ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – C – Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Director: Stuart Rosenberg

Writer: Donn Pearce, Frank Pierson (Screenplay) Donn Pearce (Novel)

Starring: Paul Newman, George Kennedy, J.D. Cannon, Lou Antonio, Robert Drivas, Strother Martin, Jo Van Fleet


Plot: A laid back Southern man is sentenced to two years in a rural prison, but refuses to conform.

Tagline – Sometimes, “Nothing” can be a really Cool Hand

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: The Classic We Know


Story: Cool Hand Luke starts as war veteran Newman) is sent to a rural prison for cutting the heads of parking metres. Wanting to keep to himself it isn’t long before he starts befriending the leader of the men in the prison Dragline (Kennedy) as they start to pass the times with bets and fights.

As Luke’s two year sentence runs, life catches up with him as he must deal with the consequences of his actions, moments in life that he will miss, forcing him to want to break the rules of the prison.


Thoughts on Cool Hand Luke


Characters – Luke is the war veteran who in a drunken state destroys parking metres, he is calm while set to prison and knows how to improve his standing with the prisoners, as he plans his own escape from the prison, he misses out on big moments of life, but it is clear he is dealing with the effects of war. Dragline runs the prisoner side of the inmates, if he likes you, you get anything, he keeps the people calm while dealing with the struggles they are facing, he befriends Luke during the time in the prison. We have a large amount of inmates in the prison each with their own characters, we have the strict wardens and owner of the prison who keep the men in line, while befriending them if they follow the rules.

PerformancesPaul Newman shines here giving us one of the best performances of any acting career, we completely understand the troubles he has been facing as the man who needed help from the world. George Kennedy in the supporting role is fantastic while the rest of the cast fill their roles well letting Newman shine.

StoryThe story here follows Luke in his time in prison, he has been sent there because of a minor crime and his problems are clear for all to see, he is a war veteran facing the consequences that had yet to be truly healed when returning home. We see how he tries to escape from the prison as he is ready to try and go against the rules of life which shows us just how broken this man was, we would get a lot more support in the modern era. The bond between the prisoners is strong in the story telling showing how they can become like one to help pass the time, with the wardens and guards even showing moments of sympathy towards the prisoners.

CrimeThe crime side of the film shows us just where a minor criminal will end up, how they must get through the prison routine even if they want to escape.

SettingsThe film is set in the prison, it shows us how isolated this location is, meaning running isn’t going to be the option.

Scene of the Movie –
The final moments.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Bloodhounds seem mistreated.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the classic films, it is one that does stand the test of time and shows just how Paul Newman was one of the greatest actors of all time.


Overall: Must watch classic film.





The Gambler (2015)

logoDirector: Rupert Wyatt

Writer: William Monahan (Screenplay) James Toback (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Jessica Lange, Brie Larson, George Kennedy, Michael Kenneth Williams, John Goodman


Plot: Lit professor and gambler Jim Bennett’s debt causes him to borrow money from his mother and a loan shark. Further complicating his situation is his relationship with one of his students. Will Bennett risk his life for a second chance?


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Painfully Dull


Story: The Gambler starts with Jim Bennett (Wahlberg) in a hospital with his dying grandfather. Jimmy is a gambler and he takes on the most elite unground games in the city he starts with blackjack turning $10,000 into $80,000 but within the five minutes he lost it all. Jim owes the owner money and borrows money from another man who lends him $50,000 as he goes after the money he owes. Jim does make the money back and then some on blackjack before blowing it all on roulette.

Returning to his day job Jim is a college professor who teaches English trying to inspiring the next generation of writers. One of his students Amy Phillips (Larson) very quiet but Jim sees her as the potential best student he has. Jimmy goes to his mother Roberta (Lange) for money she refuses to help to try and teach him the lesson for himself. Jim goes to Frank (Goodman) who can’t understand how Jim wants that much money when he should be able to cope by himself. Frank refuses to lend the money leading to Neville (Williams) wanting his money back early. Jim has to find a way to pay back all the money he owes but his lifestyle doesn’t seem to help in any way.

The Gambler is one of those films that has such an interesting idea but seemingly goes nowhere fast. The idea that this man is involved in gambling is good and how he owes multiply people money I can go with but then just blowing it over and over again while have a good normal well-paying job makes very little sense. We end up watching a one man crash which turns boring with not a single scene pulling you in to the story in anyway. We are left not rooting for the lead, not caring what the loan sharks do and for the students what are they thinking? This really was a poor story that is easily forgotten. (3/10)


Actor Review


Mark Walberg: Jim Bennett the English professor who has a slight gambling problem which leads him to grow his debts. He tests all his personal relationships to repay the debts. Mark has tried playing a teacher, remember ‘The Happening’ yeah this guy can’t play teacher. (3/10)


Support Cast: The Gambler has a supporting cast that is students who all seem to make weird choice for their situation, loan sharks who keep giving money to a guy who never seems to pay it back and family that hates our lead. They all come into the week that Jim is having without really making you wonder what will be said.


Director Review: Rupert Wyatt – Rupert doesn’t drive the story home as hard as it should have been and it ends off coming off very plan and forgettable. (4/10)


Crime: The Gambler shows that happens when you get mixed up with loan sharks in the underground crime scene. (7/10)

Thriller: The Gambler doesn’t manage to pull you in like it should have done. (3/10)

Settings: The Gambler settings all look very generic for the type of film. (5/10)

Suggestion: The Gambler is one you could easily miss and not have to worry about people asking you if you saw it. (Miss It)


Best Part: Basketball scene is about as good as it gets.

Worst Part: Dull storyline.


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $33 Million (So Far)

Budget: $25 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

Tagline: The Only way out is All in.


Overall: Way To Boring

Rating 30