Tom Hanks's debut as a writer and director is a lively, affectionate account of the shooting-star career of a forgotten (fictional) '60s pop-rock band called The Wonders--as in "one-hit wonders." Hanks plays the manager of the group, which includes drummer Guy "Sticks" Patterson (Tom Everett Scott) who works the floor at his parents' appliance store in Erie, Pennsylvania; Jimmy (Johnathon Schaech), the talented and temperamental lead singer and songwriter; Lenny (Steve Zahn), the goofy guitarist; and Ethan Embry as a geeky little fellow identified in the cast list only as "The Bass Player." The movie traces their meteoric rise and fall, from cutting their first record, to going on tour with a Phil Spector/Motown-type revue, to the internal tensions that lead to the band's disintegration, which comes when they fail to follow up their smash hit single, "That Thing You Do!" And that song, by the way, is so catchy it would definitely have been a hit in 1964--and deserves to be one today. This delightful movie would make a great double-bill with Allison Anders's wonderful Grace of My Heart. --Jim Emerson
Diane Dane told me never trust a label. And I'm beginning to believe her.
Well, sure. I mean, come on. They put us up in a first class hotel, all expenses paid, while our record climbs the charts; bunch of lyin' snakes.
Sorry, I guess I'm just alone in my principles.
Oh come on. Oh, there he goes off to his room to write that hit song "Alone in my principles."
I have wasted thousands and thousands of kisses on you - kisses that I thought were special because of your lips and your smile and all your color and life. I used to think that was the real you, when you smiled. But now I know you don't mean any of it. You just save it for all your songs. Shame on me for kissing you with my eyes closed so tight.
I'm Guy Patterson, I'm from Erie, Pennsylvania, I'm in a band called The Wonders and we just cut a record, we're out here on the coast and I play the drums and I have all your records well not all of them but a lot of them but ah at least I did until some of them got swiped when I was stationed in Germany and you were playing in Germany at the time that I was stationed there, but you know what I couldn't see you because you were playing in Hamburg and I was stationed in Munich but I listen to your records and I think you're great.
You are my biggest fan.