movies

‘Wild Wild Country’ Documentary Pits Small Town America Against Religious Guru

If you enjoy American history, and a well-narrated story, tune into Wild Wild Country on Netflix. It’s binge worthy.

This six-part Netflix original weaves together hours of newsreel beginning in the early 1980s and commencing near the end of the decade. It tells the story of the Rajneesh community located just outside of Antelope, Oregon. Antelope was a town of less than 100 citizens when the Rajneesh community, followers of Osho an Indian mystic guru with a penchant for Roll Royce vehicles, decided to build a city inside the same county as Antelope.

What unfolds over the course of the 6-hour show is a takeover of the small town via the election of Rajneesh members to the local council and, eventually an attempt to win the majority of seats on the Board of County Commissioners.

To review the series, would in many ways, reveal too much of the story, so I won’t. However, I will say I was impressed with the style of storytelling, and found the story intriguing. It is yet another window to peer through to uncover what it means to be an American. The series exposes some of our traits, both good and bad, and demonstrates, in my opinion, how beliefs and motivators often have nothing to do with one’s nationality — they are just universal human tendencies.

Rating: 4.5/5

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Categories: American History, movies, Religion

1973 Movie Examines Kennedy Assassination

I’ve been doing a lot of newspaper research recently dealing with the 1960s and 1970s, and as I was skimming through a publication I came across a 1974 Burt Lancaster movie advertisement for Executive Action. The movie is a fictional look at the assassination of John F. Kennedy — a subject that I have always found intriguing.

Although the acting in the movie reminds me of the acting from that era — which is to say it’s a little overdone for me — the movie is actually a decent flick. It intersperses historical footage with the movie– and in some ways reminds me of Oliver Stone’s film, JFK. However, the beauty of Executive Action is, unlike JFK, the conspiracy it attempts to explain is much simpler and thereby easier to follow.

The movie follows the same, and oft heard, theory, though, that three gunmen were involved in Kennedy’s death. The film ends with a list of 18-20 firsthand witnesses that died under mysterious circumstances.

Parkland

After watching that film, I stumbled unto the 2013 film Parkland. This film has a 6/10 rating on IMDb which is a bit low in my opinion. I’ll admit it’s not the best film I’ve watched, but what I did like about the film is it told the JFK assassination story from the angle of the hospital staff. The small hospital was pulled into history that fateful day, and ordinary people came face-to-face with the severity of the murder. The film does a decent job capturing the confusion that existed (based on other accounts) between local and federal authorities.

It was also the hospital used when Lee Harvey Oswald was shot just a few days later.

The way Oswald’s family was treated after his death is displayed fairly accurately in the film. And, for me, I did learn something new I never realized — until watching the film — that Oswald had a brother.

The film ends with bio sketches of the key characters, including Oswald’s brother.

Rating: 3/5 for each.

Categories: movies

‘Dying in Vein’ Another Tragic Look At The Opioid Generation


Because of the depth of the heroin epidemic in my community, I tend to watch a lot of movies on the subject. Of course most of them deal with the tragedy a family endures after a death.

Dying in Vein does have tragedy, but it also follows a lesbian couple — one from a well-to-do background and the other from poverty — as they work their way through the rehab process. The story line has the expected ups and downs, but this film offer a little more insight into what first responders deal with on a daily basis. It also brings up the issue of the country’s health care inequity and how it is complicating the recovery process.

The movie is about 90 minutes long and is available on Hulu or Amazon.

Rating 4/5.

Categories: drug addiction, movies, My America, Preble County