Monday, January 17, 2005


God Bless ESPN, they still haven't learned that they are a sports station and not a sports entertainment station. Their new show Tilt, starring Michael Madsen tries really hard to take hold of the Texas Hold 'em fascination and give it a Sopranos style edge.

It fails pretty badly. With ESPN unwilling to go the extra yard and include the cursing and the violence, it just comes off bland.

It's about a group of poker players who have all been broken in some way by Michael Madsen's character, the Matador, who we are told got his name because he draws in the young players and cuts them up. The group is bankrolled by a mysterious older poker player, and they may not all be being honest with one another.

The show is flat, with large portions of dialogue devoted to exposition, and the poker in it is pretty boring. There's voiceover narration at the beginning and the end, but it doesn't flow well with the rest of the show since there are a variety of viewpoints, including a Midwestern sheriff who is also out to bring the matador down. They try to give him a hard edge, but it comes off pretty small time.

Even the great Michael Madsen wasn't able to save this one.

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