Oliver Stone in person at The Aero Theatre

Oliver Stone in person at The Aero Theatre

Divisive filmmaker Oliver Stone is set to appear In person across three nights this week at Santa Monica's Aero Theatre, as part of their series ' Unconventional Narrative: The Films of Oliver Stone.
A director, writer and/or producer of some of the most iconic films of our time, Oliver Stone has been confounding conventional narratives all of his life. Born in relative affluence in New York City, Stone dropped out of Yale University in the mid-1960s to teach in Vietnam; after conflict there began to escalate, he enlisted in the United States Army and volunteered for combat duty, earning a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his service.

After the war, he studied filmmaking at New York University.Stone’s breakthrough came in 1978 with MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, for which he won a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar. He earned a Best Director Oscar for 1986’s PLATOON, the first of three films inspired by his Vietnam War experiences; BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY (another Oscar winner) and HEAVEN AND EARTH looked at the conflict through the perspective of veterans and refugees, respectively. Current events have proven fertile ground for Stone, though his take on power brokers (NIXON), whistle-blowers (SNOWDEN) and others doesn’t always line up with the “official” version of history.

While Stone’s films eagerly engage politics and other weighty issues, they never skimp on entertainment. As the director once noted, “I make my films like you’re going to die if you miss the next minute. You better not go get popcorn.” NATURAL BORN KILLERS peppers its critique of tabloid-driven culture with humor and thrill-a-minute action. SALVADOR exposes American involvement with dictatorships, but does it by following a fascinating, flawed lead character (played by Oscar nominee James Woods). If controversy sometimes follows when Oliver Stone trains his camera on a subject, a memorable night at the movies is always guaranteed.


Thurs May 18th 7:30pm
NIXON (1995 / DCP)
Introduction by director Oliver Stone, who will sign the book The Oliver Stone Experience beginning at 6:30 PM.

This ambitious biopic of our 37th president earned four Oscar nominations, including nods for Anthony Hopkins’ performance in the title role and Joan Allen’s supporting work as wife Pat Nixon. A nuanced portrait of Richard Nixon from his days as a young boy to his downfall in the aftermath of the Watergate break-in, the film underlines how lonely and treacherous the halls of power can become. With James Woods, Ed Harris and Paul Sorvino.

Fri, May 19th 7:30pm
Double Feature: Discussion between films with director Oliver Stone.

U TURN (1997 / 35mm)

On his way to Las Vegas to pay off a debt, Bobby Cooper’s (Sean Penn) car breaks down near the small town of Superior, Arizona, where he becomes entangled with a femme fatale (Jennifer Lopez) and her husband (Nick Nolte) and everything that can go wrong, does. Based the John Ridley novel Stray Dogs, this riveting neo-noir thriller features a top-notch cast including Billy Bob Thornton, Jon Voight, Joaquin Phoenix and Claire Danes.


This satirical look at the depths to which tabloid media will sink to deliver a good crime story was named one of the 10 most controversial films in history by Entertainment Weekly. As serial killers/lovers Mickey and Mallory (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis) blaze an exceptionally gory trail across the Southwest, they are pursued by an enraged police detective (Tom Sizemore) and elevated to folk heroes by Wayne Gale (Robert Downey Jr.), the host of the popular TV show “American Maniacs.”

Sat, May 20th 7:30pm
Double Feature: Discussion between films with director Oliver Stone.

HEAVEN & EARTH (1993 / 35mm)

The concluding film in director Oliver Stone’s Vietnam War trilogy is based on the true story of Le Ly (Hiep Thi Le), whose life was thrown into chaos when the fighting reached her village. After marrying a U.S. soldier (Tommy Lee Jones), Le Ly moves to America, where both she and her husband face a difficult adjustment. Costarring Haing S. Ngor, Joan Chen and Debbie Reynolds.

Disenfranchised U.S. photojournalist Ricky Boyle (James Woods) throws himself and reluctant party buddy James Belushi into the turmoil of the 1980 Central American military dictatorship, winding up caught between the rebels and his own CIA. John Savage and Michael Murphy co-star. Boyle and Stone were nominated for Best Original Screenplay.

Program notes by American Cinematheque. Visit The Aero Theatre online HERE.