How could anyone resist the siren call of seeing Benjamin Franklin Fred Astairing the shit of a movie?
I know what you are all thinking...Movie Bitch, this musical film was pretty bad, so I hope you tear it a new one! Well dear reader, I will be the first to admit that this film is incredibly cheesy and rightfully so (it's a musical and most of them are going to be pretty cheesy) but there is one thing that most people do not know about me, in addition to having a weakness for Depeche Mode, I also have a weakness for musicals (at this moment, I am going to lose my cinephille street cred for admitting that).
So let's dive into this Revolutionary Music Fest shall we?
So the movie starts out with John Adams (William Daniels also known as Mr. Motherfucking Feeny from Boy Meets World) as he is sad and being all emo because none of his suggestions were being deliberated on by the Second Continental Congress. He is also widely disliked as well. We shall refer to him as the Scrappy Doo of the group.
This results in the members of the house in telling Adams to simply shut the fuck up, with a musical title called "Sit Down, John" (although "Shut The Fuck Up, John" would've been a better title). Being the emo teenager that he is, John Adams leaves in frustration. When he goes into his office, John is upset that Congress has done nothing but talk shit and fuck around (not too different from today's Congress), which then transitions into another musical sequence, "Piddle, Twiddle and Resolve" ("Piddle" rhymes with "Pizzle," another word for "penis"). After that brief moment of silliness, John then sits down to read another letter from his beloved wife, Abigail (Virginia Vestoff) as she tells him that there are no straight pins which are required for the war effort.
*Here's a history lesson for all of you readers out there, keep in mind that Abigail Adams suggested to John that women should have equal rights and have property rights as well as voting rights. Of course John laughed at the idea because he thought she was on the rag. History lesson has concluded.*
Of course this moment is then turned into another musical sequence called "Till Then," which I have to admit is a very sweet and touching moment and one of the few touching moments that you will see involving John Adams.
"Tender," "sweet" and John Adams do not go well together.
So the next day, John meets up with his buddy, Benjamin Franklin (Howard Da Silva) and basically whines like an emo bitch about his failure to argue for declaring independence from Britain. Not one to mince words, Benjamin basically tells John that the reason why he's being ignored because he's acting like an asshole and an annoying twat.
Notice that Franklin is saying all of this to Adams in a smashingly pimptastic ensemble. It's no surprise that Franklin was popular with the ladies.
Franklin suggests to Adams that his resolution would go through if it were presented by someone who is much more likable (and more handsome), in which Richard Henry Lee (Ron Holgate, that rhymes with Colgate) jumps in and then says that he is the best man to propose the resolution simply because he comes from the most glorious family in America in which then transitions to "The Lees of Old Virginia" (Yup it's another musical number).
"They see us rollin' they be hatin!"
So after that number, all three of them head off to Williamsburg, Virginia as things do not go too well at the meeting. Thomas Jefferson (Ken Howard) leaves the meeting in order to visit his wife Martha (Blythe Danner, yes you read that correctly, the mom from Meet The Parents is in this). Of course the vote to become independent is split and the discussion continues but then Caesar Rodney (William Hansen) collapses and is revealed that he has cancer.
This is Cesar Millan, not Caesar Rodney! God Damn Google Images!
In addition to that, John Dickinson and John Adams get into a nasty altercation:
The Dish-On-Demand Event of The Century: Dickinson vs. Adams: Brawl In City Hall. Pantaloons will be torn!
Which once again leaves the decision split among the delegates. Adams is trying to think fast as he suggests that the delegation be put on hold as he suggests that they should draft a declaration for why they want to split from Britain in which Hancock along with Jefferson and others are first assigned to write the Declaration but they all get owned as Thomas Jefferson is the best writer and knows how to deliver the goods. Jefferson at first does not want to write the Declaration but Adams convinces him to do so against Jefferson's wishes, hmmm...is it just me or does this sound like Adams had his way with Jefferson without his consent.
The captions alone do the job for me.
A week later, Adams and his posse return to see Jefferson, but it seems like Jefferson caught the Emo spell from John Adams as he is being depressed and was holed up in his home while writing in the 18th Century equivalent of LiveJournal. Of course Franklin and Adams cheer Jefferson up by bringing him some poontang and by poontang I mean Martha, Jefferson's wife. The two gentlemen leave the young lovers alone in order for Thomas and Martha to get their freak on, while Adams wanders alone and writes another letter to Abigail which then transitions to the song, "Yours, Yours, Yours" (at least it wasn't "Lies, Lies, Lies" by the Thompson Twins).
The next morning, after the Jeffersons had the craziest, epic sex session ever, Franklin and Adams ask Martha how did a guy like Jefferson end up with a hot piece of ass like her and she simply responds with "He plays the violin," in which the next sequence is the song of the same name.
Thomas Jefferson reveals the universal truth...girls love musicians.
The next day the meeting is resumed as the delegates receive a letter from George Motherfucking Washington as the Continental Army soldiers are suffering from Venereal Disease and Drunkenness which raises more doubts about the idea to declare independence. Then Adams works his magic and then he and his posse resume their US tour and head off for New Jersey.
Sadly, The Boss will not be joining them tonight at the meeting hall gig, which leaves Adams and his posse on their own.
At this moment, Dickinson and many of the other conservative delegates then do a song and dance number called "Cool, Cool Considerate Men," (which was removed in the original cut of the film due to Nixon's Presidency but was then put back into the film in later decades). After they leave, Andrew McNair, the courier and a workman then go into another musical number called "Momma Look Sharp" in which is a response to a question that the Workman asks the courier if he has seen any fighting.
The next day, Jefferson has Mr. Thomson read the Declaration of Independence as Franklin giggles like a school girl at the excitement of the declaration, but then Samuel Chase runs in saying that he will change his vote to declare independence after witnessing a shooting outside his gallery. This once again leads into yet another song "The Egg," in which they all sing and dance and try to decide which bird will represent America. They all eventually decide on the Bald Eagle which was Adams' suggestion (although, Franklin's suggestion, the turkey, would've been pretty fucking awesome). Looks like the pieces are starting to fall into place, nothing could go possibly wrong...oh wait yes, yes it will.
As the meeting reconvenes once again, Jefferson along with Adams fight to end slavery which is noble cause and all but that almost ruins their argument for declaring independence (slavery was officially abolished later on). This once again leads to another number called "Molasses To Rum" (good god there are so many fucking songs in this entire movie)! This upsets Adams greatly as he once again pours out his feelings to Abigail in another letter in which Abigail tells John not to lose hope and to keep pushing for independence (I am telling you if it wasn't for Abigail Adams, we would still be under British rule). The film then concludes with all of the members finally signing the Declaration of Independence with two more songs "Compliments" and "Is Anybody There."
"After we sign the Declaration of Independence, we shall raise our pimp canes and chalices into the air and toast to victory!"
So what is my take on this film? It is a cheesy film but it's also entertaining. Well there are a few issues with this film. For example, there could have been a few scenes and songs of the film that could have been taken out because they were unnecessary and caused the film to run a little bit longer than it should have. This movie is also dated but it's so charming in its own right and as it is, the film is great and it is a guilty pleasure. I would highly recommend this film for everyone if you like your historical fiction and musicals tossed in together.
My name is Maricruz Gonzalez and I'm your Movie Bitch because somebody has to be.
Stay Sassy Planet Earth!