Film of the Week: That Thing You Do (1995)

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Tom Hanks directs Liv Tyler, Tom Everett Scott and Steve Zahn in this nostalgic look at a pop band’s one hit wonder. 

I remember watching this small but lovely film 20 years ago on VHS – enjoying it as a well crafted, if slight, pleasure and moving on. Two decades have been very kind to Tom Hanks directorial debut. It’s upbeat, gorgeous and authentic to look at but most importantly incredibly well cast. The always good value Zahn has never been better nor funnier, Everett Scott embodies a young Tom Hanks type perfectly, Hanks has a hoot in a smaller role (part Don Draper, part fairy godmother), look there’s a young Bryan Cranston, and Liv Tyler walks away with the film and our hearts. It helps that the central song is an absolute toe tapper but really this out and out charmer, like it’s pop subject matter, might seem throwaway on first glance yet hits pleasing notes that recent movies no longer seem to care about. I doubt it will be 20 years before I thoroughly indulge in this Oneder again.

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