Rounders. This is the movie that led to the boom. In the 1990s, ESPN was not showing the World Series of Poker. In the early 21st Century, all of a sudden it was on constantly. Why did it get so crazy after decades upon decades of existing? Rounders. There's a moment in the movie where Matt Damon talks about the same five guys making it to the WSOP final table every year, trying to defend the game as taking more skill than luck, but now because of this movie, and the Texas Hold'em boom that followed, he couldn't be any more wrong. Now that every douchebag in the universe that wants to play can bank roll a seat at the tournament every year, luck dictates the winner. Now that it's a game for the masses, it's always a no name that wins. Johnny Chan isn't that great anymore, and I'm sure he has gotten any worse. You don't forget how to play. Skill can only take you so far in a game of luck, even if that game is the Cadillac of poker.
What makes this movie so great are the characters, that is, aside from Gretchen Mol. What kind of girlfriend are you if a) you are going through your boyfriend's pockets while he's showering, and b) upset when you find a wad of cash in it! In the poker game of life, women are the fucking rake man. Besides that wet blanket though, you have John Malkovich killing it as Teddy KGB (hanging around, hanging around, this kids got alligator blood), John Turturro (who is not only Kanish in this, but in 1998 he's also Jesus in The Big Lebowski, what a year for him), and Ed Norton who is great as a low life. Combine these three with Matt Damon, and you can very easily make a Rounders 2. This has to be the easiest film to make. If they can make 3 Ocean's 11s, and just keep adding a new celebrity actor, I don't see why you just can't add George Clooney or Philip Seymour Hoffman to the next one of these. Here's the premise:
Matt Damon is now doing great in Vegas, but Worm is still having trouble with Teddy KGB, and the battle has found its way to Vegas. Same old shit really, different city. Naturally, it ends up at the WSOP, and Matt Damon has to win to get Worm out of trouble. Mix in some celebrity poker stars, and you've got a movie. No one's going to care about the suspense. We just want to see these characters again. Naturally, it all comes down to Matt Damon at the final table with Teddy KGB, Kanish and Johnny Chan. You could even have a few more cool characters at that final table and just fill it with great dialogue. That'd be enough. Why isn't this movie being made?