SATIRE: Kentucky’s Gubernatorial Circus Takes Center Stage in Wes Anderson’s Latest Caper

DISCLAIMER: This article is a work of satire and is intended purely for entertainment and commentary purposes. It bears no resemblance to actual events, individuals, or the legalities of political campaign funding. Any parallels drawn to real-life situations or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

What do you get when you cross the politicking drama of a Kentucky gubernatorial race with the eccentric genius of Wes Anderson? A new FBI buddy-cop caper starring Jason Schwartzman and Ilana Glazer, that’s what. And not just any FBI agents—meet the grizzled yet dapper Hank Mooney (Schwartzman), back from suspension, and the ever-so-earnest rookie Diane Fitzroy (Glazer).

Jason Schwartzman as maverick FBI agent Hank Mooney. (Midjourney)

We’re off to the races with Andy Beshear and Daniel Cameron, played with uncanny gusto by Kenneth Parcell and Jordan Peele respectively amid Anderson’s signature symphony of pastel hues.

In the opening scene, Mooney, resplendent in a vintage tweed suit, storms into the bureau chief’s office, a taxidermy elk head presiding over the scene. Alec Baldwin, as the gruff, bourbon-loving chief, briefs the duo on their next big assignment – unraveling campaign finance irregularities involving the Kentucky governor’s race. Cue the wide-eyed Fitzroy, color-coded notepad in hand, ready to note down every instruction.

Ilana Glazer plays by-the-book rookie Diane Fitzroy. (Midjourney)

While Mooney claims to prefer working alone (“I haven’t had a partner since my goldfish died!”), the chief insists on the unlikely partnership. After all, who could resist the cinematic gold of a by-the-book rookie partnered with an off-the-rails maverick?

So begins their journey into a world where a governor’s generous ‘gift‘ from a mayor and a state AG’s dubious solicitations can spark an FBI investigation faster than you can say ‘bourbon scandal.’ Even in the Bluegrass state, it seems, political graft is a blue-ribbon event.

While it may seem farcical to imagine that the serious matter of campaign finance violations could be the fodder for an Anderson cinematic caper, we remind our readers that reality has, of late, proven to be just as bizarre, if not more so. In this political saga, Anderson doesn’t simply hold a mirror up to reality but rather a funhouse mirror, one that distorts and exaggerates for comedic and dramatic effect, while also revealing some uncomfortable truths about American politics. But as we teeter on the edge of the 2023 election, this serves as a timely and satirical reminder that, sometimes, art doesn’t just imitate life; it unabashedly mocks it too.

Alec Baldwin as Kentucky FBI Bureau Chief Harvey Workman. (Midjourney)

Stranger than reality?

In a whimsical twist that could only be conjured up by Anderson, gubernatorial rivals Beshear (Parcell) and Cameron (Peele) find themselves in a shady warehouse, courtesy of a shared but unbeknownst connection to a rather ‘energetic’ campaign donor. This is the sort of location where one might expect a quirky Wes Anderson murder mystery, but instead, it’s just another day on the campaign trail.

Jordan Peele as Daniel Cameron. (Midjourney)

The donor, it turns out, is financed by a notorious cocaine trafficker (Bill Murray, playing himself) with a penchant for vintage music boxes and embroidered velvet jackets. As the FBI, led by the mismatched duo of Mooney and Fitzroy, raid the warehouse on an unrelated tip, our political heroes find themselves caught in the crossfire. And just like that, a gubernatorial race morphs into a good old-fashioned kidnapping.

While their captors grapple with the dilemma of who might have ratted them out, the bickering politicians are shown newspaper clippings, proof of their own FBI calls against one another. Suddenly, their spat seems less like a political feud and more like a scene from a high-stakes crime thriller.

In the tense atmosphere of capivity, Beshear and Cameron engage in an unexpected and intellectual conversation, discussing esoteric legal articles, of all things. The symposium is classic Anderson, complete with the epiphany that they, despite their glaring differences, have much more in common than they thought. A ‘eureka’ moment worthy of the oddest buddy comedy.

Kenneth Parcell as Andy Beshear. (Midjourney)

The newfound allies orchestrate an ingeniously offbeat escape: a complex, Rube Goldberg-esque sequence involving distraction by a glockenspiel, a vintage Vespa, and a whole lot of pastel-colored smoke bombs. In the chaos, Beshear, with an audacious stroke of genius, manages to swipe a kilo of cocaine.

Finally free, the two agree to an unprecedented pact: sell the cocaine, split the proceeds, and fund their campaigns. Because, really, what better way to finance a political campaign than a drug-fueled caper? In this convoluted world of politics and scandal, it seems that even rivals can become partners in crime. Or should we say, partners in campaigning?

The chase

In another gloriously bizarre twist, Beshear and Cameron try to offload their ill-gotten cocaine at the Louisville Zoo, of all places. An old college friend of Beshear’s was their potential buyer, an artsy zoologist (Anjelica Huston) with a penchant for illegal substances and a fascination with exotic birds. But when they discover that a kilo of cocaine is worth less than a 15-second radio spot in Pikeville, the deal is off.

A struggle ensues over the treasured kilo, leading to the bag’s unfortunate descent into a bear’s cage. Our intrepid politicians brace for a Cocaine Bear-esque rampage, a savage nod to Kentucky’s stranger-than-fiction history. But the bear, possibly the only innocent character in this entire fiasco, instead keels over, adding ‘animal abuse’ to the politicians’ growing list of misdemeanors.

Now fugitives, Beshear and Cameron commandeer the zoologist’s pastel blue 1963 Volvo Amazon with ornate, cherry-red interior and a collection of vintage Bluegrass music cassettes stashed in the glovebox.

Beshear and Cameron drive a pastel blue 1963 Volvo Amazon with ornate, cherry-red interior and a collection of vintage Bluegrass music cassettes stashed in the glovebox in the climactic chase scene. (Midjourney)

The politicians embark on an adrenaline-fueled chase across the Commonwealth in their newly-acquired retro ride. Their wild dash, taking them through picturesque Kentucky landscapes from the bourbon distilleries of Bardstown to the horse farms of Lexington, echoes the charmingly oddball essence of a Wes Anderson road trip. The Volvo’s vintage radio croons the dulcet tunes of bluegrass music, providing a fittingly quirky soundtrack to their daring escape.

Finally cornered, the pair opts for a final standoff, bravely brandishing their firearms—only to hilariously fail at operating them. “They always loaded it for me in the campaign videos,” Cameron sighs as the feds move in. So much for staunch Second Amendment advocacy.

Enter our ever-determined FBI agents, Mooney (Schwartzman) and Fitzroy (Glazer), to slap on the cuffs. Schwartzman, always on cue for a well-timed zinger, quips, “Looks like your right to bear arms just got revoked!”

The trial

Their trial unravels into a chaotic flurry of misplaced receipts and bickering attorneys. Mooney’s case, as meticulously crafted as it may have been, dissolves with all the resilience of a biscuit drowned in gravy. But, just as the ship seems to be sinking, enter rookie agent Fitzroy with a lifeline.

Her diligence in keeping a pristine record of all the campaign receipts—chronicled with the kind of thoroughness only a Wes Anderson character could muster—swoops in to salvage the trial. Despite the haphazard disarray of Mooney’s once promising case, Fitzroy proves that even in the whirlwind of a political scandal, tax evasion charges can save the day. After all, even a Kentucky-fried caper needs a heroine.

At their sentencing, the judge hands out hefty prison sentences to both but nevertheless reminds the packed court to vote in November:

You still have to vote for one of them. It’s a two-party system.

Judge Morris Clementine, played by Jeff Goldblum

Ah, democracy. The final punchline in this convoluted saga of unlikely camaraderie, political ambitions, and yes, a deceased cocaine-consuming bear.