Thursday’s List of 13: Some movie recommendations for late-night TV

It is possible that I watch too much TV, but during the pandemic, not much else to do, except read books, listen to music. Here are 13 movies, mostly older movies, that you will enjoy if you come across them on one of the movie channels.

13) The Gambler— Remake of a 1974 James Caan movie, Mark Wahlberg plays a college professor who borrows money from both his mother and a loan shark; a compulsive gambler, paying all his debts comes down to one spin of the roulette wheel.

John Goodman, Jessica Lange, Brie Larson are a fine supporting cast.

12) Dave— The U.S. President goes into a coma while cheating on his wife; to avoid a scandal, the President’s henchmen hire a temp agency owner with an uncanny resemblance to the President to play the role of the President.

Kevin Kline is the star; Sigoruney Weaver, Frank Langella, Kevin Dunn, Ving Rhames, Ben Kingsley and Charles Grodin are an excellent supporting cast.

11) Jackie Brown— A middle-aged stewardess smuggles money from Mexico to Los Angeles for an arms dealer; she gets caught with $10,000 and cocaine in her purse. She convinces her bail bondsman to take part in a con game to steal $500,000 from the arms dealer.

Pam Grier is the star; Robert Forster is the bondsman, Samuel L Jackson the arms dealer. Smaller roles for Robert DeNiro and Michael Keaton.

10) Less Than Zero— A college freshman returns to Los Angeles for the holidays at his ex-girlfriend’s request, but discovers that his former best friend has an out-of-control drug habit. Not always a pleasant movie, but it is well done.

Jami Gertz plays the young lady; she has recently represented the Atlanta Hawks a couple times at the NBA’s Draft Lottery— her husband in real life is Antony Ressler, who owns the Hawks.

9) Let It Ride— Richard Dreyfuss plays a degenerate gambler who is a habitual loser but has one very good day at the racetrack. Teri Garr plays his beleaguered wife, David Johansen plays one of his gambling friends, Jennifer Tilly plays a rich guy’s girlfriend who is at the track with him.

If you enjoy going to the track, guaranteed this movie will make you laugh.

8) Fabulous Baker Boys— The lives of two struggling piano players, who are brothers, inevitably change when they team up with a beautiful, up-and-coming singer. Once the singer joins their act, they become a much more popular group, but then things get complicated by romance.

Jeff/Beau Bridges are brothers in this movie and in real life; Michelle Pfeiffer is the singer, and this is peak Michelle Pfeiffer. Good movie.

8a) Bonus List: Mt Rushmore of John Grisham movies:
— A Time To Kill
— Runaway Jury
— The Client
— The Rainmaker

6) Lucky You— A hotshot poker player tries to win a tournament in Las Vegas, but is fighting a losing battle with his personal problems; complicating things is Huck’s father, a champion poker player, arriving in Las Vegas- Huck despises the old man for having left his mother.

Robert Duvall is the father, Eric Bana is the hotshot, Drew Barrymore his girlfriend. Lot of real-life pro poker players are in this movie.

5) He Got Game— Denzel Washington is a father who pushes his son to become a great ballplayer, but during a domestic dispute, he inadvertently kills his wife, and goes to jail. The only way he can get a shorter sentence is to convince his son to play ball for the governor’s alma mater, but the son hates his old man.

Ray Allen is the ballplayer, Ned Beatty the warden, John Turturro one of the coaches who is recruiting the kid. Jim Brown plays a probation officer assigned to watch Denzel while he is trying to recruit his own son. Rick Fox is the kid’s guide on one of his recruiting visits.

4) White Palace— Still getting over the death of his wife, a young advertising executive meets an older waitress, a woman with a fixation on Marilyn Monroe. The couple gradually fall in love, though age and social differences make things problematic.

James Spader is the guy, Susan Sarandon the waitress, Jason Alexander is one of his friends. There is a great, short appearance by Steven Hill, who played the original DA on Law and Order.

3) Lost In Translation— Bill Murray is a movie star on the back nine of his career who heads to Tokyo to do a whiskey commercial for $2M. While there, he crosses paths with a young lady who is in Tokyo with her photographer husband, but the husband largely ignores her.

The actor and the young lady form an unlikely friendship; the ending kind of leaves us hanging.

2) Oceans 11, Oceans 13— A group of 11 thieves work together to rob Las Vegas casinos; Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Elliott Gould, Carl Reiner, Ellen Barkin, Andy Garcia, a tremendous cast in these two movies.

Al Pacino owns the casino they try to rob in Oceans Thirteen. 

1) The Replacements— During a pro football strike, the owners hire substitute players; Keanu Reaves is the QB, Gene Hackman the coach, Jack Warden the owner. A motley cast of characters make up the rest of the Washington Sentinels.

Apparently Sentinels is not one of the names under consideration to replace Redskins as the nickname of the Washington team in real life. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.