Susan Year Itch: I’ll write my own history, thank you

I have found very little in the storehouses of moviedom to satisfy a need I have – the need to encourage you all to hang with the Founding Fathers. So, I have put together a proposal for what I think would blow up as a big summer blockbuster while educating the masses.

How can this possibly be the case: I can’t think of any hilarious or dramatic or romantic or even just pedantic movies about the origins of the American Revolution!  My intent was to blather on about the Founding Fathers and my strange yet deserved love of the historical period surrounding that heady half of the 18th Century, following it up with four or five flicks for you to check out (all of which would be rife with both fifes and drums), and then closing out with an obligatory joke about how my husband is worried I will leave him for TJ-with-a-time-machine.

Oh yes! I know my own formula! Here is where I interject with a sentence!

Well, laugh it up, fuzzballs, because for the life of me, I couldn’t think of anything besides 1776, that glorious musical that centers around a comically frustrated John Adams and his insistence on independence to a Congress who is more concerned about it being hot as Hell in Phil-a-del-phi-a. Though I can (and will) sing (and dance) every part of that film from beginning to end (email me for a private performance), I have a feeling that this enthusiasm won’t be easy to instill in anyone who didn’t watch this movie 400 times during their adolescence.*

Then of course, there’s John Adams, the much lauded HBO miniseries that was filmed in part in nearby Colonial Williamsburg, using the production talents of many Richmond folks. Informative and thorough, the series deserves a close viewing, but it’s the kind of thing that requires a few very cold nights in addition to a comfortable couch and sweatpants.

No, what I’m after is something more sensational, and I can’t understand why it doesn’t exist. How easy would it be to put together a big Founding Father epic with a huge cast of stars that combined war, romance, and patriotism into one big bundle? I mean, the Civil War has those all over the place! Can we not pay homage to the people whose philosophies and diligence actually CREATED our country? Yeah, Lincoln did whatever and World War II was nutso, but there were actual people who planned out how our entire country was going to go and defied a giant empire so that they could actually make it happen. Wrap your head around that! I spent an hour today trying to figure out how to avoid running an errand to the bank tomorrow because it’s just too much trouble! I can’t even fathom country creation!

Since all of the elements are there, but the films don’t seem to be (with my finger on my Netflix queue, I eagerly await the comments of anyone who has some examples that prove me wrong), I have put together a proposal for what I think would blow up as a big summer blockbuster while educating the masses. And no, it’s not Depp playing Jefferson, Downey, Jr. playing Adams, and Jude Law playing Hamilton, OK? I’m not entirely a one-trick pony over here.

Eagle’s Landing (201?)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Before the Civil War, before the Great Depression, before Frank Sinatra and McDonald’s and Michael Phelps, a handful of gentlemen with shapely calves hatched a plan that would change the face of the world forever. In this long-awaited prequel to just about everything we know, taciturn, deadly George Washington teams up with dashing visionary Thomas Jefferson and small, sharp-tongued John Adams to defeat the villainous tyrant King George and his league of terrifying Redcoats. When the three meet the headstrong and impetuous beauty Betsy Ross, a jealousy-fueled rift nearly separates them until Betsy manages to stitch together a plan that requires them to put their powdered-wigged heads together and catapult Jefferson over the Atlantic, displaying to the world the Declaration of Independence, which he has written on his person using primitive tattoos during a fortnight in an evil English prison.

In an epic clash of CGI armies, the Atlantic then foams with ironclad action and the shores swarm with the red fury of the English. Washington and his band of ragtag soldiers charge into battle as Adams rings the Liberty Bell with a cracking fury. Hundreds of civilians grab muskets and pitchforks and stream coastward from their farms to fight the fight of the oppressed. Native Americans look on, reassuringly. Despite their pluck, all does not go perfectly for the untrained and outnumbered underdog. In one desperate moment, the battle seems to be lost for the new Americans as the giant, heavily armed Redcoats push them further and further back. King George, riding a dragon and covered in glittering, jeweled armor, surprises Washington on the beaches of Delaware, where the magnanimous general has paused to help a grateful Shawnee child to safety amid the clashing violence of battle. Defenseless, Washington nobly faces defeat at the point of King George’s diamond sword, but at the last moment, a gleaming Jefferson swims across the ocean, bursts from the surf, and invents the machine gun on the spot. King George surrenders, and Freedom is bestowed upon white Americans, with absolutely zero help from the damn French.

Starring Jude Law as Betsy Ross and Robert Downey, Jr. as the Liberty Bell, with a special appearance by Johnny Depp as Freedom.

*It’s not my fault! My mother would only buy VHS tapes of musicals she loved, and that is the reason why I have never seen Goonies, but have fond memories of reenacting Oklahoma! for my parents in the basement with a cowboy hat and a rocking horse.

  • error

    Report an error

Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. This needs some other hero other than TJ to pop up during the “everything is lost” moment to lighten the mood. My idea, which you can pay me for later, is that Hamilton spends the entire movie trying to write a song about America on his homemade guitar but just can’t get the right lyrics, so he retreats to Vermont and misses all of the action and we forget about him.

    Until everyone is lying bloody and defeated and before the King & his dragon have yet to be struck down, a small victory occurs when Hamilton shows up with a full band of willing fighters/musicians playing the song. Uh, let’s say it’s “America the Beautiful” without doing any research on who wrote it and when.

    I already gave this movie 5 stars on Netflix, not that you can see that since Netflix hates our friendship.

  2. OH KELLY that would be excellent except that Hamilton hated The People and would never be comfortable in Vermont.

  3. Tim on said:

    Guest starring Luis Guzman as Aaron Burr!

    Guys, I’m a little disappointed that neither of you responded to the Kelly/Susan bait that I posted under the “Greatest Love Story” article. I know it has been many months since I’ve seen either of you but have things really changed that much?

  4. I DIDN’T SEE IT!!!! Stoked! I will add some rousing scenes involving your musical enthusiast pals!

  5. Justin Hammer on said:

    Wait guys. We all forgot about The Patriot! RIP Heath!

  6. I don’t actually know which one Hamilton is, I was just naming characters after items in my wallet. I will read a history book and then show up at your house with my typewriter so we can write this screenplay.

  7. Richard on said:

    Or trusty Benjy Franklin arrives in a flashy double wagon filled with turkeys and carrying twin stoves, one in each heavily-muscled arm. He unleashes the turkeys who swarm upon King George’s dragon before burning thousands of copies of the Magna Carta in his stoves. King George weeps potato tears before falling on his sword, TJ says “suck it,” and GW crowns himself with the hair of Virginia Dare.

  8. Susan, you are absolutely right about 1776. Even I didn’t like it, and you KNOW how I feel about founding fathers. Anyway, this article gets four stars. Anything involving TJ and the phrase “on his person” deserves four stars. Hiyoooooooooooooo!

    P.S. Richard, are you Susan’s secret twin sister or something? That paragraph compliments her story perfectly. I just LOLed at “potato tears.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).

Or report an error instead