The digital revolution has brought about a rise in popularity in one of the world’s most loved and popular pastimes; Bingo. Where bingo halls were once one of the most frequented leisure experiences, the decline in footfall was soon to be replaced by large player numbers on the internet (on sites like www.swagbingo.com and so on). The widespread adoption of mobile phones meant that more people could have access to their favorite bingo games, introducing the game to even more users and growing its profile further.
Let’s all reminisce on the way things were as we look back at ten of the best bingo-related scenes in films.
10. 8 Mile (2002)
Giving trailer park parents a bad rap, Stephanie Smith (Kim Basinger), is the archetypal poor white trash. Her children Jimmy and Lily have to contend with deprivation as well as a mother who is alcoholic and abusive. She has noisy sex in the trailer with her young daughter trying to sleep and doesn’t care about her kids seeing her naked. Being engrossed by Jimmy’s fight to make it on the rap scene, viewers generally miss just what a terrible mother Mrs. Smith is. But on the plus side, for her, she does win $3,200 at bingo. Way to go!
9. Big Momma’s House 2 (2006)
Yes, the movie is ridiculous. We all know that. Picking up from its predecessor, an FBI agent reprises his disguise as a corpulent old lady and takes a job as a nanny in a crime suspect’s house. To fully encompass his role as Big Momma, our hero indulges in the ultimate elderly pastime… bingo. At least, before she/he gets single out by another women for stealing her man.
8. The Babadook (2014)
Amelia has been living a rough life for the last few years. On the way to the hospital to give birth to her son, Samuel, she is in a fatal car wreck that kills her husband, leaving her all alone to raise their child. As Samuel gets older Amelia has trouble putting on a good face with her friends and at her job as a nurse at a home for the elderly, especially once Samuel begins to speak of defending her from some horrible bogeyman. At one point she decides to take up bingo calling as a way to give back. Unfortunately, her attempts to liven up the seemingly dull game are unsuccessful and serve to further increase her depression and bleak outlook on life.
7. My Girl (1991)
1972. Vada Sultenfuss (played by Anna Chlumsky) is an intelligent, bubbly, hypochondriacal 11-year old girl. Her father, Harry (Dan Aykroyd), is a mortician and a widower. Her best friend is Thomas J Sennett (Macaulay Culkin). Then her father hires a new receptionist, Shelly (Jamie Lee Curtis), and life will never be the same again. When her father eventually begins to date Shelly, this affects Vada’s attitude towards Shelly. One night, Vada follows her father and Shelly to a bingo game and brings Thomas J. along to disrupt it. Because everybody knows that bingo night is where you go to find true love.
6. Hotel Transylvania (2012)
Even monsters need a hobby. While they’re playing you could be a funny person and say it’s as quiet as a crypt, but that might be a little too much. In any case the scene is eerily quiet right up until Frank’s wife decides to call out Bingo, only to have her card and marker eaten in the next second. Yeah we might get a little upset at the loss too.
5. Get Out (2017)
Jordan Peele’s Get Out follows Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a young black guy living in the city who’s dating a white woman called Rose (Allison Williams). Chris goes to meet Rose’s family for a weekend away in the country and it turns into the getaway from hell. One of the film’s many intriguing scenes was the bingo game auction for Chris at the party. The fact that they seem to be placing bids on Chris and that it resembled a 19th century slave auction was no coincidence either.
4. Rampage (2009)
This may be a movie with a darker edge, but Rampage still has an interesting use for Bingo. Featuring a hitman walking through the bingo hall picking off participants in a game, the scene is memorable for the fact that players are too engrossed in their game to care about what is going on around them. Surely there is some kind of social commentary about gaming in this, but that is for the audience to decide.
3. Bad Grandpa (2013)
Bad Grandpa is the fourth installment of the Jackass film series and makes for a hilarious movie. The Bad Grandpa, unsurprisingly the protagonist of the movie, is preparing to take part in a game on bingo, with the fellow participants oblivious to the hidden cameras. The prankster grandpa makes some inappropriate remarks and disgusts bingo fans by drinking bingo fluid. After taking a seat in the hall, the bad grandpa starts out with some very inappropriate comments, complete with rude and obnoxious language. When that doesn’t get the desired effect, he proceeds to drink the ink from the bingo daubers at his table, effectively grossing out all of those around him. For his finale, Knoxville then brings a margarita making machine to the table and begins to make mixed drinks in front of shocked onlookers.
2. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
While not literally a game of Bingo, the interrogation by Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) is memorable because of the way he incorporates the phrase into the scene by uttering the words ‘that’s a bingo’. His aim of course is to get the truth out of our protagonist and to put all the jigsaw pieces together to work out the assassination plot. His “bingo” moment is when he believes he has confirmed everything (even if he is incorrect in his usage).
1. Bingo! The Documentary (1999)
We’ve included this documentary by John Jeffcoat on the list because, for fans of the game this is surely going to be the most interesting look at the pastime. Featuring interviews with players it looks into the experiences on a personal level and why people are so in love with it. No doubt it would be just as interesting to see why players look to play bingo, and if the experience in the halls, and on the Internet are the same, or different.