'JFK Ultimate Edition' Review: Oliver Stone's Brilliant, Audacious Lie
Spike Lee's "Malcolm X" (1992) holds my top spot, but Oliver Stone's "JFK" (1991) is undoubtedly my second favorite film of the 1990s. When I first saw this masterpiece, I was still a liberal and therefore bought into its every deceit, fabrication, half-truth, and outright lie. Since growing up, I must say that Stone's hysterical attempt to rewrite an assassin and a president into something today's Left can live with, has lost none of its power to enthrall and entertain.
If you boil it down, the whole point of all these provably false Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories (that all come together in Stone's exhilerating film), is to enable the left to reconcile a great love and an abiding hatred: President John F. Kennedy and the Vietnam War.
The left love to love Kennedy. Even though, politically, Kennedy had much more in common with Ted Cruz than Ted Kennedy and was as conservative as Ronald Reagan on taxes, guns, abortion, and fighting Communism, it is not enough for the left to rewrite JFK as one of their own ideologically. They must also pretend that he was murdered by a right-winger for trying to stop the dreaded war in Vietnam.
While it is fair to make the case that Kennedy might not have gone as far as Lyndon Johnson in Vietnam, there is simply no proof that Kennedy intended to pull out of Vietnam. In fact, it was Kennedy who escalated our military presence there beyond mere advisers.
Kennedy was a Cold Warrior to his core, and in a interview recorded six months after his brother's assassination, Robert Kennedy stated that his brother had absolutely no intention of pulling out because the president considered Vietnam a vital proxy war against the expansion of Soviet communism.
"He had a strong, overwhelming reason for being in Vietnam and that we should win the war in Vietnam," Robert Kennedy said.
Robert Kennedy was not only President Kennedy's brother, he was his Attorney General, closest advisor, and confidante. At the time, Robert was also a fierce Cold Warrior, and one who had once worked for Senator Joe McCarthy. Yes, that Joe McCarthy.
And so Stone is forced to hang his anti-science opposite-theory on cherry-picked national security documents and the kind of idealistic speech a president always gives at a college graduation. The theory being that just before his murder, Kennedy woke up to the folly of fighting the Soviets and the Cold War, and then he was murdered for it.
You see, if the modern left is able to convince itself that JFK evolved into one of them just before his death, then the other manic pieces can come together: Namely, that Kennedy intended to and would have rescued America from Vietnam (when in reality Kennedy is as responsible as Johnson for the war), and that this intent resulted in his being murdered by a rabid right-winger attached to rabid anti-communists backed by the Military Industrial Complex.
Using the most powerful propaganda device ever conceived, the motion picture, this is the history Stone spins into cinematic gold. And for good measure, Stone even tosses in a conspiracy of right-wing homosexuals.
NONE of this, though, is even remotely true.
The assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was not only a hard-core leftist, he was an admitted Marxist who defected for a time to the Soviet Union. Driven in part by his own insecure need to feel important and his hatred of a president who repeatedly attempted to overthrow and assassinate Communist Cuba's Fidel Castro, Oswald blew Kennedy's brains out on November 22, 1963.
And he did so all by himself.
But the left simply cannot tolerate this fact -- and Oliver Stone, a scarred Vietnam War veteran, apparently couldn't live with it. So he set out to use his powers to change history.
Art, unfortunately, is not born of truth -- it is born of passion and talent; both of which Oliver Stone possesses like few others. And "JFK" is an extraordinary work of art and propaganda; a brilliant web of lies that demands and holds your attention for nearly four hours.
As sad, desperate, and dishonest as Stone's intentions might be, there is just no other movie like "JFK," which is why a few years ago I named it the greatest left-wing film of all time.
Warner Brother's new "JFK" 50th Anniversary Commemorative Ultimate Collector's Edition is as stuffed with goodies as its title suggests. You not only get the Bluray edition of the "JFK: The Director's Cut" and all the special features (Commentary by Director Oliver Stone, Feature-Length Documentary BEYOND JFK: The Question of Conspiracy, Deleted/Extended Scenes and an Alternate Ending), but also:
The 1963 feature film PT 109 for the FIRST TIME ON DVD!
ALL-NEW DOCUMENTARY JFK REMEMBERED: 50 YEARS LATER
REMASTERED 1964 DOCUMENTARY JOHN F. KENNEDY: YEARS OF LIGHTNING, DAY OF DRUMS
32-Page Quotations Book
10.5” x 14.5” Reproduction Inaugural Address
14.5” x 21” Reproduction Campaign Poster
20 Photos and 16 Pieces of Correspondence Reproduced Courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
44-Page Photo Book & 6 Character Cards ANNIVERSARY COLLECTIBLE
This grab bag of goodies makes for a phenomenal collection, and the documentaries are surprisingly straight-forward.
Also included is the "JFK: To the Brink" chapter of Stone's 2012 documentary series, "The Untold History of the United States." Oddly enough, Stone doesn't go touch on his assassination conspiracy here. He does, though, claim that Kennedy was about to withdraw from Vietnam.
Interestingly enough, Stone also appears to believe Kennedy stole the 1960 presidential election from Richard Nixon. That is one conspiracy theory Stone and I can agree on.
'JFK' 50th Commemorative Ultimate Edition is available at Amazon.com.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC