Directed by Roger Donaldson ("No Way Out", "Species").
Written by David Self. Based on a book by Ernest R. May and
Philip D. Zelikow.
Starring Kevin Costner, Steven Culp and Bruce Greenwood.
Release Year: 2000
Review Date: 1/15/01
You know what I hate?
I see a lot of movies and it kills me how
many times people do "The Blind Handrest." Do you know what this
is? Here is what happens:
You are in the movie theater and of course,
it is pitch black. Grandma sitting behind you needs to go hit the
head, so while getting up and walking towards the aisle, she blindly
uses your head as a guide while she stumbles through human traffic
to get to the aisle and walk out of the theater. You, naturally,
are so entranced by the film you are watching that getting slapped
upside the head catches you totally by surprise, and this leads to
about 30 seconds of anger as you curse poor Grandma as she walks by.
Well, this issue--plus the world-famous
that plagues many theaters--made watching "Thirteen Days" very
painful for Gordon, Chuck, Keith and I today; Keith actually called
it the most painful movie experience he has ever had. And, even
with all of this, three out of four really liked this film. (Chuck
commented later that while he liked the film, watching Kevin Costner
perform fills him with "sheer disgust" because he hates Costner so
much.) The film--an in-depth look at the Cuban missile crisis from
1962--stars Costner as the special assistant to President John F.
Kennedy (Bruce Greenwood) and good friend of John's brother Bobby
(Steven Culp). The three men collaborate to help thwart the
Russians' actions in Cuba by continuously trying to steer the
volatile Cabinet and various military officials towards a peaceful
Is there more than that? Well, of course
there is, but the movie takes the audience through such minute
details over the course of the crisis' thirteen days that it would
be impossible to cover it all here. And, this is probably the
movie's only true problem outside of its romanticized Hollywood
ending: the film is just too damn long. Maybe it was because I had
some fat guy's knee in my back, but the movie almost includes too
much of what took place in the crisis' final three days. And, as
Keith wisely mentioned afterwards, *nothing* is presented in defense
of Cuba or Cuban officials about their take on the actions that took
place in their country; besides being rented land to the Russians,
Castro and company get almost no mention in this film. That would
have added at least another half an hour, and then I would have had
to kill myself.
Other than its length, the film is
absolutely superb. Full of tense moments in terms of action and
arguments between the Kennedys and various government officials, the
story is really different than most films about JFK. In fact, for
the first time in a JFK movie that I have seen, this film does an
excellent job of just making JFK seem human and just a man that is
doing his job. Usually with JFK movies they either deal with
conspiracy, his assassination or his wife...and, in "Thirteen Days",
Jackie is only featured in one scene and it is of no significance.
It helps that Greenwood is very good in this film, barely one-upped
by Culp as Bobby Kennedy. And, Costner does a decent enough job
with his Boston accent.
It's a bit too long, but even with that the
movie is good stuff.
Rating: $8.25 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard