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

ColinHanksFFF

(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) 83%

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) 94%

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) 92%

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

BET Freeform WarnerMedia criterion theme song popular spy thriller indie comiccon cartoon monster movies VICE adaptation blockbuster facebook jurassic park PaleyFest psycho 2017 telelvision robots Shondaland dc ghosts Hear Us Out Women's History Month Comedy Central finale American Society of Cinematographers Family thriller Interview MSNBC Amazon Prime Video cats The Walking Dead game show cops toronto screen actors guild italian MTV Disney Channel dceu Sundance Mindy Kaling twilight crime renewed TV shows rom-coms OneApp hollywood See It Skip It social media Sci-Fi sequel Crunchyroll emmy awards canceled TV shows First Reviews Broadway First Look YouTube Red DirecTV trailers Starz franchise Music Lifetime nfl sequels zombie Calendar spain rotten miniseries Apple TV+ news reboot a nightmare on elm street award winner Adult Swim Lionsgate comedies romance films cooking anthology Oscars directors DC streaming service Rom-Com Tarantino obituary Spring TV Black History Month Disney Plus Video Games witnail Nominations crossover disaster satire rotten movies we love TV blockbusters DGA kids Tumblr Election parents dragons E! Rocketman versus supernatural slashers VOD 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Christmas jamie lee curtis BAFTA zero dark thirty Columbia Pictures travel screenings ViacomCBS Trophy Talk true crime chucky Pirates Dark Horse Comics HBO Go Baby Yoda mockumentary TCA 2017 ratings The Purge 2016 Alien video CMT Apple The CW Epix comics Mary Poppins Returns Summer Paramount Network boxoffice Cosplay Legendary TCA Winter 2020 war Warner Bros. anime archives E3 Countdown Schedule Kids & Family Pride Month Amazon Tubi 2020 period drama Hallmark Certified Fresh The Witch rt archives blaxploitation Disney streaming service Valentine's Day Trivia Star Wars Musical dramedy Shudder Brie Larson TBS women YouTube Premium Pet Sematary CBS All Access free movies A24 Showtime nbcuniversal CNN foreign revenge Marathons The Walt Disney Company festival movie godzilla Paramount WGN kaiju dark Walt Disney Pictures YA Spectrum Originals FOX USA Lifetime Christmas movies Comedy TIFF Turner stand-up comedy TV Land Academy Awards Chernobyl Syfy cancelled TV series latino 45 joker Spike Britbox Horror ID RT History Reality Competition ABC Family FX Podcast biography science fiction deadpool richard e. Grant IFC Films casting Amazon Prime Writers Guild of America Pop Drama cinemax Peacock Fox Searchlight 2015 Box Office Elton John worst indiana jones cancelled CBS Endgame animated TV renewals spinoff superhero discovery Marvel Studios pirates of the caribbean teaser classics Pop TV werewolf stop motion Thanksgiving APB BBC America worst movies stoner Chilling Adventures of Sabrina technology breaking bad hidden camera golden globes OWN Anna Paquin Heroines halloween tv unscripted New York Comic Con 007 politics HBO Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Arrowverse El Rey Holiday hispanic halloween spanish language Red Carpet NBC BET Awards Turner Classic Movies 99% Binge Guide Avengers Photos ESPN Character Guide Western black talk show remakes australia mutant natural history justice league Extras kong Opinion A&E space Teen Bravo streaming Television Critics Association Film SDCC Martial Arts green book Masterpiece X-Men GLAAD boxing 4/20 Classic Film Emmy Nominations 2019 Winter TV Ovation best Country sitcom 21st Century Fox Disney+ Disney Plus Infographic Rock documentaries cancelled TV shows police drama game of thrones Nat Geo Acorn TV PlayStation superman VH1 Toys binge strong female leads Awards Tour king kong 2021 Esquire political drama psychological thriller ITV IFC BBC One independent Film Festival elevated horror Tomatazos quibi series canceled Year in Review Marvel Television Sneak Peek The Academy reviews Exclusive Video Biopics mission: impossible GIFs Creative Arts Emmys Cartoon Network Star Trek sports sag awards Holidays prank scary movies Sundance TV Action 20th Century Fox children's TV Discovery Channel SXSW Amazon Studios crime thriller Travel Channel TV One concert Animation serial killer TCA Awards Netflix Christmas movies DC Universe Netflix fresh harry potter vampires 72 Emmy Awards Television Academy Comics on TV Cannes Grammys 24 frames batman Rocky SundanceTV CW Seed Song of Ice and Fire laika 2018 japanese documentary Mary Tyler Moore The Arrangement Funimation toy story cancelled television Fall TV spanish french NYCC razzies singing competition cults critics 71st Emmy Awards cars Reality Ellie Kemper Musicals Superheroes child's play Logo Ghostbusters comic books RT21 christmas movies Apple TV Plus Trailer spider-man Paramount Plus AMC venice golden globe awards book Sundance Now Nickelodeon dogs Universal HBO Max Mudbound Comic Book Mystery Captain marvel football historical drama Sony Pictures LGBTQ Crackle south america National Geographic Set visit ABC Signature television based on movie Watching Series doctor who President aliens ABC TLC PBS movies FX on Hulu YouTube name the review tv talk festivals San Diego Comic-Con LGBT Vudu comic asian-american TCA Polls and Games hist Marvel Best and Worst docudrama Winners composers BBC all-time Quiz Black Mirror GoT Lucasfilm fast and furious transformers Super Bowl DC Comics Pixar video on demand Stephen King USA Network docuseries romantic comedy Mary poppins TCM what to watch TruTV Hallmark Christmas movies diversity Emmys MCU FXX james bond Superheroe Premiere Dates Fox News zombies TNT History nature crime drama medical drama die hard Disney Food Network adventure universal monsters scorecard Hulu Awards Fantasy