Monday, October 14, 2013

Justin Timberlake looks a bit ripe as a "Runner" for an online poker offshore business

Justin Timberlake is starting to look a little older than even a typical graduate student, but is still nimble enough. Brad Furman’s “Runner Runner” follows the rules of screenwriting, by making his character, Richie Furst, unable to afford his MBA tuition at Princeton, so he sets up an online poker site to make enough money to pay his expenses.  The dean at the university doesn’t like this.
Richie makes one last attempt and loses everything, but his web skills are good enough that he suspects he was hacked.  He tracks things down to an entrepreneur Ivan Block (Ben Affleck) in Costa Rica, and goes down there and introduces himself.  Ivan hires him to help run the business, promising an 8-figure income if he can learn to become a mobster.  Soon the fibbies are kidnapping him, too, offering him immunity from supposed misdeed if he will go undercover.
Richie has got plenty of street smarts, and is able to stand up to everybody, including the bullying and beatings.  Ivan, while protective, is not above some pretty horrible stuff, like tossing enemies into a lagoon filled with crocodiles (conditioned by “free fish”) after covering them with chicken poop. 

Yet Ivan can also utter platitudes about morality, saying if you want to get rich, you have to get roughed up sometimes, and you can't worry about low wages overseas that we depend on/ Ivan has an odd idea of the aphorism, "Pay your dues."
Timberlake did change his surface appearance somewhat after he left Nsync.
The official site is here.  
The film does not appeal as much as did “21”, about card-counting, a few years ago.
I saw the film on Monday evening before a small gathering in a small auditorium at Regal Ballston Common in Arlington.  With small screens, the company slogan “Go big or go home” seems a bit off.

I had used the domain name "" for my book sites until 2005, when I released it and put everything on "".  The domain name was quickly taken over by an online gambling site, but eventually that closed. 

On business matters, visitors will want to look at a Wall Street Journal article today by Ben Fritz “Hollywood’s Latest Thriller: How to Keep Scripts Secret”, with a discussion of Syncopy’s security procedures, here  I guess budding screenwriters shouldn’t give away their plot twists by posting their own scripts online if they want to be able to agent and sell them later.  

Picture: Princeton campus, my visit, April 2010. 

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