Here’s our episode reviewing a feel-good dramatization of a feel-good situation involving the feelingest-good man, Fred Rogers.
Jon and Brooke join me this time to discuss A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, the not-quite-a-biopic look at Mister Rogers himself directed by apparently wonderful person Marielle Heller. Starring Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys, as well as Susan Kelechi Watson in her film debut and Chris Cooper in yet another role as a bad dad, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a nice, well-acted film with sweet intentions, but which, we all decided, isn’t quite the moving movie moment that was last year’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor?.
The movie is based, to some extent, on the fascinating real-life moment when, in 1998, an Esquire interview was published by journalist and famous curmudgeon Tom Junod (here Lloyd Vogel) whose worldview was changed after being tasked with interviewing Fred Rogers. On the podcast I mentioned wanting to read the interview, and thankfully, you can, because it is online for free.
I hadn’t known about this story when I watched Won’t You Be My Neighbor? like a dozen times, but if I had, I’d have recognized, and been excited to see the real-life Tom Junod in that film. Here he is talking about his friendship with Rogers:
Incidentally, I also mentioned a Esquire cover that I thought was a funny looking baby’s face, and which I thought resembled a scene from The End of Evangelion. I was wrong about this every step of the way. It was not a baby, and the End of Evangelion shot does not, in fact, look like it. Not really. It was the a false memory, I guess. But for comparison, here are the images side-by-side.
I also found this interview with Matthew Rhys to be pretty funny, because as a Welshman, he didn’t even know who Mister Rogers was.
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