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Big Shot: Confessions of a Campus Bookie (2002)

TV Movie  |  R  |   |  Drama  |  31 March 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 590 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 3 critic

Moyher's good boy Benny Silman from Brooklyn becomes an economics student at Arizona State University for the sun and sexy girls- and the proximity of gambling paradise Las Vegas. Benny ... See full summary »


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Title: Big Shot: Confessions of a Campus Bookie (TV Movie 2002)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Benny Silman
Stevin 'Hedake' Smith
Joe Jr. (as Nick Turturro)
Troy (as James LeGros)
The Mook
Big Red
Nick (as Jeremy Luc)
FBI Agent Simms
Agent Vasquez


Moyher's good boy Benny Silman from Brooklyn becomes an economics student at Arizona State University for the sun and sexy girls- and the proximity of gambling paradise Las Vegas. Benny aces his studies, being a mathematical genius, but the one who earns money from him at sports is bookie Troy, who however recruits him as subcontractor, making a few thousand for himself. The next year Benny starts for himself, with a few dozen student vassals, and makes a hundredfold. A friend's big brother, Chicago stock-broker Joe Jr., doesn't hold Benny to a $6,000 loss but plants the idea of cheating by playing the 'spread' trough an accomplice jock, notably NBA-class college basketball player Stevin 'Hedake' Smith. Local drug lord Big Red imposes himself as second investor, but Benny manages to keep that secret for Joe's 'family'. Alas Benny also makes a single female conquest, Carolina horse rancher's daughter Callie, whose moralistic nagging not to 'waste his talent' makes working job, studies ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content and drug use | See all certifications »




Release Date:

31 March 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Big Shot - Wie das Leben so spielt  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


Michael Ritchie's final film. He wrote the story before his death in 2001 and the film was dedicated in memory of him. See more »


During the basketball game, it is obvious that the "people" in the upper seats are clearly cardboard cutouts due to a lack of extras on the set. See more »


Features Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (1991) See more »


Written by Steve Bauman (I) and Nick Nolan (II)
Performed by Stretch Nickel
See more »

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User Reviews

After School Special with Four-Letter words
7 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Hmmm, after reading the others' comments on "Big Shot: Confessions of a Campus Bookie", I am wondering if they really watched the same movie. Characters are the same, events are the same, even the silly cardboard cut-outs in the "big game" scene are the same.

So why would these people take the time to write glowing reviews of a boringly predictable moral tale?

Answer 1: Novices. Perhaps these people have never witnessed a "moving picture" before and are very impressed simply by the illusion of movement across large white screens (or glowing dots of light if they're watching on a television). Perhaps they have never experienced any of the thousands of children stories that show a protagonist doing something ethically questionable and then regretting it in the end (ie, "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", "King Midas", "The Godfather", or any story involving getting wishes).

Answer 2: Friends of the movie. Perhaps these people either worked on the movie or are somehow associated with people with interests in the movie.

To keep with the movie's theme, I'm giving 3:2 odds on the latter.

Okay, the review (skipping a summary as you can read that elsewhere): From the opening scene, the protagonist, Benny (ably played by Numb3rs' star David Krumholtz), tells us this is the story of how he came to regret his current state. This swift reveal also destroys much of the opportunity this movie had to keep us engaged. Instead of letting us discover what happens, we already know how it's going to turn out. There's a fourth act and a bizarre epilogue as well, but I'll get to that later.

Benny's sidekicks are capably but predictably played as your basic NYC stereotypes. Benny's girlfriend is decently portrayed by "House" star Jennifer Morrison. The other bookies, bad-guys, and the basketball star (Tory Kittles) are again simple characters marking simple stereotypes. While better actors could have squeezed something out of the characters, there was clearly nothing in the script for them to work with.

One interesting note is the excessive use of body-mounted cameras. These shots are used to portray various intense moods of Benny, but are so used that they get very annoying. Instead of hitting the same note on the piano, let the DP use other tricks, please. Other than that, the look and style was decent for an ultra-low budget film.

But for a movie that indulges so much in the coarse pleasures of life (drugs, violence, strip-clubs, etc.), I am amazed at the lack of female eye-candy in this film. This is made especially more painful from the tease of the establishing sequence of why Benny chose to come to Arizona in the first place. Even the titty-bar shuns nudity (the girls are all wearing bikinis or silly-looking pasties). Sure, this was a made-for-TV movie, but it's already rated R. Truly sad is the decision to make an exploitation movie and not have any exploitation.

While the occasional breaking of the fourth wall (where the Benny talks directly into the camera during a scene a la "Malcolm in the Middle") is amusing, the near constant use of voice-over narration to explain, re-explain, and re-re-explain the plot is not only overkill, it's downright insulting. I paused the movie eight times to cool down before I finally finished it. Had I been in a theater I would have simply walked out.

And if the painfully clear moral of the film wasn't drop-dead obvious enough, after the out-of-no-where fourth act comes an epilogue. In this final bit, the real Benny Silverman talks directly to the audience (think "Blow"), re-re-re-repeating the moral, insisting for the audience to never do what he did (what? and never get a movie made about your life?).

It's like paying to hear a rich drug addict preach about not doing drugs. For me, the message is clear: I want my money back!

3 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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