Every miniseries, made-for-television movie, special, or documentary ever nominated for an Emmy Award in any category.
Need to add:
The life of one of the USA's Founding Fathers, its second President, and his role in the nation's first 50 years.
Superb acting, writing, direction, cinematography, make-up, costumes and art designs. One of the best mini-series you'll ever see, and one of the many treasures of the television medium. A must watch for any lover of historical epics, costume dramas or american history.
*Note: I watched this over the course of a week.
There have been a lot of extraordinary people that have graced this planet in centuries past. However, I have come to the realization that they don't all deserve biopic treatment. Yes, the actual inventions are nice, but the creator has to be in some respects able to adapt his life to a story, whether comical, dramatic or tragic. He must seem "peculiar" in a sense. There are too many biopics nowadays highlighting the lives of very uninteresting people that couldn't have been served justice in a five minute Wikipedia research. Of course, there are those exceptions that become relevant through larger thematics and in some cases performances. However, the fact…
Really enjoyed the series, but hated the camera angles, positioning, and movement in many of the scenes. The program feels like it fell to the trappings of the steady, mobile camera movement of the late 2000s.
John Adams is not Jason Bourne and does not need a mobile camera, canted angle close up in every shot.
Performances were all top notch and Paul Giamatti dissolved into the role of Adams. Whether the picture reflects history with any accuracy is second to the strength of character and intense drama added to each episode. There are many slow burn moments, but the pay off is very worthwhile.
So I've been listening to Hamilton non-stop lately, which reminded me that I'd always meant to watch this miniseries. Thanks to it, I have learned the phrase "Dutch tilt," which means a shot in which the horizon is tilted so that it is not parallel to the edge of the screen. I swear to god, there were more tilted scenes in this film (these films?) than there were normal scenes. And that's not even counting the many other ways that Hooper's cinematography warped the viewer's perception--I'm sure I couldn't identify what exactly was happening with the camera--wide angle lens? Something something depth of focus? I don't know, but I could tell when it was happening (many of the scenes in…
This mini-series is amazingly well done, especially with Paul Giamatti's fantastic performance as the titular character.
I've decided that mini-series, with a sole director, lasting less than 10 episodes will now count as films for the perspective of my letterboxd account. These are eight of the best hours of cinema ever produced and I maintain its the best thing Tom Hooper has ever directed. It always blows me away how British cinematic talents have a knack for getting American stories right.
I've seen this through 3 times now and it is one of my favourite pieces of cinema ever put to film. Its sprawling and hopeful and romantic in a way so few films ever are. Tom Hooper, in spite of his later cinematic missteps is totally at home here and it is likely the best thing he will ever direct.
An American life- the life of America. I knew little about the founding of our country so I figured I would check this out. It's quite good even if a little listless at times. It's the sausage making of young America- so it's not always exciting.
I had never spent so much time with Paul Giamatti before. He's incredible here. The role of his lifetime. Stephen Dillane is a sleeper hit as Thomas Jefferson, playing the cold, uncompromising radical with total commitment.
For an election season watch it's fantastic- a great reminder of where we started, what we may have lost, and how far we've come.
One of the very best shows ever. I watch it every July 4th.
I hope they show this mini-series in schools. The detail is incredible.
I wish I had time to write a more thoughtful review. It's important to remember the many sacrifices that were made to give us independence. It does not shy away from showing the good side or the bad side either. In text books I remember looking at pictures of people getting tarred and feathered and they looked like chickens and it never really sunk in how incredibly painful that experience would have been.
My distaste for Tom Hooper aside, this holds up. More Founding Fathers HBO Miniseries please.
Tom Hooper does his best to ruin it with his obnoxious style, and five hours in it really does start to feel grating. But Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney keep it grounded, and at the end of the day it's a pretty interesting look into the life of our second president.
Paul Giamatti does his best, but he's not the right fit for this seven-part mini-series. Laura Linney is exceptional, however, in conveying the range of emotions necessary to portray Abigail Adams. Stephen Dillane steals scenes consistently when he's on screen as Thomas Jefferson.
I watched this because I'm currently doing a deep dive on the life of Alexander Hamilton, thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda's brilliant Broadway musical.
In brief: it speaks to the strength of how gobsmackingly, near career-best level outstanding Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney are (and Linney in some ways is even more essentially, just by her eyes she does such marvelous work), and that the writing is so astute and gets in so much history in, even at 8+ hours, so little time... that I can mostly ignore that Tom Hooper gets in his own way as a director. I mean, bloody hell - Roger Christian called and he said that he wants his unmotivated dutch angles from Battlefield Earth back.
It almost calls into question for me if he's not a strong director (among the record 13 Emmy's this received the directing prize…
Preserving this list for posterity as it disappeared.
RIP Allan Fish, your film taste and writing lives on.
A vaguely chronological order of films that depict the history of The United States of America, to some extent (dramatic…