Many of us are looking for ways to entertain ourselves since our cities are either sheltering in place or on pause. I’ve been using this time to catch up on my less important Netflix shows and movies (I give Tiger King 6/10 in case you’re curious).
This month, the 2017 poker movie “Molly’s Game” debuted on Netflix. I’ll check it out this week but decided to blast through a few other things over the weekend. While Molly’s Game is a movie about a poker game, it’s gambling-based and that’s close enough to a topic that’s near and dear to my heart.
There are plenty of movies about gambling and casinos but few of them are especially to me. I generally watch comedies and there aren’t many gambling movies that are also funny. The House is a rare comedy about gambling that’s actually funny.
Bringing Down The House & 21
Having said that, it’s coincidental that one of the more popular blackjack movies from the past decade is funny. It’s unintentionally funny but it’s still funny. The movie “21” is based on the book “Bringing Down The House.”
The book is a mostly factual story based on the MIT blackjack team that took Las Vegas and other casino markets for millions of dollars. The story about the MIT blackjack team introduced many recreational blackjack players to counting cards. Both the book and the movie are entertaining in different ways.
While the book might not be 100% accurate, it’s fairly close. The story is entertaining. Learning that college kids could learn how to beat a casino using blackjack strategy was exhilarating. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book this quickly.
Meanwhile, the movie was a Hollywood embellishment of a book that wasn’t entirely accurate. Taking that at face value I’ve probably watched “21” about 50 times. Like the book, the story is still a fun one. Having read the book first, I could see what was overly sensationalized. What really makes this movie special for me is being a fan of Las Vegas for years. I can see plenty of continuity issues throughout the movie that not everyone would notice or care about.
“21” is all over the place. There’s one scene where the crew is in a suite at the Hard Rock but showed Caesars Palace in the background. They went downstairs from the room and played blackjack games simultaneously at Red Rock Casino and Planet Hollywood. The horrible continuity in various scenes and the exaggerations throughout the movie still make me laugh. Inaccuracies and all I still love this movie.
More Gambling Movies
I’m not much of a serious movie person but I do spend time watching movies about the topic that I enjoy so much. Here are a few more fun blackjack and gambling movies:
Casino: A three-hour classic casino movie.
The Cooler: William H. Macy is fantastic in this movie about a casino “cooler.”
The Grand: This is an improvisational comedy about poker in downtown Las Vegas. Entertaining movie that seems to be underrated.
The Hangover: This movie isn’t based on gambling but the blackjack scene at the Riviera is great. Also, the movie is hysterical.
Hard Eight: A professional gambler tries to teach someone his skills. This is a good movie for dice players.
Ocean’s 13: Ocean’s 11 might be the GOAT in the series but the gambling scenes in Ocean’s 13 are great. Also, this scene with Livingston explaining blackjack is amazing.
Rounders: A must for any gambling movie list.
Vegas Vacation: This is one of the best Vegas movies. There are so many classic gambling scenes with Chevy Chase and Nick Pappagiorgio.