December 21, 2010

"Casino Jack"

Casino Jack is a consistently amusing biopic starring Kevin Spacey as the manic, bull-necked Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who recently spent three and a half years in prison for, as far as I can tell, running a little more amok than is considered seemly among Washington insiders.

As Abramoff brushes his teeth in the opening scene, he pumps himself up for a long day of throwing his weight around with his own personal 1980s action-movie catchphrase: “I am Jack Abramoff and, oh yeah, I work out every day.” When Abramoff escorts his Indian-chief clients, one in an eagle-feather headdress, into the Oval Office, George W. Bush greets him with, “Hey, Buff Guy, what are you benching?”

Granted, a timelier movie could have been made about, say, Tony Rezko, the current president’s old friend and fundraiser, who is still being held in an undisclosed location awaiting sentencing. A half-decade ago, the press thoroughly covered Abramoff’s career of fleecing crooked Indian tribes to fund a sniper school for West Bank settlers. In contrast, the Chicago Democratic operative’s similarly wacky life (as the business brains behind the Nation of Islam, Rezko managed the Black Muslims’ most famous convert, Muhammad Ali) remains almost unknown due to the media’s aversion to mentioning anything interesting about Barack Obama’s background. 

Read the whole thing there.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jack Abramoff, who recently spent three and a half years in prison for, as far as I can tell, running a little more amok than is considered seemly among Washington insiders.

And Al Capone went to jail for tax fraud.

The truth is that Abramoff or his associates murdered Gus Boulis.

Anonymous said...

He's a very good actor, but it's really hard for me to see Kevin Spacey as a "buff guy."

I know Spacey has taken heat from GLBT groups for not coming out of the closet, but I can't blame the guy. He is entitled to his privacy, and he knows the roles will change for him if his sexuality is out there.

It really is true that once the audience knows, I mean really *knows* an actor is gay, he won't be accepted as a romantic leading man. The old bit about a "leading man is one who men want to be and who women want to be with" holds.

Helping Spacey is that although he plays leads, they aren't romantic leads, and often his characters are downright schmucks and villains.

Ironically, the role I liked him least in was the one for which he received the Oscar ("American Beauty"--hated the film) and I didn't care for his performance as Bobby Darin in "Beyond the Sea." No way could his singing make me think of Darin, who was a fantastic performer and a great stylist.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Aside from the Abramoff role, Spacey needs low-carb, hit the weights, and juice period, homosexual or not. The guy is really phlegmatic, though he came across pretty convincingly in The Usual Suspects.

Straight actors seem able to play 'gay' roles, often incredibly convincingly, but homosexual actors and actresses seem to have a really hard time playing straight roles.

Steve Sailer said...

"but homosexual actors and actresses seem to have a really hard time playing straight roles."

"The Town?" "The Hurt Locker?"

Peter Bae said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dahinda said...

I was hoping to hear more about Tony Rezko some time also I was hoping to hear what the big science news is!

Fred said...

Kevin Spacey is like Jesse Eisenberg in that both stars are less attractive and less physically robust than the real-life men they portray (Abramoff and Zuckerberg, who looks like he's been getting some exercise and taking smiling lessons recently). On the other hand, the Armand Hammer kid is handsomer than the Winklevoss twins he portrayed in the facebook movie.

Anonymous said...

The gap was very great back in 1977, when I first worked as a school psychologist in a system that served the school attendance centers on one of the largest US Army bases in the U.S. My impression was that the size of the Black/White US Army gap then arose from some sort of differential norming by which Black scores were calbrated just among Blacks (?) At any rate, when this was corrected and AFGQT scores became color blind and test validation became color blind, an effect was to facilitate both the social integration of Blacks and Whites in the Army and the group "ethos" within Army units. "g" is pretty basic to all manner of human functioning and "g" clarity facilitates overcoming "racism". Ironically, the effect of nurturing a large Black/White gap for a brief time within the Army was to nurture points of friction on duty and off duty. If the facts of life re Jensenism could be taught directly in most undergraduate courses in our state universities, we'd be giant steps closer to a less discordant and deceptive society.

Steve Sailer said...

"The truth is that Abramoff or his associates murdered Gus Boulis."

A lobbyist went on TV to defend Abramoff, and said something like:

Hey, he's not that bad. He hasn't killed anybody. Except for maybe that one guy in Florida.

Anonymous said...

Will that frou-frou website you write for not publish a review of True Grit?

Anonymous said...

One wonders if this is among the last films to actually use an actor's face and form in a biography.

The signs have been clear for several years now - live actors on the screen are becoming obsolete. Instead of Kevin Spacey's face and body being shown in a movie about Abramoff, why not those of Abramoff himself?

It started with voices. Rossano Brazzi couldn't sing anymore that Audrey Hepburn could. They were dubbed. Now we're moving on to whole body dubbing.

Oliver Reed appeared in Gladiator after he was dead. More recently Ray Winstone - a chunky 5'10" actor played a muscular 6'6" Beowulf. The tallest actor on the screen is also the shortest - Andy Serkis. Cameron's Avatar technology will make this ever easier.

Cary Grant and John Wayne are rumored to soon appear on the screen again - or at least their photorealistic digital doppelgangers.

We could paste those little dots on Spacey and just paint on an Abramoff simulacrum in post-production. Then there won't be any need to kvetch about how inappropriate a softy like Spacey is in portraying a dedicated juicer.

Albertosaurus

Mr. Anon said...

Abramoff should have been played by this guy:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0167649/

Or if they needed a bigger name, maybe Clive Owen.

I've always thought that movies portraying real people should have actors who at least sort of look like the person they're playing. "A Bridge Too Far" did this in spades.

David said...

>Granted, a timelier movie could have been made about, say, Tony Rezko, the current president’s old friend and fundraiser, who is still being held in an undisclosed location awaiting sentencing.<

Are you sure such a movie could be made?