Our Ten Best- Episode 39: Vegas Flicks
1-Casino: Robert Deniro plays Sam “Ace” Rothstein, the gangster who ran the fictional Tangiers Casino in the film based on the true story of the Chicago mob in their heyday when organized crime controlled Las Vegas. In addition to the masterful directing and captivating storyline, the film is notorious for the most uses of the F-word on screen, and the extremely violent scenes which are shockingly based on true events. If you haven’t seen this film, you’re missing an essential piece of Las Vegas’ short but colorful past, as well as Scorsese at his best directing a stellar cast including Robert Deniro, Joe Pesci, James Woods, and Sharon Stone in the performance of her career.
2- Ocean’s 11 -The Steven Soderbergh remake of the original “rat pack” version of the film is about 11 men pulling the ultimate robbery of 3 casinos in Las Vegas. George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Bernie Mac star and give their most playful and fun performances to date, in which they obviously had a great time filming. “Oceans 11” simply piles of fun; a heist movie with all of the trimmings and an essential watch to any fan of Las Vegas and its glitz and mystique.
3-Leaving Las Vegas: The reason this very excellent film makes it to #3 and not #2 or even #1 is because of the depth of seriousness and sadness this movie incites. The alcoholic Hollywood Screenwriter Ben Sanderson, played by Nicholas Cage, heads to Las Vegas to drink himself to death and in the interim crosses paths with prostitute Sera played by Elizabeth Shue. They become involved with each other, in what becomes a study of the human need for companionship in an unforgiving world. Even though Cage isn’t sober, this movie will be quite sobering to audiences while showing what lies beneath the surface of the seemingly fun and glossy Las Vegas.
Selections Four through Eight:
9- Honeymoon in Vegas: Nicholas Cage appearing in yet another Vegas film on the top 10 – this time Cage plays Jack Singer in a romantic comedy starring James Caan (Tommy Korman) and Sarah Jessica Parker (Betsy). The film has an “Indecent Proposal” plotline, where Korman offers to pay for a night with Singer’s fiancée Betsy, and then follows Cage on a series of adventures in attempt to win back the love of Betsy. The film is fun and has some great shots of Vegas, but more importantly is loaded with flying Elvis’ which would be the highlight of any Vegas film.
10- Vegas Vacation:The Griswolds return again in the Vegas chapter of the “National Lampoon’s Vacation” series. This being probably the worst of all the “Vacation” movies, still has its funny moments, and takes place entirely in Las Vegas following Clark Griswold and his failed attempts at getting lucky in the strip casinos. A few scenes are particularly worth watching this rather unfunny overall attempt; the off-off-off the strip casino that Cousin Eddie takes Clark to, Clark’s blackjack fever scene with the dubious dealer played by Wallace Shawn (“Clueless,” “The Princess Bride), and the Wayne Newton / Ellen Griswold scenes.
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