Warming Up Your Winter Watchlist
Our columnists share their favorite and must-see movies (with an accounting twist).
You can’t feel your face, your toes, or your fingers, and you're
fairly certain that your ears now resemble two frozen Jimmy Dean
sausage patties. Welcome to winter in Chicago! With the frigid
temperatures setting in, now’s the time to warm up with a good old-fashioned
Here are some must-see accounting-themed favorites, according
to our Insight columnists.
Mark Gilbert: “The Shawshank Redemption”
It’s a movie that portrays accounting skills in a very favorable light.
Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne is nicely portrayed as the
unfortunate victim of “the system” as he is unfairly jailed. He uses
his accounting skills to gain the trust and respect of the prison
warden, which ultimately affords him the opportunity to enrich
himself. The morality of Andy’s actions is somewhat questionable,
but it’s all shown to be a part of the greater good, which makes this
a very enjoyable movie.
Marty Green: “The Accountant”
In one instance, you have an accountant with an everyday practice.
By all appearances, he’s very smart if not brilliant. Then, the
mysterious side starts coming out with the accountant keeping
mass weapons and large amounts of money squirreled away in a
hidden trailer. The plot deepens when there’s an attempt to murder
him and others after he is retained by a business to resolve its
accounting issues. Without spoiling anything, I think the ending is
particularly good as the movie closes to the theme song of Sean
Rowe’s “To Leave Something Behind.”
Tim Jipping: “The Accountant”
It’s like watching a documentary of my own life.
Art Kuesel: “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Despite the movie being based on the true story of Jordan Belfort’s
(played by Leonard DiCaprio) rise as a wealthy stockbroker living a
life of crime and corruption, I have to respect that he was an
incredible salesperson. While he is unscrupulous and uses his
talents for illegal activities, I still respect his ability. Plus, the good
guys get him in the end.
Jon Lokhorst: “The Untouchables”
Starring Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness and Robert DeNiro as Al
Capone, “The Untouchables” is based largely in Chicago and
captures the important role accountants played in getting Capone
convicted of tax evasion. It also earned Sean Connery, one of my alltime
favorite actors, an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Elizabeth Pittelkow Kittner: “All the Queen’s Horses”
Produced and directed by Illinois CPA Society member, Kelly
Richmond Pope, “All the Queen’s Horses” tells the story of one of
the biggest municipal frauds in history that hit Dixon, Ill. The movie
highlights the importance of ethics in the accounting profession and
the need for effective accounting controls.
Todd Shapiro: “Dave”
In the 1993 political comedy, Dave (Kevin Kline) ends up filling in for
the president because he looks like him. Well, Dave takes his role
seriously and wants to positively impact America. At one point, he
visits a homeless shelter. He’s told he can save the shelter if he can
cut $650 million from the federal budget. Dave enlists his
accountant friend, Murray Blum (Charles Grodin), to help him rewrite
the budget to do just that. While the movie is not specifically about
accounting and finance professionals, it portrays an accountant in
a positive role, using logic to solve complex problems and making
a positive impact on society.
Keith Staats: “The Producers”
The original 1967 film directed by Mel Brooks starred Gene Wilder
and Zero Mostel. Wilder plays a young accountant (Leo) who shows
up to audit the books of Mostel (Max), a producer of Broadway
flops. Leo discovers that shares can be oversold in a play that
flops and nobody will audit the books because it didn’t make any
money. So, they decide to come up with a terrible play that will
close the first night, they will oversell shares in the play, and then
they will take off to Rio with the money. I won’t tell you how the plan
turns out, but I guess you could say it is a cautionary tale about
what can happen to an auditor if they become too involved in a