Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Lucky You

I love gambling. I love card games. But the worst time I ever had in gambling was not in my playing life. It was watching my father play my brother at the dining room table. The blood would ooze from the cards, it was so cutthroat. Dad took my brother each and every time. And somewhere in there, “a lesson” was supposedly taught. It was, but the wrong lesson was learned.

The screenwriter for Lucky You must’ve been sitting at my family’s dining room table. I swear the dialogue is the same, the angst is the same. The results are mostly the same.

Eric Bana is the son, and tough old Robert Duvall is the father who taught him everything he knows about how to gamble. And Bana is a great poker player. Except that he, like everyone else, loses eventually, which happens to be every other day since that’s all he does. And except, of course, when he plays his father.

There are other people in this drama, but let’s face it: it’s Bana and Duvall, down to the last hand.

I enjoyed this movie, enjoyed the poker playing. The characters step aside when the cards are on the table, as poker takes center stage here. Great old players, characters themselves, are shown at the tables. And there’s a wonderful sequence in a coffee shop where Duvall shows Bana how he lost a large hand, and wonders what went wrong.

It’s just hard to watch people you love go at it where someone's humiliated, and someone has to lose. Perfect for a father-son rivalry. Oedipus and Freud would've loved this movie. Pass the popcorn, Siggy.

Thumbs up.


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