September Blind Spot Review: JFK (1991)

“Telling the truth can be a scary thing sometimes.”
– Jim Garrison

SYNOPSIS: New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison discovers there’s more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story. – via IMDB

A movie about the JFK assassination? Man, this must have been tailor made for me! Ask anyone I know (Natasha knows about as well as my husband) how I feel about the Kennedy assassination. It is ridiculously fascinating and I love reading about it or watching things on it – it never gets old for me. So yeah, this is something I just never got to, and this was the year to correct that.

I think JFK is actually a great movie for someone to watch who doesn’t really know much about the Kennedy assassination, or the ludicrous explanations that were put forth about it, and that embarrassing investigation into it. Really, it covers a lot of relevant ground, and also happens to have another story over and above it, bringing to Zodiac to mind, because of watching Jim Garrison’s obsession with the case. A lot of research went into this and that is evident, but I would not say to go into this movie and take everything it presents as gospel, for reals. Look at it as entertainment, don’t take it as a hardcore documentary and the holy grail for answers to the JFK assassination. Enjoy it for the conspiracy it discusses.

The movie is shot well and I enjoyed the pacing – it is long, but takes the time to lay down the evidence and the story and then get going with it, which I liked, but I can see how it could annoy others. One also cannot deny that the movie looks and feels dated. The pacing was just fine here, and the performances were pretty damn good all around. I was so engrossed by the telling of this from Stone, how the case was presented and researched and pursued. It was quite tense and definitely entertaining. There are obviously a lot of issues with the movie in the sense that there are a lot of fictitious characters brought in and spewing “facts” and Stone sets out the good guys and the bad guys in a classic black and white way without actually finessing anything there. The movie is also presented as “fact”, which at times is a little difficult to swallow, and you can see a lot of confirmation bias going on for Garrison at times. That being said, this movie had a lot of things to balance, from fact to fiction and everything in between.

Overall, JFK is an entertaining watch sure to keep you hooked, especially if you enjoy conspiracies (whether you take them seriously or just like to hear what they are) and especially if you are interested about what happened that day in November of 1963, provided you don’t think this movie is going to give you all the answers, evidence and proof you are looking for. But as a movie taking a look at some of the conspiracies surrounding the assassination, balancing fact, fiction, everything? So worth it, truly.

Review: Carrie (1976)

carrie 1976 poster

“It has nothing to do with Satan, Mama. It’s me. Me. If I concentrate hard enough, I can move things.”
– Carrie White

Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is just your typical girl at school – the one way at the bottom of the food chain, the lowest in the pecking order. After a physical education class, Carrie begins her first menstruation cycle ever. While the other girls rapidly jump onto the bandwagon of mocking her and teasing her, Miss Collins (Betty Buckley) puts an end to it and helps Carrie. Sent home, Carrie confronts her mother, Margaret (Piper Laurie), about not having told her it was coming, and her mother reacts in anger and locks her in her prayer closet.

carrie 1976 mom prays for her sins
“We’ll pray. We’ll pray. We’ll pray for the last time. We’ll pray.” – Margaret White

Carrie is dealing with difficult things at home. The rest of the girls are informed by Miss Collins that they are to sit detention for a week for what they did to Carrie if they still wish to attend Prom. Naturally, Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen) refuses point blank, which leads to terrible arguments between herself and Miss Collins. Sue Snell (Amy Irving) is being eaten by guilt over what they did to Carrie, and asks her boyfriend Tommy Ross (William Katt) to ask Carrie to the Prom as some form of penance. Initially he refuses, but later he relents. She relinquishes and finally agrees to go, allowing herself to get a little excited.

Miss Collins is worried that Tommy is taking her as some part of a degrading joke. Chris enlists the help of her delinquent boyfriend Billy Nolan (John Travolta) to belittle Carrie with a truly awful prank. What they don’t know, however, is that Carrie White is telekinetic, and has been practising the skill to master it some way or the other. Carrie is tired of being the butt of all jokes; she is exhausted from the constant mockery. She is intent on having a night of normality, something to look forward to and remember forevermore when it is over.

carrie bloody 1976
“It was bad, Mama. They laughed at me.” – Carrie White

Will the dream night go according to plan for Carrie? Will Chris go through with her truly awful stunt to embarrass and ridicule Carrie publicly for the last time? If Chris manages to trick Carrie, what will the repercussions be for taunting a telekinetic and unstable young teenage girl?

Carrie receives a 5/10. While I am not completely sure why so much had to be altered from the book (seeing as it was so damn short), it was not a great film, it was definitely not worth the praise that it received. I was impressed in places and then others I was horrified by the blatant changes. I enjoyed John Travolta in his role as the horrible Billy Nolan, he seemed to be alright. I was not impressed with how Tommy Ross was portrayed as some popular jock that had no understanding with what happened with Carrie and upset of being asked to go with her in a sense. In the books he was far more socially conscious of other people than the movie shows. It was like they fluctuated between him being nice and the other side not, though they got him down pat at the prom. I am not sure why so much was changed at the end, and it took the whole “horror” aspect out of it a bit for me, to be honest. It was rushed. The whole story built up for terror, and it was altered and ended far too quickly, which was very much a let-down for me. Sissy Spacek was fantastically cast as Carrie, and managed to bring her character through so vividly. I felt for her, truly I did. What a sad, sweet girl. It isn’t dreadful; it is just that they seemed to miss the core point of Carrie’s story here.