7*; A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)

-Slow paced
-Tom Hanks draws out some hankies
-It’s really about the other guy (but this commentary is not)

It isn’t whether Tom Hanks is a great Mr. Rogers (you’re welcome to think so). It’s that the protagonist Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) reminds me of Hanks in terms of career. The former is depicted as a type-cast writer of scathing personal attacks, given this opportunity to change public perception. The latter had a similar challenge after the “Big” splash (1998) locked in the mental image of Mr. Hanks as the funny guy.

Oh! Is it just me that is living with the past Tom Hanks? I suppose so. I can’t here his name without thinking of the Big hit with the dance on the FAO Schwarz toy store keyboard built into the floor (insert admission: went there, did that after the movie). Every attempt to say his name gets shortcut to, “You know, the guy in ‘Big.’ … Yeah, Tom Hanks. That’s him.”

That was him over 20 years ago you say. I get it. Before Cast Away (2000), The Terminal (2004), Captain Phillips (2013), Bridge of Spies (2015), Sully (2016), The Post (2017), and many other films outside the hype of humor failed to reset my memory set.

“Neighborhood” is a good story and adequately acted. No animals were harmed in the making, though some turned into hand puppets and others dozed off through the slow spots … which means “hibernated” is a more applicable term than “dozed.” 🙂

Looking ahead, TH is listed as actor and producer of the forthcoming project “A Man Called Ove.” I saw and recommend the 2015 Swedish film by that title. Ove is a cantankerous but wonderful old man. Maybe, just maybe, that role will be so far-flung from “Big” that I will finally adapt my thinking. But don’t count on it.

*(star) rating in the title is mine; e.g. 7*=Seven Stars (maximum 10)

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