Director: Emilio Estevez.
Starring: Harry Belafonte (Nelson), Joy Bryant (Patricia), Nick Cannon (Dwayne), Emilio Estevez (Tim Fallon), Laurence Fishburne (Edward Robinson), Brian Geraghty (Jimmy), Heather Graham (Angela), Anthony Hopkins (John Casey), Helen Hunt (Samantha), Joshua Jackson (Wade), David Krumholtz (Phil), Ashton Kutcher (Fisher), Shia LaBeouf (Cooper), Lindsay Lohan (Diane), William H. Macy (Paul).
assassination of Robert F. Kennedy just after his winning the California primary
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire movie.
1968. A year of political and social turmoil in the United States. March 16 Robert F. Kennedy thrusts himself into the race for the presidency. He is a 42 year old senator from New York and one time attorney general of the United States. President Lyndon B. Johnson pulls out of the race. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated.
June 4, 1968. Los Angeles. Ambassador Hotel, Robert F. Kennedy campaign headquarters. Sirens sound. There are people milling around the outside of the hotel. The hotel manager tells everyone that it was a false alarm. Everyone is free to return to their rooms.
Mexican busboy Rojas has a double-shift to do in the hotel kitchen. He is very disappointed about working the double-shift because he has two tickets to see the Dodgers baseball game and the pitcher Don Drysdale is about to make pitching history.
A black chef says that now that Dr. King is gone, nobody is left but Bobby. Since Rojas cannot get out of work, he gives the tickets to the head chef. The chef is very grateful and tells Rojas that he is a future king of a guy.
John Casey is a retired hotel doorman. But he still likes to hang out at the Ambassador Hotel. He often plays chess with his friend Nelson. Nelson just hates retirement. It makes him feel useless.
Young fellow Coop and his friend work on the Kennedy election campaign. But today they want to take a day off for a change. Coop and his friend get some LSD from a hippie dealer. The guys get really high and the young men throw a television out a hotel window.
The switchboard operator is having an affair with the hotel manager. She is bored with her job and having an affair with the hotel manager. She has sex with him in one of the hotel rooms. Later she tells her fellow switchboard operator that the affair is over.
Daryl Timmons runs the kitchen. Today he gets fired for not letting his employees have time out to vote. He sees a chance to get back at the hotel manager when he sees the switchboard operator go into one of the hotel rooms where the manager is. The managerís wife works at the hotel and he considers telling her about the affair.
Singer Virginia Fallon is appearing at the hotel. Her husband helps her keep it all together. He does not want to go to Vegas for four weeks in July. It is just too hot. Virginia tells him that if he does not want to Vegas, he can just leave. He tries to ignore her. Today she has the important job of introducing Robert Kennedy.
Ms. Janacek is a journalist for a paper in Czechoslovakia. She believes that RFK is an inspiration to the Czech people. What she desperately wants is just five minutes with the candidate.
The youngster Diane is going to marry the young William so that he will not be drafted and forced to go the Vietnam. But she is thinking that she might want to stay married to William once they do marry.
The older stockbroker Jack and his wife Samantha are having their second honeymoon celebrating their tenth anniversary and having a good time at the hotel.
The news comes in that in South Dakota McCarthy and Kennedy are in a dead heat.
Hotel manager Paul is shocked when his wife confronts him about his affair. She is very upset naturally and Paul feels very guilty. Later Paul hits Daryl knocking him down for rat-finking on him.
Robert Kennedy arrives at the hotel. Former doorman John Casey has the great fortune of being right there to welcome him to the hotel.
A black campaign worker named Dwayne is told that Robert Kennedy wants to meet him. Dwayne is in shock and disbelief. The message is repeated and it is said that Kennedy wants to thank him for all his work for the campaign.
Virginia Fallon takes the stage and starts singing. The hippie drug dealer gets busted by the cops. Diane and William get married.
Disgruntled Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan bumps into Mr. Fallon as he steps out of the Ambassador Hotel. The Czech reporter Janeck gets her five minutes to see Kennedy.
The crowd has gathered to receive Kennedy. There are probably over a thousand people there. The black switchboard operator meets Dwayne, whose voice she recognizes from his telephone calls.
Kennedy is announced as the winner of the California primary. Kennedy takes the stage. He congratulates Dodger pitcher Don Drysdale for pitching a shut-out in the record-breaking game. He talks more and then says "Itís on to Chicago and letís win there!" The shout "We want Bobby!" is heard over and over again.
Kennedy is taken through the kitchen. He is absolutely mobbed. There are some 77 people in the kitchen at the time. All of a sudden, Sirhan Sirhan shouts "Kennedy, you son of a bitch!" and fire three shots. Kennedy goes down. The giant black football player Rosie Grier grabs Sirhan and takes him down.
The future king, Hispanic Rojas holds Kennedyís head off the floor. Stockbroker Jackís wife Samantha has a wound to the head. Fired kitchen manager Daryl Timmons is shot in the stomach. Campaign worker Coop is shot, as well as his friend. Dianeís new husband William is shot in the head.
Dwayne is very upset and in anger throws a chair against a wall. The switchboard operator comforts him. John Casey receives the bad news and stands shocked. Reporter Janeck learns of the assassination and is very shocked. Virginia Fallon cries up in her hotel room. Miriam kisses her husband, the hotel manager, despite his earlier having cheated on her.
Robert F. Kennedy died at Good Samaritan Hospital on the Morning of June 6, 1968. His wife Ethel was at his side. All the other wounded people survived.
Good movie. It deals more with fictitious people in the kitchen on the day of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, but what it does is catch that great feeling of hope and anticipation placed on the candidacy of Robert Kennedy and on the man himself. Don't miss the special features section of the DVD. Here the hopeful feeling is clearly stated. What a difference it would have been a Robert Kennedy presidency rather than a Richard Nixon presidency. Certainly the Vietnam War would have been over sooner. There would have been no riots at the Chicago Democratic National Convention. And there probably would not have been a Watergate scandal. There are a lot of stars in this movie and it is fun seeing their famous faces.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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