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House of Games (1987)

A psychiatrist comes to the aid of a compulsive gambler and is led by a smooth-talking grifter into the shadowy but compelling world of stings, scams, and con men.

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Margaret Ford
...
Mike
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Joey
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Dr. Littauer
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The Businessman
Willo Hausman ...
Girl with Book
Karen Kohlhaas ...
Prison Ward Patient
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Billy Hahn (as Steve Goldstein)
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Bartender / House of Games
...
George / Vegas Man
G. Roy Levin ...
Poker Player
Bob Lumbra ...
Poker Player
Andy Potok ...
Poker Player
Allen Soule ...
Poker Player
Ben Blakeman ...
Bartender / Charlie's Tavern
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Storyline

A famous psychologist, Margaret Ford, decides to try to help one of her patients get out of a gambling debt. She visits the bar where Mike, to whom the debt is owed, runs poker games. He convinces her to help him in a game: her assignment is to look for "tells", or give-away body language. What seems easy to her becomes much more complex. Written by John J. Magee <magee@helix.mgh.harvard.edu>

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Nothing is as it seems. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

14 October 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bordet fanger  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$116,677 (USA) (18 October 1987)

Gross:

$2,585,639 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was originally intended to be a larger-budget film with many "name" actors, but David Mamet chose to direct on his own with his wife (Crouse) and friends (Mantegna) in the cast. See more »

Goofs

After Mike supposedly loses the game, he remains with his both hands on the table. Next shot he is holding the cigarette in front of his face, with his elbow leaning on the table. See more »

Quotes

Mike: I think you're bluffin', pal. I think you're trying to BUY it!
George: Then you're gonna have to give me some respect, or give me some money.
See more »

Connections

References Animal House (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

This True Love Stopped For You (But Not For Me)
by Rokko Jans
Sung by June Shellene
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User Reviews

 
House of Dreadful Acting
24 May 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Spoilers Ahead:

Want to know why David Mamet stuck to writing after this with one or two more pieces of crap like this one? Watch this movie, a director is responsible for the performances he commits to film. Watch THE ARRIVAL or SLAP SHOT Lindsey Crouse is no Meryl Streep but she is light years better in those films than here. As an earlier great reviewer pointed out she sounds like a robot. Her delivery is so bad that Mantegna, playing Mike, looks pained in many of his scenes with her. This might have been a much better film with a capable director in charge. I have to compare it with Tea Leoni in DEEP IMPACT and even that is very unfair to Tea. Crouse has absolutely no inflection even before she is about to shoot Mike. She sounds Vulcan. Since she is on the screen in almost every scene, it A bombs the movie. She completely wrecks the film. Who, at Criterion Collection, decided that this should be 40 bucks on DVD? This is a classic? I grew up in the 80s and trust me nobody saw this film back then.

Like all Mamet works, this is a hit piece. The target is psychology. Look, I do not know maybe David had a therapist who overcharged him. Dave did not have too many logic classes; how do I know? In your first logic class, you learn all the logical fallacies so you can refrain from even joining combat when an opponent makes the error of using one. The whole movie is the logical fallacy of AD HOMINEM. This means to the person. If you cannot defeat someone's argument call them names or make fun of them. Let's grant all his assertions about Margaret; she is a closet sociopath, she enjoys stealing and hurting people, let's broaden it for him. Let's imagine that a majority of therapists are all corrupt just like Margaret Ford, have I proved that therapy does not work in any way? Do the mental or moral states of therapists have anything to do with the efficacy of therapy?

Yet, my friends, this is Mamet's thesis. Margaret is prototypical of hypocritical therapists who are sicker than their patients. Again, this is a giant non sequitur. The efficacy of therapy is not determined by the moral character of the fallible corrupt people who administer it any more than medical doctors treatments are undermined by their moral failings. Again, NON SEQUITUR, Dave take some logic please. Beyond these esoterics, look the film is slow, boring goes nowhere and you will endure, with the exception of Mantegna and Walsh, some of the worst acting you have ever witnessed. It will bore you to tears. We get she is goofy; OK, could we move on. No, we cannot because that is the entire point of this piece of crap. She is goofy, hence her therapy is hypocritical, ergo all psychology is a sham. Please, Dave you are embarrassing yourself.


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