The Cooler (Wayne Kramer, 2003)

The Cooler (Wayne Kramer, 2003)


In Wayne Kramer's "The Cooler" (a 2003 movie for some reason being released in Manila only now) the eponymous character not only has consistent bad luck, but is able to spread that luck around him, like a social disease. It's the kind of superstition you would only find in the old Vegas; the new Vegas is too high-tech, too concerned with balance sheets and the appearance of theme-park wholesomeness to subscribe to such foolishness.


William Macy isn't just the lead; he's the main reason to actually watch this picture. Macy's done sad-sack characters before, most memorably as the put-upon car salesman in the Coen Brothers' 1996 "Fargo," and as the porn star's cuckolded husband in Paul Thomas Anderson's 1997 "Boogie Nights," but I think his Bernie Lootz is about as far as this persona can go without falling into cheap caricature. With his downward sloping eyes and rubbery lips and expression of constant disappointment, he radiates misfortune in waves, affecting players and tables as he passes.

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