Think of gambling in the movies or on TV and chances are you’ll bring to mind an iconic scene in a casino or by a racetrack where the stakes are high and it’s been included to crank up the tension. What’s pretty unlikely, however, is that you’ll think of bingo. After all, where’s the drama or entertainment in a game when the most exciting thing that’s going to happen is someone suddenly shouting out “House”? Well, it could be time to think again because, as these three scenes show, it’s a game that can be played for laughs or character development and it can even appear in a kids’ movie.
Johnny Knoxville may have made his name, as well as shattering more than a few bones in the Jackass movies. But they also showed that he’s more than at home when he’s creating outrage all around him. As the title spells out, in Bad Grandpa he’s heavily made up with prosthetics to look like an old man who’s hell-bent on disruption – in this case, it’s in a bingo hall surrounded by actual old people.
He kicks things off by talking loudly, moving on to swallowing most of the ink out of his bingo dabber. With a vivid blue tongue and gradually getting noisier, his next move is to pull out a blender to make margaritas on the table while causing some horrified reactions around him.
Better Call Saul
Breaking Bad was such a big hit that it was no surprise that it spawned a second series featuring one of the most interesting characters involved in Walt’s and Jesse’s nefarious activities. Saul Goodman, the attorney who sailed pretty close to the wind when it came to the law, starred and one of the most telling scenes came when he was calling out bingo numbers in a retirement home.
In the scene he drifts off on a reflection on the meaning of life, no doubt leaving many of the players wondering if it might have been better to stay in their rooms to play bingo online instead. At least then they could have enjoyed an uninterrupted game of bingo themed around another program more in keeping with their taste – like Deal or No Deal, for example.
There’s an altogether different kind of bingo being played in the hotel owned by Count Dracula in this 2012 movie from Sony Studios. As part of the entertainment laid on for guests by the hotel, there’s a distinctly spooky version of the game in which the bingo balls are tiny skulls that even call out their own number when they’re picked. To add to the action, the monsters who are playing are a very rowdy crowd, which all just adds to the fun.
So next time you dismiss bingo as a game for grandmas and one which has no place in the movies or on the TV, think again. It might not be as glamorous as a trip to the casino, but it’s certainly got a great deal to recommend it.