Thirteen Days

By Mark Ramsey | 2000/12/03

Any movie opening with a montage of mushroom clouds is not likely to be a barrel of fun, and Thirteen Days is no exception.

Let’s all go to DefCon 3 for another light-hearted retelling of the Cuban Missile Crisis! Hey kids, in the unlikely event you wander into a theater showing this flick, you’ll be surprised to learn that Mayor Quimby from The Simpsons once ruled the Free World with his brother Bobby!


This is not the White House of The West Wing, mind you. It’s the one with more Kennedy mugs than a Hyannis flea market. The one where decision-making by women is limited to: Yuban or Maxwell House? The one where the shirts are white, the ties skinny, and – in the public’s mind – the only thing between the presidential legs is the presidential tot.

President Quimby is joined by Kevin Costner, who knows his way around the end of the world like the back of his little webbed hand. Kevin’s Beantown dialect is a high-pitched scream. “Give it to ya mather,” Kevin tells his boy. “In fact, give it to ya Mahshall Mahthers!” Do they want a war, Kevin? “They want a WAAAAAAAAAHHH, Jack!”

Those sneaky Soviets! They’ve planted a batch of nuclear missiles in Cuba out in the wide open, figuring “hey, they’re in the wide open, who’s gonna see these?”

When confronted with photographic evidence, the Soviet UN ambassador is quick to respond: “Stupid Americans! You have photographed an installation of fine, truck-launched Cuban cigars!”

“My fahther spent his life bootlegging hooch and diddling Gloria Swanson – I cahn’t let him down now!,” Said President Quimby. “Kevin, call Marilyn and tell her I won’t be killing her until this whole mess is over. Say, are any of those Cuban cigars pointed at Marilyn’s house?”


Kevin’s a special assistant to the President. He must be a very special assistant because he shadows Jack and Bobby closer than Leno shadows his chin. Kevin’s the official Kennedy Beard.

“Er ah, Kevin, would you buff up my bungholio to a shiny gloss, please? I’m meeting with the, er, Joint Chiefs in fohty-five minutes.”

“Would you like me to wash your willy too, Mr. President?”

“No thanks. If God had meant a willy to be clean he wouldn’t have created Marilyn Monroe. Kevin, if we drop the bomb on Castro in Havaner can I count on you to ride it bahrback?”

Thirteen Days is a good TV movie masquerading as a cinematic star vehicle. Movie thrillers nowadays rely on extra-outlandish plotting for so much of their excitement, how can reality possibly compare?

Like it or not, I’ll take my Armageddon the same way I’ll take my Pear Harbor: Bruckheimer-style.

Photos Copyright ©2000 New Line Cinema


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