Tom Hanks Project – “The Ladykillers” Review

14 Apr

ladykMovies like this are the reason I enjoy doing this “Tom Hanks Project” so much. We would have never put this odd little Coen Brothers film on if left to our own devices, and though it has its issues* and I enjoyed it more than Caitlin**, I found it to be a pleasant surprise. It still beats the days of us scrambling to find something to watch on Netflix. The day after we watched this, we settled on “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and couldn’t make it through 15 minutes. Anyway, I had no idea what to expect from “The Ladykillers” and after seeing it I’m still not totally sure, but I laughed a lot and had fun seeing a new side of Hanks.

*To say the least.

**To say even less.


The film starts with Hanks as Professor G.H. Door, looking to rent a room from Marva Munson, a church-loving widow, so he can have a place to practice music with his band*. The real reason G.H. wants to rent a room is that her house is down the street from a casino he wants to rob. She allows him to rent the room and let the group play in the basement, as long as he agrees to not play that hippity hop music. She busies herself with church groups and talking to a portrait of her dead husband.

*Can I just say that everyone overacts SO HARD in this film that I literally didn’t know the names of these characters until just now, when I read this review, because I couldn’t understand what they were saying half the time.


We then meet Professor’s band, who are actually the crew for a heist.

  • Lump – a dumb football jock who plays the muscle, but can barely form a sentence.
  • “The General,” a quiet Chinese man who has a funny way of hiding his smoking from Marva.
  • J.K. Simmons as Garth Pancake who has an incredible mustache and great catchphrase, “easiest thing in the world,” to describe whatever he’s asked to do.
  • Marlon Wayans plays Gawain (I honestly thought it was DeWayne the whole time we watched) whose biggest contribution seems to be that he works at the casino they plan on robbing.


The second act of the movie is the gang plotting their crime as they work to tunnel through to the casino and keep the old woman off their backs. It’s a fun little caper, but as far as secret tunnels go, it’s no Shawshank Redemption. It’s a Mötley Crüe and it’s funny to see them pretend to be practicing music and hiding their tunnels and cigarettes from the watchful eye of the woman of the house. 


They pull off the heist, but an explosion lets the woman of the house know what happened. From here, it’s a race to kill her or kill themselves trying as they become the titular Ladykillers. It’s a bit silly and over-the-top at times, but even though Caitlin seemed to know exactly how it would unfold, I was in for the ride and didn’t know how it would pan out until the end. 

Laugh Out Loud: Zack: 39 Caitlin: 16 I’m not particularly proud of how often I laughed at this one, but it tickled my funny bone. Even just seeing J.K. Simmons in that ridiculous mustache or Hanks being so bizarre and demanding waffles for his crew for no explainable reason. There’s a lot of that off-kilter Coen Brothers humor that always seems to get me. The Coen Brothers are not my people. Although the gif Zack found (below) makes me laugh in hindsight.


Comedy: Zack: 7.5 Caitlin: 6 It’s solidly funny throughout. It is not.

Romantic Interest: N/A Not a single romance to be rated here. Except Marva and her dead husband’s, which seemed pretty old fashioned to me.

Eye Cover:  Caitlin: 3.5 Between an exploded hand and a finger in a cat’s mouth (not to mention a 5-person body count), I just did not trust my anxiety in the hands of the Coens enough to keep my eyes open.

Hanks: Zack: 7.6 Caitlin: 6 It’s fun that he challenged himself in this role, but he disappeared far better into his Cloud Atlas roles a decade later. Just like the doubting woman who he rents a room from, the viewer never quite believe Hanks as this professor/criminal. He’s still funny and entertaining and the movie is certainly better because he’s in it, but it’s one of his lesser roles. The affected laugh and fake teeth were just way too far over-the-top for me. I’d still rather watch Hanks overact than watch most other actors do OK, but I just felt like I was watching a stage performance for the whole thing rather than a movie. It was too. damn. much.

Movie: Zack: 7.8 Caitlin: 7.3 I enjoyed it slightly more than Joe vs. The Volcano and I gave that one a 7.75. It’s a C+ movie. it held my interest, made me laugh, was well shot and had some good dialogue, but ultimately I’d be on the fence about recommending it and would be surprised if we ever watch it again. Still, I’m glad we saw it once. I will never watch this movie again. It was engaging enough so that we didn’t turn it off (or, rather, I didn’t insist that we turn it off). It had some quirky moments that were vaguely interesting. I will now be quoting, “We. Must. Have. WAFFLES” before any heist I commit. But overall, while this edged out “Joe vs. The Volcano” for me by a hair, it was just too much to take too much of the time.


One Response to “Tom Hanks Project – “The Ladykillers” Review”


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

    […] The Ladykillers – 2004 Review […]

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