Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My favorite Las Vegas movies

I just saw "The Hangover" tonight, after hearing a lot of hype and good reviews. I am pleased to say that it lived up to the hype. It's nice to see Bradley Cooper in the spotlight. I first saw him in the role of Will Tippin from Alias, and now he's developed from a supporting actor to a leading role. After watching the madness unfold, I am yearning to return to Las Vegas. You see, it's always been a dream of mine to renew my wedding vows by an Elvis impersonator in a tacky Las Vegas wedding chapel. Royal Pinguo has agreed to this, not knowing what she is in for... but after watching The Hangover, she is starting to have some regrets.

To further fuel my Las Vegas wedding fascination, I've decided to compile my list of favorite movies about Las Vegas. Please feel free to add your own suggestions. There is no shortage of movies about Sin City:
  • The Hangover: I love the contrasting personalities of the actors in the bachelor party. They play off each other beautifully as the craziness unfolds. Discovering new pieces to the puzzle and putting it all together is a delightful exercise.
  • Go: In Simon's sub-story, a group of guys head to Las Vegas and hilarity ensues. I really enjoyed this movie's energy and intricate interweaving plot lines. Go doesn't gets the respect it deserves. I watched this movie before going to Las Vegas for real. Thankfully (or regrettably) what happened in the movie didn't happen to us.
  • Very Bad Things: This movie is pretty dark for a comedy, and the title describes it all. There are moments of uncomfortable laughter, when you kinda wonder if it's proper to be laughing. If you want pointers on how to bury a dead hooker in the desert, then this is the movie for you!
  • Ocean's Eleven: I'm not going to lie to you. I haven't seen the original Ocean's Eleven with the Rat Pack, though I expect it to be awesome. My only point of reference is the modern re-make with George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
  • Rounders: Every poker fanatic has watched and quoted Rounders. "If you can't spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker." Technically, the movie doesn't take place in Las Vegas, but it's the main character's goal to eventually make it to the high stakes poker tournaments in Las Vegas.... that and obsessing about John Malkovich and Oreo cookies.
  • 21: This is seriously the dumbest gambling movie ever. It probably shouldn't be on my list, but what can I say... I liked the movie's attitude and camera work, even though the plot was pretty terrible. Isn't that essentially the nature of Las Vegas? All style and no substance?
So what makes a good Las Vegas movie to me? It's got to project the attitude of Las Vegas. The characters experience the fleeting sensation of being larger-than-life and take chances because they are living for the moment. In that desperation of wanting to be a high roller, people make decisions that normal people never would. Some lose it all. Some win big. That's a great Las Vegas movie!

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