Tom Hanks Project – “Catch me if you Can” Review

7 Apr


After celebrating Tom Hanks Day last weekend with a Master Pancake mocking of “Forrest Gump” in theaters, we settled into the couch Sunday night for an Easter viewing of “Catch Me If You Can.” While Gump is my current favorite Hanks movie, after we finished watching, Caitlin claimed that even though Hanks is second billed, this may be her favorite in his catalog. It’s a great re-watch. Tom is directed by Spielberg for the first time since “Saving Private Ryan,” and plays second fiddle to a delightful Leo performance and a gem of a turn by Christopher Walken who got an Academy Award best supporting actor nomination for his work and won a SAG award. Helped by a score John Williams was Academy Award nominated for, this movie zips through it’s two hour and twenty minute run time. It’s slick, fun and endlessly clever from the word go. When this movie came out, I remember distinctly going, “OMG, my favorite things all together — Hanks! Leo! Spielberg!” It didn’t disappoint then, and it certainly doesn’t now.

Caitlin said that this film has easily the best title sequence of any Hanks movie we’ve seen, and pointed out to me that it tells the entire plot of the story. Spoiler alert! It’s pretty great, though don’t sleep on the very 90’s computer rendering of NYC in the opening credits of “You’ve Got Mail.*” From there, the story is told in a series of flashbacks and time jumps. We go all throughout the 1960s and see Leo go from a 16 year-old runaway to a pilot flying around the world forging checks, becoming a pediatrician and a lawyer, just making it up as he goes. All before the age of 20.

*Point taken…point taken.


Leo’s Frank Abagnale* manages to stay one step ahead of Hanks’ Carl Hanratty. Even when Tom catches Leo, Leo manages to get away from him, over and over again. In the scene above, Frank pretends to be with another branch of law enforcement and talks his way out of trouble**. Later, he’ll escape from an airplane bathroom*** and escape a prison room after pretending to be sick. It’s a cat and mouse game and even though Hanks keeps telling him the house will always win, Frank seemingly always finds a way out of a jam. Even when Frank gets caught for good, he ends up out of jail, working for the government to help them track guys like him. And if it feels like I’m spoiling the movie, like I said, it’s all in the opening credits****. It’s such a highly stylized fun ride, it doesn’t matter if you know every beat, it’s fun to watch it all unfold.


**With a wallet-full of random food labels, to boot!

***This grosses me out to no end.

****Not to mention, it’s inspired by a true story.


Laugh Out Loud: Zack: 19 Caitlin: 20 This movie makes me smile more than it makes me laugh most of the time. It’s so clever and charming and the laughs can be big ones at how Frank continues to outsmart Carl or how innocent Frank’s brace-faced bride-to-be Amy Adams is. I agree on this point. There aren’t a ton of belly laughs, but there are a whole lot of chuckle-quietly-to-yourself moments that keep you engaged and enjoying every minute.

Comedy: Zack: 7.5 Caitlin: 7 If only this was a clever rating. It’s hard to go much higher than this with how few times we actually laughed out loud, but it finds humor in the right places and was a joy to watch. Even if funny bits like the, “Do you concur, doctor?” part aren’t laugh out loud funny, they really tickle me. I almost hesitate to put a comedy rating on this film, but then again, it’s not a straight drama; it’s not a romance film; it’s not a war film…it’s just a great film, period. So I rate the comedy factor a 7 based on comedy in general, but a 10 for how perfectly the make-you-smile moments got integrated. It was a perfectly funny as Hank’s joke: “KNOCK KNOCK.”

Eye cover: Zack: 0 Caitlin: 2 Caitlin covered her eyes when Frank is a doctor and has to see a kid who had a horribly bloody bicycle accident and then covered up again when Frank threw up in reaction to seeing it. You’d think she’d be used to bicycle accidents by now, thanks to me. Zack has thankfully not been nearly as blood as this kid was, though. And besides — Abagnale Jr. throwing up should be vindication that me closing my eyes was the correct choice!!

Cry: Both: zero The only thing even remotely sad is when Frank finds out his dad died, but yeah, not even close to crying. The movie is sad, in some ways, but not the crying kind. More of a melancholy reflection on life and what’s important. It ends so warmly, though, that you can’t do anything but smile.

Amy Adams Catch Me if You Can

Romantic Interest: N/A If it was the Leonardo DiCaprio project, we’d have fun deciding how well he and Amy hit it off before and after she got her braces off, but alas. Hanks doesn’t have a romantic interest of note, telling Frank he’s divorced and seems to be married to his job. …can the Leonardo DiCaprio project be next??

Hanks: Zack: 9.0 Caitlin: 9.0 It’s a real strong role, but not one of his greatest. In 2002 Hanks could have been nominated for best actor for Road to Perdition for best actor or best supporting actor for this. He wasn’t nominated for either and I don’t think either was much of a snub. Oddly enough, his co-stars Paul Newman and Christopher Walken were nominated instead. It’s fun to root for Leo to outfox Tom at every turn, but we still like Tom’s Carl Hanratty.  I think Tom does great with the role he’s given, but as we’ve said — Hanratty is really more of a plot device for Frank to be able to figure out life and do some growing up.


Movie: Zack: 9.3 Caitlin: 9.6 It gets an A from me. We’ve got true film masters just having fun with this movie and every bit of it works. Spielberg and Hanks seem like a natural pairing and Tom and Leo play off each other to perfection. Add in a top-notch Walken performance and small parts that really land like Martin Sheen and you’ve got an incredibly re-watchable great chapter in the Hanks catalog. I absolutely love this film. It’s interesting, engaging, twist-and-turn-filled, clever, fun. It’s got it all, and I know this is one I’ll watch again and again.


2 Responses to “Tom Hanks Project – “Catch me if you Can” Review”

  1. tapeparade May 21, 2015 at 7:47 am #

    I’m with Caitlin in that I remember it coming out and thinking “this has all my favourite people in it!” It’s such a great film. Leo is outstanding! I’ve seen this film a lot and it never gets old. x


  1. Introduction to The Tom Hanks Project | rockloveaustin - July 25, 2015

    […] Catch Me If You Can – 2002 Review […]

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