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SuzanneG
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Posted: Jan 22 2009 at 1:15am | IP Logged Quote SuzanneG

I heard Michael Medved's raving review the other day about the HBO miniseries John Adams.

LeeAnn wrote:

We are watching the John Adams series. Part 1 is very good. Paul Giamatti is excellent and Laura Linney better than you would expect if you've only seen her in Jurassic Park. I don't remember who is playing Washington, but it's the first time I've seen him look human (not a caricature) while actually looking like his portraits as well.
from the 2008 Movie thread.....LeeAnn, did you finish it?

Anyone else seen it?   Thoughts?

There are 520 holds ahead of me at the libray, so it'll be awhile

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Posted: Jan 22 2009 at 6:00am | IP Logged Quote Mary Chris

Dh brought this home from Blockbuster the other night. We have only watched the first episode, it was very good. I'll let you know how we like the rest.

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Posted: Jan 22 2009 at 6:34am | IP Logged Quote KackyK

A friend of mine warned me that if you have sensitive children, there is one part where a man is tarred and feathered and it is very very dramatic and scary. It really bothered her 13 yrold dd (and this kid can take ALOT of other movies) so I know it must be gruesome. But you could just forward through that, I'm sure it would be obvious when it was coming up, if you wanted.

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Posted: Jan 22 2009 at 6:45am | IP Logged Quote Mary Chris

KackyK wrote:
A friend of mine warned me that if you have sensitive children, there is one part where a man is tarred and feathered and it is very very dramatic and scary. It really bothered her 13 yrold dd (and this kid can take ALOT of other movies) so I know it must be gruesome. But you could just forward through that, I'm sure it would be obvious when it was coming up, if you wanted.


That was pretty gruesome, it bothered me! We aren't watching it with the kids yet. It is not a movie for younger kids.

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Posted: Jan 22 2009 at 8:45am | IP Logged Quote Cheryl

My sister and her dh liked it. I am going to borrow it from them this weekend to watch with my dh, but not my dc.

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Posted: Jan 22 2009 at 9:27am | IP Logged Quote DominaCaeli

My husband and I watched it a few months ago and had mixed feelings about it. The acting was very good, and the story in the first couple parts was very compelling. But the characterizations of some of our most famous presidents were, by the end, rather depressing. I think the film does a good job of showing the challenges of the Office of the President and the intentions behind the conflicting parties, but the main characters get less sympathetic as the movie goes on. It did instigate some good discussions between the two of us, though. I definitely wouldn't recommend it for children.

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Posted: Jan 22 2009 at 11:01am | IP Logged Quote Mackfam

KackyK wrote:
A friend of mine warned me that if you have sensitive children, there is one part where a man is tarred and feathered and it is very very dramatic and scary. It really bothered her 13 yrold dd (and this kid can take ALOT of other movies) so I know it must be gruesome. But you could just forward through that, I'm sure it would be obvious when it was coming up, if you wanted.


I'm very grateful you shared this, Kacky! My dh and I have the set of John Adams DVD's sitting in our Netflix cue and this scene would disturb me. Thank you very much for the heads up!

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Posted: Jan 22 2009 at 5:58pm | IP Logged Quote Sarah in SC

LeeAnn wrote:
We are watching the John Adams series. Part 1 is very good. Paul Giamatti is excellent and Laura Linney better than you would expect if you've only seen her in Jurassic Park. I don't remember who is playing Washington, but it's the first time I've seen him look human (not a caricature) while actually looking like his portraits as well.


Just in case this hasn't been mentioned, Laura Dern was the actress in Jurassic Park. Laura Linney has been in The House of Mirth, Mystic River,and a million other films and nominated for several Academy awards. :) She's a wonderful actress, (her father is a famous playwright) and she's a graduate of Brown University. She is FABULOUS in this role as Abigail Adams.

The Washington character was played by David Morse, who has been in a million things, but I recognized him from his VERY different roles in The Rock and The Negotiator! Playing such a believable Washington when his other roles have been in such major action movies was proof to me of how talented an actor he really is!

We LOVED the HBO John Adams miniseries, and my oldest son watched a few of them. He did see the scene of tar & feathering, but we had warned him ahead of time that it was going to be pretty bad--not at all what you picture when taught in school that someone was "tarred and feathered." They made it seem like it was a practical joke or something, when it was clearly very brutal and violent.

Frankly, I was more concerned about him seeing the scene in Episode 5 (I think) where John & Abigail are, ahem, "reunited," after a long absence.      We told him nothing really important happened in that episode, and he could skip it.   

I certainly wouldn't recommend it for all children, but it's definitely worth a watch to see if there are parts your kids might be able to watch with you.

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Posted: Feb 24 2009 at 6:50pm | IP Logged Quote SuzanneG

This miniseries is absolutely AMAZING! We finished it last week and it's now getting passed around our neighborhood!   There are seven parts....which makes it about 10 hours of film!!! And, for a non-action film, it was SO GOOD!      For a movie that was not really very action-filled, it sure pulled you in. We just never wanted it to end each evening.   

It's quite thought-provoking and makes you "dig deep" and inspires "connections" about our lives, our reactions, our sacrifices, our families, our obligations, etc.   Now I appreciate even more now, why all the virtue books have Abigail Adams in them!    Want to read more about her now.

Part VI lost us a bit with the international affairs with France and England and the politics involved with Alexander Hamilton, but otherwise, it was GREAT!!! Led us up way too late "googling" trying to figure it out .

We could NOT stop talking about the fact that he left the country for TEN YEARS...when his youngest was 6 or so, so when he came back they were all ADULTS! He missed his children growing up! It made dh's 5-day trips across the state look like nothin'. So much sacrifice.

Neat scene with the unveiling of Trumbell's Signing of the Declaration.

Shocking scene about the beginnings of the White House in Washington DC.....had never thought about it like that before.

Does anyone know if the speeches that Adams gave during the Continental Congress were verbatim??? Were they recorded or was that just script from the film?

And, it led both of us to little rabbit trails about a couple of the less-known-signers who were initially opposed like Edward Rutledge.

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Posted: Feb 24 2009 at 8:42pm | IP Logged Quote SusanJ

We just watched this and then I immediately read the biography by David McCullough. The miniseries is based directly on that book and it is a very good, not very challenging read for any of you or your older kids. It fills in a lot of the political/historical details and corrects a few (minor) errors in the movie. One of the bigger ones that might interest the moms here is that he did not miss his kids growing up. He and Abigail were out of the country a lot but two of their sons and their daughter spent much of that time with them in Europe.

I wanted to add that the tar and feather scene is pretty awful and I don't think anyone noted where it is: it's in the first or maybe second episode when John Hancock's ship is being told he can't unload cargo. Definitely skip that for the sensitive types!

Most of the dialogue of John Adams in the movie is actually letters that he wrote or diary entries. My only fault with the movie was that almost everything he and Abigail said sounded like a prepared speech or quote. That's because it sort of was. They were all actual words of the Adamses but they were originally from letters and diaries. This is sort of obvious if you read the book as well.

Susan

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Posted: Feb 24 2009 at 9:06pm | IP Logged Quote SuzanneG

SusanJ wrote:
One of the bigger ones that might interest the moms here is that he did not miss his kids growing up. He and Abigail were out of the country a lot but two of their sons and their daughter spent much of that time with them in Europe.

   Why did they make it seem that way? We spent WAY TOO MUCH TIME talking about this, and it isn't even true!

SusanJ wrote:
I wanted to add that the tar and feather scene is pretty awful and I don't think anyone noted where it is: it's in the first or maybe second episode when John Hancock's ship is being told he can't unload cargo. Definitely skip that for the sensitive types!

Closed my eyes, and didn't even watch.   

SusanJ wrote:
Most of the dialogue of John Adams in the movie is actually letters that he wrote or diary entries.

They were all actual words of the Adamses but they were originally from letters and diaries.

Thanks for mentioning.


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Posted: Feb 25 2009 at 12:32am | IP Logged Quote Chari

I am re-reading THOSE WHO LOVE by Irving Stone........the Adams' story, from Abigail's perspective.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book!

I had been thinking about re-reading it for over a year........and I ONLY re-read Tolkien, Lewis and Austen......I recommend it to those who want more, in a novel form........based on their letters, of course.

The movie is in my que.........we had been planning this for awhile. Soon. Glad to hear all the feedback.

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Posted: Feb 26 2009 at 9:09am | IP Logged Quote CrunchyMom

We are in the middle of this and love it so far!

Though, as dh and I have never had much affinity for the French culture, it certainly is reminding us why

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Posted: Feb 26 2009 at 9:37am | IP Logged Quote Angie Mc

Finally in from the library! My 16yo dd and I are watching it together (thanks for the heads up about the tar and feathering - yikes!) So far, so good. I wish I had a 10 hour chunk of time to watch it. I'm having a tough time jumping in and out of it...partly me and partly the pace of the series itself which is often lingering. I love the acting - as a big John Adams fan I'm pleased but my dd, a Thomas Jefferson fan, thinks that TJ should get more airtime .

Another disturbing but not yet mentioned scene is the one about smallpox. It is graphic to include seeing the pox on people, including children, as well as the primitive inoculation process.

Love,

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Posted: Feb 26 2009 at 9:44am | IP Logged Quote CrunchyMom

Angie Mc wrote:
Finally in from the library! My 16yo dd and I are watching it together (thanks for the heads up about the tar and feathering - yikes!) So far, so good. I wish I had a 10 hour chunk of time to watch it. I'm having a tough time jumping in and out of it...partly me and partly the pace of the series itself which is often lingering. I love the acting - as a big John Adams fan I'm pleased but my dd, a Thomas Jefferson fan, thinks that TJ should get more airtime .

Another disturbing but not yet mentioned scene is the one about smallpox. It is graphic to include seeing the pox on people, including children, as well as the primitive inoculation process.

Love,


Yes, and while Medved mentions the "battle scenes" he says its a great movie for ALL ages, which I have to disagree. The later battle scene on the boat is brief but intense (like these two), plus the scenes with the French are a bit "charged" including one involving a bath--plus the reunion scene with Abigail and John. All pretty tastefully done, considering, but more than I would want a young child to see.

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Posted: March 01 2009 at 11:21pm | IP Logged Quote LeeAnn

oOPS, Sorry, some how I missed this thread!

I really loved the John Adams series for all the reasons listed above, but it's definitely not for children!

Now we are on to Disc 4 of 6 in Band of Brothers. Also excellent, if you like military heroism. I highly recommend the series.


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Posted: March 04 2009 at 4:01pm | IP Logged Quote SuzanneG

It's been two weeks and I'm still thinking about this movie .

One thing I can't get out of my mind that was the depiction of King Louis XVI of France. In the movie, he was shown as a fickle, whimsicle imbecile.    Which, he was absolutely not! As a leader and king of France, he made many mistakes, but history has not shown him to be a flighty and empty-headed person. On the contrary, he was serious, smart, responsible, and quite virtuous. An extremely devout Catholic......... .....hmmmm......

Susan~ do you remember ifthe book expand on the meeting between Adams and King Louis at all? Was this scene taken from the book accurately? Or was it pure artistic license for the sake of the movie?

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Posted: March 04 2009 at 4:06pm | IP Logged Quote SuzanneG

CrunchyMom wrote:

Though, as dh and I have never had much affinity for the French culture, it certainly is reminding us why

Yes.....the "culture" of pre-revolutionary-France was probably pretty accurately depicted.       

So, the French-culture was right-on.....but the King himself wasn't like that at all.    .....just clarifying.....

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Posted: March 04 2009 at 4:42pm | IP Logged Quote SusanJ

I'll look that up in our copy of the book later. The quote was definitely accurate.

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Posted: March 04 2009 at 10:09pm | IP Logged Quote SusanJ

I just re-read the brief section on Adams's presentation to Louis XVI. Adams had several nice things to say about the king calling him "kindhearted, innocent, of strong constitution." It does not say in the book that he was a fickle whimsical imbecile but McCullough does not himself offer any description of the king except to say that he was nearsighted and awkward. So I guess we'll have to look elsewhere to get a better description of the king. Perhaps the HBO folks just assumed he would be just the same as the culture.

I wanted to say, too, about the movie making it seem like he wasn't with his kids for ten years--this was pretty necessary to keep the movie from being really, really long and confusing. Adams actually made two separate voyages to Europe. He was home for several months after the war. He actually wrote the Massachusetts constitution during that time--and it's still in use! When he went back to France for the second time he took John Quincy and Charles. Abigail joined him at some point during that trip bringing Nabby with her. Charles was sent back to America at some point to prepare for and enter Harvard. Thomas never went abroad until John Quincy was made an ambassador and brought Thomas as a secretary. All of this was conflated into one trip in the movie.

It is interesting to think about all of this, even if the separation wasn't as extreme as the movie made it out to be. John Quincy and Nabby were the only two to never be separated from their parents and they both turned out really well. Charles becomes a drunkard and so does Thomas (the movie leaves that out). They both did have sections of their life under the care of tutors while their parents were in Europe serving their country. I found myself thinking a lot about putting duty to country above family. I suppose military families know something about that.

Anyway--I hope this additional information is helpful.

Susan

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