Welcome to the ICM Forum. If you have an account but have trouble logging in, or have other questions, see THIS THREAD.
Podcast: Talking Images (Episode 11 released July 24th)
Polls: 2010s (Results), 0 Official Lists (Jul 31st), 1960 (Aug 9th)
Challenges: German/Austrian/Swiss, <400, 1970s
Film of the Week: Sibiriada, September nominations (Aug 28th)
World Cup S4: Match 2G: Russia vs Portugal (Aug 6th), Match 2H: India vs Cuba (Aug 16th), QF Preparation (Aug 25th)

The Music of Chance (1993) FotW #326

Post Reply
User avatar
Cocoa
Donator
Posts: 1827
Joined: Jul 17, 2013
Location: Chicago, USA
Contact:

The Music of Chance (1993) FotW #326

#1

Post by Cocoa » March 29th, 2020, 3:25 pm

Film of the Week #326: The Music of Chance (1993)

Image

Summary:
Whilst traveling across America living off the money from a large inheritance, ex-fireman Nashe has a chance meeting with Pozzi, a professional gambler and card shark. Nashe agrees to fund the penniless Pozzi in a game of poker against two eccentric millionaires, Flower and Stone, in an attempt to regain some of his spent fortune. His gamble has unforeseen and bizarre consequences for both himself and Pozzi. This film is an almost exact translation of the novel by Paul Auster.

#488 on 500<400, with 107 checks.
Nominated by 72aicm, filmbantha, joachimt, and xianjiro.
On IMDb
On iCM

From the 500<400 resultsShow
#488(NEW) The Music of Chance (1993)
Image
Directed by: Philip Haas
(258.46 Pts, 9 Votes) , Top 1–10–50: 1–1–2
History: 4881298141681274441NA←NA
ICheckMovies: 99 Checks , 14 Favourites , 1 Official list
List of Voters:Show
72allinncallme (1)
Nopros (48)
clemmetarey (64)
matthewscott8 (92)
vortexsurfer (104)
zuma (NA)
sol (224)
Nathan Treadway (NA)
Perception de Ambiguity (490)

Here is a schedule of all the FotW.

User avatar
Cocoa
Donator
Posts: 1827
Joined: Jul 17, 2013
Location: Chicago, USA
Contact:

#2

Post by Cocoa » March 29th, 2020, 3:32 pm

The first summary I saw on imdb on the top of the site seemed spoiler-ish and I haven't seen the film so I don't know how long it takes for a specific thing to happen that was described in the first summary, so I went with the second one I saw. Granted, I probably should have changed "Whilst" to "While" in the summary I copied because this is an American film and "Whilst" might imply that this is a British film to anyone who hasn't watched it (whoever wrote the summary has a uk email and is probrarly British).

blocho
Donator
Posts: 3364
Joined: Jul 20, 2014
Contact:

#3

Post by blocho » March 29th, 2020, 3:50 pm

I've mentioned this elsewhere in the forum before, but I thought I would say it again.

I first saw this 15 years ago when I was in college because I was obsessed with Paul Auster's novels at the time. So I got a VHS copy from the college library, and brought it back to watch with the 8 other guys in my house. I would characterize their reaction as puzzled, both about the movie and about me: "What happened to our friend and when did he become a weirdo."

I'm kind of tickled that it's become so popular on this forum.

User avatar
joachimt
Donator
Posts: 31895
Joined: Feb 16, 2012
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

#4

Post by joachimt » March 31st, 2020, 12:32 pm

Watched it yesterday. I thought it was rather dull. Two guys making stupid decisions and the results are pretty stupid as well. From the moment they
SpoilerShow
lost the game and had to build a wall (I missed the point of the wall, btw, because I could have used subs in some scenes) we never see the two other guys anymore. We just watch them dealing with the situation without hardly any struggle, although one of them runs away at some point only to return dead. The whole thing is missing tension from start to finish.
I didn't really see the point in the story. 5/10
ICM-profile
Fergenaprido: "I find your OCD to be adorable, J"

User avatar
Cocoa
Donator
Posts: 1827
Joined: Jul 17, 2013
Location: Chicago, USA
Contact:

#5

Post by Cocoa » April 1st, 2020, 6:05 pm

I thought the film was too predictable.
SpoilerShow
Once the lackey(/hired man/guard/door person/trashy version of a butler/whatever his title is idk) has the car that the rich people won, it raised a major red flag. Then another thing happened, I think it was the lackey giving the two men a signed contract with the signatures of the two rich people on it without the rich people being in the scene and the contract seemed too random for the rich people to have created without any dialogue between two parties, and it became obvious that the lackey killed the two rich people. Then there is clue after clue after clue as if the idea needs to be beaten into the viewer's skull that the rich people no longer exist. Examples include the two rich people suddenly leaving and then the lackey mentioned a few seconds later in answering a followup question how the lackey says the two rich people saw the work and were happy about it. Of course other examples include the food being added to the tab to extend the two men's stay (and that they were even allowed to have the event in the first place. wtf, of course the rich people would have likely said no, it would make no sense for them to allow it because they would probably have made it some sort of bet and wager if not an outright refusal. The viewer was given enough insight into the two rich people's personalities earlier in the film to know what behavior would be expected from them), the fact that something can probably be buried underneath the wall and there is a lot of supervision during the first few early bricklaying days when you could still see fresh or dug-up dirt while bricks were simply touching the ground, the fact that the lackey was able to just watch instead of having to do a bunch of other chores, the fact that the two rich people are always absent, the lackey's family members even being allowed on the property, etc. And a big clue earlier in the film has one of the rich persons talking about reforming people and there is a prison on the miniature town and not all the miniature people resemble the rich man, hinting that the lackey was once in prison and the rich person hired him in an attempt to reform him. The rich person gets along with the sheriff, so of course he has connections to hire past convicts. There was no payoff with the twist. The surviving guy calls the lackey out between the middle-end of the film but the lackey just shrugs it off and doesn't address it. No background/past revealed as a result, no sudden action occurring as a result, no confession that could have been either YES I DID IT AND PROUD OF IT BECAUSE I GOTTEN AWAY WITH IT or MY PLANS ARE RUINED NOW THAT YOU KNOW AND I MUST STOP YOU BEFORE YOU STOP ME! It was all a waste of material to try and have so much buildup and then throw it away without turning it into a climax. The story could have been written instead to have the two rich people watch the three others from time to time and allow the lackey to abuse the two men with the hard workload, which would have gotten rid of the whole buildup situation that falls flat near the end.

Also, the ending was obvious as soon as the man was in the driver's seat. It made zero sense for him to be the one driving unless it's to set up an intentional crash. Car crashes are such a predictable cliche.

I would have liked the film to have discussed more about the survivor's past. It seems like the film was just trying to make it vague and mysterious, but it wasn't that interesting the way they handled the material because it was like blah blah blah HE WANTS TO USE THE BEATEN UP PERSON HE JUST FOUND EARLIER FOR A SCHEME TO MAKE MONEY WHY WOULD HE EVEN ENTERTAIN THE THOUGHT HE MUST BE UP TO SOMETHING OR DOES SOMETHING SHADY blah blah blah HE HAS A KID blah NO LONGER WITH WIFE blah blah HIS FATHER DIED AND HE INHERITED SOME MONEY blah blah blah WHY DID HE DRIVE SO MUCH WITHIN ONE YEAR. It felt like they were trying to make him a red herring, as if he's insane or committed a crime or something, but once again, no payoff in the film.
How happy certain characters were at certain times totally did not feel natural at all. It felt incredibly unrealistic in a few scenes.

mathiasa
Posts: 2535
Joined: Aug 18, 2013
Contact:

#6

Post by mathiasa » April 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm

Does anyone understand the meaning of the title?
SpoilerShow
The movie is about an immature, stupid, violent, asshole who thinks he's a professional poker player. He has no understanding how the game works, says things like: "9 out of 10 times I come up on that." As if poker were about winning hands. He also never heard of bankroll management, poker etiquette or emotional control, calling everybody an asshole for no apparent reason. Which makes for a horrible table image in cash games. He mets some other moron who sets up a deal to play some other guys and the loose all their money. Instead of backing out, the moron offers his 15k$ for 5k$, not realizing that any player's advantage in poker is so small that you would never take such a shitty conversion rate. They lose the car and offer a 1:1 bet for 10k$ they don't have against a car they just gave away for 5k$. The losers lose again and have to build a wall to make amends and the movie gets really boring.
3.5/10

User avatar
xianjiro
Donator
Posts: 7741
Joined: Jun 17, 2015
Location: Kakistani Left Coast
Contact:

#7

Post by xianjiro » April 11th, 2020, 6:26 am

Watched this earlier in the week. My favorite moment is Mic Boom's magnificent cameo at the start of the hotel scene. And no, this is like the worst of the worst as far as this type of cameo. Don't quite remember anything like it other than maybe one of those no budget (usually horror) films made in someone's backyard. But I guess on IMDb this is considered someone else's fault, not the filmmakers', yada yada yawn.

I think some of the other posters got lost and dozed off before the film's 'gotcha' climax. I'm not sure it's really worth the pain of the all that precedes it, but I have to say this is meant as social commentary and focuses on how the rich and powerful use the rest of the populace as their personal playthings - and it seems the 'people' are willing participants in this 'game'. There's a lot to dislike about this film, if in doubt, go back and reread what others have said. It's quirky and no wonder it's found love though not necessarily with voters I'd have expected.

Honestly, pretty forgettable even though I gave it a 6/10. What's the title mean? No idea, but I'm guessing someone thought it sounded cool. I guess on some level music is often about rhythm and I did see a certain rhythm to the macro-story and maybe even the micro-stories as well, but honestly, I'm stretching there.

Listen, Daddy. Teacher says, 'every time a car alarm bleeps, into heaven a demon sneaks.'
sol can find me here

User avatar
Armoreska
Posts: 11938
Joined: Nov 01, 2012
Location: Ukraine, former Free Territory
Contact:

#8

Post by Armoreska » April 28th, 2020, 7:08 pm

They were talking about the music on the 60th minute.
SpoilerShow
Mandy ruined the music by leaving his partner when his luck was good.
I enjoyed it, without digging as deep into it as others have above.
Image
currently working towards a vegan/low waste world + thru such film lists (besides TV): ANARCHISTS, 2010s bests, RW Fassbinder, Yasujiro Ozu, Eric Rohmer, Visual Effects nominees, kid-related stuff, great animes (mini-serie or feature), very 80s movies, 17+ sci-fi lists on watchlist, ENVIRO, remarkable Silent Films and Pre-Code (exploring 1925 atm) and every shorts and docu list I'm aware of and
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1434
and "Gordon" Liu Chia-Hui/Liu Chia-Liang and Yuen Woo-ping and "Sammo" Hung Kam-bo

matthewscott8
Donator
Posts: 1974
Joined: May 13, 2015
Contact:

#9

Post by matthewscott8 » April 29th, 2020, 2:07 am

This is on my favourite movie list. I havent seen it for about 15 years though my memory is pretty clear. It's a libertarian manifesto, when you look at it like that it makes sense.

mathiasa
Posts: 2535
Joined: Aug 18, 2013
Contact:

#10

Post by mathiasa » April 29th, 2020, 9:41 am

matthewscott8 wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 2:07 am
This is on my favourite movie list. I havent seen it for about 15 years though my memory is pretty clear. It's a libertarian manifesto, when you look at it like that it makes sense.
How? I‘m libertarian and it didn‘t make sense to me.

matthewscott8
Donator
Posts: 1974
Joined: May 13, 2015
Contact:

#11

Post by matthewscott8 » April 30th, 2020, 10:07 am

mathiasa wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 9:41 am
matthewscott8 wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 2:07 am
This is on my favourite movie list. I havent seen it for about 15 years though my memory is pretty clear. It's a libertarian manifesto, when you look at it like that it makes sense.
How? I‘m libertarian and it didn‘t make sense to me.
So those creepy guys, Flower and Stone, the way they play with that model town of their's is creepy, and it's not some happy fantasy either, they have convicts in it too. Their dream is one of control. You could say that with most political systems we end up living someone else's dream, like for example Donald Trump's twisted dream. Pozzi and Nashe here literally live out the dreams of Flower and Stone, wealthy guys who have everything sewn up from the start, but with the illusion otherwise.

mathiasa
Posts: 2535
Joined: Aug 18, 2013
Contact:

#12

Post by mathiasa » April 30th, 2020, 12:23 pm

matthewscott8 wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 10:07 am
mathiasa wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 9:41 am
matthewscott8 wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 2:07 am
This is on my favourite movie list. I havent seen it for about 15 years though my memory is pretty clear. It's a libertarian manifesto, when you look at it like that it makes sense.
How? I‘m libertarian and it didn‘t make sense to me.
So those creepy guys, Flower and Stone, the way they play with that model town of their's is creepy, and it's not some happy fantasy either, they have convicts in it too. Their dream is one of control. You could say that with most political systems we end up living someone else's dream, like for example Donald Trump's twisted dream. Pozzi and Nashe here literally live out the dreams of Flower and Stone, wealthy guys who have everything sewn up from the start, but with the illusion otherwise.
I don't see how Flower and Stone have sewn up everything from the start. Clearly, the actions on part of Pozzi and Nashe were important und could not have been foreseen by them. I played poker on a habitually basis and believe me, it's very rarely you encounter morons like like Pozzi and Nashe. There was fe no way of assuming that they would go in into debt, even the dumbest and newest players understand and implement the concept of table stakes almost intuitively in their games. Also, 5-card draw/no-draw poker has a high variance, especially with only three players and Flower and Stone didn't look like card sharks to me, so the came could have easily ended in a different way.

And they couldn't have foreseen that the debtors were willing to work under such questionable conditions.
Also, a lot of different ideologies criticize the political influence of rich people, that's not something peculiar to Libertarianism.
Furthermore, according to Libertarian contract theory, the two could have walked away any time if they didn't like the work they were doing. Of course, Libertarian morales would advice them to stay, after all, it's almost universally accepted that promises should be full-filled (but of course everybody has the right to change his mind).
So I don't understand where you see a libertarian manifesto relating to this film. If anything, it seems more like an Anti-LIbertarian manifesto.

Also, why do you call Flower and Stone creepy? that‘s not nice!

matthewscott8
Donator
Posts: 1974
Joined: May 13, 2015
Contact:

#13

Post by matthewscott8 » April 30th, 2020, 2:53 pm

mathiasa wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 12:23 pm
matthewscott8 wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 10:07 am
mathiasa wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 9:41 am


How? I‘m libertarian and it didn‘t make sense to me.
So those creepy guys, Flower and Stone, the way they play with that model town of their's is creepy, and it's not some happy fantasy either, they have convicts in it too. Their dream is one of control. You could say that with most political systems we end up living someone else's dream, like for example Donald Trump's twisted dream. Pozzi and Nashe here literally live out the dreams of Flower and Stone, wealthy guys who have everything sewn up from the start, but with the illusion otherwise.
I don't see how Flower and Stone have sewn up everything from the start. Clearly, the actions on part of Pozzi and Nashe were important und could not have been foreseen by them. I played poker on a habitually basis and believe me, it's very rarely you encounter morons like like Pozzi and Nashe. There was fe no way of assuming that they would go in into debt, even the dumbest and newest players understand and implement the concept of table stakes almost intuitively in their games. Also, 5-card draw/no-draw poker has a high variance, especially with only three players and Flower and Stone didn't look like card sharks to me, so the came could have easily ended in a different way.

And they couldn't have foreseen that the debtors were willing to work under such questionable conditions.
Also, a lot of different ideologies criticize the political influence of rich people, that's not something peculiar to Libertarianism.
Furthermore, according to Libertarian contract theory, the two could have walked away any time if they didn't like the work they were doing. Of course, Libertarian morales would advice them to stay, after all, it's almost universally accepted that promises should be full-filled (but of course everybody has the right to change his mind).
So I don't understand where you see a libertarian manifesto relating to this film. If anything, it seems more like an Anti-LIbertarian manifesto.

Also, why do you call Flower and Stone creepy? that‘s not nice!
It's been a long time since I watched the film but my understanding is that they couldn't walk away afterwards, there was a fifth character keeping them there.

It's fine to talk about promises and such, but I think one of the things the Merchant of Venice teaches us is that it's inhuman to enforce all contracts.

mathiasa
Posts: 2535
Joined: Aug 18, 2013
Contact:

#14

Post by mathiasa » April 30th, 2020, 3:19 pm

matthewscott8 wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 2:53 pm
mathiasa wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 12:23 pm
matthewscott8 wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 10:07 am
So those creepy guys, Flower and Stone, the way they play with that model town of their's is creepy, and it's not some happy fantasy either, they have convicts in it too. Their dream is one of control. You could say that with most political systems we end up living someone else's dream, like for example Donald Trump's twisted dream. Pozzi and Nashe here literally live out the dreams of Flower and Stone, wealthy guys who have everything sewn up from the start, but with the illusion otherwise.
I don't see how Flower and Stone have sewn up everything from the start. Clearly, the actions on part of Pozzi and Nashe were important und could not have been foreseen by them. I played poker on a habitually basis and believe me, it's very rarely you encounter morons like like Pozzi and Nashe. There was fe no way of assuming that they would go in into debt, even the dumbest and newest players understand and implement the concept of table stakes almost intuitively in their games. Also, 5-card draw/no-draw poker has a high variance, especially with only three players and Flower and Stone didn't look like card sharks to me, so the came could have easily ended in a different way.

And they couldn't have foreseen that the debtors were willing to work under such questionable conditions.
Also, a lot of different ideologies criticize the political influence of rich people, that's not something peculiar to Libertarianism.
Furthermore, according to Libertarian contract theory, the two could have walked away any time if they didn't like the work they were doing. Of course, Libertarian morales would advice them to stay, after all, it's almost universally accepted that promises should be full-filled (but of course everybody has the right to change his mind).
So I don't understand where you see a libertarian manifesto relating to this film. If anything, it seems more like an Anti-LIbertarian manifesto.

Also, why do you call Flower and Stone creepy? that‘s not nice!
It's been a long time since I watched the film but my understanding is that they couldn't walk away afterwards, there was a fifth character keeping them there.

It's fine to talk about promises and such, but I think one of the things the Merchant of Venice teaches us is that it's inhuman to enforce all contracts.
Absolutely, it‘s inhuman to enforce contracts, and some are especially malicious. That‘s why Libertarians apply a non-mainstream theory of contracts, the Title Transfer theory of contracts, which intellectually allegedly goes back to Kant. Though the earliest work on it that I‘ve read was by the great individual anarchist Lysander Spooner (Poverty: Its Illegal Causes and Legal Cure). Then a few decades ago, Williamson Evers and Murray Rothbard rediscovered the theory and applied it to Libertarianism. What the theory exactly means is still in debate, with Kinsella correcting some of Rothbards mistakes (In A Libertarian Theory of Contract, it‘s very short and freely available on the internet).

Anyway, according to this thoery, the contract would not be enforceable, as there was no title transfer. It‘s only Libertarianism and Individual Anarchism that appropriately deal with the inhumanity you mention, in that they reject the current contract theory which is a mish mash of expectation and promise based theories of contract.
In that way yes, the movie in a way exposes what can happen in a non-Libertarian society. But I‘m not sure if it was that which you meant.

matthewscott8
Donator
Posts: 1974
Joined: May 13, 2015
Contact:

#15

Post by matthewscott8 » April 30th, 2020, 7:59 pm

mathiasa wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 3:19 pm
matthewscott8 wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 2:53 pm
mathiasa wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 12:23 pm


I don't see how Flower and Stone have sewn up everything from the start. Clearly, the actions on part of Pozzi and Nashe were important und could not have been foreseen by them. I played poker on a habitually basis and believe me, it's very rarely you encounter morons like like Pozzi and Nashe. There was fe no way of assuming that they would go in into debt, even the dumbest and newest players understand and implement the concept of table stakes almost intuitively in their games. Also, 5-card draw/no-draw poker has a high variance, especially with only three players and Flower and Stone didn't look like card sharks to me, so the came could have easily ended in a different way.

And they couldn't have foreseen that the debtors were willing to work under such questionable conditions.
Also, a lot of different ideologies criticize the political influence of rich people, that's not something peculiar to Libertarianism.
Furthermore, according to Libertarian contract theory, the two could have walked away any time if they didn't like the work they were doing. Of course, Libertarian morales would advice them to stay, after all, it's almost universally accepted that promises should be full-filled (but of course everybody has the right to change his mind).
So I don't understand where you see a libertarian manifesto relating to this film. If anything, it seems more like an Anti-LIbertarian manifesto.

Also, why do you call Flower and Stone creepy? that‘s not nice!
It's been a long time since I watched the film but my understanding is that they couldn't walk away afterwards, there was a fifth character keeping them there.

It's fine to talk about promises and such, but I think one of the things the Merchant of Venice teaches us is that it's inhuman to enforce all contracts.
Absolutely, it‘s inhuman to enforce contracts, and some are especially malicious. That‘s why Libertarians apply a non-mainstream theory of contracts, the Title Transfer theory of contracts, which intellectually allegedly goes back to Kant. Though the earliest work on it that I‘ve read was by the great individual anarchist Lysander Spooner (Poverty: Its Illegal Causes and Legal Cure). Then a few decades ago, Williamson Evers and Murray Rothbard rediscovered the theory and applied it to Libertarianism. What the theory exactly means is still in debate, with Kinsella correcting some of Rothbards mistakes (In A Libertarian Theory of Contract, it‘s very short and freely available on the internet).

Anyway, according to this thoery, the contract would not be enforceable, as there was no title transfer. It‘s only Libertarianism and Individual Anarchism that appropriately deal with the inhumanity you mention, in that they reject the current contract theory which is a mish mash of expectation and promise based theories of contract.
In that way yes, the movie in a way exposes what can happen in a non-Libertarian society. But I‘m not sure if it was that which you meant.
Yes I think we are much more on the same wavelength now, and I could have used anarchism instead of libertarianism as a touchstone. I looked it up and it's the M. Emmet Walsh character Murks who is responsible for keeping them there. Of course there is much room for interpretation in the movie, is the game rigged, is Murks a warden, did the characters succumb to fate or chance. The barfly review on IMDb is good:
Paul Auster writes marvelous contemporary fiction, and this is a wonderful film adaptation of perhaps his finest work.

THE MUSIC OF CHANCE revolves around two very different protagonists. Jim Nash (Mandy Patinkin) is an ex-fireman, driving across America, and searching for meaning to his life. Jack Pozzi (James Spader) is a professional poker player, out of money, out of luck, and given a ride to New York by Nash. It emerges Jack has a game scheduled with two eccentric millionaires (Joel Grey and Charles Durning), so Jim puts up the capital with the last of his own money. But the poker game doesn't go quite according to plan...

Some people have described this film as "pretentious" - pretending to what exactly? Jack Pozzi and Jim Nash are two unusually clearly defined characters - one shallow, over-confident, tetchy; the other calm, reasonable, tolerant. Their eventual predicament is also disarmingly simple. That air of mystery to the film does not spring from narrative or character but from the viewer's own philosophies towards life. Does one choose one's own path or is it chosen for you? Chance or fate? Freedom or incarceration? Meaning or, in Nash's words, "just bullshit". So in fact even if you think the events onscreen have no deeper meaning, well then that *is* the meaning. For you anyway.

The acting is universally excellent, with Grey, Durning, M Emmet Walsh, and Chris Penn illuminating supporting roles. But Patinkin and Spader dominate the film, with two absolutely captivating performances. Philip Haas's direction is suitably under-stated, and there is also excellent use of music, from jazz to classical.

THE MUSIC OF CHANCE is an absorbing and intelligent piece of film-making. If only there were more films like it.

mathiasa
Posts: 2535
Joined: Aug 18, 2013
Contact:

#16

Post by mathiasa » May 1st, 2020, 11:24 am

matthewscott8 wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 7:59 pm
mathiasa wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 3:19 pm
matthewscott8 wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 2:53 pm
It's been a long time since I watched the film but my understanding is that they couldn't walk away afterwards, there was a fifth character keeping them there.

It's fine to talk about promises and such, but I think one of the things the Merchant of Venice teaches us is that it's inhuman to enforce all contracts.
Absolutely, it‘s inhuman to enforce contracts, and some are especially malicious. That‘s why Libertarians apply a non-mainstream theory of contracts, the Title Transfer theory of contracts, which intellectually allegedly goes back to Kant. Though the earliest work on it that I‘ve read was by the great individual anarchist Lysander Spooner (Poverty: Its Illegal Causes and Legal Cure). Then a few decades ago, Williamson Evers and Murray Rothbard rediscovered the theory and applied it to Libertarianism. What the theory exactly means is still in debate, with Kinsella correcting some of Rothbards mistakes (In A Libertarian Theory of Contract, it‘s very short and freely available on the internet).

Anyway, according to this thoery, the contract would not be enforceable, as there was no title transfer. It‘s only Libertarianism and Individual Anarchism that appropriately deal with the inhumanity you mention, in that they reject the current contract theory which is a mish mash of expectation and promise based theories of contract.
In that way yes, the movie in a way exposes what can happen in a non-Libertarian society. But I‘m not sure if it was that which you meant.
Yes I think we are much more on the same wavelength now, and I could have used anarchism instead of libertarianism as a touchstone. I looked it up and it's the M. Emmet Walsh character Murks who is responsible for keeping them there. Of course there is much room for interpretation in the movie, is the game rigged, is Murks a warden, did the characters succumb to fate or chance. The barfly review on IMDb is good:
Paul Auster writes marvelous contemporary fiction, and this is a wonderful film adaptation of perhaps his finest work.

THE MUSIC OF CHANCE revolves around two very different protagonists. Jim Nash (Mandy Patinkin) is an ex-fireman, driving across America, and searching for meaning to his life. Jack Pozzi (James Spader) is a professional poker player, out of money, out of luck, and given a ride to New York by Nash. It emerges Jack has a game scheduled with two eccentric millionaires (Joel Grey and Charles Durning), so Jim puts up the capital with the last of his own money. But the poker game doesn't go quite according to plan...

Some people have described this film as "pretentious" - pretending to what exactly? Jack Pozzi and Jim Nash are two unusually clearly defined characters - one shallow, over-confident, tetchy; the other calm, reasonable, tolerant. Their eventual predicament is also disarmingly simple. That air of mystery to the film does not spring from narrative or character but from the viewer's own philosophies towards life. Does one choose one's own path or is it chosen for you? Chance or fate? Freedom or incarceration? Meaning or, in Nash's words, "just bullshit". So in fact even if you think the events onscreen have no deeper meaning, well then that *is* the meaning. For you anyway.

The acting is universally excellent, with Grey, Durning, M Emmet Walsh, and Chris Penn illuminating supporting roles. But Patinkin and Spader dominate the film, with two absolutely captivating performances. Philip Haas's direction is suitably under-stated, and there is also excellent use of music, from jazz to classical.

THE MUSIC OF CHANCE is an absorbing and intelligent piece of film-making. If only there were more films like it.
Yes, there‘s plenty of room for interpretation. Sometimes, this is a good thing, but I feel like in this movie it would have been better to narrow down the number of explanation. They partly stem from the fact that the writers didn‘t understand poker. Their misunderstanding was so bad, they even got some of the basic rules of it wrong (ie table stakes), let alone poker strategy, table etiquette, bankroll management etc.

Now this is something you experience almost always in a movie where poker is played. Just this week I watched „The man with the golden arm“ and they got it ridiculously wrong too.

It‘s just that in a movie like „Music of Chance“ where the game itself is so pivotal to the subsequent happenings and the movies metapher(s), its basic meaning etc. It’s of crucial importance that the writers would have gotten at least a small introduction towards how the game works. But it appears to me they consulted some card game addicts who maybe played a lot, but had no idea what they were doing (Just like addicts in general). In fact, the game was much portrayed like a gambling junkie would see it (good cards you win, bad cards, you lose, that‘s all there’s to it).

If your movie mostly about one particular game, and making
this movie means a lot to you, then why for godsake are
you not researching this properly. It blows my mind how this can happen. Maybe they had some preconceived notions about poker and didn‘t see the need to ask an expert.
And it‘s now extremely difficult do decipher the meaning, what was intentional, what stems from a lack of the games understanding. For me, this is a bad form „openness“ in a movie.

That being said, I gave it a 3.8, so there‘s still far worse stuff out there and it does have some qualities (or else I‘d given it a 1.0/10).

matthewscott8
Donator
Posts: 1974
Joined: May 13, 2015
Contact:

#17

Post by matthewscott8 » May 1st, 2020, 11:49 am

I don't blame your reaction, I have downgraded movies for bad understandings of chess, boards setup with black on the right, which happens all the time in movies, shatters my disbelief. Also people suddenly doing check mate in one move and it coming as a surprise to the opponent, omg.

My poker knowledge is very shaky. The good hands and bad hands are all there is to it I know is not right, but is probably a metaphor. I have only played poker once and I won hehe. My strategy of going all in on a good hand worked bizarrely well, people felt I was trying to bully them out of their hands. Playing with friends I knew their psychologies well hehe.

Post Reply