A few years ago I saw the movie Lucky Numbers. It was a quirky comedy starring Vinnie Barbarino, Al Bundy and the least attractive chick from "Friends."
Sorry, I didn't watch "Friends" too much, but I did get my hair cut like Jennifer Aniston back in the early 1990s.
I got swept up in Rachael-Mania.
Anyway, this gaggle of television stars were assembled to tell the story of the people that rigged the Pennsylvania Lottery back in 1980.
The film strays quite a bit from the true story, but the basic plot of both is as follows:
A local TV personality conspires with others to fix the lottery. They do so by injecting numbered ping pong balls with paint to weigh them down. They then switched the "fixed" balls with the official ones; and switched back after the drawing.
In real life, the announcer was Rick Perry. He was caught and sent to jail.
In the movie, the announcer was John Travolta. He got away with the lottery fix, but went on to make a long string of box office duds including: Basic, Swordfish, The Punisher, A Love Song for Bobby Long and Be Cool.
Hmmm, "jail" or The Punisher? I guess jail is a LITTLE worse.
I saw Lucky Numbers when it was in theaters back in 2000. I liked it, and found a used copy of the DVD and watched it again. After that I put on the director's commentary track. About 30 minute in, the lackluster Nora Ephron voice track revealed something very interesting:
Micheal Moore was in this film.
At this point I had seen a couple of his documentaries and was pretty familiar with him.
I certainly wouldn't say I was a fan, but I enjoyed some of his work.
I have since learned a dirty little secret about Micheal Moore's films that makes them seem less impressive; he actually shoots very little of his films. What he does instead is purchase footage from outside sources (ie. cable news networks, other documentaries) and COMPILE a film.
I took away a bit of the mystique of the "muckraking journalist digging deep to find the truth" and becomes "guy taping a lot of CNN and showing you a highlight reel."
Regardless of what you think of Micheal Moore as a filmmaker, what I found interesting was that he was A REALLY GOOD ACTOR!
He was so good that I didn't recognize him. It's hard to believe looking at the film today, but at the time he was not AS familiar a face on TV. Plus he had gained a whole lot of weight since his big hit Roger & Me.
I didn't expect to see him in the film, but that is NOT the main reason I didn't recognize him.
The main reason was because he really BECAME the character.
In the film he played Walter, Lisa Kudrow's perverted, asthmatic cousin.
He's really funny in the part and is one of the brightest spots in a very funny film.
If only I get a chance to see Bill O'Reilly share the screen with Cheech Marin and Kirstie Alley, my life will be complete.