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BINGO IN THE MOVIES

Introduction

Although casinos have often featured in action movies such as Casino Royale and Ocean’s Eleven, people are often seen playing bingo on film and TV, too.

In the same way that bingo has become ingrained in our everyday culture, it’s also making more regular appearances on the big screen.

Thanks to its ability to entertain both small and large groups of people, and help players from all walks of life come together both in person and online, bingo has featured in films as diverse as My Girl to the hit American comedy show, Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Here are some of our favourite examples.

Inglourious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 film, Inglourious Basterds, starring Brad Pitt, Eli Roth and Diane Kruger, is set in the first year of Germany’s occupation of France during WW2.

Brad Pitt’s character joins forces with a group of Jewish soldiers to take revenge on the Nazis and bring down the Third Reich.

Although the plot is a serious one, the film (like many of Tarantino’s movies) is touted as a dark comedy, and although bingo only features as a word and not a game, the scene is extremely comical.

“Oooh, that’s a bingo! Is that the way you say it?” exclaims Hans Landa, the Nazi colonel, to Brad Pitt who calmly retorts: “You just say bingo”.

Rampage

Rampage is an American action film directed by Uwe Boll that stars Brendan Fletcher as a young man from a small town. One day, the man snaps and arms himself with Kevlar gear before embarking on a killing spree.

While the movie is far from light-hearted, it does feature a memorable scene where Brendan Fletcher’s character walks into a bingo hall and draws a bingo ball before calling it out. What’s particularly interesting is that the bingo players are real people (i.e. not actors) who are so immersed in the game that they fail to realise that the caller has been replaced by a psychotic killer.

Hotel Transylvania

The first Hotel Transylvania movie featuring Adam Sandler as the voice of Count Dracula proved so popular that it spawned two sequels.

In the original film, the monsters can be seen taking part in a game of bingo in which bingo balls are replaced by numbered skulls.

After the caller announces number 27, Eunice shouts out “Bingo!” before her bingo card is swiftly devoured by one of her fellow monsters.

My Girl

We’re still reaching for the tissues just thinking about My Girl—the feel-good film released in 1991 and starring Macaulay Culkin, Anna Chlumsky, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Dan Aykroyd.

We don’t want to give away too much about the plot in case you’ve yet to see the movie, but you can see Harry (Dan Aykroyd) and Shelly (Jamie Lee Curtis) heading off on a date to play bingo with Vada (Anna Chlumsky) and Thomas J (Macaulay Culkin) in hot pursuit.

Big Momma’s House 2

The second in the Big Momma’s House film series saw Martin Lawrence reprise his role as FBI agent, Malcolm Turner.

While the first film was pitched at an adult audience, Big Momma’s House 2, has a more family-friendly feel to it. The change in direction helped the film to gross $141.5 million at the box office.

The famous bingo scene features Big Momma enjoying a night at the bingo hall along with the Fuller family. However, almost as soon as they get inside the silent hall of concentrating players, the little girl (Carrie) calls out “Bingo!” for a joke which causes the players to get nasty.

The Simpsons

Since Matt Groening first created the animated sitcom, The Simpsons, in 1989, there have been almost 700 episodes broadcast.

The Simpsons is a working-class family consisting of Homer (the dad), Marge (the mum) and three children (Bart, Maggie and Lisa).

In an episode from 2014, the older residents of Springfield can be seen playing bingo. However, two of the male players are finding it hard to keep up, leading them to shout, “What number?” and “What game?” when the caller repeats “I-25” before throwing their bingo cards on the floor in frustration.

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Larry David’s satirical sitcom, Curb Your Enthusiasm, often has us squirming as the socially-awkward Larry accuses his father’s retirement home of fixing their bingo game.

Kamikaze Bingo is the fourth episode of Season Five, and as well as involving the bingo disagreement between Larry and two female pensioners, there are also other comically cringe-worthy moments such as the one where Yoshi’s grandfather charges at Larry in his motorised wheelchair.

Better Call Saul

The seventh episode of the first season of Better Call Saul is actually called “Bingo”.

In an unexpected turn of events, Jimmy finds himself having to act as a bingo caller, a duty he returns to in episode ten when the balls start to remind him of his “stuck-up douchebag” brother, Chuck. After failing to regain control over his thoughts and continue the bingo game, Jimmy goes into complete meltdown mode, much to the confusion of the senior players.

Gordon, Gino & Fred: American Road Trip

Two famous chefs and the host of TV’s ‘First Dates’ restaurant have recently been entertaining the nation with their comical capers across the U. S. of A. And, in the final episode called ‘Brokeback Mountain’, things really got crazy when the trio headed to the Little Longhorn Saloon in Austin, Texas.

Gordon, Gino and Fred were introduced to one of the regulars’ favourite bar games called Chicken S**t Bingo (you can’t make it up!) where the players are allocated a number on the floor of a chicken coop, and the first number that a bird poops on is declared the winner. Despite the game having been enjoyed at the Little Longhorn Saloon for 25 years, Gino manages to win a prize much to the annoyance of Gordon Ramsay.

Do you remember seeing any of these scenes? Perhaps you’ve spotted some other examples, in which case, let us know! And, if you’ve yet to watch the films and TV shows mentioned in our article, why not check them out and shout “Bingo!” when the scenes come up?

IN A NUTSHELL

  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Rampage
  • Hotel Transylvania
  • My Girl
  • Big Momma's house 2
  • The Simpsons
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Better Call Saul
  • Gordon, Gino & Fred