The film stars Rodney Dangerfield as Monty Capuletti. He is a drinker, smoker (weed and cigs), gambler, and #108thicc. You know, a lot like you and me.
They traverse through a gambit of degen stories in short order. From Monty winning big on craps only to lose it all a roll later. To looking for a late night spot to eat. To getting in a fight at a strip club. They have the friend who gets the hot tip on a horse. Then they see the horse’s jockey “water skiing” from the harness to purposely lose. Side note: I’ve always heard (without evidence) that harness racing was super corrupt because of the control the jockeys have. So, it’s gambling lore told on the big screen.
But that all pales in comparison to the bet that Monty will next endure. When his rich mother in law, who hates his guts, dies shortly after his daughter’s wedding, he is faced with a prop bet from her will. In order to receive an inheritance valued at $10 million, he needed to adhere to the following for one year: No Smoking, No Philandering, No Gambling, No Drugs, No Alcohol, and he must weigh no more than 175 pounds.
The movie was released in 1983, at which time, the largest known bet was The Suitcase Man’s $777,777.00 at Binion’s Horseshoe. Now there were probably bigger bets than that off the books, but maybe not. Thus making this the largest wager ever. So with inflation, it’d be the equivalent of $25 million.
Upon hearing this, you’re likely saying, I can do that standing on my head. Which is what Joe Pesci’s character thinks. However, in practice, it’s tough for an everyman like Monty to sustain such straight laced behavior for a full year. But you know what, it’s hilarious to watch. And I will watch it again and again.