Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: William H. Macy, Maria Bello, Alec Baldwin, Shawn Hatosy, Ron Livingston
Director: Wayne Kramer
Genres: Comedy, Drama
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Reviewed on 11/10/2008...
The dice are hot and you're raking in the bucks at the craps table... next thing you know, you're crapping out and the "house" takes it all back. You look over your shoulder and there he is... "The Cooler" -- he's a life long loser with bad karma and the Pit Bosses use him as their secret weapon.
Follow his dual tale of misery and inspiration as he decides to turn the tables on his employer.
Great flick, enjoyable. If you love casino movies/themes, this is required viewing.
Smut alert: a sizzling sex scene rules this one out for family viewing.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
hammershu | TX USA | 02/07/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Cooler is a very interesting movie in that it goes back to the basic style the old Las Vegas movies used to be in the past. It's been awhile since we've seen a "casino" movie and The Cooler makes a valid attempt.William H. Macy plays Bernie Lootz, a man of incredible bad luck. He works at the Shangri-La Casino where he is trying to pay off a horrible debt he owes after his bad luck of gambling. He basically walks around the tables that are hot and "cools" them down by spreading his bad luck to any gambler. Alec Baldwin plays Shelly Kaplow, Bernie's stern boss who at times uses violence to remind people the luck always needs to be on his side. Maria Bellow plays Bernie's girlfriend Natalie. Most of the movie is Bernie counting his last few days there at the casino as he is ready to leave and move on with his life.Terriferic performances by William H. Macy and Alec Baldwin. Mr. Macy nails the character of Bernie so deeply and true that you can't help wonder if Mr. Macy has experienced a time of bad luck himself. Mr. Macy does such a good job in his role, that all it takes is for the viewer to look in his eyes and you can easily see a man who is tired, depressed, and has accepted the realization that his life is slowly going downhill and there is nothing he can do to stop it. Mr. Baldwin is genius as the angry boss who get's what he wants. His anger and fierceness is so real and perfect that you can feel his creepy presence everytime he is about to walk on screen. The only one I believe who had a good performance but not an outstanding one was Ms. Bellow. She was almost convincing as Bernie's girlfriend. She is a very talented actress and is definitely goregous which is necessary for her character, but her acting performance just doesn't stand out compared to the others. It feels as she is simply going through the emotions. It's a good performance...not a great one.Bernie's bad luck changes when he meets Maria. She introduces him into the world of happiness with her sexual desires. This is where the movie is definitely rated "R." The sex scenes are very graphic and real. It gives the movie more of an edge. Because of this new found hapiness she becomes in his life, his luck begins to change. When approaching to tables, instead of giving people bad luck, he presents good luck. Every thing that happens to him swings his way and provides him happiness. Everyone seems to think of this as a good thing till his boss Shelly steps in. He becomes frustrated with the fact people aren't losing money at his casino. This is most of the plot and despite how uninteresting it sounds, it keeps the audience watching. The violent scenes are indeed very graphic and painful to watch. There are so many good things with this movie, the acting, the script, the real violence, the casino style music, everything is top-notch, yet it is easily forgotten when walking out of the theater. As mentioned earlier, it tries to make like another casino movie, and it does succeed in most levels, but the difference here between this movie and the others, is the others have that over-whelming effect that stays with you even after you walk out of the theater. The plot is very interesting except for the sub-plots. The sub-plots provide interesting character development, which made the charatcers stand out even more, but most of the sub-plots seemed so rushed that one might see them as unimportant and almost pointless.The Cooler is a good film, but not a great one. I highly recommend this movie to be seen by anyone at least once. The first time around, it will keep you watching for the top-notch performances, the gruesome realism, the suprise ending (which I never saw coming), and the classy casino music. But the second time around, I fear it may be harder to stay focused and keep interested since nothing is suprising and new. There is nothing more or new to learn from the second viewing.
But still, The Cooler is a good movie that plays its cards well and tries to stay in the game as long as it can."
Low-key drama about a loser who rediscovers hope and joy
A. Ryan | Westminster, CA USA | 06/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Imagine the most defeated, downtrodden, broken individual on the planet. Somebody who life has ridden roughshod over him so many times that the only thing he's living for is an end to his obligations. If you believe that luck can spread around, then a guy like that would have to sap it from everything and everybody he came into contact with, returning it sour and stale. The only way a loser like that could make a real living would be as a cooler in a casino. Folks, meet Bernie Lootz, the best cooler in Las Vegas. Bernie has a seven year deal with his old-style thug boss Shelley, played by the aptly cast Alec Baldwin. In order to work off a gambling debt caused by his addiction combined with a losing streak, Bernie "cools" the luck of winners at the Shangri-La casino simply by circulating around to wherever there has been too much of a winning streak going on. It works, and he keeps the outdated Shangri La nicely profitable. But now his obligation to Shelley is nearly finished and Bernie wants out of the business. No smart old stickler like Shelley is going to let such a good thing go so easily, however, and he contrives a cruel and clever plan to trap Bernie into extending his contract using the only bait that could tempt a guy with nothing else to lose: a sexy new love interest in the form of cocktail waitress Natalie (Maria Bello). Once in a while a role comes along for which there is really only one actor that can jump start it to life properly, and without a doubt William H. Macy is that actor for Bernie Lootz. With his kicked-puppy looks and his quietly resigned demeanor, Macy is superb in this movie. In fact, he really made the movie, period. I would recommend The Cooler just for the sake of his performance, although the other leads made great contributions - after all, nobody plays Arrogance like Alec. The satisfaction that you will get out of witnessing the underdog change his luck and rejoin the world of light and hope will be a great bonus.Great acting, interesting plot, plenty of human drama and just a little brief nudity: there's really nothing missing here. I really can't think of a reason not to award it five stars, so I will. Excellent.
-Andrea, aka Merribelle"
William H. Macy is a great actor. I loved this film.
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 06/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I tend to like films about Las Vegas. I also like mobster movies. Well, this 2003 film has it all. But most of all it has an unforgettable character, played by William H. Macy. William H. Macy is actually 53 years old but looks a lot older. There are lines on his face that give him character and I certainly hope he never joins the Botox crowd. In this film he's cast as a Las Vegas loser, a poor soul with such bad luck that Alec Baldwin, the Casino boss keeps him around just to bring bad luck to people on a winning streak. This is of course ridiculous, but somehow this film made me feel that it was real. It's also ridiculous how much William H. Macy admires the casino boss and considers him a friend. His kneecap had been broken years before by this same casino boss who then paid to have surgery for him and gave him a job. But after years of being a loser, Macy now wants out. This same casino boss pays a cocktail waitress to have an affair with Macy so that he will stay with the casino. As you can guess - they fall in love. And, even though he's much older than her and she's a babe, they have some sizzling romantic scenes that not only seem authentic, but also burn up the screen. Naturally, Macy's luck begins to turn and the casino suffers. The plot thickens as Macy's long lost son returns with a pregnant wife, two despicable characters that are out to take Macy for all he's worth. Then there's a violent scene with Baldwin, which gave me the chills. The film was fascinating and I couldn't stop watching. No, it doesn't seem plausible. And Alec Baldwin's performance left a lot to be desired. The story was unrealistic and at times, silly. But what can I say? I loved it!"