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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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Index 204 reviews in total 

Mutiny in the band

Author: Mike-Czulinski ( from Kitchener, Ontario
23 September 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


The Wonders fully coincide The Beatles. The whole film is centered around the fab four. You can call it a loose autobiography. The film is not loose for its genre though; it conveys are expectations. Tom Hanks carries proper precautions for the time period, and fills the seeming gaps with humour. Stage presence - in the characters of The Wonders - is not lacking since Hanks had them study for months in the art. Their are not many flaws in the film. It holds up pretty well.

I really enjoy Tom Hanks' humour, and would like to see it again. T.B. Player is the funniest of all the devices; whenever Mr. White talks about the group he always mentions everybody except...the bass player. This is hidden comedy at its finest. However, other moments stand out such as the Mercy Hearst Talent Show. And another: The presence of Sol Siler who gives us an idea of what Moe Green would be doing if Michael Corleone hadn't whacked him.

What many do not know is that Hanks wrote all of the songs himself, and was successful in the process; the music incorporates the simplicity of the mid-60's to the cutting edge. The music is what puts us into the atmosphere of 1964, and refreshes are minds of the Ed Sullivan show, and its rapid success thanks to The Beatles. The fictional show in the film pays homage, and is very similar to the first Beatles' performance of 'All My Loving', 'Till There Was You' and 'I Want to Hold your Hand'; the Ringo Starr zoom shot and John's caption on the screen tell all. Other than the fab four influence, music is still good, though I do believe that 'I Can Hear The Children Laughing' would border on 'You Stink' on the talent show wheel.

This movie is enjoyable for a Beatles fan like myself and holds up pretty well with any targeted audience in mind. Of course any film these days can't be much without selling itself to the Orpheus genre. Their has to be a downfall. Somebody has to break up the group. I can't blame them though. It runs very "gimmick", with the title of the band. Tom Hanks went all out on this one; particularly the camera angles, which are a pleasant surprise. A very unexpected surprise.


I like it when the host at the Mercy Hearst Talent Show tells off the Steve Buscemi-like Wonders junkie. The pitch silence afterwards is hilarious.

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"Looks like the O-neders"

Author: Aaron Kennedy ( from USA
21 July 2004

This is my most favorite movie of all time! Not only is the writing and acting phenomenal, but it's got wonderful (excuse the pun) music too. Tom Hanks did an amazing job with this screenplay. The characters are well developed (except for the bass player, he didn't even have a name!)and aptly portrayed on screen. Tom Everette Scott gives amazing life to the Jazz lovin' character of Guy "shades" Patterson. A role many critics saw as a role Hanks himself would have played 15 or 20 years ago.

Liv Tyler is beautiful in her portrayal as Faye, the girlfriend of James Mattingly (Johnathan Schaech) the talented, but somewhat self-indulged, narcissistic lead singer. Steve Zahn is just hilarious as Lenny, the goofball, womanizer who can't get a date, guitar player. In my opinion he has the funniest lines in the movie. And pretty much steals whatever scene he is in. Tom Hanks of course is fantastic as the bands manager (c'mon when isn't he fantastic?) Then There's Ehtan Embery who gives startling empathy to T.B. Player (The bass player). A some what "dim bulb" who joins the marines right before the wonders hit it big, and disappears right before the bands appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. This is the one part of the movie I didn't understand. Why was the bass player given no name. as one point in the movie Tom Hanks says "Where's your bass player" he doesn't even no his name, no one does for that matter, interesting. I wonder if that was a conscious choice, or something that just "evolved" Nonetheless, this movie is a superb slice of Americana from the early 60's. Great writing, superb acting, wonderful music; if it doesn't make you want to run out and join a band, I don't know what will.

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This is a pretty good movie

Author: crowrobot
17 June 2004

Tom Hanks makes an impressive writing-and-directorial debut with 'That Thing You Do!', a musical comedy/drama set in the 60's about a one-hit wonder band called, appropriately, The Wonders. Tom Hanks is also in the movie, as Mr. White, the manager of the band. Overall, this is light-hearted, peppy, upbeat, and humorous. Hanks does here what he does best: comedy/drama. Hanks' wife, Rita Wilson, makes a small cameo in the film. The acting is solid, the title song is great, and the script is good. Tom Everett Scott plays the main character, Guy Patterson, the drummer of the band. Liv Tyler, pre-Lord of the Rings, is also good here. And Steve Zahn is very good at being a dummy. Overall, this is a good movie.

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Liv Tyler is fantastic!

Author: ambritner from Rotterdam, the Netherlands
11 May 2004

Just watched this movie for the third time on tv. I think Liv Tyler is stunning, sweet, and fantastic in this film. She has such a unique quality...any criticism of her is absolutely unfounded. Probably just jealous. I'm a straight chic, by the way, so my judgement is not clouded. I just think she lights up the screen. The movie would be boring without her, though, so I can see why you'd not like it if you didn't like her. Although I can't see why you wouldn't; for me, she makes any movie watchable. I love the scenes with her in the coffeeshop of the Ambassador Hotel (now, of course, the Beverly Hills Hotel). I think she fits the aesthetic perfectly.

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great film about music

Author: (frodolives) from Wellington NZ
16 January 2004

Cool feelgood film which offers quite a realistic portrayal of the music biz - and what it takes to succeed in the business. Which makes it very different from being just a "I want to be a rock star" fantasy. Good acting, a more than decent screenplay and a very cool soundtrack help. Doesn't pretend to be more than it is, but very definitely worth watching! And a must-see for anyone thinking about being a professional musician, or get involved in the music business.

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Really funny

Author: FortiOz2freedom7 from Burbank CA
4 January 2004

One of the definitive movies of the 90's, touching, witty, and also very true in they way it portrayed rising sixties rock and roll and one hit "ONEDERS." Very sweet, and side splittingly funny, this movie really shines. The soundtrack is also amazing.

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"You're talking gibberish!"

Author: ashisthegal from Florida
20 December 2003

This movie just worked. I remember seeing this in the theater a few years ago and falling in love with Guy Patterson from Eerie, PA, as well as all the classic Wonder Songs.

This movie is about four boys from a little town in PA trying to make the big time. You have the handsome and talented lead singer Jimmy, the easy-going, yet totally charming Percussion player Guy (Shades!) the funny-in-a-dumbass way guitarist Lenny, and let us not forget the airheaded Bass Player. They start out in Jimmy's garage singing a slow ballad called That Thing You Do and decide its good enough to play in a contest. They are up on stage and all of a sudden Guy gets an idea and starts playing That Thing You Do a few notches too fast. The next thing you know you have a up-tempo 50's classic which makes these boys rich and famous, even if its only for a little while.

This movie is all about living in the moment. It also gives the audience a little taste of what its like in the Music World, and how some people would do anything to get their fifteen minutes of fame. In the end, The Wonders are no more, but they are remembered, and the result is a beautiful love story. 10/10

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Great tunes, great movie, one flaw...

Author: Bryan Hargrave from Las Vegas
2 December 2003

"That Thing You Do" is one of those feel-good movies I can watch again and again. The music carries the film. I must confess to being a big Fountains of Wayne fan from their beginnings, and they do not disappoint here with jaunty tunes that sound period without being smarmy.

A balanced cast headed by Tom Everett Scott makes most scenes enjoyable. Steve Zahn is well used here as the off the wall, Lenny. Hanks is understated as Mr. White, but I think this enhances his dark-ish, calculating character. A fair representation of the recording industry.

The movie is nearly ruined by Liv Tyler, over acting as usual. She's a drain to watch as always, killing the pace of the movie, and not in sync with the rest of the cast.

Bill Cobb as Del Paxton, is a delight, as is Tom Hanks' wife, Rita Wilson as waitress in Marguerite. The bar scene is outstanding.

Watch this one to brighten up a rainy day. Get ready to tap your toes and enjoy! 8/10

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Tom Hanks Does It Again...

Author: tim (Movies_are_my_life_and_Thats_sad) from New York
16 September 2003

Once again Tom Hanks writes and directs a stimulating movie. Its the story of a 50/60's rock band and their quick climb to the top of the billboards. Brilliant character portrayals by Tom Everett Scott, Johnathon Schaech, Liv Tyler, and Ethan Embry (whose character lacks a name. I always believed this was a joke at the expense of bass players all over. The lack of name is a joke at the thankless job that is being a bassplayer... can you name the bass player of your favorite band?). Although, there are many talented actors one stands out among the others as far as humor goes, and that is Steve Zahn. You may have seen him in the under appreciated film "Saving Silverman" with Jack Black. The blend of good music and dry humor makes this movie one that I had to own (Which means its pretty damn good). but I won't promise you'll make it through the movie without seeing Tom Hank's wife, Rita Wilson in a small unnecesary role.

~Tim ....Great movie....

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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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