Saturday, December 20, 2008


(Movie Review)

I saw the preview for this movie, and I thought it looked so cool. For one thing, it's got Kevin Spacey in it, and Kevin Spacey is one of my favorite under-rated actors.

Secondly, it's about card counting, which is a concept that's intrigued me ever since I saw "Rain Man". Not the math of card-counting per se (I would have a hard time getting my head around that) but I found its fuzzy legality interesting. Can they really punish you for something you do in your head?

And finally, it just looked like a fun teen-drama movie with a dynamic cast that would play off each other well.

...Perhaps I should have read some reviews of this movie before renting it. Because you can add this to the long list of movies that look pretty cool on the previews, but disappoint when you watch them.

To start with, Kevin Spacey is really under-utilized. He had a couple good scenes, but I wanted to see a lot more of him than I did.

Actually the whole cast is under-utilized. Aside from the main character and his romantic interest, all the other characters on the team are just more or less back ground props. And for that matter, the romantic interest character was pretty boring, and never developed any personality of her own other than her relationship with the main character.

And actually, for that matter, the main character was really boring. He was just a hack screenwriters cliche; a real straight laced guy who was placed in a situation where he needed an incredible amount of cash for school and, for some reason, couldn't take out any student loans.

And you know, besides that student loan mystery, there were a whole bunch of other things that didn't make sense. Maybe I was just missing something, but why was Lawrence Fishburne able to always see them on the same screen? Why did they always go to the same Casino?

Lawrence Fishburne says he lost his old job when he was away from the Casino and Kevin Spacey cleaned them out. Wouldn't that just prove to the Casino how valuable Fishburne was to them, instead of giving them cause to fire him?

For more nit-picks, an Amazon reviewer here picks through a lot of the other flaws in this film.

This film is supposedly based on a true story, but, given all the things that make no sense, I'm guessing a few liberties were taken here and there.

Furthermore, according to wikipedia: Although the main characters upon which the film 21 is based were Asian-American, studio executives determined that "most of the film's actors would be white, with perhaps an Asian female."[1]

Link of the Day
World leaders refuse to shake Bush's hand
Not only do the world's most powerful leaders refuse to shake the POTUS' hand, they also seem to refuse to even make eye contact. Heckuva job, Bush. Heckuva job.
CNN Anchor Rick Sanchez: Bush looks like "the most unpopular kid in high school that nobody liked."
I think I speak for the entire world (well, everyone other than the 20% dead-enders) when I say January 20th can't come soon enough.


Anonymous said...

I have not seen the movie, but I thought the book was thrilling. Read it if you have the time.

Joel Swagman said...

Really? How did that book end up on your reading list?

I'll be honest, I don't see myself reading the book anytime soon. (I've got a pretty backed up reading list these days--as we all do.) But if you ever take 2 hours out of your day to watch the movie, I'd be curious in getting the perspective of someone who had read the book.

Anonymous said...

My brother-in-law recommended it. He always recommends good books and I wanted something a little less traditional (China-focused) for a plane ride. Therefore I read the book. Are you on I want to know what you are reading and what you have read.

Joel Swagman said...

You know, Mr. Guam sent me a Shelfari invitation a few weeks back, and I politely declined, saying I spend too much time on the internet already and I don't need to get sucked into another networking site.

What I am reading right now is not always a good indication of what I'll complete. (I probably finish only a 3rd of the books I start).
As for the books I've finished reading, this blog is a very thorough guide to my reading list for the past 3 years. Just check out my book review index.

Would Shelfari have any advantages over my regular book relating blogging? If you can make a good case, I might reconsider.

Anonymous said...

check your hotmail account.