Movie Review: Won’t you be my Neighbor

This is a documentary about the late Fred Rogers, arguably the most likable person who has ever been on TV. Fred Rogers was in real life exactly as he appeared on his PBS show, where all he cared about was helping children. Very few have ever had the talents to make people feel better about their life, maybe less unhappy, less nervous, but Fred Rogers had the innate ability to make everybody who saw his show feel just a little bit better. In the audience I was in, some people were weeping because they were so moved by the niceness and human decency in Fred Rogers just watching the tapes of some of the many shows he did on PBS. At one point, Rogers decided to take a break from his show, hoping he could reinvent himself trying to help adults, some of whom were in prison – but he was not as adept at that aspect of relating to people. Rogers even tried to help children get through death, divorce, bullying and even the 911 tragedy with his show.

What amazed me the most about this very good documentary that has a 99% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes is that even a guy as nice as Fred Rogers did not escape the stupid criticism of some critics – who accused him of being responsible all the ills of the current generation of children because he told them that they were all special. Rogers believed that we are all special in the eyes of God, but the cruel and stupid critics thought that this gave too many children an excuse not to work hard. Obviously, this criticism is even more cruel than it is completely idiotic but its also part of being in the public eye. This shows that in this world, no matter what you do, there is always someone close by just waiting his or her turn to knock you down and make you feel bad about yourself. As Rogers himself said in this documentary – “people who go out of their way to knock other people down are the very essence of evil”. All of us have met people like this in our life and careers – including me. Its part of life, an unfortunate reality.

“Won’t you be my Neighbor” gets my highest recommendation.

Movie Review: Jurassic World: Forgotten Kingdom

The good news about the latest in the Jurassic Park series of movies that started in 1993, 25 years ago – is that this one is bad enough that maybe they will stop making these movies. The Rotten Tomatoes rating is only 50% and I would have given this movie a 20% rating.

The logline for this entire franchise is – there are dinosaurs somewhere, people are around the dinosaurs and then something goes wrong and people run for their lives and some die. Considering a logline like this its no wonder that all of this can get old pretty quickly. The first Jurassic Park was released in 1993, the second in 1997 and the third in 2001. Then it was 14 long years before the new one was released in 2015. I thought the 2015 version was a good film, but this followup is a bad movie that could wreck the franchise for good. The story was convoluted and not believable, many of the things that the main characters, played by Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, are not things that anyone with any level of intelligence would do. Somewhere along the line, the producers of these movies have to realize that special effects cannot rescue a bad idea, or worse a bad script.

This movie is only for kids who love any kind of dinosaur movie or for the most die-hard Jurassic Park fan’s. For everybody else, this one should be skipped.

Movie Review: Hearts Beat Loud

The new small movie “Hearts Beat Loud” has very big ratings on Rotten Tomatoes of 91% and I agree with those numbers. The story here is simple and that is why it is a very good film because most of the time, the simple small stories about real life are always the best.

This story is about the grief of a widower Frank Fisher played by Nick Offerman and the difficulties of running a small record store and raising a teenage daughter,played extremely well by the actress Kiersey Clemons by himself. They have almost no money, the business is failing and Frank’s daughter is about to go to college to become a doctor. One line that stood out for me is that the tuition for one year of medical school is 62,000 a year but if you have no money at all, its 12,000. How completely insane is this? Somewhere along the line the amount of money that the vast majority of people make in this country became completely disconnected to what things cost and this movie depicts this harsh reality very well. This problem is at its absolute worst when it comes to the cost of college, law school and medical school.

This movie also stars Toni Collette who plays the landlord of the failing record store and Collette was also in the recent and very good movie Heredity – recently reviewed in this blog. One problem in this movie was the chain smoking of Nick Offerman’s character – a problem I still see in almost all movies today.

I thought the singing and music in this movie, especially at the end was very well done and adds even more to like to this very good film.

I highly recommend Hearts Beat Loud.