Tuesday, December 03, 2019

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: My review

SPOILER ALERT: Nothing blows up. No one flies. No worlds are targeted for extinction. This movie will not become a land in Disney World. So see it at your own risk.

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD is a very sweet little feel-good movie. Tom Hanks plays beloved TV children’s show host, Fred Rogers. I have all good things to say about it except one. The documentary last year on Mr. Rogers was way better.

That documentary really gives a great portrait into the man and his mission. In BEAUTIFUL DAY, Mr. Rogers is essentially a guardian angel who warms the cold heart of an Esquire journalist played by Russian spy Matthew Rhys. Both Rhys and Hanks are wonderful actors and watching the two of them is a pleasure. And it was nice to see Rhys not having to report to the Kremlin.

As I was watching it I thought, if Fred Rogers hadn’t really existed no one would ever buy this film. We’d all be saying, “No one is that genuine and kind-hearted.” But of course he was. And my second thought was “Boy, we sure could use him now.”

The movie I'd really love to see is MR. ROGERS GOES TO WASHINGTON.  

All in all, BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD is a very pleasant motion picture. And Hanks is more believable as Mr. Rogers than Walt Disney. I look forward to next Christmas when he plays Mother Teresa and the following when he plays Jesus.


slgc said...

I thought that the scenes with Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers were absolutely magical.

The rest of the film - not so much. As you said, last year's documentary was so much better (and I'm STILL angry that the documentary didn't receive an Oscar nomination last year!).

Patrick said...

This is the rumored next Tom Hanks picture, hope it comes off, I think I'd like this more than Mother Teresa, this is from IMDB -

A mild-mannered Chicago professor becomes America's first ambassador to Hitler's Germany just before the Nazis began to assert an iron grip across Europe.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Tom Hanks made a living out of troubled or misunderstood characters who embody goodness.
very proficient at it but not the most range in the world.
This generation's Spencer Tracy.

Michael said...

I bet Meryl Street was the first choice to play Mr. Rogers.

Sean said...

We're in a very cynical time. I hope it doesn't result in way too much paranoia.

Soak in some quality kid's shows for a welcome change.


blinky said...

I understand that Michael Keeton ran the trolley for Mr Rogers for a time before he hit it big.

CRL said...

I think they should have built the movie around the time he fought Julia Child in The Battle Of The PBS Stars......

No said...

So if I read you correctly, this film is basically a hagiography about St. Fred of Rogers. Does anything even happen in the plot? Was there any drama or nuance, or is it just 2 hours of how wonderful he was?

Don't get me wrong, he was a wonderful human being who did so much to humanize our society, and I hope his influence reverberates. I grew up with him as a kid, and I know that our country needs some of his spirit right now, but elevating him to sainthood isn't anything I could stomach.

I think I'll watch the documentary first.

Waylon Mercy said...

A few Cheers questions.

1- In season 11: "Little Match Girl", "The Guy Can't Help it" and "Teaching With The Enemy" are semi dark in tone for later seasons Cheers. (Frazier threatens suicide after Lilith leaves. etc...) Was there any reservation on the tone of those episodes at all? They weren't the normal pattern of joke after joke.

2- What are some of your favorite season 11 episodes? I have to say- "The Beer is Always Greener" and "Last Picture Show" are near perfect episodes to me. Would put them in pantheon of best sitcom eps of all time!!

3- If you could redo things, would you have welcomed the idea of Shelley coming back not just for the last episode but say for most of or the entire season 11 to wrap up her storyline with Sam?

Mike Bloodworth said...

I saw the preview for "...Beautiful Day..." when I saw "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." Almost immediately I thought that Tom Hanks didn't seem right for the part. He was the obvious choice, but not necessarily the best choice. I'll probably wait until it comes out on video if I see it at all.

I would also recommend the PBS documentary, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

Roy DeRousse said...

I haven't seen this yet but plan to. I am someone with no direct experience with Mr. Rogers - I'm in my 60s with no kids - but loved the documentary. I really gained an appreciation for the man.

I have a feeling this will be like the recent films about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "On the Basis of Sex" (the biopic) was good, but "RBG" (the documentary) was much better.

Tom said...

"In the Garden of Beasts" (Hanks' reported next movie) is based on Erik Larson's book of the same name. The ambassador, William Dodd, was an interesting guy: the foremost turn-of-the-century historian of the American South (who did not subscribe to the Lost Cause malarkey that was prevalent then), spoke fluent German and had studied there, got the ambassador's job through connections when FDR couldn't find anyone else to take it, and actually tried to do something about the Nazis' oppression of Jews at a time when the U.S. government basically couldn't care less. Meanwhile, his daughter was horsing around with Nazi officers.
Hanks sounds perfect for the part. I'd like to see this movie.

Todd Everett said...

This may be one of my favorite comments, ever.

So if I read you correctly, this film is basically a hagiography about St. Fred of Rogers. Does anything even happen in the plot? Was there any drama or nuance, or is it just 2 hours of how wonderful he was?

...I know that our country needs some of his spirit right now, but elevating him to sainthood isn't anything I could stomach.

I think I'll watch the documentary first.

Anonymous said...

Michale Keaton is a better actor with wider range than Tom Hanks.

scottmc said...

I had the same reaction to the movie. I've seen it twice, the second time because a friend wanted to see it. When I saw it the first time the biggest take away for me was that it seemed Chris Cooper,as Matthew Rhys father, had as much screen time as Tom Hanks. Also, because I too saw the excellent documentary, I was able to recognize some of the people in the coffee shop scene(where Rogers gets Vogel to pause for a minute). Fred Rogers widow is in the scene,as are some of the people who worked on the show with Fred. The second time I saw it I noticed the audience reaction. At first,they were a bit like the Matthew Rhys character. As the movie progressed they bought in as much as Rhys did. As the final credits rolled, as is now the case with most movie bio-pics, footage of the real life subject of the film was show. Those who stayed appeared more deeply effected by that brief footage of Fred Rogers than they were by the movie.

ventucky said...

For icons such as Mr. Rogers, having an even larger icon such as Tom Hanks playing him, disallows me to suspend belief that it is Mr. Rogers. I'm sure there are fairly unknown actors that are talented enough to suspend my belief.

YEKIMI said...

But Mr. Rogers DID go to Washington. If it wasn't for him testifying before congress, PBS as we know it today probably would not exist. So there wouldn't be a documentary about Mr. Rogers or Tom Hanks playing him. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKy7ljRr0AA

Roger Owen Green said...

To Frank Bean's question, and a general comment: the reason I liked this, even though I saw the doc last year, is that this story isn't really about Fred, it's about how the writer deals with Fred. I didn't have a stopwatch, but Rhys might have had more screen time than Hanks.

Janet said...

Tom Hanks stole the show.... totally disappeared into the role, which is as it should be.

I realize the film was based on a very specific story (which I quite liked overall) but it would have been nice to have more of Mr Rogers' backstory in the film.

We took our 10-year-old who loves Me Rogers but this movie wasn't for her.

No said...

Roger Owen Green:

Fair enough, I'll give it a chance. I shouldn't prejudge it before watching. There are always different angles to explore.

I'm a fan of Mr. Rogers--more than that, he feels like a family member growing up, but I still want to watch the documentary first.

Unknown said...

Did they talk about his time in 'Nam when he was a sniper with the most kills?
:) ;)

Too bad he isn't around now to help out in DC, You know it's not nice to call people names. Do you like to be called names? How does it feel when someone calls you a bad name? How do you think other people feel when you call them bad names? And stop lying.

Chris said...

Selling this as a Mr Rogers film is the dictionary definition of bait and switch. How did he get to be that way? What pressures did he feel? How did he square his outlook with the corrupt real world? Gornisht.