Thursday, March 27, 2008

Top 5 Gambling Films

Today we look at five films which deal with gambling, betting, and hustling.

Here are the five (okay six, I cheated a little) which we chose. The list is a bit eccletic to mix in various types of gambling movies. There are actually quite a few out there that could have made the cut, but these are the five we decided to go with.

*Editor’s Note - As we just reviewed Rounders (read that review) it was left off the list.

Casino - I almost didn’t include this film, but how could I keep it off the list? Martin Scorsese directs this tale of a Vegas Casino run by a moneymaker (Robert De Niro) and owned by the mob. De Niro is terrific as is Joe Pesci as the violently sadistic Nicky. Even Sharon Stone comes off well, so you know this must be a pretty good film! At three-hours I still think it’s a bit too long, but it’s well worth taking a bet on if you haven’t seen it.

The Cooler - This strange little film is about a cooler, a jinx, hired by a casino to break the luck of gamblers winning too much at the tables. William H. Macy stars the unlucky loser Bernie and Maria Bello plays a love interest who changes Bernie’s luck, but may cost him his job and possibly even more. A memorable film.

The Hustler & The Color of Money - In The Hustler a young pool player known as Fast Eddie Money (Paul Newman) competes to win a high-stakes match against the champ (Jackie Gleason). 25 years later Newman would resurrect the character for the sequel,The Color of Money, as Fast Eddie tries to teach a young hot shot (Tom Cruise) the ins-and-outs of hustling. Both are very good, and the second (which won Newman an Oscar) is underrated. (read The Color of Money review).

Let it Ride - Speaking of underrated films, Richard Dreyfuss stars as a cabbie and lifetime loser who has one day at the track where he just can’t seem to lose. The entire film takes place in one day and is filled to the brim with characters (David Johansen, Teri Garr, Jennifer Tily, David Schramm, Cynthia Nixon, and Robert Coltrane). It may not be the best film on this list, but it’s the most fun!

The Sting - Seven Academy Awards, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw, andCharles Durning. What more could you want? Redford and Newman star as partners out to take down a rich high-stakes gambler (Shaw). Currently rated #93 on IMDB’s Top 250 Films.

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