In Photoshop the skew tool allows you to move each corner of the object being skewed independently. Is there an equivalent in Illustrator? Envelope distort seems overkill and harder to achieve the same result.
You can use the Free Transform tool (keyboard shortcut is E).
There is a trick though:
Click and hold on the the corner you wish to move. THEN press and hold the Command (or Control for Windows) key. Now you can drag the corner around.
Make sure you click FIRST. Holding Command and then trying to click and drag won't work.
You can do the same thing with Command + Option + Shift to do a perspective distort.
If you want to use a skew effect with text, you can get a pretty good result from using Illustrator's 3-D - Extrude & Bevel effect.
Once your text has been 'Expanded', select it and click on 'Extrude & Bevel' in the 'Effects' menu. Set all of the option bars to 0, except for 'Rotation' and 'Perspective'.
Now simply experiment with these two until you get the result you're looking for.
I hope it helps.
To get these individual point selections in Photoshop, you use skew. But in Illustrator this is unnecessary. The easiest way to do this type of manipulation is with the
Direct Selection Tool (A) (the little white arrow). With this tool you can select individual points and move them around as you see fit.
In addition to that, if you hold
SHIFT and click on each point, you can select multiple points to move around.