In late 1950s New York, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever, is sent to Italy to retrieve Dickie Greenleaf, a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy. But when the errand fails, Ripley takes extreme measures.
A 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 business of kids television isn't all child's play.
After a prank goes disastrously wrong, a group of boys are sent to a detention center where they are brutalized. Thirteen years later, an unexpected random encounter with a former guard gives them a chance for revenge.
John Dahl directed this exploration of New York private clubs devoted to high-stakes poker, with first-person narration from the film's central figure, law student Mike McDermott (Matt Damon), who loses his entire savings to Russian club owner Teddy KGB (John Malkovich). Mike then turns away from cards, devoting his attentions to his law studies and his live-in girlfriend Jo (Gretchen Mol), who's concerned when Mike's former gambling buddy Worm (Edward Norton) is released from prison. She has good reason to worry, since it takes Worm only a matter of minutes to draw Mike back into poker action. When she learns Mike has returned to the poker clubs, she moves out, and Mike begins to lose interest in his studies. Worm has a prison debt, and the threatening Grama (Michael Rispoli) wants the money. Mike not only indulges the irresponsible Worm, he gets involved in Worm's debts. When Grama demands $15,000 on a five-day deadline, the two buddies go into high gear with a non-stop, no-sleep ...
The games that Michael has to go on a "rush" to play to win the money to pay back Gramma were the 40-50 at the Chesterfield, the Cigar Store Game, The Greeks, the Golf Pro Game and Binghamton where the New York Police State played and where Michael and Worm are completely busted out after Worm's mechanics are finally caught first hand after he had gotten away with it for most of the film. See more »
As Mike talks to the professor in the bar about Mike missing the meeting, the professor's cigarette swaps hands repeatedly between shots. See more »
[while playing against mike with Worm watching, referring to the size of the pot]
I bet the full amount
[attempting to determine his bluffing]
full amount huh? Let me look at you
[remains silent while smoking a cigarette]
[realizes he was bluffing]
nope you didn't do it this time, I'm going to raise you
[folds his hand frustrated]
See more »
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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