Rob Reiner’s ‘LBJ’ packs a decade into one tragic week

Rob Reiner, director/producer of “LBJ,” poses at the premiere of the film at the ArcLight Hollywood on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

By Jason Middleton

Director Rob Reiner is pulling forward a period of American history — along with turmoil, angst and division — with his new film, “LBJ.”

Progress doesn’t always come smoothly. The 1960s represent a spasm of political change for America. Civil rights, Vietnam, the draft, the Cold War and so much more was at stake, and in the midst of addressing it, an assassin kills (a narrowly elected) President John F. Kennedy.

Lyndon Baines Johnson is a giant figure in American politics, mostly because he was equally loved and despised, sometimes with those opinions held by one person, simultaneously.

He pulled together a nation while the gray borders of uncertainty had everyone feeling more and more vulnerable, but he also deepened America’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

Mr. Reiner’s film captures all these emotions and more, with the week of Kennedy’s assassination used as the organizing principle.

So how did he condense down such an expansive topic into just 98 minutes? We found out!

Listen to my full interview with Reiner below. [Full disclosure: I pinch-hit on this interview for colleague and friend Ronn Owens.] He gave us an inside look on the production of the movie, shared his own evolving opinion of President Johnson and detailed his unique directing style.

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Have great weeks everybody!

 

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