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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 206 reviews in total 

Best music movie in years.

Author: AMANDA STEWART from United States
8 January 2005

As a huge fan of the Beatles and all rock n' roll movies, this is one that is constantly in my DVD player. Tom Hanks has his genius touch on this one!! Even though he wrote and directed and has a part in it, no vanity project here. It is sincere and real. You will find your self repeating some of the choice lines, especially from actor Steve Zahn. Even more surprising is that this movie can be watched without embarrassment with younger kids!! A-Mazing. Casting is perfect. Great supporting cast as well. There are nice little moments all through the film, that makes this project endearing and true. And you don't get sick of the title song!!

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SPOILER ALERT! A few things I didn't agree with

Author: Buzz (DaytonaBob) from Solvang, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
4 December 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First I LOVED this movie and probably have watched it close to two hundred times. No really I have. AND I own the DVD.

The movie is obviously a compendium of bands from the early to mid sixties that came to be known (and are still)as one hit wonders. One Trick Ponies is the other most used description.

From the opening shots and the opening music Hanks did a superb job of making us feel like we had been transported to 1964. My jaw about hit the ground.

The stores, the settings took me back to my days in Ohio not far from Erie PA in the same year. Scary actually.

The band comes together in a very logical way. Just a very good arc from Point A to Point B to Point C. The discovery of the band? Absolutely logical. Small time managers who sell the rights to their band to the upper echelons of music companies who can sell them further upwards as well. Play-Tone is, from the looks of the place, a mid-level to lower-upper level company. Not in the same league as Capitol but just below them.

The bit with the traveling bands was straight out of

"Dick Clark's Cavalcade of Stars" It was extremely well done and the way it really was. Very few bands could do the arenas and almost none could do stadiums. So State Fairs were the way to go(and still are if you really look around)

Where I started to lose the belief in the storyline was how T.B. Player(I love that)just bugged out on the band. The Marines would have been all over themselves to get into a taping of a show on the level of The Ed Sullivan Show.

Lenny was an actually talented guitar player and I find it difficult to believe he would leave the band in a lurch on recording day. Not believable at all.

In the year they are supposed to be in, the belief that bands had to do STRICTLY other people's stuff wasn't true any longer. The Wonders had shown they were capable of writing great stuff and Mr. White should have seen that and in real life would have. Play-Tone would have wanted to be cutting edge and compromised by allowing several songs they wanted and several songs the band wanted. The material they played on tour was good and Mr. White would have had enough clout to make it work. The band would have then been sent to open for big time bands like The Beach Boys who were on Arena tours at that point. I saw them at Cincinnatti Gardens with 4 opening acts.

THEN after a few more months and maybe the album doing poorly and the band starting to crumble under the weight of touring(which was a major point of breakups back then) I could see Lenny wanting to go someplace with no pressure and Saich wanting to go to the studio and Guy lusting after Faye who was back in Erie, and the Jazz life. THEN it would have made more sense. BUT I understand the shooting schedule and the need to wrap it up.

Just felt the ending didn't work.

Other than that I gave it a TEN.

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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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