To describe Bernie Lootz (William H. Macy) as a loser is to misunderstand the meaning of the word. In order to lose one has to have taken chances, failed in opportunities chosen. Lootz has let his drunken wife carry off his son and passively allowed himself to be involved in petty thievery and finally the mob itself through his “friendship” with Shelly Kaplow (Alec Baldwin), who, to cure Bernie of gambling, has taken a baseball bat to Bernie’s knee, crippling him for life. Bernie’s life has so spiraled downward (the camera shows him “going down” the casino elevator at several points in the film) that he literally emanates failure, the perfect “gift” for a casino “cooler,” a man who, coming even a few feet from winners, immediately sours their luck, whether they are playing the machines or gambling with dice. In one of the first lines of the film a casino employee calls out: “Where’s Bernie, they’re killing us. Yeah, we need him right away.”
high-priced hooker with an exclusive clientele. Then along
comes that Steve Wynn cocksucker and knocks her up and
puts her in a fucking family way. Now she’s nothing but a
cheap, fat whore hiding behind too much fucking make-up.
I look at her and see all her fucking stretch marks, it makes
me want to cry—because I remember the way she used to be.
No matter how Satanic Shelly later becomes, you gotta love a man who thinks like that!