'That Thing You Do'
was released in 1996 and was directed by, written by and starred Tom Hanks. The film about the fictional band, 'The Oneders', later renamed 'The Wonders', was Tom Hanks' baby. He did most of the heavy lifting for the film and it all paid off. The film was enjoyed by audiences at the time and enjoyed good sales while in theaters and in home video release. The story about the rise and fall of the fictional 4-piece band is still talked about today. The film also starred some up-and-coming actors and actresses including Liv Tyler, Charlize Theron and Steve Zahn, alongside Mr. Hanks himself.
The plot revolves around a four-piece pop-rock band 'The Oneders' (later renamed 'The Wonders') from Pennsylvania who manage to hit it big with their song 'That Thing You Do'
when temporary, later permanent, drummer Guy Patterson speeds up the tempo of the then-ballad in his first live performance, letting his nerves get the better of him. However, the increased tempo works in their favor and gets the audience at the performance dancing. Mr. White, Tom Hanks' character, picks up the band and signs them to his label, Playtone Records. The band begins a steady climb to fame, and eventually reaches the #2 spot on the Billboard Top 100. The film ends with the band disbanding, mostly because of the stress of being major stars and the control of a label.
If you haven't seen 'That Thing You Do' already, we highly suggest you see it.
It's a great film, with lots of funny dialogue and heart-warming moments.
And the title track still gets stuck in my head from time to time, and the last time I heard it was about 5 years ago. That's how catchy it is.
Watch the trailer below:
There's also a lot you probably didn't know about the film, so we've gathered a list of lesser-known facts and trivia you might be interested in:
- Although the actors in the band performed for eight weeks together prior to filming to get the feel of playing as a band, their performances were dubbed over by other musicians in the final product.
- Tom Hanks' costar from the sitcom 'Bosom Buddies', Peter Scolari, appears in the film as Troy Chesterfield.
- Tom Ridge, Homeland Security Director and then Governor of Pennsylvania visited the set and presented Tom Hanks with a Zippo lighter engraved with the film's logo. Hanks actually collects Zippo lighters, which are manufactured in Pennsylvania.
- Tom Hanks named his production company Play-Tone, which he named after the record label his character worked for in the film.
- According to Tom, Charlize Theron was the first person to audition for her characters role, and she was also the first person to be cast in the film after a stellar audition.
- Ethan Embry, the bass player for the Wonders is never mentioned by a specific name. He is always referred to as 'the bass player' and even in the credits he is listed as portraying character 'T.B. Player'.
- The Wonders performance at Hollywood Television Showcase was actually filmed at Bob Barker Studio, also known as Studio 33, where the program 'The Price is Right' is filmed.
- Tom Hanks, being a Oakland Raiders fan, named the pizza parlour near the airport 'Villapianos'. The name is a reference to Raiders former linebacker Phil Villapiano.
- 'That Thing You Do' is Tom Hanks writer-directorial debut.
- The films plot briefly mirrors Bryan Adams song 'Summer of '69'. The line: 'Me and some guys from school had a band and we tried real hard. Jimmy quit, Jody got married, should've known we'd never get far.' Original drummer Jimmy quit the band when they had him replaced by Guy, and Lenny gets married in Vegas in the film. Finally, the Wonders eventually disband, not making it very far in their career as a band.
- Finally, the Wonders' career shares many parallels with the Beatles' career. Here are some examples:
1. Both band names (referring to the Wonders original name) are a play on words featuring music nomenclature: 'The Oneders' and 'The Beatles'.
2. Both of their first hits were sped up versions of ballads: The Beatles' 'Please Please Me' and The Wonders' 'That Thing You Do'
3. Appearing on TV, The Beatles' John Lennon was captioned with 'Sorry girls, he's married!'; Wonders singer Jimmy Mattingly is captioned with 'Careful girls, he's engaged!' on TV.
4. Both acts first reach fame after replacing their original drummer.
5. Each group loses their original bass player.
6. Both encountered a situation where they needed a last-minute replacement for a liver performance.
7. Wonders manager Mr. White is identified as a homosexual in the extended version; The Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, was also gay.
8. Both bands encountered a situation where a members girlfriend was mistaken for a female fan and kept from the band.
The Wonders may be one-hit wonders but at least they were remembered for one song. At boom, we play a fair share of one-shit wonders, so tune in to hear their claims to fame.