TMS 30 Greatest Movies: #23 Rounders

December 27, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

Title: Rounders
Main Actors:
Matt Damon, Ed Norton, John Malkovich
Ranked: Brant #5, Chip #17

Matt Damon plays Mike McDermott, a guy paying his way through law school by playing underground poker. One night he gets cleaned out by Teddy KGB (John Malkovich) to the tune of $30,000. After that, Mike gives up the gambling life and gets a real job to pay his way while dating the very attractive Jo (Gretchen Mol). Months later, Mike's childhood buddy Worm (Norton) gets out of jail and quickly runs up a ton of debt in Mike's name. The problem? The debt is owed to KGB, who gives Mike and Worm only a few days to raise the money or else he'll kill them.

Reasons This Movie Kicks Ass
It's just plain cool. This movie came out long before the World Series Of Poker was cool and every douchebag frat guy thought he was a poker genius. The acting is solid (especially Norton's turn as Worm. Aside from The Italian Job, has he ever had a bad performance?). The story is great, and the suspense is just strong enough to carry the movie through the weaker points of the story. Plus, Gretchen Mol takes her clothes off in just about every movie she's in. She stays fully clothed in this one, but just knowing that somehow makes the movie just a little better. Plus, the supporting cast of John Turturro, Famke Janssen and Martin Landau round out a great ensemble.

Monster Role
In most cases, it would go to Norton for his slimy performance of Worm, but this one has to go to Malkovich for Teddy KGB. He's not really in the movie much, but he's easily the most memorable character of the entire flick. Malkovich has been known to chew the scenery a bit in some of his movies, and this is no exception. His accent is so over the top that he should be arrested, but for some reason, it works for KGB. Plus, seeing his pretending to air-hump Matt Damon in the ass toward the end of the movie is priceless.

Knock Your Dick in the Dirt Moment
There's two actually. The first is the entire scene where Mike and Worm are playing cards with a room full of cops and get caught using some practices that aren't completely on the up-and-up. I won't say much else because I don't want to give anything away, but the entire time, you can cut the tension with a knife. The other moment of course is the final showdown at KGB's place. Again, I can't give anything away, but having Mike come back to the scene of the worst moment of his life playing cards for his life is high cinema. On paper, it seems stupid, but again, somehow it works.

Watch this movie if you like.....
Poker, guys named Grandma, Oreo cookies, Guy movies that appeal to women too.

I will splash the pot, whenever, the fuck, I want!