2014 has been a surprisingly enjoyable year in cinema, in that the seasons typically devoted to box-office fluff and high-budget flops have actually offered up some quality film. Approaching the height of the summer season, we’ve already seen quality sequels (such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier), action films that were actually fairly original (like Edge Of Tomorrow), and even a couple of indie darlings (such as Chef) on the horizon.
However, even a successful start to the year can’t stop film fanatics from looking forward, rather than backward. In that regard, one of the most exciting developments we’re waiting on is an announcement of the Rounders 2 release date.
News broke late in 2013 that the beloved 1998 film Rounders would be getting a sequel. And in the age of forced sequels and remakes, this actually seems like one film that’s ripe for additional material with its simple yet engaging premise of two friends caught up in the underground poker scene. In December, Poker News wrote that the sequel would apparently be made “instantaneously.” While news has been slow to filter out since then, it’s still conceivable that Rounders 2 surprises us with a late 2014 or early 2015 release. This isn’t the sort of movie that should take too long to shoot or produce, provided the script is in order and the cast is available. And in the meantime, the rest of us can gear up for the sequel by having a bit of fun.
This is actually one of the fun things about a sequel that comes so many years later. Just as millions of fans worldwide will likely prepare for the upcoming JJ Abrams-helmed Star Wars: Episode VII by sitting down for six-film Star Wars marathons, there are certain ways to prepare yourself to revisit a film or franchise that’s been gone for years. It’s a bit like setting up a fun weekend with a long lost friend. In this case, it goes beyond just re-watching the original. Here are a few ways we suggest getting ready for Rounders 2 as we wait for further word on a potential release date.
First off, it’d be wise to freshen up on your poker game, or at least on the rules (specifically for Texas Hold’em). In most gambling films, you can get by without really knowing the games. The films are generally designed cleverly, so that viewers can simply enjoy the suspense without needing to understand the game. But Rounders has more genuine poker content than most films in the same genre. To that end, understanding the game can make it more enjoyable. Betfair has a helpful rundown of the basic rules and strategies of Texas Hold’em, and reading over this or even playing a bit can introduce (or re-introduce) you to the game pretty efficiently.
Once you’ve got your game back, the best way to prepare for Rounders 2 is to watch some televised professional poker events, like the World Series of Poker. This may seem counterintuitive to fans of the original, as the film focused primarily on back room poker games rather than the glitz and glamour of casino tournaments. However, some may recall that the film’s ending features Mike McDermott on his way to pursue his dream of competing in the WSOP. Again, information on the sequel is trickling out slowly, but it’s certainly easy to imagine the film at least beginning with some WSOP action.
And then of course there’s the best method of preparation for any film fanatic: watching other films! For many of us, there’s a certain phenomenon by which watching an actor deliver a fine performance puts us in the mood to watch more of said actor’s films. It’s easy enough to find great work from the two Rounders stars, Matt Damon and Edward Norton.
Personally, I recommend The Adjustment Bureau (2011), a flawed but ultimately fairly enjoyable film in which Damon displayed a little bit more swagger and charisma than he’s done in recent years. For Norton, 25th Hour (2002) is always a good pick to show his hardened side (without getting into some of his truly dark roles). And for good measure, it couldn’t hurt to add Casino (1995) to your Rounders 2 preparation watch list, if only because there are rumours out there that Robert De Niro will be joining the cast as the new “super villain” to replace John Malkovich!
All things considered, this should continue to be a busy year at the movies with or without Rounders 2. But given the film’s cult popularity, and the enduring excellence of its two stars, the Rounders sequel will be big news until the day it comes out. So as you wait for more news on the subject, it can’t hurt to start preparing!