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Question for Jim on Stone Documentary


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Hi Jim,

I'm asking this on a pubic forum rather than a direct email because I believe others might also want to know the answer to these questions. First off congratulations on your work with Oliver Stone on the new documentary which is showing at Cannes. I think I speak for all of us when I say we want to see it.

I saw a CLIP of the documentary posted on a website recently, a short clip. It had Mantik in it and it had Cyril Wecht.

What immediately struck me was the narration. It was, to be kind, not good. Who is narrating this thing? 

My hope was that there would be a great voice professional doing the narration, because this can really elevate a work. The opposite is also true. 

If anyone else wants to hear the narrator who sounds like they have a speech impediment you can hear that here:

https://deadline.com/2021/07/oliver-stone-mainstream-docs-propaganda-pieces-us-empire-in-fear-revisiting-jfk-assassination-cannes-1234790181/

Looks like IMDB says it's Whoopi Goldberg.

What a strange choice.

Perhaps the problem is me. I expected to hear something more like Peter Coyote or James Earl Jones. Perhaps it is my biases showing. I could be the person who is wrong here. But that doesn't change my impression that this narration doesn't elevate the work.

Edited by Richard Booth
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7 minutes ago, Ty Carpenter said:

That would be Whoopi Goldberg. From the small clip, I don't think it was "bad".

I didn't think it was good either. The first thing that struck me was "I know this voice. Who is this."  It did not elevate the work. I guarantee if you took five professional narrators and put them over this thing and put them up against Whoopi Goldberg she would not be the first choice.

Perhaps it is my biases. I hear Whoopi Goldberg and I think of comedy and television. I never did watch that television talk show she was on, I know her from the 80s and from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

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Oliver Stone's own narration on his last documentary series (which almost everyone I know hates, but I liked) was pretty damn solid. 

Maybe I am an asshole because I want a serious sounding guy with some bass in his voice talking about serious things rather than a folksy salt of the earth comedian.

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After some consideration I think I'm just an old asshole. 

Oliver Stone was in a better position to decide who narrates his film, better than me. 

One thing to consider is that Whoopi may appeal to a lot of regular normal people, by talking about this subject in a voice that is relatable to them. So instead of the documentary appearing like some kind of know-it-all blasting facts out above your head it sounds like a reasonable person you might know. Which makes the material more likely to be compelling.

Sorry for being an asshole.

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Choosing a narrator that has a familiar voice that the general public already has a positive association with, is usually a good choice when you have a documentary that some will try to discredit and make controversial.

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4 minutes ago, Matt Allison said:

Choosing a narrator that has a familiar voice that the general public already has a positive association with, is usually a good choice when you have a documentary that some will try to discredit and make controversial.

"Since 2007, Goldberg has co-hosted and moderated the daytime talk show The View, for which she won a Daytime Emmy Award."

I've never watched the show but this is a good point

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In the long version, we go into this whole dog and pony show.

How CBS was cooperating with the Commission in the summer of 1963!

I mean both  CBS and NBC had shows on the night the report was released.

And no one asks: how did you read 888 pages in a day?

What is worse, no one then read the volumes to see if they lined up with the report. 

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I'm looking forward to watching the documentary.

And they're rolling out the anti-Stone / anti-JFK conspiracy propaganda, for sure. Below, The Guardian's choice of front page headline for a minor news update in Australia about government vaccine contracts.

Screen-Shot-2021-07-12-at-7-32-56-pm.png

Edited by Anthony Thorne
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