November 22, 2021

JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass: In 1991, director Oliver Stone was on a roll. He was already a three time Oscar winner with Directing and Best Picture in 1986 with Platoon, and then again as Director in the Tom Cruise Born on the Fourth of July, while previously being awarded for Best Screenplay with Midnight Express. Then in 1991 he produced and directed the film JFK with Kevin Costner, Donald Sutherland, Gary Oldman and many others. The all-star cast depicted the story of the JFK assassination and the efforts of a New Orleans District Attorney to prosecute someone, anyone for the murder of the President back in November 1963. This newly released documentary addresses legislative updates by Congress in the US since 1991 and the movie to release more of the redacted evidence/documents. Stone is the interviewer and brings forth more evidence of the conspiracy and cover ups in the Warren Commission Report that had found that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone gunman. Among the various pieces of new evidence, we have more fully explained forensics and ballistics to talk about the “magic bullet” that according to the Warren Report, struck both the President and Texas Governor Connally. It also disputes the gun recovered at the scene, whether Oswald was even on the sixth floor, the autopsy and the brain pictures, and the desire for the US military complex to take a hard stance on communism as opposed to the stance from Kennedy and his administration. The CIA, the FBI both look really bad with the additional information. At the very least it seems there were more than four shots fired that fateful day. In itself, that means more than one shooter. In total, it appears as though there was a concerted effort by powerful people to ensure that the evidence from that day matches the story that was formulated on the shooter, rather than letting the evidence tell the story of what transpired. It is compelling TV. For Stone he states in summary that “this evidence makes conspiracy theories, conspiracy fact”. I don’t think that most people believe the Warren Commission nor their findings. This helps to cement that belief a little bit more. It doesn’t bring back a beloved President, nor his brother, nor MLK or Malcolm X. It seems in the turbulent 1960s that assassination was a method of doing business. Sadly, no one is ever charged and most of those involved are dead and buried.

Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper: Anderson Cooper is one of many offspring of socialite Gloria Vanderbilt. Unknown to me, Gloria is part of a family that made their fortune in the early 1900s in the steamship and rail business. She led a long and interesting life. My limited knowledge of her was of her selling expensive designer jeans but there was more than that. She had little experience with her Dad, who married her Mom who was 20 yo at her marriage to a much older father. They divorced. She was was married multiple times, as she seemed to think that being in love is a state all should aspire to. She had a well known custody child legal battle when she was just a child. Anderson Cooper the CNN host is using this film as a documentary on her life and talk through it, memorializing it for him and her. She died back in June 2019. I learned something about someone that I didn’t know very well, and about the fortune that the Vanderbilt family once had. It is mostly gone sadly.

The Fugitive: this 1993 movie was another in a series of successful films that cemented the already stellar box office reputation of Harrison Ford. He had already been in two of the most successful franchises in the history of movies with Han Solo in Star Wars and then Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. This is a movie that was based off the TV series from 1963 starring David Janssen. Ford plays Dr. Richard Kimble who is convicted of killing his wife, while he maintained that a stranger entered his home and killed his wife. A one armed man. Through a series of fantastic events, he manages to evade law enforcement and look to track down his wife’s killer. The most compelling member of the police forces searching for him is US Ranger Samuel Gerard played by Tommy Lee Jones. Jones won the Oscar for his performance and it is completely justified. He steals the show and every scene that he is in. This is fun, exciting entertainment that holds the audiences attention from the beginning. It is as exciting today as it was back in its original release. There are some good plots twists both expected and unexpected. For me it was personally more intriguing because the Chicago Hilton Towers Hotel featured in the end is a hotel I stayed at back in 1989 as my first trip to that fine city. I have been a number of times since. This movie introduced US Marshall Gerard and he starred in a follow up movie called US Marshals in 1998 (nowhere near as good as this one). But this is on Crave and worth a watch if you haven’t seen it, or worth a repeat viewing if you haven’t seen in a long while.

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