Anthony's Film Review
That Thing You Do! (1996)
One and a half hours of fun thanks to the very catchy title song...
After seeing That Thing You Do!, you would think that a small band in the 1960s called The Wonders actually did exist. They never did. It's fictional. This is a group that, in the film, appears as a stark contrast to the Beatles. While Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and George Harrison went on to become part of one of the most famous music groups in all of history, the members of the Wonders are only together for what seems to be just a few months. Their band name also reminds us that they were supposedly famous for a one-hit wonder, a song called That Thing You Do.
In one scene of the movie, the band prepares to play their song at a music contest. At this time, they called themselves the Oneders, pronounced "wonders" and not "oh-nee-ders" to follow the footsteps of the Beatles. Every performance preceding theirs is mediocre. But when this group plays the catchy That Thing You Do, everyone quickly gets into it. Even I was into the song so much I felt like dancing. Just this one song alone makes the movie a fun music story and also one of inspiration.
Two recognizable actors provide the supporting roles. Tom Hanks plays the record producer who agrees to help the band grow in fame, provided that they change their band name spelling to "Wonders." Liv Tyler is the girlfriend of one of the members, who later appears to care more about his art than her. I won't really say more, because the cast is a good one. The story is simply about the rise and fall of a band that is almost forgotten except by the most detailed music historian. The end of the film does mention where each of the band members are, but don't forget that it's not real.
I often like to think of this film as a great example of how powerful a movie soundtrack can be. If a film has at least one song or musical piece that is just memorable and inspiring, it makes a big difference in how good the film is. Suppose you were to replace the song That Thing You Do with another song that isn't as good but you were to develop the story some more. The result would still not be as good as this movie the way it is.
Basically, the film is a short story that makes you feel good. And I will admit that I have listened to the song That Thing You Do many times. It's a very catchy tune. If you get an MP3 of this song, I guarantee you that it will stick in your mind for quite a while.
For more information about That Thing You Do!, visit the Internet Movie Database.