Joker: In this re imagined world from that Batman universe, Joaquin Phoenix adds new layers to this iconic character while talking frankly about mental illness.
The Song of Names: Based on the book of the same name, the film follows a man who is trying to discover the secrets of a missing childhood friend.
Frozen II: This sequel to the mega-hit Frozen was well worth the six year wait. Instead of doing a slap-dash direct to video type sequel, the filmmakers expanded this world in new ways, making the story even more relevant.
This will be my last post for 2019. Wherever you are, thank you for reading this year. May 2020 be bright and hopeful.
The new movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, opened this weekend. Based on the 1998 Esquire article “Can You Say…Hero?” by Tom Junod, Matthew Rhys plays Lloyd Vogel, a fictional version of the real-life writer. Sent by his editor to write a profile of Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks), Lloyd is cynical and jaded. On top of his latest article, Lloyd dealing with marriage, new fatherhood and his formerly absentee father, Jerry (Chris Cooper).
I really loved this movie. I loved it because it reminded me why generations of TV viewers loved Mister Rogers. It also introduced the audience to the human side of this icon. As Mister Rogers, Hanks was perfectly cast. And I loved that this film was directed by Marielle Heller, who directed one of my favorite films from last year, Can You Ever Forgive Me? The myth that women are unable to direct successful films went out the window with this movie.
I absolutely recommend it.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is presently in theaters.
I have to admit that I got a little teary eyed while watching the trailer. Adulthood can bring on cynicism, disbelief in magic and the idea that childhood is just that. My hope is that this film reminds audiences of the wonderment that is childhood and the feelings that only Fred Rogers could bring out in his young viewers.
Generations of American children were raised on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, this writer included. Fred Rogers, the unlikely titular star of the show, taught his young audience not just their ABC’s. They also learned self-esteem, how to react when dealing with extreme emotions and how to deal with the crap that life can throw at you.
The new documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, follows not only the life and career of Fred Rogers, but also tells the story of his television show was the basis of the emotional and academic education for millions of American children. He proved that children’s television, then and now, does not need to bop its audience over the head or use a cartoon to sell toys and other merchandise. It can speak to its audience on a personal level and teaches them without the child being aware that they are learning.
If there was ever a reason to go to the movie theater, this movie is it. When we grow up, many of us can become cynical, angry or just go about our day-to-day life without feeling anything. Mister Rogers allowed his young audience to feel, to ask questions and to understand that sometimes life is hard. I think when we grow up, we forget that. Seeing this movie reminded me that it’s ok to feel, it’s ok to ask questions and it’s ok to understand life can be difficult.
I absolutely recommend it.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor is presently in theaters.
Premiering on February 19th, 1968, the program originally aired on what would later become known as public television. Unlike other children’s programming, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood spoke directly to its young audience. Neither overly dry/educational or over the top cartoon-y, the program was and still is the model of children’s educational television.
Like many members of my generation, I remember watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood as a young child. Fred Rogers did not feel like a much older adult, he felt like a friend who encouraged those watching to think, to feel, to be curious about the world around them and to ask questions. I feel like multiple generations of Americans have a level of emotional intelligence that they would have not developed, had Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood not been a part of their early years.
Fred Rogers passed away during my final year of college. As an adult, I’ve come to believe that one of the markers of adulthood is loosing someone or something that was integral to your childhood. His passing was a subtle reminder that the shift from childhood to adulthood was coming rapidly.
While Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is no longer on the air, the program still lingers in the hearts and minds of the multiple generations of American children whose childhood was shaped by the program.