The 1997 movie The Devil’s Advocate is a three-Michelin-star tasting menu of scenery chewing, full of delightfully unexpected little bites and perfectly executed bold flavors, but the main course is undoubtedly Al Pacino’s deranged monologue in the final scenes. He’s playing the literal devil—in this instance, Old Scratch is taking the form of the head of a white-shoe criminal defense firm in Manhattan named “John Milton”—like I said, Michelin stars!—and pitches Keanu Reeves, his son—like I said, three Michelin stars!—on his plan to defeat God by employing lawyers to pile up injustice on top of injustice until the world is ruined. (He also needs Reeves to father the Antichrist—there’s nothing about this movie that isn’t exactly what you’d hope for from a film called The Devil’s Advocate.) Here’s how the screenplay renders the climax:
We’re coming out, guns blazing. The two of you—all of us—acquittal after acquittal until the stench of it reaches so high into heaven it chokes the whole fucking lot of them! What we cannot legislate we will buy. What we cannot buy we will degrade. We will blow every fuse of enlightenment until it looks like a vandalized neon sign! And while God is busy at his peephole—as he deigns us with his disapproval—as he lumbers about his empty kingdom like some overfed colonial governor—as God sleeps late, we will win.
The version in the film is a little shorter, but it would obviously be wildly unfair to the reader to mention a bonkers 1990s Al Pacino performance without including a clip, so here it is:
Maximum Pacino! Anyway, for some reason, those lines about making everything so awful and degraded and unfair that the whole planet collapsed under its own weight occurred to me while watching this Jimmy Kimmel bit, in which he notes that nothing R. Kelly has allegedly done would necessarily disqualify him from becoming President of the United States:
The best of all possible timelines, in the best of all possible worlds!