If you can't spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker; or, on Sept. 11, 1998, Miramax released "Rounders," Matt Damon's first film as a leading man following the success of "Good Will Hunting."
Directed by indie stalwart John Dahl and written by David Levien and Brian Koppelman (the duo who went on to write "Ocean's Thirteen" for Steven Soderbergh, among other films), "Rounders" was the No. 1 movie in North American during its opening weekend, with $8.4 million in ticket sales. Overall, however, it was a disappointment for the studio, earning only $22.9 million during its initial theatrical run.
"It eventually made it into the black on video. Well into the black," Damon told HuffPost Entertainment in an interview last year. "Harvey Weinstein called me years ago and he was like, 'Matt, 'Rounders' is in the black. I thought you'd like to know.' I was like, 'No fucking way.' He was like, 'Yes, you did it. I knew we made a good movie.'"
Indeed, they did. "Rounders," which also co-starred Edward Norton, Gretchen Mol, John Turturro, Martin Landau and John Malkovich (plus "Mindy Project" star Chris Messina in his first onscreen role), has become a cult favorite in the last 15 years, thanks to its prescient storyline (interest in competitive poker tournaments grew after the film's release) and quote-ready script. (Malkovich, in particular, unloads corker after corker in a thick Russian accent.)
"We've talked about [a sequel]," Damon said last year about the possibility of another "Rounders" film. "I know John Dahl, the director, would want to do it. And Edward would want to do it. We'll see. It's always about the timing."
Which is another way of saying, "check, check, check." Celebrate the 15th anniversary of "Rounders" by watching the film's final scene below.