Tom Hanks has starred in a lot of great movies throughout his career. However, few realize his talents extend beyond acting to writing and directing as well.
Hanks’ screenplay writing career began with the 1996 film “That Thing You Do!” in which he also acted and directed.
The movie follows a four-man band called the Oneders (pronounced Wonders) from Erie, Penn. in 1964. When the original drummer broke his arm jumping over parking meters, the son of an appliance store owner had to fill in for a college talent show performance.
After winning with a sped-up version of the band’s ballad, “That Thing You Do!,” the band achieves local fame and fortune. They get gigs at a pizza place by the airport, and the song plays on the radio.
When they finally perform live in Pittsburgh, they get booed offstage. Luckily for them, they meet a big label manager who schedules them to play state fairs until their song makes the top 10 on the Billboard charts.
While the band members are making it big, they realize if they don’t put their egos aside, the band won’t make it past one hit.
The relatively unknown movie features not only Hanks and his wife and son, but also popular actors Charlize Theron, Liv Tyler, the priest from “The Dark Knight Rises” and the creepy teddy bear stalker from “Ted.”
While the storyline is cheesy and predictable, the Oneders’ lead guitarist has great one-liners that keep the audience laughing throughout.
In addition, the entire audience will know all of the words to the hit song halfway through the movie. This is a clever and accurate representation of real-life one hit wonders and how frequently the songs are played.
“That Thing You Do!” also makes countless ties to a real band from the 1960s, the Beatles.
In fact, near the beginning of the film when the band was trying to come up with a name, Liv Tyler’s character makes a direct reference to the British stars.
“You know the Beatles, the Beatles had the E-A like the Beat-les. Well, we could use the O-N-E like the One-ders.”
While the Beatles were clearly not one-hit-oneders, there were several parallels between the two bands. For example, both had to replace their drummers before making it big.
The fun movie is great for nights with family or just sitting around your apartment with your roommates.
Sit back, relax and wonder how you have made it through the past 16 years without seeing this classic movie.