There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Remember the sequence in Casino in which Robert De Niro’s character becomes the star of a nightly talk show/pro-Mob harangue in order to keep hanging around the joint after he gets in Dutch with Nevada state authorities? Not much of that freewheeling spirit is captured on this gorgeously garish package. (It comes complete with a tiny pair of dice slipped inside the jewel box.) With main-room kings Sinatra and Presley absent from the proceedings, Buddy Greco’s tic-ridden 1960 rendition of “The Lady Is a Tramp” is the kind of thing that too often passes for vocal sty-li-za-tion here. That insult to Frank, and Paul Anka’s nonmythic rendition of “My Way,” aside, the Rat Pack does get props, with the inclusion of the Dino and Sammy signatures “That’s Amore” and “I’ve Gotta Be Me.” In fact, the former’s ur-Italian mischief keys into one of Jackpot!’s essential subtexts, the celebration of all things Mediterranean that was once a major part of the Vegas experience: Mel Torme, Vic Damone, “Al Di La,” even the bloodthirsty angst of Tom Jones’ “Delilah,” which is the best thing here and a murder ballad that Nick Cave shouldn’t have missed. To think that this stuff was preferred by many parents to that dirtyass rock ‘n’ roll: “She saw the knife in my hand and she laughed no more,” indeed. Too bad so much of what surrounds Jones sounds foolish, even for those on a happy kitsch trip. Not for nothing did Elvis shoot out TV screens whenever Robert Goulet appeared.