Tag Archives: Tom Hanks

My Favorite Movies of 2019

Going to the movies is sometimes akin to stepping onto a roller coaster. Sometimes you love the film your seeking. Sometimes you hate it.

My favorite movies of 2019 are as follows:

  1. The Farewell: The Farewell is my favorite movie of the year because it is heartfelt, genuine and thoroughly human. In the lead role, Awkwafina proves that she can play much more than the comic relief.
  2. Avengers: Endgame: If there was a perfect way to end a film series, this film is it. Balancing both action and narrative, this thrill ride is pure perfection.
  3. Judy: Renee Zellweger is an absolute shoe-in for the Oscars as the late film icon Judy Garland. Disappearing in the role, she tells the true story of the final years of Garland’s life.
  4. Downton Abbey: Transferring a popular television show to the big screen is often easier said than done. The Downton Abbey movie is the perfect film bookend to this beloved television program.
  5. Harriet: This biopic of Harriet Tubman is nothing short of tremendous. In the lead role, Cynthia Erivo is Harriet Tubman.
  6. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: This final entry in the Skywalker saga is not perfect, but it ends with both a nod to the past and an open door to the future.
  7. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The late Fred Rogers was more than a milquetoast children’s TV host. He taught generations of children in ways that go beyond the classroom. Inhabiting the role of Mister Rogers is Tom Hanks, who reminds viewers why we loved him.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

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Filed under Books, Downton Abbey, Feminism, History, Mental Health, Movie Review, Movies, Star Wars, Television

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Movie Review

When Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood went off the air in 2001, it was the end of an era in television.

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.

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Thoughts On A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Trailer

For many of us, our childhood memories are cocooned in three words: Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. Fred Rogers was more than a TV host, he was a friend, a confidant and a teacher, all in one.

The new movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys is the story of the friendship that blossomed between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod.

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.

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Toy Story 4 Movie Review

When a sequel or a prequel to a beloved franchise is released, the hope is that not only will it live up to the original work, but it will expand the story.

In 1995, the original Toy Story was released. It was an instant success and revolutionized animated films. 24 years later, Toy Story 4 was released.

The 4th film in the series picks up just after the 3rd film ended. Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw), the young girl who inherited the toys is starting Kindergarten and is not feeling it. During orientation, she creates Forky (Tony Hale) and immediately adopts him as one of her toys. But Forky is not immediately convinced that he is a toy.

When Bonnie’s parents take her on a road trip before school starts, Woody (Tom Hanks), makes it his business to ensure that Forky does not escape. But inevitably, he does, separating Woody from Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the rest of the toys. Before reuniting with the rest of the crew, Woody meets up with Bo Peep (Annie Potts), his unrequited crush who has become a bad-ass. They have to rescue Forky from the hands of potentially psychopathic Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) with the help of Duke Kaboom (Keanu Reeves).

Upon release of the trailer, some may have asked why this film was necessary. The previous film tied up the narrative strings so perfectly that this film may seem like an easy cash grab by Disney.

It’s not. It expands the narrative in new and different ways. I loved the expansion of Bo Peep as a character and the message that it sends to women and girls of any age. I also loved the narrative of coming to the realization that things and relationships change. When we come to that point, we can either stay where we are or have the courage to step into the unknown for an adventure that is not yet revealed to us.

This film has humor, has heart and speaks to both children and adults.

I absolutely recommend it.

Toy Story 4 is presently in theaters.

P.S. Stay past the initial credits. The post credit scenes are worth the wait.

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Throwback Thursday-The Terminal (2004)

For most people, airports are a place just to come and go. But it can also leave flyers stranded, trapped between where they are going to and where they were coming from.

In the 2004 movie, The Terminal, Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) is traveling through New York’s JFK airport when he learns that the fictional Eastern European country that he calls home experiences a political revolution. His passport is no longer valid. He cannot leave the airport, nor can he fly home. The only thing he can do is make himself comfortable until he can fly home. While he is waiting for the political situation in his homeland to clear up, he makes friends with the airport employees.

What I like about this movie is that it is simply entertaining. There is no overt political message or heavy-handed theme. It is just the story of a man who is trying to make the best of a bad situation.

I recommend it.

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Flashback Friday-The Da Vinci Code (2006)

Dan Brown’s 2006 novel, The Da Vinci Code was nothing short of a bombshell when it hit book stories 12 years ago. Depending on the perspective of the reader, it was either a thriller that kept you reading, or it was blasphemous/utter nonsense.

Either way, it’s no great mystery as to why a film adaptation of the book quickly reached theaters that same year. Starring Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon and Audrey Tautou as Sophie Neveu, the characters are trying to unravel a murder mystery, while discovering clues about the murderer in the works of Leonardo da Vinci. In doing so, they are outing a secret society that has lasted for centuries and could change how Christianity is viewed should the secrets be brought into the light.

I really enjoyed this movie. I enjoyed it not only because I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, but also the religious element adds to the tension that is part of discovering who the killer is.

I recommend it.

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The Post Movie Review

Freedom of the press is one of our core freedoms. Without that freedom, our democracy is not a democracy.

The new movie, The Post, takes place in 1971. Kay Graham (Meryl Streep), is the owner/publisher of The Washington Post. The Vietnam War is raging on and the country is split down an ideological divide that looks impossible to cross. Kay is dealing with two equally troubling the issues: the newspaper’s financial issues and the fact that she is not just one of the few women in the newsroom, but one of the few women running a newspaper. The men around her are not exactly pleased to have to deal with on a professional level. Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) is her editor who is not afraid to tell the truth. After the New York Times publishes the Pentagon Papers and is called by the government for the printing, the documents get into the hands of the Washington Post. The question is, do Kay and Ben publish the papers and is freedom of the press more important than the security of the nation?

Directed by Steven Spielberg, this movie is a must see for every American citizen. It is a must see because the same arguments that the real life versions of the characters were having 46 years ago, we are still having the same arguments today. Especially with you know who in the White House. It is also a must see because without knowing it, Kay Graham was one of the women who helped to break the glass ceiling.  She is still remembered today for her contributions in the arenas of both supporting the right of a free press and for the thousands of female journalists who have careers because of her.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Musings On The 25th Anniversary Of A League Of Their Own

This past weekend, the 1992 film, A League Of Their Own, celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Taking place during World War II, it is the story of two sisters, Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and Kit Keller (Lori Petty). While the boys are fighting their way across Europe, a girls baseball league, called the AAGPBL is created. Both Dottie and Kit try out and are chosen for the Rockford Peaches, coached by Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks). But while their professional lives are a success, the relationship between the two sisters begins to degrade.

For a generation of young girls, this movie is nothing short of life changing. It was feminism without hitting the audience over the head. It was a history lesson that far from boring. It was the story of two sisters whose relationship felt normal and real. Most of all, it encouraged young girls to become athletes.

I recall seeing this movie in theaters back in the day and I remember walking out of the theater transformed. It was an amazing film then and 25 years later, it still is an amazing film.

I still can’t believe it’s been 25 years, time goes way too fast. Thanks for the memories.

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Flashback Friday-Turner & Hooch (1989)

There is a unique bond between a human being and their dog. It’s as if this relationship was meant to be, these individuals were meant to spend their lives with each other.

In 1989 movie, Turner and Hooch, Scott Turner (Tom Hanks) has had it. A member of the police department, Scott’s cases have only been minor busts that are doing nothing for his career.

Three days before Scott is scheduled to transfer precincts, hoping to get a real piece of the action, a case falls into his lap. Amos Reed (John McIntire) has been murdered. There are no human witnesses, only Amos’s four-legged slobbering best friend Hooch. Scott is tasked with taking care of the dog. It’s not exactly what he asked for.

There are some narratives where the lead character does not get what they want, but they gets what they need. I feel like that is very true to life. What Scott wanted was career prestige. What needed was a smelly, sloberring, out of control dog who becomes his best friend.

I recommend it.

 

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Flashback Friday-Toy Story (1995)

When we are young, our toys are our best friends. They are inanimate objects in which we bestow our hopes and our fears. But what would happen if  the toys came to life when their humans were not around?

This is the premise for Toy Story (1995).

Woody the cowboy (Tom Hanks) has been the favorite toy of Andy (John Morris) for a very long time. Then Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) is brought home and Woody feels like he has lost his place in the universe.  Buzz becomes Andy’s new favorite toy and Woody becomes jealous. In an attempt to get rid of Buzz, Woody removes them both from the comfort of Andy’s room. Now they must work together to get home before Andy moves and leaves them behind forever.

The graphics, especially for a movie made in 1995 are incredible. At the time, they were groundbreaking. But what makes the movie for me at least is the story. For a kid’s movie, the  plot and journey that the characters go through is very mature. It also appeals to the adults who remember when they were kids and saw their toys not as pieces of plastic and metal molded together, but as an extension of themselves.

I absolutely recommend it.

 

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