*The Warlock is at the kitchen table playing cards with Neyzor Blades. Neyz is in a black and white striped dress and Warlock is in an NCIS t-shirt, blue jeans, white sneakers and gargoyle shades. Neyz gets 21 and Warlock slams his cards down*
Warlock: Three blackjacks in a row, are you kidding me??
Neyz: Hey you wanted to play, it was your idea.
Warlock: I didn’t think I’d be playing against Chris Moneymaker.
Warlock: Nevermind, ready for the movie?
Neyz: What’s the movie?
*Neyz goes and sits in the recliner, Warlock in the middle of the couch*
Warlock: Tonight we’re doing 21. The 2008 movie based on the real life story of the MIT kids who took Vegas for a lot of money by card counting.
Neyz: What does this have to do with NCIS?
Warlock: So let’s get started with 21.
*The Warlock reads the tag-line*
Warlock: 21 is the fact-based story about six MIT students who were trained to become experts in card counting and subsequently took Vegas casinos for millions in winnings.
Neyz: Didn’t we see this already?
*Movie begins with Ben (Jim Sturgess) giving the history of the phrase “Winner, winner chicken dinner”
Neyz: Winnah wnnah
*Ben says he was up 640 grand counting cards. They had hand signals to communicate with each other. Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne) runs toward Ben and we get the opening credits*
Neyz: So this actually happened?
Warlock: Oh yeah.
*Opening credits with a montage of Boston with really bad opening song*
Neyz: I was once on a swan boat there.
Warlock: This soundtrack’s gotta go.
*Ben rides a bike across a bridge and through Boston Common to MIT*
Warlock: Watch your ass in the Common, peddlers and hot dog vendors a plenty.
*Ben sits in front of the Professor Bob Philips (Jack Gilpin) who goes over his file and says 76 people are gunning for the scholarship Ben is after. Ben gives a speech about wanting to go to Harvard Med but he’s broke. He needs the scholarship. Bob asks if he rehearsed that speech. Bob says the scholarship won’t be going to him because he doesn’t “dazzle” Bob says he needs to explain why he’s special*
Neyz: What a dick.
*Ben runs into Warren (Bradley Thoennes) who says Ben has been promoted to assistant manager for 8 dollars an hour*
Neyz: 8 dollars an hour.
Warlock: The card counting started in 1979 in real life so if this was set then, there ya go.
*Miles (Josh Gad) tells a really bad joke. They banter back and forth about Ben being mad that he has no money to go to Harvard. Ben says he needs 300 grand. Later on at a bar Ben gets a birthday cake from his mom, Miles and a friend*
Neyz: Are you trying to count the candles?
Warlock: Are you an idiot?
*Cam (Sam Golzari) is the friend. He and Miles argue over who picks up the check, Ben says he’ll get it and they both shove him down*
*Cam is skeptical about winning the 2.09 competition. They spot some jocks kissing girls and Cam says “We suck”
*Ben’s mom Ellen (Helen Carey) says goodnight and say don’t get home before 3. Meanwhile Professor Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey) teaches a class about Newton. Ben comes up with a theory that Joseph Raphson came up with a lot of Newton’s theories. Ben then gets brownie points by coming up with a percentage answer for Rosa*
Warlock: You want the goat don’t you.
*Rosa ends the class and looks at Ben’s test score, 97%*
Warlock: That’s not 100…YOU LOSE!
*Ben and Miles shoot hoops and spots Jill Taylor (Kate Bosworth). Their jaws drop as she waves to a different guy. She works the heavy bag as Miles says he uses his right hand*
*Miles says getting with her would qualify as a good life experience*
Warlock: NEVER let a girl slip through your fingers.
*Ben sits at an empty library and some guy says to come follow him now. He takes Ben to a secret room where Rosa is having a private meeting. Jill, Choi (Aaron Yoo), Fisher (Jacob Pitts) and Kianna (Liza Lapria) are there. Warlock stands and shouts*
Warlock: FORMER NCIS SPECIAL AGENT MICHELLE LEE IN THE HOUSEEEEE!!!!
*Rosa asks if he’s ever studied Blackjack. Basically they’re card counters. Rosa wants him to join the team and Ben says he can’t do it. Rosa tells him they pay better and tries to convince him to join them*
Warlock: I’d do it.
*Ben refuses to join and he goes to leave, Rosa subtlely threatens him not to reveal their plan. Next day at their job Ben counts up a sale for over a thousand dollars off the top of his head and Jill overhears him. She wants to buy a tie and he bullshits her*
Warlock: If this is their way of flirting……
*Jill tries to recruit him to join the team. She wants him to come to Vegas to take a break from his job*
Warlock: What a sales pitch!
*Ben again refuses and she says to drop by anytime. Jill says the best thing about Vegas is you can be whoever you want*
*Rosa is trying to teach them to count cards but none of them get it, Ben does as soon as he walks in. Montage time*
Warlock: Here we go.
*Ben takes a walk along the Charles and tells Micky that he’s only in it for the 300 grand. After that, he’s out. Micky says he understands and that its perfectly legal. Next frame shows Cole Williams beating the hell out of someone for card counting, Terry (Jack McGee) holds the kid up*
Warlock: Our movie’s heel.
*Rosa’s crew talks shop at a bar. Choi says they have spotters and big timers. The spotters don’t ever raise the stakes so they keep under the waiter. The big timers stroll in when the deck gets hot and bet big*
Warlock: Good strategy.
*The “trial run” is at an underground gambling casino in Chinatown. He walks around and spots Choi at a table, who signals the table is hot. Ben sits down and Choi has already counted 17 cards. Fisher and Kianna are lurking nearby. Ben then goes on a winning streak but then gets a hood thrown over his head. He gets thrown in the back by two beefy guys and is asked what the count is. He says Plus 18 and they take the hood off. Rosa smiles at him and the whole crew is there laughing. It was a test, he’s welcomed to the team*
Warlock: Oh those bastards.
*Rosa says he’s going to replace Jimmy as a big timer with Fisher since he doesn’t trust the girls and Choi is useless. Rosa pulls him aside and says not to let his emotions get the best of him. They’re following a system. They’re leaving for Vegas in the morning and Ben says he has a paper due. Rosa says not to worry about it, he talked to the professor to give him an A. Next day at the airport, Fisher and him stuff 250 grand in their pants to avoid detection*
Warlock: Oh lovely.
*Ben looks out the window at Las Vegas*
Warlock: I didn’t get the window seat when I went, lucky bastard.
*Ben sticks his head out a limousine window*
Warlock: There’s the card counter, shoot him!!!!
*Fisher, Ben, Choi, Jill, Kianna walk though a hotel and Ben falls over while checking out a girl. Choi says to “hit that”
*The kids make it to Rosa’s suite where Choi tries to steal anything that isn’t nailed down. Rosa says everyone has fake names and disguises so they don’t get caught. Rosa “Hey, you steal the Bible, you go to hell. That’s the way it works”
Warlock: Hahahaha kleptomaniac.
*Rosa says for safety, nobody knows each other. Not only that, DON’T get caught*
Warlock: Good advice.
*Kianna signals Ben that the table is hot and the count is 16. Ben goes on a winning streak*
Warlock: Please don’t touch the cards.
*Choi and Fisher watch Ben jealous. Ben goes all in but we don’t see the result, just Ben walking outside in the morning*
Neyz: I told you its the next day.
*Jill wakes up Ben and gives him his cut. They share bonding moments. He tries to convince her that he’s only doing it to pay for Harvard. Then he gets a call and says team meeting in 5 minutes. Fisher says he slept with a stripper, Kianna was playing the slots and Choi was stealing from an unattending maid cart. Rosa “This is not summer camp and I’m not your counselor.”
*Rosa “Choi, you made 5 grand last night, so would you stop stealing 9 cent pens and everything you can get your hands on from the maid’s car? Its embarrassing”
*Rosa gives Fisher a tongue lashing for going cold 3 times and he doesn’t like it. He praises Jill and Ben. Next day Jill spots for him and says the count is 15. A card player (Chistopher Michael Holley) says today is a new day. Meanwhile Terry and Cole says the game has changed. The next day Ben wakes up on the flight home. He says he keeps waking up to Jill. She says not to get used to it*
*Ben has lunch with Ellen and she gives him a check for 68 grand and he says he can’t accept it. He lies and says he got the scholarship so she can keep the money*
Warlock: His heart’s in the right place.
*Ben counts his winnings and its over 16 grand. He hides it in the ceiling of his dorm room when Cam and Miles show up. They ask where he was and he bullshits them. Miles says to hit up the Republik to watch girls dance*
*Cam says if they win at 2.09 he’s asking Jill out. Ben goes up and buys her a beer much to the shock of his friends. Ben says he’s never seen them before in his life then goes over to tell them to stop staring*
Warlock: They’re creepier than the ghost in The Ring.
*Ben and Jill bond on a train, he goes for a kiss and she stops him. He is mad at himself but she says not to worry about*
Warlock: Oh god…shut down….
*Ben says he says he saved 100 grand yet couldn’t get Jill off his mind. We get another montage where he talks to himself in the mirror with Choi secretly filming. He then orders room service in his dorm room not knowing he’s in his dorm room*
*Cole Williams spots Ben at Planet Hollywood then starts to suspect him. Cole figures out he’s counting since he himself is a counter. Stemple (Spencer Garrett) says he’s a nobody but Cole is suspicious. Back home Ben walks with Rosa but after he leaves, Cam and Miles grill him. He blows them off*
Neyz: Awww, poor friends.
*Another montage has the kids spending money like sailors to Shut Up And Drive by Rihanna*
Warlock: That’s their problem. They should have saved every penny.
*Ben hits up a strip club and Rosa points at him and smiles. Ben takes a seat and Jill sits on him*
Warlock: He’s gonna have the wettest dream ever.
*Ben calls himself Salvador Sanchez. Warlock bursts out laughing*
Neyz: What are you laughing at?
Warlock: Salvador Sanchez was probably the best Featherweight boxer in history.
*They finally kiss*
Warlock: About time.
*At Planet Hollywood, Kianna signals to Ben the table is hot. She gives the word signal but Fisher crashes the table*
Warlock: Uh oh.
*Fisher interrupts the count and Cole gets suspicious. Fisher acts loaded to piss people off, meanwhile Cole figures out the scam going on. He’s got Kianna and Ben cold. Cole “Show me a computer that can do that.”
*Fisher continues to pester Ben and calls him a retard. He then spills a drink and the guy sitting next to him pulls a gun. Its madness and mayhem as Fisher and Ben get away. Cole chases after Ben but can’t catch him*
Warlock: Wow, Fisher unknowingly saved his ass.
*Back at the strip club, Rosa fires Fisher and sends him home. He says they have 200 grand in useless chips unless they can cash out. Ben comes up with the idea to have the random strippers cash out the tips to fool the casino into thinking they are tips. Rosa smiles*
*All the strippers walk by, Rosa “I love a parade.”
*The four remaining kids hit up a dance club. Choi steals a bottle of booze*
*Jill invites Ben back to her private suite*
Warlock: If you say no you’re the dumbest man alive.
*Montage of Jill and Ben getting it on with Caesar’s Palace in the distance*
Warlock: I’ve been there.
Neyz: For a virgin he seems to know what he’s doing.
*Back home in Boston, Ben continues to put money away in his ceiling. He comes up with his 2.09 project with Cam and Miles. Their robot won’t work because he had the wrong battery size. Miles and Cam fire him and Ben lashes out at them and calls them pathetic*
Warlock: He would have been a better heel if he fired them or quit.
Neyz: Wouldn’t go with the storyline.
*Back in Vegas, Ben stops counting and starts losing despite Kianna and Jill signalling to get out of there. Jill tries to get him out of there but Ben refuses to leave*
Neyz: He’s blowing it on purpose.
Warlock: Not on purpose, just pissed.
*Ben walks away dejected*
Warlock: You know, it would be ingenious if he said he did it on purpose to get the casino guys off his back.
Neyz: But he doesn’t know that they are.
Warlock: Good point.
*Rosa goes nuts on Ben because he lost 200 grand. “I am not your father. I am not your friend. This is a business.”
Warlock: Powerful line.
*Ben says they take all the risks and Rosa doesn’t do shit. Rosa “You arrogant little shit”. He storms out and says to find their own way home and that Ben owes him 200 grand*
Warlock: Can’t blame him there.
*Ben rallies the kids and says to keep playing without Rosa. Ben “I’m not the same guy I was back in Boston.” Jill “Exactly” Ben “This is what you wanted me to be when you walked in to buy that tie” He then says he has 315 grand saved and she asks why he’s still there. He says he’s somebody there and convinces her to keep playing*
Warlock: He should have went home.
*At the Riviera, Ben cleans out a table with Choi spotting and moves to Jill’s table. Meanwhile Rosa nearby rats them all out. Terry answers a phone and hands it to Cole.*
Neyz: What a douche.
*Terry and Cole confront Ben and Jill heads for the hills. Cole says he knows the count as Jill tells Kianna to run. Terry and Cole bring him to the back and beat the shit out of him*
Warlock: Good old fashioned brow-beating.
*Cole and Terry taunt Ben and threaten to kill him if he ever comes back to Vegas. Ben pleads to take the money and Cole admits Rosa and him go way back. He used to chase him and beat him up only he keept coming back. Rosa got him for 700 grand on the day of Cole’s father’s funeral. He got fired and never saw Rosa again. Next frame Ben staggers out of the casino*
Neyz: And nobody cares he looks like he got mugged?
Warlock: Back in those days, cheaters got the shit kicked out of them or worse. This is par for the course really.
*Ben makes it home*
Warlock: Let me guess, the money is gone.
*Ben gets a letter saying he’s got an incomplete from the class Rosa said he had a guaranteed A from*
Warlock: Ohhhhh he’s screwed.
*Somebody ransacked Ben’s dorm and took all the money*
Warlock: I was right.
*Back in Rosa’s class, Ben subtlety confronts him without actually saying so. Rosa subtlety tells him he shouldn’t have crossed him*
Neyz: What a dick.
*Ben goes to see Jill and says Rosa’s taken everything. He says he lost everything but doesn’t want to lose Jill too. He says the person in Vegas wasn’t him and he needs her to trust them*
Neyz: First he is, then he isn’t, make up your minds?
*Back at the 2.09 competition, Miles and Cam have won it. Ben tells the story to Miles and Miles said he screwed up but finally had a life experience. Ben is sorry for how he treated Miles. Miles admits if he experienced what Ben did, he would have blown off the 2.09 too. They say they’re cool now*
Warlock: Yay…a happy ending.
*Ben confronts Rosa at an alumni dinner. Ben wants back in and Rosa asks why the hell should he trust him. Ben says the take is too big to pass up one last shot. They shake hands and part. Back in Vegas, Rosa is with the team and Ben says he’s going to lead them to greatness. Rosa says “Let’s go make a killing”
Warlock: The final take.
*Jill signals for Ben and he cleans out her table. He leaves and joins Kianna’s table. Rosa joins him and they clean it out. Choi signals and they clean that table out as well. Jill signals to get out of there because Cole is coming. Everybody heads for the hills as Kianna and Choi make it to safety but Jill, Rosa and Ben are cornered. They go out a staff exit and split up, Rosa takes the chips. Jill and Ben keep running and ditch the disguises*
Neyz: Why would he do that?
Warlock: He’s already made.
*Rosa jumps in the back of a limo with the chips, he says to take him to the airport. He sheds his disguises, laughs and goes to count the chips*
Neyz: He’s gonna leave them behind, I don’t believe it.
Warlock: I do.
*Rosa pulls out a handful and its not the chips, but Choi’s coin candy*
Warlock: Awwwww Ben set him up.
*We get a flashnack of Cole telling Ben to bring him Rosa and he’ll forget the whole thing. He hands Ben a card and says to call him when he’s got him back in town.*
Warlock: It was a set up.
*The montage shows Jill switching bags before Ben handed it to Rosa. The limo window rolls down and Terry is in the front seat. Rosa “Who the hell are you?”
*Cole walks up to Ben and Jill. Cole says he’s going to work out the MIT thing. Ben goes to leave but makes Ben give him the money for his “retirement”. Ben protests but Cole says he’s too smart not to make money in his lifetime. Cole then throws his jacket back to reveal a gun*
Warlock: Ben says “Sureeeee, why didn’t you say so?”
*Ben tosses Cole the bag of chips and walks away*
Neyz: Wow, Cole played HIM.
*Voice over of Ben saying he had it all as Rosa is tied up to a chair. “Always account for variable change.” Rosa says he’ll give Cole 100 grand and Cole says he doesn’t need it, but the IRS does. Meanwhile Ben and Jill leave with Cam, Kianna, Choi and Miles behind him*
Warlock: Baha he got everybody in on it.
*Ben in the voiceover says he was beaten up by an old school Vegas thug who was having a hard time accepting retirement. We show Cole on vacation in the Cayman Islands*
*Ben says he admitted he lied to his mother but she still loved him anyway. Next frame shows him going to Harvard Med and telling the whole story to Phillips. He’s speechless*
Neyz: Ha, look at him.
Warlock: The professor says “POLICE!!!!”
Neyzor Blades’ Assessment: 10 out of 10
The Warlock’s Assessment: 9.5 out of 10
Final Grade: 9.5 out of 10 – Almost the best of all time
*Warlock rises from the couch*
Warlock: Now that was a great story. The real life one is more interesting because it spanned decades instead of a few months like in the movie. Still, it was fun to watch and it had its moments…..
*Warlock looks at the kitchen table and notices the stack of high cards on the chair Neyz was sitting in*
Warlock: NEYZ YOU CHEATING BASTARD!
*Warlock chases Neyz around who laughs*
Neyz: Have a pleasant evening!