SCACPA SPRING SPLASH ACCOUNTING CONFERENCE 2019 MOVIE TRIVIA CONTEST
Here is the fun movie trivia contest about the 1988 buddy road trip comedy “Midnight Run” that we wrote for members at SCACPA’s Spring Splash Accounting Conference in May 2019. Feel free to use this for your event, and credit the South Carolina Association of CPAs.
Audit Your Knowledge on Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin’s Classic 1988 Buddy Comedy Road Trip Action Movie
The tagline for the “Midnight Run” movie poster tells us: “Charles Grodin embezzled $15 million. The mob wants him dead. The F.B.I. wants him alive. Robert De Niro just wants him to shut up.”
Robert De Niro is Jack Walsh, an ex-cop turned bounty hunter who’s racing against the clock to track down an accountant who was arrested on an embezzling charge and then skipped bail. The $100,000 reward offered by bail bondsman Eddie Moscone (Joe Pantoliano) will be enough for Jack to get out of the bounty hunter business once and for all.
Charles Grodin is the accountant Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas, who thought he was running the books for a legitimate business. After he found out he was working for a Las Vegas mob boss, The Duke embezzled $15 million of the dirty money. As the movie starts, he’s in hiding from the law and the mob. The FBI wants his testimony against mob boss Jimmy Serrano (Dennis Farina), but The Duke knows Serrano will have him killed if he goes to prison.
1. When Jack mentions how he’ll spend his $100,000 reward for returning the accountant to Los Angeles, The Duke advises Jack against the new business plan because that industry “is a very tricky investment. More than half of them go under within the first six months. If I were your accountant, I’d have to strongly advise you against it.” What was Jack’s dream?
- A. Jack wants to buy a cab and become a New York City taxi driver
- B. Jack wants to open a family breakfast restaurant
- C. Jack wants to open a flip-flop store and souvenir stand in Isle of Palms
2. What did The Duke do with the $15 million in mob money he embezzled?
- A. He got himself a new tattoo of the Treasury Seal
- B. He gave the bulk of it to charity but kept enough for himself to stay in hiding
- C. He paid off most, but not all, of his student loans
3. In the dining car of their cross-country train ride, The Duke points out off the top of his head this math error he spots Jack making:
- A. In calculating their arrival time in Los Angeles, Jack had estimated a wrong rate of speed for the train
- B. Jack thought he was tipping the waitress 15% when he was only tipping 13%
- C. Jack had miscounted the number of allowances he was claiming on a W-4
4. When the duo runs low on funds, The Duke proves he can run a bluff by walking into a dive bar and claiming he and Jack are FBI agents in search of counterfeiters. Jack then rubs a pencil eraser across a pile of cash from the register as a “test” for counterfeit bills, and they confiscate the bills they say failed the test. What’s the name of the bogus testing method Jack employs?
- A. “Treasury triangulation”
- B. “Litmus configuration”
- C. “The fifth section of the CPA Exam”
5. With the common technology available in 1988, here’s how The Duke explained his insurance plan for holding off Jimmy Serrano: “What I know about his financial transactions could not only put him away but every mob guy he ever did business with. That’s why he wants to kill me. I was going to put all his records on [technology]. I figured if things got too rough, I could always trade them for my life.” The climactic airport scene revolves around Jack and the FBI arranging for Serrano to think he was about to get that technology back in his possession. What is Jack’s famous line during the sting to get the FBI agents to spring out of hiding?
- A. “Serrano’s got the Tandy 1000 TL! Serrano’s got the Tandy 1000 TL!”
- B. “Serrano’s got the disks! Serrano’s got the disks!”
- C. “Serrano’s got the Sports Illustrated sneaker phone! Serrano’s got the Sports Illustrated sneaker phone!”
6. In the final scene (spoiler alert!), the face of which U.S. President is on the $1,000 bills? (Note: The U.S. Treasury Department hasn’t printed $1,000 bills in decades).
- A. Dwight Eisenhower
- B. Grover Cleveland
- C. Millard Fillmore
Adjusted for Inflation: The $15 million in mob money stolen by The Duke in 1988 would be $32,729,871 today, according to the online Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator. The “neighborhood of $300,000” (cash!) in the final scene would be $654,597.42 in 2019 dollars. This would also require The Duke to stuff 655 $1,000 bills into his money belt instead of 300.
Answers/Spoiler Alert: All the correct answers are B.