What’s on TV Wednesday: ‘Shazam!’ and ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’

 What’s on TV Wednesday: ‘Shazam!’ and ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’


SHAZAM! (2019) 5:15 p.m. on HBO. Sure, plenty of movies chart a young person’s transition into adulthood. But how many feature a boy becoming a man in an instant? The boy here is Billy (Asher Angel), a teenage orphan who is given magic powers that allow him to transform into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi) by saying the word “shazam.” His character is based on a lesser-known DC superhero created in 1939 — but the movie’s blasé humor is very contemporary. It’s “a nice change of pace for a big-screen mega-comic, if not a revolutionary shift,” Manohla Dargis wrote in her review for The New York Times. “The filmmakers (Henry Gayden wrote the script, David F. Sandberg directed) adhere to the heroic template, which means there’s a regulation villain (the reliably watchable Mark Strong) with schemes,” she added. “But they also fill in the faces and places, and add enough shading and color to Billy’s world that when his inevitable fight against evil happens, it feels as if something more than the box office is at stake.”

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (2001) 8 p.m. on FXX. Few movies will kill more of your social-distancing time than the three gargantuan parts of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. This first entry sees Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) come into possession of the all-powerful “one ring.” The epic walking quest that ensues may be a balm for housebound souls.

CMT CELEBRATES OUR HEROES: AN ARTISTS OF THE YEAR SPECIAL 8 p.m. on CMT. Brandi Carlile, Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert and many other country music acts will participate in this special, which is being organized to pay tribute to emergency medical workers, food industry employees and others on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. The program will include virtual performances captured at musicians’ homes.

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD (2019) Stream on Starz platforms; rent on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube. Tom Hanks throws on a red cardigan and an easy smile to portray the TV host Fred Rogers in this drama. Directed by Marielle Heller, the film revolves around the relationship between Rogers and Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys), a fictional, struggling magazine writer who is writing a profile of Rogers for Esquire. It’s not a straight-ahead biopic — the movie is as much about Lloyd as it is about Rogers — but the biggest draw for many is of course seeing Rogers, the ultimate TV nice guy, played by Hanks, the ultimate Hollywood nice guy. “I think it’s an essence thing,” Heller told The Times last year, in reference to Hanks being cast in the role. “It’s something in the energy and the essence and behind the eyes that you feel the same way looking at him as you feel looking at Mister Rogers, and that was what was so important to me. I never wanted him to be doing an imitation.”



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