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Overall Rating

Awesome: 14.55%
Worth A Look61.82%
Average: 16.36%
Pretty Bad: 1.82%
Total Crap: 5.45%

4 reviews, 31 user ratings

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That Thing You Do!
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by Ryan Arthur

"Where was I? Oh yeah, playing songs on my guitar."
4 stars

How much was I smitten by this movie?


I saw it at the theater twice, a rarity for me.

There's a band in Erie, Pennsylvania. Their drummer breaks his arm, and they're forced to get a replacement for a big talent show. The band, with new drummer in tow, play the talent show and rock the house, because the drummer plays the song (which is basically supposed to be a ballad) as an upbeat, happy song. The song becomes a local hit, and the band gets signed to a manager (who pulls up "in a really nice camper") and ultimately to a record deal. Then they go national, and gradually things start to fall apart.

It's a murderously catchy song (and thank goodness for that, because you hear probably 12 different incarnations of it by film's end) that propels the band, The Wonders, into the stratosphere, meaning a couple of guys get caught up in it all. It's on the strength of the one hit (one-hit Wonders, get it?) get signed to their deal, get a part in a beach movie, tour across the country, and make a national television appearance that not unintentionally resembles the Beatles' Ed Sullivan debut.

Written and directed by Tom Hanks (his first time in feature films), That Thing You Do! is basically a pretty light comedy. It's not going to stick with you a year from now. But it's actually a pretty charming comedy with bits of drama and az little romance. The young actors who play in the band (Tom Everett Scott, Steve Zahn, Jonathon Schaech and Ethan Embry) all fit their roles perfectly, and Liv Tyler (as Schaech's girlfriend) doesn't embarrass herself completely.

The songs will get stuck in your head. I can almost guarantee it. But it's worth it to see what is basically such a carefree, charming film.

You have to love a movie where one of the lines is "Captain Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters."

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originally posted: 09/12/98 00:22:44
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User Comments

2/04/18 Suzanne I lived this period: authentic music, costumes, and innocence 4 stars
7/09/11 DK Engrossing and lovely. I hope Hanks finds more time to direct in the future. 4 stars
1/01/10 Jeff Wilder Good story. But would've benefited from more satiric bite. 3 stars
2/28/07 Mike in TX One of my all-time favorites 5 stars
2/19/07 Nick Maday OK, but not as good as I had heard. 3 stars
1/24/05 Phil M. Aficionado Refreshingperiod piece with laughs and warmth, and Liv, and Tom. Fun. 5 stars
5/17/03 George Jung Normal, harmless comedy that has no bite and pulls every punch. 2 stars
10/18/02 Charles Tatum Surprisingly good 4 stars
11/24/01 Andrew Carden Extremly Dull and Boring Musical Which Show Hank's Bad Musical Talent. 1 stars
6/15/01 Law Firm of Dewey, Cheatam & Howe I hate Hanks but gotta give him credit for this little gem 4 stars
6/13/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Tom Hanks has some potential on the other side of the camera, too, I see... 4 stars
5/03/01 roy healey wow what a great song 5 stars
3/14/01 Abigail Whitney Great movie . . . leaves you smiling. Excellent music. 5 stars
2/15/01 Phil M. Afficianado 30 yrs younger than at 7 am today. Bought new car, then saw it. All smiles. Try it yourself 4 stars
11/28/00 Cristopher Revilla good songs, modest directing, and a shitty script, just watch it for the music 3 stars
11/27/00 hk It was wonderful! 5 stars
11/07/99 Anthony Ellis It had a lot of potential, but it didn't deliver on that. Badly written, it was a real dud! 1 stars
7/07/99 Ben Leostein Rating: *** (out of ****) Category: "Good" 4 stars
6/17/99 luana Its got a good song to go with it! 5 stars
4/20/99 bb Pile of shit 1 stars
2/20/99 Piz cute movie with lots of spirit and soul. 4 stars
2/04/99 Michelle Me Belle Awesome soundtrack, good actors. all around cute. best movie kiss ever!!!!!!! 5 stars
10/28/98 Silent Rob Good story, Good music, Good performances. 4 stars
10/14/98 Chi-Fan Hu I loved the tunes 4 stars
10/03/98 wind excellent movie to watch at anytime... 5 stars
9/28/98 Heather Cute! I like it! And I *really* like Tom Everett Scott. :) 4 stars
9/25/98 ShadowStar Good movie, but that song... hey, Mr. Hanks, ever hear of the concept of overkill? 4 stars
9/01/98 MikeF I liked this one a lot. catchy tunes too. 4 stars
8/30/98 Mister Whoopee Very enjoyable. no epic, but worth a bunch o'maltesers. 4 stars
8/25/98 Zach Hyatt A solid movie. Keeps you interested, if you're not expecting something epic. 4 stars
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  04-Oct-1996 (PG)
  DVD: 08-May-2007



Directed by
  Tom Hanks

Written by
  Tom Hanks

  Tom Everett Scott
  Liv Tyler
  Johnathon Schaech
  Steve Zahn
  Ethan Embry
  Tom Hanks

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