The Casino
Episode 1

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Just Take the Penicillin Now, Save Some Time

In order to underscore the contrast, we see a billion pictures of after-school lives, imaginary and not very interesting, charting their progress from duds to studs, we'll say, from nerds to…we don't know what we'll say, because the future is so bright they have to wear Ray-Bans and we have to keep quiet until we see all the coolness that is in store. But the story of their dramatic movement from total dorks to partial non-dorks is accompanied by a short, obviously rote speech detailing the wonders of how there were "lots of empty hotel rooms," noted solely and immediately by the members of some unnamed but apparently overwhelming cult that everyone wants to join. We know how it is, right? So, as dorks will, they created their website ( and eventually sold it to Expedia. The sounds and smells of testosterone and madness circle about, whispering, "Thirty-two-year-old tool with teenage girls and $150 million in cash…" And yet no one in the food court is buying.

The taller, mostly quiet one (Tim) arrives in a very nice car, in sunglasses, flashing bling all over the place. I think there's an entire generation lost somewhere in the crowd that feels like they should look into retiring or becoming homeless but have instead decided to simply let it ride, the "Greatest Generation" mojo and guilt safely lifted from their cotton- (once flannel-) clad shoulders by go-getters like these dorks right here, who were really, cutely, headed somewhere. Tim, who has not so much mastered speaking, it seems, much less the Shaking of Them Haters Off, mugs lamely about how he too had the option of "letting it ride" once he was bizarrely wealthy, and instead reveals a montage of Vegas horrors: slot machines, chips stacking, high rollers and their wives' shoes, all that shit. We hear about how there were "corporate monstrosities" on the Strip, and somehow this group excludes the Golden Nugget, because while the Nugget is "corporate" and Tom is a "monstrosity," they are both in Downtown Las Vegas, and not the Strip proper. There's sped-up helicopter action across the city toward the Nugget to make this point in a more visceral, spatial fashion.

More talk about Old-School Vegas at its finest. Get used to this, because it turns out there are exactly 1,052 synonyms for "sleazy, but in a Dean Martin way." The boys, a.k.a. Tom, talk about how they had $50 million of their own cash, and needed to convince Wall Street to risk -- I beg your pardon, "gamble" -- an additional $175 million on two Vegas rookies. I'm willing to "bet" that this was a pretty nerve-wracking experience, too, but I don't want to confuse myself by rating the nerve-wracking experiences by which Tom is constantly beset, because the editing is so ADD, it seems like all of these things are happening at the same time. As Tim and Tom walk into the Nugget, the music has a tiny little apoplexy. I yell, "Bank!" without even thinking.

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The Casino




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