Movies, like books, can be a hotly debated topic. People tend to defend their favourites vehemently, and the more fanatical among us will expound on the virtues of their genres of choice to anyone in the popcorn queue.
After epic fantasies, preferably swirling with magic, handsome elves and a sword-bearing Viggo Mortensen, my favourite movies usually have a gambling edge to them. Movies like The Sting, Rounders and The Cincinnati Kid are heavyweights in the high-stakes category, but personal favourites can also be based simply on swashbuckling, light-hearted storyline, or one particularly memorable table game. So, although I accept that there may be many other worthier gambling movies out there, Maverick is still one of my first choices.
Before Mel Gibson lost his temper at his ex and dented his veneer of charm, he was rather endearing as the witty hero in the 1994 Western comedy. Determined to prove that his poker skills are the best in the West, and to win the whopping jackpot, Bret Maverick faces an extraordinary series of misadventures as he makes his way to a major tournament. The interaction between him and Jodie Foster’s con-artist character, his leap of faith in the final hand of the tournament, and the bathtub scene at the end make this one of my favourites. It’s light fare, but loads of fun!