Thursday, January 15, 2004

Movie time!

So I just watched The Cooler, an incredibly dark comedy starring William H. Macy as the unluckiest man in Vegas. Wow. What an odd little movie that was. Good though, despite having a William H. Macy nude scene. The central character walks the floor of the Shangri-La casino, sidling over to anyone whose getting a little too lucky, and turning their luck around. That is, of course, until he falls in love, and his luck suddenly changes. Mostly, the movie's about how Hellish Las Vegas is; it's a grim and gritty movie, once you get past the neon and flashing lights. Not that anyone's surprised by this. No one's going to step out of the movie saying "You mean that casinos aren't fairly distributing money? They actively want me to lose? Oh the shock I feel! My world! She is crumbling!"

Naivete of that level is practically grounds for assault.

Nonetheless, the movie is good, and that's to no small degree because of the Cooler himself. Macy has been wonderful in everything I've ever seen him in (Mystery Men) and his turn as the worlds greatest loser, Bernie Lootz, as at times hilarious, charmingly pathetic, and heartbreaking. Bernie's boss is shocked to find out someone had fallen in love with Bernie, but I wasn't. It's hard not to love the schmuck once you get to know him. Not that you'll want to see him nude, but still.

Speaking of Bernie's boss, I must say, Alec Baldwin has tremendous range, playing everything from a greasy slimeball to a slimy greaseball. The most evil role I've ever seen him in, that's for sure.

The foundation of the movie, Bernie's luck, is interesting to think about. Imagine a life where you knew your every endeavor was doomed to fail. Bernie takes things pretty well, considering. I appreciated the little touches of ill-fortune in his personal life as well, from the big (a failed marriage and estranged son) to the little (dead houseplants) to the miniscule (the waitress ran out of cream for his coffee). It makes his curse seem more real when you see how constantly it affects him. I would have liked to see more of them, but those present were good and well-handled.

It's not a perfect movie, if nothing else it should have had a sign outside the theatre: "WARNING: William H. Macy's ass!" but it does tell a beautiful little love story, in the place where you'd least expect to see one.


Man, I'm racking my brain to come up with an appropriate gambling pun to rate this movie with, but nothing good's coming to mind. Six out of craps? |7|7|BAR|? Put it all on black, black comedy that is? Eh. Suffice to say, don't "pass" on this "ace" of a movie, or I'll have to "hit you" with a "hammer". Wait... wait... yeah, that's good.


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