Worst Gambling Movies #25 (My Daughter’s Secret Life)
This new series began yesterday with “The Best Gambling Movies of All Time.” Meanwhile, let’s also examine “The Worst Gambling Movies of All Time.” Today, we begin with #25. Each selection includes a new review as though I’m seeing the film for the first time. Let the countdown begin!
Title and Year: My Daughter’s Secret Life (2001)
Network: Lifetime (Made-for-TV)
Actors: Elisha Cuthbert
Synopsis: A high school honors student becomes addicted to gambling then begins lying, stealing, robbing, and doing porn!
My Daughter’s Secret Life is a fantastically awful made-for-TV movie so deliciously bad that it’s actually pretty good. The onscreen talent, particularly the scumbags, artfully showcase their sliminess in this delicious drama of a dumpster fire that debuted on the Lifetime Channel. But it’s the film’s unintended comedic moments that make this unheralded gem a riot to watch.
Canadian actress Elisha Cuthbert plays Katlin, a pretty 18-year-old high school honors student who develops a secret life and downward spiral into the abyss of gambling addiction. The roller-coaster plunge gets better with every dip.
The descent begins innocently enough. Katlin buys a few scratch-off lottery tickets. What’s the harm in that? Bored while sitting in her science class (sure, who isn’t?), she can’t control the urge to see if she won. So, Katlin scratches off a ticket and wins ten bucks! She gets so excited, she screams, and the entire class stares at her. Bingo! Katlin’s hooked! She has no idea two months later she’ll be robbing houses and doing lesbian porn to work off her gambling debt.
Didn’t I tell you — is this a great bad movie, or what?
Next, Katlin hosts her best friend’s birthday party. She invites a bunch of dumb rich girls over to the house because she wants to fleece them in a poker game. This is where we’re introduced to the matriarch of all maladies, Katlin’s mom. What a piece of work. Not sure about the local laws and drinking age, but “Mom of the Year” provides these goofy teenagers with a bottle of wine for the birthday party. Sure, Mom — why not? The girls can drink up and drive home later.
Who knows where or how Katlin learned her poker skills (Mom, maybe?), but she kicks the other girls’ asses in a friendly game of five-card-draw. Or, maybe it was that bottle of wine milked by six girls like hungry pups pawing the tit at feeding time. Katlin wins $185. Oh, and happy birthday, Bestie! Too bad you’re now broke. But Katlin sure had fun!
Word of Katlin’s big poker win gets around at school and some of the guys figure they want a piece of the action. Her gambling winnings, I mean. A few of the guys are running a sportsbook out of the gym (umm, what high school was this, again?). They invite her to bet some games, and of course, she does, and of course, she wins all her sports bets, because that’s what always happens when someone gets hooked on gamboooooling.
Here’s where I found myself in a trance yelling at the TV. “You’re way ahead! Quit now, honey! Stop!”
Katlin doesn’t listen, and why would she since I’m screaming at the TV a decade after the movie was shot.
Flush with cash, she finds another sportsbook at school, this time run by some black kids. I guess, the white kids and black kids deal with segregated bookies. I really want to know the name of that school. Someone needs to report the racism.
Black or white, it’s doesn’t matter. Katlin is on fire. She wins again!
The smart girl starts thinking this gambling thing is the future. Who’s got time for books and studying and science and stuff when she can book bets on her own and gamble on the side? Yeah, that’s the natural next step — Katlin starts booking. The other students’ sports picks are so awful, Katlin wins $1,800 in a single week. Then the following week, she loses it all back, and more. Gee, Katlin must be the unluckiest bookie ever.
Stuck, now the bettors want their money. And they’re pissed when they don’t get paid since she collected all that stew the previous week. Katlin panics and realizes she doesn’t have enough money, so she makes a double-or-nothing wager on a basketball game. You know, because nothing is more reassuring than when someone is obviously broke and they make a “double-or-nothing bet,” she’s going to be able to come up with twice the bread to pay off the debts.
But Katlin has done her homework! You go, girl! She does an online search and learns the star player on one team is out with an injury, so she takes the other side. Duh! Guess the morons at that school don’t have online access. The unthinkable happens. Katlin loses. Man, I can really commensurate with this pain.
Now, she’s really stuck, and things about to go from really bad — to really, really, really, really (fantastic for us) bad.
Desperate to scrape together some quick cash, Katlin uses Mom’s credit card to fund an account at an online betting site. In her bedroom, she logs in and goes to the online casino and does what all 18-year-old high school students do who are stuck $2,500 from betting basketball. She fires the whole charge card credit line on…………Internet roulette!
Big mistake. Katlin really sucks at roulette. She loses $2,600. Hey, Katlin — next time bet it all on red.
Now, this is where the movie really gets good.
Poor Katlin’s stuck $2,000 to her classmates, plus another $2,600 when the credit card bill comes (gee, Mom’s going to be pissed! Better get a bottle of wine ready for Mom!).
Dejected and desperate, Katlin starts skipping school. She gets caught up with some really bad kids who do Ecstasy, and before you know it, a poker game breaks out. Sure, because that’s the logical sequence of events when doing Ecstasy.
Katlin hustles the dopers and rakes in $2,000. Awesome! Now, she can go back to school and pay off the other kids! Happy ending! But, uhh, no.
Back at class, the students demand their money. Thinking she can use that bread to feed her worsening compulsion, she lies and says, “I don’t have it.” Dumb move, sweetheart. Buillies drag her into the men’s bathroom, punch her out, and find $1,000 in her purse. They grab it and leave her lying on the floor like a $20 crack whore. Wait guys, nobody wants the Lakers tonight -6?
Full stop: Katlin’s high school sounds mega-awesome! Kids are scratching lottery tickets. It’s got three fully-operating sports books. The hallways are littered with gamblers demanding their money. And girls are gettting robbed and punched out in the mens’ restroom. Sounds like a typical Saturday night at the El Cortez.
Here’s where Katlin meets the scummy porno couple. Hang onto your seats, folks, this is where the movie goes from great bad to epic G.O.A.T.
Mystery couple recently moved into the neighborhood, yet their house has got almost no furniture. The walls are torn out and there’s lots of bright lights set up in the living room. Alarm bells, anyone? Katlin sees nothing unusual here and confesses to the couple she needs money. Fast. No problem! Scummy dude digs in his pocket and fishes out 3-grand. Here Katlin, will this help?
Pay me back when you can. By the way, do you like movies, Katlin?
It’s only an hour into the flick and we know Katlin’s about to get into worse trouble. She’s got $3,000 in cash. Only, instead of paying back the mean guys who beat her up and then putting a little bit aside for Mom when the roulette losses come home to roost on the maxed-out credit card, Katlin has an idea. Let’s go to the fucking casino!
Blackjack time! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!
Katlin wins at first, then the odds catch up. She’s betting red chips, then green, then black, and plows through the whole wad. That sucks. Bad shoe, Katlin! We watch Katlin becoming increasingly frustrated, while Asia’s blisteringly awful hit “Heat of the Moment” plays in the background. Here, let me turn it over to another reviewer who nails it:
“Now, follow me through this. This may be one of my favorite Lifetime montages ever. Ron is beating up some guy outside who owes him money. Katlin is losing a ton of money because she is betting on instinct instead of on the cards (stop hitting on 16!). And, the proprietor of this illegal establishment, obviously an Asian man, is singing Asia’s hit single “Heat of the Moment” on karaoke. In full blown Engrish. Holy smokes!”
Katlin loses everything. She’s in the hole for at least a grand to the school bullies. She’s stuck $2,400 in Mom’s credit card. Now, she owes scummy porno couple tre-G’s.
Greatness on film.
Well now, desperate times call for desperate measures. Need money quick? Easy solution: Burglarize her parents’ mansion! Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Katlin can’t do this alone so she teams up with drug-addict loser/boy-toy “Ron” to be her thefty wingman. Another bad move. They rob the joint but turns out Rob has his own debts to the scummy porno couple. He steals Katlin’s half of the score. But hey, at least the scummy porno couple’s business plan is going gangbusters!
Scummy porno couple set a date and then demand that Katlin pay up. Trouble is, she ‘aint got it. Oh no, what’s a poor girl to do?
Solution: Make a porno!
MILFy female half of the scummy porno couple confesses she thinks “something can be worked out,” and the two hotties end up on the sofa together with the pervert voyeur holding a Camcorder and leering at the opportunity like a wolf tearing into a deer.
Oh, and let’s add Katlin is plowed with scotch and quaaludes to “loosen up.”
This is sicko glorious!
Fast forward to the creepy scene at the 1:20 mark.
Much is left to the imagination in Katlin’s sex scene in the funhouse. But what I really want to know is — what’s that awesome song playing in the background? Does anyone know if the soundtrack’s available?
Sadly, this where the movie disappoints and crushes our perverted expectations. Just as the mega-hot scene really heats up into compulsive must-watch viewing, the sex scene cuts away to….
Get those lesbians back on the screen! We don’t want to see Mom opening up her MasterCard bill! We want to see Katlin working off the debt!
Minutes later, scumbag porno dude is in the bedroom zipping up his pants (you rock, dude!) while Katlin on balling her eyes out on the toilet dressed only in a bra and connecting the dots something tells me the demon deed has been done. How many times the scummy MILF orgasmed isn’t disclosed.
Long story short — Mom figures out what’s going on, storms into the scummy porno couple home, bashes the pervert in the head with a club, and voila! She rescues Katlin!
Yeah! Katlin! Rock on!
And let’s hear it for tiger mom!
Roll the credits.
My Daughter’s Secret Life is #25 on the Worst Gambling Movies of All-Time but might very well be Top-10 for all the enjoyment it bestowed.
Luck be a Lady Tonight!