A family plays a friendly board game. Then all hell breaks loose. | Poor Tax - cutlassboardgame.com

A family plays a friendly board game. Then all hell breaks loose. | Poor Tax

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Poor Tax is used with permission from Oliver Salk and Alec Bewkes. Learn more at and .

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A family is gathering together, settling into their tradition of a friendly board game. They’re playing the classic game Monopoly, but soon the game’s objective of buying assets, charging rent and earning money opens up a can of worms: the differing political opinions of the father and his daughter.

What starts as a debate about policy and ethics devolves into personal attacks and snide remarks. And what should be a game turns into a litmus test — not just of politics, but of the family’s ability to stay close and loving despite differences in opinion.

Directed by Oliver Salk and Alex Bewkes from a script written by Bewkes, this short family comedy has a script that reels off political tidbits from both the left and right sides of the aisle. But while the dialogue is peppered with the typical contemporary political discourse you’d read on Facebook now, it’s not a political film. It takes no sides, and balances arguments with counter-arguments. Instead, it’s about how the divisiveness and rancor that characterizes today’s often online discussions have bled into real-life relationships between friends, neighbors and families, fraying civil and close bonds and turning togetherness into a battleground.

Shot with a crisp, clear light within a well-off, comfortable family home, the narrative quickly establishes an arch tone, with grandiose flourishes of music over close-ups of Monopoly money. The storytelling moves quickly, establishing each member of the family and their general personalities. There’s an irascible outspoken patriarch, a peacemaking mother who just wants to watch “Downton Abbey,” his “socialist” daughter Julia and two brothers who would rather just play the game.

Perhaps it’s inevitable that father and daughter would clash, and their argument over their different takes on American life quickly turns heated. The film doesn’t dwell on the issues very long, because what’s fun about the storytelling is how the conflict and arguing uncover a funnier, knottier tangle of grievances, secrets and general dysfunction. The ensemble cast, lead by actor Circus Szalewski as Scott the father, plays off each other well, with everyone bubbling along with deft comic timing and yet playing genuine, grounded emotions amid the tumult. As shocking personal revelations come to the surface — including someone’s predilection for an “inflate-a-mate” and another sibling’s questionable side hustle — what’s clear is that it’s not just differences in opinion operating here, but how the members of the family just don’t know one another at all anymore.

Being a smart comedy with a sense of equal opportunity irreverence, “Poor Tax” ends with a very well-constructed, final gambit, as Scott realizes how he’s failed as a parent. He aims to teach his progeny a lesson, only to find himself at the mercy of chance. How the family handles this final situation is heart-warming, offering a middle ground for how two sides can come together. But it’s also true to character, and in the end, it also hints that changing anyone’s convictions, especially in this day and age, sadly might be an exercise in futility.

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A family plays a friendly board game. Then all hell breaks loose. | Poor Tax

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159 Comments

  1. Absolutely brilliant! Used to play Monopoly a lot when I was very young, and remember that something always came up as in the short, leading to comic sketches like this one 😂😂

  2. Erm actually, loaning money in Monopoly is against the game rules 🤓

  3. Sooooooo many messages here

    Hilarious

  4. The dad is right about the BLM co founder.

  5. Loved it!! The dad reminds me of David Strathairn. The Isabela line made me crack up 👍👍

  6. I mean, they're playing monopoly, OF COURSE it's going to go wrong

  7. Awesome film – k, Dad, now you're poor. How much crack should we get for you?

  8. Haha wow I thought this was really great. Some good snarky energy, so funny! A little different I loved it!

  9. This film had me captivated on just the dialogs alone.
    It also has the potential of making it a successful dark comedy sitcom!

  10. Monopoly used to be known as "The Landlord's Game", it was designed to show the evils of capitalism…..

  11. I've never heard of monopoly as the "plain yogurt" of board games. Lol.

  12. Monopoly, breaking up families for decades.. 😂😂

  13. This was a good quirky scenario of a middle-class family bringing up current events during a game of Monopoly, a game that has had its own shaky rules for decades!!

  14. Ha Ha Ha. I luv it. Whoever put this together, THANK YOU so very much. Partially even believable cause Family gatherings can so suck.

  15. Mcjuggernuggets has a Damien/Demma. The flying 🦅 eagle!!!

  16. Yawn. Was this meant to be filled with as many over the top tropes and stereotypes as possible? Garbage.

  17. Those kids were just… insufferable. Good episode!

  18. I am laughing! My dad went and tore up an antique Monopoly game! Our family was so 🤪 crazy

  19. Would have been better if they were playing something like Ticket to Ride or Catan or Carcassonne. I was impressed, though, that no one flipped the table; that showed great restraint.

    Kudos!

  20. This is the funniest Omeleto comedy film to me (I watch all of them)

  21. as a republican,facist,conservative,capitalist i approve this message

  22. Well, to be fair, it wouldn't be family game night without the passive and overt aggressiveness, shouting matches, and occasional bloody nose. It par the course for monopoly really.

  23. Family gatherings are not so different for every race huh

  24. Thanks for reminding me why I left my family

  25. The thumbnail literally looks like the Harry Potter

  26. This wasn’t funny or interesting, just painfully contrived.

  27. All of the actors were amazing. It felt so real.

  28. NOTE: As the saying goes. "You can Pick Your Friends, But You Can't Pick Your Family! Lol! Cheers.

  29. I’m a retired police officer. I worked the majority of my career on the evening shift and hated working family holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter) because it was guaranteed domestic violence call after domestic violence call. It really made me hate the holidays and I’m thankful I don’t have to deal with that crap anymore.

  30. As Police Chief Wiggum so eloquently put it: "How do those Parker Brothers sleep at night?!"

  31. This is what an “all in the family” reboot would be like today!!

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