Friday, August 14th, 2020
We watched Matthew Rhys and Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood this evening, and I sort of billed it as “after seeing Rhys do a super somber Perry Mason, this will be a wonderful palate cleanser.”
Well, not exactly. Matthew Rhys plays a guy “broken” in all kinds of different ways than Perry and Russian spy Phil Jennings in The Americans. But he did a great job, and we enjoyed the movie, and I certainly enjoyed all the late 1980s video tech, even though the filmmakers can’t help but use more movie-people jargon than tv-people jargon (this is a critique only relevant to people who have toiled in the fields of television, and yeah, that’s a distinct subset of the content consumers out there.)
I think the movie did a decent job of communicating Fred Rogers’ talent for speaking to humans of all ages, making them feel safe, and explaining the ways we connect to each other. All with quirky puppets, a large traffic light, a trolley, and heart.
In college, I worked a lot of afternoons as a “duty director,” the guy who puts Misterogers Neighborhood and Sesame Street and Lilias, Yoga and You on the air, and makes sure the little breaks between the programs come off smoothly. Fred Rogers and Grover and Kermit the Frog are therefore in my memory vividly and permanently.