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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

March 8, 2009

Hard Eight: The gambling movie you didn't see

by Otis

In recent years, it's been pretty difficult to find a movie about Las Vegas that didn't suck. It was nice to luck into one on Netflix this weekend.

Hard Eight was originally called, Sydney and it was Paul Thomas Anderson's first film. Within a year after the film's release, Anderson was famous for his Boogie Nights. (If that's not your cup of tea, you might also recall Anderson's There Will Be Blood).

I went into the movie blind, and I think you should, too. By all means, don't start researching it. Wikipedia is one big spoiler.

Suffice to say, it is a decent flick. It has one of the best performances I've seen from John C. Reilly and Gwyneth Paltrow. Samuel L. Jackson takes a lot from his Jules Winnfield character, but is still pretty damned good. Oh, and it has a very early Philip Seymour Hoffman who plays a young, cocky craps player. Even in a bit part, he still steals the show.

The movie is from a pre-Rounders generation and draws more on the old Vegas we don't see much anymore. It's more about character than plot, but the plot is there and it's not bad at all.

The film has a little bit of poker in it, but barely enough to mention it. It's more about gamblers than gambling.

If you're looking for a decent gambling flick to get you through the crap Hollywood is putting out these days, check out Hard Eight.

(I should point out here... I'd just watched the first act of Appaloosa...which sucked so bad, I would've been happy watching reality TV instead)

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