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Booze, Broads, and Blackjack Review

August 27, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Booze, Broads, and Blackjack
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Booze, Broads, and Blackjack Review  

Booze, Broads, and Blackjack Review

Joe Raffa– Jack King
Vincent Pastore– Vinny Bombayo
Sarah French– Alicia Gonzalvo
Erica Rey– Misty Rebel
Felissa Rose– Savannah Holly
Vincent M. Ward– Tony Raguso
James Duval– Oscar Chavez
Rickey Bird Jr.– Crash Banner

(check out the rest of the cast here)

Directed by Rickey Bird Jr.
Screenplay by Carl Nicita, based on the novel Booze, Broads, and Blackjack by Carl Nicita

Distributed by Film Regions International, Inc.

Not Rated
Runtime– 88 minutes

Check it out here


Booze, Broads, and Blackjack, directed by Rickey Bird, Jr. and written by Carl Nicita (based on his book of the same name), is a new low budget crime flick that, while it has its heart in the right place, isn’t as engaging as it should be. The movie has an interesting story to tell, but because of lackadaisical pacing and an uneven tone, Booze, Broads, and Blackjack isn’t as good as it should be and desperately wants to be. It has a decent cast and, by the end, you do appreciate the effort, but the movie doesn’t quite hit the mark it needs to.

Booze, Broads, and Blackjack stars Joe Raffa as Jack King, a radio DJ in Syracuse, New York who also has a side job as a collection agent for his mobbed up uncle Vinny Bombayo (Vincent Pastore). It’s not the life he wants for himself and his girlfriend Misty (Erica Rey), but it’s what gets him by. Jack would love to live on the west coast, where it’s warm and sunny all of the time, as opposed to upstate New York, where it’s cold as hell damn near every winter. One night, after celebrating a big card game win at a casino and then using Uncle Vinny’s suite to sleep and bang and whatnot, Misty accidentally witnesses a mob murder (she sees a dead body in a dumpster and who did it). She tells Jack, and Jack freaks the hell out. If anyone finds out that Misty saw what she saw, not to mention the whole “using Uncle Vinny’s room to have sex in without his permission” thing, both Misty and Jack could be in big, serious trouble.

So Uncle Vinny finds out, Jack freaks out a bit, but Uncle Vinny doesn’t let on that anything bad is going to happen. Uncle Vinny isn’t particularly fond of Misty (it sure seems like the only person who likes Misty is Jack), but he isn’t going to do anything to her (well, he isn’t going to announce that he’s going to do anything to her, especially not to Jack). Uncle Vinny has a job for his nephew that involves him going to Las Vegas and picking up a briefcase from a guy named Oscar Chavez. Jack was headed to Vegas anyway to participate in a big hooha blackjack tournament, so this trip is going to work out for everyone. Uncle Vinny tells Jack, though, that he can’t take Misty with him. Jack needs to go to Vegas by himself.

So Jack tells Misty what Uncle Vinny wants him to do and she immediately freaks out because she isn’t stupid. She knows that if she’s left in town alone, without Jack, that Uncle Vinny is going to have her killed. She argues with Jack a bit and then convinces him to bring her along to Vegas, defying Uncle Vinny. So Jack and Misty head to Vegas for the big hooha card tournament and whatnot.

When Jack and Misty get to Vegas, their relationship hits the skids a bit when Misty sees Jack interacting with Alicia Gonzalvo (Sarah French), an old friend/girlfriend. Misty believes that Jack is cheating on her with Alicia, which he sort of is. I mean, it wasn’t planned out to be that way, Jack had no idea that Alicia would be in Vegas, but she’s there and, you know, things happen. So Misty runs off and Jack and Alicia reconnect. Watching all of this is Alicia’s husband Tony (Vincent Ward), who works as a pit boss at the casino. Tony is, as you would expect, pissed that his wife is messing around with Jack.

Now, while all of this is happening, Jack is doing quite well for himself in the blackjack tournament, winning the first round quickly. Bad people in town also seem to know that Jack and his woman are in town and something is likely to go down. Or something. There’s an older guy, a cop (maybe) who used to go out with Misty before Jack. This cop gets involved in the story, but I’m not entirely sure what his deal is. It’s kind of confusing.

And while all of that is going on, the somewhat mysterious Savannah Holly (Felissa Rose) tries to get a job at Uncle Vinny’s strip club as a bartender. Uncle Vinny likes her a lot and hires her immediately, but there’s something a little off about Savannah. Where the hell did she come from? Who is she, really?

There’s just way too much going on in this movie, stuff that just doesn’t register. The whole subplot involving Misty seeing a guy get killed really doesn’t matter and, truthfully, isn’t all that interesting. I’m not even sure I completely understand it. The stuff involving Jack and Alicia is interesting, as Joe Raffa and Sarah French have tremendous chemistry. Jack’s need to “better himself” and Alicia’s somewhat sketchy past makes for a potentially fascinating story. And when you bring in a jealous Vincent Ward, that could be electric. The movie really doesn’t do anything with that, though. Instead, the “what’s in the briefcase Jack has to pick up” story is focused on, and by the time we know what’s actually going on with that it’s too late. You’re not going to care.

And then there’s the whole “what’s really going on with Savannah” part, which really seems like it should be its own movie because that movie would involve tons more of Felissa Rose and Vincent Pastore. They are terrific together and when they do appear on screen the movie picks up quite a bit. Booze, Broads, and Blackjack could have used more of them, both separately and together.

Jack’s time in Vegas is also very confusing because the casino that the story takes place in never seems like the same place twice. It just seems like a series of rooms, hallways, and common areas that are not really connected to one another. And why do we rarely see Jack playing blackjack? I don’t get it.

And then there’s just the overall pacing of the movie. It takes forever for anything to happen. You never get a sense of urgency from anyone about anything, even when the story is meant to pick up. Everything comes off as so deliberate that you wonder if what you’re watching is happening in a kind of slow motion. This movie needs to happen faster.

What works? Again, the main cast is terrific. I can’t stress enough how good Joe Raffa and Sarah French are together. Raffa also has great chemistry with Erica Rey, who plays Misty. Vincent Pastore is always worth watching regardless of the movie or the part (he’s clearly in his comfort zone here, playing a top flight mob guy), and it’s interesting to see Felissa Rose in a non-horror role. And while Vincent Ward should have been given more to do, he’s fabulous as the jealous husband Tony.

The best, most memorable character in the movie? Jack’s buddy Crash Banner, played by the movie’s director Rickey Bird. Crash is living the good Hollywood life and wants Jack to come hang out with him. Jack probably should have. I bet they could have gotten into some major hijinks.

It’s also cool to see a movie swing for the fences and be ambitious. It doesn’t really succeed, but it’s still a wonder to see everyone involved try.

I also want to commend the movie on the amount of nudity on display. You expect to see some nudity in a movie where a portion of it takes place in a strip club, but outside of that environment, too? That’s rare these days. Booze, Broads, and Blackjack is clearly proud of its nudity and that’s just nice to see.

Booze, Broads, and Blackjack doesn’t quite work. It’s way too slow for its own good and just isn’t as involving as it needs to be. It still has some good things going for it, though. The movie has a terrific cast, and even though it doesn’t fully succeed, it’s still cool to see the movie try. There’s nothing wrong with ambition. Nothing wrong at all.

See Booze, Broads, and Blackjack. It isn’t perfect, but it has just enough good stuff in it to make it worth 90 or so minutes of your time. It’s watchable. Slow, but watchable.


So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: At least 5.

Explosions: None.

Nudity? Yes, and it’s quite exquisite.

Doobage:An execution, a blackjack/gambling opening titles montage, a guy wins big, dead body in a dumpster, public smoking, booze drinking, flirting, strip club hooey, mob collections, attempted mugging, a promise of free donuts, pessimism, a celebrity blackjack tournament in Las Vegas, a job interview, disrespectful sex, relationship stuff, plain old sex, putting practice, lots of use of the “F” word, attempted form signing, a case, a switcheroo (maybe), a random red dot that appears on the screen for absolutely no reason, a dead body in a bedroom, a head shot, a tight red skirt, mob shit, a toast, police interrogation hooey, a major revelation, a shootout, an of screen court case, and the promise of a sequel.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: “Casting by Felissa Rose,” Vincent Pastore, WCUS radio, Syracuse, New York, Felissa Rose, a strip club, the inability to believe someone named Savannah is Italian, “It pays fifty thousand clams!,” a drone shot of the streets of Las Vegas, slot machines, “the United Nations room,” use of the word stunad, Vincent M. Ward, sex and nudity, sad kissing in the back of a cab, a New Jersey license plate, a big revelation, and the promise of a sequel.

Best lines: “I’m going to Vegas! I’m going to Vegas!,” “You ask too many fucking questions, you know that? It’s bad for your health!,” “What were you doing smoking a cigarette in the alley at 2 AM?,” “God, that broad,” “You don’t know who you’re fucking with, asshole!,” “You know, you’re fucking pissing me off here!,” “Wait, so I’m not going?,” “I still don’t get all this royalty shit,” “Gosh, you make it sound so easy,” “Yeah, suck it, Brad!,” “This next one is for all of the ladies,” “Why did we break up, anyway?,” “Misty, what the fuck are you doing?,” “Motherfucker! Fuck!,” “So where’s the broad?,” “Tough break, huh? I’m a dead man,” “I’m Jack King! I’m the king! You don’t recognize me?,” “Hey, you saved my life. It’s because I love you,” “You wouldn’t whack your own nephew?,” “Don’t fuck with me! You’re lying!,” “You know, Jack, for a Gini you’ve got the luck of the Irish,” “A seven and seven? That’s a drink for pussies,” “What are you, on a break?,” and “What did he say? He’s moving to Vegas.”

The final score: review Average
The 411
Booze, Broads, and Blackjack is a new low budget crime flick that doesn’t quite succeed. It’s way too slow for its own good and its story is confusing, but it has a terrific cast and plenty of ambition, which is fun to see in motion. Again, the movie doesn’t really succeed at what it wants to do, but it’s still worth checking out for its good points. You can’t help but like the effort. The movie is available for rent and purchase on Amazon Prime.