Customer Review

on December 2, 2005
In his landmark 1991 film about the assassination of President Kennedy -- "JFK" -- Oliver Stone has just about everybody east of the Rocky Mountains involved in one way or another in the elaborate "plot" to assassinate John Kennedy. This film is a veritable "Melting Pot of Plots".

A logical question to ask would be: How could so many different people, agencies, and organizations possibly ALL be involved in such a massive assassination plot and never have anybody from any of these agencies leak any information? Such widespread theorizing is utter nonsense, IMO. I guess Mr. Stone just wanted to touch every possible base, and throw in the kitchen sink, to boot. :-)

There's a point in the film which has Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) and his staff, while eating dinner in a restaurant, coming up with conspiracy theories seemingly out of thin air and off the tops of their heads. Mr. Garrison seems to be taking assassin Lee Harvey Oswald at his word when Oswald shouted "I'm just a patsy!" to the waiting press in the Dallas Police Department hallways. Of course, just exactly WHY this known liar (Oswald) -- who told one falsehood after another to both the police and the anxious press at the police station -- would suddenly be looked upon as a TRUTHFUL person by the conspiracy theorists, who believe he was telling the truth when he uttered his famous "Patsy" declaration after his arrest, is a mystery to me. Most curious indeed.

"JFK", which premiered in U.S. movie theaters on December 20th, 1991, might very well make some people think twice about what really happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963. But when weighed against all the evidence in the case, you soon begin to realize that the film is designed ONLY to make you think like Oliver Stone WANTS you to think.

And I would also ask those conspiracy theorists who take this movie to heart to consider the rationale and logic that would have been exhibited by any "plotters" who were attempting to "frame" their lone "Patsy" PRIOR to the assassination. Because placing your faith in the boobs who supposedly cooked up the kind of PRE-assassination "Let's-Frame-Oswald" plot that is proposed by Mr. Stone in this film is akin to drawing to an 'Inside Straight'! I'd sooner believe the sun will rise in the west tomorrow.

In other words -- In order to accept the idea that Lee Harvey Oswald was the "Patsy" he said he was, and in order to buy into Oliver Stone's 3-Gunmen, 6-Shot "Triangulation of Crossfire" conspiracy theory that is the central "shooting plot" as depicted in this motion picture, anyone who accepts this film's proposed shooting scenario as "fact" MUST, therefore, also be of the opinion that these "conspirators"/"plotters" had no hesitation whatsoever to green-light and proceed full-tilt with a "Patsy" plan that would involve the POTENTIAL final results of having the one and only target (John F. Kennedy) being hit with UP TO SIX SEPARATE BULLETS fired from the guns of THREE different snipers (one of which was firing from the front, the exact OPPOSITE direction from where the ONE "Patsy" was supposedly firing in the Texas School Book Depository Building, which was located to the REAR of the President's car).

Even in a 'perfect conspiracy world', how in the heck could these covert "plotters" possibly have thought (on November 21st, the day before such a nutty plan would be taking place) that it was a GOOD idea to utilize three different assassins, who would ALL be drilling JFK's body (potentially) with many bullets in just a short 6-to-8-second time period -- with several of these missiles coming from OBVIOUS non-Oswald (non-"Patsy") locations?

Were these conspirators of the opinion (somehow) that JFK would be pronounced "dead" right there in the limousine, right there in Dealey Plaza, and would then be driven IMMEDIATELY to some "Conspiracy Morgue" someplace where all the wounds that have just been inflicted upon the President would be "controlled" by the same evil henchmen who conceived of this plot?

Did the people who dreamed up this impossible-to-pull-off "Frame-The-Lone-Patsy" plot really NOT consider the possibility of ALL six shots striking President Kennedy (or all six shots hitting SOMEBODY in Dealey Plaza)?

Did these plotters just automatically assume that all of the "frontal-shot" evidence (that would have invariably blown the Patsy Plot to bits just minutes after the gunfire had ceased in Dealey Plaza) wouldn't be noticed by ANY Parkland personnel -- and that ZERO of these many bullets that would be potentially entering the body of John F. Kennedy (or any other victims who might be accidentally hit) would ALL simply "get lost" on their own or wouldn't be seen by ANY non-plotters?

Or was it the conspirators' belief that all of these bullets would immediately be collected by some additional conspirators within the hospital? Or -- did the plotters just feel it wouldn't make any difference how many bullets had pelted JFK's body, and that any 'Non-Oswald' bullet wounds would simply be "taken care of" by other "after-the-shooting" conspirators who were in charge of the "Cover-Up" operation? Kind of a reckless plan and a very large risk to take -- don't you think?

Plus: Did these clandestine assassins really NOT consider the potential eyewitness accounts of the literally hundreds of witnesses who were scattered throughout Dealey Plaza to watch the President pass by? (Many of them with cameras, who would be photographing the dastardly deed, potentially acquiring the filmed proof of conspiracy within their still photos and motion pictures!)

Did the plotters just GET LUCKY when not one single witness saw ANY assassin other than the killer located in the "Oswald window" in the Depository? And did they just get lucky that the vast majority of earwitnesses heard only three shots (the EXACT number that Oswald could have fired in the allotted assassination timeframe)?

And: Did the conspirators also just "luck out" when very, very few witnesses (less than 5% total) said that they heard shots coming FROM MORE THAN ONE DIRECTION? (And the vast majority of these witnesses heard shots from BEHIND the President's car, from the direction of the School Book Depository.)

Didn't ANY of these things go through the heads of these assassination-planning operatives? If these potential "problems" with their screwball plan didn't enter their brains, these guys weren't earning their covert dollars, that's for sure.

Shouldn't just a small bit of common sense and practicality have crept into the minds of these people (whoever they were supposed to be)? And shouldn't at least one of these plotters have spoken up and said on 11-21-63: "Gee, fellas, this plan seems a little bit loony to me. We're asking three different killers to all fire rifle bullets at JFK at virtually an identical point in time and yet also expect ALL of the trace evidence to, somehow, some way, immediately lead back to Oswald's window and only Oswald's rifle. Hmmm....maybe we ought to re-think the probability of this plan succeeding. Ya think?"

But -- Per CTers, I guess nobody on the "JFK Assassination Plot" payroll made any such logical statement, and, therefore, the almost-certain-to-collapse plot was allowed to proceed, as planned.

The "Common Sense" truth re. this mess that Oliver Stone purports in his movie is this --- From a PRE-assassination standpoint, a conspiracy plan as depicted in this film would have been just plain suicide for any team of conspirators, and is a plot that only a crazy person would think of going forward with. Which is the main reason why no such plan of this nature would have been implemented on 11-22-63; nor would such a foolish plot have even been considered in the first place, given the many obvious hazards and complications that such a "Patsy" operation would have presented.

It's hilariously absurd from every given angle! Hard to believe any reasonable-thinking person can actually believe such "Oswald Was Merely A Patsy" nonsense.

A portion of the "hilarity" in it stems from the idea that these behind-the-scenes plotters (who were supposedly manipulating Oswald like a puppet on a string) couldn't have cared less about the precise whereabouts of their one-and-only "Patsy" at the time JFK was being murdered.

Because, per this movie, Lee Harvey is left free to roam the lower floors of the Depository building at his leisure (while supposedly waiting for a telephone call that never came), leaving him free to inadvertently establish himself a perfect alibi for his location and movements at exactly 12:30 PM on November 22 (should anyone happen to see him on the lower floors at 12:30).

A great job by those "Real Killers" at keeping Oswald WHERE THEY NEEDED HIM, on the 6th Floor, huh? I guess it was just another instance (among gobs) where the "real killers" simply lucked out that afternoon, by not having one single person inside the Book Depository get even a brief glimpse of Lee Oswald on the lower TSBD floors at the time JFK is being killed outside the building. Will the grand luck of these conspirators ever run out? Per most CTers....apparently it never has.

I think it's kind of interesting that Director Stone decided not to accept Robert Groden's complete version of the assassination. In his book ("The Killing Of A President"), Groden, who served as a technical adviser on the film "JFK", tells his readers of his conspiracy theory which involves a MINIMUM of 8 shots (and possibly even more). And, incredibly, Mr. Groden claims that NONE of these eight bullets likely came from the Oswald window in the TSBD! ~LOL break~ .... Please note that even Mr. Stone didn't "buy" that silliness.

But, as far as Oliver Stone's "JFK" filmmaking is concerned, I think it's quite good. Very authentic-looking 1963-era "re-creations" were filmed of Dealey Plaza and the motorcade (with an appropriate amount of old-time "graininess" added to the new imagery), which have been intercut throughout the movie with actual news clips and amateur film footage. At times, it is difficult to discern between the re-creations and actual archival footage (although JFK assassination experts will have no trouble spying the differences). The editing of this picture is on a level way above anything else you're likely to see anywhere. And the John Williams music score is also superb.

I have the 2-Disc Widescreen DVD edition of "JFK: Special Edition Director's Cut" (in the "Snapper" type case) that was released by Warner Home Video on February 6, 2001, which does not include the 90-minute "Beyond JFK: The Question Of Conspiracy" documentary that is available on the newer (2003) 2-Disc SE.

This 2001 edition, though, does sport a beautiful Anamorphic (16x9-enhanced) DVD transfer (in the wide "scope" aspect ratio of 2.35:1). That fabulous music of John Williams shines brightly, too, via the disc's rich-sounding Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. This DVD might own the record for most "Chapter Breaks", too (88 of 'em)!

The bonus features on this (2001) 2-Disc DVD set aren't really that much to write home about, IMO. There's an Audio Commentary Track by Oliver Stone and some "Deleted/Extended Scenes" (which I did enjoy seeing). But the totality of the extras on this older DVD edition seem to be a tad on the weak side -- especially the feature on Disc 2 called "Multimedia Essays", which is pretty much dry as dust, IMHO. (Of course, I say this as a staunch "LNer" who believes in Lee Oswald's lone guilt in the JFK and J.D. Tippit murders; so {possibly} that's part of the reason I fail to see a whole bunch of redeeming qualities in these conspiracy-slanted "Essays" that are presented here.)

----------------

Some Closing "JFK" Thoughts & Recommendations.........

I enjoy watching Mr. Stone's "JFK" -- but from the standpoint of "fictional drama" only; and certainly not from any kind of "historically accurate" POV at all. The "CT-created drama", along with the music score and the outstanding editing together of re-constructed scenes with real 11-22-63 film footage are all things that are noteworthy in the movie.

But I'll stick with my own (and Vincent Bugliosi's) version of assassination events (i.e., Oswald was guilty as sin and had no helpers), rather than take a huge leap off the conspiracy diving board, where every theory being discussed is as cloudy and murky as the "Badge Man" image in Mary Moorman's famous Polaroid photograph.

The next time you watch this movie, take notes and count the number of times where the evidence is presented in anything close to an "unbiased" manner. At the end of the 3-hour motion picture, you'll still be left with a blank piece of notepaper.

At the very least, the movie should have a disclaimer crawling along at the bottom of the screen every ten minutes while watching it. Something akin to .... "What you are watching is a fictional account of a true-life event. Handle with care; and with lots of salt."

I'd advise anyone interested in the JFK assassination to seek out (at any cost) the amazingly-good 1964 documentary "Four Days In November" (MGM/UA Home Video). It's a 123-minute journey back to November 1963 that is supported by the FACTS and EVIDENCE in the JFK case. It gives a detailed and thorough chronology of all four days surrounding President Kennedy's assassination, including Ruby killing Oswald and also a look at the hard facts supporting Lee Oswald's blatantly-obvious guilt in the murder of police officer J.D. Tippit.

"Four Days In November" is the antithesis of Oliver Stone's fantasy film. I'd strongly recommend to everyone that they watch "Four Days" immediately after watching Stone's film. It's a night-and-day difference, of course. But at least "Four Days" is based on a little something that Mr. Stone's "JFK" doesn't get within a country mile of -- i.e.: The documented and verified facts of the events of November 22, 1963.

So, I'd say -- Watch Oliver Stone's slickly-presented piece of motion-picture entertainment by all means. But don't forget the salt shaker. Because it shall be needed.
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