The House Continues Casino Tradition in Hollywood

ian bruce
Written by Ian Bruce
Published on Friday 30th June 2017, 11:11 am
Posted in: Casino Leisure

Casino Leisure

Today’s UK cinema release of the Will Ferrell comedy movie The House continues a long tradition of films which feature casinos as their theme, setting or plot device. This movie tells the story of what happens when the parents of an aspiring college student discover that they don’t have the funds that are needed to pay her fees. Instead of fessing up to their daughter, the parents – played by Ferrell and Amy Poehler – choose to raise the cash that is required by operating an underground casino from their basement.

As you would expect from a Will Ferrell movie, The House is a rollercoaster of laughs, and the concept of running an illegal casino from their own home is taken to the extreme. Not only do the parents install gaming tables and slot machines in their basement, they also try to make it as much like Las Vegas as possible by offering a nail salon, massages, an in-house strip club and even a Fight Night. All of this is done in complete secrecy, with the daughter being kept in the dark throughout.

The House is a funny movie if you appreciate the Ferrell approach to laughs, and if it inspires you to want to watch other films with notable casino content, there are plenty to choose from. Here are some of our favourites from a variety of genres:

Casino (1995) is a Martin Scorsese drama which tells the story of a couple of mobsters who move to Vegas. With an all-star cast that includes Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci and James Woods, and a plot that spans the 1970s and 1980s, Casino contrasts the glitz and glamour of the front-end with the shadowy background of mob influence.

Casino Royale (2006) rebooted the James Bond franchise, and presented Daniel Craig as the British secret agent for the first time. The story is based on Ian Fleming’s novel of the same name, which featured a gambling showdown at the baccarat table between Bond and terrorist financier Le Chiffre, but this movie brought things bang up to date by replacing baccarat with a high-stakes game of Texas Hold’em poker.

21 (2008) is inspired by the true story of a group of students from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) who used card-counting and other techniques to win millions at the blackjack tables. Starring Kevin Spacey, Jim Sturgess and Kate Bosworth, this movie should inspire any blackjack player to master basic strategy.

Vegas Vacation, also known as National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation (1997) is a comedy movie which stars Chevy Chase, Beverley D’Angelo and Randy Quaid. Chevy Chase was the Will Ferrell of the 80s and 90s, and in this movie he once again played the role of Clark Griswold, who enjoys nothing better than taking his family on vacation. The destination here (surprise, surprise) is Las Vegas, and the Griswolds once again discover that their vacations never go quite as expected.

There are dozens of other movies which feature casinos (take a look at Ocean’s Eleven, The Sting and Rounders, for example) but the shortlist here should be sufficient to keep you going if The House inspires you to enjoy some more cinematic gambling action over the weekend. Whether you enjoy The House or not, it is good to see that casino films are still going strong in Hollywood, and we look forward to seeing what the next big-screen offering will be.

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