Well here we are at the second film on the project. My 99th favorite--That Thing You Do. Im trying to remember the chronology of events that got me hooked on this movie. I think a friend got me hooked on the song. If Im not confusing things, in fifth grade we listened to the song on loop on the schoolbus en route to a field trip. (I distinctly remember listening to "Dont Speak" on loop with that friend too, but Im fairly sure we did the same with "That Thing You Do"). Next, I think I bought the soundtrack. Then I rented the movie the next time I had a sleepover at my grandma's house. I purchased it shortly thereafter.
I remember the trailer never really impressed me. I specifically remember that the suit joke was what stuck with me from it, and I didnt find it funny. Therefore, I just assumed I wouldnt find the movie funny. Yet another classic example of why I should not entirely judge a movie from its trailer.
I actually have the whole soundtrack on my ipod. I keep the majority of the tracks on the playlist Im typically shuffling. Dance With Me Tonight is very much a favorite. Besides the title track of course.
Im really not sure what I love most about this film: the music, the cast, or the script. We've discussed music. Lets move onto the cast.
Tom Everett Scott - He carries the film so brilliantly. Its a shame that he never quite worked his way up the Hollywood ladder from here. *Cue cheesey obvious comment* Just like they refer to Guy as being the backbone of the Wonders (being the drummer and all) Scott is certainly the backbone of the film. It wouldnt be half of what it is without him. And to think (acc to IMDB trivia) he almost wasnt cast because they thought he looked too much like Tom Hanks.
Tom Hanks - Speeeeaking of Hanks, such a subtle but strong performance. I knew he'd produced the film, but it somehow had slipped past me that he also wrote and directed it. My respect for him (which was quite bountiful to begin with) just increased by like a million. We'll be seeing much more of him on this project.
Steve Zahn - Because of this movie, I am a big fan of Zahn. I tend to find that a lot of his other comedic work is too over the top, but he's absolutely perfect here. Actually, what I'd recommend if you want to see some killer dramatic acting from him, check out Rescue Dawn. He was this close to an Academy Award nod, which I wanted so badly for him, but it was stiff competition that year. We really needed 10 nominees for supporting actor.
Ethan Embry - I dont know how long it took me to realize that it was him. Def a couple years. Years which included a hundred viewings of Cant Hardly Wait. You just sorta dont notice him at first, which was the joke with his character--a joke, like many in this film, that I didnt catch on to for a good while. C'mon I was ten when I first saw this.
Besides them, you've got Liv Tyler, Charlize Theron, Giovanni Ribisi, Rita Wilson, and Collin Hanks (okay he's there for 5 seconds in a non-speaking role). Such absolute gold.
Even without being able to realize the Beatles parallels without the help of IMDB, I think the script is genius. The characters are cleverly and carefully crafted. The dialogue is snappy. The premise is made so believable, that it really does make me wanna grab my guitar and go start a band. I hadn't seen this in a few years, and as previously mentioned I was quite the young'un when I first discovered it, so there were so many new gags and such that I noticed (or understood) for the first time tonight. That's an impressive feat for a film I've practically got memorized.
Actually, another note on the believability thing. Back in the day, I was actually convinced it was real. I think it was in the way that the "where are they now" epilogue thing before the credits was included, combined with the straightfoward report type of way that their history is given in the liner notes of the soundtrack. I was so sure, I even remember taking the soundtrack to my Daddy and showing him the tracklist asking which songs he recognized. Obviously, he only recognized the title track.
One last word of love. The 60's have to be my favorite era, especially when the time period is depicted in such a bright and colorful way (think Hairspray). I feel this movie might be partly responsible for that. I mostly give the credit to the NBC mini-series The 60's (which had Julia Stiles and Jerry O'Connell), but That Thing You Do might have had an early subconscious affect on me there.