According to Screen Rant, the mysterious Player X played by Michael Cera in Molly’s Game, is actually, probably, most likely, none other than…Tobey Maguire? I don’t phrase that as a question because I don’t think it’s true. Their argument is convincing, and you should read the article if you remain skeptical. But the implications of Tobey Maguire being Player X are just terrific.
But before we get into them, I would like to address, ‘it’s based on a true story’ guy, who would argue that we don’t know that, even if Tobey Maguire is Player X, we do not know if any of this stuff actually happened, and therefore we cannot conclude anything about Tobey Maguire as a person.
First of all, screw you…
Second of all, we know, and we don’t care because we like talking about movies, go watch some documentaries for your shitty facts.
So assuming good ole’ Tobey was Player X, as Screen Rant has convinced me (plus I am also assuming there was some insider knowledge while casting Player X and had they known Player X was like Ben Affleck or Leo, I doubt they would have cast Michael Cera to play him, but if they knew it was Tobey, they definitely would have cast Michael Cera to play him), and assuming the moments in Molly’s Game all actually happened (because ‘based on a true story’ guy drinks alone at bars) can we take a moment and look at what we learn about Tobey from Molly’s Game. The book goes into more less than flattering details about Tobey, but we only have so much time, and the movie provides us with more than enough fodder.
According to the movie…
…Tobey Maguire is a killer poker player.
Apparently, he is the best. No one can touch him. He is relentless, takes everyone’s money (“he subscribed to the belief that money won was twice as good as money earned”), and revels in it. But there is something a bit off about the way he heralds his own skill. In one scene, after talking another player into folding the winning hand by swearing on his mother’s life that he has him beat, Tobey lifts up his shitty hand to show his bluff and tells the other man, “fuck you.” Which is some bad-assery to be sure. That is some next level confidence in your poker playing.
But there is something about knowing it is Tobey Maguire that makes it feel strange. It felt the same way in the movie while watching Michael Cera act these moments out. They are just a bit… dweeby… to pull off moves like this. If Ben Affleck looked me in the eyes while holding a shit hand after bluffing me out of the winning hand and said, “fuck you,” I would cry myself to sleep for the next thirty-seven days. But if Tobey Maguire did it, I’d probably just smile wryly and say, “Good for you Tobey. You deserve it,” while he aggressively raked his chips towards his pile, making eye contact with no one, expecting everyone to be looking at him. We all feel good for Tobey, and he wants to rub it in our faces.
He’s the guy that doesn’t read the room quite right. Everyone else is rooting for him because it’s about time something went his way, and he is talking shit because he thinks he is the top dog. In summation, knowing Tobey Maguire is so good at poker and so proud of it makes it seem like this is his one major skill in life, (other than being Spiderman) and he’s a little too aggressive in letting everyone know it.
…Tobey Maguire hates people.
Even beyond the incident recounted above, we have even further evidence that Tobey has a deep-seated resentment towards other people. After one of Molly’s games Tobey hung back for a bit and told her that he didn’t actually like poker. When Molly, in a state of confusion, then asked him why he played, he replied, in the height of melodrama and randomness, “I like destroying people’s lives.”
Okay Tobey. Slow your roll just a bit. I mean… nobody asked…and also, What happened to you man? Was it so hard playing Peter Parker? Why all the resentment?
…Tobey Maguire is super vindictive
So once again, the previous two stories also illuminate this next point. But, also once again, we have further proof to ponder. Tobey decides that Molly is making too much money on his poker game, and that she believes (incorrectly) that it is her game, and he wants her to know that it is his game. So Tobey decides that she should cap her tips. To which she gives him a firm, “Hell no.” To which he decides to move the location of the poker game behind her back and remove Molly from the game entirely- which is some weak-ass bullshit.
But the worst part is when he calls her as she is driving to the now non-existent game and laughs at her and says, “You are so fucked,” and then hangs up. Apparently, Tobey’s love for ruining people’s lives is not merely confined to the chairs surrounding a poker table.
They both had a good thing going and were making a ton of money, but he feared losing the recognition for being the ‘draw,’ the ‘top guy,’ that everyone was coming to see and play with, and so he needed to flex his radioactive-spider-enhanced muscles on whoever wasn’t recognizing his status. There were also other reasons at play which we will get to next, but mostly this shows a vindictive side of Tobey who will come at you hard for doing very little.
…Tobey is sexually frustrated.
We are going to get a little Freudian here so bear with me. If the above actions by Tobey seem a bit extreme or random, then let’s color the situation- pepper in a little background if you will. Molly Bloom is, how can I put it…. a smoke show (once again we are basing this on the movie, and once again fact guy can go take a flying leap. I have no idea if Molly Bloom was this good-looking, but Jessica Chastain in Molly’s Game made me forget my first name). And, to earn her tips, she has a lot of playful banter with the poker players. But not poor Tobey. She is very cordial with Tobey. It feels like a business relationship. I perceived that Molly respected Tobey as someone who was good at what he did (poker not acting) and who had ideas that could continue to make them both money.
But Tobey did not perceive it this way. He confronted her later in the movie and asked her why she didn’t flirt with him like she did with all the other players (I didn’t really reduce that at all. He pulled that middle school boy crap for real). Tobey wanted some attention too, and in the wake of not getting the attention he desired, he stole the game.
This feels like an accumulation. I doubt this level of vindictiveness and retribution and confrontation would have occurred if this had not happened to Tobey before. Maybe, for example, Kirsten Dunst, on the set of Spiderman, flirted with James Franco (understandable) and gave Willem Dafoe some ‘I hate my father’ banter, and Tobey stood off to the side in his red and blue latex and watched as the girl he saved from the Green Goblin showed absolutely zero gratitude. And so at the point of Molly’s poker game and the experience of being at the periphery of female’s attention for years, Tobey was feeling a bit frustrated (sexually I mean). Apparently, the poker game wasn’t the only action Tobey was seeking.
…Tobey’s been through some shit.
This isn’t based on anything in the movie, but rather as the culmination of all the other points. It feels as if Tobey Maguire feels inferior. He feels looked down upon and insecure about his position in a room full of men and women. I don’t know what caused all these feelings but it must be tremendous. He did take some heat (deserved) for Spiderman 3, but also, he is a killer poker player and he is credited with starting the superhero movie phenomenon. He became the face of nerdy geeky actors in Hollywood, which is rough, but that’s a thing now. In hindsight, Tobey was ahead of his time, but I guess it is hard to be ahead of the times, because you are all alone. That poor ‘green-screen little shit.’
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