Who is Clark Rockefeller?

This movie first aired in 2010 and I dvred it. To my horror, when I went to watch it only 30 minutes had recorded. Is my complaining about Time Warner getting to be repetitive at this point? Also, I was going to post that this happened in 08 but the internets say 2010… my god, it feels like a lot longer ago.

I only remember one amazing scene- Will from Will and Grace sitting at the end of a bed playing a didgeridoo and being surprised it woke someone up (someone sleeping in the bed he’s at the end of). I couldn’t stop laughing. I’m excited to know what the movie is like around that scene.

The real story: Or at least the wiki page about the con man. And another article from 2008: Crazy shit.

I love stories of made up identities, maybe because it seems more and more difficult to actually do it in modern times? I don’t know. I’m also terrified of finding out my husband lied to me about everything, years and years into a marriage. This story has both things in spades!

Side by side of the real vs. the movie version.
Who is Clark Rockefeller?

This side by side is particularly scary because both look like guys I would (and have) date(d). Yikes! I also often find myself going “ohhh, he’s cute” when watching Law and Order only to find out the guy looks like it’s the 50s because he’s mentally stunted by his overbearing mother who made him wear black rimmed glasses until he became a serial killer.

Enough about me.

The movie opens with “Clark” opening up a big, beautiful door and walking outside breathing deeply. Then his wife picks up a kid at a super fancy school.

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The kid and mom are eating dinner (god, do rich people think this kind of dining table in the house is a good idea?) and the daughter is super excited because she’s gonna see her dad tomorrow. I guess this is post divorce then. This kid doesn’t have a door on her room- just gigantic curtains that are spread open that you walk through.

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That’s… weird? After your kid goes to bed you’d have to be super quiet and tiptoe around.

The mom does something that I love- sits down at her laptop, just outside the open entryway to her daughter’s room, and just fake types as fast as possible. Clack, clack, clack at the speed of light.

Clark is in the car with his driver talking about taking an alternate route because some annoying person is bothering him. The driver is all “why not just get a restraining order?” and he spins a yarn about how this crazy person may actually try to get into the car. The driver says he won’t let that happen. By locking the doors? He is clearly up to something and I’m betting it’s the kidnapping of his own daughter but time will tell.

Casually, Clark brings up the money problems he’s heard the driver is having. Nothing like a little black mail between friends.

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Clark is such a charmer. He sees a doorman and is all “did you get a haircut? I need the name of your barber!” and the doorman gives a bashful smile. The world is in the palm of a charming man’s hand. Now he’s looking at a painting that costs 300k that is a bowl of fruit. Yuck. I do wonder where his money comes from though- I’d like to be a con lady but I don’t think I could stomach the constant “being on” that is required. I prefer being off.

Their daughter’s nickname is “Snooks” but it was before the unfortunate Jersey Shore connotations.

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Lunch at a really stuffing looking place full of old people. He lets her add up the check. I would love to mock this but I was a child who loved adding checks and balancing checkbooks. Yup.

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Ahh yes, his visits with the daughter are supervised by a case worker… so when he told the driver that he has a stalker it was setting up the fact that he was going to shake the case worker and the driver was going to help him (unknowingly). This is such a mess! He just hits the guy and then throws his daughter into a car while she’s screaming hysterically.

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The guy actually holds onto the moving vehicle screaming “stop the car!” I can’t imagine that the driver doesn’t get that something shady is going on here… but he just drives away and is all “whoa, that guy is nuts.”

A kidnapping is reported to the police, who are somewhere complaining about the price of coffee being too dang high. The mom is very worried.

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Across town Clark and Snooks are stuck in traffic so he just gets out and hoofs it and tells the driver thanks. The driver still doesn’t think this is weird?

The mom is freaking out and the cops are all “no big deal, we know your ex has her” and she’s all YOU DON’T GET IT! So they assume he’s violent and she drops the bomb that he will disappear and no one will ever see him or the daughter again.

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They look at her like she might be insane, or like they have an annoying amount of work ahead of them.

Clark and Snooks seem to be in some other state… they get into his friend’s car and she’s all “aww, you’re such a good dad.” Then she says she has to pee and he’s all “HOLD IT IN!” and also tells her not to answer her phone. Again, she’s not wondering what’s up here?

Ex-wife tells the cops that Clark never flies. Ever. He must take some long fucking boat trips then because he goes around the world. Oh good, the head cop (Sassy Black Lady Cop) asks her how she met Clark and this spurs her to flashback to how they met and tell the story of how they fell in love. That is very convenient.

They met at a Clue party at his mansion. I totally want to go to a Clue party. That would be so fun!

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Man, I wish I knew more fun rich people when I was in college (supposedly this party is in Manhattan). The first thing he did was say that he wouldn’t call her Sandy because he hates nicknames so he’ll call her Sandra. I guess ladies love a take charge guy? Even when he re-names you upon meeting?

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He is the gayest straight man ever. Seriously, he’s in a smoking jacket taking her through his modern art collection. In fact, if he didn’t start kissing her I would never guess this guy was straight. As he’s kissing her he just starts whispering in, OH MY GOD, Klingon! She is all “holy shit, you speak Klingon” and he says “I told you I speak 6 languages.” THIS IS HOW HE SEDUCES HER. Oh man, that was incredible.

He wants her to drop out of Harvard and move to NYC to be with him (after one date?). She’s all “nah” but then he jokes about her becoming a Rockefeller and she seems interested. These are the oldest college students. Firstly, they’re being played by 40 year olds and secondly they’re talking about modern art collections and getting married and living on the upper east side at a party.

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The didgeridoo scene! She’s asleep and he just starts playing this shit. That would never, EVER fly with me. Stop being an asshole while I’m sleeping! She, on the other hand, wakes up and is all “what is that magnificent thing?” and he tells her about his time with an aboriginal tribe and she’s even more impressed with him. END WEIRD SCENE.

He has breakfast ready with a rose and the NY Times crossword. He is playing her like a fiddle. Now he tells her about how he lost his parents when they were on their way to visit him when he was at Yale. He feels like it’s his fault they died and she comforts him. He says that love makes people vulnerable and she says that he’s safe with her. This is his way of having the “I love you” moment. He begs her to tell him she loves him and then is relieved (but note, doesn’t say it back)… what an effing wanker. She sits there thinking he’s so sweet and emotional instead of realizing that he just manipulated her.

I love the idea of the cop sitting there and listening to stories of didgeridoos and Klingon language. Riveting police work.

The cops can’t find Clark in the system. Another cop is all “Rockefeller is spelled with an R” like these other cops are idiots. The cop who is doing the search explains that nothing is coming up. “It’s like he’s a ghost.” Commercial.

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Meredith Viera reports on the case. I love these Lifetime Movies based on real stories, when they use actual news footage about the story. I also love the chutzpah that makes a con man choose one of the most famous names in the country to go by… and then get away with it!

The cops are asking her for any of the paperwork from their marriage and she has nothing. He did all the paperwork (including marriage license) so she has nothing. She also never met any of his family. She is realizing how stupid she sounds as the cops give her looks.

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“You were married to him for 12 years… you don’t know anything about him?” She is exasperated because she knows they are right about how dumb she is. He also told her that she had to file taxes as a single person while they were married because he’s a Rockefeller and she just believed him. Incredible. Remember, she went to Harvard (zing!).

Flashback to them being at dinner and he tells Sandy’s dad that his mother was an actress who was in some classic movie.

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Sandy is all “I thought your mom’s name was Mary?” and he’s all “I think I know who my own mother was.” She apologizes for not remembering correctly and moves on like it’s no big deal. Her dad warns her that the very rich operate differently than the rest of us and she says that he’s wrong because Clark has been through a lot. “He’s the one!”

Cut to- an INCREDIBLE scene where he is on a segway, wearing a helmet, walking a pug wearing a casual suit (think the Tom Ford shortie suits). READ THE WHOLE SENTENCE THERE.

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Yeah, he’s just like the rest of us regular slobs. On a separate note, I’ve never wished to be rich so badly in my life. Dogs wearing suits!

Oh, he’s at his own wedding. Did segways exist then? They came out in 2001, right? I have no idea where we are in time right now but they were married for 12 years… the math is not adding up for me. He has a weird thing against green. He hates green in paintings and at his wedding he says there is to be no green food like the caterers are trying to kill him and then shoos them away. What a queen. I mean, what a virile straight man.

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The people at the wedding are snottily discussing how passe this wedding is but one lady says “he’s filthy rich, this is different for him” but it seems like a nice wedding. I guess he didn’t give them all diamonds when they sat down but there is a mother effing dog wearing a suit. Some people will just never be pleased.

Sandy is recording a video pleading with him to bring the kid back, as the cops wanted.

A cop comes in and is all “we got a hit on the fingerprints, he’s not a Rockefeller.”

Sandy: “Do you know who he is?”
Sassy black lady cop: “You mean you don’t?”

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^^^^^ Every time I say the cops look at her like she’s stupid imagine the above expression^^^^^

Haven’t we well established that she has no idea who he is?? Am I the only one paying attention here? I get that she’s a total idiot but he’s committed several crimes, can they focus on him for a minute?

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Now they’re grilling her on exactly how stupid she is… AGAIN. Apparently, during the divorce she hired a detective to find out about his financials and he figured out that he was most likely not a Rockefeller but that was as much as she knew. She’s all “I’m a Harvard MBA!” which does not impress the cops the way she had hoped.

I love when Lifetime tells me what I’m watching as I’m watching it. Lower thirds are out of control these days. When I make shows I’m driven crazy by this crap and when I’m watching tv I hate it too. End boring work rant. Moving on.

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It’s the 70s! Clark has sweet blond hair in a sort of blowout and he’s German. He watches American tv to learn how practice his accent and tells women that his family owns Mercedes or something.

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Back to now: Clark is moving into his new house and his new name is “Mr. Smith” and his daughter is now a son and his job is to be a “ship captain.” I like this new lie a lot. Ship captain! He can’t stop showboating though and tells his real estate agent that his grandfather was the dean of Yale. Shut up, ship captain, and go man the starboard bow or something.

HOW DOES HE HAVE MONEY?? He doesn’t work and he’s at home all day every day. He is telling his wife that he’s saving the Liberian economy… what does that even mean?? She says that he bounced a $2000 check to the wine store and that maybe he should cut back on wine expenditures if they’re living on her salary.

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He’s all “you should ask for a raise.” Hahahah, she says he could get a job. He is aghast! “I thought you understood pro-bono work for the third world!” What kind of work is he claiming to do pro-bono? Saving various third world country’s economies on his laptop in his pajamas? He saves economies they same way I play bejeweled.

She wants to sell one of his Pollocks but he’s all “they need at least 10 more years to mature!” These are rich people problems, y’all. Speaking of rich people problems- I’m having a hard time typing, eating ice cream and also taking photos of my tv at the same time right now.

Sassy black lady cop runs the German name they have for him and finds an episode of Unsolved Mysteries (oh man, I loved that show) that was about him and a connection to a homicide in CA that was never solved.

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He was never found despite the photo on the website that looks 100% like he has looked for the last 15 years and him leading a high profile life. That’s really impressive actually.

The cops are going through all of his aliases and talking about this homicide but Sandy doesn’t buy it. “Clark has done many horrible things but…” she can’t believe he could kill someone. Sassy Black Lady Cop tells her to get used to because he murdered someone. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Sheesh.

Their daughter was established as being very smart- is she not wondering why he’s calling her his son now and cutting her hair and putting her in boy clothes? She’s like 8 years old. Maybe she’s just going with the flow?

The next scene is done completely with the magic of editing. He’s blond, looking in the mirror. Opens the medicine cabinet and pulls out hair dye. Closes the cabinet and is, wait for it, brunette. TAH-DAH! End scene.

Here it is in photos:
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The cops are putting together that he married some girl at the University of Wisconsin for a green card. Then he was a ship captain out of Chile (oh yes, when you have a fake life as good as ship captain once you can never give it up for good). Whoa, they show him in an office so apparently he worked somewhere at least once in his life.

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Then he claimed to be an astrophysicist and then A CARDIOVASCULAR SURGEON! Did he operate on people? Holy crap, that is insanity.

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In this weird scene where he has a mustache and a cool, old car he’s telling some lady that he’s somehow related to British royalty.

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In the 80s he hosted a talk show in California! Just when you think it can’t get more bananas, it does. Now he’s running for city council and then he’s working in the Pentagon.

He manages to seduce a lot of women for a dude who is clearly gay. That’s the only really strange part is that he’s being played like he’s really not a straight man but being straight is part of his act… was that a director choice? Or was this dude so used to being on Will and Grace that he couldn’t turn it off?

He was living in the guest house of some newlyweds and they came up missing and he skipped town. That’s all the cops know and yet this Sassy Black Lady Cop is all “kill him, he’s guilty.” Obviously, he’s guilty of many things but still… she needs to watch some Law and Order. That’s all I’m saying.

Sassy Black Lady Cop tells Sandy they know she makes 40k a week, bringing in 2 million a year. (Let those numbers hang in the air for a second… 40k a week).

Sandy: So what’s your point? That I’m brilliant, successful, good at business?? Don’t you think it’s possible for someone to be amazing in one aspect of her life and stupid in another?
Sassy black lady cop is all “oh girl” with her face.

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Then I died from laughing too hard. Brilliant! Amazing! No one is accusing you of either of those things, Sandy. No one is accusing you of being modest either…

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He somehow has a briefcase full of money and keys in an envelope. The music is really ramping up now so this must be important.

It’s incredible to me that he got 800k to give up custody of his daughter (that’ll pay a few wine bills) and then goes and kidnaps her. You can’t have it both ways… but I guess con men assume they can have it whatever way? I never thought about it before.

Also! This just occurred to me. Sandy’s dad was warning her about rich people when she makes 2 million a year and acts like it’s nothing. Does her dad think that’s a regular life?

Sandy and Clark are at some black-tie affair and a camera man takes a photo of him and he goes off- DID YOU TAKE MY PHOTO??? And then tells him to erase it now. How old are they supposed to be here? Do they have the kid yet? I have no idea. Someone at the party asks him about Rockefeller Center and he says “I have the key right here” and the guy is all “Rockefeller Center has one key??” and it’s really weird. In the car she tells him that was embarrassing and that he’s weird and they have a fight and she says that she is leaving him.

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Now he’s outside her office and she breaks it down for us that he’s been calling and emailing her endlessly since she drove off after the party. She is working for Senator Kerry and he brought some fancy jewels for her to wear to an event tonight that he claims his family leant.

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She is enamored I guess because they have some really cold, lifeless sex to celebrate.

She’s pregnant now! And now the kid is like 6 years old. This is moving quickly. She says that she had to wake up at 6am to leave the house on Monday mornings and they illustrate this by having the audio of a rooster crowing in the background.

She is annoyed because Clark wrote a 110k check for something without running it past her. Why wouldn’t she just have her own bank account at this point? I don’t get how she can be so BRILLIANT and AMAZING while being such a fucking idiot. The fact that she has an MBA adds insult to injury here. He has the nanny take Snooks out of the room (wait, he was supposedly a stay at home dad… and they had a nanny?) so that he can tell her that she is tiresome and boring about money.

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Yes, when you’re spending someone else’s money by the boatloads it’s annoying when they complain. How dare they!She says she is not going to put up with this much longer and he tells her she could move out and maintain a house for both of them. How generous of him!

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A weird snippet scene involves him digging a moat around their driveway and him laughing about it while he fills a giant trench with a hose. Now he seems flat out insane.

Sandy asks him for a divorce and he makes really shitty remarks and then says that he’ll get custody and she’ll never see their daughter again. She hasn’t done anything wrong and is the mom so I can’t imagine that is true… she also has an income… and a social security number.

She meets with her lawyer and says she hasn’t seen her daughter in three weeks (why??) and her lawyer, who looks kind of like Skeletor, informs her that Clark is not a Rockefeller.

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She is a bit horrified when she finds out he’s worth nothing and that all his paintings are fakes. The lawyer says the good news is that him not being able to prove his identity means he won’t have any power in the custody battle. I guess that’s good news? The upside of being lied to for 12 years?

With this small battle won Sandy goes to what is now Clark’s house and picks up the kid and discharges the babysitter.

In the arbitration she says she wants sole custody and is giving nothing and his lawyer is all “I hope you’re joking!” Her lawyer informs them that she is negotiating and this is what’s happening. She drops the “we had him investigated and he’s not Clark Rockefeller” bomb and he looks pissed while his lawyer looks scared and confused.

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He’s all “don’t pretend you didn’t know” and the lawyer knows his case is over. Sandy says she’s going to pay him off and he’s going to go far away. He then takes a runaway train to grossville and says “remember how we used to make love?” and I gag to death on my own vomit. “3, 4 times a day we’d make love…” ACKKKKKK, I’m dead.

Sandy: I don’t know who you are. Name your number.
Clark: A million dollars and your engagement ring.

Looks like he had a number picked out all along.

She throws the ring at him and calls him a sick lying bastard. They agree to 800k.

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He’s apparently staying on a small boat with Snooks but I don’t know where she is. He walks in with some groceries and starts putting them away. That was a whole scene. Walking in with groceries and then putting them away. In a movie with so much going on.

Some dude I don’t think we’ve seen before is peeking into a window. Clark is walking down the street, looking worried. Clark sees the cop’s car with coffee in it and binoculars and knows he better hit the road. The scene ends there… then the cop calls Sassy Black Lady Cop and tells her he’s found her fugitive but then says he doesn’t have him in custody. No, you just let him see you and know he was caught and then give him a running start? That makes sense.

The cops have the marina call him and tell him that his catamaran is taking on a lot of water and looks like it will sink so that he’ll get down there. As he’s leaving, Snooks freaks out and begs him not to leave her alone. She’s been pretty traumatized in the last week… maybe he should be nicer to her considering she’s the “love of life” and all.

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He goes back inside briefly but then leaves- did he tranquilize her or something? When the cops surround him and arrest him he looks confused because clearly nothing like this has ever happened to him before.

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They go into the house and there is no sign of Snooks. Turns out she’s just upstairs playing with her doll with her headphones on. Everyone is relieved.

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Snooks is so happy to see her mom and is all “I think dad’s in a lot of trouble- I wanna go home now.” I knew this kid knew something was up. Poor kid.

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He’s being interviewed by a faux Oprah while in jail. He’s always glamorous, even when incarcerated. He plays it like the victim since he had his daughter ripped from his arms. Yuck, shut up. When you willfully take money to leave, no one is ripping anything. Also, he has a dig on his wife for working so much. That is nervy of him. She had to pay the wine bills!

Meanwhile, in California a family is having a pool put in but it’s held up by the skeletal remains that are found in the ground. Oops, that’ll really put a damper on the backyard barbecues.

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WHOA! He’s only in jail until 2015! Maybe 2014 with good behavior. That’s pretty insane. He’ll be back out on the streets in no time- seducing another rich lady and maybe kidnapping his daughter again. With all those counts of fraud and then kidnapping and being a person of interest in a double murder he only got 4-5 years in jail?

So, be on the lookout for him, ladies. Don’t let his Klingon language skills seduce you. Stay strong!

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