The world has gone from the relaxed approach of “Netflix & chill” to a more streamlined global panic that involves “streaming & survival” instead.
The appearance of a global pandemic in the form of COVID-19 means that thousands of people are being cautioned to stay at home – and this has led to the entire service and entertainment industry changing as a result.
Going to a restaurant? Not now, we’re not.
This means the popularity of home cinema (and other forms of entertainment at home) have gone all the way up. We play bridge online, and it’s how we’re getting our movies, too.
Owing to this, I thought that now might be a great time to cover some of the best movies about cards and card players.
Casino makes it to almost every list on the internet about card, casino or gambling movies – and about five to ten minutes into the movie, you’ll get to see why. This was a defining performance when it came to several genres, and it stays good even if you’ve watched it thirty times in a row.
There are very few movies that can say this.
Fever Pitch (1985)
Fever Pitch combines two of my favorite topics in the same movie: investigative journalism and gambling. The movie starts when a journalist gets too deep into researching a story – and from there, it’s one plot point after the next. (Of course, not to be confused with the 2005 baseball movie of the same name starring instead Drew Barrymore – and also not to be confused with the original of the first baseball movie from 1997.)
Vegas Vacation (1997)
Vegas Vacation is one of those movies that you’re either going to love or hate: It’s Chevy Chase in one of the National Lampoon series of films – and in this one, the family ends up in Vegas. It goes exactly as badly as you can imagine (if you’ve ever seen the others), and the movie is perfectly fine if you know what to expect.
It’s slapstick humor, but so is the entire series.
Rounders is a 1998 movie starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton – and that’s all some people need to read to go right out and see it. I mean, that’s a great combination of actors. (It helps that they can both play poker.) It’s heavier than, say, Vegas Vacation – but if you want an in-depth story with a lot of thrills that are smoking barrels instead of slapstick, look here.
Casino Royale (2006)
Casino Royale has Daniel Craig in the role as the famous agent – and in short, this is the one where he doesn’t play bridge. Instead, it centers around a high-stakes poker game and international chase with all the James Bond-y elements you would expect from it. It’s a little more high-octane than earlier James Bond films: imagine more Jason Statham than Roger Moore.
21 is one of the best blackjack movies in a while. I enjoyed it tremendously the first time, and I’ve seen it several more times since then. (If you can ignore the presence of Kevin Spacey being in it, which I find difficult.)
It’s still a good story that follows the real-life MIT team through their casino exploits, and I like to think the movie got people everywhere to research playing cards.
Molly’s Game (2017)
Molly’s Game is another card movie that’s partially based in truth. The movie follows Molly Bloom into the abyss as she starts organizing illegal, high-stakes celebrity poker games. Some of the story has been changed from the original – expect some pseudonyms, basically – though if you research far enough into the internet, you’ll find some rumors about who the actors are really representing.