It’s strange. Even with the involvement of the ever charming Tom Hanks as the director and writer, and a film that features him as a prominent supporting character amidst a slew of up and coming young stars (including Charlize Theron), “That Thing You Do!” is still just an average movie. It’s simply nineties mediocrity. It’s never a remarkable musical comedy, nor is it abysmal. It’s merely a movie you watch and never plan to re-visit again unless you’re absolutely bored.
One of the benefits of being a hardcore Beatles fan is that I don’t really need to buy the covers of the best Beatles songs of all time presented in “Across the Universe.” Instead I have the entire soundtrack and much more in my grasp. Ain’t it sweet? “Across the Universe” gets a lot of guff for being that representation of the Beatles that wasn’t mean to be. It’s a movie, a mainstream movie, with a rather cliché story, but you know what? Fuck it. “Across the Universe” is an absolute masterpiece, a thrilling, chilling, and incredible musical experience that takes the best of the Beatles and transfers it into an awfully excellent romance and war time story under the direction of Julie Taymor who takes a movie and makes it into a cathartic experience for the fans.
“I think movements create leaders, leaders don’t create movements.” – Mark Rudd
Every time I think I know as much as I can about the sixties, there’s always something introduced that surprises or astounds me, and believe it or not, while “1968” does tell some stories and accounts some events that we’ve seen over and over again, Tom Brokaw brings to the table the perspective of a journalist who happened to be around during some of the most historic moments of American history, and gives an objective view of the sixties. In the two hour special, aptly premiering a day after the twenty seventh anniversary of John Lennon’s death, Brokaw interviews ex-hippies, activists still fighting for freedom in our country, and right wing politicians all of whom have a different view of the sixties than the host does. Brokaw gladly doesn’t depict himself as important, only an observer who was there, and feels the need to show how astonishingly similar 1968 is to the social and political climate of 2007, and these aren’t simply coincidental, either. In one scene, Lyndon Johnson declares how we must go to war in Vietnam and fight over there before the communists come here.
It’s a common scare tactic used by the Bush administration and only solidified my interest in the documentary. Brokaw and the History channel simply don’t disappoint with an excellent account of the sixties and the entire movement for civil rights, feminism and free love, while also showing the hardships of the movements. The sixties were a time where the draft was taking people of any color to war, and protests raged while some of the best leaders fell to the gun. Not a single stone is unturned as we are given interviews with folks like Mark Rudd, and Jon Stewart and take a look into the awfully subversive legacy that was the Smothers Brothers, and their battles with network censors over their anti-war movement and the satirizing. “1968” is a very informative look at a historical decade and a wonderful exploration at the year that signaled change for better or for worse.
Premiering on the History Channel December 9th.