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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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What could have made this movie better...

8/10
Author: moviedude1 from Minneapolis, MN, USA
7 January 2009

A garage band in Erie, PA loses their drummer to a broken arm, where Everett Scott steps in and takes over, picking up the pace on a song originally meant to be a ballad. Even though his band mates have mixed feelings on the decision, it rockets to the stars in a number one single and from there, the sky's the limit for the "oh-nay-ders." This is the first time I've seen this film and I wished I would have seen it earlier. I don't know why, but it just didn't appeal to me, but I sat down earlier this morning and watched it. Following the band was easy throughout the film and the heartache everyone faces in their respective careers tugged a little bit at my heartstrings.

Hands down, one of the better movies in 1996, a time when I was trying to pick myself up and dust myself off, and a time when I should have taken the time to sit down and actually watch this film, instead of waiting almost thirteen years.

Oh, and about my opening summary, the one thing that could have made this movie a little better for people just as old as me or a little older would have been a scene where the "Bosom Buddies" co-stars, writer Hanks and Peter Scolari, could have appeared together. So close and yet so far! 8 out of 10 stars!

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That thing you do is a incredible tribute to a long bygone age

Author: bluesman-20 from Canada
9 November 2008

Tom Hanks Outdid himself in 1996 with that thing you do. The story is simple the acting is..Magic. singled out is Liv Taylor for her role as Kay the girlfriend of the leader of the Wonders and as their fame grows She alone Grows up. It's not to the end when Guy Patterson (Nicely played by Tom Everett Scott) Grows up as well. This movie shows us a age that most of us had forgotten or never knew existed to most people the sixties music scene was The Beatles or the British invasion or..Woodstock. Tom Hanks quietly reminds us that this was not so. This is a America where JFK was president Working on Sunday was simply unthinkable and Rock and Roll was starting to come into it's own as The soundtrack for a generation. The story could be clichéd but in Hanks's Able hands it becomes Magic. The local Band needs a drummer after their drummer breaks his hand and so they recruit Guy Patterson the son of a local furniture store owner and Guy a lifelong Jazz fan joins them. The leader is a moody young man named Jimmy and in the Wonders first show his slow Ballad That thing you do is Turned into a Rocking number by Guy and it becomes a Major Fan fave. Soon that Thing you do becomes a hit record and the Wonders MUST adjust to the temptations of fickle fate. Tom Hanks role of the record company talent scout/manager/mentor is wonderfully underplayed This is not his movie and he knows it having written and produced and Directed that thing you do. Hanks knows this movie belongs to the Wonders and he gives them enough room to grow. The music is totally original but sounds as if it came from a Rock-Ola time machine jukebox. Hanks makes no missteps in this one. This is a wonderfully thought out story. This movie was to me a love letter to a bygone age that we will never see again. Thank you Tom Hanks for a Wonderful movie going experience.

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Fresh and funny

7/10
Author: Henry Fields (kikecam@teleline.es) from Spain
17 May 2008

Even though is full of clichés "the wonders" is such a fresh and funny movie, optimistic and with a nice rhythm. Plus it's full of nice music (not only the hit "That thing you do") and the production design is as good as it's expected from a big studio product. It's impossible that you get boring watching it.

Maybe the way that Hanks portraits that rock and roll band is rather idealistic, but that's him: the king of the comedy for the family, the son of America. Anyway, I think he did a good job considering it was her first movie as director. Also one never gets tired of watching Liv Tyler's big smile. Too bad her c.v. is full of romantic comedies an stuff.

*My rate: 7/10

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Del Paxton's Age ALL WRONG

10/10
Author: Bill Polhemus from Katy, Texas
20 April 2008

Love the flick, but something bothered me recently when I caught it on the tube.

The year is, what, 1964, '65? "Del Paxton" is obviously a bebop-era jazz pianist. Trouble is, the character is about 60 (that's the age of the actor who played him at the time the movie was made, anyway).

That means he would have been born around 1905. He would have been active during the "Roaring 20s," and during the "Swing" era. I doubt that he would have made a transition to "bebop" by that time. Those guys were all born in the 20s and 30s, so the character of "Paxton" is really about twenty years TOO OLD for the era in what "That Thing You Do" takes place.

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Classic movie with classic songs

10/10
Author: departed07 from United States
10 April 2008

"That Thing You Do!" represents any music band's dream of having a successful career along with a song to take them to fame and rising to downfalls at the same time. The film is about a drummer name Guy Patterson (Tom Everett Scott) who works at his father's appliance store while his friends are out there having a good time in a rock band with no title to call themselves. Guy is needed for his gift after the band's drummer Chad (Giovanni Ribisi) breaks his arm where they perform their song "That Thing You Do!" at a local high school gymnasium and become an instant hit. The band members include Jimmy (Jonathan Schaech), the lead vocals and lead guitarist, Lenny (the hilarious Steve Zahn), the second guitarists and vocals who happens to be the comic relief and smart-ass of the group, and T.B. Player (The Bass Player, played by Ethan Embry) where they have a groupie, Jimmy's girlfriend Faye (The lovely Liv Tyler). After being a success by singing their famous song through various places including a pizza parlor, the new band who call themselves The Wonders, find a manager where they go through a cheap gig before the big guns comes to the boys.

Mr. White (played by Tom Hanks) replaces their formal manager and heads the band into a tour with other famous singers. From there the band gets to find out the ups and downs of being in a band where members decided to leave, girls get in the way along with some of them from home break up with them (ex. Guy's girlfriend leaves him for the dentist) and nobody wants to follow the rules.

The film was directed by Tom Hanks where not only does he show what goes on in a band, but brings back the atmosphere of the 1960's where it feels like I'm watching a document about the American version of The Beatles. Plus, the soundtrack itself is hot! I'd still play the songs from the fictional band on my CD player, thinking to myself that they're only pretend and not real. Yet, the songs are a classic just like this movie. Now go put on some shades and watch this movie.

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1964 once more

7/10
Author: HelloTexas11 from United States
4 February 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Tom Hanks' writing and directorial debut, 'That Thing You Do!', will probably not go down in history as a classic along the lines of 'Forrest Gump' or 'Saving Private Ryan,' but I find it one of those movies I love to revisit every six months or so. It has an easy-going charm about it, low-key and yet wonderfully evocative of the period it presents, that magical year of 1964, after the Beatles had arrived and changed music forever, and every teenage kid wanted to start his own rock band. 'That Thing You Do!' was a modest success at the box-office, and the critics were generally kind to Hanks' first try at directing. Just below the surface, though, one could tell people were surprised and in some cases disappointed that his initial effort wasn't somehow more substantial, or biting, or something. I take it these people were someplace else in 1964. In the film, Jimmy (Jonathan Schaech) is the one who starts the band, the one with big dreams and a fair amount of talent. The other three band members are pretty much along for the ride, wherever it leads them, and if it doesn't lead anywhere, that's okay... they weren't doing anything anyway. Lenny (Steve Zahn) is the goofy lead guitarist; there's the unnamed bass player (Ethan Embry) who's even goofier (listed in the credits as T.B. Player; clever how they go through the whole movie without calling him by name); and the drummer Guy (Tom Everett Scott), who is a last-minute replacement for their regular drummer after he falls off a parking meter and breaks his arm. Guy is in his own way just as much a music buff as Jimmy, but his love is jazz. He doesn't much care for the pop/rock the group (newly dubbed the Oneders, hopefully pronounced Wonders) but he enjoys their taste of success and playing for the enthusiastic crowds that grow larger as the film progresses. Guy's not the leader or control freak that Jimmy is; he emerges though as the heart of the band and is, ironically, the last one left standing at the end of it all. Also along for the ride is Faye (Liv Tyler), Jimmy's girlfriend and the Oneders' number one fan. In an early role, Charlize Theron plays Tina, Guy's girlfriend (if only briefly). If only her part was as memorable as her looks. The band makes a record of Jimmy's song 'That Thing You Do!', and after it gets some radio play in their hometown, they are noticed by Mr. White (Tom Hanks), an exec at Playtone Records who becomes their manager. One of his first decisions is to change the name of the band to the Wonders. People kept calling them "the Oh-need-ers" and it was getting confusing. From there, the film takes us on a predictable but very enjoyable ride as the song climbs the charts and the Wonders grow in popularity, playing to larger and larger crowds, finally culminating in them appearing on a big network variety show. The song, by the way, is a great little tune, very Beatle-ish, and almost criminally catchy. I don't know how many times it's played in the film, in part or in whole (I would guess about a dozen) and it changes subtly over the course of the movie, bits added for extended versions... in any event, it will be buzzing around in your head for at least a week or so after seeing the film. In what has in reality been the case more times than most people realize, the Wonders break up just as 'That Thing You Do!' peaks at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Jimmy quits in a fit of pique, his artistic vanity wounded when White tells him he only gets to write two songs per album. Lenny marries a blonde secretary in Las Vegas. The bass player joins the Marines. That leaves Guy to face Mr. White alone, who tells him the Wonders are in breach of contract, but it's no big deal. Happens all the time, White says... to one-hit wonders.

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A very well-made film but lacking in substance.

7/10
Author: angelapicknell from United Kingdom
11 November 2007

The film is undoubtedly well made, with all the advantages of a decent budget and a talented, and often experienced personnel; it looks good and the portrayal of the early 60's media circus is interesting, but the story and characters are pretty formulaic and predictable, with conventions such as the cheeky, funny one who chases after women (original role model Harpo Marx?), the happy, wisecracking black doorman and the really cool veteran musician... I wont say what's predictable about their respective contributions to the narrative, because I suppose that would count as a spoiler, but if you've seen a few biopics, romantic comedies or Disney takes on how nice the world is, you'll be able to work it out for yourselves! After all, I don't want to be a politically correct kill-joy, and I understand that not all films have to make reference to interesting historical/social ironies, but to show two happy black stereotypes without a nod to the inequality of the values of the record company majors of the time seems glossy to a fault. There were elements of American Graffiti peeping through the characterisations, I suppose, but this film, whilst having comparable style, lacks substance, like a meringue.

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A Nice story of the dreams of a "one-hit wonder" group,in Beatles-era America

8/10
Author: S.R. Dipaling from Topeka, Kansas, USA
5 November 2007

The humble beginnings,meteoric rise and equally quick descent of a band of average,perceivably clean-cut kids from semi-rural Pennsylvania is the entire premise behind this movie,which boasts the movie directorial debut of Tom HAnks(his only film directorial job to date). While I cannot claim this a wonderful,masterful film,it was certainly good enough for me to give it multiple viewings.

The central hero is Guy Paterson(Tom Everett Scott,congenial and average and thus perfect for the role),a JAzz-loving drummer who works in his dad's appliance store. HE is the central architect of the band "THe ONe-ders"(And there's plenty of pronunciation goofs awaiting that!),which latch onto the burgeoning rock scene with a few popular tracks that get local airplay. When the band,consisting of guitarists Lenny(Steve ZAhn,never out of a job),T.B.(Ethan Embry)and lead singer Jimmy(JOnathan Schaech) get spotted by an enigmatic-yet-paternal music representative named White(HAnks,at full ease),their star progressively rises to the point where their demand goes national and their egos grow in separate ways. IN the mix are the lead singer's sensitive and naive girlfriend(Liv Tyler)and the spoiled Barbie-doll hanger-on(CHarlize Theron,who almost slips through the cracks of this film).Of course,the lead singer being an egotistical ass and Guy being a sensitive,recessive fellow,the budding romance is as predictable as the weather.

HAnks' sympathy for the era as screenwriter and director,goes a long way to making this easy to watch. Ditto the casting of then mostly unknown younger actors to fill out the major roles. There is the perfect balance of bright,wide-eyed optimism of youngster wanting to be the next big thing in rock 'n roll and the reality of the business that makes this film neither sugary or cynical. I could nitpick as to elements that made this movie imperfect,but I'd just as soon not,since this movie has such a friendly,unique quality that I'd feel remiss in picking on it. While you need not be either an aficionado of 1960s rock and/or be from that era,it certainly wouldn't hurt in order to enjoy this movie. Or at the very least,this should appeal to the sentimentalist in anyone.

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One hit wonders are always memorable!

9/10
Author: Brian T. Whitlock (GOWBTW) from WILMINGTON, NC
31 October 2007

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!

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I can't not watch this --- its a kinder, gentler "Commitments"!!

9/10
Author: bobm5508 from United States
21 June 2007

This is a hugely entertaining movie that was overlooked during its theatrical release, but now seems to have a great following. And why not, the all-American story of a 60's garage band "success"! As a '64 HS grad (please don't do the math!), I enjoyed the story, music and performances. And thank God they came up with a catchy title tune (you hear it in total or bits about 15 times) as it never seems to get old.

Infectious performances by a budding cast of near miss and future stars, the setting, music, locations, Play-tunes tours, network TV shows and the inevitable band break-up all ring true.

The amazing thing to me is that given Tom Hanks' success, his appearance in the film (as well as writer/director hats), its up and coming cast and reasonable studio push, the movie wasn't a big box office success. Oh well, I never missed it when I passed it on the cable dial, now have it DVR'd when I need a boost, and recommend it to fans of all involved. It will not disappoint!!

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