News anchor Kent Brockman reports that Springfield is the least cultural city in the United States. In response, a town meeting is held to decide a course of action, where Marge proposes that Springfield host a film festival showcasing films made by the townspeople. Marge is made the head of the festival's judging panel, and invites New York film critic Jay Sherman to be a special guest critic. Upon his arrival, Jay stays with the Simpson family, which becomes problematic as his popularity with the family makes Homer feel inadequate and overshadowed. Homer fears that nobody respects his intelligence by voicing his concerns. Marge tries to convince him that everyone does respect him, but his crude behaviour is the only thing they do not respect. Unconvinced by it, Homer persuades Marge to put him on the festival's judging panel to try to prove himself to others that he is more than unintelligent. Meanwhile, when Mr. Burns learns that his profits have dropped due to his bad image, Waylon Smithers informs him of the film festival. Burns decides that an epic biographical film will endear him to the people, so he hires Steven Spielberg's "non-union, Mexican equivalent," Señor Spielbergo to direct and deciding to play himself in the film after the auditions to have an actor portray him fail screen test.
The film festival commences at the Aztec Theatre, with entries including Apu Nahasapeemapetilon's Bright Lights, Beef Jerky (security footage from the Kwik-E-Mart), Moe Szyslak's musical number, Moe Better Booze (little more than a song-and-dance advertisement for Moe's Tavern), Bart's The Eternal Struggle (a home video of Homer attempting to squeeze into a pair of undersized pants), Ned Flanders' film about Moses (in which Todd, playing baby Jesus, is dragged down a river until God saves him), and Hans Moleman's, Man Getting Hit by Football, which only features Moleman getting hit in the groin by a football. Moleman's movie makes Homer laugh, but Marge is displeased with him when she hears him announce that he should get the grand prize. Jay reminds Homer that he cannot quickly judge on one movie. Festival attendees are particularly touched by Barney Gumble's artistic introspective film about alcoholism, Pukahontas, which Jay (later a victim of football in the groin) foresees to be the eventual winner. Burns' film, A Burns for All Seasons, is screened last, and is met with a negative audience reaction. The audience jeers at Mr. Burns for it, because it is nothing more than ego driven and poorly made to try to portray him in a more positive light.
In the judge's room, Jay and Marge vote for Barney's film, while Mayor Quimby and Krusty the Clown vote for Burns' movie after many bribes and also due to being ego-driven themselves. Left with the tie-breaking vote, Homer quickly and enthusiastically votes for Man Getting Hit by Football. Marge confronts him for voting for the worst movie, even after he joined the judging panel. Homer tries to defend himself, but Jay points out there is more to life than seeing someone being hit with a football. Finally convinced to change his vote, Homer asks Marge to let him view the films again in private and she agrees. Later on, he views Pukahontas again while reflecting on the two films' qualities. Eventually, Homer sees the soul of Barney's film and makes his decision. At the awards ceremony, Jay announces that Barney is the grand prize winner, and Marge is proud of Homer for voting for the right film.
Flashing forward six months, Burns is at the Academy Awards, where despite having bribed everyone in Hollywood, he loses out on an Oscar to George C. Scott in a remake of Man Getting Hit by Football. Marge laments that now is the time that Mr. Burns learn his lesson that he should not bribe everyone.