Isn't it fun watching shady characters rise and fall on the big screen? The best are the scenes of excess, when they're at the top of their game. Y'know, with the wads of cash, private jets and completely unnecessary champagne? It's thrilling to watch, because you know it's all going to come crashing down sooner rather than later.

'Casino Jack,' in theaters this week, is a great "rise and fall" flick, featuring Kevin Spacey in the title role. It's based on the life of super-shady lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a man who let greed and ego get the best of him. Abramoff was incredibly well-connected in Washington, D.C., and even claimed to have helped George W. Bush win the 2000 election by wielding his influence. In his eyes, W. owed him, big time. But when Abramoff became entangled in scandal, his friend in the Oval Office couldn't distance himself fast enough.

Abramoff's biggest problem, as portrayed in 'Casino Jack,' was his ego. He was enjoying a lucrative career as one of the country's top lobbyists, but he wanted more. So, he worked his way around the rules by using his "freelance" business associate, Michael Scanlon (Barry Pepper), who wasn't encumbered by the earning restrictions of a big lobbyist firm, like Abramoff was. The two men took advantage of Native American tribes, commanding an outrageous multimillion-dollar fee in exchange for their influence on Capitol Hill.
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