Mississippi Grind: Is a Good Gambling Movie Good for Online Gambling?Published January 31, 2015 by Lee R
The newest movie on gambling glorifies the habit - but is this good for online players?
Is romanticizing gamblers reflecting negatively on the push for online gambling?
Romanticizes Problem Gambling
Well, Mississippi Grind, the newest movie about gambling, surely gives one pause in considering how the down-and-out gambler can and has traditionally been romanticized. Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn), a lovable loser, is incurring debts left and right and using his charm to persuade people to pay for his gambling habits, a typical clinical characteristic of problem gamblers.
Protagonist a User
“I have problems with money,” says Gerry, the hero of Mississippi Grind. At a poker table, he self-effacingly admits to Curtis (Ryan Reynolds) that he owes “everyone,” using a charm to which Curtis responds by paying for a road trip down Mississippi to New Orleans to stake him into a famous poker game, giving Gerry one last chance to turn his life around through a winning payday at cards. The story seduces us to follow the road trip, but isn't that the problem with problem gamblers, trying by any means necessary to get into one more game that will rescue all their debts and financial holes?
The theme of the timelessness of failure is at the heart of one part of the American identity, but it surely also represents a stigma that prevents regulation of widespread online gambling to be rapidly accepted in America.
The bluesy soundtrack is enticing, but also reinforces a darker component of the lovable loser persona - the dangerous and destructive depression that makes addictive personalities less concerned for the well-being of others and more focused on the thrill of laying as much as possible on the line one more time, with miraculous financial rescue the unlikely upside and another depressing tragedy to perpetuate their bluesy existence the more likely outcome.
Confusing the Artistic Message with the Social Reality
Is an unpredictable and well-written movie like Mississippi Grind good for online gambling? Well, like all fiction, the creative work needs to be taken with a grain of salt, not as a depiction of reality but a depiction of salvation within the context in which it is presented. However, making light of problem gambling may do more to perpetuate stereotypes than discourage them, making online gambling all the more difficult to legitimize.