*** Official THE COOLER Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Dave_Brown, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. Dave_Brown

    Dave_Brown Supporting Actor

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    Has anyone else seen this flick? I hadn't even seen any previews for it before I got stuck sitting through it. I was stuck in traffic while out of town last week and figured I'll kill the time at the theater. This was the only moving playing at the time I stopped by so figured it was better than going back out to sit in traffic.

    I think I got the worse end of the deal and might have had a more enjoyable time sitting in traffic. I debated a couple of times wether or not to walk out and the only thing stopping me was knowing I'd just be sitting out in the car. I think it was opening night and there were maybe 15-20 of us in the theater so I guess I shouldn't have expected any sort of masterpiece.
     
  2. ToddP

    ToddP Stunt Coordinator

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    I felt the performances alone made The Cooler a very good, very entertaining film. William H. Macy was good (as always), and Maria Bello gave a breakout performance in my mind. But above all, I think Alec Baldwin gave the performance of a lifetime. I thought he was fantastic, and in my opinion this may have been the best performance of his career (I've never thought too much of the Baldwins).
     
  3. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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    Good performances, but the plot was pretty contrived, and the whole element of people being nostalgic for a Las Vegas that never really existed has become overdone and cliche.
     
  4. Eric Estrada

    Eric Estrada Agent

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    I thought William H. Macy, Alec Baldwin and Maria Bello gave very strong performances that seem to make the film more enjoyable to watch. The movie itself was not as good as the the performances that these three gave.
     
  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    My thoughts (posted in the 2004 alternative/indy thread:

     
  6. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    The Cooler
    8 of 10

    While the overall motivations behind Vegas films are pretty standard by now, the film is able to overcome that with some nice dialog, acting and direction. Plus the fundamental premise of a "professional bad luck charm" is a great one.

    I thought Baldwin did a nice job of portraying a tough guy who does have some weaknesses for nostalgia and even friendship deep down. He's a hard-ass to be sure, but when he is pressed he looks out not just for Macy but also Sorvino...in the only way he understands of course. Comparing him to Andy Garcia in the Ocean's remake I'd say Baldwin is by far the more convincing casino boss.

    The direction was very well thought most of the time, with my favorites shots being Macy arriving to an "EZ Mark" sign reflecting over his face in his windshield (really EZ Market with a flickering "et") and a nice dual depth shot with Macy sitting at the end of the bed while Maria lays back speaking to him from several feet away. The film features many touches like this without ever relying on a full-on gimmickly look.

    I loved Baldwin's "held him in my arms and wept like a baby" and his "it sounds like a mantra saying pain" lines especially. Good moments for him.

    Just a fun idea that has some life to it, and I like the low-key soft jazz approach to not only the score, but the pacing as well. It sets the right sort of tone for Macy's character throughout the film.

    The themes are laid out, perhaps too obvious for some, but really any decent film does use motifs and symbolism. In this case I thought the usage was appropriate and restrained. I saw someone complain about the milk thing over at IMDb and frankly I think that's stupid. It's a motif, a visual marker of what is going on, of course its used, but only when a notable shift has taken place. I didn't think the film ever used symbolism in the "here, let me explain something to you" way, except in the rather clever X-Ray vision for Baldwin that lets us get inside the head of an old-school guy who knows every angle when he sees them. Most of the time the symbolism is simply keeping with the tone, sharing in our understanding rather than explaining to us as if we didn't get it.

    So I guess I read the film different that the guy at IMDb. [​IMG]


    Take my 8 as a cautionary 8 since it appears that there are plenty of people who disagree with me.
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Never fails. [​IMG] About two months after I review a film in the alternative thread, someone posts a new thread asking whether anyone's seen the film.


    2003 Alternative Film thread

    M.
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "The Cooler". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



    Crawdaddy
     
  9. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    Like Michael, a repost from the 2003 alt thread:

    The Cooler

    I highly recommend "The Cooler". Featuring a dual storyline, the primary portion is William H. Macy's "Cooler" character, a man with such bad luck that it rubs off on anyone he gets near, making him a perfect casino employee. But he has a hollow, nothing life of disappointment and mistakes. In meeting a cocktail waitress played by Maria Bello, he finds hope for something better. The other part of the story is about the battle between the new family theme Vegas (represented by Ron Livingston of Office Space fame) and the old school gangster Las Vegas rep'd by casino owner Alec Baldwin.

    It's very much like an early 70's movie, believably brutal violence, explicit, but tender and fun adult sex (rather than glossy skinemax/MTV style), jazz/Sinatraesque type score/soundtrack. This is Alec Baldwin at his best, he has riotous high quality tough guy dialogue to work with and multiple brutally violent scenes (a couple walked out of the theater during one of them). Very well made in all respects. Also very funny at times, with lots of casino type humor that us gamblers especially appreciate. The performances by Bill Macy and Maria Bello are outstanding. Their romance is pulled off beautifully, you really believe the characters are in love.

    The casino featured in the film is called the Shangri-La and there are multiple references to Lost Horizon, the casino as Baldwin's own version of paradise, that has now become endangered by progress and has driven Baldwin to a de-humanizing obsession in order to protect it. One of my favorites of the year.
     

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