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Most Realistic Film About Gambling

Discussion in 'Misc. Vegas Chat' started by UKFanatic, Oct 17, 2020.

  1. UKFanatic

    UKFanatic The Arbiter of Taste Caviar Kid

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    A couple weeks ago I watched California Split again and it occurred to me that is is probably the most realistic film there is that shows what its like to be a gambler. There are better made films out there about gambling (Casino comes to mind) or films about one aspect of gambling such as addiction (Owning Mahowny and Uncut Gems come to mind). But in terms of showing a thorough presentation of what its like to be a gambler, I can't think of a more realistic film than California Split. You see the camraderie between gamblers, the emotional highs of a great run, the emptiness when a run ends, the damage gambling causes to personal relationships, the anger and violence that can simmer underneath gambling, the ego of gamblers, the way gambling can occupy a gambler's thoughts during the mundane parts of life, the excuses gamblers make to get an opportunity to gamble, the excitement gamblers feel in anticipation of gambling. Its all there.

    I try to think of another film that shows all of that in a realistic way. I guess Mississippi Grind comes close (since it is, in essence, a remake of California Split). But I am trying to think if there are any others that show so many aspects of being a gambler ....
     
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  2. Marky147

    Marky147 VIP Whale

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    Rounders, if you stop it before the final act/scene.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020 at 5:07 AM
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  3. bubbakitty

    bubbakitty Doing retirement again and happily so....

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    Rain Man was probably not reflective of MOST gamblers, yes. :rolleyes:
     
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  4. Michael Smith

    Michael Smith High-Roller

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    I always thought Let it Ride did a good job of getting into what it's like to go on a win streak in horse betting and while the characters are a bit cartoonish, they are exactly the kind of people you'd meet at the track or OTB. It is, in my opinion, a very realistic view of the mind of the "punter," the little guy who's always looking to hit it big. I think I love it so much because I had a similar experience.

    The Dreyfuss character gets a tip while driving his cab and makes a sizeable—for him—wager on the first race. He hits it and then goes on the run of his life. I hit a Pick 6 at Hollywood Park back in the early 2000's because I got a tip from a guy in a bar—the horse went off at 9-1 and rewarded me with the biggest payday of my race betting career.

    Of course, Meg Tilley is a bit absurd—I've never met anyone like her at the track. I also love the fact that the movie creators actually bought all of the horses that were used in the races and filmed it at the historic Hialeah Park in southern Florida.
     
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  5. RushAndRoulette

    RushAndRoulette Low-Roller

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    Molly's Game doesn't show as many angles of gambling, but it shows some of the dark side. I think it is pretty good and it is one of my "go to" gambling movies to get the juices flowing for a casino trip.
     
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  6. UKFanatic

    UKFanatic The Arbiter of Taste Caviar Kid

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    Yeah, the poker showdown is kind of absurd and not realistic at all. Still a fun, great film, but not for realism
     
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  7. UKFanatic

    UKFanatic The Arbiter of Taste Caviar Kid

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    You know, I thought about that movie when I wrote the first post. But it has been probably thirty years since I last saw it and the only scenes I could remember are the Jennifer Tilly ones, the interaction with the ticket writer when he makes the final big bet, and him telling his wife he is having a really great day at the end when he wins. I just don't remember enough to comment on the film.

    I did, though, think about the HBO series Luck. That seems a pretty realistic portrayal of the characters handing around a track. But as much as I liked that series, it really didn't seem to be about gambling (more about how all these various flawed people build and create their own family structures to help them hide their flaws and insecurities)
     
  8. Rob6 8

    Rob6 8 Low-Roller

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    "Let it Ride" is one of my favorites. I never thought about it as the most realistic but I agree with all that Michael Smith has to say. I'm not a big horse guy, but I know a few and I can see bits of them in some of the characters. However, I am too conservative to let it ride once I'm up big. I've got to put a little something in my pocket.
    I like the thread.
     
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  9. Michael Smith

    Michael Smith High-Roller

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    Jennifer, that's right. I had a crush on her for a long time after seeing the movie. And, yes, Luck with Dustin Hoffman as a gangster horse owner and Nick Note as a crusty old trainer was one of my all-time favorites. Gary Stevens was also great as, LOL, a jockey. Unfortunately, they lost several horses with injuries which had to be put down (although nothing like the carnage that actual racing causes) and they cancelled just as a new season was being filmed. It was, in my opinion, quite realistic all the way down to one of the gamblers using a cash advance to put in his share of a Pick 6 ticket. It was filmed at the Santa Anita stables where I've spent some time over the years. Loved that show.
     
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  10. Marky147

    Marky147 VIP Whale

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    It's realistic until the poker player makes a magical comeback and a Rocky like ending.

    Gets ideas above his station, punts his bankroll, and ends up on a degen chase with an undesirable to get his money back, which ends in them getting a good hiding off some other gamblers when caught :D
     
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  11. Michael Smith

    Michael Smith High-Roller

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    Breeder's Cup, baby!
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  12. mikeyvegas1

    mikeyvegas1 High-Roller

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    Its not a movie but the documentary "Inside the Edge" which I think I watched on Prime was very good. KC is a card counter that rents an RV and travels to various casinos across the country. He has some ups and downs. He deals with casino security regularly and law enforcement a time or two. I also watched a documentary on big time sports betting that was a bit disturbing. One of the main players took his life somewhere between filming and when the film was finished.
     
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  13. UKFanatic

    UKFanatic The Arbiter of Taste Caviar Kid

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    I have not heard of that, but will watch it
     
  14. MikeOPensacola

    MikeOPensacola El Jefe

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    "Owning Mahowny" with Phillip Seymour Hoffman has always struck a cord with me. The casino visuals in the movie are beyond poor but Hoffman did a great job and the film paints a vivid picture of what true degeneracy is all about. Unfortunately, this movie is based on a true story.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Molony

    On the flip side, "Let it Ride" is my favorite gambling film of all time. Bar none. I watch it before every trip to Vegas and, even though it is about riding a wild streak on the ponies, it never fails to get me fired up for what is possible...... if I only had the cajones. The film is perfectly cast and is definitely a feel good flick.

    While Jennifer Tilly kind of stole the show, how about Michelle Phillips? Many years removed from her days in The Mamas and The Papas and still looking good.

    MV5BZmI5MmZiYzAtM2NhOS00NjA0LTlkMjEtNTQ1MGU1MjcwMGYzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjcwNDUyODM@._V1_.jpg

    :peace: :beer:
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020
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  15. BlacklabberMike

    BlacklabberMike MIA

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  16. UKFanatic

    UKFanatic The Arbiter of Taste Caviar Kid

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    To me, The Sting isn't about gambling at all. In fact, is there a single gambling scene in the movie that doesn't involve some kind of cheating? I also put Hard Eight in the same category as Luck. Great film, but gambling is really just the backdrop. But I didn't consider The Cincinnati Kid. Its a great suggestion to my original point. I wouldn't say it shows the diversity of different emotions a gambler experiences that are shown in California Split (in fact, maybe its more a film about obsession than gambling), but its a lot closer than some of the other mentioned films (that really just focus on addiction). Great suggestion
     
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  17. Mudhen

    Mudhen VIP Whale

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    LOL...Maybe I hang out with a seedier crowd, but when I'm around gamblers who I don't know, I'm always suspicious of cheating (pool halls, poker games, etc.).

    FYI, John Scarne was the technical adviser for "The Sting", and played the part of "Paul Newman's hands" during the card manipulation scenes. He swears he did a real deck switch during the poker game on the train, and that even he can't spot it in the movie.

    Anyway, I'm a fan of "The Hustler", but Im not sure it's as much about pool and gambling, as it is about obsession, alcoholism, and losers, in general.

    I think one reason there aren't many realistic movies about gambling, is that most people who make movies don't live in the gambling world. It's the same reason there aren't many (any?) good movies about pool players.

    I'll have to watch "California Split", as I've never seen it.

    Good thread.
     
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  18. Joe Strummer

    Joe Strummer VIP Whale

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    California Split ?
    I can't recall it.......so it's on my list to check out.
    I voted for " Let It Ride "
    .
    When I first started my Vegas Trips and learning Casino odds -
    I read John Scarne's book(s).
    In fact, I started calling my Vegas gambling buddy " Scarne ".
     
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  19. addicted

    addicted Low-Roller

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    It's been a while since I've seen it - The Gambler, I think it's worth a mention.
     
  20. Ten_On_The_End

    Ten_On_The_End High-Roller

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    Cincinnati Kid. It's not set in a casino but Steve McQueen is, well, cool.
     
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