Saturday, June 05, 2010

John Adams

After a week out of town, I finally got the time to finish off the John Adams mini series that I've been watching for a few weeks now.  Not being a historian, I don't know how accurate it is, however I am of the opinion that the screen play must have been written by one of his detractors.  The mini series left me wondering what exactly made him great.  The film portrayed him as being petty and concerned above all else with his reputation and his legacy.  He neglected his family to seek glory and honor in Europe prior to the revolution, disowned one son who "shamed the family name" by not following in his father's footsteps and becoming a lawyer and being a financial failure, had ongoing squabbles with Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamiltion, and worst of all, threatened to not accept the vice presidency because he viewed it as a "slap in the face" losing the first presidential election to George Washington.  I have a difficult time believing that a man who was one of the most influential founding fathers was so vain and self righteous.

I was also bothered by the fact that the series skipped over very large segments of time.  In particular they skipped over the Revolutionary War entirely, apparently deeming it unimportant in the story of one of the framers of the Declaration of Independence.  Also, on a technical note, I found it very annoying that the series constantly went back and forth between whispering and shouting.  I was constantly turning up the volume because I couldn't hear what was being said, only to turn it down minutes later because it was too loud.  It's a film making technique which is only surpassed in annoyance by the increasingly popular "shaky cam".  Perhaps worst of all, however, was that it was just boring.  The episodes really dragged.

I've had an unexplainable interest in early US history recently, also watching documentaries on Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, so I did enjoy the history, no matter how dubious, and the acting and production was for the most part well done.  Trying to get a more accurate view of President Adams, I read his entry on the White House web site and have started perusing his Wikipedia entry.  If any historians would like to weigh in on the accuracy, I'd love to hear it.
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