A high school teacher travels back in time to prevent John F. Kennedy's assassination.A high school teacher travels back in time to prevent John F. Kennedy's assassination.A high school teacher travels back in time to prevent John F. Kennedy's assassination.
Plot and Story: 33/35 Cinematography: 21/25 All Editing: 10/15 Acting: 13/15 Script: 6/7 Musical Score and Soundtrack: 3/3
I'm not usually the type to keep up with a television series week to week, but after watching the first episode of 11.22.63, I was absolutely hooked. The one season, Hulu mini-series drops a big "what if" in the premiere, and then proceeds to answer it in the remaining seven episodes. "If you could alter the outcome of one major event in history, which would it be?"
Now, 11.22.63 travels in a much more narrow direction, sending Jake Epping (James Franco) to the year 1960 with one goal in mind, to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. History books tell us that Lee Harvey Oswald was responsible for his death, but nobody is certain whether Oswald was acting alone, or if he is even the one who pulled the trigger. Stephen King, whose novel the show is adapted from, puts this historical hypothesis into question, while bringing to light other theories about what really happened on that day.
Perfectly cast and cleverly directed, 11.22.63 is the show of the year, and it would be getting the true attention that it deserves if it weren't for Hulu's monopoly on its release. Mooch off your friend, use your dad's credit card, or do whatever else you can to get access to a Hulu Plus account, because this series is worth all the effort.
Technically speaking, the show is brilliant. If Stephen King's byline isn't enough to sell you, J.J. Abrams, producer and writer of the highest grossing film of 2015, (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) made the whole thing happen. In addition, nearly every episode is directed by a different critically acclaimed director, making each week even more unique and exciting. Franco even directed one episode himself, continuing to show how he very well may be "the most interesting man in the world" (read his feature in Rolling Stone if you're not convinced).
Franco is joined on-screen by Canadian actress and rising star Sarah Gadon (Sadie Dunhill) as Jake Epping's love interest, whom I've been a huge fan of since seeing her in Enemy (2013), one of my all-time favorite movies that I probably talk about way too much. Gadon plays her role perfectly, showcasing a peachy Southern accent that could make any guy fall in love with her. Matched with a script that leaves a lasting impression on you, Franco and Gadon make the 60s look sublime, except for the racism, medical practices, phone booth struggles, and many other time-travel challenges that the show comments on as well.
Regarding my specific movie preferences, I'm a sucker for thoughtful films with beautiful women and well-dressed gentlemen, so 11.22.63 takes the cake and lands a spot among The Newsroom, House of Cards, True Detective, and Entourage as what I consider one of my favorite television shows of all time. My pick for the best of the series is episode 3, but nothing takes your breath away quite like the finale. Go check it out before I spoil it for you. I'd love to have someone else to discuss it with.
- Apr 4, 2016