Honor Thy Father and Mother: The True Story of the Menendez Murders (TV Movie 1994) Poster

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3/10
Pretty Cheesy.
rmax30482323 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
If you want a far superior version of this case, check out "A Killing in Beverley Hills," released in the same year.

This one is, with some exceptions, a weak, cobbled-together account of two rich kids in Beverley Hills who, driven too hard by their authoritarian father, slaughtered both Mom and Dad with shotguns in the living room.

It turns a case full of intrigue and interest into a story of a dysfunctional family with adjustment problems. It's reduced to the level of some parental complaint about a kid who insists on playing basketball all the time and refuses to clean out his closet. What to do? The most interesting details are omitted. (Did either of these two dumb punks imagine that their shrink was not going to become famous by spilling the beans on them?) The film has more than one "lying flashback" in it. (We see Dad forcing the one of the kids into being sexually abused, when in fact there is absolutely no evidence for it.) The nature of American character is left uncommented on or even mentioned. (One of the boys was cute and a lot of girls lined up and cheered for him outside the court, holding placards in his support.) The narrative is confusing. (Is the older son in Princeton or out of it?) Even the ending is meaningless. (Yes, the first trial ended inconclusively, but the two killers were convicted the second time around.) The performances of the two narcissists is terrible, but James Farentino as the Demanding Dad is convincing enough. He's supposed to be cold and unresponsive to his son's needs. And his grooming, make up, and natural features lend him the presence of Dracula. His wife, Jill Clayburgh, is a self-pitying, bitter alcoholic -- according to this movie.

"A Killing in Beverley Hills" is no masterpiece, but it's a well-written and professionally directed story of a true crime. It bears watching. This version doesn't.
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5/10
Not as good as the other Menendez murders TV movie
Noirdame793 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This TV movie about the Menendez murders is not as well-acted as the other version released the same year, "Menendez: A Killing In Beverly Hills" but presents many of the details of the case more accurately. James Farentino does very well in the role of Jose Menendez but the other actors don't come off as well. The film does however, give the viewer more than pause to consider what might have happened that led to the murders of Jose and Kitty Menendez by their two sons, Lyle and Erik.

There is one scene that is disturbing in retrospect, when Jose is trying to persuade his son Erik into a sexual act with him and when the son refuses he gets slapped, comforted and told, "get back on the bed". Not graphic, but still chilling. As for the truth, who knows.
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