We've written ad naseum that having Scott Lazar involved in your film is never a good idea, and apparently that sentiment is now echoed by Gambling Times, Inc.
According to a L.A.-based lawsuit, for a $50,000 up-front investment, GT was promised prominent product placement (what, a URL?) in Lazar's movie, the epic "Deal." For those who forgot, Deal starred Shannon Elizabeth and Burt Reynolds and banked about $78,000 in box office receipts. Rewatch the premiere red carpet below.
Really? Didn't Lazar kind of do them a favor by (allegedly) cutting them out of the movie? If Meryl Streep had a cameo in Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever that made its way to the cutting room floor, do you think she'd complain? She probably would've paid them after the fact out of gratitude for keeping her out of that shitfest.
Not a good year for the poker movie. The Grand, which wasn't actually that poorly reviewed, still flopped. And Lucky You (which doesn't even deserve italics or bolding), which came out around this time last year, is possibly the worst movie ever made.
"I don’t know if this is anything that would be of interest to Wicked Chops, but...there’s a movie called My Blueberry Nights that is opening in Vegas this weekend. It’s not really a poker movie. It’s mostly chick stuff that you might not be so into, with the singer Norah Jones driving around the country after a bad breakup.But there are about 8-10 minutes of hot poker action. Norah Jones’ character runs into a professional poker player played by Natalie Portman. Unlike the Natalie Portman movie Closer, unfortunately in this movie Ms. Portman does not get down on all fours and show her Hooha to someone in a strip club. Nonetheless, she does play poker and she looks pretty hot with short hair and a tiny dress."
Pics of Portman from the flick above. Click to enlarge. May be just us but in the photos alone it seems that Natalie channeled a bit of the late Brandi Hawbaker for her role as a young, sexy and struggling poker player in Las Vegas.
Mike May noted that Stu Ungar bio co-author Peter Alson was a consultant on the movie and he helped write the poker scenes. And Mike himself played Portman's nemisis at the poker table.
Check out a video review of the Wong Kar Wai directed movie by the NY Times here. It shows Natalie playing some poker and Mike at the table with her about a minute or so in.
A month after Zak Penn's The Grand stormed the box office by banking just enough to buy-in to the WPT Championship, the poker movie Deal, which stars waxy-looking golden ager Burt Reynolds and features Dancing with the Stars' Shannon Elizabeth (at right) playing a Las Vegas hooker, hits movie screens tonight in select cities, and already critics are rushing to give it praise.
Just sample some of these rave reviews:
"Deal has to take the title of the worst film ever about the game and that includes the how-to videos with Joan Rivers impersonators you see in your Vegas hotel room." - Erik Childress, efilmcritic.com
"One of the most cliche-ridden and generally misguided films of not just the year, but the decade so far." - Brian Tallerico, Deadbolt.com
"Director/co-writer Gil Cates Jr. gives us a by-the-numbers execution of a by-the-numbers story, which would barely be movie-of-the-week material but for Reynolds's 'star power.'" - LA City Beat
"A poker movie that has the dubious honor of being even worse than Lucky You." - Gary Thompson (but not the Gary Thompson?), Philadelphia Daily News
In related news our highly acclaimed screenplay titled Sitting on the Can While Writing This Post just got greenlit. It's set to be filmed this morning, after our third cup of coffee kicks in. Drop us an email if you want to be an extra.
Below is a video of RawVegas.tv's Denise Pernula prettying up the red carpet at the Deal's premiere last night at the Palms in Las Vegas. Maybe it's us but it's like director Gil Cates Jr. and his producers know they made a piece of crap film. Like they were baked out of their minds when they shot it and now are trying to stop themselves from laughing as they try to talk serious about it. Also in the video, card-tossing couple Jennifer Tilly and Phil Laak talk about their non-plans ahead of the 2008 WSOP, and in news sure to delight ex-WCP reader Carl, Dancing With the Stars' lovebirds Shannon Elizabeth and Ricky SchroderDerek Hough say they are getting married in Las Vegas. Burt Reynolds unfortunately couldn't get out of the Madame Tussaud museum he lives in to walk the red carpet.
Deal, the "new" poker movie starring Burt Reynolds, Bret Harrison, and Dancing with the Stars' Shannon Elizabeth, is finally set for "limited" release on April 25th.
We're not ones to make bold predictions, but we predict that Deal will be closer to Lucky You than to Rounders in the poker movie pantheon (apologies to The Sports Guy, who apparently owns the rights to the word "pantheon" now).
The plot sets new standards for creativity. A grizzled old vet who has already lost it all (and quit the game) takes a young Yale poker phenom under his wing to help him get to the next level. Young Yale student falls in love with a beautiful girl (played by Dancing with the Stars' Shannon Elizabeth). Young girl turns out to be a call girl. Young Yale student makes a major tournament final table (WPT, with Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten calling the shots) where he goes up against grizzled old vet, who decided to play this one last time.
If you'd like a visual representation of the above paragraph, there's a trailer for you below. Or if you'd like to see something more interesting, watch this.