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|Index||203 reviews in total|
Great movie with accurate musical displays. I like the movie very much, and enjoyed seeing it. As a guitarist in a band, I really connected with the story line. "Two Thumbs Up!"
The hook to this Movie is being able to relate to the characters in the
movie...I know these guys but by different names...
With HBO showing That Thing You Do this month I have been fortunate to see
it again and again.. It's truly a feel good movie and one that the family
can sit around and watch together...(Thanks Tom Hanks...not enough of these
type movies to go around these days)
I originally saw this movie in the theater and several time since on
cable TV. All version seemed the same, the other night I saw the
extended version on cable TV and was surprised about what scenes were
cut out. The extended version definitely moved slower but provided
additional content explaining moments in the film that I used to brush
over...most importantly the hinting at the fact that Mr. White, played
by Tom Hanks was gay. In the extended version he meets Guy Patterson at
the hotel after he got drunk meeting Del Paxton at the Jazz Club.
He then leaves the hotel and gets into a car with a man who appears to be pouting and angry that Mr. White is taking so long. They have this caddy exchange about being late to a party. This is the only scene in the entire movie that makes any insinuation that Mr. White is gay.
I don't think that fact adds or detracts anything from the movie, just curious to know why it was left out.
The music alone is reason enough to watch (and re-watch) this movie. Beatles fans will enjoy the many allusions and parallels to the early days of the Fab Four. These include: 1) the One-ders first producer was an uncle whose experience is limited to recording church choirs -- Sir George Martin's forte was comedy before he began producing for the Beatles; 2) Tom Hanks, as the group's manager, stands off to the side wearing sunglasses, exactly like Brian Epstein can be seen doing in concert footage of the Beatles; 3) the group struggles with a name, as did the Quarreymen/Moondogs/Silver Beatles/Beatles; 4) the drummer's name is never revealed, a nod to Ringo Starr/Richard Starkey -- the luckiest drummer in Liverpool. There are many more....
In small town America, a group of friends gain a new drummer in the
shape of Guy Patterson and a new band name in the "One-ders". Getting
the crowd going at their school competition with their catchy number
"That Thing You Do", the One-ders get offered a gig at a local bar. The
local buzz takes a few minutes to get going but soon their song is the
talk of the town's youth and they decide to print the record up
themselves. When a small time manager picks them up they get a few more
gigs but things really start to move when they get signed by Play-tone
and manager Mr White. However with increasing fame comes the adrenalin
rush of success but then tensions, creative differences, distractions
and all the stresses of their 15 minutes.
Acting as writer and director, Tom Hanks draws on the idea of fame and the setting of the mid-sixties to create a film that is fun even if it never consistently has the depth that it needed to make it more of a memorable affair. The plot is the rise and eventual fall of the band this is not a spoiler as the point of the film is that they will be a one-hit wonder; it is enjoyable on this level because it has much that is recognisable and easily referenced to the experience of real groups down the years. It doesn't make these references in a heavy way but mostly with good humour and pace; only really towards the end does the script stumble a bit as it seems to realise that it needs substance to make a good ending and then tries too hard with too little. Outside of this though, it mostly moves very slickly and made for an enjoyable watch even if it isn't that memorable. It was amusing without ever being hilarious; well set in the period without ever having a lot of style to it and interesting without ever really getting beyond the basic pigeonholed characters (goofy one, creative one, girlfriend of the band etc).
The cast helps by matching the breezy feel for the film but they do tend to struggle when anything more is asked of them. Scott is a point in case; he is asked to carry the film, which he does do when it is all slick but the attempts at substance see him seemingly unsure of what to do. Tyler is in the same sort of boat but is still a good presence. Zahn is funny without being annoying; Schaech has a clear character and plays it well and Hanks makes sure he has a good support role for himself. The support cast has lots of faces in there with minor roles for Cobbs, Ribisi, Theron and others.
Overall this is an OK film that is enjoyably breezy and "nice". It references well enough to be recognisable but it doesn't have a great deal going on just below the surface that it could have done with to really make it memorable. Like the Wonders themselves, it is fun and slick when it is on but when it is over you'll find yourself quickly moving on to the next film with not too many memories.
Pleasant rock comedy written and directed (and co-starring) Hanks about a 60's rock band's meteoric rise and fall. Well acted and paced with charming performances from Scott and Tyler.
As many people have said, it's an homage to a simpler time. Love the
small visual nods to "A Hard Day's Night" with the boys running through
the simulation of the states. Also the hint of the same thing that
happened to Lennon with the 'he's engaged' posting on the monitor. Of
course, Lennon was actually engaged, if not already married!
I truly don't get tired of this film. Just a feel-good movie. Also liked everything I read about how Hanks insisted that the actors learn to play their instruments well enough to look good in the film. Some of them practiced several hours a day.
It's fun to see his wife pop in as a waitress where there's good jazz. Such a seemingly fun woman - but what else would you expect from Tom Hanks' wife? No, it didn't win any awards. But it's a 'keeper'. Watch it. Such fun!
*** 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 ***
Yay! Somebody made a movie set in my home town! Historically made
famous by early American battles in the infancy of our country, Erie PA
is also famous for where a certain overweight US President got stuck in
a bathtub, and where a comic named Bob Hope wed his lovely bride,
Delores. But for Tom Hanks (here the filmmaker in addition to actor),
he uses Erie as the setting for a boy's band which suddenly rises to
fame and go through all of the stereotypical star-making egos where
many lessons are learned.
Fans of 60's rock music will love this for its accurate description of the times, through the music, fashions, beehive hairdo's and those crazy home decors usually found in the old Green Stamps catalogs. Erie residents may not recognize State Street in the few street scenes (with the exception of the still standing facade of the old Boston Store), but mentions of Mercyhurst College and radio/TV station WJET (their ABC affiliate-Channel 24 during my youth), plus constant reminders as the boys go on the road that they are Erie natives, the film becomes a hallmark card to a beautiful city that sometimes takes a ribbing but in truth is actually one of the top tourist attractions in Pennsylvania.
Hanks gives an enthusiastic performance as the manager of the band who is determined to rise them to fame. If Detroit can have their Dreamgirls, then Erie is more than allowed to have their Laker Boys! While the real 1960's produced a lot of schlocky rock & roll movies (mainly through some Sam Katzman produced musicals made at Columbia studios or those silly American International Frankie/Annette "Beach Party" movies), this is a loving salute to all the glitz from the movies and television shows of this era, with a bit of "Bye Bye Birdie" and "Hairspray" thrown in. As for the energetic title song, I really was shocked to learn that it was written for the movie, not an actual hit from that era.
That Thing You Do! Is written and directed by Tom Hanks who also
co-stars with Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Steve Zahn, Johnathon
Schaech and Ethan Embry. Film is set in the summer of 1964 and tells of
the story of American one hit wonder band, The Wonders. Who after
scoring big with their catchy debut single That Thing That You Do, hope
to blaze the hits trail like the British Beatles. But with success
comes lifestyle changes, and inevitably cracks start to appear in the
Utterly charming in places, and propelled by an irritatingly catchy theme tune, Tom Hanks' directing debut is enjoyable while it's on, if ultimately it's very predictable fare. It lacks bite for the dramatic threads, but the characterisations are strong, the period detail is spot on (Hanks clearly utilising his memory banks) and there's nothing to complain about in the acting. However, the trajectory of the story stays on such a safe formulaic road, with not a snippet of villainy or hardship to be found, that it's hard to genuinely root for this band to succeed. We like them, we like their song, but it's all made so easy for them, while there's also a distinct lack of humour to be found along the way. When the band starts to implode, ask yourself if you really care or not? Safe is the key word, Hanks has played it safe, it's inoffensive stuff and impossible to dislike, and there should be the odd tingle of warmth coursing through your body. But you have to be in a safe sort of mood to forgive it its lack of guts, or at the very least, adventure. 6/10
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