Wednesday, August 3, 2016

U.S. vs. John Lennon (documentary) - Review

10 years ago I went to a movie theater and saw the documentary, The U.S. vs. John Lennon for the first time.    At that time I had the infant version of this blog on myspace (remember myspace?) where I posted photos and did reviews.  I think I had about 50 followers.   I reviewed the film and I remember stating how I spent more time memorized by the new footage in the film that it was hard to actually pay attention to the film.    

Photo I took outside of the movie theater in 2006

Since I have just read the Leon Wildes book (review coming soon), I wanted to watch the DVD of The U.S. vs. John Lennon.   Overall it is a good film.   Yoko looks amazing in the movie and she comes across very intelligent and thoughtful.     She usually impresses me when she is interviewed for documentaries, but I especially enjoyed Yoko in this one.     I thought they did a nice job of keeping John's input alive in the film through a variety of clips from over the years.    Also a good selection of people from the early 1970's in John Lennon's life was interviewed so you were able to hear all sides of the story.         The clips that were used were great and the highlight of the film.   I loved seeing John coming and going into the INS office and the footage of him getting his green card is amazing!

I thought too much time was spent on John's activities prior to coming to the United States in 1971.  I understand that background information was necessary, but way too much time was spent on the Bed-in and Bagism and things along those lines because there are other films that just focus on the Bed-in and while it is important to the story, it was just too long.    I wanted to watch and hear more about the immigration hearings and see more footage and photos from that time instead.      There was one man that was interviewed that made a very bold statement about how John Lennon equates to life and Nixon and Bush lead to death.     I remember when I heard that in 2006, and I thought "wow--that is pretty bold," but today, in 2016, it just seems like an outdated statement.       I wish he had left Bush out of the statement because it just takes us out of John and Yoko in the 1970's and suddenly puts us in a decade where John isn't alive.

  I personally didn't like the film ending with the gun shots and John's death.    I would have loved to have ended it with John smiling with his green card, however that isn't' very realistic.   I know that the filmmakers had to go further and include his murder and maybe what I really don't like is that John was murdered.   That he worked so hard to get his green card and stay in the United States just to be killed in the country that he struggled to be in.    I didn't like the feeling of the harsh reality of it all, which isn't to blame the film in any way, because they can't change how John's story ended.

I have heard that The U.S. vs. John Lennon is being shown on television here in the U.S. on cable channels.   It is worth watching, especially if you are a John Lennon fan and want to see some rare interview and news clips.   But just be expected to shake your head at what happens in this country and for a very tragic and sad ending.


  1. J&Y's activities between '69 and '71, the Bed-In's especially, were the Real reason the Nixon administration wanted the Lennons out of the States, remember: John always thought that was the case - his being a "peacenik," and the drug bust was just an excuse to begin deportation proceedings - and Leon Wildes' subsequent investigations into the matter (acting as JL's immigration lawyer) actually proved John's suspicions as absolutely correct ...and Then some!

  2. Hi Sara, thanks for reviewing one of my favorite movies. I always recommend it to people who are not as familiar with John's post-Beatles life (yes, there ARE such people lol) and they always come away thinking John was the coolest ever... which, of course, we know that he was. ;-)

    The man who said Nixon and Bush represented death while John represented life was Gore Vidal, another amazingly cool guy. I didn't have the same problem about his mentioning Bush because I loved the way the film drew parallels between the Nixon Administration (which was widely reviled by that time) and the then-current Bush Administration, which many of us felt was just as bad–if not worse–than Nixon. For me, part of the beauty of the film was that it was trying to wake people up a bit at a time we really needed waking up politically. And, to me, it really brought home the huge void that John's not being here has left us with.

    Sorry to get so political, but it's kind of hard not to these days because if we don't wake up this time (and I'm hopeful that we will), we could be stuck with a maniac who's a million times worse than Nixon and Bush combined.

  3. was so glad when John got his green card & did have time here in the states during his lifetime; he has gotten a dog from a distant relative of mine in NY & I still wish I had been there