Monday, February 20, 2017

Now on Hulu: 11.22.63 (2016)

11.22.63 (2016) - Starring James Franco, Sarah Gadon, George MacKay, Chris Cooper, Daniel Webber, Josh Duhamel.

By Kenny Howell

You never really know what you are going to get when you have a Stephen King adaptation.

He has some stories that are great and well-written, others that are not so great, but well-written. You rarely get both, but he definitely has the ability to elevate some things that may seem ludicrous to something very believable and entertaining.

11.22.63 definitely leans more toward the former, but there is a little bit of latter there as well. It follows the story of a school teacher named Jake, played by James Franco (True Story), that goes back in time to try to stop the President John F. Kennedy assassination. His buddy Al (Chris Cooper), which owns a local diner in their small Maine town, shows him a closet in his place that takes you back to 1960.

I guess there is multiple ways you could use this portal, but Al is dead set on stopping the assassination. After not very much convincing, Jake decides it is a good idea to go back in time, live there for three years and try to stop the assassination.

Once there, he decides to make a detour and go help a student of his, a talented writer which had a horrible event happen to his family as a child, and stop that. There, he picks up Bill (George MacKay) a man who doesn't think Jake is on the up and up, but agrees to go along with him to Dallas. There, they spy on some of the players of the assassination attempt, specifically Lee Harvey Oswald, played brilliantly by Daniel Webber.

I never really bought why Jake decides this a thing to do, other than to help his friend. But that is quite a leap for him, to take on that much. He does say later that he thought it would make things better if Kennedy lived, but I didn't get that early on in the miniseries. It was just like he decided all of the sudden, OK, yeah, I will do that, and the story kicks off. It is one of many conveniences that I feel like Stephen King can write himself out of, but that doesn't translate to the screen.

Once it does get going, and he does go back in time, the series gets much better, though I think the love story with a local Texas librarian played by Sarah Gadon (Indignation) seems a bit forced and gets a bit much by the end. Still, all and all, it feels much like some of King's other work, entertaining if you don't think about it too much.

The entire 11.22.63 miniseries is now streaming on Hulu.

Rating: **1/2

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