To properly get into the spirit of the political drama Thirteen Days, I
decided to see it once a day for 13 days straight and keep a journal. Here
then, is my journal.
DAY 1 - OK. This is a pretty cool flick. Lots of drama, lots of tension.
Basically, it's the story of the 13 days of the Cuban Missile Crisis during
the Kennedy administration, as seen through the eyes of Special Assistant to
the President Ken O'Donnell. I saw strong performances all around, and a
gripping story that I was largely unaware of - aside from the eventual
outcome that we didn't end up bombing the bejeesus out of Cuba. I think they
would have mentioned that in Civics class.
DAY 2 - Still gripping and powerful. But this time, since I knew what was
going to happen, I wasn't as involved. Still, glad it wasn't me in those
meetings. If I'd been president, I probably would have just said "Ok, OK,
we'll bomb them! Now will you guys leave me alone?!" Side note: one benefit
of seeing this movie 13 times is getting to see the Lord of the Rings trailer
13 times. Woo!!!
DAY 3 - You know, Kevin Costner's accent is weird. It gets better as the
movie moves alone, or maybe you just get used to it, or maybe it actually got
worse but they filmed the movie in reverse order. That first scene though,
oy! It's almost as jarring as the dentist's drill on your back molars. But
then the dentist moves the drill to your front teeth, and puts a lot of that
polish gunk on your teeth, and it doesn't seem as bad. Not that Kevin's
accent is ever perfect, I mean it's not the raspberry flavored gunk - more
like the lemon-lime gunk that you got when the dentist ran out of the good
stuff or is mad at you for some reason.
DAY 4 - Who is Bruce Greenwood? I know we've seen him before, probably a
hundred times, but he's just so darned presidential! I want to vote for him.
He'll lead this country to greatness! You know what'd be a great race?
Greenwood against Martin Sheen. That'd be a win-win scenario. Maybe they
could be on the same ticket. I'd sleep better at night with those guys in
control of the world.
DAY 5 - Man, Hollywood must miss the Soviets. They're just so evil, without
ever having to be real. They were communists, and communists were evil!
Nobody can make any good political thrillers anymore because there aren't any
enemies left. Oh sure, we got all kinds of militant factions bombing us, but
with the Soviets, we could always stare the threat of full-scale world war in
the face. "The Godless Soviets are going to try to take over the world, Mr.
Bond." "Then we'd best invade."
DAY 6 - OK, I'm done with this movie. It's good. It's exciting. It's
LONG. Maybe I should have been tipped off by the title, 13 Days. But
really, movies have covered longer periods than two weeks without being this
long. Throw Momma From The Train takes place over the course of a couple of
months at least and it's barely an hour and a half. You could almost watch
that twice, and come on, who doesn't want to watch Billy Crystal and Danny
DeVito twice in a row?
DAY 7 - I'm having a harder and harder time thinking of Kevin Costner as the
lead in this movie. Not that there's another actor who is the real lead, but
this movie doesn't feel like it has any leads at all. The star of the movie
is the event itself. That's how they should have marketed it. "Thirteen
Days, starring the Cuban Missile Crisis!" Or maybe that sounds too much like
some new salsa band.
DAY 8 - The funny thing is, this movie is totally obsolete now. If it
happened today, the conversation would go something like this.
"The Soviets are planting missiles which can strike American targets!"
"Oh my God, where! Cuba?"
"Uhm.. no. They've got some in Eastern Europe, some in Moscow. I think
there are a couple in Afghanistan. Little Boris built one in his back yard
"Oh. Well. That sucks. Coffee, anyone?"
Meanwhile, this Stephen Culp guy who plays Bobby Kennedy, he's good. I like
him. I want to invite him over for dinner and have him explain foreign policy
to me. I think he'd be good at that.
DAY 9 - You know what this movie needs? Susan Sarandon from Bull Durham.
Just put her in the cabinet room with all those hotheads and everyone would
be relaxed and happy and listening to kooky music and having a good old time.
And she's so wise, she'd look those generals in the eye and tell them that
since Cubans play baseball, they can't be bad people. And then maybe we'd go
over there and have a game and the crisis would be solved when Castro's ego
was satiated after homering off of Bobby Kennedy in the bottom of the eighth.
Castor would circle the bases and say "I have hit that baseball all the way
to the shores of America, and in so doing have made a valuable statement not
only about my prowess as a man, but about the power of Cuba. Therefore, we
can lose the missiles, they are no longer necessary."
DAY 10 - I have begun to claw at my eyes during certain parts of the movie.
Every time the bone-head Kennedys leak the Turkey information to the papers
without checking with Costner, I want to spank them both. Idiots! I don't
know if Mr. O'Donnell was really as all-knowing, all-seeing as Costner is in
the movie, but if he was half as smart as Kevin, then those damn Kennedys
shouldn't have so much as had a poo without checking with him. And has
anyone in any of these high-level meetings in the White House ever just stood
up and smacked the military pig-dogs in the face?
DAY 11 - And so I am here in the theater once again. I have no life. My
friends don't call me anymore. I am alone. Unloved. Unwanted. But I don't
care. I have a new family. Jack and Bobby and Jackie. I am a Kennedy. I
am better than my old friends. I am a Kennedy. I am royalty. They love me.
They really, honestly love me. I know that now. I am The Self-Made Kennedy.
DAY 12 - This movie needs a surprise ending. "Mr. President, the Soviets
have refused our final offer and their missiles are heading for America as we
speak." That would be really cool, and completely unexpected. But no,
Hollywood had to make the usual 'happy ending.' Wimps.
DAY 13 - I'm free! Free! America survived the Cuban Missile Crisis, and I
survived the Cuban Movie Crisis! If I've learned anything from this
experience, it's not to mess with America. I can assure you, I am never
going to build short-range missiles within striking distance of America!
They would kick my ass!
OK, so when all is said and done, and I have been properly reintroduced into
society, Thirteen Days gets 4 Babylons, and then loses 1/4 of a Babylon for
every other time you see the movie. Do yourself a favor, see the movie, but
only once. You'll thank me later.
And on the 14th day, the SMC rested.
Directed By: Roger Donaldson
Starring: My new family, the Kennedys.