Oliver Stone’s “JFK” is still challenging viewpoints

John F. Kennedy rides in a motorcade in this famous photograph. Watching the film “JFK” had a significant impact on reporter Will Brown.

Photo: Walt Cisco, Dallas Morning News, Penn Jones Photographs. Public Domain

John F. Kennedy rides in a motorcade in this famous photograph. Watching the film “JFK” had a significant impact on reporter Will Brown.

The assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 has attracted more than its share of conspiracy theories, but before I saw the movie “JFK,” I barely knew any. I knew so little about the assassination that when somebody asked how much I knew about John Fitzgerald Kennedy, I replied, “Who?” While I was joking, of course, I still knew little about the late president. So, I was sent in nearly blind when I was tasked with reviewing Oliver Stone’s “JFK.”

The movie takes place three years after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The protagonist, Jim Garrison, obsesses over the government-fabricated explanation to the complicated death of the president. Jim Garrison then realizes that is impossible for one man to shoot a rifle three times in such quick succession at a moving target with a tree in the way, while also injuring two men in multiple parts of their body.

This discovery inspires his journey. As he gets closer to the truth, the government and media try to paint him as a conspiracy theorist. The film concludes with our main character attempting to sway the jury with a single speech about how we should not allow our government to be secretive, and we must make sure that the country belongs to its citizens.

I have never been a fan of conspiracy theories – this explains why my least favorite character from “King of the Hill” is Dale Gribble. However, I must admit that this movie made interesting and thought-provoking points. If the government has control over the stories we see and hear, what is motivating them to tell the truth? What is stopping them from feeding us propaganda? Have they been feeding us propaganda already? Have they lied to us? Are they still lying to us?

My opinions can change, and while normally I try not to take conspiracy theories seriously, this one got to me because of how realistic it was. After watching this film, I feel less safe. The media has a powerful effect on us, as seen in my change from trusting the government to now being more wary just because of one movie. Their power can be used for good, such as making the audience mourn for the people of Aleppo in order to gather support for aid efforts.

However, it can also be used to direct hatred towards a thing, person or place or to gather support for something useless that we are told can help us, like every commercial marketing a household appliance in history. Automatic spinning forks and automatic spinning ice cream cones, I’m looking at you.

The experience of watching “JFK” Changed my political beliefs. It has made me question my thoughts on my own country. In a way, it is patriotic because it is about standing up to an authoritative and controlling government, even if that government is the United States. I am far more aware about how the government could be possibly lying to us and how it is dangerous to blindly trust a government entity. It’s a good reminder to look up the facts of what you’re told. Don’t believe everything you hear, but also don’t jump to the conclusion that they are lying.