This post is part of a series on Perfect Films, please read the original post if you wonder what I mean by "perfect".
For me, the perfect film to start the list of perfect films is "That Thing You Do". This is a film set in the 60s, about a band which gets a hit song and is suddenly thrust into the crazy world of rock and roll. I could gush for hours about what I like about this movie ... I have just deleted a lot of gushing. I will probably have to be careful about that when I start writing these. There is no time, let me sum up.
The story is sweet and heartwarming. It is set in the imaginary 60s that I grew up in, so it has a rosy nostalgia to it that makes me pre-disposed to enjoy everything about it.
I love every single actor in this film, even the ones who have 10 seconds on screen. The dad ranting about the son who can't remember to turn the store lights off, the waitress at the jazz club, the host of the TV variety show, the old wise jazz musician, the movie is overflowing with these wonderful gems.
I love the writing, there are many really beautiful words, words filled the with the sort of trouble-blind exuberance of the post teenage post war era that I barely caught the tail of when I was growing up. These kids would have been my role models when I was becoming a teenageer. Faye's speech in the dressing room is possibly the most amazing piece of film dialog ever, it is so perfectly what that character would say, exploding with emotions which she doesn't have the cool words for, instead writing like a writer they wrote it like a young woman who was looking for her own poetry in someone else.
If you watch it, do not watch the extended edition directors cut. That version of the film is fine for people who are in love with the characters and story, because you do get to see more of some of those things, but the theatrical release is the one which is perfect.