What STN is Watching: “Jerry & Marge Go Large”


Editor’s note: In our staff meetings, discussion often drifts into movies and shows. We gravitate toward the little-known hits, those hidden gems that we enjoy so much. We thought we would pass along a few of our findings.

“Jerry & Marge Go Large” is a homegrown Michigan tale of retirement and reinvigoration that tells the true story (well, based on a true story anyway) of a couple who used a lottery loophole to win millions of dollars.

Evart, MI, resident Jerry Selbee (Bryan Cranston), a restlessly retired bookkeeper with a knack for spotting patterns, discovered a unique loophole in the Winfall game of Michigan and Massachusetts.

This clever observation allowed Jerry and his wife, Marge (Annette Bening), to amass roughly $27 million over nine years. Though the Winfall game no longer exists, its structure was such that if no one clinched the jackpot and the prize exceeded $5 million, a "roll-down" would ensue, redistributing the jackpot to those in the lower winning brackets.

Jerry discerned that these roll-downs occurred every six weeks. By strategically timing his plays, he ensured more wins than losses on his ticket purchases. Notably, the Selbees' actions were entirely within the law, and never apprehended for wrongdoing. Furthermore, rather than splurging on personal extravagances, they share their winning formula with their community.

It's a feel-good film that doesn’t have your brain or your heart working too hard.

However, the film takes some creative liberties, veering into territory that sometimes feels too contrived. The addition of a posse of Harvard youngsters, led by the cliché-laden Tyler, serves as an unnecessary foil. They, too, have figured out the formula, and it’s a race to see who wins. Rather than enhancing the narrative, it diverts attention from what should've been the film's core: the evolving relationship of our beloved duo and their earnest effort to support their hometown.

While the film may meander in its journey, often muddying itself in the intricate mathematics of the lottery scheme or resorting to overt comedic undertones, the underlying sentiment remains wholesome. Jerry and Marge weren't driven by mere financial gain but by a deeper desire to provide for their community. Their journey, from buying thousands of lottery tickets to setting up an LLC to channel their winnings, captures a unique entrepreneurial spirit.

So, if you’re in the mood to feel good without working too hard to get there, "Jerry & Marge Go Large" might be worth checking out.

“Jerry & Marge Go Large” is rated PG-13 for some language and suggestive references.

Image: imdb.com

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