I know that most documentaries fly over the heads of modern moviegoers, but surely you have heard of the new documentary, WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?, which is about the wonderful human being named Fred Rogers and how him and his show Mister Rogers Neighborhood had a huge impact on a lot of people. If you haven’t I’m surprised because they have promoted the shit out of this thing. I haven’t seen a promotion for a documentary this hard since Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. Well, I can see the hard push for regular people to see this film, because it is probably one of the best documentaries ever made, it is now my personal favorite (beating out Michael Moore’s Bowling For Columbine and Sick for me), and to tell you the truth, I think that this film should be required viewing, not just be everyone in North America, but by every living breathing human being on this planet.
I’ll admit this right up front, I teared up during this film. Fred Rogers was an extraordinary human being, and after this documentary, I don’t know how anyone couldn’t put him in a top ten human beings of all time list. This is a man that had no skeletons in his closet, no secret crimes committed, not a secret pedophile or homosexual (at the time, hopefully no one would really care about him being a homosexual if he was one now), he was completely the image and stature of the man he gave and showed us on television. A man that had a genuine love for all children and cared about their upbringing and well being, not a mean bone in his body, and used a cheaply made show on PBS to get his message of love and understanding not just to children, but to adults that would watch the program as well. The documentary interviews friends and family, from people that were on the show, and some who were never on camera and only behind the scenes. His sons said they had a wonderful childhood with him, his wife says he was a wonderful husband, everybody who worked with him have fond memories and don’t think one negative thing about him. It is absolutely unbelievable, yet believable. He was basically what we hoped Bill Cosby was…until you know.
This is the kind of documentary we need right now. This documentary shows what the human condition in all of us should and could be. Not to go into any real spoilers or anything but the part of the documentary that made me tear up is right after Fred Rogers died and they were holding a funeral memorial service for him, there were people across the street protesting Fred Rogers, claiming he was a homosexual and/or that he didn’t disapprove of them, and that him and his show made everyone in today’s world feel like they are more privileged than they should be. I almost couldn’t stand watching that scene, knowing that there were human beings that were utterly that stupid and ignorant to be thinking those things and actually having the gall and time to do them. Shows how low our world has sunk. But you know what? If Fred Rogers were still alive today, he wouldn’t hate those people, he wouldn’t want revenge and try to find skeletons in their closets to present to the world. He would probably just smile, shrug, and just go about doing what he kept on doing for so many years. He would probably just say that they were misunderstood individuals. That takes courage, and shows the true measure of men, women, children, what everyone on this world could hold in their hearts if everybody just really tried. The part I am describing sounds depressing, but the documentary is anything but. It is uplifting, sweet, inspiring, endearing, and all the other positive words to describe it that could come out of my mouth right now. It really is one of the best documentaries every made. And if you are reading this and haven’t went out to check it out. Do it immediately.