Saturday, January 22, 2011

Casino Jack - the worst movie ever made about a great story

I went to see the "Casino Jack" last night.  It's the new Kevin Spacey movie about the rise and fall of lobbyist Jack Abramoff. 

Jack Abramoff ?  Jack Abramoff ?  Why, I don't even know Abram....
Sorry about that.  Couldn't help it. 

I wanted to love this movie.  I wanted it to be greatness. 
Unfortunately, it's badly written, poorly edited, and horribly directed.  The director, George Hickenlooper, has done mostly documentaries up to this point.  Maybe that explains why he shovels in every tic, idiosyncrasy, and mannerism that his research uncovered
By the time you finish watching this thing, you'll know that Jack Abramoff worked out every day, walked around his office with dumbells, loved to quote from movies, covered his head on the Sabbath, wore a fedora the rest of the time, kept a bust of Ronald Reagan on his desk, ate kosher, and produced a couple of Dolph Lundgren movies.  But you'll have no idea what made him tick. 

Ok, enough of the minor league Roger Ebert nonsense. 

Here's what's interesting about the Jack Abramoff scandal.  This is from The Washington Post:

Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff and public relations consultant Michael Scanlon quietly worked with conservative religious activist Ralph Reed to help the state of Texas shut down an Indian tribe's casino in 2002, then the two quickly persuaded the tribe to pay $4.2 million to try to get Congress to reopen it.

Dozens of e-mails written by the three men and obtained by The Washington Post show how they built public support for then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn's effort get the courts to close the Tigua tribe's Speaking Rock Casino in El Paso in late 2001 and early 2002. The e-mails also reveal what appears to be an effort on the part of Abramoff and Scanlon to then exploit the financial crisis they were helping to create for the tribe by securing both the multimillion-dollar fee and $300,000 in federal political contributions, which the tribe paid.

Ten days after the Tigua Indians' $60 million-a-year casino was shuttered in February 2002, Abramoff wrote a tribal representative that he would get Republicans in Congress to rectify the "gross indignity perpetuated by the Texas state authorities," assuring him that he had already lined up "a couple of Senators willing to ram this through," according to the e-mails.

What he did not reveal was that he and Scanlon had been paying Reed, an avowed foe of gambling, to encourage public support for Cornyn's effort to close two Indian casinos in Texas.

(People with a monopoly in an industry, especially a "vice" industry, have long utilized opponents of their industry to preserve their monopoly.  This is called the "Bootleggers And Baptists" phenomenon.  Bootleggers and Baptists are united in their opposition to legal alcohol sales, and both sides vote in favor of alcohol prohibition.  You can hit this link to read about illegal marijuana dealers tipping off the police about semi-legal medical marijuana dispensaries.  Bootleggers and Baptists - once you understand how it works, you'll see it everywhere.) 

Abramoff, one of Washington's powerhouse Republican lobbyists until his work came under scrutiny by law enforcement agencies this year, has long been close to Reed, former executive director of the Christian Coalition and now southern regional chairman of President Bush's reelection campaign. Both have political ties to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), as does Scanlon, who had served as his spokesman.

Here's a summary of the movie and the scandal....An Indian casino has a race-based gambling monopoly in a certain region. There are rumors that another tribe will also be given a casino license, cutting into the profits of casino #1. 
Casino #1 hires a lobbyist to block casino #2 from opening.  The lobbyist, who is damn good at what he does, hires Ralph Reed and The Christian Coalition to protest against The Gambling Menace, The Horrors Of Gaming, and the like. 
The lobbyist then turns around and takes money from Casino #2 and spreads some more of the wealth in Congress, this time as an encouragement for the regulators to examine and support the pro-gambling side of things. 
So.  If you assume that it's ok for our government to prevent me or anyone else from opening a casino, or if you assume that it's ok for our government to issue race-based casino licenses and withdraw them at will, and if you assume that government has a right to regulate private behavior....

If you know that Congressmen are bought and sold like East Lancaster crack whores, and if you are willing to tolerate this kind of whoremongering from military contractors, big business, the green energy/perpetual motion machine lobby, and unions...
Then what was so bad about Jack Abramoff ? 

And why would you ever trust government to properly regulate gambling, funeral homes, pharmaceuticals, or even rural stoplights?  Much less your healthcare? 


Nick Rowe said...

You should go into the movie making business.

I'm sure you could do better than Michael Moore.

Start with YouTube where everyone can create documentaries.

best casino online said...

I agree. I guess the bigger problem is that the film, "Casino Jack", isn't very funny. Thanks for sharing those reviews.