Urgent: There Is a Movie Where Mark Wahlberg Plays An English Professor

If you ever wanted to see Mark Wahlberg play Lydia Tár, your time is now.

Jude Ellison S. Doyle
4 min readNov 21, 2023

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A statue of Shakespeare holds a leaf. I don’t know who the guys behind him are.
Shakespeare, who sadly died without knowing that one day he would be a plot point in “The Gambler.” Photo by Taha on Unsplash

Here’s something I’ve learned, over the years: It’s important to have love in your life, but it’s equally important to find people who know how to love you. For instance, I was really stressed out last week. I’d agreed to meet a lot of deadlines at once, and one project clearly needed an overhaul that I hadn’t given myself enough time to execute, and I was reporting a piece, which had hit that wall reported pieces always do, when you know who you want to talk to and how to find them but you’re not sure if you’re actually going to get the interviews you need, which makes it even worse when you’re working on twenty other things and too distracted to answer your emails promptly. Ordinary stuff, sure, but I was feeling it. When I sat still, I could feel my heart pounding as if I had just sighted a T-Rex in the rear-view mirror of a Jeep.

In these moments, when you need — as all people do — to find rest and comfort, it’s really valuable to have that one person who is going to tell you exactly what you need in order to turn your night around. In this instance, it was my husband, who pulled me aside and let me know that there’s a movie in which Mark Wahlberg plays an English professor. I don’t know how he found out about it. Maybe it was mentioned on a podcast. Maybe you’ve already heard about it. Maybe everyone has. My point is: This movie, 2014’s The Gambler, is now one that I have seen.

“Is Mark Wahlberg just playing an English professor?” you ask. “Is that the only thing going on?” No: Mark Wahlberg is also playing a tormented English professor. Who comes from family money. And is battling his gambling addiction. And he gives long, long, long, long speeches about the value of literature and education and whether literary talent is learned or innate. In a screenplay based on a Paul Newman movie based on a novel by Dostoevsky.

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Jude Ellison S. Doyle

Author of “Trainwreck” (Melville House, ‘16) and “Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers” (Melville House, ‘19). Columns published far and wide across the Internet.