By Anna

Few have doubts that the assassination of President John F Kennedy wasn’t a conspiracy, including Director Oliver Stone. But according to Roger Ebert, and I tend to side with him on this, JFK isn’t a film about proving our darkest suspicions. It’s a film “about feelings.”

If you haven’t seen JFK, imagine the scenes of Zodiac, where Robert Graysmith (Gyllenhaal’s character) is losing his family because of his obsession with the unsolved Zodiac murders. New Orleans State’s Attorney Jim Garrison is Graysmith. They are the same man and the story is told in the same way—reflecting true events and stirring the audience’s real emotions they still hold from those true unresolved events.

What’s different between me and Ebert, however, is I wasn’t alive in 1963 when JFK was assassinated by maybe the CIA, the FBI, Castro, the anti-Castro Cubans, the Mafia, the Russians or all of them together.

I don’t remember the feeling of sorrow, anger and frustration Americans felt at the unanswered questions, but I am alive to feel the ramifications of the government distrust because of the conspiracy cover up.

A Canadian told me last week that we in the United States will never be able to have a government like Canada because we would never allow regulation and government control because of events like JFK’s assassination and Watergate. JFK stands for something so much greater than a coup d’état, though that’s pretty damn significant, it stands for that feeling we get as Americans when we realize that fighting for freedom means fighting for individual tyranny—a selfish tyranny that can always be trumped by a more selfish and greater tyranny: Career politicians and, according to Stone, war hawks. After all, as Theologians Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon put it: States are dependent on wars for moral coherence because war gives us the necessary basis for self-sacrifice so that people who have been taught to pursue self-interest can at times die for one another.

Kennedy died for us. For “moral coherence.”

As I write this pleasantly outraged by the mere idea of a conspiracy surrounding JFK’s death, which the Department of Justice at least admitted to in 1991, I have to recognize Ebert’s truth: My outrage is because of the masterpiece that is JFK—the perfect editing (remember the scene when Garrison and his posse are dining out juxtaposed with the cutting up of the inexplicable Oswald photo? It’s a dance between sleuths and schemers), the apotheosis casting, the discovery of the Zapruder film causing anachronism and shock—every little bit constructs nothing short of “our national state of mind since November 22, 1963” (Ebert).

Quick Reviews from movies I saw this week

Hot Tub Time Machine

It made me laugh, it made me cringe, but most of all it made me glad I was a teen in the otts and not the 80s. Take it or leave it, that’s all I have to say.

Let the Right One In

This is a poignant and mystical film that isn’t really about vampires at all—though that’s what mainstream society wants you to think. This Swedish film, based on a novel by the same name, is being remade here in the United States and due to come out on Friday, but I think the original will be a better use of your time.

The film is about a young boy who befriends a young vampire girl who lives in his apartment building, but it could be any young kid struggling with identity and befriending the society reject. Yes, it’s the vampires that draw us in and freak us out (the ability she has to control and manipulate her prey is eerie), but their situation breaks my heart. I too was there at age 12, struggling to let the right one in. I think the U.S. version could shed a different cultural light on this, but I’m skeptical. So see this first and then move on to a newer interpretation.