I loved but the book but I HATED HATED HATED HATED HATED this miniseries.
The Rabbit Hole
James Franco, Cherry Jones, T.R. Knight, Kevin J. O’Connor, Josh Duhamel and Chris Cooper star in this rancid dull mess. Jake (Franco) is a teacher teaching adult education classes, his pal Al (Cooper) runs an eyesore diner, there is mumbling and bad ADR. Jake’s wife Christy shows up to divorce him for never explained reasons. Al ages in minutes and then starts on about time travel and the butterfly effect.
Al explains that he went from looking like Jeff Perry to looking like he just walked out of a dumpster due to time travel. By all medical logic, it is impossible. This was not a complex emotional subject. Al’s closet leads to 1960. Al talks Jake into aiding and abetting his plan to save JFK. This hinders sense and was resistible. Al is endlessly dramatic and unnecessarily ostentatious and seems to have wilful delusions.
Jake reasonably objects to this plan. Nobody in 1960 seems to notice Jake in his 2016 wear. Al is nostalgic for a time that is gone. Jake is vocal, unrelenting and negative. Al is stricken. Yellowcardman (O’Connor - who shows he really cannot act) babbles and annoys. Al has preening confidence and a room full of crazy. Poor Harry. If Al made Jake’s fake ID in 1962 - how does it still exist? Al says this is Jake’s absolute last chance to have complex meaning in his life. Al beseeches the reluctant Jake. Is Al’s dream of a better world just a soothing fantasy?
If someone dressed and acted like Jake does initially in 1960 - it would be seen as unspeakably kinky behaviour. Franco looks good in his ill-fitting ‘Mad Men’ attire. He meets his bitter principle as a hopeful teenager. He buys an ostentatious car and is not apologetic about his bad choices. This was not captivating, bold, distinctive, heartfelt or brilliant.
There is exposition, unwise decisions and this was not invigorating. There is a Nixon campaign poster emblazoned: They Can’t Lick Our Dick! Jake meets Sadie. This was not a nostalgia item. There is emotional coercion and Jake has to find out if there was a conspiracy to kill JFK. Jake and Al have pathetic needs. There are rage-clenched people. This was stupid, inconsequential and irritating. Franco always looks as if he is shrugging off a thought.
“That can’t be real beef.”
“Turn down the drama.”
“I’ve been eating hamburgers from 1960?!?”
“Back then, grown men wore suits and hats.”
“When I vote, it comes down to character. Richard Nixon has it. You look at him, you think: that’s a good man.”
“Go in the closet.”
“I need you t do what I couldn’t.”
“You want me to go stab someone?”
“Who makes these rules?”
“You can’t ever go back.”
“He’s some bum.”
“How long have you worked here Alice?”
“I went here.”
“Who do you think killed Kennedy?”
The Kill Floor
Jake should buy some comics and bring them back to 2016 to get rich. People shrug at bullying and abuse and are probably chewing on chaw. There is the red scare. Annette O’Toole shows up as a bum faced B&B owner. Jake plans to deal with the scumbag du jour Frank who is permanently furious. There is no perfection. Jake makes a ‘MASH’ joke. Everything that Jake does is to his detriment. I used the fast forward button a lot during this uninteresting tale of the refuse-to-do-anything-to-help-themselves-Dunning family. Jake exacerbates anguish. 1960 is not grittily romantic. Some irritating knife wielding hood shows up. This was incompatible with joy. Jake is not uncannily alert to the future. He’s taking a circuitous route to the dread date.
“Fellas with wife problems.”
“Aren’t most writers communists?”
“I don’t speak kraut.”
“The past gave you cancer?”
Other Voices, Other Rooms
‘Helix’ was better than this. The hood bores. This is a disappointment of ‘Sleepy Hollow’ proportions. Jake gets a job. The school principle is Nick Searcy of ‘American Gothic’. Jake meets Jack Ruby. Sadie’s shows up again and suddenly it is 1962. Sadie is a bit of fluff. Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife Marina arrive in Dallas. I wonder what Marina made of the book/show. Oswald is a famewhore decades before reality TV and vlogs. When did Jake learn to dance in 1962 style? Jake is intrusive and Oswald is gruff, angry and peeved. Jake stalks him. The Sisters Of Southern Heritage attend on General Walker. Oswald has self belief.
The Eyes Of Texas
Marina takes THAT photo of Lee Harvey Oswald and his rifle. Marina has VPL. Oswald resents and rages. Jake fawns over Sadie. Jake’s fake ID isn’t holding up. People don’t know what the mafia is in 1962? Jake retells the plot of ‘Godfather II’ to someone as a cover story. Sadie’s ex (Knight) shows up with a proprietary interest and a need for order. This was not rosy.
“I’m going to hunt fascists.”
I don’t care about Sadie and her insipid face. This ep was directed by James Franco. Sadie is all helpless gestures. Jake is all poor judgement. Jake is fired, he forgot about old attitudes and restrictions. This wasn’t intense. I don’t understand Jake’s continued devotion to Sadie, it baffles. This ep doesn’t live up to expected standards. The hood continues to bore. Sadie’s crazy ex strikes. Sadie is chagrined. Nothing has consequences. This was shallow and dumb. Sadie’s evil ex dies. There is major injury underreaction and a lapse of standards.
“Better get there then.”
Happy Birthday, Lee Harvey Oswald
The hood is a loser. An FBI agent (Gil Bellows who has aged badly and would probably sell his own mother to the galleys for Kyle Chandler’s career) harasses Oswald. Sadie’s facial scar is nowhere near as bad as it was in the book. Sadie knows Jake is a time traveller and doesn’t ask many questions. The put upon school secretary Mimi gives advice. Oswald has his paranoia fuelled and has an outburst at a party. The hood is a moron. The yellowcardman and his bad bad acting lurks. The hood is locked up. Jake gets beat down and this sucked hard.
I’ve seen ‘Days Of Our Lives’ plots with more logic and coherence than this. Jake has amnesia and hallucinates. Jake looks like a possessed clown doll. Was it even mentioned why he divorced Christy? Oswald’s smother mother (Jones) smothers him some more. Miss Mimi has died off screen. What is TPTB obsession with the hood? Oswald is a crazy loser. The yellowcardman wibbles. This was particularly awkward.
“Lots of initials.”
“It’s quiet time now.”
The Day In Question
It is Dallas 1963. Sadie and Jake race through the plaza past the 3 hobos, babushka lady, umbrella man and Abraham Zapruder. Okay, that was effective. There are hallucinations. How can time have an agenda? Is Woody Harrelson’s dad hanging out at the plaza? There are consequences and negative side effects. There is Captain Trips graffiti and this was dull. Things are negatively affected by Jake’s acts. Sullen Jake and Sadie are dim. There is little of anything remotely groundbreaking. This was not a wonderful mess; there is no exuberance or productive energy. The source material is ground into submission. Nothing ever becomes useful. It is all high artifice with no quiet despair or emotional purchase. Skulduggery is mandatory. Oswald stares his way into decline from his lengthy paranoia. It finally ends. I HATED this. HATED it.
“Bad places. Bad things happened there.”