That Thing You Do! â€" Tom Hanks' Extended Cut – DVD Review

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Written and Directed by:
Tom Hanks

Tom Everett Scott ……… Guy Patterson
Liv Tyler ……… Faye Dolan
Johnathon Schaech ……… Jimmy Mattingly
Steve Zahn ……… Lenny Haise
Ethan Embry ……… The Bass Player
Tom Hanks ……… Mr. White
Charlize Theron ……… Tina

The Film:

When you win two Oscars back to back and appear in one blockbuster hit after another, you can pretty much do what you want in Hollywood. What Tom Hanks really wanted to do was direct. And so, the biggest movie star in the world, and the nicest man in Hollywood (as he’s also known), set out to write and direct his first feature film; the result: not bad for a first-timer.

That Thing You Do! tells the story of a sixties rock group called The Wonders, or The Oneders – depends on the stage in their career. We follow The Wonders as they turn from a garage band into one of the biggest musical acts in America, as they move on from laying restaurants to state fairs to doing live TV. But as it usually happens, we also see them self destruct and follow their spiral down, which is a lot faster than the way (again, like it usually is). The story is told through the eyes of the drummer, Guy Patterson, who joins the band for a one night only gig and just happens to lead them to success and fame almost by accident, and also becomes the biggest star in the band.

For this movie Hanks cast a quartet of young aspiring actors. Tom Everett Scott plays the drummer and carries the bulk of the movie. He also looks a lot like Tom Hanks, which actually almost cost him the part. Liv Tyler is Faye, girlfriend to the lead singer of the band who joins them on the road. The lead singer is played by Johnathon Schaech, who makes a good job of changing his character from nice to bitchy towards the end. Steve Zahn plays the goofball Lenny, who has some of the best lines in the film and is a great comic relief. The last member of the band is the unnamed bass player (an inside joke), played by Ethan Embry. The four guys have great chemistry together and they seem like a real band. That was achieved thanks to practicing playing as a band for weeks before the shooting began. This allowed them to bond and get closer. Hanks also cast himself as the band’s manager, Mr. White. That role was somewhat different than most of his previous ones, as this time he wasn’t a nice guy but rather a slimy Hollywood type — almost like Ari Gold without the profanity. Needless to say he does a great job with his role.

This DVD release has both the original theatrical release and an extended director’s cut. After watching both, I liked the theatrical cut better. I think it’s tighter and more efficient. The director’s cut runs for two hours and fifteen minutes, which is just too long for a movie like that. The longer version gives more space to Guy’s girlfriend, Tina (Charlize Theron), as we learn that she’s doing the opposite of what we’d expect (Usually women cheat on the dentist with the rock star, not vice-versa). We also find out that Tom Hanks’ character is gay and there’s an alternate ending. It doesn’t really change the outcome of the story, but gives a different reason to Guy’s decision to stay in the west coast.

That Thing You Do! is a very fun movie. It has a great soundtrack that works well with the story and the cast seems to have fun. It’s not a heavy or deep story; it’s just a story about the rise and fall of a one hit wonder band. If you’re looking to spend some time with a cool movie, I’d recommend it. But go for the original version, not the extended one.

The DVD:
This release contains two discs. The first one contains the original theatrical cut and the extended cut. The second disc contains the bonus material. The set arrive in a single keep case which is packed inside a cardboard sleeve.

The Video:
The movie looks very good, as the transfer is excellent. All the colors (it’s a very colorful movie) look sharp and bright, as they should be.

The Audio:
Excellent audio transfer with a Dolby Surround sound. The music sounds great, both the studio recordings and the supposedly live concerts.

The Extras:
As mentioned, you get both the theatrical cut and the extended director’s cut — both of them on the first disc. The second disc is home to the special features.

Making That Thing You Do! – a 15-minute featurette, nothing special.

The Story of The Wonders – a thirty-minute featurette talking about the band, the cast members and their work together.

That Thing You Do! Reuniun – The cast members (minus Hanks and Tyler) get together to bring back memories of what it was like to make the movie and also reminisce about Ethan Embry’s cross-dressing habit. I liked this one the most.

The Wonders – Big in Japan! – A recap of the cast’s promotional tour to Japan, including their appearances on some weird talk shows, karaoke experience and Tom Everett Scott’s missing passport.

HBO First Look – the standard documentary that came out when the movie was first released in theaters.

Feel Alright – a music video that recaps the entire movie.

This disc also includes the standard trailers and TV spots.
All in all, a nice array of extras that compliment this movie.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
That Thing You Do! — Tom Hanks’ Extended Cut
(OUT OF 10)