Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Second fun poker movie in a week!

I've always said, "If you're gonna watch one light-hearted, poker-themed Western, ya might as well watch two of 'em." Really, I have always said that.

So I did.

While I was on Netflix adding "A Big Hand for the Little Lady" to my queue (see http://pokergrump.blogspot.com/2008/01/poker-movie-worth-watching.html), I decided to push "Maverick" (see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110478/) up to the top of the list with it, and make it a twofer. OK, so it came out in 1994 and I never got around to seeing it. I confess. But now I've rectified that.

I liked this even more than "Big Hand." Jodie Foster has never looked lovelier. I have a huge crush on her. Well, maybe not quite John-Hinckley-shoot-the-president-to-impress-her huge, but pretty huge nonetheless. You might be able to guess that from the number of screen shots of her I captured above.

The story revolves around Bret Maverick's travels to the biggest poker game ever, and his attempts to acquire the buy-in for the same. This immediately introduces a huge poker-related anachronism, because the game in question is a poker tournament, and poker tournaments weren't invented until Benny Binion had the idea in the early 1970s. Oops. I guess we're not supposed to know that. To make it even stranger, the tournament uses a shootout format (the winner from each table advances to the finals), which was an even later innovation.

But it has Jodie Foster in it, so who cares?

I mean, we've got shootouts (the firearms type--and I won't even mention that Mel Gibson once manages to get off eight shots from his six-shooter without reloading), fistfights, Injuns, Jodie Foster, runaway horses to be stopped, cheaters, scoundrels, love scenes with Jodie Foster, gorgeous Western scenery, crosses and double-crosses, pickpocketing, and lots of poker. And Jodie Foster.

My main gripe was that the story dragged a bit in getting our main characters to the big game. The whole side story about the Indians could have been left on the editing room floor, and the plot would have suffered not at all.

I love the old-fashioned cards and chips they used as props for this movie.

James Coburn makes a great appearance as "the Commodore." He also gets off one of the best slow-rolls ever. His opponent shows his hand first, and the dealer announces, "Full house--kings over eights." Coburn makes a sour face and says, "Oooo, that's a good hand." Then he turns over his own cards one at a time, saying, "That beats one, two, three sevens." His opponent grins and starts raking in the pot. Coburn flips over one more card, then adds, "But not four." Very cruel--but funny.

If you, like me, have let this fun little gem go neglected for the last 14 years, take a couple hours out of your life and fix that, huh?


Unknown said...

Of course I grew up with the incorrect knowledge that new revolvers only have 6 shots, so I used to have the same reaction as you do in your post to more than 6 shots.

So when did gun makers start manufacturing revolvers with more than 6 shots? Do only "newer" revolvers have the potential to have more shots?

I know you're into shooting some, and I know some high caliber revolvers have 5 or 7 shots as well as 22 (maybe other lower cal, too) revolvers having 8 or 9 shots.

Lastly, since conventional wisdom holds that there are only 6 shots in a revolver, even though that's incorrect, should Hollywood stick to that to avoid any viewer cringing?

Aussiesmurf said...

I loved Maverick, although I didn't quite understand the final hand.

What I mean is (SPOILERS), Angel (the Spaniard) and the dealer were in cahoots. So they'd rigged the deck to give the COmmodore four of a kind, and himself a straight flush. But what was the point of giving Maverick four legs to a royal? I mean, sure, you'll get some money in before the draw, but the big betting isn't until afterwards. Angel bets 'all-in', and, assuming Maverick received a rag, he would have folded his busted draw. Even if he'd received a flush or straight, he hardly would have called for all his money on such a middling hand.

Its just always bugged me, about an otherwise great film. I also loved Garner's deadpan delivery while Maverick is trying to get back the stolen funds (around the campire) when Foster says "Aren't you going to help him??"

Garner : "A man could get killed doing that..."