So now The Polka King is a movie based on true events, starring Jack Black and Jenny Slate and Jason Schwartzman, and a few others. Those are the three kind of main ones.
I tried this movie because it's ... it was low effort. Ponzi schemes and the people who perform it are an endlessly fascinating source of ideals. I mean I don't think we've had a great movie about it yet, ever since Bernie Madoff. I think Wolf of Wall Street, possibly, but about this kind of specific ideal, like the ideal of this is a man they trust, and they manipulate them, and so anyway.
It tells a true story of a polka artist who was kind of a big deal in the '90s in Pennsylvania, who was taking investments, and it kind of goes south from there. Jack Black plays the polka artist Jan Lewan is ... It's what you'd call the embodiment of the American dream, except for all the stuff that was not that. An immigrant from Poland who dreamed of moving to America, did, and totally fucked it all up, by doing corrupt things.
The movie plays it out pretty ... there's an interesting plot point where his scheme actually gets exposed, early on, but he still ... and to pay it off he starts taking even bigger investments in. That's an interesting thing. I mean, he commits a classic Ponzi scheme.
These things really are disorganized, I never have my thoughts totally collected when I write these out. Anyway, from there it's his success and then eventually his crushing failure as he gets exposed. And of course he gets exposed, as you would expect, from raiding a beauty pageant.
That brings me into Jenny Slate, who I want to talk about, just a little bit. I never realized, I guess slowly through all this, you know, I've seen her in a bunch of stuff, they were talking her up, I was like, eh, she's funny, yeah, but there's a lot of actresses who are funny like that. But after seeing this and realizing that she's been in a lot of things I really liked, I can definitively state I love Jenny Slate. I think she's wonderful. She's a great actress, and she's really funny, and all that stuff. And I kind of realized halfway through this movie that I really like her, I really do.
And Jack Black is there (that mean he is quite good). His accent can get a little, in the movie. Jack Black plays Jan Lewan, and it's not great at times, but you know, whatever. So anyway, he gets, he starts taking investments in himself, and nobody knows what they're really investing it in, and expect to get richer, and it goes through his life. The wheels start coming off when his wife, played by Jenny Slate who I've mentioned is great, decides that she needs her own identity, so she performs in the ... competes I guess is a better word. But really isn't performance and competition the same thing? Did I just blow your mind? Right on. In this Pennsylvania, at least in the movie this is, it all starts coming apart after this.
I don't know what happened, but I mean, it's a true story. I always wonder about that with movies based on real things. It's like, is it spoilers to reveal? Well, this thing happened, but it's like, how dare you tell me that. But it's like, eh, you know, you should know.
J. B. Smoove has a small role. There's two particularly good things I like. One is, I like J.B. Smoove's last little speech he gives about the nature of fame, of capitalism and regulation, which is like, yeah, that feels true. And Jack Black's best performance is, I'm not going to break anybody's hearts by realizing that he gets arrested, and it's surprisingly funny and vaguely sad, but really in some way a happy scene for him. It's an odd thing.
So in the end ... Oh, and I completely forgot to talk about Jason Schwartzman, who is a really funny dude in it. I like Jason Schwartzman. I don't think he's ever really been bad in a movie. He's been in bad movies, but never been particularly bad in any movies that I've ever seen him in.
So all in all, Polka King, I give it, okay, it's okay. I guess it's pretty decent.