June 26, 2011

Movie Monday (ish)

For the record: my laptop is still MIA (as it were) so my whole routine of blogging and commenting is still off-kilter. In the meantime, while I'm waiting for the new power cord, I'm using SoldierMan's laptop whenever he leaves it at home. So, my commenting (especially) will be on the back burner for the rest of the week. Please don't think I'm ignoring anyone.

Today, instead of a movie, I'm going to review a couple of mini-series I've recently watched. The first is The Kennedys.

This is an 8-episode series about the election and presidency of JFK...with an extra episode about RFK's run for President. The series mainly revolves around John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and the patriarch, Joe Kennedy. Katie Holmes plays Jackie O.

First off: I've never had any sort of affinity for the Kennedys. I think most of the allure was a mixture of press hype (shown in the series by Jackie's furious drug-induced PR campaign as First Lady) and the pure luck of being a young professional couple elected after a President well past retirement age. But a lot of people I know loved the show, and we didn't get the cable channel it was originally aired on. So when I saw it was on Netflix the other day, I immediately turned it on.

This was a fanatstic show. The acting was incredible. Several times, including JFK's famous inaugural speech, I forgot I was watching a TV show and thought I was watching old newsreels. Greg Kinnear (JFK) and Barry Pepper (RFK) are amazing. Even Katie Holmes - who isn't really one of my favorites - she was fantastic as Jackie. The writing was also great. Particularly how it explores Joe Kennedy's connections around the country and his control over the Kennedy family, which I think most people are still unaware of.

This was a great watch that was enjoyable on so many levels. The characters are well-rounded and the stories move quickly, even for being a bio-pic. I highly recommend it.

The other "mini-series" I watched was Firefly.

Okay, okay, I know. It's not technically a "mini-series." But it was only one season long (plus theTV movie, wrapping up the story). So I'm counting it.

Again, all my sci-fi friends have watched and loved this show, so I thought it was time to give it a shot. And again, lots of great acting. Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, Morena Baccarin, Alan Tudyk, Jewel Staite, Gina Torres...all favorites of mine. So that was fun.

And I thought the overall concept was really interesting - a twist on the classic humans-populating-the-universe-after-earth-is-uninhabitable meme, by incorporating elements of the wild west, such as the gun-for-hire, the stone-faced leader of the pack, the hooker with a hear of gold....and, oddly enough, classic western-style dialogue without western accents.

Which, frankly, annoyed the crap out of me. If you're going to say "spitting distance," at least drop the 'g'. Is that a little thing? Maybe. Was it intentional? Possibly. Did anyone else notice or care? I doubt it. But it was enough to make me have to try to look past it to get to the actual stories and characters. And I think that's a fail. But it may have only been noticeable because there were so few episodes, so it was easy to nitpick. There was also the long-running sci-fi theme of creating religious straw men for the sole purpose of knocking them down. This is so typical in sci-fi stuff it's cliche, and didn't serve much purpose for the show's story, which was disappointing.

Anyway, there was a lot to love about the show, but I think it could have been tweaked from "good" to "excellent" really easily. I really enjoyed it, and I'll probably watch it again. It's on Netflix Instant and you should check it out.


  1. I BIG PINK PUFFY HEART BARRY PEPPER! He is such an underrated actor IMO. Since we can't stream here and it took us eons to get the snail mail movies(LAME) we cancelled our netflix I'll have to find another way to track this down!

  2. is it worth the $20 I'll have to pay on iTunes?

  3. I just realized who the guy that plays JFK is...I'm so buying it! Sorry about the gazillion comments =}

  4. I've been wanting to watch The Kennedys for a while now. Mostly for the acting and the historical perspective, like you said.

    As for Firefly, that is one of my favorite shows EVER. I agree that the language was a little forced sometime, but I love the fact that you like the "bad guys" because they rebel against the tyrannical government.

  5. My husband and I really enjoyed the Kennedy series! I didn't know much about them beyond the basics, so I found it to be very educational. There were several times I found myself googling more information about the events depicted during the show while waiting for a commercial break to end!

  6. I wanted to see the Kennedy series soooo bad! Then the channel it was suppose to originally be on pulled out and I didn't have the new channel it aired on. I'm hoping I can get it on dvd and see it!


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