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That Thing You Do!
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Reviews & Ratings for
That Thing You Do! More at IMDbPro »

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Enjoyable Movie

Author: goleafs84 from Seattle, Washington
9 September 2003

This was a very enjoyable movie that I can watch over and over again.

Tom Hanks did a wonderful job writing and directing this movie. I liked how he cast a bunch of unknown and semi-star actors at the time, with the exception of Liv Tyler and Chris Isaak. Obviously, he made some good choices as most have moved on to bigger and better things.

This was a wonderful story of a local "garage band" go from being unknown and rise to the top. I liked how you heard "That Thing You Do" evolve from a slow ballad, to a raw song with lots of potential, to the smash hit rock song that it became.

Another thing I liked was, there wasn't a lot of "name dropping" in the movie, in terms of other bands, artists, etc, with the exception of Virgil "Gus" Grissolm and Gina Lollobrigda. It would've been easy to do so, but it wasn't done and the writing was good in the sense that they seemed believable.

A few bits of trivia from this movie: Some things you already know and some maybe you don't.

-The bass player (Ethan Embry) was never given a name. In the movie, he's referred as "the bass player" and in the end credits his name is T.B. Player.

-Tom Hanks' wife and 2 of his kids appear in this movie. Rita Wilson played Marguerite, the cocktail waitress in the jazz club, his son Colin was the page who escorted Liv Tyler when the Wonders appeared on the Hollywood Showcase and his daughter Elizabeth was the bored girl in the dress shop.

-Is it a coincedence that 2 of the main characters in this movie, Lenny Haise and Jimmy Mattingly, had the same last names as Fred Haise and Ken Mattingly from Tom Hanks' previous movie "Apollo 13"?

-The record label in this movie, "Play Tone" records and the logo is the name of Tom Hanks' production company.

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Great movie! Sweet

Author: Lee (leemi-1) from Delaware, United States
1 September 2003

I love this movie! This was is a movie I can sit down and watch with my children, and not be uncomfortable. The story line was cute, four nice, respectful young men and their band. Even though you know they are fictitious, the updates at the end of this movie made you love and care about the characters even more each time you watch the movie.

You can't help but tap your feet to the great be-bop sounds of the 60's. It sounds so real for the era you can't stop thinking, "How come I don't remember those songs?"

I could really relate to Faye, as a female being associated with the band. What memories and emotions were brought back to me. First as a child with my girlfriend's older brother and his band. Then as a groupie for the neighborhood band in the early '70s. I can still vividly remember sitting on the neighbor's basement steps watching and listening as the band practiced. I loved being one of their groupies. We shared in their successes and their disappointments.

I highly recommend this for the whole family.

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A film that 1960's garage band performers will love.

Author: princesscujo from Michigan
13 July 2003

Delightful film that tells the story about a 1960's garage band that has the opportunity to become a major rock group. It was obvious that substantial research took place for this film, as great care was taken in the selection of the musical instruments, musical styles and equipment for this film. Garage band members who performed in the sixties will have fun remembering what it was like to pick a band name, play at local clubs, schools, etc. This film certainly is one that Tom Hanks can be proud of.

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I think this movie was, and still is, truly over-looked

Author: carbabi23 from Pennsylvania, United States
10 July 2003

That Thing You Do! is one of my favorite movies. It has an actual story and meaning in it. When released, it was over-looked as just an ordinary movie no one really made any attention to. I'd have to say that now, more people have seen it and realize how good a movie it is. It shows the ups and downs of bands, more in particularly pop bands. There are jokes, but they aren't overwhelming, which is one reason you may need to watch it a few times. I can't count how many times I have been in the mood to watch this fun-filled, good-for-the-whole-family movie. People don't understand how much effort, thought and originality (in my own opinion) were put into the writing and directing of this movie. I love the idea that Tom Hanks came up with. They also chose young, not very well known actors to play the part, which is good because then there are new faces in the Hollywood scene. But, back to the subject, because the last couple sentences are strayed, this is a truly wonderful movie. Anyone can enjoy it and understand it. This is one movie that, I think, more people will come to love over the years. There's good acting, writing, directing, etc. and it should be recognized for it's magnificence.

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Classic Period Piece

Author: B. Cloud from Jacksonville, FL
21 May 2003

A wonderful job of convincing everyone that THE WONDERS were an actual band from the 60's. Tom Hanks truly hit the jackpot on a sleeper film. The fact that the actors actually played their own instruments made the film all the more believable. Also, using little known actors, excluding Liv Tyler, helped in transporting the audience back to the 60s and follow their trevails of being a band.

Great humor and great music made for a movie the whole family could enjoy. Two thumbs up!!

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"Casablanca", it ain't. That doesn't keep it from being good.

Author: WriterDude from Colorado
18 May 2003

Previous reviews explain the movie and characters pretty well; I want to add one writer's point of view.

This story was obviously a labor of love for Tom Hanks. Had he not had the Hollywood pull that he enjoys at this point in his career, the project would never have seen the light of day. Most films emerging from this process are, quite frankly, crap. But this is Tom Hanks we're talking about; the man is incapable of doing anything at less than outstanding levels of quality, and he often achieves greatness.

"That Thing You Do" is merely outstanding, but it allows Hanks to be outstanding while wearing five different hats. The more cynical point out that it covers little new ground. I would disagree -- I found it refreshingly daring that in an era where the public insists that some barrier be broken before a piece is considered to be worthwhile, Hanks had the fortitude (and power) to see this through and get it made.

Furthermore it set the stage, five years before 9/11, for less-in-your-face fare to be embraced by those seeking more in the way of feel-good entertainment.

The world is a teaspoonful of better because this film is available to us. The world of movies could probably claim a gallon. But you're in no danger of getting a cavity from seeing it. For that, I recommend "The Lizzie McGuire Movie".

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Tom Hanks is also a great songwriter. Great movie!

Author: Muriel Tackett from Lexington, Kentucky
24 February 2003

I love this movie! When I have a bad day or have the "blues" I slap this movie in and enjoy not just the great music but the great interaction between the leading cast members which include Hanks' look-a-like Tom Everett Scott, Steve Zahn, Jonathan Schaech and as notated in the credits: "The Bass Player" Ethan Embry, collectively known as "The Oneders", oops! make that "The Wonders". Hanks show us just how multi-talented he is by writing and directing this movie PLUS he re-created the innocence and joy of music from the 60's in minute detail. Hanks is the writer of the title song and of the offbeat instrumental "Spartacus" and it knocks me out that he has these incredible talents for so many artistic creations: Actor, Director, song writer, He also directs this movie as well as playing Play-Tone Manager, "Mr White" who leads the "The Wonders" to success through the "Play-Tone" label. Tom Everett Scott looks a lot like Tom Hanks during his "Bosom Buddy" days on TV, and I suspect that Hanks created this movie to showcase the talent that is Tom Everett Scott. Scott steals the movie with his humor, his sincere caring of others and if he is really a drummer, his talent! Zahn was great as the comic relief and Schaech was not only very handsome but very believable in portraying the moody Jimmy, lead singer, who has the true artistic temperament but is lacking in certain sensitivities. The songs are "snappy" and "catchy", capturing the true zenith of rock and roll in 1960's America. The catchy "Play-Tone" label, also created by Hanks, the reproductions of TV shows of the 60's, and the ambience of a time when rock and roll was growing up and showing off are all in this great movie. The title song, "That Thing You Do" is actually a great tune and I find myself wanting to hear it now and then, and sing along with it.

Liv Tyler as "Faye" was very sweet as the wronged girlfriend but I don't get how having a really bad cold during the West coast California "showcasing" had any revelance to the movie except to show that "Guy" noticed she was sick and was always "there" for her and "thinking" of her when Jimmy wasn't. Look for performances by Charlize Theron and Giovanni Ribisi as well. This is a light-hearted movie that you can just sit back, enjoy, sing a long with, and laugh. The biggest plus is that in watching the credits it is incredible to see that Hanks wrote many of the songs, the music, created the 60's TV shows so realistically and is not only a member of the Screen Actors Guild but also the Song Writers Guild - so many feathers in his already much-plummed hat. Does Tom Hanks' talents have no end? I hope not. Check out "Road to Perdition" for further proof. Rita Wilson, Hanks' wife, makes an appearance at the "Blue Spot" where Jazz greats meet to jam and have "cock and bull" sessions and where Guy meets his idol, Dale Paxton. Their own jam session results in "Spartacus", a great jazz instrumental, also written by Tom Hanks. Before you rewind the movie, wait for the end of the credits to see two of "The Wonders" music videos, including "That Thing You Do"!

In summary, I love that thing that Tom Hanks does with this well-made and entertaining comedy!

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Follow a one hit wonder group in 1964 as their song climbs the charts

Author: sparkyanna from Houston, Texas
3 February 2003

This is one of my favorite movies. There is no objectionable content, it gets funnier and funnier every time you watch it, the sets are colorful, the music is fun and pretty authentic to the sound of the early 60s, there are dozens of quotable lines, and you can watch it with your children or your parents or your grandparents and nobody gets offended or embarrassed. The acting is commendable as well. That Thing You Do! is no doubt a "feel good movie," but it is not boring or pointless. I could honestly go on quite a bit about this movie, but I will end by saying that it is a great movie for any time or place, and I recommend it for everyone.

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fun, fun, fun

Author: briana-1 from perhaps too far north?
31 January 2003

this is just a fun movie. and very well cast. you find yourself rooting for the band the whole way through.

and the soundtrack is EXCELLENT!

as you watch it, look for the name of the bass player (the one who joins the marines). check the credits at the end if you miss it.

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A great film for these cynical times!

Author: Michael1958
29 January 2003

It has no violence or sexual content. Heaven forbid, there isn't even any cursing-what gives for a film made in 1996. I will tell you what-a film with some class. I saw someone write a comment that it was a simple fable of a simpler time. Our time is what we make it and what we accept. If we keep accepting filth and garbage in everything we watch, then what does that say we have become. Why is it old fashioned to like a movie that is not just good-it is great. If your the cynical type-then don't watch it. You are too far gone to be of any use for yourself, much less humanity. I enjoyed this film about some guys and a girl getting together and recording a hit record in the 1960's. I enjoyed seeing such a story because, despite the fact that I like action flicks, risque comedies and the like. Sometimes I like just sitting down to watch a decent little film that wasn't made before 1960. C'mon folks, give your poor cynical hearts a break and watch something nice for a change.


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