Film Review “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

Directed by: Morgan Neville
Starring: Fred Rogers
Distributed by: Focus Features
Running time: 93 minutes

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, A beautiful day for a neighbor,  Would you be mine? , Could you be mine?” In the 1980’s these lyrics to the opening song in “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”, started my day as a kid! This is a show that I watched ALWAYS! I loved “Mister Rogers Neighborhood”. He was a very special person and there isn’t anyone else around like him today. I feel like the world would be a better place if people really cared about others. I mean really cared. We are way to skeptical people these days and times when “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” first debuted people looked to him, like myself, as a role model. They listened to him and trusted what he said. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” is a fantastic trip back into the world of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”. Get your tissue box ready cause this one is guaranteed to hit those heart strings!

Director Morgan Leville, knows best for his His Oscar winning 2014 film, “20 Feet From Stardom”, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. He is back and this time focusing on a legend that perhaps doesn’t get the recognition that he deserves. This film is also quite an eye-opener. It makes you think about the world and how it’s changed and what we can do to help the future for our children. This documentary will actually make you wish you lived in a time when things were simpler. Daily, Mister Rogers would make sure to tell everyone watching how special they are for just being them! Now what is wrong with that?!. With all the hate and disgust coming out of the media and the world today, I don’t know how Mister Rogers would have fit in today’s world…but I wish his influences were recognized more. The film showcases a big part in the history of PBS and Fred Rogers, when he testified before Congress in order to get funding. If he wouldn’t have stood up for what he believed in and left his heart on the table exclaiming how he help kids and how he feels like he is an important part of their lives things would be much different since ended up getting the funding and changed children’s TV forever.

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” is a tight feature, running around 90 minutes. It goes fast and leaves you with happy tears leaving the theater. The documentary brings to light various issues that the show dealt with rather it be protesting or hiding sexuality of the co-cast and showcased some pranking on set during the production. I never knew that side since I was a young kid. The film has a slight edge to it, so I wouldn’t show this to kids. This is a documentary for adults, who were influenced in their life by Fred Rogers and the important work that he did. I really enjoyed getting to meet some of the cast from the show in the present and what they have been up to. There are tons of great archive footage as well with great interviews and behind-the-scenes content with Fred Rogers. One thing I take away from this movie is that I will be sure to try everything I can to keep his spirit alive with my own family and moving on! Good see this movie ASAP and remember to bring those tissues!

Book Review “My Neighbor Totoro Picture Book (New Edition)”

Author: Hayao Miyazaki
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Series: My Neighbor Totoro
Hardcover: 112 pages
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC; New edition
Release Date: October 1, 2013

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Damn! Has it really been 25 years? I remember watching “My Neighbor Totoro” when I was a kid and now I have been introducing it this year to my 17 month old daughter. In fact, I have a feel that she is going to love this picture book as well as she learns the film and grows up with it like I have. Viz Media is releasing this new edition to celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary and they have done a great job here for sure. If you do not already own this book, then this will be a great way to parents to introduce the film to their children and keep the fandom surrounding this film and Studio Ghibli overall going for another generation.

Official Premise: The companion book to the beloved animation classic My Neighbor Totoro, by legendary Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki. Featuring artwork taken directly from the movie, this updated edition will allow parents and children to relive Totoro’s magical adventures with scene-by-scene illustrations and character dialogue. Eleven-year-old Satsuki and her sassy little sister Mei have moved to the country to be closer to their ailing mother. While their father is working, the girls explore their sprawling old house and the forest and fields that surround it. Soon, Satsuki and Mei discover Totoro, a magical forest spirit who takes them on fantastic adventures through the trees and the clouds–and teaches them a lesson about trusting one another.

To be honest the title of the book says it all. We get the entire story of the film within some text and illustration. So you can get the jist of the film as it is perfect laid out. I feel like it is giant comic book but also like a visual journey of the film. The images in the book are basically screenshots from the film and they are presented in very high quality. My daughter already is able to say Totoro or “Torto” as she says it since we have plush dolls and various merchandise all over the house. So watching her sit quietly and flip through this book made me very happy and I am sure that this will be used quite a bit over the years. No brainer if you are a fan of the film and Studio Ghibli. I hope that Viz has future plans for more collaborations with their films.

Studio Ghilbi Blu-ray Giveaway: “Howl’s Moving Castle” & “My Neighbor Totoro” [ENDED]


To celebrate the release of Studio Ghilbi’s latest Blu-ray releases, Media Mikes would like to giveaway a Blu-ray of both “Howl’s Moving Castle” & “My Neighbor Totoro”. If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email indicating your favorite Studio Ghibli film and why? This giveaway will remain open until May 31st at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to all fans of Media Mikes, worldwide!! One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

“Howl’s Moving Castle” Official Premise: Sophie, a quiet girl working in a hat shop, finds her life thrown into turmoil when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome but mysterious wizard named Howl. The vain and vengeful Witch of the Waste, jealous of their friendship, puts a spell on Sophie. In a life-changing adventure, Sophie climbs aboard Howl’s magnificent moving castle and enters a magical world on a quest to break the spell. Featuring the voice talents of Christian Bale and Billy Crystal, Miyazaki’s artistry comes to life with inventive characters, unique storytelling, and richly detailed animation. Your whole family will love this epic fantasy on Disney Blu-ray!

“My Neighbor Totoro” Official Premise: Follow the adventures of Satsuki and her four-year-old sister Mei as they discover their new neighbor is a mysterious forest spirit named Totoro who can only be seen by the eyes of a child. As Totoro introduces the girls to his extraordinary friends, they embark on the journey of a lifetime. Featuring the voice talents of Tim Daly, Lea Salonga and real-life sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning, My Neighbor Totoro is an amazing animated adventure the whole family will fall in love with.


Blu-ray Review “My Neighbor Totoro”

Actors: Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning, Tim Daly, Pat Carroll, Lea Salonga
Directors: Hayao Miyazaki
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Run Time: 88 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“My Neighbor Totoro” is my favorite Studio Ghibli film, hands down and also one of my favorite films are all-time. There is something about this film that is so simple so contains a much deeper message. The film is very magical, sweet and just plain funny. The character of Totoro is one of my favorites and also ended up becoming also the logo for Studio Ghibli. It is crazy to think that this film is not celebrating its 25th anniversary. I remember watching this film as a kid and now I get to share this film on Blu-ray with my own daughter. She is already in love with this film and its characters. The film doesn’t show it’s age at thanks to an all new HD digital transfer, courtesy of Disney. If you are a Ghibli fan, this is an amazing release. I am sure that we will be watching this film on loop for many years to come.

Official Premise: Follow the adventures of Satsuki and her four-year-old sister Mei as they discover their new neighbor is a mysterious forest spirit named Totoro who can only be seen by the eyes of a child. As Totoro introduces the girls to his extraordinary friends, they embark on the journey of a lifetime. Featuring the voice talents of Tim Daly, Lea Salonga and real-life sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning, My Neighbor Totoro is an amazing animated adventure the whole family will fall in love with.

“My Neighbor Totoro” arrives for the first time on a Disney combo pack, with the film available on Blu-ray and DVD. It has never looked better and I was blown away but the clarity of this 25 year old animated film. The color lines looks beautiful and it looks like it was made yesterday. There are two audio tracks included on this release, both which are DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. The Japanese track was what I grew up with and love. But now that I have my own daughter, who is just 1 years old, she can’t read just yet so we have been stick with the English track. I have to say I am a little disappointed since I would have loved to see Disney give this film the 5.1 treatment. That being said the 2.0 tracks are not bad at all for this simple film. Joe Hisaishi sounds great and the dialogue is very clear still.

The special features are great and definitely worth checking out for any fan of the film. There is a featurette called “Behind the Microphone”, which shows our cast behind-the-scenes who gave these great characters life. My favorite extra is “Behind the Studio”, which consists of six featurettes, including “Creating “My Neighbor Totoro”, “Creating the Characters”, “The Totoro Experience”, “Producer’s Perspective: Creating Ghibli”, “The Locations of Totoro” and “Scoring Miyazaki”.  These really give us a great insight into the behind-the-scenes for the film. There is a little bit of everything included here.  They are not the longest extras but still worth checking out. Lastly there are the original Japanese Trailer, as well as the original Japanese Storyboards.