The Lucky 7: Movies You’ll want to watch on your way to Vegas
By Christopher Salute
There have been tons of movie lists out there. Movies to watch with your partner. Movies to watch when you’re feeling down. Movies about business. And, yes… movies about Las Vegas.
We wanted to write our own spin on the “Movies about Las Vegas” conversation and do it Whimzy style. Picture this: It’s a few weeks before your big trip to Las Vegas. You and your travelmate(s) – partner, buddies, friends, whatever are wondering what to expect. Maybe it’s your first time in Vegas. Maybe you’re practically a Las Vegas Strip resident. Either way, you want to get into Vegas mode.
Go all in on some of of these movies (we’ll even tell you where to find them) so that your trip to Sin City is even less of a gamble.
This math driven film is inspired by the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team as told in the best selling 2003 book Bringing Down the House Ben Mezrich. Ben is a mathematics major at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He gets accepted into Harvard Medical School, but there’s only one catch. He can’t afford the $300,000 tuition. After being told he may not be dazzling enough to win a prestigious scholarship, he goes back to his $9.00+ job at a men’s store.
Back at MIT, his professor, Micky Rosa challenges Ben with the Monty Hall Problem, which is a statistical logics problem that Ben kills. He’s recruited onto an underground blackjack team lead by Rosa and over many weekends, is flown to Las Vegas. Ben lives a life of luxury, risk, and reward.
Who wouldn’t want to spend weekends making millions in Vegas, right?
This movie is currently streaming on Hulu and HBO Max. You can also order it on Amazon Prime.
Swingers is a mid 1990s film about the lives of single, unemployed actors living on the ‘eastside’ of Hollywood, California, during the 1990s swing revival. Written by Jon Favreau and starring him and Vince Vaughn, there is an ICONIC beginning to the movie when the two best friends hit up Vegas.
Mike Peters is a struggling comedian who left New York to find success in Los Angeles. To help Mike with his depression of his lost love and new move, his charismatic friend Trent helps him get back on track.
Almost immediately after the movie begins, Trent charms Mike with an impromptu trip to Las Vegas. Trent succeeds in picking up two waitresses after the infamous “Double Down” scene that loses Mike $300 within the first few minutes of their trip.
Being single and charming in Las Vegas? With suits on? Who’s ready?
Swingers can be found on HBO Max and is rentable from Amazon Prime
- Ocean’s Trilogy
Everyone knows the Ocean’s Eleven Movie, the remake of the famous Ocean’s 11 1960s film staring the Rat Pack. Following his release from prison, Danny Ocean violates his parole by traveling to California to meet his partner-in-crime and friend Rusty Ryan to propose a heist. The plan consists of simultaneously robbing the Bellagio, the Mirage, and the MGM Grand casinos. In this movie, they are all owned by a man named Terry Benedict, a ruthless casino mogul who is not short of enemies. The heist is going to net well over $150,000,000 and of course, by now, we’ll spoil it… they take the pot.
Ocean’s 12 and Ocean’s 13 all revolve around that same group of growing heist people raising the stakes around Vegas’ most wealthy and powerful. Ocean’s 8 which stars Dann Ocean’s sister takes place in New York City.
While we advise you live large in Las Vegas… we do not recommend trying to take anything out a casino other than a complimentary water bottle.
Ocean’s Eleven is available on HBO Max and to rent from other services (Amazon, Google Play, etc.)
- Army of the Dead
The newest on the list, Army of the Dead is an instant cult classic from Zack Snyder. Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries take the ultimate gamble, venturing into the quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted.
We don’t want to give you any spoilers, but Army of the Dead follows a United States military convoy traveling from Area 51 when it collides with a car on the highway outside Las Vegas. The convoy’s cargo, a zombie, escapes, killing and infecting several soldiers before heading into the city. This is a side of Las Vegas you’ve never seen before, fueled by our neighbors at Area 51!
Army of the Dead is currently on Netflix and can be found from other rental services like Google Play, Amazon, etc.
- The Hangover Series
Everyone knows a hangover right? But, have you seen THE Hangover? In the first movie, Doug travels to Las Vegas with his best friends as well as his fiancée Tracy’s brother, Alan. His bachelor party is unforgettable…. Except they wind up forgetting the whole thing. They wind up in a suite in Caesars Palace, and celebrate with drinks on the hotel rooftop. And, that’s pretty much all we know! The next morning, Phil, Stu, and Alan awaken to find they have no memory of the previous night; Doug is nowhere to be found, Stu’s tooth is missing, the suite is a disaster, a tiger is in the bathroom, a chicken is in the living room, and there is a baby in the closet!
You know the rest. The next two movies take The Hangover crew all over the world. But, we all know there’s nothing like the original.
The Hangover is available on HBO Max and for rent on other services (Amazon, Google Play, etc.)
- Last Vegas
Last Vegas is like “The Hangover meets Wild Hogs.” Coming out right around the time of the Hangover Series, we wonder if there wasn’t some mutual inspiration.
Four childhood friends from Brooklyn; Sam, Archie, Paddy, and Billy, are now elderly. Sam and his wife Miriam live in Naples. Archie, a twice-divorced Vietnam veteran, lives in New Jersey. Paddy lives alone in his Brooklyn apartment, bitter since the death of his beloved wife, Sophie. Billy is a successful entrepreneur in Malibu, who lives with his 31-year-old girlfriend Lisa. They decide to throw a Bachelor Party for their only remaining single friend. With a stacked cast including legends like Morgan Freeman, Robert Deniro, Michael Douglas, and Kevin Kline, this is a must see for some Vegas Nostalgia!
You can watch this movie on Amazon Prime at the moment.
- Now You See Me Series
In Now You See Me, An F.B.I. Agent and an Interpol Detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances, and reward their audiences with the money.
Magicians J. Daniel Atlas, Merritt McKinney, Henley Reeves, and Jack Wilder each receive a tarot card leading them to a New York City apartment, where they discover hologram technology with instructions from an unknown benefactor. A year later, at the MGM Grand Las Vegas, they perform as “the Four Horsemen” in a show funded by insurance magnate Arthur Tressler. Their final trick appears to transport an audience member inside the vault of the Crédit Républicain bank in Paris. Stacks of euros are drawn into the vault’s air vents and showered on the Las Vegas crowd; the trick is shown to have actually happened as the Paris vault is found empty of its recent shipment of euros.
But that’s just the beginning! Jesse Eisenberg and Mark Ruffalo make this movie a huge success along with a stacked cast and thrilling take on Vegas. The second movie is definitely a ramp up and we’re waiting on the 3rd to come out!
You can catch these on any of the streaming rental services you buy from.
*The Wildcard: Honey I blew Up the Kid
Honey, I Blew Up the Kid is a 1992 American science fiction comedy family film, and the second installment of the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids film series. While not about Las Vegas, many of the scenes feature and were filmed downtown! Want to see a giant baby tower over The D? Here’s your chance!
Honey I Blew up the Kid can be found on Disney + and wherever you rent your streams.