Netflix’s The Polka King is a look into the life of Jan Lewan (the Polka King), who is a Polish immigrant who tries to make it big in America. Lewan who is played by Jack Black, struggles and struggles in different endeavors throughout his life, but always having the dream of doing something big. He stumbles into an idea of promising people returns on their investment if they just invested in him. Unfortunately, he had no way to guarantee these promissory notes. He started racking up millions of dollars of funny money and when the FBI caught on his Polish empire came crashing down.
This movie does the same thing that Bernie (Richard Linklater) did in that it makes the audience feel for a criminal. Although not of the same caliber as Linklater’s film (TFW B+), this movie still achieves a fun-filled adventure for the whole family with plenty of life lessons. This is only Maya Forbes’ second film to direct; her first being Infinitely Polar Bear (which may be worth a look). I think she creates what she wants, and most of the “easy film go-ers” will be pleased with the result.
Unfortunately for The Film Wire, this falls short on too many levels to get into the Bs. The reader would find better luck at watching the documentary The Man Who Would Be Polka King, which is pretty good. We learn at the end of the documentary, Jan Lewan, since getting out of prison (where he learned to rap) in 2009 is trying to make a Polka comeback! He is doing concerts and staying away from the promissory notes, and plans to lead a trip in Sep. 2018 to Poland like he used to in the old days. The Film Wire may look into attending.
Below for your enjoyment, are Jack Black and Jan Lewan rapping.