I’m in full agreement with the second half of the second story in today’s Fox 411 column, in which Roger Friedman rips The U.S. vs. John Lennon a new one.

Friedman begins with the obvious about David Leaf and John Scheinfeld‘s film, which is that it opened limited via Lionsgate on 9.29.06, earned about $551,821 (per the IMDB) and is now — a bit more than three weeks later — gone. Friedman attributes this relatively short theatrical life to Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono, the film’s executive producer, who “did here what she accomplished last summer in her Broadway musical about the late Beatle, which was to entirely rewrite or omit [Lennon’s] history.
“Gone are the years 1973 and 1974 when Lennon had left Ono for May Pang and lived in Los Angeles. Erased is Lennon’s elder son, Julian, as well as nearly all mention of the Beatles. Never even spoken are the names of the other Beatles. What seems pretty clear is that Leaf and Scheinfeld made a deal with the devil. Ono isn’t listed as one of the producers — there are 16 altogether — but she’s thanked so many times in the credits that it’s almost a joke.
“Leaf and Scheinfeld clearly would not have had her participation, rights to music and videos and Lennon’s likeness without her assent. The result is yet another Ono history hatchet job that no one can really take seriously. What a shame.”
“This mirrors what I said about the film last August, which was that the Lennon portrayed in The U.S. vs John Lennon “is indeed scrubbed clean and phony as a three-dollar bill, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Leaf decided on this portrait — Lennon as a kind-of St. Francis of the anti-war movement, a guy who did nothing but good things and spoke only of love and peace and stopping the killing — under the influence of his and Scheinfeld’s alliance with Lennon’s widow.
“I call it the ‘Curse of Ono‘ — the more control she seems to have over any portrait of the late ex-Beatle, the more sugar-coated it turns out.
“Like anyone else, Lennon was a mixed bag — part genius, part beautiful guy, part angry guy, part saint, part asshole, part man-of-courage, part prima donna, part gifted troubadour, part abusive drunk (during his 1974 ‘lost weekend’ phase), part mystical seeker. But you only get the positive stuff from Leaf-Scheinfeld-Ono. And after an hour or so of the vigilant, heroic, positive-minded Lennon, you want to barf.”