The U.S. vs. John Lennon
September 15, 2006
Movie of the Day for Thursday, September 14, 2006
See other Movies of the Day
On the Big Board
||It is a very interesting movie, but feels like an A&E special stretched to film length.
Though it might sound like it, The U.S. vs. John Lennon is not the name of a court case. It is, though, a documentary about John Lennon’s transformation from a world-famous musician into a controversial anti-war activist during the Vietnam War era. The Beatles, which included John as well as Paul, Ringo, and George, were undoubtedly at one time the biggest names in popular culture. Their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 was one of the most watched and iconic moments in television history, and at one point the top five positions on the singles chart were all Beatles songs.
But all good things must come to an end and just two years later, Lennon incited protests and much backlash when he proclaimed that The Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.” The group soon stopped performing live concerts and would break up just a couple years after that amidst a very turbulent time in American history. And Lennon, who as a solo artist tried to get us to “Give Peace a Chance,” would eventually find himself to be a target of the United States government under President Richard Nixon. The film will particularly focus on this part of Lennon’s life, and try to understand why Nixon thought that he was so dangerous and to what lengths the government took to silence him from his anti-war campaigning.
Among the other familiar faces that will appear in archival footage or interviews include Yoko Ono, Walter Cronkite, Geraldo Rivera, and George McGovern. David Leaf and John Scheinfeld co-directed the film, which will be their first theatrical release but both are familiar with the genre as they have partnered for several television bios in the past. It sounds like it could be a fascinating film and will surely contain some great music, but unless it manages to break out a la recent doc An Inconvenient Truth it will likely only see a limited release. (Michael Bentley/BOP)