“Uncle Sam” Armstrong (Craig Henne) is getting out of court ordered rehab – for the 8th time. Sam was a Vietnam War hero who came to embody the populist patriotism of the late 80s and early 90s. Known as “the Hulk Hogan of American politics,” his endorsements swayed presidential elections and three of his books became action movies, which he starred in.
Uncle Sam lost it all because of his addictions to gambling, alcohol, women, and drugs. His release from rehab legally requires a halfway house, but none can take him due to his high profile. A magistrate allows his nephew Kevin Armstrong (Brian Kirk) to take him in. Kevin, 39, has idolized Sam for a lifetime, and is eager to give back to the uncle who helped shape him through his books, movies, and love.
A hard-working and driven man, Kevin is a struggling real estate agent. He’s grown skeptical of the federal government, viewing it as the primary obstacle to success, echoing sentiments from Sam’s books.
Kevin grows disillusioned when he sees that Sam has become utterly dependent on him, to the point of emotional and financial exhaustion. Sam spends thousands of Kevin’s dollars without asking, and when confronted, questions Kevin’s loyalty as a nephew.
Once Kevin works up the courage to cut Sam off financially, his uncle signs up for a Bank of Asia “Vice” card, using Kevin’s name. Sam begins buying items with the card, reselling them for cash, in order to feed his drug habit and keep his gambling debt collector at bay.
Kevin’s best friend and boss, real estate broker Jake Joseph (Declan Joyce), has a secret family in Albania that needs his financial support. Working behind the scenes with Uncle Sam, Jake recruits former “dancer” Heather (Theresa Carissimi) to pose as a client and love interest, distracting Kevin from the damage being done to his bank accounts.
The office manager at Kevin’s brokerage (Lulu Braha) warned Kevin about Sam from the beginning, to no avail. Kevin’s distraction is compounded when he begins to fall in love with the office manager’s daughter, Lauren (Madylin Sweeten), whose sass and substance prove irresistible to him.
Political issues explored through the film include:
Not only does Uncle Sam recklessly spend Kevin’s money, he pawns Kevin’s prized knick knack which was given to him by his uncle decades before, symbolizing the intentional crushing of the American spirit on the part of heartless bureaucrats.
- The Estate Tax
Sam gets Kevin to re-write his will, leaving half to Sam.
- Nanny Statism
Sam confiscates Kevin’s soda, salt, and gun, in order to protect Kevin from himself. But Sam drinks the soda and takes the gun to a firing range. After all, “Okay for me, but not for thee.”
- Section 8 rental assistance & Food Stamps
Because he always preached personal responsibility, Kevin is shocked by Sam’s suggestion that he apply for Section 8 housing and food stamps. “Work the system, or the system will work you,” has become Sam’s new guiding principle.
- NSA Spying
Sam gains access to Kevin’s journal, while Kevin sets up cameras and keylogging software to spy on Sam.
- Military Service
Sam dismisses the U.S. military and the struggles of the Vietnamese people, informing Kevin that his military heroics only served to help him profit from books and films.
When spending your own money isn’t enough, simply borrow from the Asians, then default or defraud in order to continue.
- Foreign Aid
Sam has been helping a Mexican immigrant named Hector, with Kevin’s money. When Kevin objects, Sam accuses him of racism and heartlessness.
- Shady Lending Practices
Sam obtains a loan for Hector by lying to a banker who relaxes his standards, putting Kevin’s financial future on the line.
Torn between family loyalty and self-preservation, Kevin takes action. He evicts Sam, leading to a bloody personal revolution. Kevin’s new life begins, after he ends the life of his former hero. A hero who had grown too big to fail.