Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan



A very minor effort from Bette Midler. She is a singer in various Nevada locations, married to an abusive gambler (Rip Torn) who has a system. One of the problems with enjoying this movie is that you have to buy into the idea that a certain player can jinx a certain dealer, who turns out to be Ken Wahl. Whenever Torn shows up at Wahl’s blackjack table he wipes him out, causing Wahl to be booted from his job. So he follows Wahl from casino to casino, and plans to make his big move soon. Which is when Wahl seduces Midler, and she decides they should murder the guy.

I was able to go along with the idea of a bad-luck man employed by casinos to join in a game when someone was having a run of luck in the nice little movie The Cooler, but that was because of William H. Macy’s performance and a good script. We don’t have that here. It can’t seem to decide what it wants to be. The first part is fairly serious, but as they plan and execute the murder, and afterwards, it turns abruptly into the Keystone Kops. Wahl is a stiff, always was, and Midler chews the scenery. It might have helped if they had managed to squeeze in a few more musical numbers from the Devine Miss M. … but not much.

The only thing really interesting here is when Torn opens his wallet and unfolds two $10,000 bills. These are the largest bills ever put into circulation by the Treasury Department. Now, it is just about a dead certainty that they were fake, movie bills. In the fictional world, the man would have to be an idiot to use them, not only because they are earning no interest in his wallet, but because any rare currency dealer in the world would pay him $30,000, no questions asked, for a bill in poor shape. A good one would be worth around $100,000. There are only around 336 of the bills in any condition known to exist. And in the real world, say if the studio had rented the bills from a dealer, folding them that tightly would have knocked well over 50% off the value at one whack. But it was fun seeing them, fake or not!