Wild Card

[3.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Usually I prefer to watch movies the old-fashioned way: on DVD from Netflix. But, at loose ends one evening, I decided to scan through the Amazon Prime offerings, found this Jason Statham movie, and—hey, I like Jason—decided to check it out.

Surprise number one: screenplay by William Goldman. Mr. Goldman will turn 85 years young in August, and (let's check IMDB) his previous screenplay was in 2003 (Dreamcatcher, not well reviewed). It is based on his novel Heat, and this is the second movie version, the first being with Burt Reynolds in 1986.

If you need reminding about William Goldman's screenwriting skills, just check out the list at the above link.

Surprise number two: it's not mindless non-stop action. Statham plays Nick Wild, an actually interesting character. He scrapes by in Vegas, picking up (very) odd jobs here and there. He dreams of hitting a big (half-million dollar) jackpot and retiring to seaside bliss.

His primary task here: avenging the savage beating of a hooker by local hoodlums. And he's also babysitting a nebbish who wants to frequent the local casinos without getting robbed.

Never fear: there are a few scenes of action, and Statham's character is just tragically flawed enough to keep you guessing about the eventual outcome. It's not a fantastic movie, but good enough to watch if you don't have anything else in the queue.

The Phony Campaign

2016-03-20 Update

PredictWise dictates no lineup changes this week. All candidates see declining hit counts, and their rank remains unchanged. And America is still doomed as doomed can be.

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Donald Trump" phony 463,000 -84,000
"John Kasich" phony 255,000 -117,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 167,000 -67,000
"Ted Cruz" phony 79,400 -96,600
"Bernie Sanders" phony 70,900 -93,100

  • Have you ever wished someone would compile a list of some—let's say twenty—of the meanest things said about Donald Trump this election season? You may want to check out a site I am pretty sure I've never linked to before: Cosmopolitan and the article "The 20 Meanest Things Said About Donald Trump This Election Season". Example:

    "Donald Trump, a carnivorous plant watered with irradiated bat urine, has a slight polling problem with about half of the female voting public, who have a 'very unfavorable' view of him." —Anna Merlan Jezebel, March 2016

    What I learned from the list: Seth Meyers (number 13) no longer seems clever. Without good writers, he seems about as witty as Cher (number 19).

  • Leon Wolf at RedState is not a John Kasich fan, and brings evidence of phoniness to the table: "Fake Nice Guy John Kasich is a Jerk to a Cop for No Reason"

    One of the most nauseating and transparently fake things to come down the pike in a long time is John Kasich’s nice guy act. Kasich is one of the most notorious jerks in the history of Washington, DC, which is a town full of jerks. To paraphrase the Big Lebowski, that places him high on the list of jerks worldwide.

    Wolf provides 2008 police dashcam video of a stop of Kasich's car, together with Kasich misrepresenting the facts about the stop a few days later.

  • The Washington Free Beacon conveniently summarizes "Hillary Clinton's Four Days of Gaffes", complete with sad trombones:

    I forget: wasn't she once smart enough to think before speaking? Didn't she used to make an effort to maintain superficial credibility? In any case, any skills she may have had in that area seem to be gone.