How about we take a break from gambling night and enjoy a chill and relaxing evening watching movies?
Even if you don’t partake, you can’t deny that the thought of winning big at the casino or the lottery is exciting to many people. People go to casinos in the hopes of striking it rich, blowing their winnings, and generally having the time of their lives. That, all by itself, is movie-worthy material.
If you’re looking for a way to unwind, here is a list of films from recent years that all manage to convey the adrenaline and pleasure of gambling and the lottery, whether via dramatic drama or unnerving dark humor.
The Card Counter (2021)
The film, written and directed by Paul Schrader, tells the story of William Tell (played by Oscar Isaac), a gambler and former soldier, who tries to change a young man’s ways
so that he may help him get revenge on a person they both despise.
At the beginning, William really only cares about card games. However, his life in the casino is destroyed when a young man named Cirk, who is both vulnerable and enraged, approaches him for assistance in carrying out his plot of revenge against a retired military major. William believes his connection with Cirk offers him a second chance at happiness. After receiving funding from the anonymous gambling benefactor La Linda, William and Cirk hit the road and make their way from casino to casino with the ultimate goal of dominating the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. However, this experience pulls William back into the shadows of his past. His stories convey the film’s themes of loss, pain, and faith, making it clear that the film is less about card games than its title suggests.
Photo: The New York Times
Uncut Gems (2019)
This black comedy crime thriller film follows Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a Jewish American jewelry and gambling addict in New York City’s Diamond District, and his attempt to recover a priceless diamond he purchased to settle his debts. It allows the viewers to experience Howards’s hopeless, resource-depleted mindset, as the setting transforms into a chaotic behemoth filled with bookmakers and cacophony. All throughout, the film made use of effective storytelling to lure the viewers in the main protagonist’s crazy plans and antics. The weirdest aspect is that even after witnessing the film’s ending, you would surely want to go back and experience that roller coaster of events and emotions again straight away.
Photo: Amazon Prime Video
Welcome to Me (2015)
This comedy-drama tells the story of Alice Klieg (Kristen Wiig), who is a thirty-something single lady with a BPD diagnosis. However, not wanting to take her medicine prescribed by her therapist, Alice instead decides to try out a high-protein diet. In the film, she is shown as a big fan of Oprah Winfrey and believes that the well-known television personality gave her the confidence to know she can achieve her goals.
One night, her gut intuition is proven correct when she wins $86 million in the Mega-Millions lottery. With her winnings, she pursues her lifelong ambition of becoming a reality program host like her idol, Oprah. Rich (James Marsden), whose TV station is on the verge of bankruptcy and so has nothing to lose if he accepts $15 million from Alice, does so. Alice’s self-assurance rises as her weird talk show, “Welcome to Me,” finds a dedicated following who can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.
For those who enjoy dark comedy crime films, this is a must-watch. It tells the story of Ben Keller (Colin Hanks) who finds out that he has just won the grand prize of the Iowa State Lotto. However, there is a slight problem. Leslie Singer, the dead girl who he murdered and kept in his closet, is the true owner of the winning ticket. Despite this, Ben gains the confidence to pursue his lifelong infatuation towards Lucy St. Martin now that he has access to $36 million and can buy whatever he wants. However, conflict arises as Ben, who is a budding serial killer, realizes that no amount of money in the world could ever make up for the mistakes he has done. In between all of what’s happening, Lucy and Ben are doing everything they can to survive love, marriage, and each other as their relationship continues to spiral out of control and the number of Ben’s victims continues to increase.
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