The first edition of Complete Idiot's Guide to Bridge
by H. Anthony Medley was the fastest
selling beginning bridge book, going through more than 10 printings.
Second Edition includes some modern advanced bidding systems and
conventions, like Two over One, a system used by many modern
tournament players, Roman Key Card Blackwood, New Minor
Forcing, Reverse Drury, Forcing No Trump, and others.
Also included is a detailed Guide to
Bids and Responses, along with the most detailed, 12-page
Glossary ever published, as well as examples to make learning the game
even easier. Click book to order.
by Tony Medley
I guess it is appropriate
that this is an MGM picture, because it has the production values akin
to a 1940s MGM B-movie. It starts off with loud, offputting music, music
that continues for far too long. The story is derivative, the acting
embarrassing. The first hour is almost interminable. Itís only saved,
and then just a little, by the last 20 minutes.
This is a story about
poker. Alex Stillman (Bret Harrison) is a young college graduate who
forsakes his job with his father, Mr. Stillman (Gary Grubbs), to play
poker. Heís seen, somehow, by oldtimer Tommy Vinson (Burt Reynolds) and
taken under Tommyís wing. Tommy gave up poker 20 years ago because his
wife, Helen (Maria Mason) threatened to leave him if he didnít give it
up. But he is, apparently, a legend. Tommyís buddy is Charlie Adler
(Charles Durning). I couldnít figure out why Charlie is in the movie,
unless it was to give Durning some work. If so, Durning should have
turned it down. I have fond memories of him in past movies, like ďThe
Final CountdownĒ (1980) and many others. I will have to expunge this
film from my memory to keep those fond ones because Charles looks old,
emaciated, and forgettable.
After a few years as one of
Hollywoodís favorite leading men, Reynolds has fallen on hard times. His
hair is still black and he doesnít have many wrinkles, but he moves like
the old man he is. The lackluster directing (Gil Cates, Jr.) doesnít do
him any favors here.
There are so many negative
aspects to this film, I donít know where to stop, but I must mention
Gary Grubbs. I first saw him (at least itís the first time I remember
him) as Captain Wiecek in ďFor Love and HonorĒ a 1980 TV series about
the modern army that NBC pulled after three months. I thought it was
very well done and that NBC chickened out on it too soon. I was
impressed with Grubbs. Heís been around ever since and has lots of
credits. But if the way he says his lines in this film epitomizes the
state of his craft today, I donít hold out much hope for him. Itís not
just that the lines he is forced to utter are bad, which they are, or
that the character he plays is poorly crafted, which it is. Itís that he
says his lines like heís reading them for the first time. Itís a telling
comment on the thought that went into this film that they couldnít even
come up with a first name for his character.
Bret Harrison is a good
looking kid with a nice smile, which is about all that can be said about
his performance. The plot is so trite that everything that happens
should be anticipated by anyone who has been going to the movies for at
least a couple of years. The ending is telegraphed from here to Kansas.
Additional add on
production values; near the end of the film thereís a cut to the TV
commentators, one of whom is Vincent van Patten, paying himself. This is
such a sloppy film that this scene is actually out of sync. Itís
possible that the screening was a rough cut, but since it was only four
days before opening, I doubt it.
About the last 20 minutes
is the poker game. Itís not bad, but itís pure Hollywood. If you want to
watch poker, try ESPN.
I was looking forward to a
good movie about poker. I still am.
April 22, 2008