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"THE COOLER"
(2003) (William H. Macy, Alec Baldwin) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Moderate Extreme Moderate Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Minor Minor None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Heavy Minor Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A casino worker faces the wrath of his old school boss when his love for a cocktail waitress robs him of his power to cool other gamblers' good luck.
PLOT:
Shelly Kaplow (ALEC BALDWIN) is an old school casino operator in Las Vegas who doesn't like what Sin City has turned into. Nor does he like the fact that owner Nicky "Fingers" Bonnatto (ARTHUR J. NASCARELLA) has brought in Larry Sokolov (RON LIVINGSTON), a young maverick who wants to make various changes. He wants to start by jettisoning veteran performer Buddy Stafford (PAUL SORVINO) in favor of the more modern act provided by Johnny Capella (JOEY FATONE).

Shelly still has an ace up his sleeve, however, in the form of Bernie Lootz (WILLIAM H. MACY), one of the unluckiest guys on the Strip. In fact, Bernie's bad luck is so contagious that Shelly uses him on the casino floor as a "cooler" who steals gamblers' luck when they suddenly get hot.

Having paid off his debt to Shelly for gambling debts incurred long ago. Bernie wants to retire, especially after meeting and immediately falling for Natalie Belisario (MARIA BELLO), a new cocktail waitress at the casino who seems to like him as well.

Bernie's good fortunes, however, are short-lived. His deadbeat son, Mikey (SHAWN HATOSY), and his pregnant girlfriend Charlene (ESTELLA WARREN) suddenly show up, wanting money and looking to make some quick bucks - legally or not - at the casino. That obviously doesn't sit well with Shelly, but more troubling to him is that Bernie's new good mood has apparently siphoned his "cooling" abilities.

As he hopes to get out of the business and live a life without bad luck, Bernie must deal with various forces and developments that apparently don't want any of that to happen.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens might be interested in it, as might fans of anyone in the cast, but most other kids will likely pay little or no attention to it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong sexuality, violence, language and some drug use.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • WILLIAM H. MACY plays a "cooler" who works for Shelly and steals gamblers' good luck. He drinks, falls for and has sex with Natalie and uses some strong profanity.
  • ALEC BALDWIN plays an old-school casino operator who will do most anything to stay profitable, including using Bernie to steal gamblers' good luck and beating those who cross his path. He smokes, drinks, uses strong profanity and admits to killing a person (he beats others in a severe fashion).
  • MARIA BELLO plays a casino cocktail waitress who falls for and has sex with Bernie, gave up her child for adoption at the age of 17, drinks and uses strong profanity.
  • SHAWN HATOSY plays Bernie's loser of a son, a smalltime con artist who uses strong profanity.
  • ESTELLA WARREN plays his girlfriend, a fellow con artist who fakes a pregnancy.
  • RON LIVINGSTON plays a new casino manager who wants changes in the Shangri-La, clashes with Shelly, drinks and uses strong profanity.
  • PAUL SORVINO plays a washed up lounge singer who uses heroin.
  • JOEY FATONE plays a new Vegas style performer who Larry wants in the casino.
  • ARTHUR J. NASCARELLA plays the big boss who tries to convince Shelly about Larry's ideas, uses strong profanity, and beats up a gambler with bad attitude.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of least 100 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are uttered. Sexually explicit dialogue is present, as are several sexual encounters (with movement, nudity and related sounds). Bare breasts of several women are seen in nonsexual contexts.

    Violence includes several deaths (a shooting, being hit by a car and via a lethal injection of narcotics or related material) as well as some threatening (with intent to kill) and severe beatings. Some of them have bloody results and may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while they and others smoke and/or drink and a few do drugs (heroin and cocaine).

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Miscellaneous people have drinks in a casino.
  • Natalie is a cocktail waitress who serves drinks to gamblers in the casino.
  • We see bottles of liquor in a bar.
  • Larry orders some vodka.
  • We see a drunken man holding a bottle in a bag.
  • Bernie has a shot.
  • Buddy heats up some heroin and we see a close-up of a needle going into his arm.
  • Bernie and Natalie have drinks.
  • Natalie guzzles a shot.
  • Mikey makes a comment that his mom is okay when she's high.
  • Miscellaneous people have drinks.
  • We see a dead man with track marks (drugs) on his arms (we later hear he was intentionally murdered with tainted heroin).
  • Shelly, Larry and others have drinks.
  • Mikey drinks.
  • Natalie tells Charlene, who's entered the room, that she "missed some" (we see what looks like cocaine under her nose).
  • Miscellaneous people have drinks.
  • Bernie has a drink and then another.
  • Natalie has a drink and Bernie holds one.
  • Miscellaneous people drink.
  • Bernie and Shelly have drinks.
  • Miscellaneous people have drinks.
  • Natalie has a drink.
  • Miscellaneous people have drinks in the casino where Shelly also drinks.
  • Bernie has a drink.
  • Shelly drinks straight from the bottle.
  • A car suddenly slams into a person, killing them (briefly seen and we hear the person was drunk-driving).
  • Larry and others have drinks.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Nicky head-butts a young gambler with a bad attitude and then repeatedly punches him in the face (with very bloody results).
  • Bernie has another person's blood on his hand.
  • Mikey has blood on his face.
  • A thug grabs Natalie and throws her to the floor. Moments later, Shelly backhands her into a mirror, bloodying her face and teeth. We later see dried blood on her face and neck as well as some cuts and bruises.
  • A person has a little blood on their head.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Shelly uses Bernie to rob people of their good luck in his casino (and makes him do so to pay off a debt).
  • Shelly refers to Vegas as a "Disneyland mook-fest" and equates Vegas of old to a "classy whore."
  • A man puts a tip into a woman's cleavage.
  • Some gamblers have bad attitudes.
  • We hear that Shelly hurt Bernie's leg in the past with a baseball bat for a gambling debt (and he still has a limp from that).
  • We see that Mikey and Charlene are trying to scam others in the casino.
  • Larry says that he wouldn't "hire anything less than a C-cup" when referring to casino personnel.
  • Mikey has a bad attitude and asks Natalie if Bernie is paying her for her company. A comment is made about "primo t*ts and ass" and Mikey then asks her whether a gambling chip (that he puts into her cleavage) is "enough to get me a little taste."
  • A young gambler has a bad attitude toward Nicky (an older man) and tells him, "Go f*cking change your Depends." In response, Nicky head-butts the guy and then repeatedly punches him in the face (with rather bloody results).
  • A person uses the term "palsy" in a demeaning way.
  • We hear that Shelly hired a woman to act like she's fallen in love with Bernie to make him stay. He refers to her as a "cooz companion." When he realizes that Bernie's magical bad luck spell has evaporated, he then tells the woman that she can longer see Bernie.
  • Shelly lies to Bernie and then admits to killing an older man (in something of a mercy killing).
  • Some casino operators kill or order for others to be killed.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" might be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Metal pipe: Used by Shelly to bash a person's legs (we hear but don't see the impact).
  • Handguns: Used to threaten some people and kill another person in separate scenes.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Where the f*ck are you going to go? "What the f*ck /are you smiling about/gives/is there to love/happened in there?" "I was a f*cking embarrassment," "Are you f*cking kidding me?" "F*ck you," "Old f*ck," "For f*ck's sake," "You f*cking c*cks*cker," "I was so f*cking selfish," "F*ck me" (sexual), "Shut the f*ck up," "You don't f*ck with paradise," "F*cks," "Go f*cking change your Depends," "F*cking amateurs," "F*cking loser," "F*ck rotten luck," "F*cked things up," "You do not want to f*ck with me," "Cried like a f*cking baby," "No f*cking right," "You heartless f*ck," "Who the f*ck do you think you are?" "One big f*cking blur," "Sweat f*cking dreams," "Is he f*cking crazy?" "Oh sh*t, "Bullsh*t," "Sh*tload," "You piece of sh*t," "Kicks the sh*t out of him," "No sh*t," "I'm going to pretend you give a sh*t," "Sh*thead," "C*cks*cker," "How'd you like to birdie that hole?" (sexual, about a woman), "When muff confetti stops coming" (sexual), "Primo t*ts and ass," "Stick it up the ass," "Cooz companion," "What the hell /were you thinking?" "Disneyland mook-fest," "Whore," "Klutz," "Damn right," "Suck on that," "Bitch," "Shut up," "I think I could kick your ass at the dime toss," "Renting your ass," "Loser," "Who the hell knows," "Palsy," "Bum," "Moron," "Ain't worth piss," "Schmuck," "Scumbags," "Bastard," "Broad" (woman), "You little Harvard turd" and "Freaky luck."
  • Natalie wears a midriff-revealing top.
  • Natalie has a tattoo of dice on her butt.
  • Mikey has a tattoo on his neck.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A car suddenly slams into a person, killing them (briefly seen).
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A tiny bit of such music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 100 "f" words (2 used sexually, 1 used with "mother"), 27 "s" words, 8 slang terms using male genitals ("c*cks*cker," "pr*ck," "c*ck" and "d*ck"), 3 for female genitals ("muff," "cooz" and "hole"), 1 for breasts ("t*ts"), 8 asses, 4 hells, 3 damns, 13 uses of "Oh my God," 6 of "Oh God," 4 each of "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ," 2 each of "G-damn" and "For God's sakes" and 1 use each of "Christ," "God" and "Swear to God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A miscellaneous woman shows cleavage.
  • Shelly asks Bernie about a woman, "How'd you like to birdie that hole?" and says something about bringing a clean bill of health.
  • A comment is made, "Fifty bucks only gets you 20 minutes" (sexual).
  • We hear sexual sounds (male and female and that of a bed thumping against the wall) coming from the other side of the wall next to Bernie's room. Heard dialogue includes, "You're so big," "You're gonna come all over me" and "F*ck me." As that continues, we see Bernie's head bouncing on his own wall from the rhythmic thumping.
  • A man puts a tip into a woman's cleavage.
  • Shelly tries to boost Buddy's down spirits by talking about women with a breeze between their legs, shows him a pair of red panties, and also comments, "When muff confetti stops coming."
  • Natalie asks Bernie if he wants to go back to his place. We then see her pants partially coming down (in his place) to reveal a partial leotard. Her top then comes off, revealing more of that leotard that we then see has a thong-like bottom (which we see in close-up from behind). She then sits on his lap facing away from him and grinds away with his hand on her clothed and then bare breast (briefly seen). We then see her working on his pants and then see them having sex, with her on top with movement, his sounds and him groping her covered breasts. We then see him on top (in a head and shoulder shot) and then a brief shot of his bare butt between her legs with passionate kissing and then his orgasmic sounds. After they're done, she says, "It's okay, I've had worse." She then adds, "You've got a great c*ck" and puts her hand down there. We see a partial view of his scrotum as well as her hand covering his bare crotch.
  • As Capella does a Vegas number, we see his backup dancers who are bare-breasted and wearing small, feather-like bikini bottoms.
  • Natalie shows some cleavage.
  • We see a head and shoulders shot of Natalie, who's sweaty, and then see Bernie's head at her crotch. He then moves up her body, sucks on her bare breast and then kisses her. We then hear sexual sounds from both of them as well as dialogue including "Stick it up the ass" and "F*ck me." We then see that Bernie and Natalie are faking it -- in an exaggerated fashion -- just to annoy Bernie's next-door neighbor (from above) who's always having loud sex. During this, we see both of their bare butts as they stand at the wall and pound on it as part of the act. We then see a brief full frontal shot of her.
  • Mikey has a bad attitude and asks Natalie if Bernie is paying her for her company. A comment is made about "primo t*ts and ass" and Mikey then asks her whether a gambling chip (that he puts into her cleavage) is "enough to get me a little taste."
  • We see Natalie's bare breasts as she sits up in bed (while Bernie is asleep next to her).
  • We see Bernie in his boxers.
  • We hear that Shelly hired a woman to act like she's fallen in love with Bernie to make him stay. He refers to her as a "cooz companion."
  • We see a head and shoulders shot of Bernie and Natalie in bed talking. As she rolls over, we briefly see her bare breast.
  • We see some miscellaneous cleavage.
  • SMOKING
  • Shelly smokes at least 8 times, a bartender smokes at least 5 times, Charlene smokes once (while appearing pregnant) and some miscellaneous characters smoke (cigarettes and cigars) in several scenes.
  • We see an ashtray with butts in it.
  • A seemingly pregnant woman smokes (but we later learn she's faking the pregnancy).
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear that Natalie had a child at 17 that she then gave up for adoption as she wanted her life back.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Gambling.
  • Luck and bad luck (and whether someone could influence another person's).
  • We hear that Natalie had a child at 17 that she then gave up for adoption as she wanted her life back.
  • We learn that Natalie is into astrology.
  • Bernie must deal with his son being a deadbeat, then being threatened with death and taking on a huge debt to save his life.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see a dead man with track marks (drugs) on his arms (we later hear he was intentionally murdered with tainted heroin).
  • Nicky head-butts a young gambler with a bad attitude and then repeatedly punches him in the face (with rather bloody results).
  • Shelly's goons throw Mikey into some fencing after Shelly has caught him cheating in the casino. Shelly then pushes him backwards. One of his goons then punches Mikey several times and Shelly then kicks Charlene, who's pregnant, in the belly. He then shows that she was faking the pregnancy with a pillow. We then see the initial motion and then hear the sound of a metal pipe striking Mikey's legs (and we hear him screaming).
  • Thugs physically take Natalie to Shelly.
  • A thug grabs Natalie and throws her to the floor. Moments later, Shelly backhands her into a mirror, bloodying her face and teeth. We later see dried blood on her face and neck as well as some cuts and bruises.
  • Bernie punches Shelly in the gut, resulting in his goons throw Bernie out to the ground.
  • We see Larry flying through the air in a restroom and then see Shelly having him by the throat from behind. We then hear what sounds like a bone breaking and Larry screaming from that.
  • Shelly bashes a scale model of a new casino with a chair and then his foot.
  • A man pulls a gun on two people, knees one, and is preparing to kill both of them.
  • A man shoots and kills another man (no impact).
  • A car suddenly slams into a person, killing them (briefly seen and we hear the person was drunk-driving).



  • Reviewed November 13, 2003 / Posted December 19, 2003

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