1. The John Lennon soundtrack -- long on his more adventurous songs, short on "Imagine."
2. The interviews both with John's friends, and with FBI Agents, G. Gordon Liddy, and John Dean.
3. Loads of entertaining footage of John & Yoko.
All you young'uns can experience some sense of what I lived through as a teenager, vicariously. I was in Cedar Rapids, IA, which I don't think reached 1965 until 1975, but we were starved for news of the outside world, and got it from television and magazines like the Rolling Stone.
What it brought back to me was how much, at the time, the Beatles and John Lennon meant to me growing up. I along with nearly every American alive in 1964, watched the Beatles play the Ed Sullivan show. I was 7 years old, and impressionable to say the least, stuck between the Mormon world of my mom's family and the OCD blinders-on world of classical music my parents inhabited. I didn't know what I was seeing exactly, but the Beatles represented to me a third way. As I grew up, it's not stretching it to say that John Lennon was a hero, and one of few: When I was a kid it was him, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X that I thought worthy of hero status, and not many others.
It's hard for anyone born after that period to understand the lack of irony, and wide-eyed sincerity with which people came to the counterculture at that time. "All we are saying, is give peace a chance" completely captured the zeitgeist.
And in fact, we're confronted with the same situation all over again now -- a point the movie only has to make subtly -- in some cases with the same fucking people who were there in the Nixon administration the first time around. They still think wars can make things better, and they're no more willing now to give peace a chance now than they were then.
I recently said how much we could use Mark Twain about now. Add John Lennon to that short list of people who we could use again. No one since has come close to Lennon's combination of idealism, innocence, and whimsy, and his way of speaking truth to power with a smirk....