Finding the best movies about lotteries requires a certain amount of diligent searching, as well as the ability to be flexible about the definition of the word ‘best’. After scouring the length and breadth of the internet we have managed to track down five lottery-themed movies which review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes agrees are ‘Fresh’, (or ‘good’, if you prefer). Have you seen any of these winners yet?
Waking Ned Devine (Rotten Tomatoes: 83%)
There is a clear winner in the list of lottery winning fables, and that is this comic tale from Ireland starring stage veterans Ian Bannen and David Kelly. Ned Devine discovers that he has won the Irish Lottery and promptly drops dead from the shock. Now his friends have the task of disguising this inconvenient fact from the lottery organisers until the check is handed over. What follows is an hour and a half of entertaining slapstick and tom-foolery as the small village gets involved in the scam.
29th Street (RT: 80%)
Everything that Frank Pesce Jr (Anthony LaPaglia) touches seems to turn to gold although his good luck never seems to bring him happiness. That includes winning the lottery as when he buys what could be the winning ticket he is faced with the prospect of having to hand it over to the local mafia to pay off his father’s gambling debts. This comedy is all about the often-strained relationship between father and son of this Italian-American family, where the humour is intercut with moments of real pathos.
It Could Happen to You (RT: 71%)
As with 29th Street, It Could Happen to You is (loosely) based on real events. Nicolas Cage plays police officer Charlie who doesn’t have enough cash to tip waitress Yvonne (Bridget Fonda) and promises to share any winnings from his lottery ticket by way of compensation. The twist comes when Charlie wins four million dollars and decides to stick to the deal, much to the consternation of his wife. A romance develops between the waitress and the cop, and while this may not tally with the facts of the real-life story it makes for an engaging romantic comedy.
Welcome to Me (RT: 72%)
This comedy drama looks at what happens when a person with mental health issues wins the lottery. Well in this case the answer is that they buy their own talk show! Kirsten Wiig plays lottery-winner Alice as she uses her new show as a way to give her own peculiar take on a random assortment of issues. This is a comedy with some dark edges, but Kirsten Wiig manages to hold it all together with her strong central performance.
Finder’s Fee (RT: 60%)
You may know Jeff Probst from the smash American TV show ‘Survivor’, but here he takes the director’s chair for his feature film debut. Finder’s Fee mines the sort of territory explored by movies like Rounders and 21, as it is based around the world of card-playing and cons. Erik Palladino as Tepper finds a wallet on the street only to discover that it contains a winning lottery ticket worth millions of dollars. The question becomes whether to return the ticket to its rightful owner or to risk it all in a game of high-stakes poker.