The Cooler (2003)
Directed by Wayne Kramer
Writing credits Frank Hannah Wayne Kramer
William H. Macy.... Bernie Lootz
Alec Baldwin.... Shelly Kaplow
Maria Bello.... Natalie Belisario
Shawn Hatosy.... Mikey
Ron Livingston.... Larry Sokolov
Paul Sorvino.... Buddy Stafford
I saw this the other day with my brother. Man, I need to get back out to Vegas. To paraphrase William Macy, "There's no difference between night and day and no clocks on the wall". Of course that was the reason he didn't like Vegas. That's exactly the reason I love it. The outside world has a hard time seeping into the casinos. You are stuck in a blinking, flashing, gaudy bubble. You're a winner! Keep playing suckers!
No matter how many cautionary tales of Vegas they make, I still find myself itching to go. Well, until I lose my shirt and get tossed into a ditch. But even that would be kind of funny.William Macy is employed at one of the last of the "Old Vegas" casinos. That's fitting since he is a relic from another time as well. He is "The Cooler". He walks by you and your luck sours. Alec Baldwin believes in the magic of Old Vegas and keeps his favorite bad luck Merlin around to cast a hex on the players.
But Baldwin just can't let go of the old ways. Macy wants to leave and his new bosses want to change his casino to groove with the New Vegas vibe. Roller Coasters, Imax Theaters and young, hip singers will rope in the new wave of Vegas players. Baldwin holds on tight to his thuggish ways in the hopes of preserving a little Vegas history.
A blonde waitress, (Bello), casts a love spell on Macy and his luck starts to turn around. When the ultimate Vegas loser makes it with a beautiful blonde, the times they are a-changing. Macy knows Old Vegas is on the way out and wants to split. Baldwin has other ideas.
I enjoyed this little Vegas movie. It has inspired me to make another trip out there. "The Cooler" takes one last glance at Old Vegas before New Vegas steamrolls over it. Macy knew his time was up. He was happy to go. Lady Luck showed up just in time.
SCORE: 3 out of 4 reasons to leave Las Vegas