People looking at something offscreen at a bar.
People looking at something offscreen at a bar.
Photo: Department of Motion Pictures

150 Word Review: ‘Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets’ (2020)

Think ‘Cheers,’ but make it a feature film that will break your heart

Is the 2020 movie Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets fact or fiction? The answer is “yes.” This gritty, messy, deeply human movie about the last night of a seedy Las Vegas dive bar before closing down looks and feels like a deeply intimate documentary about barflies but every scene tells a shaped and satisfying story. It’s like watching an improvisational Robert Altman-esque hangout flick starring an incredible cast of eccentric character actors, including many grizzled non-actors playing versions of themselves.

The fact that the directors, brothers Turner and Bill Ross, are quirky documentarians may explain why this movie effortlessly melds reality television with The Iceman Cometh. ​If Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets has a main character it is Michael, a long-haired boozehound who has made the doomed bar his home and its customers his family. Michael seems too smart and loving to be drinking his life away, but that’s how it is.

Writer/editor. NYPost, CONAN, Sirius XM. 2X James Beard Award winner. I created Humungus, a blog about movies, tv & feelings.

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