I’ve known about this movie forever and that it was supposed to be good, but I never really knew that much about it – I think I thought it was some comedy about folks going on quiz shows or something. Well, it is about people on quiz shows, but not so much a comedy. It’s a real-life story of a 1950s quiz show scandal involving contestants who claimed they were given the answers to make them win, and were told when to take a fall so the show would get a new champion.
It’d be a good companion piece to Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, which I haven’t seen in far too long, a double-feature on the scandals and cover-ups of early television. In this case, the producers saw that whole thing as entertainment and as long as the ratings stayed up and viewers were enjoying the show, who cares if it’s legit? Well, Herbie Stemple (John Turturro), one of the dropped contestants, cares quite a bit, and soon young lawyer Dick Goodwin (Rob Morrow) is on the case as well, while current champion Charlie Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes) his best to pretend he’s on the up and up – as a Columbia University professor moonlighting on the quiz show, he’s got the most to lose, aside from the network itself of course.