More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

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

Latest Reviews

Hot Water (2021) by Erik Childress

Day of the Beast, The by Jay Seaver

Transference: A Love Story by Erik Childress

Thunder Force by Peter Sobczynski

Voyagers by Peter Sobczynski

Flaming Brothers by Jay Seaver

French Exit by Lybarger

Perdita Durango by Jay Seaver

Godzilla vs. Kong by Peter Sobczynski

Charlatan by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

That Thing You Do!
[] Buy posters from this movie
by PyThomas

"It's got a good beat and you can dance to it."
4 stars

So, now that Tom Hanks won two Best Actor Oscars, what's his next move?

Well, he went and DIRECTED a film. That Thing You Do! is Hanks' first directing effort, and here, he basically created his own Monkees. We follow the fictional band called the Wonders (all together now... "Which one's Stevie?") through their short and volatile life span, circa 1964. From the early club days, to their indie single that eventually gets picked up by a major label, to local, regional, and nationwide stardom, to the quarrels and differences that inevitably break up the band, you witness almost every aspect of the roller-coaster fame ride.

The main characters we focus on in the band are Sporty Wonder and Scary Wonder... oops, I mean lead singer Jimmy Mattingly (Johnathon Schaech) and drummer Guy Patterson (Tom Everett Scott). Jimmy is a Serious Songwriter that wants to be known for more than just his catchy "That Thing You Do" song. Guy is a jazz enthusiast that longs to break out of his boring life helping out the family appliance-store business. Faye Dolan (Liv Tyler) is Jimmy's girlfriend who captures Guy's heart. This little triangle eventually contributes to the band's demise, among other factors. For the most part, guitarist Lenny Haise (Steve Zahn) and bassist T.B. (Ethan Embry) are merely spectators, though they have their share of fun moments.

That Thing You Do! is a solid and entertaining effort from Hanks, who also plays one of the band's managers. Yes, the song gets on your nerves after a while, but at least you know what your basic one-hit band goes through. Nobody in the audience is happy until they play that one tune... they could be sick of it after hearing and playing it all the time, but it's in heavy rotation at your average K-Joe radio station, so they gotta do their thing. Hanks doesn't get too wacky or somber in his depiction of the Wonders, getting the mood of the film just right... your basic success story of an American rock band hitting the big time, and collapsing under pressure.

All that's missing now is a Weird Al Yankovic parody of the "That Thing You Do" song.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 08/27/98 01:29:41
[printer] printer-friendly format  

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
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  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

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast