YORBA LINDA — It's not too surprising that most visitors to the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace are effusive with praise for the flattering documentary on the 37th president that shows there continuously.
"I like it, it was very positive," Marcia Lynch said Wednesday. "It showed Nixon's good side."
The 54-year-old first-grade teacher in the Santa Ana Unified School District said the 28-minute film "Never Give Up: Richard Nixon in the Arena," left her with "a very good feeling."
Yet ask such devotees whether they'll watch that other flick--director Oliver Stone's decidedly dark "Nixon"--and the perhaps unexpected response is that many will go see it. But don't expect them to believe it.
"I'll go see it," said La Habra resident John Baliciki, 49, a Vietnam veteran. "But if the [Nixon] family says it's a slam, it's a slam. They knew. They were inside."
That pretty much summed it up. For these folks, Stone definitely has a credibility problem.
"I think a lot of it is probably untrue and out to create scandal," said Hilary Lynch, the teacher's 18-year-old daughter. "I think if I do see it, I'm definitely not going to believe everything in it."
Others just didn't like the idea of Stone's tough treatment of the controversial president, who resigned from office in disgrace over Watergate.
"Why trash somebody?" asked Gail Crockett, 59, of Huntington Beach. "I know Nixon did a lot of things that people aren't proud of. But don't they have enough other things to make movies about?"
For Crockett, the notion of Stone's film was a little hard to take, especially after viewing the uplifting documentary at the Nixon library and birthplace. "It moved me to tears at the end," she said. "I just thought it was fantastic. I learned a lot too."
She is concerned because "so many people go to the movies and believe everything they see." But, she added, "hopefully it will make people search for the truth a little more."
Still, she thinks she may go see "Nixon" anyway.
Another visitor to the library Wednesday was impressed by the documentary, yet determined to see the Stone piece.
Lucy Nixon, 74, said the documentary was an excellent portrayal of the 37th president, whom she greatly admires.
"I think he was an extremely intelligent man," said Nixon, who is no relation to the late president. "I think he did a lot of good, I think he had a lot of courage."
But unlike her husband, Walter, she does plan to go see the movie, even if she has to go by herself.
"I'd go to see it," she said. "I'd like to compare the stories."