All In: The Poker Movie
Celeb aficionados like Matt Damon, Jennifer Tilly, Denny Crum, Evander Holyfield and The Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon get face time here, but most of the interviewees are industry insiders, whose stories — about high-stakes, secret Mayfair Club matches, or Henry Orenstein's card camera innovation, which helped make poker watchable for the layperson — are interesting and colorful. There's plenty of high-falutin' talk that wildly lionizes the game (I'm willing to entertain a description of it as "the epitome of capitalism," and emblematic of the American spirit, but less certain that poker is "love, life, religion and politics, all wrapped up into one"), yet Tirola has clearly cast his net far and wide. Using Chris Moneymaker, a self-described "gambling degenerate" and Joe Everyman who pulled off a shocking victory at the 2003 World Series of Poker, as his narrative spine is also a good choice. It gives All In some semblance of normal heartbeat, even if a viewer doesn't know a straight flush from a full house.