Tom Hanks' rant about the frustrations of movie night in the streaming era is hilarious — and right on the money

Tom Hanks' rant about the frustrations of movie night in the streaming era is hilarious — and right on the money
Tom Hanks didn't hold back about how frustrating it can be selecting a movie to stream with family, in an interview with The New Yorker.Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images
  • Tom Hanks sounded off in an interview on the plethora of entertainment options available today.
  • He made some spot-on observations about the frustrations of collectively picking a movie to stream.

We've all been there. Trying to select a movie on a streaming service that a whole group of friends or family members agrees on can be a grating task and often involves someone making a compromise. Actor Tom Hanks vented a bit about exactly that in a podcast interview with The New Yorker, offering up some highly relatable observations.

When asked about his thoughts on the movie industry today, Hanks reflected on the multitude of entertainment options people have — from countless streaming services, algorithm-driven YouTube rabbit holes (he says he spent hours on YouTube watching old commercials), to movie theater screenings.

Hanks then went on to describe the dilemma of countless options on streaming services — and the login hurdles they sometimes require — in an incredibly detailed and comical hypothetical that felt like it had to be something the actor had run into personally.

Complimentary Tech Event
Transform talent with learning that works
Capability development is critical for businesses who want to push the envelope of innovation.Discover how business leaders are strategizing around building talent capabilities and empowering employee transformation.Know More

"Be honest: How many times have you — and maybe you alone, or you and your family — said, 'Hey, let's watch something tonight?' Great, you pick up the remote and it takes you forever to agree on what you're going to watch on Apple or Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime. 'Oh, no, not that. No, not that. No, not that.'" Hanks said on the podcast.

"So forty-five minutes later you have decided, by way of bitter compromise, what you are going to watch—which is not what you really want to watch, but you're going to have to go along with it because three of the rotten members of your family have voted in favor of this thing and you're on the losing side.'" Hanks added.


Then come the tech headaches.

"You turn down the lights. You enter your fucking password. And the code comes along and it asks for your billing address," Hanks continued. "And someone has to go through their phone, come up with a billing address. Because why did they reboot this? Who rebooted it? So there's another fifteen minutes that are lost to the process. Now you're finally ready to start the movie that you have all 'agreed' to watch. And you think, At last, let's watch the movie. Seventeen minutes into it, you think, I have no investment in this movie whatsoever. I don't like this movie. I'm going to leave the room and not bother watching the rest of this movie. Right? How many times?"

How can you avoid this situation altogether? Hanks, naturally an advocate for the traditional movie-theater experience, suggested actually going to the movies is a worthwhile compromise that can save you those 45-minutes of debate.

"You're hugely invested in it. All of your sinews, all of your money, all of your time and intent you have mapped out in your life says, I'm going to be in this cinema. And that option is not going to go away. And, if you're lucky, you will be held in its thrall," Hanks said.

Hanks, who currently stars in Netflix's "A Man Called Otto," has a history of being outspoken about the industry's move toward streaming.


While promoting his movie "Greyhound," which debuted on Apple TV Plus, Hanks said it was "an absolute heartbreak" that audiences wouldn't be able to see it in theaters, and complained that the "cruel whipmasters at Apple" had instructed him to do press interviews against a blank wall in his home, to avoid scrutiny of any personal items in his background.

Hanks' personal star power has proven to be a compelling draw for theater-going audiences. A study from the National Research Group found that Hanks, who has dominated the movie industry for the last couple decades, was one of the top actors audiences said they would be most interested in seeing in a film in a movie theater.