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The Passion of 'JFK' Has Moved a Nation

March 07, 1992

As a manager of a busy five-plex theater, I have a firsthand view of the public's reaction to movies.

There always has been a feeling in Hollywood that American movies don't measure up to their European counterparts because American movies, although generally entertaining, miss the big themes and lack moral passion. This year, however, there is a movie that has passion, the most I've ever seen in a movie--so much so that the whole country has been moved in some manner. The movie is "JFK" by Oliver Stone.

Whereas "Bugsy" is a great movie, "JFK" is a landmark film, one that has brought cries from throughout the nation to open government files on the subject. This film has taken us from the doldrums of our material content to once again see the hope that glimmered so brightly in this land, and how it was stolen from us during a few seconds in Dallas.

This film has forced us to look into our souls as Americans, to challenge a government rife with self-serving corruption and a moronic mind-set that doesn't allow the people a right to know the facts, whatever they may be.

When the public leaves a movie, I like to stand near the exit doors and listen to comments. With "JFK," this practice became too painful. I watched people cry. I watched people get angry. I watched people talk about the film in the theater lobby with total strangers for hours after the movie ended.

One Sunday night, a couple in their 80s--she with a walker, he with a cane--both stooped with age and illness, were exiting, and tears were flowing down her cheeks. "I forgot," she was saying as she pushed her walker and shook her head, "I forgot how much we had."

I asked her if she had enjoyed the movie. "This is not something to enjoy," she cried. "We had hope and promise, and we chose darkness after he died; we became numb and afraid. We took the Nixons and the Reagans because we were afraid. Don't you see what they've done to us?"

The she stood erect and said, "Young man, the implications of this movie are chilling."

I watched silently as they hobbled out in quiet distress.


El Toro

Porricelli is the manager of Edwards El Toro 5 Theatres. MORE LETTERS: F4

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