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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Guest Review- That Thing You Do!


Guest Review- That Thing You Do!

For the first time in its history, Cinematic Katzenjammer has a guest reviewer. Ancient Cinematica (shh, his real name is Ryan) is another movie lover, and friend, and he wanted to step into the role of super special blogger journalist man-thing for a day. Now, keep in mind this does not count for my movie of the day, but is simply a little extra tidbit for all you readers. And, if any of you feel obliged to write a review yourself, let me know. You even get to come up with a badass nickname. Yeah, it's that serious. Enjoy.

"A Pennsylvania band scores a hit in 1964 and rides the star-making machinery as long as it can, with lots of help from its manager."

   That Thing You Do! is probably one of my favorite movies and was one of the reasons I wanted to learn how to play the guitar when I was in the 6th Grade. Unfortunately, I never practiced enough to become Van Halen or Jimi Hendrix, but I did find an appreciation for music in film. The following is my review of the Extended Cut edition (Woo! More stuff!).

Me after seeing That Thing You Do! 

   That Thing You Do! is a comedy about a fictional garage band in 1964 that finds fame with their one-hit wonder “That Thing You Do!” and, ironically, they're called The Wonders. The film follows Guy Patterson, played by Tom Everett Scott, a jazz loving percussionist who finds himself a member of the band after the original drummer breaks his arm.


   The film is written and directed by Tom Hanks, who also plays the band's manager, Mr. White (Not to be confused with Mr. Pink or Mr. Brown) . He also wrote some of the songs in the film. Keep in mind, this was during the height of his popularity after winning two Oscars for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. He could do whatever the f**k he he did everything.

 "Hollywood, kiss my ass." Sincerely, Tom Hanks.

   Most of the music in this film is pretty catchy. Every song is based on some band from the early 60’s so it’s like listening to a Bizzaro-World, Tom Hanks version of The Beach Boys, The Beatles, and a variety of Motown performers. I went out and bought the soundtrack not long after I saw it. The title song “That Thing You Do!” will be stuck in your head for days after watching the movie, especially the sweet drum ditty just as the song begins...

   The film has many notable performances. Steve Zahn plays Lenny Haise, the rhythm guitarist. He's, by far, the funniest part of the film and you'll find yourself quoting his one-liners like, “Got any threes?” next time you play Go Fish with grandma. Johnathon Schaech plays Jimmy, the lead singer who is an absolute douche bag (the kind of hipster douche who writes songs well past comprehending). Surprisngly, Liv Tyler plays his sweet, lovable, girl-next-door girlfriend Faye, who you'd love to take to prom. 

I think daddy may have had a part in the music as well.

    Charlize Theron makes her film debut as Guy’s bitchy girlfriend, Tina, who's clearly not amused by her boyfriend and his band. If anyone has seen the theatrical release of the film, you’ll notice she isn't in the film very much, as many of her scenes were cut. In the Extended Cut, however, her scenes are plenty and is one of the many reasons I'm reviewing this version of the film.

Plus, she's hot. 

    I enjoyed watching the Extended Cut. I feel like I’m watching an entirely different movie. I remember seeing That Thing You Do! for the first time and realizing it was missing something. I couldn't quite place it. I felt that the characters were missing a little something and the ending felt rushed. I knew there had to be more to the film. I was right, as there were actually 39 minutes left on the cutting room floor. With the Extended Cut, you get a better sense of Guy and Tina's relationship before the movie and what kind of person she really is. There are also some great scenes with the band practicing and a scene with Kevin Pollock, showing how much more of an asshole he really is. Another addition to this Extended Cut are more scenes between Guy and Faye, building on their relationship even more. I feel like these scenes would have led to a better conclusion because their absence may have led to the rushed ending I mentioned earlier. It's worth noting that one of the biggest changes is, in fact, the ending. In the new ending we see more of what happens to Guy and how he finds a new outlet for his love of jazz.

Years before Kenny G. 

   Now, I do not believe the Extended Cut is for everyone. If you are watching That Thing You Do! for the first time, watch the original theatrical cut. The Extended Cut just feels too long. It’s a perfect example of why films are cut down and why we don’t always have the Extended Cut. Nonetheless, there are some scenes that were added that are actually funny and add more background to the characters. But, there are some that just over do it and are pretty unnecessary. It’s a shame because with many of the funnier scenes added, That Thing You Do! could be classified as a comedy. However, the theatrical release is more of a dramatic story of one man's journey and his love of music. In fact, the only aspect of the theatrical release that would make this film a comedy is Steve Zahn, who is highly underrated and terrific in everything he's in.

 Comedy Gold.

   Check it Out.




At August 26, 2012 at 7:28 PM , Blogger Richard Kirkham said...

This movie is Crack, and you all should be lighting up a pipe. There is never a bad trip and you can return to it repeatedly without any side effects. I'm glad I saw the extended version because it is a great lesson in how editing can change a movie and how less is often so much more. I did not need any more of Tina, Guy and Faye grew together just fine from the theatrical cut, Kevin Pollack's extra bit was not needed and the Mr. White and his romantic partner scene, shifts the focus of the movie too much. The theatrical cut is perfect. They play the title tune nearly a dozen times but it never gets boring. There are several other really well done 60s styled songs, reflecting the real diversity of pop radio at the time. Every scene with Guy's Dad should be watched again and again because the dialogue and performance are perfectly synched.
If you don't love this movie, head to Emerald City to see the Wizard, because there is something wrong with your heart.

At August 26, 2012 at 8:11 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Haha, while I haven't seen the director's cut myself, I do thoroughly enjoy this movie. It's fun, nostalgic (even though I'm not that old lol), but still worth the time.


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