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SHERDOG MOVIE CLUB: Week 193 - Owning Mahowny (2003)

Discussion in 'Mayberry Lounge' started by europe1, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    NOTE to NON-MEMBERS: Interested in joining the SHERDOG MOVIE CLUB? Shoot me a PM for more info!

    Here's a quick list of all movies watched by the SMC. Or if you prefer, here's a more detailed examination.

    [​IMG]
    Our Director

    Richard Kwietniowski
    [​IMG]
    Richard Kwietniowski was born on March 17, 1957 in London, England. He is a director, known for Love and Death on Long Island (1997), Alfalfa (1988) and Flames of Passion (1989).
    Our Star

    Scotty J
    [​IMG]
    Film Overview



    Premise: A bank manager with: (a) a gambling problem and (b) access to a multimillion dollar account gets into a messy situation. Based on the story of the largest one-man bank fraud in Canadian history.​


    Budget: $10 million

    Box Office: $1 million (Ouch!)
    Trivia
    (courtesy of IMDB)

    * The real person, on which the character of Dan Mahowny is based, is now a consultant for a company that investigates fraud.

    * The character's name was changed to Dan Mahowny, in part because his real name (Brian Molony) was very similar to the name of the Canadian Prime Minister at the time (Brian Mulroney).

    * The movie's budget was about ten million dollars, which was also roughly the amount that the real person, on whom Dan Mahowny is based, stole from the bank, for which he worked.

    * While this is not a remake, The Highroller (1984) was based on the same true story.​

     
  2. HARRISON_3 Steel Belt

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    Ribs, no sauce, and a Coke.
     
  3. Scott Parker 27 Your Mom's Box

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    This movie was a pretty good insight into what the terrible madness of gambling addiction must be like. The only more extreme version I have seen of gambling addiction was bad lieutenant, but it is a totally different animal.
    One thing that surprised me that was not explored more in depth was the impact his gambling had on his relationship with his chick. I know in real life, from personal experience, when you are struggling with an addiction of any kind it deeply affects your relationship with your family. I think they kind of downplayed all of the havok that can wreak, from broken trust to sleeping in hotel rooms on nights when you are fighting.

    Fun movie 8/10
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  4. moreorless87 Straba

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    Wasn't really aware of this much beyond seeing it vaguely on Hoffmans wiki page before but the description makes it sound like he'll have something to work with which always makes for good viewing. Actually have the DVD on order and should get around to watching by the weekend.
     
  5. HARRISON_3 Steel Belt

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    I own the DVD.

    Literally watched it like three times over the weekend.

    Review upcoming.

    In the meantime, I couldn't help but notice how both John Hurt and Philip Seymour Hoffman, two Oscar winners, are dead!!

    RIP
     
  6. MusterX Titanium Belt

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    I knew right away Mahowny was fucked when he owed his bookie $10,200 for horse race betting and he filled out a fraudulent loan app. to pay the debt. Did he learn his lesson and stop, nope, he doubles down and bets a shit load of games and loses 40k. The escalation of his "problem" was done well and by the end the numbers had snowballed completely out of control. We know he was up $9 million when the busboy whispered to him to just pick up and leave. He of course didn't and lost it all but he owed the bank $10.2 million.

    Early in the film there was some narration that let the viewer in on something critical about Mahowny's personality, that he "only wanted to win so that he could keep on losing." I don't think any amount of money would have stopped his gambling until he was busted. Even the casino manager said of Mahowny, "He doesn't stop, he never stops." In between Mahowny's embezzlement and gambling scenes he has a relationship with Minnie Driver that quite frankly, I never thought was going to make it.

    Especially early on during the bathroom scene I thought for sure she was going to tell Mahowny to go take a flying leap but she stuck by him all the way to the end. Mahowny was super lucky, just never in a way that would satisfy him. He embezzled millions of dollars, lived the life of a high roller, married his girl, and is living free and with a solid career. That is some lucky shit, never mind that at one point he was up 9 million on the casino.

    Gambling can effect some people's minds like heroin or other strong narcotics. At the end Mahowny said the high he got from gambling was a 100 and everything else in life was a 20 or below.
     
  7. Bubzeh Silver Belt

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    Forgot that Phillip was dead until reading post #5 just now. He was great in this.

    I didn't know anything about this movie or "true story" beforehand so I'm just going off what I watched.

    Not a great start when you get banned from the races and just head straight to the casino. I always got the vibe throughout the movie that he was the boss, even when he was thousands down to his bookie or the banks he'd been robbing. I think in real life things would have been a little different. People may have been more aggressive with him. Even his girlfriend, she was a push over at times...

    I read a few reviews after I finished the movie and I was surprised by one especially... They said the first 30-40 minutes was boring and the rest was great. Well, I thought the complete opposite. First half of it was fascinating and I felt it dragged a little towards the end.

    Really liked the scene at the start with the Chinese bloke walking into the casino with the entourage and them treating him like royalty. He wanted that life and most on-lookers would. But then when he got there and did the same thing towards the end, he got there with a million problems on his back too so it's not always a good thing and in this instance, probably never a good thing.

    Downswings are a bitch.

    Forgot all about Bad Lieutenant - going to have to give that another watch asap.
     
  8. MusterX Titanium Belt

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    What a loss to the acting community Hoffman's death was. Only 46 years old and dead to a heroin overdose. He even had said he was afraid that heroin would kill him someday. I'm not sure why liberal arts people are so tortured. Dave Chappelle describes it as having a "brittle spirit." We saw the same sort of end with Heath Ledger and countless others that are actors, writers, artists, etc. The one that always gets me is Ernest Hemingway. If that guy can end with a gun in his mouth then any of us can.

    When I was watching the film I felt at any time, any scene, his girlfriend was going to leave him and towards the end she kinda did but she was right back in it when he got caught and went to jail. She even ends up marrying him. If you would have presented that to me in a script, I would have told you to change it, its unrealistic, and yet, that is exactly what happened in real life. Does life imitate art or does art imitate life?

    In fact, everything about this guys story seems unrealistic. He steals 10.2 million dollars, becomes a high roller, loses it all, but then somehow doesn't do 30 to life behind bars and even gets the girl at the end while landing a real life gig as a fraud detector. How is that even a real outcome?
     
  9. HARRISON_3 Steel Belt

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    "Mahony is beating Vegas!!"
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Yotsuya Brown Belt

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    Owning Mahowny DVD still on it’s way. :(
     
  11. Bubzeh Silver Belt

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    It's on YouTube bloody hell!
     
  12. Yotsuya Brown Belt

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    Looked for it with JustWatch app. I suppose it does not cover YouTube,
     
  13. MusterX Titanium Belt

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    Yea that's what I did, I was shocked the entire film was on YouTube and not hit with a copyright strike.
     
  14. moreorless87 Straba

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    I might go with that tomorrow then as there's still no sign of my DVD turning up.
     
  15. europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    So this was just all-around a really good film dealing with obsession. Hoffman delivered a pained, introverted, really disciplined performances. All his emotive reactions were on cue, from the minute cravings that he has while gambling to the more physical breakdowns he has in moments of high anxiety (like in the shower or when he pressures his friend to give back the money he was going to hold back). The camera-work really worked in tandem with his performance too. Notice how often it takes a slightly queer angle when observing his fixation. Like focusing on his pig-like eyes as they scan the table or move outwards from a close-up on him in a slightly wonky orbit. It always lends the impression that there is something unnatural, indignant about what he's doing. That his obsession is abnormal.

    I also like that the easiest people to fool were his bank-bosses.:D

    7/10. I suppose it just didn't have enough truly stand-out moments of greatness or anything overly special to push it over the edge.

    Dude didn't even order fries with that. Sad.

    That obsessive stare he has of the gambling-table remind me how I look at four in the morning while playing Grand Strategy Games and going "Just one more turn! One more turn!"<45>

    Maybe we needed a scene of Hoffman doing whale-noises?



    But Keitel really was high on the lewdness of life. He molested teenagers and abused shopkeepers. The gambling was really just a part of his overall filthiness. Plus the movie had that funky Catholic angle too. Hoffman, his obsession was lazor-focused on betting. He knew what he liked. It's like John Hurt said, he was a shark.

    Yeah, the girlfriend was downright saintly in how much she put up with. And any extended family besides her didn't even seem to exist.

    The film was strangely mild-mannered in that way. No scream-to-the-sky's outbursts. I guess that's Canadians for you.

    I knew that he was fucked when he literally turned down a smoking-hot, free-of-charge lady of the evening to go gambling some more. Man... that was just demoralizing. Crushing to the human spirit. I hope the girl didn't take it all too badly.

    He didn't even seem all that sad that he had lost money. Nor was he overjoyed when he won. It's the process that's exhilarated him, that blood-tensing focus that you have on the game.

    Friendly Canadians, eh? ;)

    I suppose nobody really had incentive to turn bellicose against him since he could always cough up big money. The bookie-gangsters even converse about how strangely frustrating this is, that normal rules didn't seem to apply to him.

    Yeah, I agree. The first half-hour really was the purest "exploration" of his obsession, more like a documentation of it, capturing it in-the-moment from a psychological viewpoint. Then for the rest of the movie, they needed to bring in more plot-elements so to have something to build around. I guess it comes down to if you prefer the "story" or the "theme".

    Bitches were lucky it wasn't the God of Gamblers in to clean house. They got lucky with their Asians.





    People who venture into acting (or other creative and artistic professions) usually seem to feel like they don't fully belong in society. They feel like outsiders so they pursue outsider careers, grow fixated and obsessive with it as a compensation for their lack of belonging. But happiness is often found in a communal spirit, belonging to a group or something like that. So people who feel like they don't belong often end up feeling tortured and pained.

    Or at least that's my take on it.

    Dude! I keep telling you people! Canadians! They work differently! In the US, he'd have been treated worse than a paedophile for stealing from a bank! :D

    {<doc}
    <{walkerwhut}>
    <{hfved}>

    <codychoke>
    How did we miss this!!?
    {<jordan}
     
  16. LHWBelt Gold Belt

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    Damn I didn't check youtube lol. Hey isn't it Wednesday? Where's the new voting threat @europe1
     
  17. europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    Like all egomaniacs, I wanted to get in my own thoughts/bad jokes before rolling the week over. I'm working on the threads now.

    Also @HenryFlowers nominations are basically one big fuck you to me. I tried PM'ing @jei to have him banned for being a virulently Europhobic but jei says he googled the word and apparently you can't be racist towards Europeans or whatever.
     
  18. Yotsuya Brown Belt

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    Didn’t care that much for this. It was like a message movie about substance abuse, that only shows the misery of being an addict, so the whole deal seems like an absurd obsession to be down and out. There were zero actual highs in this movie. It was almost like it’s made for ex-gambling addicts who could have a relapse at slightest hint that the main character is momentarily having good time. It takes a lot to keep a non-stop downer movie engaging and for me Owning Mahowney just does not have what it takes. Biggest problem was, that the last scene was the only one that managed to scratch the surface of psychology of gambling. Othervise the whole movie was just superficial portrayal of addiction.
     
  19. Zer Steel Belt

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    Wish I saw this before your review so I could've worked an 'Owning Owning Mahowny' bit

    I thought this was fine and would give it a 6/10. Hoffmann really inhabits the character and does a good job as always, I just think the character itself didn't have the range of personality for a movie like this and is pretty one note. I suppose it's a point about gambling addiction/addiction in general being a single minded affair with no real highs and only lows. In times of high emotion for Mahowny, Hoffman does a really great job of selling it in a contained sort of way. The thoughtful pause was way overused though to the point where it was pretty annoying.

    I liked the supporting cast. Minnie Driver was cute with the hair and glasses although the relationship dialogue with Mahowny was pretty generic. I haven't really seen much of Minnie Driver, but she says cool at one point and I wonder if that's her gimmick or something because she does the same thing in Grosse Pointe Blank.

    John Hurt was the real standout I thought. He was perfectly sleazy and felt like a proper casino flick character. I liked how it shows Hurt and the casino cameras always studying Mahowny like prey. Trying to figure out his habits and weaknesses and shit. It was a good angle and I thought it'd be sweet to have a casino film or show where dudes just psychoanalyze gamblers so they can be exploited. Like Mentalist type shit.

    Another guy that stood out to me was Ian Tracey as Det. Lock. He looked kind of like Brad Pitt in Seven crossed with Lex Luger. Great hardboiled detective aesthetic. Man I want to cast him as lead in my cyberpunk film
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  20. Yotsuya Brown Belt

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    We see Hoffman going through the emotional motions of addiction, but I wish the movie would have gone a bit deeper into what excactly it was, that Mahowny found exhilarating. I’ve never been into casino games, but by reading Dostojevski’s The Gamblers I got to relate with the mania involved. Betting MMA has taught me a thing or two about this emotional landscape too. Even though I’ve never bet big enough to make a big difference one way or another, once you get burned few times the single big bets become more about relief of not losing. A winning streak on the other hand can trigger a feeling, that one has mastered fragment of reality, which is very empowering feeling. Mahowney was upping the ante of his addiction by rising the stakes and by trying different systems. I’d imagine he’d at least momentarily manage to succeed in chasing the dragon, but at those times the movie seemed to take a ton of distance from Mahowny. I suppose it’s possible, that he was so far gone and risking so much, that all he got on winning streaks was a relief fix.

    For me it’s roguelikes that give that slippery slope to realizing it’s 4am. ”One more run!”
    {<BJPeen}<mma3><1>
     

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