Monday, March 31, 2008

TV EYE: One vote for Gomez Addams

John Adams is the founding father that no one knows (or cares much about), always outshone by his historical bros George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benny Boy Franklin. HBO is in the midst of a presenting a finely detailed and impeccably drawn retelling of David McCullough’s highly praised biography, much praised for fully succeeding in making the man and his actions vividly interesting. The HBO showpiece, John Adams (Sundays, 8:00 PM) is not so wholly successful, the direct cause of which lies squarely on the squat shoulders of Paul Giamatti, a cool daddy actor who's done wonderful work in a dozen different movies and roles. Here he seems outshined by his co-stars Laura Linney (Abigal Adams), David Morse (Washington), Steven Dillane (Jefferson), Danny Huston (Samuel Adams) and especially Tom Wilkinson (an entertainingly quirky Franklin). The mini-series production values leap off the screen and the script is a literate one, but Giamatti never fits himself into the period, and his Adams seems continually dumbstruck and irritated, like a guy in a wig with a migraine and a toothache, making it tough to divine enough signs of the actual Adams’ enormous inner drive and particular intellect. Truthfully, this period piece feels far too close to yer typical BBC fare, eliciting far more yawns than giggles.

1 comment:

mdoggie said...

I like Giamatti too. I suspect he will take the role somewhere more quirky and personal near the end of the series - so far the affectation and accent has been distracting. It's not fair comparing him to Laura Linney who has an incredible string of always perfect performances. David Morse acting through some sort of chin appliance? Weird. I think the Jefferson portrayed here is weak as well. I suppose that is necessary as the whole series seems to elevate Federalist Psrty Adams over Democratic Party Jefferson. Adams and the Federalists pushed through a series of laws known as the "Alien Sedition Acts" which essentially allowed Adams to arrest political enemies and have them imprisoned. One of the first victims was Benjamin Franklin Bache - Bennie's Grandson; and these political "criminals" were to be sent only to a cadre of Federalist Party judges.
....hmmmmm, sounds familiar.....
read more here -

On a lighter more musical note - the theme for this series is so perfectly cast as an amalgam of old world/new world quasi-military sweeping anthemic theme thing. I really like it and well with patriotic pride every time I hear it.