The main reason I never cared for Francis Coppola‘s Tucker: The Man and His Dream (’88), the story of innovative auto designer Preston Tucker and his attempt to produce and market the 1948 Tucker Sedan, is that it says the same thing over and over. That thing is the fix was in, or the corporate auto industry refused to allow an innovative auto designer to prosper and thereby make them look bad, and so they had his business killed.
If Tucker had been funnier and crazier, maybe. But it’s so methodical and so determined to deliver the same observation over and over that it eventually smothers your soul.
When you think about it, movies that say “the fix is in and anyone who tries to change or expose this system is going to suffer or get killed or at least corrupted” is a genre in itself.
Alan Pakula‘s The Parallax View is a “fix is in” movie. Ditto Michael Ritchie‘s The Candidate. Luchino Visconti‘s The Damned and Pier Paolo Pasolini‘s Salo and the 120 Days of Sodom are two extreme examples. Serpico and Prince of the City are major “don’t try to un-fix things” films. All The President’s Men, obviously, is the opposite of a “fix” film.
What are some of the better ones? Dramas or comedies that merely say “everything stinks and corruption will always be with us” are not “fix is in” movies. You need a lead protagonist who wants to do things differently and tries to implement that, and is finally stripped, beaten down and gutted at the end.