A family's moral codes are tested when Ray Tierney investigates a case that reveals an incendiary police corruption scandal involving his own brother-in-law. For Ray, the truth is revelatory, a Pandora's Box that threatens to upend not only the Tierney legacy but the entire NYPD.
In late 1950s New York, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever, is sent to Italy to retrieve a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy, named Dickie Greenleaf. But when the errand fails, Ripley takes extreme measures.
Kids show host Rainbow Randolph is fired in disgrace while his replacement, Sheldon Mopes, aka Smoochy the Rhino, finds himself a rising star. Unfortunately for Sheldon, the kid's TV business isn't all child's play.
This film was unjustly panned as lethargic and bleak without a purpose. Considering how Hold 'Em has developed into one of the biggest social fads in the last decade, I would say that this film captures every emotional aspect the 'swings' of No Limit typically carry.
I had absolutely no idea how to play the game when I first saw this movie about five years ago. The dialogue is wrought with jargon that almost makes a mockery of itself. Especially since much of the movie is done with voice-over, I can see where critics are coming from. However, the viewer should not allow themselves to get bogged down with it all, we get the gist with well-developed staging and performances.
Damon and Norton play off each other better than Damon and Affleck. Though the story echoes in the wake of Scorsese's 'Mean Streets', the performances seem more detailed than the Keitel/DeNiro combo. The supporting roles add great depth to the film, and Tutorro shines as the wise-old has-been that successfully provides Damon's character with the cold-hard truth he never seems to adhere to (until it is too late).
Above all, we feel compelled to cheer for Damon's Mike McDermott the ENTIRE time. He acknowledges his 'bad' play but constantly tries to explain that this is a game of skill and not luck. This is an important element considering the widely accepted belief that any success in gambling is the result of luck. This may be true in the bloodsucking casinos, but in Hold 'Em you play the chips AND the man.
Now that baseball is out of the Olympics, perhaps we will see a push for a true "WORLD Series of Poker". Then again, I also wanted to see 'Four Square' made into an official event when I was 8, so maybe I'm just talking out of my ass...
Should be commended as a precursor to a pandemic fad that is costing teens (and their parents) millions daily.
*** (of ****)
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