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Thirteen Days

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 in Seattle."

"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.

Editor's Note:

And on the 14th day, the SMC rested.

Thirteen Days
Rated: PG-13
Directed By: Roger Donaldson
Starring: My new family, the Kennedys.

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