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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

Do you want to spend two hours re-living one of the worst days in American history?

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Tom Hanks is making a movie about the Kennedy assassination.  That's a fact.

Will audiences want to see it?  That's the question.

Hanks and his crew are putting the finishing touches on "Parkland" in hopes of a September release.  The 50th anniversary of the assassination is November 22.

The movie industry bible "Variety" asks, "Parkland: Will Audiences Want To Relive The Kennedy Assassination?" For a freak like me, the answer is obvious but what about casual film-goers.  This isn't going to be the feel-good film of 2013, from all indications. Hanks is producing "Parkland" and has no on-screen role.  Among the stars: Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Billy Bob Thornton and Paul Giamatti who portrays Abraham Zapruder, the Dallas businessman who had the good sense to bring his movie camera to Dealey Plaza that fateful afternoon. The makers haven't released a trailer yet, but the early stills of Giamatti capturing history are eerily spot-on.

Hanks' effort isn't meant to answer any questions as to who pulled the trigger, so don't expect the conviction of Lee Harvey Oswald or an Oliver Stone conspiracy mash-up.  

Which brings us back to the question: will people watch?  They did in 1991 when Stone's "JFK" pulled in more than $200 million while re-igniting the who-done-it aspect of the assassination debate for a new generation of moviegoers, the film so successful and controversial that Stone was accused of presenting speculation as historical fact.

Tom Hanks and his Playtone film company have brought us a bunch of great efforts including "Apollo 13" and "Band Of Brothers", proving Hands respects our past and is manic about getting even the smallest details right. Will the awful truth, the grisly detail, the honest emotional impact of what happened that dreadful day be enough to draw a big crowd?

And, is that something America is going to want to live through again, even if for only a few hours?  

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