Last month, in an empty movie theater in Washington, DC, I saw “Parkland,” the Tom Hanks-Peter Landesmann film about the assassination of President Kennedy. I was so underwhelmed I didn’t know what to say.
The fact that the movie tanked at the box office and puzzled critics indicated its presentation of JFK’s murder as a fairly ordinary homicide in Texas had no resonance, even with elite media organizations imbued with a cultural affinity for the lone gunman theory. So I decided I would write something after the 50th anniversary and I never got around to it.
Then a British pundit, Dr. James Boys, wrote this review, which pretty much said everything I was going to say, and said it better.
Peter Landesman, journalist turned director, tackles the JFK story
I’ve criticized Tom Hanks’s upcoming JFK film, “Parkland,” for what I expect will be its simplistic treatment of the causes of the assassination. (Examples here and here.)
Now its time to let the film’s director, former journalist Peter Landesman, give his side of the story. He spoke with the Hollywood Reporter on Friday.
Q. The assassination story has been revisited many times, from many different perspectives. What inspired you to make this movie?
Tom Hanks’s JFK feature film, “Parkland,” premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Sunday. The movie, starring Paul Giamatti and Zac Efron, is “not out to pick a fight” over conspiracy theories,” says director Peter Landesman.
The problem, says one early review, is that the film starts out “tense and stirring,” only to slide into “TV movie solemnity” and, worse yet, “camp.”
From France 24:
“We had him and we could have stopped him,” rages an FBI agent in the just-released trailer for Tom Hanks’s forthcoming JFK movie, “Parkland.” It looks to be a powerful scene based on the true story that accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald visited the Dallas FBI office on October 15, 1963, and left a note alleging harassment of his wife.
What you won’t see in “Parkland” is why the FBI was so clueless about the man who would be arrested one week later for killing President Kennedy:
Because senior CIA operations officers wanted it that way.
Paul Giamatti as Abraham Zapruder
Here come snapshots from Tom Hanks’s upcoming JFK flick, courtesy of the Hollywood blog, Rope of Silicon.
Among the star-studded cast, Paul Giamatti plays Abraham Zapruder, the Dallas dressmaker who filmed the fatal motorcade. It sure looks like the movie will replicate the look of 1963 with the panache of “Mad Men.”
Zac Efron will star in JFK flick, “Parkland”
The crew of “Parkland,” Tom Hanks’ forthcoming JFK film, recently met with a campus priest at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, as part of their effort to capture the reality of JFK’s death.
According to reliable Hollywood news reports, Hanks’ movie is based on the theory that President Kennedy was killed by a lone gunman. With the public widely skeptical of that conclusion, the producers evidently believe that the story of a priest who viewed JFK’s body shortly after his death will enhance the movie’s credibility.
Will it? The St. Edward’s University student news site reported:
Hollywood heartthrob Zac Efron has joined the cast of Tom Hanks’ forthcoming JFK flick, Parkland, along with fellow A-listers Paul Giamatti and Billy Bob Thornton.
Student of the Warren Commission?
With its all-star cast and reassuring agenda, Parkland is shaping up as the feel-good event of 2013 for those who don’t want you to worry about the legacy of the American national security state. Pre-production publicity makes clear that Parkland (the hospital where JFK was declared dead) aims to breath new life into the government’s old theory that the violent removal of the liberal president from office in 1963 was a meaningless deed committed for no reason by a lunatic. Matinee message: eat your popcorn and swallow the “tragic absurdity of life.”
Is this a movie anyone really wants to see?
Tom Hanks’ take on the JFK story is advancing. The actor/producer’s feature film, Parkland, about the events of November 22, 1963, has signed on A-list actors, Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Giamatti, and Jackie Weaver. The producers say the talented thespians will bring VIncent Bugliosi’s 2007 book, “Reclaiming History” to life. That will be a challenge.
Bugliosi’s tome is a flabby 1,600 page doorstop of polemic that managed to Read more