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William H. Macy is one unlucky, miserable guy. I don’t mean in real life. Hell, he’s married to Desperate Housewives’ Felicity Huffman. (If only I was that unlucky) No, I’m talking about THE COOLER. Bernie Lootz (Macy) works for a casino, by doing what he does best; be unlucky. All he has to do is walk by a gambler on a hot streak, and BAM! they lose everything. He’s come to terms with his luck, and wallows in his misery. His motel room is dark and dank, and the poor man can’t even get cream with his coffee. Every time he asks at the bar, it suddenly runs dry in full pour. That’s the kind of luck this guy has. After ten minutes of this I was ready to off myself.
He soon is smitten with a cocktail waitress (the perfectly stunning Maria Bello). They soon fall in love and his luck suddenly changes. Bernie now finds himself having sex, sunshine in the windows, and always with cream in his coffee. The only problem is now the tables become hot, and the casino begins to lose. This of course does not sit kindly with the casino owner (the brilliant Alec Baldwin). He’s an old school kind of guy. The kind of guy that will easily take a crowbar to someone’s knee. Finding out that Bernie’s luck is coming from his cocktail “lady luck” he needs to put a stop to this, and get the guy back into his depressing, unlucky state.
This movie is a very depressing mystical movie. The viewer really feels for poor Bernie, and wants him to succeed. Unfortunately, while the film has the magic of a fairy tale, this is not a happily ever after film. This is a dark movie. A wonderfully brilliant film, but dark. Where this movie shines is in the acting. William H. Macy does a wonderful job (as always) as an “everyman”, while Alec Baldwin hits with his career best as an “old-school” casino owner, being pushed to change with the times. PERMANENT MIDNIGHT’s Maria Bello also shines. Her character, while caring and sweet, is also heavily flawed.
In fact all the characters in this movie are flawed. Not one person is wholesome. Hell, even Bernie could be viewed as a BARFLY type loser. That was one thing that I did not like about this movie. Even in the moments of levity, there was misery. Granted I am not expecting to see rainbows and dance numbers in this type of film, but damn. Throw me a damn puppy or something. Hell, in this film if there was a puppy, it would probably have rickets, scurvy or some other depressing thing.
My only other issue with the movie was the mystical aspect of the film. Bernie’s luck is shown in many ways. Little things like the cream being poured into his coffee cup at the bar show you his luck. You know his luck changes for the better when instead of two drops pouring out and the bar not having anymore, to getting a full cup of cream. While that may not seem like much to some of you out there, as a 5 cup minimum morning coffee drinker, not having my cream would be a major issue.
You hear that Scraps! Quit taking all the damn creamer!!!
The problem really was the fact that the magical, mystical elements are very prominent at the beginning of the film, yet as the film went on it was really an after thought, and a little too subtle in the changes. In the beginning of the film he could walk by and just touch the table in passing and it would go cold. Later in the film he would sit and actually play the games. This was the most glaring issue that I had with the movie.
Everything else was wonderful, sad, miserably depressing, yet still brought a smile to my face. The classic Sinatra and jazz soundtrack worked perfectly, and to sum it up with maybe a quote on some box art; “The Cooler Is Hot! Rufus- Bumscorner.com”. Definitely rent this movie, or if you are a fan of either Alec Bladwin, or William H. Macy, then I could even recommend a purchase. A strong 3 ˝ cans. Just make sure that you watch this with a little Percocet cocktail.
Added: Monday, February 06, 2006
Language: eng[ Did you find this review helpful? Yes No ]
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