In all fairness, you can’t blame the list below on bad actors in poker movies. Rarely is a professional actor’s performance so bad that it earns a spot on a list of “the worst poker movies.”
No, along with the actors involved, the writers, the directors, and sometimes even the cinematographers conspire (like a confederacy of dunces, you might say) to create a rotten confection of clichéd story, impossible showdowns, and tells that are obvious to small children and most parakeets, and in some cases, almost sneering contempt for that greatest of all sitting-down sports: Poker.
So let’s all share a moment of silent respect for the actors who end up taking the blame for a poker hand so improperly played, bet, or folded on screen.
Okay, the moment’s over. Since the actors probably made more money for the movie than the other behind-the-scenes people combined, let’s not get all weepy from sympathy, right? Besides, I already sense that many of you are getting impatient and thinking of the best online casinos you can visit. Michael Imperioli in High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story (2003)
Michael Imperioli plays the title character in this biopic of the life of arguably the best poker player ever, Stu Unger. The movie unfolds with Ungar telling his life story (in flashback) to a cigar-smoking stranger in a motel room (as you do).
As much as I liked Imperioli in The Sopranos , I think his acting chops peaked in Goodfellas , where he played a hapless mobster-in-training who gets shot in the foot by an angry Joe Pesci (is there any other kind of Joe Pesci?) during a card game.
Still, Imperioli is not to blame for this failure of a poker movie. The writing in this movie is not of Sopranos or Goodfellas quality because a flashlight is not the sunrise. That Fat Man and Little Boy were not firecrackers.
But worse than that, the movie fails to show real respect to perhaps the world’s best poker player, Stu Ungar.
The only way they could have made this movie worse would have been to release it under its original […]
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