The 10 Best Movies of the Year and How They Made Me Feel

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PHOTO CREDITS: Courtesy of the Studios

For my ten favorite movies of 2019, I have decided to ascribe each of them an emotion or a way of looking at the world that reflects how they made me feel to my core.

But first! – here are some other movies from the past year that I quite enjoyed that didn’t quite make the top 10:

Apollo 11, Avengers: Endgame, Fighting with My Family, Hail Satan?, Hustlers, Isn’t It Romantic, The Irishman, Little Women, Ma, Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound, The Mustang, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Rocketman, Toy Story 4, The Two Popes

Now for the Top 10 … (Drumroll, if you please)

10. Knives Out: STRAPPED-IN AND ALONG FOR THE RIDE – Here’s a wonderful idea for a murder mystery: give away the answer at the beginning … and then add more surprises along the way!

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Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 11/22/19

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Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Movies
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Theatrically Nationwide) – One of the year’s best!
Dark Waters (Limited Theatrically)
Frozen 2 (Theatrically Nationwide)

TV
MST3K Turkey Day Marathon (Streaming November 28 on various platforms)

‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ Demonstrates the Life-Changing Power of Meeting Someone Who Treats You Like the Most Important Person in the World

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CREDIT: Lacey Terrell/Sony Pictures Entertainment

Starring: Matthew Rhys, Tom Hanks, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Cooper, Enrico Colantoni, Christine Lahti, Tammy Blanchard

Director: Marielle Heller

Running Time: 107 Minutes

Rating: PG for A Small Skirmish

Release Date: November 22, 2019

How can the cinema industry justify releasing a Mr. Rogers biopic just a little over a year after a documentary about the longtime PBS host came out? This isn’t the first time that two such films about the same subject have come out in such close proximity, and while at first blush it might appear to be overkill, this is actually an excellent example in which both movies are distinctly valuable. As A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood demonstrates, people like Fred Rogers lived lives that were rich enough to have multiple stories worth telling, thanks to the other lives they touched dearly. One of those lives was that of journalist Tom Junod, whose 1998 Esquire article “Can You Say… Hero?” inspired the film. Matthew Rhys plays Junod avatar Lloyd Vogel, who believes he’s meeting just another interview subject but instead finds himself a therapist and a dear friend.

Director Marielle Heller makes a fantastic filmmaking choice to open up Beautiful Day, presenting a framing device in which Lloyd’s story is introduced as a segment on an episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Mr. Rogers (thoroughly inhabited by Tom Hanks) is showing his viewers a board featuring pictures of some of his friends, including his new friend Lloyd, whose photo sticks out distressingly, thanks to a nasty bruise between Lloyd’s eyes and a wild look on his face. It’s a jarring image in this context (for multiple reasons), but Mr. Rogers gently guides us through it with such spectacular empathy, informing us that Lloyd is having a hard time forgiving someone who hurt him. That someone is Lloyd’s father Jerry (Chris Cooper), who has suddenly reappeared in Lloyd’s life decades after sleeping around on his terminally ill wife and abandoning his young children. Lloyd’s default state when Jerry is around is a fiery coil of resentment, but luckily his next assignment has him meeting someone who treats whomever he is talking as the most important person in the world.

Lloyd’s life and profession have trained him to be skeptical, which is how he initially approaches Mr. Rogers. Surely and obviously, this man who speaks so gently and fastidiously must be putting on an act whenever the cameras are rolling. But what Tom learns, and what we all get to witness, is just how genuine Fred is. It takes practice to be as thoughtful and concerned as he is, but that effort makes his persona no less real. Instead, it makes it even more powerful and effective. We should all be as concerned for and interested about the people in our lives as Fred is to Lloyd. When a film is as useful an empathy how-to guide as A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is, it is truly something special.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is Recommended If You Like: Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Wonder, Magazines

Grade: 4.5 out of 5 Special Friends