Monday, June 9, 2008

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a Better Bald Cap

I only watched one whole part and then about half of another of HBO's mini-series John Adams. If you've been visiting my blog for awhile, you'll remember that I was super-duper excited about it, for many reasons, but especially for Paul Giamatti getting such a meaty role. John Adams is seven parts total, and put together, the whole thing comes out to almost 10 hours. So, instead of watching and then twiddling my thumbs and suffering for an entire week in between parts, I decided to put it off (okay, I gave up, not because it isn't good - in fact, what I saw was spectacular - but because I fell behind and it was so daunting) and wait for the glory of DVD and make a day out of the experience.

I've been wanting to post this entry ever since I saw that part-and-a-half when it was first on, but now I can pretend I held off on purpose for the release of the DVD tomorrow. Tada! Anyway, the terrific ensemble cast includes the always stellar Tom Wilkinson as historical badass Benjamin Franklin. He exploded onto the screen with his usual verve, and I was, of course, impressed from second one.

As I kept watching, though, something seemed terribly wrong. Not with Wilkinson's acting, never, but with his...hairpiece. I could see the line from his bald cap. I thought I might just be seeing things. I HOPED I was seeing things. Maybe I was so freakishly trained by my Columbia film education to spot details that my mind was playing tricks on me. Perhaps my TV just sucked. I mean, it seemed painfully obvious. My Spidey sense was majorly tingling. But I didn't want it to be true. It just COULDN'T be true. HBO couldn't have made such a grievous error.

Alas, it IS true. When the mistake was confirmed by two other people I trust very deeply, I knew my rationalizations and desperate protests were sunk. My freakishly intensive training in film school (I mean that in the best way possible - thank you, Columbia College!) made me see what a lot of people didn't even notice. My observational skills are heightened, intensified, and ridiculously honed. But I didn't want to see THIS. Not from my beloved John Adams. I wish I was still blissfully ignorant. I was so obsessed with this huge misstep that I actually recorded parts off of my TiVo with my video camera, uploaded the footage to my computer, and then captured stills to best display the evidence.

First, just for reference, check out an actual portrait of ol' Ben and his trademark 'do:

Now, take a look at the crime that is Tom Wilkinson's make-up/bald cap while I cringe:

Sigh. Like our forefathers might have said, I cannot overlook this injustice. I mean, I can put it on the back burner to enjoy the brilliance of the mini-series, but I won't ever really be able to forget about it. It'll always be there, blinding me with its shiny badness. It's distracting! How can it not be? Tom Wilkinson doesn't deserve to have anything detract from his outstanding performance. Ugh.

Why, HBO, why? John Adams had an astronomical budget. There's no way that they couldn't afford to do a better job. And Wilkinson is one of their big marquee names! Let it slide on one of the hundreds of extras, fine, but on one of your main characters? No way. Since it can't possibly be a matter of expense, why didn't anyone simply open their eyes, look at the freaking monstrosity happening on his head, and process that something wasn't right? I don't buy that no one, not even a single person, noticed. It's totally inconceivable! People had to be aware. Is it just that no one cared enough? I refuse to believe that either. So what is it? What made them do this? Why, damn it, why?!

In a project so dedicated to accuracy, I'm astounded that they let this slip. I'm totally devastated and extremely disappointed.

Shame on you, HBO. What would our forefathers say? Go to your room.


Alexa said...

Hilarious...but true. I also found David Morse's nose prosthetic a bit distracting.

Lisa Draski said...

Good, I'm glad you noticed, too! :) Yes, agreed about the nose - did they run out of money or something?

I saw comparable bald caps on an episode of Full House recently in which the three guys dress as as the Three Stooges for a costume party.