I’m in the middle of watching The DaVinci Code with Tom Hanks in the role of Robert Langdon and I was reminded of That Thing You Do, a movie that Hanks wrote and directed in 1996. It’s the story of fictional 60’s band The Wonders, whose meteoric rise to fame is cut short after the release of their hit single ‘That Thing You Do’. The Wonders are drummer Guy “Shades” Patterson (Tom Everett Scott), guitarist and vocalist James “Jimmy” Mattingly II (Johnathon Schaech), guitarist and backing vocalist Leonard “Lenny” Haise (Steve Zahn) and bass player T.B. Player (Ethan Embry). They are also joined by their manager Mr White (Tom Hanks) and Jimmy’s girlfriend Faye (Liv Tyler). Charlize Theron also makes an appearance as Guy’s vapid blonde girlfriend Tina in the beginning of the film.
The Wonders quickly gain prominence when they are introduced to Mr White and are signed to his record company Playtone Records. However troubles arise when Jimmy, who takes himself waaaay too seriously, objects to Mr White’s insistence that they record songs from the Playtone catalogue.
I loved this movie when I was a kid. My favourite scene was when The Wonders hear their song on the radio for the first time, and they end up dancing around the whitegoods store with Guy’s father looking on in irritated bemusement. Goofball Lenny is my favourite character, who brings much of the humour to the film, and is not afraid to let Jimmy know when he needs to pull his head out of his you know what.
Jimmy: I guess I’m just alone in my principles
Lenny: There he goes, off to his room to write that hit song “Alone In My Principles”
The music was also co-written by a team that included Hanks, and has that authentic fresh 60’s rock sound. Check it out below.