I suppose one way to keep yourself occupied instead of doing actual reporting is to spend all of your time discussing the people who aren’t running for President:

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey has decided not to seek the presidency, according to two associates.

Mr. Christie is scheduled to announce his decision at a news conference in the state capital at 1 p.m. But one adviser to the governor and another person who spoke to him directly said Tuesday morning that the governor would not pursue the Republican nomination.

The decision ends a late flurry of indecision on the part of Mr. Christie, who had been encouraged by a growing number of Republican donors and activists who had hoped he would add his name to the field of candidates vying to challenge President Obama.

But Mr. Christie, who was elected governor in 2009, had long said that he did not feel ready to pursue the presidency. At one point, he joked that he would have to commit suicide to convince people he was not running.

I guess this means we will go back to the Palin infatuation, who, as we know, is also not running.

Speaking of Palin, I had insomnia last night so I watched a movie called Confidence with Ed Burns. It was pretty “meh,” as far as grifter movies go, but I really do love the genre. My personal favorites are The Sting (obviously) and House of Games, back before Mamet went insane. Have any suggestions for good grifter movies?

172 replies
  1. 1
    Unabogie says:

    Matchstick Men
    Hard Eight
    Spanish Prisoner

  2. 2
    James Gary says:

    Have any suggestions for good grifter movies?

    “The Spanish Prisoner,” also by Mamet. Better by far in my opinion than “House of Games.”

  3. 3
    Elizabelle says:

    I liked “Matchstick Men” with Nicolas Cage as a grifter.

    Cool Sinatra interiors and soundtrack.

  4. 4
    cleek says:

    I like how the notion of his “indecision” is contradicted two paragraphs later

  5. 5
    Unabogie says:

    Ha! Beat you all!

  6. 6
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Mama Bimbo still has farming to do amongst the marks.

    She’s not running for shit. Right now, the greed gnome on her right shoulder has her attention, the “it’s your density” gnome on her left shoulder can’t get a word in edgewise.

  7. 7
    Citizen_X says:

    Hard to beat The Grifters.

    What would be the original grift noir? Double Indemnity? Whether it is or not, that one’s pretty hard to beat, too.

  8. 8
    giltay says:

    The Undefeated!
    /cheap shot

  9. 9
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    At one point, he joked that he would have to commit suicide to convince people he was not running.

    He really shouldn’t tease us like that.

  10. 10
    piratedan says:

    I admit to the guilty pleasure that was The Bank Job… also too The Sting

  11. 11
    Joey Maloney says:

    Matchstick Men, fer sure.

  12. 12

    And here I am with a bunch of Governor Creosote jokes sitting idle…

  13. 13
    ET says:

    I wonder who the next savior candidate is going to be. I should replace savior with the word distraction, because that is what Christie was. A distraction for all those in the GOP disaffected with their choices (that are their own damned fault) and D.C. media whores who just want to yammer and sound smart.

  14. 14
    kd bart says:

    Next one to be asked, Republicans’ out of town cousin.

  15. 15
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    The thing is, we’ve got three full months before the earliest possible actual primary or caucus.

    Plenty of time to send up “GOP savior” trial balloons.

    Every last one of them filled with 100% hot air.

  16. 16
    kd bart says:

    Flim Flam Man with George C Scott

  17. 17
    Dan says:

    There’s a pretty good one with Vince Vaughn called The Prime Gig. Does more to examine the emotional state of Vaughn’s character than is common in the genre.

  18. 18
    kdaug says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Several states have filing deadlines at the end of this month…

  19. 19
    kd bart says:

    The Music Man

  20. 20
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    What would be the original grift noir? Double Indemnity? Whether it is or not, that one’s pretty hard to beat, too.

    Just goes to show you that some type casting can be overcome. Fred McMurray had a lot of very visible roles as something approaching a heavy, yet he became mister warm dad in the 60’s.

  21. 21
    Sentient Puddle says:

    If the media applied the fervor it had covering the “Will guy who has repeatedly denied running for president run for president?” story to other, more important stories…

  22. 22
    MikeJ says:

    @Certified Mutant Enemy:

    And here I am with a bunch of Governor Creosote jokes sitting idle…

    I just found a bunch of Taft jokes and did a search and replace.

    Governor Chrisite is the most polite man in Washington. Yesterday he stood up to let three ladies have his seat on the streetcar!

  23. 23
    hilts says:

    A Big Hand for the Little Lady starring Henry Fonda, Joanne Woodward, Jason Robards, and Burgess Meredith.

    The Spanish Prisoner is one of the most, if not the most, underrated grifter movies of all-time.

  24. 24
    TooManyJens says:

    I don’t think the reporters (good Lord, it took two people to write that article) know what “indecision” means. Hint: it’s not when someone keeps saying “no” but other people won’t take “no” for an answer. Kinda makes me not want to go out on a date with the guys who wrote that.

  25. 25
    Rabble Arouser says:

    I am just going to second (and third) the votes for The Grifters and The Spanish Prisoner. “No one ever suspects a Japanese tourist”.

  26. 26
    Sloegin says:

    Chris Christie disobeying a direct order from Murdoch? Can he do that?

  27. 27
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    If things are hairy enough, a brokered convention (which would delight the vermin of the Village…as it’s the ultimate in horse races) leaves options wide open.

  28. 28
    Culture of Truth says:

    @Sloegin: Murdoch ordered him to run in 2016, and so he shall.

  29. 29
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    Not exactly grifting but sort of a mixture of that and thievery/caper, but the original The Italian Job is one of my favorite movies ever, and holds up well if you haven’t seen it in a long time. If you listen to the commentaries on the DVD it becomes more clear why, Quincy Jones getting drunk with Michael Caine who taught him the little Cockney melody that he ended up turning into a theme that ran through the whole movie, lots of other great details.

    The recent remake was a travesty.

  30. 30
    debit says:

    Serious question; someone said that anyone not already in at this point is too late to jump in. They won’t have the money, staff or infrastructure in place in time for the primaries. Is that actually the case? Because if it is, I can’t see anyone but Mitt getting the nomination. Just like McCain, he’ll be the guy just because he hung on the longest and was the least repugnant of the choices.

    Also, too, Paper Moon.

  31. 31
    danimal says:

    Does this mean we’re going to see two weeks of “Jeb, a lonely party looks to you….?”

    BTW, Palin may jump in at a very late date. Don’t give up on her just yet.

  32. 32
    cmorenc says:

    Key Romney question: How much amnesia are GOP wingers willing to indulge in order to vote for him in the primaries or more importantly, support him enthusiastically enough in the general election to give him a real chance of winning. The GOP has a history of forgiving people for merely being sociopathic opportunists, but they won’t forgive mistrust over whether a candidate truly has any core convictions, and only the exact right ideological ones at that.

  33. 33
    JGabriel says:

    John Cole:

    Have any suggestions for good grifter movies?

    This goes back a few decades, but have you seen Ronald Reagan’s speeches and campaign videos from the eighties? Also, pretty much anything with George W. Bush in it.


  34. 34
    hilts says:

    @Certified Mutant Enemy:

    And here I am with a bunch of Governor Creosote jokes sitting idle…

    Don’t forget the great songs:

  35. 35
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Plenty of time to send up “GOP savior” trial balloons.

    The Gods Helicopters are laughing at us.

  36. 36
    Litlebritdfrnt says:

    Sometimes Limbaugh is actually funny

    “Bill Kristol has been spotted at the airport with a clip board asking random airline passengers if they are interested in running for President”

  37. 37
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    With all the mentions of Mamet, it occurs to me that Glengarry Glen Ross is a grifter movie too in a way. I could watch that one every day.

  38. 38
    Legalize says:

    Isn’t “The Undefeated” a grifter picture?

  39. 39
    JGabriel says:


    Chris Christie disobeying a direct order from Murdoch?

    I think Ailes scares him more. He certainly scares me more.


  40. 40
    Ben Cisco says:

    OT: Hank sez “I have always respected the office of the president.” We don’t think it’s the OFFICE you have a problem with, genius!

  41. 41
    dmsilev says:


    BTW, Palin may jump in at a very late date. Don’t give up on her just yet.

    She’s got until the end of the month. Filing deadline for the Florida primary is the 31st.

  42. 42
    Warren Terra says:

    TV, not movies, but the British show Hustle is quite fun (I stopped after series 3 because I’d read it went downhill after the original lead cast member left), and the TNT show Leverage is supposed to be based on it. I’ve never actually seen Leverage, but one of the writers is John Rogers, inventor of The Crazification Factor (who also, however, wrote on Transformrrs.

  43. 43
    jwest says:

    I predict Palin will be in by the end of next week.

  44. 44
    kd bart says:

    The Producers

    Bialystock & Bloom were pulling a con.

  45. 45
    Gilles de Rais says:

    You can count on an orgy of screaming butthurt from the Teatard contingent when Mittens gets the nom and they finally realize that all their frenzied keyboard pounding has been for absolutely nothing.

    Romney versus Obama. This will be an interesting election.

  46. 46
    eemom says:

    I’ll be surprised if the clown brigade doesn’t eventually land in Richmond. As previously noted, our Governator McDonnell is more or less presentable as republicans go, plus he’s got the religious freakazoid cred (heir to Pat Robertson, no less) and the dick-sucker-of-big-business cred.

    He’s boring as shit, of course — but STILL. Doggone if it won’t hurt my fee fees if he doesn’t at least get a TURN to be teh Savior du jour.

  47. 47
    LittlePig says:

    Flim Flam Man with George C Scott

    And here I was thinking I didn’t know a single “grifter” movie. Bravo.

  48. 48
    dmsilev says:

    You know, looking at the media coverage of this non-event and the rather extreme views of the GOP primary voters, I think it’s time to update a classic:

    “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still not running for the Republican nomination”

  49. 49
    eemom says:


    why don’t you get the fuck out of here by the end of next minute? I’m sick of you.

  50. 50
  51. 51
    Yevgraf says:

    AMC ran a really fun British grifter series for a while, called “Hu$tle”. It had Dexter’s firebug girlfriend from several years back as a strong supporting role.

  52. 52
    Yevgraf says:

    On the topic, I’m genuinely disappointed to miss out on all the “Scooter 1” jokes….

  53. 53
    Librarian says:

    Eric Roberts played a grifter in “Lonely Hearts” (1991).

  54. 54
    ruemara says:

    I think the upcoming 2012 election movie will be a delightful grifter/absurdist film. However, as I’m listening to Thom Hartmann and some ‘journalist’ advocate for a primary challenge and a serious plug for Cornell West to primary Obama and push him to be more populist. We really should not mock the GOP with voices like this in our one true liberal media.

  55. 55
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:


    There’s a bit in Fear and Loathing On the Campaign Trail 1972 in which HST describes how one night a buddy of his brought over a record (i.e. a vinyl LP, a flat disc-shaped physical artifact used to distribute music back in the days of the Upper Paleolithic to you younger iPodenvolk who may be reading this) which the two of them got wasted and spent the evening laughing their asses off listening to. HST wrote that it had to be some comic’s hilariously over-the-top parody of Right Wing bullshit. After it was done HST begged his buddy to tell him who the comic was that had produced this masterpiece: Lenny Bruce? who?

    Turned out it was a recording of General Douglas MacArthur’s Farewell Address to Congress.

  56. 56
    Svensker says:

    The Martin/Caine Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. A bit over the top but the more I watch it the more I like it. Much better than the original which was just kind of nasty. Bowfinger is also a great grifter comedy — “We’re going to Taiwan!”

    Come to think of it, grifter comedies are one of my favorite genres. Thinking of Nuns on the Run and A Fish Called Wanda.

  57. 57
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    Grifter comedy from 1963: The Wheeler Dealers with James Garner. IMDB sez: Henry Tyroon (Garner) comes to New York from Texas with a lot of oil money to play with in the stock market. He meets stock analyst Molly Thatcher (Lee Remick) and the two fall in love.

    Along the way he strikes oil in Connecticut. Pure #2 Diesel. He hit a pipeline, and manages to swindle the guys following him around, who include Phil Harris and Chill Wills.

    More from IMDB:

    Molly Thatcher: I don’t understand. How can you buy something when you don’t even know what it is?

    Ray Jay (Harris): Well, you see, ma’am, Henry here is a real wheeler dealer. And a wheeler dealer is somebody that loves to find places for money to go. It’s like hitchin’ on to a star. You may zoom up to the sky on a mighty pretty ride.

    Molly Thatcher: And if the star falls?

    Henry Tyroon: Well, then I find some way for the, uh, government to take three-quarters of the loss.

    Jay Ray (Wills): You see, Miss Thatcher, that’s the mark of a REAL wheeler dealer.

  58. 58
    Culture of Truth says:

    Not true grifter, but if you liked House of Games I recommend “Things Change” by Mamet with Joe Mantegna and Don Ameche. But then you’ve probably seen it. Just in case.

  59. 59
    slag says:

    Not completely clear on the boundaries of the genre, but I’ll toss in The Hustler. For musicals, Guys and Dolls, The Music Man, and The Blues Brothers. Lotta griftery musicals, it seems.

  60. 60
    khead says:

    Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

  61. 61
    piratedan says:

    now that I think about it, wasn’t the Bush presidency of 2000-2008 the biggest grossing grifter movie of all time?

    although the ending sure has sucked

  62. 62
    snarkout says:

    There’s a fantastic Argentine grifter movie, Nine Queens.

  63. 63
    cmorenc says:


    BTW, Palin may jump in at a very late date. Don’t give up on her just yet.

    That depends on whether her vain ego wins out over her grifter instincts, the one aspect of her mind which shows signs of true calculating shrewdness. The latter instinct has been telling her for awhile now that actually running risks being disastrous for her highly successful grifting gigs, because it might expose the extent to which she’s become a has-been as a political force, no longer meriting much continued attention. However, just like men make some bad mistakes when they get tempted into letting the little head take over the thinking from the big head, Palin’s massive ego may yet lead her into making the feckless choice to actually run. IMHO the hard-core GOP electorate would much rather flirt with the idea of Palin running than actually support her candidacy if she did run.

  64. 64
    soonergrunt says:

    Grifter picture that is a guilty pleasure–

  65. 65
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @jwest: And then she’ll be out next week.

  66. 66
    Brandon says:

    All I can say is thank god the Governator is ineligible. That and he made a baby with the maid. But really it is only the first issue getting in the way because we all know IOKIYAR. But only if the love child is white.

  67. 67
    jwest says:


    You’re frustrated, angry and lashing out.

    You’ve come to one place where you can consol yourself with fellow victims and you’re offended by my comments that you know, deep down, are the truth. I understand and I forgive you for your lack of manners.

    Just remember that we conservatives will always welcome you with open arms when you grow tired of feeling depressed. That’s just how we roll.

  68. 68
    handsmile says:

    Then there’s the subgenre of religious-themed grifter movies, like “Elmer Gantry” (Burt Lancaster/Jean Simmons) or “Paper Moon” (O’Neals Ryan and Tatum); or political grifter films such as “A Face in the Crowd” (Andy Griffith/Patricia Neal) or “Meet John Doe” (Gary Cooper/Barbara Stanwyck).

    Several Preston Sturges’ films could qualify as grifter-themed, especially “The Lady Eve” (Stanwyck/Henry Fonda) and “The Great McGinty” (Brian Donlevy).

    If votes are being tabulated for criminal grifters though, my ballot is marked for “The Spanish Prisoner” and “The Grifters.”

  69. 69
    AliceBlue says:

    Bowfinger (I see Svensker beat me to it).

    I had completely forgotten Flim Flam Man and Paper Moon. Love them both.

  70. 70
    WereBear says:

    @Citizen_X: Agreed, both counts.

    I would also nominate The Talented Mr. Ripley. Murder is not always part of the con repertoire, but a grifter’s gotta do what a grifter’s gotta do.

  71. 71
    PeakVT says:

    Hallelujah. Now we can stop talking about the implications of Christie’s fatness until the next time he doesn’t run.

  72. 72
    Warren Terra says:

    There’s something deeply weird about the way that in Hollywood films Michael Caine is the smooth British elite, while in British films he’s the menacing and imposing gutter trash (or at least former gutter trash). He’s far more intereting in the menacing role.

  73. 73
    Svensker says:


    Ha ha ha. That was a really good one — I needed a belly laugh.

    Sometimes you are just right on the money.

  74. 74
    trollhattan says:

    @James Gary:

    Seconded on “The Spanish Prisoner.” Steve Martin is a revelation and the plot twists and flips like a well-designed roller coaster.

  75. 75
    sistermoon says:

    Eddie Murphy – The Distinguished Gentleman. Grifter turns congressman, ’cause that’s where the serious scams are.

    The hunting scene with the gun lobbyists is worth the price of admission.

  76. 76
    CT Voter says:

    Grifters, with John Cusack, Angelica Huston, and Annette Bening.

  77. 77
    JGabriel says:

    Do the Star Wars prequels count as grifter films?

    Problem is, I’m not sure which character is the bigger grifter, Senator Palpatine or George Lucas?


  78. 78
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @eemom: I’ve seen a LOT of McDonnell VP speculation — up there with Rubio. But no Presidential scuttlebutt. haha, “scuttlebutt.”

  79. 79
    Svensker says:

    @Warren Terra:

    Yeah, well, accents mean different things to different folks. Americans don’t hear Caine’s accent as low class, they just hear “Brit accent” and think “classy”. Brits hear “grimy” and “poor”. A friend of mine is from Yorkshire and has a gorgeous Yorkie accent but she’s cultivated a smooth BBC accent for when she talks to other Brits because otherwise she knows she’ll be pigeonholed as uneducated and trashy.

  80. 80
    eemom says:


    Just remember that we conservatives will always welcome you with open arms when you grow tired of feeling depressed. That’s just how we roll.

    Thanks. I’m deeply touched.

    UNTIL I reach that point however, howzabout getting the fuck out of here? Don’t you have some work to do preparing my homecoming celebration?

  81. 81
    fasteddie9318 says:


  82. 82
    Elie says:


    Its always like that when you mess with ’em. They are like sticky buggers — no matter how hard you try to wipe it off, its always still on your finger, somehow. Better not to pick at ’em at all without a kleenex handy…

  83. 83
    trollhattan says:


    Chait, on the Christie thing:

    To me, the real story here is the fact that there was a Christie boomlet in the first place. That so many in the Republican Party are so desperate for another “savior” candidate to jump in the race at the 11th hour, is a reminder that GOP insiders still aren’t satisfied with this field. Yes, given the larger economic conditions, one of these candidates may end up winning next year, but it’s still a pretty awful group of candidates that leaves many Republicans underwhelmed, uninspired, and apparently a little panicky.
    I’m not unsympathetic. If I were a major GOP insider asked to choose between the unlikable flip-flopper, the dimwitted governor, the wild-eyed conspiracy theorist, the disgraced former Speaker, the guy who ran a pizza company, the radical libertarian, and the former Obama administration official, I too might be asking myself, “Who else can we reach out to?”

    It’s safe money at this point Mittens gets the nod “because it’s his turn” and they all fall in line more or less, because Ailes and Limbaugh tell em’ to. Worked for McCain, right?

  84. 84
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Tim Pawlenty, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

    ETA: Another guy who looks pretty good on paper from a Republican perspective would be Sam Brownback. And I think he ran briefly in ’00. But I’ve never heard one word about him this cycle.

  85. 85
    sublime33 says:

    Too bad Christie isn’t running. I was looking forward to all the Cartman jokes.

  86. 86
  87. 87
    trollhattan says:


    The mention of Caine makes me remember “The Man Who Would be King”, which was primarily a grand adventure and buddy flick, but also a scam film writ large. One of my alltime favorites.

  88. 88
    hilts says:


    Too bad Christie isn’t running.

    David Letterman and Chris Matthews are heartbroken.

  89. 89
    fasteddie9318 says:

    I guess jwest pooped its diaper again. I don’t know why it keeps showing us.

  90. 90
    trollhattan says:


    Can we at least get zombie Chris Farley to film “The Chris Christie Story”?

  91. 91
    trollhattan says:


    It seems like just yesterday is was all puffed and fluffed proclaiming a Bachmann presidency. I wonder how that’s coming along?

  92. 92
    KRK says:


    Glad to see someone mention Nine Queens. It’s fab.

  93. 93
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    David Letterman and Chris Matthews are heartbroken.

    For different reasons.

    Letterman sees a rich vein of material. In the case of Matthews it’s more of his smarmy man-love.

  94. 94
    ed_finnerty says:

    The Last seduction

  95. 95
    Svensker says:


    Love that movie.

  96. 96
    nancydarling says:

    Maybe they can poke Fred Thompson out of his torpor for another go at it.

  97. 97
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Fred Thompson: For Government So Small, He’ll Sleep Right Through It

  98. 98
    trollhattan says:


    “Brass it out, Danny” pops into my head whenever I’m muddling through something particularly difficult. Still have my head, I do.

  99. 99
    AliceBlue says:


  100. 100

    Chris Christie isn’t running? REALLY? NO!

    Maybe not for President … but lamestream media holds out hope! And no, I’m not making this up!

  101. 101
    KDUN says:

    @Svensker – I’d classify ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ as more of a “heist” movie than a “grifter” movie, but that’s just me.

    And for the record, I simply refuse to understand all of the uncertainty about Christie – one look at the guy was enough to know he’s not running, and hasn’t run in YEARS.

  102. 102

    A Brief History Of Chris Christie Not Running For President, from MoJo.

    Do you think the media knows we’re laughing at them? Or even cares?

  103. 103
    Tom says:

    Grifter picture that is a guilty pleasure—Diggstown

    I think you can remove the “guilty.” It’s a great, underrated movie by a great, underrated director.

  104. 104
    Downpuppy says:

    Trading Places & A Fish Called Wanda were both pretty good. Wanda isn’t strictly about a con, but c-c-couldn’t we make an exception?

  105. 105
    Jax6655 says:

    OMG! Paper Moon! Ryan O’Neal as Moses Pray the bible salesman, Madeline Kahn as Trixie Delight “with her big ones” (she ran her own con) and Tatum O’Neal–Trixie said she had “bone structure.”

    So many quotable lines from that movie. Whenever I come across it while flipping channels I have to stop and watch.

    The best.

  106. 106


    Her advisors have all abandoned ship.

    Funny, we were told she was the next big thing because she won a meaningless Iowa straw poll.

    You know who I’d hate to be? Mitt Romney. All day, every day the press is looking for someone, anyone but him to run. You’d think that would wear on a guy after a while.

  107. 107
    Yutsano says:

    @Southern Beale: Mitt Romney: Cause where else ya gonna go?

    Yeah…doesn’t exactly have panache.

  108. 108
    chopper says:


    the sofa in the oval office, on the other hand, just breathed a sigh of relief.

  109. 109
    wrb says:

    FLASH: Aids to Governor Christi report that the Governor’s decision to not run, came about as the result of a recent cruel discussion of the Governor’s weight on a blog about ballooning at which he’d sought relief from the stresses of his job. He realized that if even balloonists- known for their dreamy, not-of-this earth natures- could be so cruel about his profile, a campaign would be futile.

  110. 110
    YellowJournalism says:

    Paper Moon is my favourite grifter movie. The Color of Money has some excellent grifter scenes, too.

    RE: Fred McMurray. He took his last really different role with The Apartment with Jack Lemon. He got such nasty letters about his character (cheating businessman) that he decided to move away from such roles.

  111. 111
    trollhattan says:


    Haven’t seen it in decades but would love a revisit. I’ve loved Tatum’s demented turn in “Rescue Me” the last several years and a “Paper Moon” viewing would be an interesting bookending of her career.

  112. 112
    Rick Taylor says:

    @ ThatLeftTurnInABQ
    Evidently you can listen to MacArthur’s farewell address on youtube.

  113. 113
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Southern Beale: There’s gotta be some rich material to mine in Kristol writing two poems as an ode to Christie.

  114. 114
    trollhattan says:


    I only knew Fred McMurray from his sitcom days (“My Three Sons”) and Disney flicks, so seeing him later in “The Apartment” and moreso, “The Caine Mutany” was a revelation. Serious acting chops.

    Also, too, “Double Indemnity.”

  115. 115
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Thin skin, and lots of it?

  116. 116
    ChrisB says:

    @slag: How can you say The Blues Brothers were grifters? They were on a mission from God.

    Speaking of which, here’s a handy list of grifter TV, radio and live performers:

  117. 117
    Turgidson says:

    Guy who has said over and over again he’s not running, and “I’m not ready” is a direct quote from the guy himself…still isn’t running? Astounding. (though to be fair, Obama might have said he wasn’t ready at some point between 04 and 08. I can’t remember)

    What a farce this whole spectacle is. Christie is obviously the kind of guy who doesn’t mind being told how great he is, and raking in cash. That’s all this was ever about. He’s probably already drawing up blueprints for his 2016 run, but I don’t think he was ever seriously pondering a run this time.

    as a semi-related aside, I’m not sure why a Republican even wants to be president right now. With Mittens he probably thinks this is his last good shot since he’s older than his scrupulously dyed hair would have you think. That probably helps explain why all the candidates are nutjobs (or too friendly with the Kenyan sockulist in Huntsman’s case) – that and the purified wingnut base they have been cultivating the past decade, of course. I sure as shit wouldn’t want to be steering this busted ship the next 4 years.

    Hell, if I was Obama I’d give this whole stupid country the finger and retire after one term and live large on all the money my books made/are making. For all the justifiable complaints about his first term, in addition to being a really smart, capable person, he’s the closest thing to a normal, well-meaning person this country has sent to the White House in some time (I’m too young to know what he was like pre-presidency, but maybe Carter qualifies…his post-WH work does anyway) and on a personal level he deserves better treatment IMO. But that’s not how politics works of course. Unless you’re a straight white Republican male who can talk the “strong father figure” talk to a swooning press corpse.

    /random rant

  118. 118
    eemom says:


    The Last seduction

    yes! and Body Heat, of which The Last Seduction was a knockoff.

    Poor dumbass men thinking with their dicks. ‘Tis a grift as old as time.

  119. 119
    askew says:

    Not a movie, but Leverage is a great TV show about grifters using their skills to screw rich assholes.

  120. 120
    Lawnguylander says:

    I consider Fargo to be a grifter movie. Other than Marge, just about everyone is trying to get over. Lunder gaard, Buscemi’s character, Lundergaard’s father-in-law, even Ken Yanigida was trying to get over on Marge. Her husband was pulling his stay in bed and draw stamps while you go confront mass murderers, for fuck’s sake.

  121. 121
    eemom says:


    the sofa in the oval office, on the other hand, just breathed a sigh of relief.

    hold it right there buddy. That sofa is a TRUE liberal.

  122. 122
    Thoughtcrime says:

    I liked “The Bobo” with Peter Sellers and Britt Ekland, even if only to just lust after Britt and the Maserati.

  123. 123
    geg6 says:


    BTW, Palin may jump in at a very late date. Don’t give up on her just yet.

    And if she decides to go third party, she doesn’t have to worry about any of those primary deadlines.

  124. 124

    NBC has cancelled “The Playboy Club.”

    I think I caught 5 minutes of it last night. Well, that didn’t last long.

  125. 125


    Is that the one with Timothy Hutton? We’ve caught that a couple times. Not bad.

    Did anyone catch “Homeland” on Showtime Sunday night? The new one with Claire Danes? Way excellent.

  126. 126
    harlana says:

    apparently, Christie’s press conference announcing he is NOT running has been going on for an hour or more. Egotistical, much? Eye on 2016? methinks both. what a bore.

  127. 127
    nancydarling says:

    Any odds out there for how soon Christie hires a personal trainer to get in campaign trim for ’16?

  128. 128
    Svensker says:


    RE: Fred McMurray. He took his last really different role with The Apartment with Jack Lemon. He got such nasty letters about his character (cheating businessman) that he decided to move away from such roles.

    One of my favorite movies of all times. Good morning, Mr. Sheldrake. Good morning, Fran.

    Also, ETA: That’s the way it crumbles, cookie-wise.

  129. 129
    SuzieC says:

    I knew Christie was toast as soon as our jerk of a governor (King Kasich) endorsed him this morning.

  130. 130
    PurpleGirl says:


    This goes back a few decades, but have you seen Ronald Reagan’s speeches and campaign videos from the eighties? Also, pretty much anything with George W. Bush in it.

    A Very Good gottacha.

  131. 131
    harlana says:

    @nancydarling: exactly when, i don’t know, but he’s gonna pull a Huckabee for certain

  132. 132
    Captain Goto says:

    FWIW, it just occurred to me that the plot of “Watchmen” revolves around a giant scam by Conrad Veidt.

  133. 133
    Emma says:

    @ruemara: aaaaargh. Please tell me you’re joking. Please.

  134. 134
    cckids says:


    BTW, Palin may jump in at a very late date. Don’t give up on her just yet.

    That is what her supporters are believing. Because, you know, Saint Sarah of the Perpetually Offended doesn’t need to follow the rules. She won’t need to be in all the primaries. She is waiting out the rest of the field, letting God winnow them out like chaff, then she will graciously step in and allow them to nominate her.

    Yes, they believe that. It is funny & scary at the same time.

  135. 135
    Hungry Joe says:


    “Shut up and deal?”

  136. 136
    Effin' Effie says:

    @handsmile: “A Face in the Crowd” is awesome. Please to be watching it if not already to be seeing it. It’s the Andy Griffith character in this film, Lonesome Rhodes, who’s provided the nickname K.Olbermann calls G.Beck.

  137. 137
    Effin' Effie says:

    @handsmile: “A Face In the Crowd” is awesome. Please to be seeing it if not already seeing it, please. This is the movie where K.Olbermann got his nickname for G.Beck, from the Andy Griffith chaacter, Lonesome Rhodes.

  138. 138
    rikryah says:

    He’s the most honest of those grifters. grifter, none-the-less

  139. 139
    Jenny says:

    Christie now has 4 years to lose 175 lbs.

    That’s doable, as it would be less than a pound per week.

  140. 140
    suzanne says:

    @eemom: There’s that fierce intellect at work again. Why don’t you insult me by calling me fat again? Or are you insulting me by calling me skinny this week? Ad hominem is such a good look for you. It looks so classy with your Bumpit.

    Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. And the Soderbergh Ocean’s movies were a lot of fun, and not just for ogling Matt Damon.

  141. 141
    YellowJournalism says:

    Hungry Joe beat me to my favorite quote.

    I can’t believe I forgot Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. “May I go to the bathroom? Thank you” (paraphrased)

  142. 142
    Svensker says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    “As far as I’m concerned you’re tops. I mean, decency-wise and otherwise-wise.”

  143. 143
    Hungry Joe says:

    @Svensker and YellowJournalism:

    “So you hit the jackpot, eh kid? I mean Kubelik-wise.”

  144. 144
    Jill says:

    Might have been mentioned already — Grifters with Angelica Houston, Annette Benning and John Cusack. Totally great.

  145. 145
    eemom says:


    good Lord. You really need to get the fuck over yourself.

    Contrary to what the voices in your head keep telling you, you are not, in fact, the center of the universe.

    As for fat, I never said you were. But, maybe you better post that pic of yourself, AGAIN, just so that there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that you are both ideologically pure AND NOT FAT.

  146. 146
    debit says:

    @suzanne: I’m pretty sure it was Matoko that implied you were fat.

    Don’t you guys get tired of being angry with each other all the time? Just watching you fight in every thread exhausts me.

  147. 147
    suzanne says:

    @debit: eemom called me fat a couple of weeks ago when this issue first reared its ugly head. Then she called me a “trendoid”, which I remain unconvinced that that’s a word. Matoko’s called me fat quite a few times, as well. It’s so touching, having a fan club.

    I get tired of reading eemom’s shit more than I get tired of telling her how shitty it is. Guess I need to get emo like Cole.

  148. 148
    ruemara says:

    Not joking. Jon (john, jack, josh? Whatevs) Nichols (nickles, whatevs, again) from the Nation. I’m unwell today, this just made me mildly nauseous but was a welcome relief from the raging headache.

  149. 149
    MattR says:

    @soonergrunt: Diggstown was on last night. Very underrated movie.

  150. 150
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Does Trading Places count as a “grifter” movie?

  151. 151
    eemom says:


    hey, I wasn’t fighting with anybody. Lil suzie just took it on herself to decide that my comment above in response to, you know, someone else, was all about her.

    Sorta like she mentioned me yesterday right off the bat in a thread I wasn’t even in.

    Iz just not that into her. She’s having a hard time dealing with it.

  152. 152
    eemom says:


    show us where I called you fat, dearie. Go on — show us.

    It’s clear you’ve got nothing better to do.

  153. 153
    eemom says:


    It’s so touching, having a fan club.

    see, there you go with that Center of the Universe thing again.

    As for “trendoid,” it was coined by Garry Trudeau many years ago. Suffice it to say it’s over your head.

  154. 154
    wrb says:


    Don’t despair. A program of Swedish exercises will soon have you slim and supple, and you can do them in the privacy of your room, no equipment needed.

    ‘Tinkerty tonk.

  155. 155
    suzanne says:

    @eemom: I’m sure your pie is delicious, dear. Eat up.

  156. 156
    fledermaus says:

    I watched the first two seasons of Hustle, the BBC series about a group of con artists doing running long cons. Fantastic, if you can find it.

  157. 157
    Corner Stone says:


    Diggstown was on last night. Very underrated movie.

    Great flick. Love the “thumbs down” part. What a great cast too.

  158. 158
    eemom says:


    ze pie filter?? Srsly? That is the endgame in your little battle of, um, wits?

    Dayum. Knew I was good, but I didn’t know I was THAT good.

  159. 159
    redbeardjim says:

    Hell yes, “The Music Man”.

    I don’t know how he does it, but he lives like a king
    And he dallies, and he gathers, and he plucks, and he shines
    And when the man dances, certainly boys,
    What else? The piper pays him!

  160. 160
    MattR says:

    @Corner Stone: The movie as sumamrized by 4 scenes (11 minutes long)

    @redbeardjim: But he doesn’t know the territory.

  161. 161
    artem1s says:

    The novel Addie Pray, which Paper Moon is based on, has a marvelous long con that is not covered in the movie.

    It’s a great read.

  162. 162
    debit says:

    @artem1s: Heartily seconded. One of my favorite books.

  163. 163
    patrick II says:

    underrated grifter movie “The Hot Spot”, Don Johnson, Virginia Madsen, Jennifer O’Connely. Grifter Don Johnson comes to town but might find himself out-grifted.

    Dennis Hopper, the director of the movie who evidently has no love lost for Johnson, said that the character you saw on the screen was pretty much the real Don Johnson.

  164. 164
    Jenny says:

    For Political griffing, try Mamet’s Spartan.

  165. 165
    handsmile says:

    @patrick II: #164

    Ooh, thanks for plucking that from memory’s attic. And thus began my lifelong infatuation with Jennifer Connelly….

    I’ve been checking back on this thread periodically, as some real gems have been unearthed, e.g., “The Last Seduction,” “The Flim Flam Man,” “A Big Hand for the Little Lady”.

    Who knew there were such cineastes hereabouts?

  166. 166
    Barry says:

    If you don’t mind subtitles, “Nine queens” from Argentina is a must for fans of the grifter genre.

  167. 167
    handsmile says:

    Also too, tickled that some of my own recommendations (#68) caught people’s fancy.

  168. 168
    Jenny says:

    Just remembered: Snatch

  169. 169
    YellowJournalism says:

    Opportunity Knocks with SNL-era Dana Carvey isn’t a great movie, but it has some cute moments and a few funny scenes.

  170. 170
    gaz says:


    good flick . pulp + grifter – like a ska flick but not.

    Also, Ordinary Decent Criminal (based on an earlier foreign flick called
    the General, which was based on a true(ish) story)…

    Lay3r Cake was okay, but ska does it better, imo

    all good =)

  171. 171
    catclub says:

    @Gilles de Rais: All of the Obama embrace of Romney and Romney care suddenly give a very bad taste as democrats realize that Romney ads write themselves.

  172. 172
    Billy Rae Valentine says:

    I would add Christopher Nolan’s “Following” as a solid “grifter” movie.

    whoever said “Hard Eight” by Paul Thomas Anderson is right, though i don’t know how full of grifting i’d say it is. but i like that someone mentioned that largely unkown film.

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