Saturday, January 10, 2015

Zoned Out: Dealer's Choice

Another week, a brand new Disc and a new trip to...
In this neat-to-look-at-now Episode, some men play Poker, but find that their new Player has a secret.
In this Classic-style Episode, four guys- including M. Emmet Walsh and Garrett Morris- have a new player at their Friday Night Poker Game.  Nobody knows him.
What's his secret?  Well...

He's The Devil.
After winning enough, he plays one last hand for one of their souls.  Walsh loses and now he's on the line.

Oh yeah, did I mention that Morgan Freeman is in this?  It might be notable, I suppose.
They up the ante and convince him to play one more hand.  The trick is changing up the game.

You see, he keeps drawing three 6s (get it?!?), so they play a game where the lowest hand wins!
After some dramatic tension and one last attempted trick from Scratch, they actually win.  He's amiable about the whole thing, actually.
As a parting gift, he gives them a fridge full of beer and some cold cuts.  Nice, Devil.  The End.
This is certainly an oddball, but it is also fun.  The group interacts very naturally and you feel like they are really friends.  It is the crux of this whole thing, so it is good to see it done well.  What they do well is have the Characters hint at their personal problems- like Walsh drinking alot earlier in the day- without going into too much detail.  You get the idea while keeping the pace brisk enough.  The way they treat everything is pretty fun.  They notice that the guy keeps getting triple 6s and just infer that he's Satan.  Going from there is just 'So, he's Satan- now what?'  As Satan, he doesn't do anything big or overt either- he's just unnaturally good at cards and can act like you think he's all-powerful.  Credit goes to Dan Hedaya for his performance here- playing just the right notes without going overboard.  Likewise, the other people at the table for the majority of the game- Morris, Freeman and Walsh- feel very natural and never act like you wouldn't expect someone to.  It is played as subtle as you can do 'Satan shows up at a Card Game to steal someone's soul.'  I do have to give credit to the Director for making good use of Camera Angles and Cuts in such a small, basic set.  They mostly never leave the table and that is certainly hard to keep interesting.  Given the Director though, it is easy to see how it was handled well...
Next week, a Teacher gets some help from an unlikely source when she has to deal with bullies.  Will this newfound power be too much though?  Stay tuned...

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