The Set of 400: #357 – My Favorite Conspiracy Theory

Today! Because it’s a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma –

JFK (1991)

Directed by Oliver Stone

Starring Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones (x2), Joe Pesci, Kevin Bacon (x2), Gary Oldman, Laurie Metcalf, Sissy Spacek, Jack Lemmon, Donald Sutherland (x2), Walter Matthau, Ed Asner, John Candy (x2), Sally Kirkland, Vincent D’Onofrio (x2), John Larroquette, Ron Rifkin, Bob Gunton, Michael Rooker, Jay O. Sanders, Brian Doyle-Murray, Wayne Knight, Beata Pozniak, Gary Grubbs, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Frank Whaley

Like most eighth graders, I had a big JFK assassination phase. It was probably prompted by this movie, but there also was a lot of new press swirling around the event at the time of movie’s release, so maybe a combination of the two. Figure, even though the movie very directly covers the trial of Clay Shaw, it also proposes a lot of theories regarding the assassination that maybe hadn’t been widely disseminated, or widely considered, before then. So the press around it was crazy, and 12-year-old Joe got sucked in. I distinctly remember prowling Holy Rosary’s dinky library trying to uncover all the details I could find, in encyclopedias, mostly (shoutout to my long closed middle school!).

JFK is basically an old style Hollywood epic updated for the ’90s – sweeping coverage of a slightly bygone era and the greatest unsolved crime in history, populated by tons of movie stars and slick directing from a filmmaker still (barely) at his peak. It’s grand, complicated storytelling intended for the masses, and, whether you buy its thesis or not, it’s enthralling and riveting entertainment. Loads of great performances, plus vintage Costner being Costner, keep your attention over the extended running time, even with some sidetracks and digressions along the way.

Because I watched this movie so much so young, I have never even considered that the JFK assassination wasn’t a conspiracy. Plus, I always assume this to be a common belief, yet every now and then I meet someone who totally believes the lone gunman theory, and I’m floored. Is that still the going idea? Was this movie just pure fiction? Was Jack Ruby actually some sort of hero for killing Oswald, and not just part of the cover-up? I honestly don’t know how the general populace feels about this. Thanks for shattering my hold on reality, Oliver Stone!

Street justice, or orders from the top??

And it’s 1991 for the third time in four days! Everything’s coming up the lone elder Bush administration! And while ’91 did tally a whopping 14 films on the list, don’t worry, the next one doesn’t pop up until June 5th. Reprieve!

JFK was a rightfully acclaimed and regarded film in its day, garnering eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Director, and Supporting Actor for Jones, as well as winning Stone a Golden Globe. But how about Best Surreal Seinfeld Crossover, as Newman himself Wayne Knight appears in JFK, while also being part of the famed “Magic Loogie” sequence on the NBC classic. Attention must be paid!

There had to be a second spitter!

With a cast of this size, it should come as no surprise that we’re adding a whopping five new members to the Two-Timers club today, including two pairs of prior co-stars: #373 Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’ John Candy and Kevin Bacon, and #376 Men in Black’s Tommy Lee Jones and Vincent D’Onofrio, all joined by Hawkeye himself, #396 MASH star Donald Sutherland! Club membership is up to 32, still with only MiB co-star Rip Torn as a Three-Timer. Hurray!

Tried to find a picture of John Candy and Kevin Bacon together – close enough!

Coming tomorrow! The ultimate man versus the ultimate meatball –

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