Features Robert Downey Jr and Kiefer Sutherland in their early careers and Winona Ryder in only her 4th movie (previous was Beetlejuice, next was Heathers...). Great supporting cast: Bruce Dern, Joanna Cassidy, Mariette Hartley.
"The year a country split apart and a generation came together."
1969 is a Vietnam film that focuses on what was going on in America as opposed to what was actually taking place in the war. It deals with two college students and friends who are against the war and want to avoid being drafted at all cost. That's why they went to college. The movie also deals with their families and how the war affected family and their community.
The movie really isn't good at all. It takes every little chance it gets to pour as much melodrama on us as possible. Bruce Dern is horrible and Winona Ryder is awful(and I normally like her). Robert Downey Jr and Keifer Sutherland are decent, but they both have sone way better work since. I like the story, but the movie seems to be lacking in every other category. The dialogue between the characters is horrible. A best thing about the movie is it's soundtrack. Bands such as Cream, Jimi Hendrix and Buffalo Springfield are included in it; helping make the 60's setting a little better.
While I can't really say I liked 1969; I can't say not to watch it either. It's not a completely worthless movie; just one that never becomes as good as it could have. It does have 2 or 3 scenes I really loved, but other than those few scenes, every other one felt like it was missing something. I'd only recommend this to huge fans of Keirfer or Robert. If you're not a huge fan of either of them; it's really not worth the time.
A very young Robert Downey, Jr. and Keifer Sutherland are phenomenal and gives us that glimpse of what we would later see in their long and great acting careers.
This movie stars a plethora of Hollywood A-Listers, even though at the time, they were virtual unknowns. The acting is solid, after all, you'd expect no less then that from Robert Downey, Jr., Kiefer Sutherland, Bruce Dern, and Winona Ryder.
The soundtrack was phenomenal. You can't have a movie about the rebelliousness of the 1960's without the staple background music. And it's all here: "Green River" by CCR, "All Along The Watchtower" by Jimi Hendrix, "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" by The Animals, "White Room" by Cream, "Time of the Season" by The Zombies. It was deathfully apparent, however that somewhere in the licensing of all of these great songs, they forgot to hire someone who would stop anachronisms. This movie is not only bad with them, it's RIDDLED with them!
Three of the most telling:
A 1977 model-year car is seen (not in the background) but SMACK IN THE FOREGROUND of the opening sequence.
H&R Block who didn't have the logo used on the sign in the street sequence until 1985.
Palmetto Tours ferries Scott's brother to the Army, but that would be impossible, seeing as how that bus line (a subsidiary of Greyhound) operates only in South Carolina - The Palmetto State. This movie takes place in Maryland.
There is also a feeling hanging over this film that just isn't right. I find it VERY hard to believe that Scott wouldn't take acid or smoke weed. It was that era, and he's playing it straight? Hardly. That defies logic.
The ending also does not feel right. I can see Scott's dad making amends with him, even forgiving him to a degree, but for such an old-fashioned person, with strong military ties, to just drop everything that he holds dear and fight for the opposition? To even hang out with and be part of a demonstration? That just feels wrong.
So, basically, I have given this film 3 of 5 stars. It's soundtrack saves it from being a total waste, it's actors also do a fair amount. I can not forgive movies that have glaring anachronisms, or incorrect historical vibe. Like most critics when the movie came out, I neither like nor hate it. It's there. So it gets the middle of the road rating.