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The U.S. vs. John Lennon




More than 35 years have gone by since John Lennon released his classic single "Imagine," and so it's easy to forget just how subversive its unabashed idealism really is.


In the documentary "The U.S. vs. John Lennon," filmmakers David Leaf and John Scheinfeld revisit this music icon's political activism, radical stances that eventually commanded the attention of President Nixon, the FBI and the Immigration and Naturalization Services.


Boasting a gaggle of interviews with Lennon friends, observers and, of course, Yoko Ono, the doc chronicles the indomitable spirit and wicked sense of humor that made the Beatle such a captivating proponent for peace. The movie is consistently interesting, but falls short of cutting insight. The Lennon we see here, full of surly glee and strident convictions, will be familiar to most baby boomers.


For them, "The U.S. vs. John Lennon" is more nostalgic than probing, but there's nothing wrong with a little reminiscing. The cynical might scoff at some of John and Yoko's anti-war stunts, and admittedly, a "bed-in" for peace can be a tough sell. But the film reminds us of the better angels of a tumultuous era "? a snapshot in time when beautiful dreamers believed that love really could change the world.


Just imagine it. It's easy if you try.


"?Phil Bacharach


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