In the 1992 movie The Distinguished Gentleman, Eddie Murphy plays a con artist who figures out that the most profitable con jobs of all can be found in American politics, so he bluffs his way into Congress.
The movie was widely panned by critics. They just couldn't say enough bad things about the film, and most movie-goers seemed to feel the same way. Not me. Yes, it felt like Eddie Murphy was making the shit up as he went along, and the movie would have benefitted greatly from a tighter script... but, overall, it's a pretty funny film.
And a very disturbing film as well...
Early in the movie Eddie's character, Thomas Jefferson Johnson, has just arrived in Washington and is meeting with a lobbyist representative named Terry Corrigan who matches lobbyists to politicians who share their views. Terry asks Thomas how he feels about sugar subsidies. Thomas doesn't know how he feels about sugar subsidies, so he asks Terry whether he should be for them or against them. Terry says something like "Shit, it doesn't matter to me... I can get you money on both sides." This kind of shocks Thomas, who says "Terry, tell me something. With all this money coming in from both sides, how does anything ever get done?" Terry's reply? "It doesn't. That's the genius of the system!"
The rest of the film is how Eddie and his friends try to maximize the money they can get out of the system, all while being in a constant state of shock at just how fucking easy it is for a Congressman to rake in absurd amounts of cash. At the end of the movie, Eddie's character makes a statement about how all his con-jobs in the past are nothing compared to the massive cons going on every day in the US government, except with Congress it's all perfectly legal.
The movie is as relevant today as it was when it was made twenty years ago, and I still think it's worth checking out. And here's why... As crazy and as exaggerated and as outrageous as the situations are in The Distinguished Gentleman, I am absolutely certain that what goes on in real-life Congress is a thousand times worse. And the more I read about what's happening with the assholes we elect into office today, the more I'm convinced that has to be true.
At least in the movie version I can have a laugh while getting fucked by Congress. Reality is not quite so entertaining.