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Big Shot - Confessions of a Campus Bookie

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

When Benny Silman left Brooklyn for Arizona State University, he felt like he was stepping into a Coppertone commercial. The Sun, the beautiful girls?life was good. Once he discovered the bright lights of Vegas and the adrenaline rush of gambling, things got even better. Soon he was the "campus bookie" making good cash and having a blast with his buddies. It wasn't until he began to fix basketball games that his high stakes life began to spin out of control. This is the real-life story of the 1994 Arizona State University point-shaving scandal that rocked the NCAA.

Based on actual events, Big Shot: Confessions of a Campus Bookie plays like a frat-house blend of Casino and Goodfellas. Originally broadcast on FX, it's got the sanitized veneer of a TV movie, but it's an honest, R-rated appraisal of Bennie Silman, a Brooklyn-born student at Arizona State University who reaped--and lost--a fortune in 1994 by fixing basketball games with the help of star player Stevin "Hedake" Smith. Perfectly cast as Silman, the always-interesting David Krumholtz ("Bernard" from the Santa Clause movies) speaks to the camera, inviting us into his first-person account of money, girls, and the Mafia. It's a party animal's fantasy until the bloody-nosed climax, directed with edgy energy, but not enough substance, by Ernest R. Dickerson (who fared marginally better with his Showtime film Our America). Krumholtz and Tory Kittles (as Smith) make this a compelling enterprise, however, and the real Bennie Silman appears in a coda that roots the movie in harsh, cautionary reality. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • NCAA sport wagering awareness video
  • featurette - The Real Bookie: Benny Tells His Story
  • TV spots

Product Details

  • Actors: David Krumholtz, Tory Kittles, Carmine Giovinazzo, Jennifer Morrison, Nicholas Turturro
  • Directors: Ernest R. Dickerson
  • Writers: Jason Keller, Michael Ritchie
  • Producers: Kevin J. Messick, Michael Lindenbaum, Steven R. McGlothen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: December 17, 2002
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006AUJN
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,807 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Big Shot - Confessions of a Campus Bookie" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. Stuckey VINE VOICE on February 15, 2004
Format: DVD
This movie, based on a true story is interesting and Ernest Dickerson's direction is superb - I like the 'shaky' camera effects. David Krumholtz is awesome as Benny Silman! He starts out as a naive freshman, moving across the country to go to college, but the freedoms get the best of him. He starts gambling, then works for a bookie, then goes out on his own. He ends up hooking up with a b-baller to assure the house wins everytime, but the wrong people find out about his scheme and it gets complicated.

The subplot with Callie is cute, especially when she mocks him. This movie is great, even after repeated viewings.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 30, 2002
Format: DVD
originally i said this was a very good movie to buy if you could stomach the then-high price, which i could. i went to ASU around the time the hedake smith story was reaching full media realization. this is an interesting take on the whole mess.
the DVD's best extra, of the real benny silman explaining what happened, is a raw take on the situation from a guy who genuinely seems to understand he did wrong. (note that, as best i could tell, no footage was added or subtracted from the TV version of the actual movie, in case you hoped to see callie nude or witness benny brutally unloading a machine gun on big red and his posse.)
flaws: the video transfer, though generally glossy and praiseworthy, is a little messy in a couple spots (most noticeably when benny is selling suits). and the spanish subtitles consistently refer to ASU as the university of arizona - an obvious sore spot for any ASU alum!
anyway, i watched it twice the first day i bought it, and this was a movie i'd already seen once on TV.
highly recommended. thanks for releasing this, FX.
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By T. Valenzuela on February 18, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Maybe I'm being a little biased because I'm an Arizona State alumni and sports fan, but this is easily my favorite made-for-TV movie. For not having a huge budget, the directors and crew did an excellent job with making this as real as possible. Unfortunately since this movie obviously wasn't endorsed by the university, and it wasn't filmed on location in Tempe, Arizona. Instead, it was filmed thoughout Las Vegas, Nevada (both on the strip and the surrounding suburbs) and Los Angeles, California. The basketball scenes were actually shot at The Forum in Inglewood, CA, and the directors and crew did a fantastic job of making it look like Wells Fargo Arena.

Some minor details aren't historically accurate, mostly the timing of the events following the scandal, but that's expected any time a movie is based on a true story. David Krumholtz, in one of his first leading roles, did a great job portraying the real Benny Silman, and looks and sounds almost exactly like him. This movie is basically Benny's side of the story, as most people are familiar with Hedake's side, from what he's stated in interviews with Sports Illustrated and SLAM Magazine. From someone who grew up watching Stevin Smith play and looking up to him, I'm really disappointed at how much he lied about what really happened to better his image, and get a reduced sentence.

This movie answers any and all questions regarding what really happened with the point-shaving scandal ASU dealt with in 1994. If you're a college hoops fan, or just a sports fan in general, this movie will definitely appeal to you.
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