Sunday Brunch at Steel Cactus; ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ Continues on Local Screens (Sun., 12/19/19)

Drinkers and diners partaking in the Steel Cactus’ offerings.

1) The Steel Cactus on Walnut Street is open for Sunday Brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.—perfectly timed to get you filled up and out before, or after, your Sunday activities. The brunch menu includes Huevos Rancheros, spicy Southwestern omelet, fajita breakfast burrito, breakfast nachos, steak and eggs, and churro French Toast. “Salud!” with a bloody Mary or mimosa. There’s also Steel Cactus’ on the South Side, Southpointe, and Bethel Park that serve brunch too. Other locations include PNC Park, and Pittsburgh International Airport. 5505 Walnut St., Shadyside.

2) The new movie about Fred Rogers has surprised some early viewers who thought it would trace his life and career. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is based, loosely, on a single true story. It dramatizes how this creator of a children’s TV show could move people—including adults—to live better, happier lives. True story: In 1998, Esquire magazine asked journalist Tom Junod to write an in-depth profile of the famous Mister Rogers, who at age 70 was still making episodes of his show. The reporter found himself warmly welcomed and personally uplifted. Junod’s account of the days he spent with Fred, titled “Can You Say … Hero?,” became a profoundly moving classic in its own right. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood fictionalizes the interplay between the two men. While many true elements are kept—such as carefully re-created scenes of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” being produced in WQED’s Studio A—interpersonal dynamics are cranked up for dramatic effect. 

The magazine reporter (renamed Lloyd Vogel, and played by Matthew Rhys) is portrayed as a cynical young man with a screwed-up family life, upset at first about having to write a piece on a sweet-talking kiddie icon. But Fred (Tom Hanks) doesn’t just talk goodness and love; he embodies it, projects it, and a tortured soul is transformed. A Beautiful Day comes to Pittsburgh theaters trailing strong reviews. (MV)