Column, Movie Diary

The Movie Diary: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

A whiter shade of pale

by Dom Chioffi

For the last 30 years, I have witnessed the effect that the word “sale” has on my wife. For as far back as I can remember, that four-letter noun as lured her into countless purchases that she never needed. Many times, she doesn’t even want the item she’s buying, but she can’t resist a deal that appears overly enticing.

That facet of my wife’s personality reared its head in grand fashion recently.

I should have known something was in the works when I saw a truck pull away from our driveway one night when I was arriving home from work. When I questioned it, my wife said the guy was trying to drum up painting business because he was doing another house in the area. He apparently told her if she agreed to have him paint her house, he would give her a deal because all his equipment was nearby.

I foolishly blew off this nugget of information. After all, my house is made of brick. Why would you paint perfectly good brick?

Over the next few weeks, my wife would occasionally mention how nice certain color schemes looked on select houses. It took a few times before I realized she was always pointing out brick houses that had been painted white.

In an attempt to dissuade any idea she had involving painting our house, I stated unequivocally that painting brick is ridiculous. Brick is great on its own and if you paint it, you’re creating something to upkeep because it will eventually need to be painted again. In my mind, that’s generating an unnecessary hassle.

I know a little bit about house painting because I did it for years as my summer job. It’s not rocket science, but there is a correct way to approach it. If you don’t do the proper preparation, you’ll be painting your house again sooner than you’d prefer – and that’s not a cheap proposition.

Needless to say, my words fell on deaf ears.

The more time passed, the more my wife got it into her head that we could no longer live in a stuffy and dated red brick house. She was convinced that the one sure way to bring intoxicating blissfulness into our lives would be to have our brick painted white.

I fought this idea for as long as I could, but eventually I realized she had passed the event horizon and there was no turning back. She would have a white brick house whether I wanted it or not.

Once I gave in, the intensity kicked up a notch. While she was convinced that white was the correct color, what tortured her now was which color white – because as we all know, white comes in an endless spectrum of possibilities. There’s pure white, simply white, antique white, china white, snow white, Navajo white, birch white… the possibilities are endless.

No sooner would she land on a particular white when the highlight color would throw it off and she’d be back to the swatches. She spent no less than $200 buying small cans of paint and then painting one-foot by one-foot squares on the side of our house.

Every night it was the same routine: “What do you think of this combination?”“How do you think these go together?” She even started asking our 15-year-old son what he thought. Want to guess how interested he was?

After weeks, she finally decided on a color scheme. A few days later, the painters showed up and within a week they had the entire house finished.

I’ll admit that it does look good. But I thought the red brick looked good, too. And with the red brick showing, I had a lot more money in the bank, so I’m still not convinced it was the smartest idea.

This week’s film, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” features a guy who had a lot of smart ideas and used them to influence generations of children.

Tom Hanks stars as the iconic children’s television host Fred Rogers. In this true story, a middle-aged writer from Esquire magazine is assigned to write an exposé about Rogers and why he is considered a hero. While at first suspicious, eventually the writer is seduced by the childlike charm and intrinsic wisdom of Mr. Rogers.

I’ve always said that I will go see any movie that involves Tom Hanks. His ability as an actor and his understanding of what constitutes a great story put him in hallowed ground in my mind, and this film is no exception.

Check this one out whether or not you’ve experienced the beauty of Mr. Rogers and his iconic soul.

A touching “B+” for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at

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