2 Movies Like Mr. Church (2016)

Staff & contributors

Just like with his mentor and contemporary, Fred Rogers, there are no dark secrets to Ernest Coombs' earnest belief in giving children the space to be gentle and creative. Even with relatively little "drama" throughout the life of the man called Mr. Dressup, it's still profoundly moving to see him put in the work to make the world a kinder place. Director Robert McCallum keeps this documentary exactly as straightforward as it needs to be, moving through Coombs's life with total reverence but plenty of modesty—making sure not to inflate the idea of Mr. Dressup into something Coombs himself would have disagreed with.

In its act of honoring this person with an everyman personality and a trunk full of quaint costumes, the film also serves as a tribute to low budget educational television. Working within a very small studio, with simple puppets and no strict script to follow, Coombs and his friends found any way possible to stick to their original idea of teaching very young kids that being kind and communicating one's feelings clearly were the best things one could achieve. Behind Mr. Dressup's softness is a remarkable work ethic, a deep respect for children, and a commitment to thoughtful, universal values.

Genre: Documentary, Family

Actor: Andrew Phung, Bif Naked, Bruce McCulloch, Catherine Tait, Ed Robertson, Eric McCormack, Ernie Coombs, Fred Penner, Fred Rogers, Graham Greene, Jim Creeggan, Jim Parker, Jonathan Torrens, Judith Lawrence, Kevin Hearn, Lynn Coombs, Michael J. Fox, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Peter Mansbridge, Scott Thompson, Terry McManus, Trina McQueen, Tyler Stewart, Yannick Bisson

Director: Robert McCallum

, 2017

Expect both heavy emotional punches and great comedic moments in this engaging comedy-drama. Boosted by amazing writing, the characters are easy to relate to but remain interesting throughout the movie, with many ideas and layers to them. Jenny Slate and Chris Evans are both great as a very gifted child and her uncle who find themselves at the center of a custody battle. The plot may be a little unusual but it offers a great vehicle to explore the dynamics between a caring uncle, a gifted child, and an obsessive mother.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family

Actor: Aidan McKenna Bateman, Ashley L. Thomas, Brody Rose, Candace B. Harris, Chris Evans, Crystal Freyermuth, Danielle Deadwyler, David Cordell, Desmond Phillips, Elizabeth Marvel, Glenn Plummer, Gordon Danniels, Jack Landry, Jenny Slate, Joe Chrest, John Finn, John M. Jackson, Jon Sklaroff, Jona Xiao, Jordan Ellenberg, Julie Ann Emery, Karleigh Chase, Keir O'Donnell, Kelly Collins Lintz, Lindsay Duncan, Maia Moss-Fife, Marc Webb, Mckenna Grace, Michael Kendall Kaplan, Octavia Spencer, Teresa L. Graves, Walt Elder, Will Buie Jr.

Director: Marc Webb

Rating: PG-13