Given the mixed reviews this movie received, I went in with low expectations. I wasn’t expected to enjoy it as much as I ultimately did. Yes, it’s a cacophonous frenzy from start to finish but as someone who was once immersed in the world of sports betting, I could empathize with our protagonist even though I didn’t much like him. The exhilarating highs and crushing lows. The lies and deceptions, perilous wagers and outrageous justifications. It was all spot on. Disquietingly so.
Adam Sandler delivers a career performance as Howie Ratner, a degenerate gambler in deep (to a relative no less!) who struggles through his addiction in a bid to right all the wrongs in his life by hitting big, indifferent to the people he hurts and the relationships he destroys along the way. As great as Sandler was in the role, unlike most reviewers I never mustered much sympathy for Howie, even after all was said and done. Instead, my allegiances lay with his victims – his ex-wife, his girlfriend, and the people he owed money. Every one of them was more likable than Howie and yet, despite that, I found the movie very compelling.
There was an intimacy to the film, in part the shooting style, in part the decision to use a number of non-actors in roles, that grounded its gritty, adrenaline-fueled world, really setting it apart from its more polished Hollywood counterparts.
If there was one element I didn’t love, it was the music. While admittedly a perfect acoustic reflection of the movie’s tonal chaos, I found it annoying and distracting. I think a little could have gone a few long way here.
So, what did you all think?
Well, not the greatest day in terms of progress. Just got word that one of my favorite projects – that comic book adaptation – won’t be moving forward. Kind of heartbroken as it was a lot of fun and very different from most of the superhero-themed shows out there. On the bright side, it will allow me to refocus on the other five projects in play.
A reminder to circle Monday, October 5th on your calendars! I’ll be joining Orville Nation‘s video live-stream post-episode discussion of Dark Matter Episode 1. Rewatch and join us. And tell your friends! Introduce someone new to our most under-appreciated sci-fi series.