The Curator of Schlock #336 by Jeff Shuster

Wild Card

You celebrate Christmas in your way. I’ll celebrate it in mine. 

I hate White Elephant. This was Celestial’s idea. All of us bought a gift under twenty dollars. Then each of us randomly picked a wrapped gift, but the rules allow others to snatch what I get out of my hands in exchange for whatever crappy gift they unwrapped. I lost out on a sound machine and a Tony Bennett Christmas CD only to end up with a Chia Pet molded to look like Bob Ross! Merry Christmas!

Speaking of Christmas, this week’s movie is 2015’s Wild Card from director Simon West. It stars Jason Statham as Nick Wild, a sort of Jack-of-all-trades tough guy residing in Las Vegas. The movie takes place at Christmastime and while some of you may argue that the fact that a movie takes place at Christmastime does not necessarily make it a Christmas movie, it’s been a crap year. I don’t feel like watching Rudolf and Frosty. I feel like watching Jason Statham beat up mafia flunkies to the tune of “White Christmas” by The Drifters.

I don’t exactly know what Nick Wild does for a living. I think he’s a kind of bodyguard/tour guide/private investigator. Everyone in town knows him and he has a reputation as a problem solver. A female acquaintance named Holly (Dominik García-Lorido) gets sexually assaulted and dumped in front of a hospital. She contacts Nick in the hopes he’ll get information on the man that roughed her up so she can sue him. Nick finds out the man is Danny DeMarco (Milo Anthony Ventimiglia), a nasty piece of work with mafia connections. With that information, Holly has something more sinister in mind than suing Danny and asks Nick to use his special skills.

With Danny naked and tied to a chair, Holly gets out a pair of garden shears and comes very close to disemboweling Danny, but then settles on robbing him of $50,000. She splits the take with Nick before hightailing it out town, suggesting that he does the same as Danny’s men will soon be after him. I forgot to mention that there’s also a subplot of Nick playing chaperone to a young man named Cyrus (Michael Angarano), a Silicon Valley wizkid who’s a multi-millionaire, but wants to learn how to be courageous. While hanging out in one of the smaller casinos, Nick pushes his luck while playing a game of blackjack. He wins over half a million, but then blows it all when he bets it all in an effort to get over a million.

Don’t feel bad for Nick. Somehow things end up working out for him in the end. The bad guys get what’s coming to them and the not-so-bad people make out okay. What more can you ask for during Christmas? Also, I’d like to note that there are many cameos in this movie from actors such as Sofia Vergara, Jason Alexander, Anne Heche, and Stanley Tucci.

Wild Card received bad reviews and bombed at the box office, but the movie was a pleasant surprise for me. It’s based on the novel Heat by the legendary William Goldman that was also adapted into a movie of the same name starring Burt Reynolds. I’ll have to hunt that one down.


Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443, episode 444, and episode 450) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.