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Plot: The unluckiest man in Vegas - a guy whose bad luck is contagious - is used by the last of the old time mob run casinos to kill high rollers' action. That is, until he falls in love with a cocktail waitress and gets "lady luck," which throws the situation into reverse. Things turn nasty when the… Runtime: 101 min Release Date: 15 May 2003
Wonderfully acted modern day fable of love luck ego venality and redemption. Baldwin and Macy are their brilliant opaque selves. The sex scenes are realistic. The director never gets in the way of the linear narrative and the A, B and C stories intertwine like rope. The camera loves Macy as it has in every single frame he's ever filled. Baldwin slips into his character like legs into stockings, Maria Bello proves beyond her role in PAYBACK that she can play in the Bigs and all the secondary character acting is seamless. A film more than a movie. A sleeper hit to me. You'll love it or <more>
One of those rarest of screen gems, a diamond in the rough with heart and soul, it has everything. Truly a modern masterpiece, this is one for thw ages. If this flick doesn't walk away with some serious hardware in next year's trophy races, there is no God. Baldwin, Macy, Bello and everyone involved with this beautifully written and executed tale deserves a big nod from Oscar. DON'T MISS THIS!
The perfect cornball love story (by youdontsmellbad)
First I should say that I saw an Oscar screener of this film, the unrated version, and I was glad I had the opportunity to consider it."The Cooler" is a delight. Pure and simple. It tells the story of the quintessential lovable loser falling in love with the proverbial hooker with a heart of gold, and even though you see everything coming a mile away you root for the good guys all the way through.Macy is Bernie, "the cooler," a man with a knack for losing who's stuck in a rut. He's working off a debt by cooling tables, sitting next to people, or betting on their <more>
roulette games and radiating his bad luck onto them, insuring the house will make a profit. in short, Bernie is the ultimate loser.He works for Shelly, played by a brilliant Alec Baldwin, a hardass casino tycoon who wants to keep his casino, the shangri-la, forerver in the days of vegas yore. Shelly is at first a sympathetic, albeit tough, boss. overtime his true colors shine through the vegas glitter he casts. and of course, in time, shelly gets what's coming to him.Maria Bello breaks through as the love interest, the movie's lady luck. She's the gal who grabs Bernie by the heart and turns him from winner to loser. An Oscar nomination might be overdoing it a little for this role, but on the other hand it might usher a new actress into the spotlight.Ron Livingston, Paul Sorvino, and Joey Fatone have memorable roles as well.I watched "The Cooler" just minutes after seeing the devastating "21 Grams," and the stark contrast in ideologies may have contributed to its hokey, sentimental appeal. So check it out on a bad day when you need something to smile about.
Magnificent Performances in a Low Budget Movie (by claudio_carvalho)
In Las Vegas, the jinx Bernie Lootz William H. Macy works as a "cooler" in the Shangri-La Casino, giving bad luck to the clients. Shangri-La is administrated by the mobster of the old school Shelly Kaplow Alec Balwin , who does not accept the idea of modernization of the casino, proposed by his senior partner. Bernie has a problem with one of his knees, caused by Shelley due to a gamble debt. When Bernie and the casino waitress Natalie Belisario Maria Bello fall in love for each other, the fortune of Bernie changes, and Shelley tries to end the romance of Lady Luck and his <more>
cooler, to have his unlucky employee back. "The Cooler" is a great film-noir, supported mainly by the magnificent performance of the cast, highlighting the trio formed by William H. Macy, Alec Balwin and Maria Bello. The soundtrack is spectacular. A couple of days ago, I saw a movie called "Intacto", which is a weird and intriguing tale about fate, luck and gambling, but I did not like the plot. "The Cooler" has the same concept of "Intacto" a man being able of transmitting bad luck to other persons , but the story is better and better, having romance, drama and crime. I liked "The Cooler" a lot, and I highly recommend it. My vote is nine.Title Brazil : I am not sure this movie has been already released on DVD in Brazil
'The Cooler' sort of flew under the radar in its initial run. It deserves a much wider audience than it received in theatrical release. Writer/director Wayne Kramer has achieved something remarkable here--a love story within a love story: an unlikely romance between a professional loser and an aging cocktail waitress cast against an almost reverent paean to the old Las Vegas, when Frank, Deano, and Sammy reigned supreme and there wasn't a pirate ship or roller coaster to be found. Kramer also brings out some amazing performances, especially by Alec Baldwin as Shelly Kaplow, <more>
arguably his finest performance ever, and easily his best since 'Glengarry Glen Ross' or 'Malice.' The plot itself hinges on an old, all but forgotten Vegas tradition: William H. Macy is Bernie, a professional 'cooler'--a guy whose luck is so bad it's contagious, and who is paid to sidle up to any table where a gambler is on a run of luck and cool the action with his mere presence. The film's opening scene has an almost surreal quality, as hang-dog Bernie paces the floor, magically passing his bad luck with nothing more than a subtle touch of green felt or brass.Bernie works at the Golden Shangri-La, a bastion of Vegas traditionalism managed by Shelley Kaplow Alec Baldwin , who runs his casino with religious fidelity to the old ways, idealizing the Rat Pack-era Vegas, the days before Sin City became, in Shelley's words, a "Disneyland mookfest." But Shelley is under pressure: longtime club headliner Buddy Stafford Paul Sorvino is way past his prime and carries a dark secret. The casino's investors have grown reluctant to hold on to the old ways at the expense of the record-breaking revenues being brought in by the newer, flashier, family-friendly casinos, and Shelley finds himself in a power struggle with Larry Sokolov Ron Livingston , a Harvard-educated wunderkind brought in to revitalize the struggling Shangri-La. Last but not least of Shelley's troubles is that Bernie the Cooler has announced his intention to leave town. Shelley has owned Bernie for years Bernie's crippled shuffle is a souvenir from his days of gambling addiction administered by Shelley for non-payment of a massive debt , but Bernie is now in the clear and wants to put Vegas behind him.But Bernie finds himself reconsidering after he falls into bed with Natalie Maria Bello , a failed showgirl-turned-cocktail waitress who propositions Bernie after he notices her being groped by a gambler on a hot streak and promptly cools the offending customer's luck. Unfortunately, Bernie's first dose of good luck in ages comes with a particular liability: having unexpectedly found happiness, Bernie finds his talent for passing on bad luck has reversed itself--to the chagrin of Shelley Kaplow.William H. Macy has long been respected has a character actor, and it's a treat to see him bring his talents to a rare lead role for a middle-aged actor of average appearance. His Bernie is truly pathetic, and yet his charm and growing confidence make his affair with Natalie believable and inspiring. Bernie is a loser, but he has courage and character, especially when confronted with his failure as a father when his dead-beat hustler son Shawn Hatosy appears with a pregnant, coke-snorting girlfriend Estella Warren in tow. Maria Bello gives an astonishing, award-worthy performance as Natalie. It's just a mystery to me that she is not a major star. She is stunningly beautiful but also persuasively real, and her moments of honesty and vulnerability in this film stick with you. Natalie is not without considerable flaws, but her love for Bernie is absolutely believable, and I found myself feeling deeply invested in them.Much of the small buzz around this film was generated by Macy and Bello's sex scenes, which are genuinely remarkable--visceral and explicit without seeming the least bit pornographic or gratuitous. This is attributable to the investment of the actors in their characters and their craft. The ardor feels totally genuine. Bello and Macy look not like actors playing roles, but like two people in love, going at it like they're never going to get another chance.But inasmuch as Bernie and Natalie are the clear hero and heroine, in certain respects, the film belongs to Alec Baldwin's Shelley. Baldwin hasn't had such a plum role in ages: Shelley is both a malicious sociopath and a tender, affectionate father figure. His loyalty to the old-school ways and his refusal to accept that Sinatra's Vegas is gone forever is genuinely tragic. Baldwin owns some of the film's finest moments: a rip-roaring tirade against the crassly commercialized Vegas embodied by his younger rival; a surprisingly tender moment with the aging crooner Buddy Stafford, where Shelley appears in Buddy's dressing room and tries to stroke the singer's flagging ego by presenting him a pair of panties he claims to have found hanging on the door-handle outside, only to have the harrowingly tragic Buddy point out that he knows Shelley bought the panties in the casino's lingerie shop, along with the services of the 'groupie' who'll be arriving shortly after Shelley leaves; a drunken catharsis after a confrontation with Bernie over Natalie that ends with Shelley smashing the architectural model of the new Shangri-La Larry plans to build, complete with shopping mall, food court, and roller-coasters.Perhaps the strongest statement of the film comes as the credits roll: a montage of video featuring the demolition of four legendary old-school casinos--the Aladdin, the Landmark, the Dunes, and the Sands, which, of course, was the Vegas home of Sinatra and the Rat Pack. It's a haunting lament at the end of a surprisingly fine film.
The cooler is a great movie but,first of all,I'll say it's not for everyone.The slow development the movie has will bore some persons but the people who likes to see a movie which takes its time to develop slowly the characters like me will like this great movie a lot.The great William H.Macy has a perfect performance,Alec Baldwin had a very deserved Academy Award nomination and the entire cast has excellent performances.Wayne Kramer showed here,on his directorial first movie,he has a lot of potential and tomorrow I'll rent Running scared,his second movie.I recommend The cooler <more>
A "cooler" is a guy who stands next to you in a casino when you are having a winning streak that is suddenly interrupted. It is someone who has such a bad luck that people around him are influenced; he could be pretty important for casino bosses. The cooler here is Bernie and the face of William H. Macy is perfect for him. The casino boss is Shelly in a wonderful performance from Alec Baldwin. Soon Bernie will leave, but not before he has met and fallen in love with Natalie, played by Maria Bello for me only known from 'Payback' and 'Coyote Ugly' , a third terrific <more>
performance. She seems to like him also and suddenly that means Bernie is lucky. This will give, unfortunately for Shelly and therefore himself as well, results on the casino floor. Things are getting complicated.The story is pretty original and entertaining on itself. A sub-plot that deals with the idea of remodeling the casino into a more modern one, not if it is up to Shelly, gives him a reason to be annoyed and show his more cruel side. Baldwin is at best in these scenes. The performances take the film to the next level. Baldwin won an Oscar nomination and it is pretty clear why. You believe him the entire time, no matter what he does. From Macy we expect a good performance, he is one of the best character-actors out there. I was also pleasantly surprised with Bello, an Oscar nomination would not have been strange here; she is very good, even great in the scenes with Macy. In the end 'The Cooler' is a good film, becoming better through performances, entertaining all the way through.
This film directed by Wayne Kramer has a more realistic approach to what goes on in casinos and other seedy gambling places, a far cry to the new Disneylike-Las Vegas of today.Just to think that this poor loser Bernie can attract the gorgeous Natalie is enough for him to think: Gee, what's wrong with this picture?...Bernie hasn't scored with a babe in quite a while, so when he gets so lucky in bed, it's the moment to call it quits and take the next Greyhound out of town because things like that can only happen to schmucks, or in this case, to this 'cooler', as his boss <more>
calls him. One has to really have an open mind to even think this Natalie will fall in love with Bernie.The idea of how people can be jinxed by these casino reptilians is a thing not to be believed. If it exists, I don't know, not being into gambling, but then, the world of gamblers are full of superstitions.William H. Macy is an actor that is always interesting to watch. His Bernie is a flawed character, but inside he is a decent person who wants to get out of his present occupation. Maria Bello is excellent as the woman who will stand by her man.The real surprise of the film is Alec Baldwin. This is, without a doubt, the best role in quite a while for him. His Shelly is a man without scruples who is ruthless with those that dare to cross him. He actually deserves better material where he can excel. This film was a pleasant surprise because of the acting that Mr. Kramer has elicited from his cast.
In "The Cooler", Macy, the biggest loser in Vegas, works as a casino cooler for an old school casino boss Baldwin by bringing his bad luck to hot gaming tables thereby saving the casino money in gambling losses. When he falls for a cocktail waitress Bello , his luck changes, at least temporarily, leading into an engrossing, unpredictable, and fun can-love-conquer-all drama which pits Macy against bone breaking Baldwin who wants his bad luck back. Pound for pound, this creative little indie delivers more entertainment than most Hollyweird studio flicks with the three principals <more>
turning in excellent performances in a gritty noir motif imbued with a ubiquitous presence of kismet. Kudos to the makers of this gem who exhibit abundant talent...or maybe just luck. B+