movies

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.

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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

3 Shows To Watch During Black History Month

If you don’t want to die, comply — bumper sticker on pickup truck in Middletown, Ohio. As the statement indicates, our whiteness emboldens us — increasing our racial divide.

In honor of Black History Month here are three videos worth watching:

1.) Truth and Power: #BlackLivesMatter. Filmed in 2016, the first episode of the Truth and Power series on Netflix deals with the Black Lives Matter movement. A look at the inception of a movement borne from the frustration of a race historically, and currently, oppressed in a society that loves its whiteness. A lot is packed into this 20-minute episode, including interviews with the movement’s leaders, authors who have written about the country’s systemic racism, and the way the group has been monitored by government agencies.

2.) Spies of Mississippi. When I watched this hour-long piece on Amazon, I learned two things: 1.) Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, my alma mater, trained the 1960s Freedom Riders and 2.) the state of Mississippi created the State Sovereignty Group to systematically undermine the efforts of Civil Right leaders. The episode is journalistic in style (it was journalists who uncovered the documents about the Sovereignty Group) and it reveals government extensive effort to keep blacks ‘in their place.’ The piece looks at the various terror tactics used by police officers, newspaper editors and unscrupulous black leaders who spied on NAACP meetings.

Similarly-themed content about broken systems and the role they place in oppression are:

  • The Naked Truth, S1:E2 Mugged. This episode explores private companies exploiting people who have been arrested (including those with charges dropped). This is accomplished by posting mugshots online and forcing people to pay a fee to have them removed — but, as the episode reveals, finding out who operates these companies is difficult.
  • Truth and Power, S1: E4 Prisoners for Sale. This 20-minute episode explores how the private prison industry is undercutting the concept of justice.

3. I am Not Your Negro. I have mentioned this in a previous post, but this should be required viewing, especially for Whites. We have a tendency to presume we understand the race issue — or more commonly simply do not care because it does not impact us. This film is based on the unfinished work of black author James Baldwin. He set out to write about his three murdered friends: Malcom X, Medgar Evers (assassinated in Mississippi) and Martin Luther King — finishing 30 pages of the project.

The film is a tragic, poignant look at the black experience in America.

Baldwin was an intellectual who did not mince words and his written words, referenced throughout the film, are as applicable today as in the 1950s-1970s when Baldwin wrote them. The film also mixes in his interviews and speeches with current events, like Ferguson, showing not much has changed. I could fill this post with Baldwin’s quotes, but will include just one, which is read by actor Samuel Jackson as the image of a lynch mob is displayed on the screen. As the camera fades away from the dead black man it zeroes in on the white murderers staring at the camera while Jackson reads Baldwin’s words:

You cannot lynch me and keep me in ghettos without becoming something monstrous yourselves. And, furthermore, you give me an terrifying advantage. You never had to look at me. I had to look at you. I know more about you than you know about me. Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history. If we pretend otherwise we literally are criminals.

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