Directed by: Peter H. Hunt
Writers: Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone
Starring: William Daniels, Howard Da Silva, Ken Howard, Blythe Danner
My rating: 2.9 out of 5 stars
I know what you're thinking...and it's either one of two things. It's either "did he really give D3: The Mighty Ducks a higher rating than an Oscar nominated musical film?"
It's...MR. FEENY WAS IN THIS MOVIE?!??!!!
Both are true. I was infinitely more excited about William Daniels (Boy Meets World) playing John Adams than I was the rest of the film. Which may have more to say about this review than I intend it, but to address concern number 1 (The D3 one): I put a lot of factors into my reviews, but the number 1 factor is how much I enjoyed the film overall. This one....eh.
I'll paint a picture really quick. We all know how this story ends. America declares it's Independence. They all sign the Declaration. Yippy Skippy!!
John Adams, played by Daniels, (whom I shall henceforth refer to as "Feeny") keeps pushing Independence on the other congressmen. They all scoff except for Benjamin Franklin, (Howard Da Silva; The Great Gatsby), who (surprise surprise) also supports independence, but is a little more chill than Adams about it. They decide that they need a third person to push independence to get anyone to listen, so they pick T-Jeff....er....Thomas Jefferson (Ken Howard; J. Edgar)....you know...the guy on the nickel...
Anyway Jefferson is young and energetic, so that works out a little better for them. Of course, I won't go into great story detail because there are too many actors that none of you (or me, for that matter) have heard of. I don't want to do that character research that no one cares about, on real people whose story you should (unless you're a bad American) already know! SO THERE!
I see this movie's value. I was supposed to watch it for my Musical Theatre History class in college during my last semester....oops. I read the Wikipedia entry and listened to the first 10 seconds of about 3 songs and wrote a report like I was supposed to. And got an "A". We're missing the point....so..
The Point (of that last bit):
I read the Wikipedia entry and thought it sounded like a good musical. I purchased the DVD for cheap, used, and had it sent to me at Lipscomb...only to watch it for the first time....last week.
Back to "My Thoughts":
Anyway, it sounded good. I was disappointed.
I liked the story. I mean, it was a familiar story so maybe they didn't have to drag it out as much. It was a 2 hour and 20 minute movie...and we all knew the basic plot already. There's probably something that could've been condensed. Anywhoooo..
I liked the acting. Howard's Jefferson was exactly how it was intended, and Feeny's Adams was extremely Bostonian and a joy to watch. Da Silva's Franklin was good, but he was the only one that seemed to be exaggerated for the musical theatre aspect. At times, I SWORE that Yogi Bear was playing Franklin....
The music....was just not good. I mean, it was tasteful and artfully done..but it did not stand out and was not memorable in the slightest.
The best part about this movie was the writing. The dialogue in between the songs. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I actually think that this movie holds the musical record for number of minutes between songs. It's close, anyway. The lines in here are patriotic GOLD, and I did find myself laughing a considerable amount. Like this, which is sad but hits a little close to home:
"A second flood, a simple famine, plagues of locusts everywhere, or a cataclysmic earthquake, I'd accept with some despair. But no, You sent us Congress! Good God, Sir, was that fair?"- John Adams
That was just one of many gems that came out of this movie, and the reason it went from 1 to 2.9 stars. Ultimately, the length and boring music kept me disinterested, but I held on due to good acting and great writing.
What Can We Learn?
I watched this the day after the election, and there's SO much you can learn in that mindset. I think that overall we just need to keep in mind the gravity of our founding fathers moves. Especially with all this secession talk, it's a reminder that at one time, representatives from 13 different colonies found a way to stand up and fight for something that they could all get behind together. I think that America today could take about 85 lessons from these men and what they stood for. While this movie isn't ENTIRELY historically accurate, it's still important.
(Jerry Springer's) Final Thought:
Even though in all honesty this movie bored me, and was not the most entertaining movie I've ever seen, I would still recommend it. It was nominated for an Oscar and several other awards, and the stage musical was as well. The actors were primarily Broadway actors, and those are good ones to watch. Hopefully, I will have some friends joining their ranks some day. Even Feeny played Adams in the Broadway version, and that had to have been something special.
I still say it's worth a watch. Go into it with an educational instead of entertainment mindset. Your cultural horizons will expand and you may awake with a little more patriotism than you had yesterday.
Let me know your thoughts on this one. Seriously. I love you all. God bless you and God bless America.
Comment, clicky box, or whatever you gotta do.