The Cooler

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(out of 5)


Bust out the cigars, folks, cause Mr. Scorsese’s Casino just got itself a brand new baby brother. Three of the most impressive performances of 2003 sparkle in this nifty little gem, overcoming the most familiar aspects of their stock character types and overused setting. The deliciously whimsical storyline stars  as a casino “cooler”, a guy whose life is such crap that just putting him near a guy on a winning streak is enough to turn the gambler’s luck sour. This all changes when a sexy waittress (, who truly achieves perfection) falls in love with him and changes everything for the better. Now Macy can’t perform his work, and his old school boss () is willing to do anything to get his favourite employee back in his previous mode. Superstition and a few surprises affect the way things play, and thanks to the fabulous work by the actors, the slick photography and Mark Isham’s terrific score, you’ll have a great time watching it all work out. Baldwin has never been better, portraying an unlikable tough guy whose desperate gasps to preserve the Rat Pack-era Vegas of yesteryear manages to make him more sympathetic than the character was probably meant to be. Whenever Macy and Bello’s perfect chemistry isn’t heating things up, Baldwin’s outstanding supporting performance gives this film all the drive it needs, and it’s just one of the many things worth enjoying in it.


USA, 2003

Directed by 

Screenplay by , Wayne Kramer

Cinematography by 

Produced by ,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Film Festivals:  TIFF 2003Sundance 2003


Cast Tags:  , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Academy Award Nomination
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Alec Baldwin as “Shelly Kaplow”)

Golden Globe Award Nominations
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Maria Bello)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Alec Baldwin)

National Society of Film Critics Award Nominations
Best Supporting Actor (Alec Baldwin)
Best Supporting Actress (Maria Bello)

National Board Of Review Awards
Best Supporting Actor (Alec Baldwin)
Special Recognition, for excellence in filmmaking

Screen Actors Guild Award Nominations
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role (Maria Bello)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role (Alec Baldwin)

Boston Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Supporting Actor (Alec Baldwin)


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