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|Index||212 reviews in total|
A ride through the music-making machine with a wholesome, mid-sixties one-hit-wonder. For years I thought I'd hate it, based on trailers and tone alone, but was pleasantly surprised. The film's got some issues, no doubt - especially the horribly tacked-on, telegraphed romantic ending - but it's got a lot of soul and I actually started to like the little tribe of stereotypes as we spent more time together. The theme song is appropriately catchy, too, without being grating like a lot of the era's pop records. Which is important, because it plays no less than once every ten minutes. There's good stuff here, with a nice leading performance from (who?) Tom Everett Scott as the band's hip, friendly drummer, but it's also clearly a learning project for writer / director / supporting actor Tom Hanks. Could've been much better with a bit of a trim and a wilder fire burning behind the lens.
In the mid-1990s, Tom Hanks was on the top of the world. He had just
won two Oscars in a row and starred in the innovative phenomenon Toy
Story. Frankly, he could do just about anything he wanted. So he went
ahead and made his directorial feature film debut, a love letter to an
adored era, the explosion of pop music in the 1960s. That Thing You Do
is a pretty routine but charming flick like an alternate Beatles fame
tale. However, the story takes a pretty straight trajectory. It rises,
rises, rises, keeps rises without much interruption, then there's the
fall, then soft landing then credits. It suffers from lack of
meaningful conflict, instead just showing the cracks til the inevitable
explosion within the band. It's okay for mild entertainment, just a
little bland. Wish he chose a better lead than someone who just looks
like him. Steve Zahn is the only zany highlight who livens the picture
up. But it all hinges onto its title song, which is very catchy, if
quite 90s. The disappointing thing about the film is it doesn't explore
the joy of discovery in this early pop music. Instead, kids just nod
when things feel right. It needed much more energy and confidence, but
it's a generally inoffensive film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had seen this movie a number of years ago but didn't remember much
about it, so I saw it again today on DVD from my public library. I was
a college Freshman in 1963/64, when the Beatles were first gaining
popularity on this side of the pond, and this movie fairly accurately
recreates that period, the way people dressed, and how teenagers
reacted when seeing their pop idols live in concert.
The story grabs hold of a theme I am very fond of pondering, both in real life and in fiction stories. That theme is the relative randomness of our lives, the things that happen, and then how we react to those random events. If we look at random events in our own lives, we can see how certain unexpected things shaped who we are today.
In this movie a group of high school friends like to make music, one of them writes songs and is the featured singer. He has written "That Thing You Do" and they are about to perform it in a local small-potatoes contest. But the drummer, horsing around by showing the bass player how to jump over parking meters, falls and breaks his arm right before the contest.
Now that is the "random event", and it leads them to ask another guy in town, who is a good drummer, to sit in for that one gig, so that they will still have a chance to win the competition. Then comes the rest of the influence of that "random event", the drummer own his own (this is important) decides to beat out a much faster tempo. It is this faster tempo that makes "That Thing You Do" a hit with the audience, attracts the attention of an agent, gets them a record, gets them a contract, puts them on tour, and has their hit rise towards the top of the charts.
If their original drummer had not broken his arm, they would have just remained an ordinary band.
Well as the story progresses they experience all the growing pains of sudden fame, and conflicting priorities among the members of the group. Tom Hanks directed, has a part as a record label agent, and he even wrote many of the songs.
Tom Everett Scott who was in his mid-20s is very good as the replacement drummer, Guy Patterson. Liv Tyler, still a teenager was Faye Dolan who ended up traveling with the band. Her boyfriend was Johnathon Schaech as Jimmy who wrote the song and sang lead vocals. Steve Zahn was the crazy member Lenny, and Ethan Embry, also a teenager, was T. B. Player the unreliable bass player.
Another teenager just starting her career was Charlize Theron as Tina in a fairly small part, as a flaky girlfriend who dumps Guy after an appointment with a handsome dentist. Plus young Giovanni Ribisi as Chad , the original drummer who breaks his arm.
All in all a fairly pleasant movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's a comedy about real young people from the Rock 'n Roll planet in
the early 1960s. It's funny but also typically American. There are so
many sharks going around looking for young teenage would-be rock stars
that it is impossible not to be noticed by one, one day, not to become
some one overnight and not to dissolved as soon as the top is reached.
To stay at the top is really difficult. A band in those days, and in
the USA, was the normal way for anyone who wanted to do some music on
the stage to go around but bands did not last long. Everyone is not the
Beatles or the Rolling Stones, you know. This is the story of the
short-lived Wonders and yet the four boys and the one girl who were
there at the first public appearance in the boonies, all eventually did
something with their skin and their brains, if they had any, both skin
and brains. Today that adventure still exists in the USA but it has
also taken names like Myspace music, Youtube, Daily Motion and some
others. Permanence of course is nothing in that business in 99% of the
cases, but chance is also essential for those who have something in
their veins. A career is often 50% talent and 50% chance, some would
say opportunity. But the film is funny, though so banal that it should
be a warning to anyone who wants to imitate these young teenagers. As
the old Paxton would say: look after your money, women and a few other
things of that type. Yesterday is a sure thing that existed but
tomorrow is as brittle as an egg shell in front of a bulldozer. And the
world is full of bulldozers crushing many eggshells down into the
ground and powder. Dust to dust mind you.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, University Paris 8 Saint Denis, University Paris 12 Créteil, CEGID
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I saw this movie advertised in the theaters back in 1996, I rolled
my eyes in great disdain. For one thing the advertising banner - "In
every life there comes a time when that dream you dream becomes that
thing you do" hit me the wrong way. After all, 95% of us never wind up
doing the dream we dream...there is no WHEN in our lives for this
event. Plus, I just figured it was an attempt by Tom Hanks to go
highbrow via a directorial debut after those back-to-back Academy
When I finally got around to seeing the film I really loved it. The first half is very upbeat as the band gets started out. They truly are the "One-ders", just like many other bands of the Beatles' transitional era. They wrote and performed one song that got them national attention, and then couldn't follow up with anything else. That's too bad, because the band does get one lucky break after another at the start. The guy in the camper that shoves a bowl of stew and a contract in front of them and tells them to "trust me" could have had them signing anything. They got lucky that he was legitimate and really did intend to get the record on the air and not steal it from them. That's what makes the disintegration of the band at the end so sad. One by one, they just walk away from their dream. To me, if the movie had any flaw, it was this - the band members just acted like the whole thing was one big amusement park ride rather than a once-in-a-lifetime life changing opportunity.
Finally, I also loved all of the authentic looking stage designs. The home appliance store really brought back memories. These type of family owned appliance stores were all over the place back in the 1960's before the big box stores gradually made them extinct. Plus, the appliances being sold looked just like what was available in 1964 right down to the brand names and the styles.
First things first, i have to hand it to Tom Hanks. The man can direct
and act. "That Thing You Do" is a movie with no antagonist, no good
guys and yet it's a great movie. It follows the story of the Wonders, a
band Eerie, Pennsylvania who make it big with their hit single, "That
Thing You Do!" They are then picked up by a major record company and
are headed off on tour. The rest of the film follows the relationships
that blossom and wilt within the band as they climb the ladder of
This is a sweet and innocent movie with no other intentions than to tell a story. Which in my opinion is the way a movie should be done. "That Thing You Do" gets an A.
My family and I used to watch this movie all the time while I was
growing up so I may be a little biased here. Even so, I think it's one
of the best comedies ever and I quote the lines very often. It really
is great to revisit this film and remember when I was a little kid
sitting on the couch watching it with my family. I was able to revisit
it this weekend.
I really feel that all of the characters are very well thought out, essential parts of any band and very well portrayed by all of the actors. Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Steve Zahn and Ethan Embry are all great. The story itself is the best part of this film and really says a lot about being in a band. "Ain't no way to keep a band together, bands come and go. You gotta keep on playin', no matter with who."
This movie is great. I recommend it for the whole family and definitely if you are or have been in a band. You'll love it!
1. Tom Hanks so expertly captured the time period--not one false note
or image. (I know--I grew up during that time.) This film should
have gotten some sort of award (or at least nominated) for best set
design. 2. Perfectly cast, down to the small, one line roles. Bryan Cranston
was perfect as Virgil "Gus" Grissom. One of those great "hey there"
films. (Hey, there's Alex Rocco, Peter Scolari, Charlize Theron,
Warren Berlinger, Robert Torti, Rita Wilson, etc. 3. Love those costumes!
4. This film perfectly captured the last innocence of America
(especially it's youth) in 1964 before the harsh realities of the late
1960's set in (war casualties, assassinations, coarse pornography
among other things).
And now, we have the director's cut released for us to enjoy even more scenes from this wonderful film.
One hit wonders are always common in music. The cause of that, not enough ideas, next song doesn't click, strife in the business, stress of traveling, etc. You name it, it's there. "That Thing That You Do!" is a marvel of a movie about a fictional boy band in the 1960's who get their big break with the help of a determined manager named Mr. White(Tom Hanks). They are know to the U.S. as The Wonders(Oneders) The band get their show on the road when Guy Patterson(Tom Everett Scott) becomes the new drummer after the original breaks his arm. They go places to perform, and Guy meets jazz drummer Del Paxton(Bill Cobbs) who warns him about bands and success. He did take heed. After the performance of a variety show, the band starts to suffer. Egos clash, and head-butting with other members split the band. Some of the members form a new band, Guy and Del start to make music of a different tone, choosing Jazz over Rock-n Roll. What started with a band, ended with a new opportunity. Hanks did a great job making this movie, Liv Tyler did a spectacular performance playing Faye Dolan. She was important to Guy, and Lamarr(Obba Babatunde) was a very resourceful and wise bellhop. Don't forget Tom Hank's "Bossom Buddies" co-star Peter Scolari. Great movie, what more could I say? 4 out of 5 stars!
Surprisingly fresh and funny directing debut from Hanks.
This is the story about "the Wonders", a local band in Erie (PA) who gets a major hit nationwide called "TTYD". The movie starts with the band entering a sort of music amateur competition. Since the drummer injures himself they replace him with the jazz-inspired Guy Patterson (Scott) who is so much better. They win this and begin an incredible journey up to the top ten of the chart. I think you see the whole plot now, and what happens. Pretty obvious actually.
Tom Hanks also wrote the movie (and some of the songs!!!), and I wonder where he got the idea. Does he have a musical past? Anyway, he does a wonderful job. The script and the dialogue are fantastic. I really like the way he ends one scene to begin with another. There is always a clever line here, most of them uttered by Steve Zahn.
I don't know if this story is based on a real band but frankly, I don't care. This movie is funny, warm and with a heart, it is very entertaining and it puts you in a good mood. Mostly because of delightful characters, who fits well with the colors of the film and the great setting. And of course, the music is fantastic. Keep in mind that this movie is kind of a /musical. So, even if you aren't that nostalgic you have to somewhat envy those growing up in the sixties, after seeing this movie.
The actors aren't Oscar material, but they are casted very good and they are credible. I think Tom Everett Scott (the smart one) does a very charming performance and of all the movies I have seen; the only performance. Hanks himself plays Mr.White, owner of Playtone Records and manager of the Wonders. Jimmy, played by Jonathan with the last name that I can't even pronounce, is the singer and songwriter (the talented one), and the "bad guy" of the band. Liv Tyler is his girlfriend and she is the kind of actress who you really seriously can fall in love with. (Good for her she doesn't look like her father!). Charlize Theron has a small part as Guy's girlfriend. Unfortunately, she rather dates dentists than musicians. Steve Zahn plays Lenny (the funny one). Hank's wife Rita Wilson plays a waitress and I have never seen her this good looking. Also starring Chris Isaac and Kevin Pollack. And Jonathan Demme as the director of a superb musical number with "Captain Geech and the shrimp shack shooters".
I would call this a "Sunday" kind of a movie. When you are tired after the weekend's escapades and you want to get that "depression kind of feeling caused by the fact that it is Monday tomorrow" out of you head. Pick this up at your local blockbuster and enjoy! Grade: **** out of *****
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