25. 'The Gambler'
Wahlberg as a compulsive, high-stakes gambler? Sure, we'll bite. Wahlberg as a failed novelist and take-no-prisoners literature professor? Not so much. Based on a 1974 movie starring James Caan, this dour drama doesn't very hard to make the opposite poles of this conflicted, contradictory character work. Worse, the star doesn't seem at ease ranting about Shakespeare, class issues and artistic achievement; he delivers them too quickly, like he's trying to cover for not knowing what he's talking about. The actor fares a lot better, however, with the more elemental, desperate side of the character, especially when he's being squeezed by multiple loan sharks. Still, once the classroom scenes kick in, all bets are off.