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Top Movies Of The 1990's: #68 JFK

Box Office: $70.4 Million

Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director (Oliver Stone), Best Supporting Actor (Tommy Lee Jones), Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound

Oscar Wins: Best Cinematography, Best Editing

Movie Rankings: 85/100

Available To Stream: HBO Max

This movie is way too long at three hours and eight minutes. It's also a total mess at times. However, this is the kind of movie you want a fearless director at the height of his power to make with maybe the biggest actor at that time. Looking back, it's wild a major film studio like Warner Bros. allowed Oliver Stone to make a movie accusing the government of killing a president.

What JFK does better than maybe any other movie is showing paranoia on film. The only movie that even holds a candle to that feeling as well is Zodiac. Both movies mix obsession with paranoia and fear. They ask if it's worth throwing away everything including your job and family to chase something that may never be caught. The movies have very different endings but come to similar conclusions. I am fascinated with Jim Garrison. I admire Jim Garrison. I would never want to be Jim Garrison.

Moviestore. Shutterstock Images.

John F. Kennedy was killed in 1963 so even when this came out, it was almost thirty years in the past. But this re-opened a lot of wounds the country still had as well as questions surrounding the last time a president died in office. JFK became a cultural sensation. "Back and to the left" was one of the biggest movie quotes that year which is wild considering what it's referencing. It was even a major focal point of the Keith Hernandez Seinfeld episode.

Oliver Stone doesn't get the modern respect he deserves. He was at his best post-70's cinema and before the indie film scene took hold. He's the bridge between those two eras. Stone won the Academy Award for Best Director in 1986 (Platoon) and 1989 (Born On The Fourth of July). He was nominated again for JFK. This is the end of that peak. I spoke about Any Given Sunday earlier in this series but even though I enjoy that movie, it doesn't hold up to the movies I mentioned. It also doesn't hold a candle to Wall Street or Scarface (which he didn't direct but did write). 

This is Stone's last very good movie and it's also his bravest. Natural Born Killers is wild but this is going after the government in a way that movies haven't. All The President's Men is only other movie that is as daring. You have to give Kevin Costner a lot of credit as well. This is when he was at his absolute peak as a movie star. He had just made Dances With Wolves and Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves and both were massive hits. Dances With Wolves even won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director (for Costner).

He could have made any movie he wanted to at that point. You can question his accent choice here (you can do that with a lot of Costner movies) but this is a Hall Of Fame movie actor taking a very brave role. Costner is someone you can't help but root for. He's helplessly likable. He's perfect casting in a movie that can get bogged down at times but Costner keeps it afloat. 

I'm not sure we'll see a movie like this again anytime soon. Check out this scene with Costner and Candy. It's wild, bizarre and brilliant. Oliver Stone really was a revolutionary filmmaker. Maybe future generations will come back around and he'll get the respect I think he deserves. But it's more likely movies like Wall Street and JFK were so tapped into the emotions the time that they can't truly be appreciated as we get further and further away from when they came out.  

68. JFK

69. Toy Story

70. Home Alone

71. Jerry Maguire

72. Titanic

73. Billy Madison

74. Apollo 13

75. Braveheart

76. Edward Scissorhands

77. Cape Fear

78. The River Wild

79. What's Eating Gilbert Grape?

80. 12 Monkeys

81. Stir Of Echoes

82. Mission: Impossible

83. Total Recall

84. Quiz Show

85. For Love Of The Game

86. Being John Malkovich

87. Men In Black

88. Scream

89. Alive

90. Three Kings

91. Glengarry Glen Ross

92. Die Hard With A Vengeance

93. The Blair Witch Project

94. Twister

95. Dirty Work

96. Election

97. Tremors

98. Any Given Sunday

99. The Wedding Singer

100. Clerks