Friday, 25 April 2008

Lucky You

Hollywood has been very good to the World Series of Poker (WSOP from now on). When Rounders came out back in 1998, the WSOP was still very much a fringe interest amongst the ESPN crowd. It actually continued to struggle for a while until 2003. Rounders, by then, had a cult following of poker wannabes and the WSOP had created the "hole cam" the prior year to make for better viewing for TV audiences. Oh, and an amateur with the unlikely handle of Chris Moneymaker wound up winning the Main Event.

The number of participants in the $10,000 buy-in Main Event went from 839 in 2003 to a whopping 8,773 in 2006. For a bunch of people I know, ESPN's coverage and Rounders had a lot to do with the added success. Too bad the WSOP hasn't been nearly as nice to Hollywood.

Lucky You has a lot of things going for it. It's directed and co-written by an award winning filmmaker in Curtis Hanson. It has an interesting cast with Eric Bana, Robert Duvall and Drew Barrymore. It has a ton of cameos by real poker professionals and a decent respect to the game.

What it doesn't have is an interesting story. The plot involves a young poker hotshot who is trying to raise capital for a buy-in to the Main Event at the 2003 WSOP. Along the way he has to deal with his daddy issues - his father is a 2-time champ at the Main Event - his own hubris and his failed attempts at a love life. All very Greek tragedy-ish, if you ask me.

It was just plain boring. And the message boards on the Internet are filled with poker players shouting their disdain at the film for it's portrayal of the game itself. I don't really care about that, since I don't know that much to begin with. I just want a movie that's exciting and fun filled with characters that I care about. Like Rounders.

Finally, is there a less engaging lead actor out there besides Eric Bana? I thought this guy was gonna be the shit after his big break-thru performance in Chopper. But it's been boring role after boring role after boring role for this guy since Hulk. He's better than a half-bottle of NyQuil for a good night's sleep. He needs to harden the fuck up!


Paige Stanton said...

I loved Rounders, but I'm in love with Matt Damon. This might be one I'll have to check out. Have you seen 21?

lotus07 said...

The problem with any film involving games of change (cards, pool, Russion Roulette) are the fact that these are boring subjects. I have no interest in seeing the current box office champ (21) since I know it is about cards. Just can't get excited about it.

B.E. Earl said...

Paige - I haven't seen 21 yet, but I've seen the History Channel documentary on it. Hmmm...where did all the Asians go? Oh, that's right...Hollywood film.

Louts - I dunno. A nice round of Russian Roulette in a Cambodian nightclub sounds like a fun night out to me.

The Blonde Blogshell said...

I have to admit...I love poker! Luuurve it!
I'm quite lucky at it too, which is weird as I suck at bluffing!

We're behind in the movie circuit in South Africa, so this is great to is going to save me a fortune on movie tickets :-) Hahaha!!

Übermilf said...

On my trip overseas in 1999, I had a choice between two movies to watch: "Babe, a Pig in the City" and "Rounders."

I chose "Rounders," and I still feel I made the right decision.

Übermilf said...

BTW, on the return trip, I had a choice between "You've Got Mail" and that one where Val Kilmer is blind and gets his sight back.

There was no winning.

B.E. Earl said...

Ubie - The only winner in the choice between those last two movies is sleep. I hope you rewarded it with your full attention. ;)

The Ambiguous Blob said...

consider this one added to the list of movies I'll never see.

B.E. Earl said...

Tabbie - Welcome to the Grenade! I've got another card game film coming up next week for you to ignore. Watch for it!!!