• Post category:Movies
  • Post last modified:March 7, 2022

The Cooler


Maria Bello, Alec Baldwin and William H. Macy. Photo: Lionsgate

Bernie Lootz (William H. Macy), a depressing loner, makes a living bringing bad luck to lucky customers at a Las Vegas casino; when he falls in love with Natalie Belisario (Maria Bello), things change. I love the smooth opening credits, with glitzy shots of Vegas and Mark Isham’s jazz score playing. This is both an unlikely, charming love story and a portrayal of the old gambling capital’s attempts to adapt to modern times. Alec Baldwin is excellent as the essentially pathetic old-style casino boss and Macy matches him as the “cooler” who realizes that he must get out of Vegas. It is a fairy-tale of sorts, making it possible to accept the implausibilities.

2003-U.S. 102 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Sean Furst, Michael Pierce. Directed by Wayne Kramer. Screenplay: Wayne Kramer, Frank Hannah. Music: Mark Isham. Cast: William H. Macy (Bernie Lootz), Alec Baldwin (Shelly Kaplow), Maria Bello (Natalie Belisario), Shawn Hatosy, Ron Livingston, Estella Warren… Paul Sorvino.

Last word: “Bill Macy received the script about a couple of months after it was written. He read it and said, ‘This is great and I’ll do it when you guys have the money.’ About two years later, when we raised the money, Bill was in a bit of a different place. He was tired of playing the loveable loser and he wanted to do bigger Hollywood movies, which I can understand. So I basically had to stalk his agent, harass her into getting me a meeting with Bill and Ed Pressman, who was financing the movie. And finally Bill came around. I had to convince him he wasn’t playing a loser; he was playing a winner.” (Kramer, Film Threat)



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