Los Angeles, CA–I taught my daughter how to play poker recently so she wanted to rent 21, a movie about a group of MIT students who join a gambling “team” organized by one of their professors. The team counts cards and uses mathematical methods to beat the Vegas casinos in blackjack. The main character is 21-year-old mathematical genius
Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), along with Jill Taylor (Kate Bosworth). Both Sturgess and Taylor (pictured above) are part of the team–Bosworth is a “spotter” who plays low stakes and finds “hot” tables for Sturgess, the high-dollar player who is the team’s main earner. Anyway, at one point they have a conversation something like this:
Sturgess: How did you get into this? Taylor: My dad taught me how to play blackjack when I was nine-years-old. If I won, he’d take me out for ice cream. Sturgess: And if you lost? [Pause…] Taylor: He’d take me out for ice cream. He was my dad.
The point? Between line three and line four there is a odd pause. From Taylor’s look and the way the whole thing was set, my wife and I and a couple other people watching the movie with us all thought that Taylor was going to say something terrible, like “I’d have to (blank).” It seemed like a setup for a bad dad story, though (thankfully) we didn’t get one. This time.