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"Casino Jack," a Movie Without a Single Hero--Review

Updated on October 10, 2013

"Capitol Punishment": Abramoff Proudly Describes his Modus Operandi

Robert Frank in the February 2012 Harper's reviews Jack Abramoff's recently published unapologetic autobiography. Here is one of the most revealing passages from Frank's review of Abramoff's book.

"The supremely interesting chapter of the superlobbyist's life goes conspicuously unmentioned in Capitol Punishment. Still, the episode appears to have left its traces. Abramoff's Washington is a place where everyone is a pawn of someone else: a bought man or even an 'asset' of some lobbyist or all-powerful interest. When he would dangle a lucrative lobbying job before a Capitol Hill staffer, Abramoff tells us, 'I would own him...His paycheck may have been signed by the Congress, but he was already working for me, influencing his office for my client's best interests.'"

Barry Pepper as Mike Scanlon
Barry Pepper as Mike Scanlon
Jon Lovitz as Adam Kidan
Jon Lovitz as Adam Kidan

Casino Jack is a commercial for campaign finance reform, a movie without a hero about the K Street-Congressional nest of vipers. Kevin Spacey provided his usual competent performance as the megalomaniac. super-lobbyist, Jack Abramoff. As A.O. Scott said, he other prominent Washington figures in the movie--Tom DeLay, Bob Ney, Ohio Congressman, Karl Rove, Grover Norquist, Robert Reed were overshadowed by Abramoff's partners in crime, Michael Scanlon, played as a clueless loonie by Barry Pepper and the horny shyster, Adam Kidan, played by Jon Lovitz. Abramoff's attractive wife, Pam, was played sympathetically by Kelly Preston.

The docudrama is a must see for political junkies and will be enjoyed also by general audiences. Too bad it's unlikely that many people will see this independent movie directed by George Hickenlooper and written by Norman Snider.

“Casino Jack” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). Obscene language, obscene corruption and a little skin, too.

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    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      6 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Robert Frank in the February 2012 Harper's reviews Jack Abramoff's recently published unapologetic autobiography. Here is one of the most revealing passages from Frank's review of Abramoff's book.

      Here's how lobbying works in Washington and in state capitols around the country, in the words of "Casino Jack" Abramoff in his recently published unrepentant autobiography:

      "The supremely interesting chapter of the superlobbyist's life goes conspicuously unmentioned in Capitol Punishment. Still, the episode appears to have left its traces. Abramoff's Washington is a place where everyone is a pawn of someone else: a bought man or even an 'asset' of some lobbyist or all-powerful interest. When he would dangle a lucrative lobbying job before a Capitol Hill staffer, Abramoff tells us, 'I would own him...His paycheck may have been signed by the Congeress, but he was already working for me, influencing his office for my client's best interests.'"

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      6 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Out of jail, Casino Jack Abramoff is Attempting a Comeback.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/us/jack-abramoff...

    • sir slave profile image

      sir slave 

      7 years ago from Trinity county CA.

      Its just not a hero providing story, except for the whistleblowers.

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      7 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      It's not a likely Oscar candidate, but I think you'll like it.

    • mega1 profile image

      mega1 

      7 years ago

      Another real man's movie! I'll probably let it warp my brain a little, maybe it'll straighten me out! Who knows? Or it will just make me depressed and more bitter about the corruptive trends. or possibly, I'll want to have a 5th career as an investigative reporter, etc. but no, not that inciteful or competitive as these wizards. Without your urging, Ralph, I'd probably have just let it pass me on by.

    • Jeff May profile image

      Jeffrey Penn May 

      7 years ago from St. Louis

      Still need to see this.

    • FCEtier profile image

      Chip 

      7 years ago from Cold Mountain

      Sounds like a good movie. Also sounds like more reason for me to remain "apolitical".

      Thanks for the review!

    • Harvey Stelman profile image

      Harvey Stelman 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      and back to politics. Stay tuned, it's two minutes for a commercial. I haven't been to a movie since, Maverick! H

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