The Cooler Film Analysis

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Introduction In the 2003 movie “The Cooler”, the main character, Bernie is an extremely unlucky man whose job is to end the hot streaks of players at the casino. His presence at the table alone makes players lose, his contagious bad luck makes the gamblers around him cold making him the cooler. The film takes place in Las Vegas presumably in the mid 1990’s meaning it takes place right around the fourth wave of Gambling according to McGowan (2012). The opening credits show the strip with newer buildings built up already and matched the description given by Rothman who described Las Vegas as vibrant, bright and well-developed by the beginning of 1990 (Rothman 2002). The assumed time period is based off the context in the plot where the move…show more content…
When analyzing “The Cooler” through a critical lens, fallacies and misleading representations of gambling appear consistently. The main contrast between the reality of gambling and the movie’s reality is that all gambling is dictated strictly on luck in the film. In addition, luck is represented as inherently good or bad. The producers and director of the film continuously reinforce this incorrect belief with scenes that blatantly show the “good” or “bad” luck of the characters. When evaluating the movie through an analytical lens, the film appears to convey that luck is the only factor in gambling, misrepresenting how the gambling enterprise makes money, how the gambler can win, and how gambling really works; while also giving insight to how a mob would manage a…show more content…
Shelly represents the second era of Casino management, the mob or mafia run casinos described in Bernhard (2008). When on the casino floor, Shelly is accompanied by two large men in suits known as the muscle of the organization. “The muscle” is the nice way of saying that Shelly paid them to handle some of his problems physically. A reading from a Bernhard 2008 article on the history of gambling, described famous mob-affiliated casino manager Bugsy Siegel, “Siegel succeeded largely through his willingness to use violent means to achieve his goals, despite his lack of basic business sense” (Bernhard p. 181). When managing the Casino, Shelly exhibits similar behaviors as he responds to Bernie’s son, Mikey for winning cheating on the Craps table, winning $150,000. Shelly breaks Mikey’s kneecap with a metal pipe as his muscle guys pinned Mikey to a table. Also, Bernie explains that Shelly did the same thing to him for a gambling debt that Bernie would not be able to pay. When Larry, a Harvard graduate representing the new style of MBA casino managers, sees Shelly taking Mikey he approaches Shelly. Larry proposes to “turn him over to the authorities and get him blacklisted and ruin his credit score”. Shelly responds, “Let me tell you something Harvard, you come upstairs with me in my office you watch and learn how to protect your
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