Old Lady Movie Night Old Lady Movie Night: "That Thing You Do!" Anne T. Donahue

Old Lady Movie Night is a weekly (or so I try) column in which we gather, dressed like grandmothers, and watch/criticize movies in the spirit of, say, Dorothy Zbornak. (If she were in her 70s and 80s.) You’re not old if you like these movies, you’re not old if you know them. But sometimes I like to think of myself as the cat lady on The Simpsons who throws cats at people while wearing cardigans.

It’s important that all of you know just how much I love Tom Hanks. Do you know? DO YOU? I hope you do, because otherwise this is a terrible first impression and I’m 100% sure that I can’t possibly come back from it.

But if you’re aware of my T-Hanks adoration, then you understand. You understand You’ve Got Mail and you understand what it felt to be 11 years old and filled with delight that unlike Forrest Gump (which wasn’t exactly a laugh-happy cinematic event), That Thing You Do! delivered Tom Hanks in a comedic and joyful context circa ’95-’96.

I don’t think we talk about That Thing You Do! enough. And I mean any of us. Like, you. Reading this right now. Do you actively think about That Thing You Do!? (That looks like I’m very, very, very enthusiastic about this question. I am, but . . . nah, no. I am.) Of course you don’t. So this is our opportunity to think about it for 15 or so full minutes. (One point per one minute, naturally.) This is a safe space. A place in which that thing is thinking about Tom Hanks.

What if the song was just about somebody who couldn’t stop thinking about Tom Hanks. Oh boy. Look what I’ve started. Let’s do this.

1. “That Thing You Do!” is one of the greatest songs ever written for a movie

It is a JAM. It is a GIFT. I haven’t read The Giver, but if he delivered “That Thing You Do!” to the minds of human beings, I get why everyone’s so psyched for the movie. You listen to this song, and you think, “Yes. Yes I am invested in these people and in this decade and hell, I’m even invested in myself.” I don’t even know what that means, but it doesn’t matter. Just like listening to this soundtrack every night when I was in grade six wasn’t something I over-thought either. And speaking of which…

2. That Thing You Do! gave us one of the greatest soundtracks ever for a movie

And some of these are MADE UP SONGS. Like, they exist specifically for this movie. And do you know what? They’re amazing! They are better than most songs that exist specifically for outside a movie. I mean, I loved “Let Go” from Frozen, but if That Thing You Do! swept the Oscars and Best Song every year, I would only NOT be upset, I’d be thrilled. Particularly “All My Only Dreams” by The Wonders which is, again, a song performed by actors, but one I listened to as a kid and thought, “This is exactly what it’s like to be grown-up and have a boyfriend.”

Evidently, it is not. BUT! For those two minutes and 54 seconds, I believe it is.

3. So let’s get on with the movie: The One-Ders?

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I mean, COME ON, Jimmy. What’s wrong with you? Who would do that? Who would honestly name their band that? Would no one else in the band say, “Hey bud. No.” That’s all they’d have to say. And I mean, what could Jimmy do? Quit? They weren’t even famous yet! He didn’t have any other friends! Here’s the first problem: somebody who wanted to name his band “The One-Ders” (or something — honestly this might be totally wrong and I don’t even care Jimmy deserves nothing but my wrath) was in charge. Ultimately, they were doomed. Because frankly, he was the idiot king (TM).

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And yes, I know Liv Tyler TECHNICALLY suggested the band name, but Jimmy could’ve been like, “Girl what an excellent idea now let’s all talk spelling.”

4. And then there’s SHADES

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I have had a lot of movie star crushes. I still have a lot of movie star crushes. And deep down, in my hardest of hearts, I think to myself, “Yes, and I will marry them ALL one day.” I have no idea how that will happen because Leonardo DiCaprio won’t answer me back on Twitter, and Harrison Ford is in his 70s, but that’s not the point. What is the point is that Tom Everett Scott was a man after my own heart in this movie, but especially once he put on his sunglasses and drummed. ALSO, he kind of looked like a guy I went to high school with, so ultimately, I was doomed. Guy Patterson, I will always love you. Tom Everett Scott, ditto. Guy from high school . . . you would’ve named your band The One-Ders.

5. Remember how mad Jimmy gets about Shades playing the tempo quickly, though?

In the words of Hermione Granger, what. an. idiot. In no way, shape, or form was he ready for the wide world of rock and/or roll. Do any of us listen to “That Thing You Do!” and think, “Man, I just wish it was SLOWER.” Only an absolute monster would think a thought even similar. And Jimmy was an absolute monster, so like the spelling of The Oneders, we should’ve known. We all should’ve known.

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  1. Re: #8.
    Lenny and TBP didn’t go to Disneyworld :)

    When the group is in California for the tv show, TBP goes missing during rehearsal. They show him at Disneyland riding the Matterhorn and taking pictures in front of the castle with the Marines he met at the coffee shop at the hotel.

    Extra tidbit: Hanks apparently had the Matterhorn sleds re-painted to match how they would have looked in the mid 60s. As a Disneyland nerd, finding this out made me very, very happy.

  2. I’m pretty sure the logic of the oneders (wonders) was to be like the Beatles (beetles). The only difference is John chose to spell it ‘beat’les because he was a big fan of the Beat writers.

  3. I have to admit something. When I saw this movie as a girl, I DIDNT REALIZE IT WAS A MOVIE. I spent a good part of my life thinking they were a real band and the movie was sort of a documentary a la mtv.
    Til this day, when I think about it, I CAN’T EVEN.

    • I would do LITERALLY anything for this to have been a documentary. IMAGINE. (I will. Right now. Thank you for this.) x

      Anne T. Donahue | 3/21/2014 04:03 am
  4. I actively think about this film, is among my all time favorites !

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