Inspired by Ryan’s recent posting, I’m remembering that the impact of films and certain scenes within them have on one’s life and how they can never be underestimated. Some of them had the ability to inspire and for me encouraged me you try things I might not have otherwise. In the case of gambling, there are five top casino scenes in particular that could make me want to gamble.
1. The Hangover
It told the story of four friends gathering for a bachelor party in Las Vegas and all hell breaking loose once the group consumed way too much of the local delicacies. The movie has a thought provoking scene in which Zach Galifianakis is finally put to the test and has to earn money gambling in the local casinos. He finally exercises his knowledge of probability and counting cards in a fun montage in the film that begged the question “Where do I buy Alan’s book “The World’s Greatest Black Jack Book.”
Rounders is probably one of the most underrated of the films on this list. Starring Matt Damon, Edward Norton and John Malkovich it was released in 1998. The film focuses on Matt Damon’s character, Mike McDermott, as he tries to generate a large enough bankroll to enter the World Series of Poker finals in Las Vegas. Along the way there is high drama as Edward Norton’s character, Lester ‘Worm’ Murphy, makes life anything but simple for his best friend. The subtle nuances, meticulous planning, and painstaking performances exhibited by these characters made me wonder what I could do with the right partner.
3. Casino Royale
Casino Royale brought about the return of James Bond in a powerful fashion. I remember that Daniel Craig had plenty of doubters before the film’s release, but many ate their words after they saw him in action. Some of the most exciting moments in the film for me were the gambling scenes, particularly in the Texas Hold’em tournament hosted in Montenegro. The stakes were high but Bond was able to find the nerve to not only continue playing in the game after being poisoned, he wins.
4. Trading Places
Trading places may not seem like the obvious choice for this list but it is one of the funniest. Jamie Lee Curtis, Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd star in this brilliant comedy in which two contrary characters switch lifestyles. Akroyd’s silver spoon-fed Louis Winthorp III as at a pivotal moment in his life where he can’t buy a complaint for his life while Eddie Murphy played a homeless swindling vagrant who had trouble not breaking the law. How on earth could these two possibly find themselves in each others shoes? A bet.
5. Owning Mahowny
Perhaps the least well-known of the films on this list, Owning Mahowny tells a tale where Dustin Hoffman plays a bank manager with a gambling problem. He then becomes the target of Philip Seymour Hoffman as the prospect of a heist arises. The film is based on a book by Gary Stephen Ross that covers the largest one-man bank fraud to ever take place in Canada.
These five movie scenes are some of my biggest motivators for putting my money where my mouth is and get to the card table. I might go watch these right now and see where the mood takes me…