Saturday, April 24, 2010

Funniest Las Vegas Movie of the 1980s

Lookin' to Get Out is a buddy-film about two guys from New York who lose $10,000 to some hoods and then decide to go to Vegas to win enough money to pay back their debt.

They con their way into a high-roller suite at the MGM Grand (now Ballys) then find a gambling partner to try winning at blackjack for them.

At he end of the movie someone walks away with $432,000 in cash that gets carried out of the casino in a plain, paper shopping bag, without even a security escort, to be divied up in the MGM's driveway.

I actually like this movie a lot, simply because I enjoy watching Jon Voight and Burt Young giggle, which they do thru almost the entire thing. Lots of reviewers give this movie a very low rating - saying it has a weak story line and that the plot is implausible. Well, they can say what they want but I, for one, like seeing implausible and funny gambling stories.

During the 1970s, actor Jon Voight had starred in a string of successful movies like Midnight Cowboy, Deliverance, Conrack, and Coming Home (for which he received the 1978 Best Actor Academy Award).

In the early eighties Voight had a lot of clout with the movie studios and was able to find sufficient backing for this project of his. He was also able to get two of Hollywood's best film-makers on board; movie director Hal Ashby (the director of Coming Home) and cinematographer Haskell Wexler .

I won't recommend this film to anybody, simply because everyone has different tastes in comedy. But, if you're interested in film-making or the history of Las Vegas then this movie does have certain things worth Hal Ashby's editing skills and his ability to direct actors without even giving them any advice on how to act (a trait of non-interference that Ashby was known for).

For Las Vegas historians, the movie shows some good glimpses of the original MGM Grand and a good drive down the Strip from the Dunes to the Boardwalk.

Burt Young plays Voight's long-time buddy Jerry. Ann-Margret plays Patti, Jon's ex-girlfriend and mother of his (unknown to him) child. Richard Bradford plays Bernie Gold, owner of the MGM.

This is a great ensemble cast. Astrologically speaking it's a good mix of compatible signs with two Earth signs (Taurus' Burt and Ann) Earth sign (Capricorn Jon Voight) Earth sign director (Virgo Hal Ashby) and the two Water sign leading actors: Smitty (played by Pisces Bert Remsen) and Bernie (Scorpio Richard Bradford).

"What they're doing is insane... immoral...and working!"

Jon Voight's real-life daughter (Angelina Jolie) makes her movie debut at age six towards the end of this movie when Ann-Margret introduces her to Jon.

The actual film-clip of Angelina's scene is in the video-player down below.

Jon, Angelina and her brother Pax.

Angelina Jolie (born June 4, 1975) and her mother Marcia Lynne Bertrand (May 9, 1950 – January 27, 2007). Angelina gives her (former actress) mother full-credit for her interest in acting (not her father). Angelina went on to achieve her film breakthrough in the late nineties movies,: Hackers, Gia and Girl Interrupted (for which she won the 1999 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress). Marcia and Jon were married from 1971-1976.

The Films of Jon Voight and Young Angelina Jolie

1. Looking to Get Out - Coffee Shop scene, 2. Looking to Get Out - Blackjack scene, 3. Looking to Get Out - Leaving MGM scene, 4. Young Angelina and Jon at the Academy Awards, 5. Midnight Cowboy - Movie Preview, 6. Midnight Cowboy - Opening scene, 7. Midnight Cowboy - Coffee Shop with Ratso, 8. Midnight Cowboy - Strictly for Fags scene, 9. Midnight Cowboy - Ending, 10. Angelina and Dad, 11. Angelina Jolie - Story of My Life, 12. Angelina - 2007 Alexander

Film Director - Hal Ashby

Hal Ashby, Haskell and Jeff Wexler on the set of Bound for Glory 1975. Photo by Erik Wunstell.Photography by Erik Wunstell Copyright © 1975-2010

One of my photos from the 1975 Bound for Glory movie set. Hal Ashby is seen in the middle of the photo in the director's chair. Haskell Wexler is behind the main Panavision camera at left. Haskell's son, the sound engineer Jeff Wexler is seen seated (at left with headphones).

Hal Ashby and Haskell Wexler

Hal Ashby started in Hollywood as an assistant film editor in the mid-1950s and worked on several major movies:

The Big Country
Diary of Anne Frank
The Young Doctors
Captain Sinbad
The Best Man
The Greatest Story Ever Told
The Cincinnati Kid
The Russians Are Coming
In the Heat of the Night
The Thomas Crown Affair

In 1970 Ashby switched from film-editing to work as the full-fledged director of:

The Landlord
Harold and Maude
The Last Detail
Bound for Glory
Coming Home
Being There
Spend the Night Together
8 Million Ways to Die

Hal Ashby and Haskell Wexler worked together on the 1964 movie The Best Man, then Heat of the Night and Thomas Crown. They would work together again in 1975 on Bound for Glory (for which Haskell received his second Oscar for best Cinematography) and worked together again on Lookin' to Get Out.

Haskell Wexler started in Hollywood as an assistant cameraman for The Ozzie and Harriet TV Show. He went on to do some notable documentary work and was the Director of Photography for:

Stakeout on Dope Street
The Savage Eye
The Hoodlum Priest
America, America
Virginia Woolf
In the Heat of the Night
Thomas Crown Affair
Medium Cool
American Graffiti
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Bound for Glory
Days of Heaven
Mulholland Falls

Haskell won the 1966 Academy Award for his black and white camera work on Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

The Films of Hal Ashby

1. Hal Asby Film & Book Review, 2. Films of Hal Ashby, 3. Shampoo - Hair Salon scene, 4. Shampoo - Beatty and young Carrie Fischer, 5. Last Detail - Nicholson Bar scene, 6. Coming Home - Voight & Fonda Husband scene, 7. Bound for Glory, 8. Cicinnati Kid Trailer, 9. Cincinnati Kid - Poker Game, 10. Thomas Crown Affair, 11. Heat of the Night- Trailer, 12. Diary of Anne Frank, 13. The Russians Are Coming, 14. Captain Sinbad - Trailer, 15. Rolling Stones movie, 16. 8 Million Ways to Die opening, 17. 8 Million - Jeff Bridges Bar scene

Click any slide for more Hal Ashby film info from

Angelina Jolie Poster Store