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Thirteen Days

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Thirteen knuckle clenching- nail biting- valium popping days was the working title. Good thing they shortened it.

Being Boston-born myself, I can tell you we Bostonians come with a lobster cracker in one hand, a knack for parallel paahkin and an inbred love of Robert and John F. Kennedy. We guard them, their memory and pretend the other members were least in my family.

Many of us weren't around when the brothers had control of the White House but in Massachusetts youngins are tucked in with stories of the Camelot of the Kennedy's, spent Sundays in the wax museum next to JFK and his PT 109 crew, and had a cool velveteen rug picture of Johnnie hanging over your canopy least I did...what?

I was pleasantly surprised at how nobly the brothers were depicted in Thirteen Days. Instead of the usual focus on the sexcapades, Director Roger Donaldson, focuses on the politics. Monroe isn't in a single scene. (Besides, don't most men in power have a colossal sexual appetite? What's the scandal, people?)

You'll need to use the rest rooms before you snuggle in for the 145 minute flick, because after a thirty second walk with Chief of Staff Kenny O'Donnell (Kevin - age does nothing to this man's sex appeal, no siree Bob- Costner) it's double barrel suspense and information torpedoed right at you from there on in.

TD's Story goes... President Kennedy (Bruce Greenwood) has just been told the Russians are lying about storing big bad boy missiles on Cuba. Did the Bay of Pigs teach no one nuthin'? Not only are there missiles of various ranges, but a semi-convoy of Russkie ships carrying gawdallknowswhat is full steam aheading towards the sneaky little Island. Now JFK, his Attorney General brother Robert ( Steven -hmm, may actually be Robert Kennedy- Culp), and O'Donnell must figure out how to avoid WW3. It's Defcon 3 time. What was that? Defcon 2!?

The American military heads around the President have a hair across their starched buttocks over their "embarrassment" in BOP and quite frankly are itching to blow up dem commie bastards but good. The Kennedys and O'Donnell better get the many people really behind the Commander In Chief to come up with an alternative to all out nuclear war- fast.

Not as easy as you may think...Politics you see. In the beginning of JFK's administration- those pre "ask not what your country..." days, Kennedy wasn't real popular with the good old boys that had been around Washington awhile...Plus he was a Yankee from money with a Harvard degree. These guys didn't give him too much thought and simply seemed to work around him. They figured he's too young and morally weak to run the country. Lobster shit. The brothers were dynamos in real life and are portrayed as such here in this incredible film.

The film is historically accurate-which gives it an added terror. Based on a book Kennedy Tapes - Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis (Zelikow & May) the screenwriter, David Self adapted it precisely.

It was scary to think if JFK hadn't read a book about the errors leaders made heading into WW1 (Guns in August) we may well have been the United States of The Socialist Union or something. That would have stunk like a government- issued vat of spoiled borscht-and we'd be thankful to even get that! Thirteen Days should be shown in every high school every term just to be sure our future leaders understand how volatile global peace truly is.

Kevin Costner shows again why he's an American icon. He's super delicious. All lean and cut like a fine filet mignon delicately sautéed and slathered in butter sauce. Slurp-o-rama. A sublime performance.

The Kennedy boys, played by Bruce Greenwood and Steven Culp are absolutely mesmerizing. And thank god they didn't do that stupid Pepperidge Farm guy's voice most actors use for all the folks from Boston...Argh.

Maybe you'll "get" the Kennedy mystique after this. 'Cause the new generation is certainly nothing history's going to document. Er, insinuated murders and statutory/date rapes and that Eddie brother's Chappaquidick faux pas aside of course.

Thirteen Days is exceptionally very well done, and extremely interesting. Honest. It sounds like a trip back to history class - but it ain't. Hey, if my history teacher looked more like Costner and less like Ben Franklin, maybe I'd be a senator by now.

Snack Recommendation: Tums© and Boroski

Starring: Bruce Greenwood , Steven Culp and Kevin Costner.

Directed by: Roger Donaldson

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