Poolhall Junkies

Year: 2002
Directed By: Mars Callahan
Written By: Mars Callahan and Chris Corso

RYAN’S REVIEW

Movies about hustlers are always fun. It’s interesting to see what new and interesting ways that they will con people out of their money. The catalyst for the con in this movie just happens to be pool, a game that is always fun. Pool is awesome because it is played in bars, a game you play while you are drinking. For me I always hit that magical stride between 3 and 5 drinks. Catch me early or late you might kill me but if you hit me during that stride I’m going to beat you. Now I’m no hustler, never been good enough at anything to put my money on the line, but I enjoy the game because it’s fun. It’s all about angles and if you understand geometry you can make anything happen.

I came across this movie back in 2003 in the most unlikely of ways. I was on a cruise ship and it was one of the movies they played on the ship repeatedly. Had I not been on that ship I never would have seen this movie but I did, and I liked it enough to track it down years later. It’s a movie that went low on the radar for several reasons but there is still plenty to like about it.

Reason this movie flew under the radar number one: the Ben Affleck wanna be that stars in it. Yeah maybe the guy was never going to win an Academy Award but the movie made up for it with Christopher Walken in the cast. I’m a huge fan of Walken and think he fully compensates for the poser that stars in this movie. The Ben Affleck poser in this movie even has a brother that reminds me of Affleck’s real brother Casey. They don’t look anything alike, but this movie makes me think of Good Will Hunting because of the way these two guys look acting along side each other. Check that, just realized that the Affleck wanna be is actually Mars Callahan, director of the film, who simply put himself into his own movie as the star, never a good idea. At least now it makes sense why the performance of the lead actor in the movie is what it is.

Another thing I find interesting about this movie is that it has the distinction of starring Clint Eastwood’s daughter who so badly wanted to be an actress. When it didn’t work out she simply took her clothes off for Playboy and I remember that too. Now having recently come to the realization that Clint Eastwood was always as awesome as everyone said he was I don’t feel right about having looked at his daughter naked. Alison Eastwood never got her acting career off the ground and it’s easy to understand when you see this movie. Clint made his career on being a badass, his daughter tried to make hers simply on being a woman, no different than any other. When she couldn’t get traction on screen she simply showed her boobs. That’s so disappointing, but nothing is ever as simple as it looks on the surface.

When Christopher Walken shows up this movie instantly gets better because that’s what happens with Walken. He has that strangely quiet toned voice that he can raise the decimal on at his own discretion. Walken is still out there powering on but he has aged so much now. Back in 2002 when this movie was made he still had all the awesome that was within him. The type of awesome that could take a mediocre movie and make it worth watching. He hasn’t let age slow him down and that only makes him more of an awesome actor. Walken will live on forever and can never be replaced in the future.

Geez, it’s hard to watch this movie without getting hung up on Mars Callahan. What was this guy thinking plugging himself into his own movie? It could have been so much bigger had he just cast an actual actor in lead role. He thinks too much of himself and he was trying too hard. That giant hairdo and his northern accent, it’s all just so annoying. Yet I like this movie despite all that. More than likely I think he told the only story he had to tell with this movie but at least it was a story worth telling.

HOLY SHIT!!! Just realized that the Asian guy in this movie was none other than Keno from The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze. I gotta say, that knocks this movie up a notch, for me at least. Keno was like Ruffio, a childhood hero. F-ing Keno! Is there anything else to say? Ok, that’s a bit of a stretch, Ernie Reyes Jr. doesn’t make this movie any better despite the nostalgic nature it offers anybody that was lucky enough to be 7 in 1991 when then ninja turtles took the screen for a second time.

Chazz Palminiteri leaves a lot to be desired as a main antagonist but he serves well enough in this movie I’ll grant him that. Rod Steiger is a bit of a saving grace but nobody brings it like Christopher Walken. I can’t say enough how Walken makes this movie. He comes in like the hero so our Ben Affleck wanna be can one handedly school the bad guys. What makes it all so foolhardy is that the prize is simply to get bail money so the Casey Affleck wanna be can get out of jail and in reality that is only the beginning of a long journey to freedom. Silver Spoons is playing a game for nothing and our hero is obviously going to win it all.

OK, I’ve finished this movie and I honestly can’t say it was worth my time. Maybe I own this movie for my own nostalgic purposes and it isn’t worth the time of anybody else. Nevertheless I like it just enough to qualify it for our collection.

NEXT MOVIE: The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

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