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That Thing You Do!: Tom Hank's Extended Cut
Special Edition, Director's Cut
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Tom Hanks writes, directs, and co-stars in this refreshing, big-hearted comedy that captures the overnight triumph of an American rock band in the glory days of rock'n'roll. It's the story of The Wonders, a band catapulted to fame when their hit song, "That Thing You Do," skyrockets to the top of the charts. This movie is packe
It should come as no surprise that Tom Hanks' extended cut of That Thing You Do! is even more entertaining than the original theatrical release. Hanks' debut as a writer-director was one of the most pleasant movie surprises of 1996, and Hanks' infectious enthusiasm for '60s pop music carried through to every aspect of this timelessly delightful production. Both versions are included on disc 1 of this two-disc set, with Hanks' extended cut running almost 40 minutes longer (147 minutes) and featuring a lot of good, fresh material that fleshes out characters, adding depth and dimension to the rise and fall of the movie's fictional 1964 pop band, the Wonders. Unlike a lot of extended cuts, this one doesn't feel extraneous or unnecessarily longer; the pacing remains brisk, both Liv Tyler and Charlize Theron get more screen time, and some new character details emerge during the Wonders' rise to short-lived success, including brief appearances by Howie Long as the sidekick (and/or boyfriend?) of the Wonders' manager (Tom Hanks), suggesting a possible parallel to the Beatles' gay manager, Brian Epstein. There's also a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo for Hanks' son, Colin (as an usher escorting Liv Tyler to the Wonders' big TV debut), and additional scenes to deepen "Sticks" Patterson's love of jazz. Now That Thing You Do! isn't just longer but better, with Hanks' extended cut earning its place as the definitive version of what was already a remarkably assured directorial debut.
Disc 2 includes several bonus features not found on the previously released DVD. Some of them are EPK (electronic press kit) featurettes produced to promote That Thing You Do! back in 1996, while the That Thing You Do! reunion is an all-new (2007) encounter with cast members Tom Everett Scott, Jonathan Schaech, Charlize Theron, and Ethan Embry, reminiscing about the fun they had during production while Steve Zahn ("Lenny") shares his favorite memories of the filming in a separate interview. The "Feel Alright" video is a flawlessly edited homage to pop-band promotional films of the '60s, brilliantly assembling clips from That Thing You Do (with The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night and Help! as obvious inspirations). "The Wonders--Big in Japan!" is a lively home-video diary of a That Thing You Do! promotional tour in Tokyo (where the actors actually played as "the Wonders"), and there's also a pair of informative (albeit semi-redundant) "making of" featurettes from 1996, including the same 13-minute bonus from the original DVD release, and an episode of HBO's "First Look" hosted by former MTV vee-jay Martha Quinn. "The Story of the Wonders" demonstrates how much thought and affection Hanks put into his fictional pop band's history and personnel, and disc 2 closes out with a standard sampling of TV spots and trailers. Two music videos from the original DVD (for "That Thing You Do!" and "Dance with Me Tonight") are not included here. --Jeff Shannon
- Disc 1:
- Theatrical Feature
- Director's Cut
- Commentary by Tom Everett Scott, Jonathon Schaech, Steve Zahn, Ethan Embry & Liv Tyler
- Disc 2:
- Making That Thing You Do!
- The Story Of The Wonders
- That Thing You Do! Reunion
- The Wonders - Big In Japan!
- HBO First Look: The Making of That Thing You Do!
- That Thing You Do! Title Song Submissions
- Josh Clayton - "Feel Alright" Video
- Trailers & TV Spots
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Having been in a local band or two, I remember my first watching of this film struck me how they captured the different personality types you can run across in any creative endeavor. The performance at the talent show puts the spotlight on those types, and is very well reaffirmed late in the movie.
I've often thought that now, 20+ years later, a sequel could be done called "I Wonder" or something along those lines, perhaps about the daughter of a character that is a huge fan early on in the movie who could have married the bass player or something who goes in search of 'what happend to them?" and trying to get them to regroup for her parents anniversary or something.
VERY worth seeing!
Simply stated, this is an enjoyable film for anyone who just wants to recall those times, and listen to some music that doesn't have the instruments overpowering voice so much the whole tune becomes cacophonous. My opinion only.
Worth the watch, along with the interviews and such. Also makes a difference having the whole thing uncut for character study (Mattingly is something of a donkey, IMHO, without a lick of sensibility or the maturity to understand the field of endeavor). Also interesting to watch the development of the band, beginning to end.
I notice in some other reviews that the actors 'make you believe they could actually play'. However, if you watch the interview disk reasonably closely, you will see that all the members of the Wonders did learn their respective instruments, and in one comment it was stated that they could actually do a tour. While they may not have had the repertoire of a professional group, they did play the movie songs well. If you are familiar with the instruments (including percussion), it's easy to see the skills each had, and as the group developed, the improvement of three of the four.
Nicely done, Mr. Hanks.
I watched "Disc 2" of the set first, seeing the interviews of the prime actors, and enjoyed the "back story" of the movie. I let it sit for a while, and watched the entire movie yesterday. It was a mostly light-hearted but interesting and well written story, without violence, drugs, or foul language, and a dose of really good, 60s pop music. I guess I find the story personally endearing, as it brings back memories of a couple of my friends who were in local "bar bands" in the late 60s-early 70s. The movie mimics some of their trials, tribulations, and fun times of the day, when I was along for the ride. Watching the 'Directors Cut' added a lot of the story that I hadn't seen before, and I found it quite entertaining.
The only distraction I found, was the quality of the video, on the "movie disc". Near the end, around the last 5 minutes or so, the video got a little "fuzzy", almost like it had been "pieced in", whereas it had been very clear and sharp up to that point. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.
The theatrical release version of That Thing You Do is a fast-moving, frothy, film not too different in flavor from the song which serves as its center. But apparently writer/director Tom Hanks originally had something else in mind: A slightly darker, more thoughtful, film about the ups and downs of "making it" in the `60s pop music field. The alternate version shows us that initial vision and although it contains everything the theatrical release does, including all the warmth and humor, it also gives us a deeper glimpse into the darker regions that made up that world.
Which version is "better" remains to me an open question. There is something about the shorter, lighter, take on the story that is especially captivating. But for those who love this film -- and I suppose that includes all of us who were caught up in the `60s music scene -- each has something special to offer.