Well, for the Hanks-O-Thon it was time to watch the DVD. And, to my surprise, there was a Director's Cut available - and since I had seen the original version so many times I figured I'd give it a shot.
Anyway, a quick rundown of the film. A small band in Erie, Pennsylvania is about to play at a local talent contest. Jimmy Mattingly (Johnathan Schaech), Lenny Haise (Steve Zahn), T.B. Player (Ethan Embree) and Chad (Giovanni Ribisi) make up the band. Mattingly's girlfriend Faye (Liv Tyler) is also prominently featured as part of the band, even though she doesn't sing.
A few days before the contest, Chad tries to jump over a parking meter and falls and breaks his arm. In a bind the group goes to Guy Patterson (Tom Everett Scott), a drummer who is being coached to take over his father's appliance store.
The song 'That Thing You Do' was written by Mattingly and was meant to be a ballad - but once Guy gets things rolling, the song becomes very upbeat and becomes a hit - and even nets them a job singing at a local restaurant.
After cutting an album on their own, the band is signed by a manager who promises to get their song on the radio and get them playing in larger cities - and he comes through. So much so that 'The Oneders' is soon signed by Playtone Records and Mr. White (Tom Hanks) - who changes their name to 'The Wonders'.
The song climbs the charts for months and the band plays state fairs with the rest of the Playtone galaxy. But, as things really begin to get good for the band - they also start to drift apart.
I really enjoy this movie. So simple, yet so fun.
The two main things in the director's cut that we get to see is Guy's girlfriend, Tina (Charlize Theron), fall in love with her dentist. In the original, we see her meet her dentist and see that there is something there - but here we see much more of the two of them interacting. The second thing we see - Mr. White is apparently gay. I never saw any really glimpse of this in the original, but there were a few scenes in the director's cut - including seeing his boyfriend, played by former NFL star Howie Long.
Doesn't change the movie all that much, but pretty interesting to see the whole picture now.
Hanks isn't in the movie a ton, more of a side character. The real star is Scott, Tyler and the other band members. But, his touches are all over it - including writing and directing it. Not to mention the slew of actors in bit parts throughout the movie from a lot of his other movies, including his wife, Rita Wilson.