Written and directed by Tom Hanks (who also has a supporting role), That Thing You Do! recaptures the innocence and optimism of 1964 in a fun cautionary tale about the fleeting nature of fame. A young band of Beatle wannabes stumbles upon a hit single. Before long, the wide-eyed Wonders find themselves on the radio, touring state fairs, in a cheesy beach movie and on a popular TV show—all on the strength of one song. These likable guys watch their tune scale the charts, but are soon disappointed to find they are merely the musical flavor of the month.
Hanks adroitly reveals the sour side of celebrity, exposing the entertainment industry as one big photo-op. Glitz and glamor mask huge egos and synthetic smiles. And while some performers manage to escape with their character intact, others are absorbed by the system and changed forever. Three profanities, a low-cut cocktail dress and some social drinking aside, That Thing You Do! will help many teens better understand the environment their parents grew up in—and how drastically American culture has changed in the last 32 years.