“The Polka King” is a 2017 film on Netflix starring Jack Black as Jan Lewan, “The Polka King.” The film is based on the true story of the Polish-American polka band leader who was imprisoned for a Ponzi scheme. Ponzi sounds like a Polka dance move.
Find Your Mickey Pizzazz
“I say what will happen and I believe.” – Jan Lewan
“Some things you say so you can make them happen.” – Jan Lewan
“I’m not a liar, I’m a believer.” – Jan Lewan
Jan’s bandmate, Mickey, confides in him that he has always wanted a stage name. He says he wants to be “Mickey Pizzazz”. Jan tells him that it is possible, but only if he believes. In Jan’s mind, the only way anything happens is through belief. Mickey was worried that Jan would not be able to get access to the Pope so his investors could meet him. Mickey told Jan that he had simply lied to those people. Jan’s view was that he was putting it into the universe so that it may happen. He knew that without an attitude of knowing that he would be able to reach the Pope, Jan would have had no chance to satisfy his investors.
What’s the downfall of telling people what you would like to do? Looking foolish or naive? That’s not as bad as not trying or not following your dreams. Nobody succeeds without first believing that they will succeed. This is just like Jan succeeding in taking a bunch of old people’s money and investing it in a Ponzi scheme. Even criminals need to believe in the success of their crime for it to succeed until they eventually get caught which then could be deemed a failure.
Dancing Bears Seem Like A Good Time
Vanessa Bayer is the dancing bear, Bitsy, who is always stirring the pot despite her seemingly pleasant demeanor. You might say she looks like the bearer of good news. (I wouldn’t say that, I’m just saying someone else might, that’s all.) Bayer is more bubbly than Seven Up as she dances her way into the Netflix commercial and the hearts of furries around the world. (I wonder if a furry has ever seen the movie Fury on Netflix and mistook it for a movie about furries and enjoyed watching it so much so that they went out and got the cool hipster haircut that Brad Pitt had. Too bad it’s being concealed by a giant raccoon head.)
Polka Rap is Legit
Lewan busts out some sick verses on the drive home from jail with his son and Mickie Pizzazz. Then, Macklemore performing at a Chuck E. Cheese (excuse me, I mean Charles Entertainment Cheese) is the closest approximation to polka rap.
Second Chances Are Real
Jan gets a second chance after bribing the judges in the Ms. Pennsylvania beauty pageant so that his wife wins. Who among us can say with all honesty that we have never bribed a beauty pageant judge or two back in the day? Perhaps Lewan should have been convicted of being a man of exquisite passion, a fire burning so uncontrollably inside his belly that he cannot bear the thought of his wife not winning the beauty pageant, not even a Bitsy.
Would You Recommend It?
I would absolutely recommend this movie to anyone who watches Netflix. Jack Black kills it as Jan Lewan, “The Polka King.” He brings the shady energy of Bernie, his character from “Bernie,” the exuberance of Dewey Finn from “School of Rock” (Jan would baffle Dewey so much so that Finn would have to shred a sweet guitar solo in his grill to establish musical superiority) and the goofiness of a Barry from “High Fidelity.” Black’s tone of voice is reminiscent of the child of Borat and the Aflac Duck. Jenny Slate is hilarious as Marla Lewan, Jan’s wife, as she does her whole “make cute little funny faces” thing. Jason Schwartzman is superb as Jan’s main bandmate, Mickey Pizzazz, rocking the flip-up sunglasses almost as good as Brett Boone did at second base for the Seattle Mariners. Finally, Jacki Weaver does her best Carol Kane impression as Marla’s mother.
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