Last week I got a craving to watch a movie that I hadn’t seen in a while. I looked on Netflix to find it, but it wasn’t there. Then I checked Hulu, again not there. Then I check my Comcast app on my phone, nothing to find. After all that struggle I only had one place left to look which was my DirecTV app. Finally, there it was on Cinemax, “That Thing You Do”. Part of the problem to me finding it was that I was typing in the wrong title! “That Thing You Do” is a comedy/drama about a band in 60’s called “The Wonders”. So, naturally, after not seeing the movie in a while I was thinking that “The Wonders” was the movie’s name. To add on a side not, unfortunately “That Thing You Do” is still not on the other platforms that I mentioned, however, it is on Cinemax.
“That Thing You Do” was released in theaters in 1996 with the triple threat Tom Hanks as writer, director and actor in the film. I involves a local band in Erie Pennsylvania that write a hit song and go through the process of becoming a teen sensation that could be comparable to the Beatles. Although this movie is about a band and a song, I personally feel that this movie legitimately relates to radio and television broadcasting. To back up my statement I would like to add the following examples. The band “The Wonders”, once recognized for their hit song, is approached by a man wanting to be their manager. The way that he convinces them to sign a contract with him is by stating that he would get their song to play on the radio by the first week. After that is a scene where all of the band members are listening to the radio, they hear the song and freak out. It’s a BIG DEAL! Getting your song on the radio was a HUGE thing, still is. Once the song was on the radio it opened up a lot of new doors for the band.
The one example is not all I have though. Once Tom Hank’s character “Mr. White” is introduced, a representative of Playtone Records, he promotes the hell out of them by attending radio shows and doing interviews. One scene that really made me laugh is when the band goes to California and they do a radio “interview”. The disk jockey is lining up their song and says he has the artist in the booth with him. Makes a play about it not being the Beatles and then opens the microphones up for them to say “Hi”. Once they say that, the disk jockey starts their song and asks them to leave the headphones on the desk. When I listen to the radio today and hear Blake Shelton say “Hi, this is Blake Shelton and you’re listening to US99”, I didn’t imagine him actually being there. Probably more something like a recording just sent into the radio station to use.
The last example that I have is at the end of the movie…SPOILERS!!! For those of you who haven’t seen this movie yet you may want to skip this part and just take my word for it that it relates. The band’s song climbs up the charts so fast, due to radio play, that they land a spot on the “Hollywood Television Showcase”. Observing the band getting ready and then perform on the television studio stage is a big eye opener. There is a part during the song’s solo that we get a glimpse of the “booth”. Showing and changing from angle to angle, shot to shot and adding each band member’s name as they are shown on live T.V.
Since this movie came out in 1996, I have enjoyed it many times but have never paid attention to the production it took to make everything authentic and enjoyable. I thought it was just a movie about a band that writes a catchy song and makes it big but get’s crushed by the corporation known as the music industry. It never really crossed my mind how much the music industry relied on the broadcasting industry but it does. It does a lot.
This teenybopper of a movie, starring Debby Ryan, who is renowned for Disney channel’s hit series, ‘Jessie’. Debby Ryan plays “Tara”, a shy girl who has trouble vocalizing opinions to her peers by day but by night she is a D.J. that owns Radio Rebel and is loved by all. Well… all except the popular crowd who disagrees with her thoughts about equality for the high school hierarchy. One day, Tara’s stepfather (who runs a radio station) finds out her secret and hires her to be on the radio instead of the Radio Rebel podcast. Tara then faces the popularity of Radio Rebel on a bigger scale as she tries to keep it a secret.
Personally I thought this was a cute movie, definitely something that you would find on the Disney channel. The story was a positive message to be yourself and to not worry what others may thing of you. The opinions of the many far exceed that of the few. I found the acknowledgement of podcasts refreshing because you don’t see many movies with that element. Some of the acting was a little over the top but overall, nice and fluid. I was a little excited to see that Debby Ryan was in this feature because being a father of two boys, I have seen more than my fare share of ‘Jessie’.
Although the broadcasting element was evident I feel like there was a lot of imagination to it. When Debby Ryan’s character, Tara, was in the radio station, the board that the used to take calls and play music was all touch screen. It was a nice and relaxing lounge with a headset microphone to give her the freedom to move around the room. I find this to be very neat and tidy for the movies story line but probably not the case for most of the radio stations out there. It also showed a little bit of the promotions that go into starting a new D.J. Billboards, ads on the side of benches and busses and the radio vehicle visiting Tara’s school during lunch hour.
Overall, I would give this movie 3 out of 5 stars but would also encourage people who have families to consider this for the next “family movie night”.