The assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 looms large in our American identity. Hell, it looms over my own identity and I wasn’t born until 13 years later. The 1960s as a whole were greatly influential upon our culture. It gave us the Beatles, the Stones, Dr. Strangelove, Lawrence of Arabia, hippies, free love, Woodstock, Altamont, the Civil Rights Movement and the murder of a President.
In the years since that decade died, countless amount of words have been written, documentaries filmed, and art created praising those ten years as monumental. Sometimes, it feels like that from the very moment the 1960s ended we’ve been endlessly discussing it. I do wonder if that’s because the '60s were actually that influential or if it's just that so many modern artists grew up during that period which has then caused them to create works based in that time frame. Either way we certainly do not lack for films set in the '60s.
The assassination of JFK is very much a part of that. There are untold amount of books and films centering on that one event and this week’s pick is simply the newest in a long line of movies and television shows centering on that event. Back in 2011, Stephen King wrote a novel in which a modern character finds a portal that takes him back in time to 1958. No matter how long he stays in the past when he travels back through the portal he comes back to the present only two minutes later than when he left. Though he can make changes to the timeline, every time he goes back through the portal history is reset. He decides to stay in the past and keep Kennedy from being assassinated. Things do not go as planned.
That’s a fascinating concept for a story and it's been well praised since publication. Recently, the novel was made into a television miniseries by J.J. Abrams for Hulu. It stars James Franco as the time traveller. It has received high praise as well. I’ve neither read the novel nor seen the series, but both are on my list. And now it is my pick of the week.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
Supergirl: The Complete First Season: I caught Suicide Squad this weekend. It was not good. I’ve not yet seen Man of Steel or Batman v Superman but the critical consensus is that they also are not very good. DC seems to have a problem making films for the big screen. They do much better on the small one. The wife and I have recently started watching The Flash and are quite enjoying it. Arrow has had a long life as well with a big fan base. What I’ve seen of Supergirl was quite fun.
A Hologram for the King: A failed American businessman travels to Saudi Arabia to try to sell his ideas to a wealthy monarch. Stars Tom Hanks and was directed by Tom Tykwere (Run Lola Run). I like those two people and the trailers looked promising, but boy, has this thing not generated any buzz nor been particularly liked by anyone.
Addicted to Fresno: This comedy details the lives of two sisters (Judy Greer and Natasha Lyonne) who work as hotel maids. Their lives change when one of them accidentally kills a man. Also stars Aubrey Plaza, Ron Livingston, and Molly Shannon. Was released on VOD last year and seems to have slipped past everybody. That’s a good cast though so I’ll give it a shot.
Battles Without Honor and Humanity: The Complete Collection: Kinji Fukasaku’s epic five-film yakuza saga gets an incredible-looking boxed set from Arrow Video. Both Quentin Tarantino and Takashi Miike are big fans which is more than enough to get me interested.
Halt & Catch Fire: The Complete Second Season: AMCs series about the personal computer revolution of the 1980s has not generated the sort of Breaking Bad level buzz and praise they were hoping for, but it looks interesting. I keep meaning to check it out.