Director: Steven Spielberg
Year Released: 2002
Intriguing how this came out in a year known for corporate fraud (Enron) and a rapidly plummeting economy, as its 'hero' is a world-class hustler and con-man, writing his own checks and fast-talking the easily convinced, and being just a kid (seventeen or so), having no real job or social position (he learned the fast talking from his father). It shouldn't work, but it does, because of what I'm going to have to call the Spielberg Touch (Lubitsch being the first) and his innate ability to turn weak, somewhat unbelievable material into smooth, world-class entertainment - it wasn't until after the screening that I started to question some of the lead character's scams and tricks, including the magical toilet seat that's connected to the landing gear (so when you flush the toilet, the mess apparently gets jettisoned out the bottom of the aircraft). Call it the Great American Dream: spending the formative years of your life lying and cheating and, as we're told in the closing credits, winding up a millionaire anyway. A total blast.