / Staff / Getty Images)

He’s the son of the nicest guy in Hollywood, Tom Hanks, but Colin Hanks has carved out a distinctive niche of his own in the movie business. He made his debut in That Thing You Do! and broke out as a star in his own right in 2002’s Orange County. He’s worked steadily in film and television, including gigs on Roswell, The Good Guys, Dexter, and Fargo, and he can currently be seen on the sitcom Life In Pieces. After directing a documentary short last year, Hanks’ first documentary feature film, All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records, opens this Friday. We spoke with Hanks about his Five Favorite Films and the allure of Tower Records.

The Big Lebowski (1998) 82%

Let’s start with The Big Lebowski. I remember seeing this film. I was studying in Germany at the time, and I remember loving Fargo so much — that was my first introduction to the Coen brothers — and I was so excited that they had a new movie out. So I went to some German cinema to go see The Big Lebowski. It was in English, but with German subtitles. I remember watching the movie and just being incredibly disappointed. I really did not like the movie. Probably about four years later, I rewatched it and I instantly said, “I’ve never been so wrong in my entire life.This is one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen.” It’s incredibly well-written, the characters are hilarious, the performances are so nuanced and so deep it’s almost mind-boggling. A lot of the times you do scenes and you just sort of come up with these happy accidents and it just seems like almost everything in there could not have been a happy accident; surely it must have been thought out. I just think it is such an original, fun film and it is quite honestly one of the most quotable films of the last fifty years in my opinion. I think there are so many quotes in there that I realized how foolish I was that first time. I think maybe I was just so excited that I was drinking a beer in a movie theater; maybe that’s why.

Pulp Fiction (1994) 92%

Pulp Fiction was a very big deal for me. That was the first film I remember seeing where I felt compelled to have a conversation afterwards with anyone who saw it. Prior to that, I was still a young kid; I was still in high school, and I would see movies and I would be like, “Oh that was great,” and move on. But that was one that stuck with me for so long; the performances and the dialogue were just so memorable. I just wanted to talk to whoever had seen it. I just felt like it was something you needed to talk about. And obviously that was a film that really changed the direction of film history for a great many people, myself included.  

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) 95%

I really, genuinely don’t like favorite lists because you always leave stuff out. So there are a lot of important films I could put in like The Godfather Part II, perhaps, or The Godfather Part I, but I’m going to go with The Empire Strikes Back for number three only because it’s Empire Strikes Back! I don’t think I need to say why. It’s so good. It takes what arguably could be just a simple science fiction movie and really takes it to this other place that is just so engaging and so believable and dramatic as well. Not overly dramatic, but dramatic. I love that film a great deal.

Dazed and Confused (1993) 91%

Number four would be Dazed and Confused. That was the movie that you saw and you wished it were your life. [laughs] That was a movie that I would watch all the time. I had it on VHS and whenever I was lonely, I’d throw it on. Whenever I wished I was out and about with friends from school, I would just throw that on and felt like I knew [the characters]. That was just one of those films that I just related to at that time. It was incredibly important and it’s another quotable film. I love it.

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Funky Monks (1993)

The last film I’m going to list is a documentary about Red Hot Chili Peppers recording Blood Sugar Sex Magik that was called Funky Monks. It’s about an hour long, it’s shot in black and white, and it’s about them recording Blood Sugar Sex Magik in this house in Beverly Hills. Blood Sugar Sex Magik was arguably the most important album of my young adult life. It sort of put me on my musical path. I guess now, looking back on it, it’s not at all ironic that Funky Monks was the first documentary that I ever watched. It sort of set me on a documentary path, where it wasn’t just narrative movies that interested me, but also real-life stories told in documentary form were now available to me. It greatly influenced me, not only in the Tower Records documentary, but also in all the documentary work that I’ve done. It is, I find, an incredibly engaging film about a subject that I am very passionate about, which is that particular record, and that particular time, not only for that band, but for music in general.

Marya E. Gates for Rotten Tomatoes: What is it about Tower Records that moved you to make a documentary on the company?

Colin Hanks: I spent a lot of time at Tower Records. I bought the Red Hot Chili Peppers doc there. I bought albums there. It was very instrumental for me growing up. I didn’t have a sweet tooth, so I spent all my money at the record shop, not at the candy store. So Tower was one of those places where you could really discover yourself and decide who you wanted to be. I was able to do that at Tower Records, and although I have a deep connection to the store, there was a lot about it’s history that I didn’t know and I saw an opportunity here in which here’s this incredibly beloved company, that everyone sort of thinks they know what the history is, and chances are they don’t. Chances are, there’s a lot about its history that people are not aware of, that is not only engaging storytelling, but also the characters that worked at Tower, the people that shopped at Tower, the people that spent 30, 40 years of their life working at this company, they’re all incredibly engaging, fun people to speak with. I hope that when people see the film, they not only learn a little bit about a company that they thought they knew a lot about, but hopefully they realize that Tower closing its doors wasn’t just a big company, some faceless corporation, but it was actually people that had spent 30, 40 years of their lives getting to know each other, getting married, having kids, getting divorced, going through all of the big moments of their lives and then all having to fire each other, and how difficult that was. Hopefully it puts a little personal perspective onto a company that a lot of people have a great affinity for.

All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records opens this weekend in limited release.

Life in Pieces airs on CBS at 8:30/7:30c on Mondays.

  • EB

    Well done, I liked how open he was about how all these films impacted him.

  • Bryton Cherrier

    Very genuine list.
    Thumbs up to you Colin!

  • bibleverse1

    Not a bad list

  • BabalooMandel

    No Tom Hanks movies?!

  • Damir Obad

    Nice honest list!!! I just became a fan of Mr. Hanks Jr.
    P.S. He missed the Fight Club 😉

  • lordonlow

    My list is very different, but his “All Things Must Pass” is one of my favorite movies of the past 2-3 years. It is sublime filmmaking full of affection, maybe love, that will not be held back… terrific.

Tag Cloud

Marvel Sundance Now Disney E3 hispanic doctor who diversity Epix 2017 2016 Captain marvel Action Chernobyl cancelled Country YA Shondaland Lifetime adaptation cartoon Pirates HBO Max movies true crime Grammys talk show aliens award winner independent binge The Purge toy story Mystery Esquire comic Adult Swim cancelled TV shows Reality Competition MCU Rocky NBC Crackle Tarantino Comedy Central Stephen King rotten movies we love spinoff Amazon jamie lee curtis Tumblr Shudder Certified Fresh Toys miniseries golden globes Cosplay The Witch police drama 2018 crossover casting 2019 what to watch space 2015 Apple TV+ dragons A&E sequel stand-up comedy festivals Spectrum Originals natural history CBS All Access Anna Paquin Fox News PaleyFest sports Infographic Trophy Talk Amazon Prime Polls and Games Trailer cancelled television Trivia finale VICE Sony Pictures docudrama sitcom Emmy Nominations crime drama revenge Disney Plus composers Ghostbusters MSNBC Acorn TV BBC America ESPN Starz Superheroe Paramount Emmys Hulu Mindy Kaling zombies batman discovery Television Academy Tomatazos San Diego Comic-Con Film Women's History Month President Western TIFF Calendar Christmas spain Sneak Peek 24 frames Mary Poppins Returns kids justice league See It Skip It Elton John Sci-Fi Schedule Biopics cults Countdown Musicals TCA biography Election ghosts Marvel Television Showtime hist Vudu dceu tv talk series Comics on TV DC Universe spider-man SXSW 21st Century Fox canceled TV shows Extras HBO crime Fall TV Film Festival Sundance Red Carpet YouTube boxoffice CW Seed GoT Martial Arts 45 The CW south america Thanksgiving IFC El Rey Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt RT History screenings Opinion Peacock Superheroes Ellie Kemper travel CBS renewed TV shows cinemax streaming Lifetime Christmas movies Pixar cars cats Mary poppins joker TV Land Pop Horror FX technology based on movie First Look cancelled TV series historical drama Cartoon Network DC streaming service APB richard e. Grant Binge Guide Lucasfilm Warner Bros. psychological thriller ITV CMT X-Men book The Arrangement 007 free movies indie Apple TV Plus SDCC IFC Films children's TV comiccon Star Wars New York Comic Con Mudbound quibi blaxploitation psycho disaster Premiere Dates TruTV elevated horror Netflix Christmas movies transformers ABC FXX CNN National Geographic harry potter Turner American Society of Cinematographers unscripted PBS Oscars First Reviews ratings Netflix Marathons Podcast zombie Apple Teen Disney+ Disney Plus versus war latino Hallmark Cannes TNT blockbuster FOX AMC Masterpiece Columbia Pictures Arrowverse Pet Sematary DirecTV game of thrones green book Rock Reality Set visit Song of Ice and Fire medical drama Animation NYCC Fantasy The Walking Dead MTV TCM politics Food Network LGBT serial killer breaking bad theme song TV renewals Photos facebook History Spike Super Bowl foreign Freeform romance YouTube Premium Comedy mockumentary TV DC Comics ABC Family Bravo television A24 zero dark thirty adventure Disney Channel USA Network Syfy Holidays video Dark Horse Comics Character Guide Writers Guild of America SundanceTV robots TBS Valentine's Day mutant WarnerMedia Awards 20th Century Fox dc anime Winter TV Crunchyroll spanish language Pride Month science fiction vampires game show Star Trek werewolf slashers Marvel Studios animated E! period drama strong female leads Spring TV teaser Brie Larson LGBTQ Interview cops canceled Rom-Com spy thriller Musical Classic Film Nat Geo VH1 Nickelodeon halloween supernatural WGN Britbox nature Drama Lionsgate Family Summer crime thriller 71st Emmy Awards Kids & Family BET Turner Classic Movies GLAAD Universal TCA 2017 DGA OWN Watching Series YouTube Red Ovation Music Heroines Quiz TLC Comic Book Rocketman Winners Creative Arts Emmys Video Games dramedy Paramount Network Walt Disney Pictures cooking Disney streaming service Mary Tyler Moore Awards Tour Nominations GIFs witnail anthology romantic comedy social media Amazon Prime Video Box Office USA BBC singing competition Logo Hallmark Christmas movies political drama Year in Review thriller RT21 Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Black Mirror Best and Worst