On the eighth Date of Christmas, my true love saw with me: “A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood”

Time for the latest instalment of the amazing Christmas 2018 gift in which Cathy promises to go to one movie a month with me, and we are almost caught up now with 8 movies in 11 months, so December is going to be busy.

what did we see

Movie poster
Yesterday the Mrs. and I went to see the highly-anticipated biopic, a profile of an Esquire journalist named Tom Junod and a look behind the scenes at the magazine business.

who was it about

Tom Junod, known as Lloyd Vogel in the film and played by Matthew Rhys, is a crusading journalist struggling with personal demons. Here, by the way, is the actual Esquire article from November 1998 that we see him writing in the film.

who was it supposedly about

wait, what?

this is actually about beloved children’s TV host Fred “Mr.” Rogers? Played by the equally beloved Tom “Tom” Hanks?

You could have fooled me. It’s a lot more about a guy writing a magazine article and his personal struggles than it is about somebody that absolutely everyone likes (and that could be either Mr. Rogers or Mr. Hanks.)

where’d you see it

Cineplex Queensway VIP. The VIP concept, or at least the reserved-seat concept, is the best thing movie theatres have done in years. I love knowing that I’ll have a good seat. I also love knowing that you can look at the published start time of the movie, 7:45, and realize that means “This is when you should leave home.”

what time did you actually leave home

6:45. I am married to someone who really really likes getting there early. Just in case. Wouldn’t want to miss any commercials.

how many times did you doze off

One, I think. (The chairs were really comfortable)

did you get food delivered to your seat?

Yes. Fish and chips and a Stella. Not bad.

get to the point, did you like it or not?

I am going to say something mildly controversial here which is likely to provoke much scorn: I generally love Tom Hanks and have enjoyed everything he’s ever done. (That is not the scorn-provoking sentence. Here comes the scorn-provoker.)

I really expected differently but … I didn’t particularly like this movie.

It’s beautifully made, and Tom Hanks is believable in his role but this is











It is ostensibly about Mr. Rogers but is really more about Mr. Junod coming to grips with himself.

Tom Hanks will probably win awards for this portrayal; Fred Rogers is obviously a wonderful person and the film is beautifully shot (particularly the use of kid-scale city models) but you don’t really learn much about him here. What’s his background? Was he actually a navy sharpshooter? (answer: no, and that briefly is mentioned.) How’d he get started doing this show? What’s it like doing a children’s TV show? And where was the cameo by Ernie “Mr. Dressup” Coombs, who was once Fred’s assistant?

what’s up next?

We’ve seen lots of biopics during this film quest. Judy Garland. Elton John. Neil Armstrong. Laurel and Hardy. Don Shirley. I think I’m ready for a little more action. Cathy, howsabout we go see Ford v. Ferrari ?