From the new movie Knife Fight, starring Rob Lowe as Paul Turner, a brilliant and morally ambivalent political strategist, and Carrie-Anne Moss as Penelope, a kind and naive physician who decides to run for governor of California. This scene takes place during the first meeting between the two, when Penelope has first told Paul about her intentions:
Paul Let me just walk you through this. If you are ballsy enough or crazy enough to do this, I can promise you an unending barrage of innuendo, vitriol, and lies. Everything will be on the public record, from the dope that you smoked in eleventh grade, to the blow you did with your girlfriends during your college lesbian experimentation period. There is not one moment of your past that will not be scrutinized in excruciating detail.
Paul Not yet. After that all comes out – and more – the facts will be twisted, stomped, and exaggerated to the point that you will no longer recognize them. And if that doesn’t do it, new facts will be made up so they can destroy you.
Paul Not yet. And then they’ll say – and I’ll say it right now – “what the hell qualifications do you have to be governor?”
Penelope In my job, I work with every sort of person, a giant array of problems. I run a team that daily produces real tangible results. I see our problems up close. And I think that I can bring people together to accomplish things. Good things.
Paul Good things?
Paul Excuse me, this isn’t a high school service club. Okay, getting elected isn’t the Harvard-Yale debate society where the best argument carries the day. These are steel cage death matches. Even if you win – which, with all due respect, would be laughable – they will hobble you. They will shatter you. The process itself will change you in ways that you cannot even possibly imagine. Now, is that what you want? Is that what you want for you, for your family? Do you have a family?