Monday, July 21, 2008

Flags of our founding fathers

I don't have HBO -- if you don't care for Entourage, what's the point? -- so I finally got around to seeing the 7-part John Adams miniseries on DVD. I commend Tom Hanks and other, less famous producers for getting this remarkable story filmed and given the appropriate running time. Also appreciated: its accessibility to today's audiences.

Truth be told, though, the filmmakers could have gone the extra mile to make it even more modern. I waited in vain to hear actor Paul Giamatti say any of the following statements:

1. "Calm down, cousin Sam, and go back to your brewpub."

2. "Do not make me clench this pamphlet and smack some common sense unto YOU, Mr. Paine!"

3. "A late dinner will not be necessary, Abigail. I shall partake of the local Boston Market."

4. "Mr. Jefferson, the Declaration Committee would advise the removal of the words sacred and undeniable to describe these truths. Also of concern to us: your phrase always bet on black."

5. "I feel that I may suffer a cramp from signing my name in such a small space. No thanks to Mr. Hancock, that pompous, preening jackass."

6. "Fellow citizens, I regret that the First Lady and I shall be leaving Philadelphia for a new home in Washington City. Abigail praises your civility, and I have a great admiration for your cream cheese."

7. "Young John Quincy, you are the son of a President and have the makings of a President yourself. So remember this: do not go amongst the people and say 'Mission Accomplished' unless you truly mean it."

If you believe that other historically significant quotes were also left out of this miniseries, now is the time (and here is the place) to comment upon them.


Sue said...

I haven't seen it yet (want to!), but I wish they could've (did they and I just don't know it?) included Ben Franklin's famous and beloved quote:

"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

Quinn said...

Ok, this may seem odd, but as a historian (Bad historian! Bad, bad!), can I just say that John Adams is really boring? The person, the McCullough book, the miniseries? I just don't get the fascination.

Abigail, however, she's interesting. I made it through 2 episodes just for her. But after that, I gave up.

Neel Mehta said...

Sue: Welcome back! According to the miniseries, Ben Franklin is a crazy old man at this point in history, lacking much of the inventiveness and wit of his earlier years.

Quinn: The miniseries doesn't really try to make John Adams all that fascinating; it's sort of a warts-and-all presentation of the man. His place in history and perspective, however, can be interesting. Dude's a survivor.

Did you watch the Europe episodes? Because they suck. They're supposed to suck, of course; John Adams hated being in Europe and only went because he was told.

Things get interesting again around part 4.

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