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Caeser was warned to beware the Ides of March but in America it’s the Ides of April that you have to watch out for (yes, according to wikipedia.org the Ides of April is actually the 13th but that would ruin my joke (Roman calendars are complicated)). So to ease the burden of calculating, filing and writing out that check, for those who haven’t planned ahead sufficiently (no criticism intended, I’m right that with you (last parenthetical aside, I promise)) here are, in no particular order, five topical diversions.

Say Anything

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This classic eighties romantic comedy is the directorial debut of Cameron Crowe who went on to bring us Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, and later this year Aloha. It stars John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney, and a 77 Malibu. Cusack plays an underachieving kickboxer trying to woo the class valedictorian. Standing in his way is the Mahoney who plays the father of Skye’s character. Luckily he gets arrested for tax fraud giving Cusack the perfect opportunity to swoop in provide emotional support, and land the girl.

The Untouchables

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I don’t think I would want to see Al Capone with a baseball bat on a playing field. When he brings one out at a black tie dinner you know nothing good is going to happen. Written by David Mamet and directed by Brian DePalma the The Untouchables is jam packed with star power, Robert DeNiro, Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Andy Garcia, Charles Martin Smith top off the fantastic cast. Costner play Elliot Ness to De Niro’s Capone. Ness and his band of investigators basically go to war against Capone and his band of gangsters but even following the sage advise of Connery’s Jimmy Malone “You wanna get Capone? Here’s how you get him. He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue! That’s the Chicago way, and that’s how you get Capone!” Ness and company never are able to bring Capone down for murder, extortion, prostitution, bootlegging or any other respectable gangsterish endeavors. What finally sent Capone’s syphilitic carcass to Alcatraz? Income Tax Evasion.

The Shawshank Redemption

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This adaptation of a Stephen King short story is one of those movies that flopped at the box office but became a classic on its home video release. Written and directed by Frank Darabont it tells the story of Andy Defrane, Tim Robbins, who is wrongly imprisoned for murdering his wife. Not that he shouldn’t has been thrown in jail for murdering his wife, I mean that he didn’t kill his wife but ended up in jail anyway. As you can imagine his life is a hell only relieved by his friendship with Morgan Freeman’s character Red a small rock hammer (you know, for rocks) and a Rita Hayworth poster that Red smuggled into the prison for him. Just when Andy is coming to his breaking point he overhears one of the guards lamenting how most of an inheritance he has come into is going to be eat up with income tax. After maybe impudently asking the guard if he trusts his wife Andy explains how to shelter most of the inheritance from the IRS. Soon Andy is providing tax advice to most of the guards and even the warden. Among other perks he no longer has to suffer the attention of “The Sisters” and manages to build some kind of life until he decides that it is time to “get busy living or get busy dying” and finally teach Red that hope is not a bad thing.

The Producers

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I’m referring to the 2005 movie based on the musical based on the movie but since they all have the same plot I guess this could refer to any of them. The 2005 movie stars Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Uma Thurman and Will Ferrell and is the story of Max Bialystock, Lane, a washed up Broadway Producer who has been reduced to the indignity of cardboard belts. When Leo Bloom, Broderick, who works for Max’s accounting firm, shows up to go over the books for his most recent disaster Max is concerned about how Leo will portray certain questionable “business” expenses. After Leo overcomes some initial reluctance he admits it will be no big deal to cover up since the IRS is not going to be concerned with the finances of a financial flop. Leo even goes so far as to conjecture that an unscrupulous man could manage to defraud investors by purposely raising money for a flop as the IRS would never investigate. As Max, being a Broadway Producer, is by definition unscrupulous he immediately tries to recruit Leo in a scheme to do just that which ends up after many songs and gags culminating in Springtime For Hitler, Leo eloping to Rio with a statuesque Swedish blonde, and Max in jail for tax fraud.

Stranger Than Fiction

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This is a wonderful, sweet romantic not really comedy about an IRS agent and the women he is sent to audit. Will Ferrell stars as the IRS agent playing the most reserved and laid back role in his career and Maggie Gyllenhall as the independent baker he is sent to audit. Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman and Queen Latifah also show up in a story running parallel to the Ferrell and Gyllenhall’ romance. That part of the plot is the story of writer Thompson who is struggling to finish her latest novel, which unbeknownst to anyone happens to be Ferrell’s story. Now this would have just been a weird coincidence that no one would have probably ever picked up on but Ferrell starts to hear Thompson narrating his life and then Dustin Hoffman gets involved, Thompson stands in the rain and compromises her art for a good cause while Ferrell and Gyllenhall fall in love. Oh and there is a clever bit about a watch. So long story short, audits don’t have to be all bad.

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