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The Cooler (2004)

William H. Macy , Maria Bello , Wayne Kramer  |  R |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: William H. Macy, Maria Bello, Alec Baldwin, Shawn Hatosy, Ron Livingston
  • Directors: Wayne Kramer
  • Writers: Wayne Kramer, Frank Hannah
  • Producers: Alessandro Camon, Andrew Busey, Brett Morrison, Bryan Furst, Chris Miller
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: April 27, 2004
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001EFV7C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,313 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Cooler" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Sundance Channel's "Anatomy of a Scene"
  • Storyboard comparisons
  • Music-only track in 5.1 Dolby

Editorial Reviews

Gripping, funny, and erotic Las Vegas tale finds chronically unlucky schmo William H. Macy employed by treacherous casino head Alec Baldwin as a "cooler," spreading his bad luck to gamblers on winning streaks. Macy's bad fortunes change when he becomes involved with cocktail waitress Maria Bello, but his new winning ways put him at odds with the volatile Baldwin. With Shawn Hatosy, Paul Sorvino. 102 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital 5.1; Subtitles: English, Spanish; audio commentary; documentary; storyboard comparison.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
(141)
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
By A. Ryan
Format:DVD
Imagine the most defeated, downtrodden, broken individual on the planet. Somebody who life has ridden roughshod over him so many times that the only thing he's living for is an end to his obligations. If you believe that luck can spread around, then a guy like that would have to sap it from everything and everybody he came into contact with, returning it sour and stale. The only way a loser like that could make a real living would be as a cooler in a casino. Folks, meet Bernie Lootz, the best cooler in Las Vegas.
Bernie has a seven year deal with his old-style thug boss Shelley, played by the aptly cast Alec Baldwin. In order to work off a gambling debt caused by his addiction combined with a losing streak, Bernie "cools" the luck of winners at the Shangri-La casino simply by circulating around to wherever there has been too much of a winning streak going on. It works, and he keeps the outdated Shangri La nicely profitable. But now his obligation to Shelley is nearly finished and Bernie wants out of the business. No smart old stickler like Shelley is going to let such a good thing go so easily, however, and he contrives a cruel and clever plan to trap Bernie into extending his contract using the only bait that could tempt a guy with nothing else to lose: a sexy new love interest in the form of cocktail waitress Natalie (Maria Bello).
Once in a while a role comes along for which there is really only one actor that can jump start it to life properly, and without a doubt William H. Macy is that actor for Bernie Lootz. With his kicked-puppy looks and his quietly resigned demeanor, Macy is superb in this movie. In fact, he really made the movie, period.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
I tend to like films about Las Vegas. I also like mobster movies. Well, this 2003 film has it all. But most of all it has an unforgettable character, played by William H. Macy.

William H. Macy is actually 53 years old but looks a lot older. There are lines on his face that give him character and I certainly hope he never joins the Botox crowd. In this film he's cast as a Las Vegas loser, a poor soul with such bad luck that Alec Baldwin, the Casino boss keeps him around just to bring bad luck to people on a winning streak. This is of course ridiculous, but somehow this film made me feel that it was real.

It's also ridiculous how much William H. Macy admires the casino boss and considers him a friend. His kneecap had been broken years before by this same casino boss who then paid to have surgery for him and gave him a job. But after years of being a loser, Macy now wants out.

This same casino boss pays a cocktail waitress to have an affair with Macy so that he will stay with the casino. As you can guess - they fall in love. And, even though he's much older than her and she's a babe, they have some sizzling romantic scenes that not only seem authentic, but also burn up the screen. Naturally, Macy's luck begins to turn and the casino suffers.

The plot thickens as Macy's long lost son returns with a pregnant wife, two despicable characters that are out to take Macy for all he's worth. Then there's a violent scene with Baldwin, which gave me the chills. The film was fascinating and I couldn't stop watching.

No, it doesn't seem plausible. And Alec Baldwin's performance left a lot to be desired. The story was unrealistic and at times, silly. But what can I say? I loved it!
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45 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Cooler February 7, 2004
Format:DVD
The Cooler is a very interesting movie in that it goes back to the basic style the old Las Vegas movies used to be in the past. It's been awhile since we've seen a "casino" movie and The Cooler makes a valid attempt.
William H. Macy plays Bernie Lootz, a man of incredible bad luck. He works at the Shangri-La Casino where he is trying to pay off a horrible debt he owes after his bad luck of gambling. He basically walks around the tables that are hot and "cools" them down by spreading his bad luck to any gambler. Alec Baldwin plays Shelly Kaplow, Bernie's stern boss who at times uses violence to remind people the luck always needs to be on his side. Maria Bellow plays Bernie's girlfriend Natalie. Most of the movie is Bernie counting his last few days there at the casino as he is ready to leave and move on with his life.
Terriferic performances by William H. Macy and Alec Baldwin. Mr. Macy nails the character of Bernie so deeply and true that you can't help wonder if Mr. Macy has experienced a time of bad luck himself. Mr. Macy does such a good job in his role, that all it takes is for the viewer to look in his eyes and you can easily see a man who is tired, depressed, and has accepted the realization that his life is slowly going downhill and there is nothing he can do to stop it. Mr. Baldwin is genius as the angry boss who get's what he wants. His anger and fierceness is so real and perfect that you can feel his creepy presence everytime he is about to walk on screen. The only one I believe who had a good performance but not an outstanding one was Ms. Bellow. She was almost convincing as Bernie's girlfriend. She is a very talented actress and is definitely goregous which is necessary for her character, but her acting performance just doesn't stand out compared to the others.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A very dark movie
Rather predictable, very gloomy, not much fun to watch.. Lots of dice action if you love that..see ys see ys see ys
Published 2 months ago by Marc Fletcher
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed this movie and recommend it
man this movie surprised me, really good! I think the casting was phenomenal, perfect fit, I wonder how much truth is in each character portrayal by the actors? Thumbs Up
Published 3 months ago by ruben
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Written, Acted, & Directed
This is one of the best gambling/casino-themed movies of all time. The love story intertwined within greatly enhances it, too.
Published 5 months ago by Superkicker
5.0 out of 5 stars The darker side of Vegas with a love story
A few years ago I had seen this movie on network TV. It was a very different take on the Vegas life the emotional journey of the two main characters is engaging. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Lady Evenstar
5.0 out of 5 stars great movie
This is one of my all time favorite movies. A loser becomes a winner. Actually you discover they are both losers and both become winners through their love for each other.
Published 11 months ago by susands
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, Suspenseful
William Macy and Alec Baldwin do a marvelous job in their characters in this movie. It is a great story that keeps you on the edge of your seat, but it isn't for the faint of... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Sharon Dodson
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cooler is a Well-Crafted Movie
I enjoyed seeing William H. Macy once again play a loser, this time one who has a talent for putting people off their gambling game. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Pamela B. Foard
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cooler
Decent yarn, neat story, excellent cast, should reduce the soundtrack music - as usual its too loud and I'm hard of hearing but the production people just want to be noticed, don't... Read more
Published 14 months ago by P. J. Hack
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting movie
i am a fan of maria bello and william h. macy and this was a interesting tale starring two of my favorite actors.
Published 14 months ago by Tom Brooks
3.0 out of 5 stars Like William H Macy
William H Macy does a great job in this, but it is not a happy story.
It has some interesting twists, but it barely kept my attention in spots. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Walter Marx
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