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Hollywood’s Portrayal of Las Vegas

Las Vegas isn’t called Sin City for nothing. As Drew Carey, of Whose Line Is It Anyway?Fame, put it: “Vegas is everything that’s right with America. You can do whatever you want, 24 hours a day. They’ve effectively legalized everything there.” The city has certainly gained a reputation over the years for having a lax attitude to various forms of ‘adult’ entertainment. 

But there is more to the city than just this seedy underbelly, and although Hollywoodtends to focus on this aspect more than others, there are a great variety of films featuring the brightlights of Vegas.

Here’s our pick of the high rollers…The Hangover The more modern phenomenon of the Vegas stag-do provides a less seedy backdrop for thislife-affirming tale: a bunch of guys try to piece together a drunken night of debauchery in an attemptto find the missing groom. 

While they discover there were plenty of shenanigans, from urinating inMike Tyson’s pool to marrying strippers, the story reads less as a tale of Sin City excess and morelike a story of bonding between friends who have drifted apart and are questioning their life choices.All topped off with some hilarious performances, especially by Zach Galifianakis as Alan.Lucky YouLucky Youis a family drama set against the high stakes action of the Las Vegas professionalpoker scene.

Huck Cheever (Eric Bana) is a talented poker player with a habit of “going for broke”who lives in the shadow of his estranged father, a two-time World Series of Poker Champion by the nameof L. C. Cheever.

The film operates within the confines and tropes of poker playing to bring about aform of reconciliation between the pair. They both make it to the last three at the final table, whereHuck folds a winning hand, thus proving to his father that he’s matured as a player.

The cast of Bana,Duvall and Barrymore manage to life what is in reality a pretty generic tale.CasinoMartin Scorcese’s final collaboration with Robert De Niro is a crime-drama based on the truestory of Frank Rosenthal who ran casinos for the Chicago Outfit crime syndicate during the ‘70s and‘80s.

This is a decidedly more criminal affair than the other movies on our list as the plot followsthe rise and subsequent downfall of “Ace” Rothstein (De Niro), Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) and GingerMcKenna (Sharon Stone) as the FBI, corrupt government officials and mob bosses tear their empire down.Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas While the narrative focuses primarily on the drug-addled protagonistsrather than the city of Vegas itself, the novel is subtitledA Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream.

The literal and metaphorical American Dreamturns out to be one the novel’s predominant motif and the Vegas of the time is presented as the embodimentof mainstream consumerism and garish excess, the antithesis of the counter-cultural movement of the 60s.

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