Set in Erie, Pennsylvania 1964, Tom Hanks‘ film – “That Thing You Do” chronicles the road to fame escapades of the fictional one-hit wonder group – “The Wonders” (the original spelling was “Oneders”, often mispronounced, The” O-need-ers”, a running gag in the movie. 🙂 This was Hank’s directorial debut and was written by and co-starred Hanks who plays the band’s manager, Mr. White. It was produced by Jonathan Demme, Academy Award winning director of The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
The plot involves drummer Guy Patterson (Tom Everett Scott) sitting in with the band after their regular drummer, Chad (Giovanni Rabisi) breaks his arm leap frogging over a parking meter before the annual Mercyhurst College talent show. Really?! At the show, Guy’s feeling good and goes with his gut, making one little alteration to “That Thing You Do”, the number they’re performing at the show. And we’re off and running!
Guy Patterson “Shades” (Tom Everett Scott)
Lenny Haise (Steve Zahn)
Jimmy Mattingly (Jonathon Schaech)
the unnamed bass player (Ethan Emery)
“and the lovely” Faye Dolan (Liv Tyler)
Cutting to the chase:
Guy’s drumming is awesome, he changes the song tempo of “That Thing You Do” from ballad to upbeat, Faye calls Guy’s playing “wonderful” hence band’s name, teen girls dance, Villapiano restaurant gig, Tom Hanks signs the band changing the spelling from “The Oneders” to The Wonders. Boom! Number 1 hit record!
The rest, as they say, is one-hit wonder history.
Lenny (Steve Zahn) by far is my favorite Wonder! He gets it. Enjoy the moment. He’s relaxed, funny and always the life of the party. When asked a question by a reporter during their State Fair Tour he replies with a sorta crazy nasally sounding voice: “Oh I’m not here with these fellas, I gotta pig in competition over at the livestock pavilion and I am gonna win that blue ribbon!” Leaving the reporter with a stupefied look on his face. Classic Lenny. Priceless!
It’s a fun-filled musical ride well worth the viewing!
See the Cast of ‘That Thing You Do!’ Then and Now