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  • Poolhall Junkies is one of those little sweet pieces of film that can hold your attention throughout, get you to grin even when a joke isn't that funny, and let the viewer know debut filmmakers, such as Gregory "Mars" Martin, can still serve a purpose in a widening scumish movie season.

    Martin plays Johnny Doyle, a poolroom hustler who after being controlled by a gangster (Palminterri) for fifteen years, breaks away in a sudden movie to go for bigger money. Unfortunately, his movie isn't helped by his cocky little brother (Rosenbaum) and friends who try to hustle the money for themselves only to get in deeper trouble with a semi-pro player.

    The story and twists may have been seen in similar poolhall movies, yet the quick wit and even quicker style is on the mark. Lest I not forget, Steiger and Walken turn in two grand performances - Steiger, in his last film, as a weary poolroom worker, and Walken, who is very often both creepy and exceptional, gives fans a treat with a monologue that can only be compared to the one he gave in Pulp Fiction. Not everyone may follow this film, and it'll probably be out of theaters very soon, however it remains a treat for those who like quirky indie gangster movies. A-
  • Poolhall Junkies exhibits a breathtaking spectacle of pool brilliance. It leaves nothing out - Jump shots, masse shots and superbly illustrated draw and bank shots.

    First and foremost, it is a sports film, though fundamentally incorporates certain genres like romance and action so as to not alienate the movie going audience. However, unlike the hustler - which many perceived was a love story with a Pool backdrop, and the Color of Money - which put more emphasis on money and gambling than on the sport of pool itself, Poolhall Junkies displays Pool in all its unadulterated beauty.

    It failed to be a smash hit, I dare say, as there were no huge names in the film unlike the above mentioned two which had Tom Cruise and Paul Newman. Nevertheless the casting is excellent. Mars Callahan does a great job playing Johnny - the talented and cocky hustler with an inherent deep regret of not being a pro, and Rick Shroder plays the great steely eyed and fierce opponent, with, lamentably, a not so terrifying name, Brad. Furthermore Christopher Walken adds tremendous spice to the film as Johnny's stakehorse, with an exultant presence, inspirational philosophies and a few wickedly innovative pool shots to boot.

    Some bits seem derivative from the Hustler and/or the Color of Money, especially the clichéd hustle dialogue, but they work well, it's part of what makes a hustling film, and adds to its comedic value! I would rate this 8 out of 10, overall, but if a definitive Pool film is what you want, look no further than this.
  • In a market that has been repeatedly saturated with compartmentalized film making, taking moments from other films and cut and pasting them into others. This was an unexpected success and a fun movie to watch. Well made, solid in its delivery, photographed beautifully, the shots are constantly moving not distracting or misleading they engage the viewer, you don't get bored watching several games of pool which is most defiantly not a spectator sport. Character development is another success. You know the characters throughout the film, you see the progress, it makes senses and there are no unexpected character jumps. There are some cheesy moments, but they lighten the movie. Not taking themselves so serious, is nice to see in what is a serious movie. With so much mainstream crap being flooded in the market; it was nice to go see a movie that kept me entertained without shoving as much preprogrammed junk in front of my face. I left happy and entertained!
  • There isn't really much to say about this film. It has the basic formula, average script, average acting and yet I can't help but enjoy it. Considering it's style and snappy dialogue, it is quite obviously a Swingers inspired project and although not as successful, it still makes for some great viewing.

    The cast is excellent. Walken is a standout. He brings so much to this movie, quite frankly I can't see it working without him. And Mars Callahan... A solid actor; and I get this guy, I get what he's doing and I can only hope to see him growing creatively through more of his work in future. But I am not holding my breath, writing and direction and quite clearly not his strengths and I fear that he will never top this film.

    This is one of those movies that will no doubt spawn a cult following, especially among the pool hustlers out there. Look out for the great Trees Lounge reference too, a nice touch.

    I don't know what is going on with the release of this film, but I bought it on (region 0) DVD at K-mart in Australia, despite the fact it hasn't hit cinemas yet. Essential viewing for any pool fanatic. 8/10.
  • Not going to tell you about the movie, there are enough people on here that have. I just wanted to say that I also agree with the people that did not understand the negative comments. I watch a ton of movies so I have a lot to compare this one to. Its not academy award material by any means. But I thought the acting was very good and I enjoyed the storyline. The movie kept my attention throughout. I thought it was one of the better movies that I have seen. I would recommend this movie. All I can say is, you know what they say about opinions...lol.
  • Christopher Walken happens to be one of my favourites, and it was a nice surprise to see him in this film - but even without his charismatic acting, it would surely have been worth the time. Excellent showing of the game at it's brilliant best, it is also pretty funny, mostly believable (even tho a couple of times the hustling was made a bit too easy) and has more depth than Color of Money or the old one which had Minnesota Fats in it.. forgot the name of that one.

    I'd double rate this film 9-10 for pool players, 7-9 for others.

    Oh and the guy playing the hustler is a nice find, hope to see him in some other new films too.
  • I love this movie! I love how the movie was written AND directed. This was my favorite movie before I decided to go to school for TV and Video Production. I watch it now with a new view and still love it. It doesn't follow the same script we see in theaters today and I recommend it to everyone. The cast is great! Chazz Palmintri and Christopher Walken are excellent! I predict that this movie will become a cult classic. Watch it! I trust that those of you who take the time to watch this movie will not be disappointed. In case you didn't know I have to fill up 10 lines of text for this to be submitted so I will just ramble on till it becomes 10 lines. I'm getting close so enjoy the movie and watch it for yourself and then comment on this page. thanks Jessica
  • squid220036 March 2006
    The film Poolhall Junkies centers on pool shark Johnny (Mars Callahan), who breaks free from Joe (Chazz Palminteri), his mentor and one of the dirtiest hustlers around. He makes the break upon finding out that Joe hid his being invited to shoot with the pros from him, and from here things become violent and Joe breaks Johnny's hand. Joe uses pool shark Brad (Rick Schroder) to bring Johnny's younger brother Danny (Michael Rosenbaum) into the picture, as he hustles Danny and proceeds to beat him up and to threaten his life for the money he owes him. In the chaos, Danny tries to knock off a pawnshop and is arrested and imprisoned. It is then up to Johnny to play Brad for the cash to get his brother out of jail.

    Director Mars Callahan successfully made this a film about achieving greatness. Throughout the film, we know Johnny has possibly missed his chance to be great. A chance many get once in a lifetime. But throughout the film, we see that Johnny is a great person, sticks to his morals (although they are a bit hazy), is a true friend, and always has some goodness at heart. At one point, Johnny swears off of the game, but returns when the stakes involve getting his girlfriend Tara (Alison Eastwood) her dream job in the law firm she happens to be interning at. In doing this, he meets and befriends her Uncle Mike (Christopher Walken), who backs him and gives him the money he needs to possibly win his final game.

    The pivotal choice in music for this film is very original. It went very well with the key moments it was placed in. At one point in the final pool game, the two competitors pass by one another, and right at that point there is a howl in the music that has been playing throughout the game. This makes the meeting that much more exciting. This film was excellently pieced together, and probably both under credited and under viewed.
  • I've personally been waiting to see Poolhall Junkies since I saw Alison Eastwood on the Craig Kilborn show plugging it. I originally wanted to see it because two of my favorite actors were in it(Chazz Palmenteri, and the Great Christopher Walken). Though after the first twenty minutes of the movie I knew those two would be over shadowed by writer/director/actor Mars Callahan.

    Callahan stole the show with his natural charisma and attitude. He's got great screen presence and watching him actually kind of reminded me of Christopher Walken except a bit younger and a lot less intense. This movie had a great plot nothing overly original but with the tight script it came off without a hitch. Poolhall Junkies is definetly a must see. Now that the wait is over I can see that it was well worth it.

    10 out of 10
  • After seeing this film all I can say is wow! The flow was there, combined with the screen chemistry, made an excellent combination. Christopher Walken played a small part in this movie, but the parts he was in just blew me away. It was fun to watch him be a cocky SOB. It was funny. The best scene with him was when he told Chazz Palminteri that he was a millionaire and 80k meant nothing to him, yet to Chazz it was more than he could chew. (what he said more or less) The movie was filled with excitement, humor, and a lot of crazy shots that I probably will go out of my way to try and learn. Being someone who enjoys the game of pool I loved knowing the hustler moves ahead of time. (The kid falling for the 4 balls of the table trick was great, but he had to learn right.) Either way pool is a great game, and it's nice to see a movie that took the sport and turned it into a great visual experience through the lives of the actors. Excellent acting, casting, and just an overall good movie going experience. And I hope that many of you can see this movie and get as much fun out of it as I have.
  • I am a big fan of pool, and have been watching all the pool movies I can find. The obviously great Hustler and Color of money are the only two of any quality I have found. The pool played in Poolhall Junkies is absurd, the way the plot develops is so slow and preictable and the ending is just dull. To me it seems strangely disjointed in places with many scenes not fiting or joining to those around them. Its not funny enough for a comedy and the plot and action is too thin for anything else. It is a little better than Stickmen which is not even worth comment.

    Can it really be that to make a good film about pool Paul Newman is needed ? Surely someone with a brain out there can come up with something a little better than Poolhall Junkies, I'm considering writing a script myself.
  • Reading the embarrassingly positive reviews for this film here really put doubt in my view of humanity as a whole. Maybe we are doomed as a race. Granted, different people have different tastes…but this is just bad, there's no way around it. There is no disputing this. If you like this film, do yourself and everyone on the planet a favor and kill yourself now and rid us of your banality and mediocrity. A little harsh, I know, but it's really that bad.

    I wasn't expecting much, and it does have Chris Walken and Chazz Palminteri in it, so I figured it'd be worth 99 minutes of my life to just sit on my ass and check it out. Little did I know that it'd be this bad. It is quite funny though, unintentionally of course. The acting, particularly by the lead (which just so happens to also be the director), is terrible. The highly emotional parking lot scene with Joe (Palminteri) immediately comes to mind. This guy probably thought it'd be pretty cool to star in his own film, what a tool. It's not much better from the rest of the cast either, except for Walken and Palminteri, which I am beginning to seriously question their goals in life by having the goods to be in big films, but instead choose utter crap like this. This is the stuff that struggling actors buy into, not established and acclaimed stars.

    Not just the acting is terrible, pretty much everything is. The script is downright abysmal, including even some of Walken's lines. The scenes, which involve the star's little brother and friends, are simply some of the worst lines I've ever heard! This script must've been written in all of about two days. And to a previous reviewer, I DON'T GIVE A RAT'S ASS IF THIS IS AN INDEPENDENT FILM, the script is something even George W. Bush could write!

    The worst part in the entire film is during the ending showdown. As the players pass each other around the table each time, you can hear an audible 'swoosh'…and a few times a 'clink' as if their cues hit together or maybe in some reference to sword fighting. Either way, it's just awful. If you like this film, there's no way you can be a real person….you must just be a figment of my imagination.

    About as bad as it gets. Walken is amusing, and the pool shots are very fun to watch and well executed even if repetitive, but other than that there's nothing here worthy of any kind of recognition whatsoever.
  • I saw it last night and was surprised that I enjoyed it. I just thought it was going to be about billiards (not that I terribly mind that) and hustling, having the same sort of stiffness of The Color of Money, but it was more than that. It brought universal appeal into it about doing/playing something just for the love of it.

    Christopher Walken had a minor part, but he was great in it. Gregory 'Mars' Martin, who plays the main character, reminded me a lot of a younger John Cusack, looks and style. Michael Rosenbaum (Lex from Smallville) and their set of friends added great humor to the screen.

    I just love that the movie reaches my generation and was fun to watch. Not the best billiards movie, of course, but I was definitely entertained.
  • This movie truly rocks. Mars Callahan does a tremendous job on writing, directing, and starring in the film. I guess you would have to be a lover of the game to truly give this film the recognition that it absolutely deserves. And the fact that Rod Stieger, Christopher Walken, Chaz Palminteri, Rick Schroder, and Alison Eastwood are in this movie is utterly amazing.

    My personal favorite scene is when Johnny(Mars) was talking to Saint Louis Louis(Massey). When Louis says to his little brother Danny "Don't let him fool ya, your brother can move the rock with the best of them" and Danny replies "Whats the rock?" to Johnny. Johnny says "Thats the cue ball." and walks off. To me that is really a great scene. It just makes believe that he is so modest that he doesn't realize how naturally talented he is and how great he can be.
  • ruthgee6 March 2003
    This movie was directed by "Mars" Callahan. He plays Johnny Doyle the lead character , who "was a kid that the cue was part of his arm." This is a very entertaining movie and all the performers have a lot of fun. Callahan must love pool and my husband and I had a good time at the movies. The cast includes Christopher Walken, as always good, Rod Steiger in his last role, and a group of youngmen, who are very amusing. This is pure entertainment. As Ebert says, "a young man's film humming with fun of making it.
  • pyrocitor4 May 2016
    You wouldn't be wrong for mistaking Poolhall Junkies as a cocky vanity project for writer/director/star Gregory 'Mars' Callahan (who looks like Jason Lee and Casey Affleck had an affably obnoxious man-baby). Still, it's a slick, snappy sports romp, propelled by a spectacular funky score, and, with the help of some choice casting, more fun than it has any right to be. The story is a tale as old as time, but Callahan wisely ricochets off the main criticism with the most beloved Paul Newman pool precedents (too much talk, not enough pool!), and recognizes that a sterling sports movie is made in its games, not the background drama. The pool hall scenes are flawlessly shot (pun!) with vivacious, crackling energy, and plentiful enough to keep the film breezy and bumping.

    The writing on the whole is about as high school calibre as you'd expect, from the hip smack talk posturing which reaches eye-rolling heights at times, to each and every poor female characters, risibly written as 'Male Love Interest Validation Device 101' (Alison Eastwood - yes, Clint's daughter - gamely shoulders the worst of this). Still, some exchanges are goofy enough to genuinely raise laughs, and the cast are all so visibly relaxed and cheery it's hard not to take to them. Callahan himself aces the cocksure swagger, which is enough to carry him through his less impressive melodramatic asides, and he shares some good banter with his younger brother, played by Smallville's Michael Rosenbaum, who, with hair, recalls the wholesome cheekiness of a young Paul Rudd.

    Chazz Palminteri's thuggish backer-turned-mortal enemy and Christopher Walken's 'Daddy Warbucks deus ex-machina' may be dopily motivated plot devices rather than characters, but they're both hugely charismatic enough to make it worth the while. Palminteri may be the most stereotypical mobster actor in the industry, but he pours on the threat here, while Walken matches him with enough sly jubilance to reaffirm him as the coolest cat around, owning two characteristic monologues, and nailing an impossibly hard trick shot in one take. Finally, Rod Steiger is delightfully gruff as the pool hall owner with a heart of gold in his final film appearance here.

    There are few surprises here as the plot doles out, but the hustling extends beyond the narrative: Poolhall Junkies is too jaunty and enjoyable not to take to. It's not as thought out or engaging as The Hustler (or even The Colour of Money), but Callahan keeps things energetic throughout, and benefits from going shot for shot between pool and drama. Whenever the balls are racked and James Brown blares, Poolhall Junkies has too much moxie not to drink the kool aid, and soak up the sweat of the pool hall anew.

    -7/10
  • All Johnny Doyle his younger brother Danny (Michael Rosenbaum) who it (Mars Callahan) ever wanted is to play pool against the best. He's got a mouth that won't shut up. For 15 years, his handler Joe (Chazz Palminteri) used Johnny to hustle pool and prevented him from entering tournaments. He tries to leave pool behind and go straight. When that turns sour, he goes back to pool. His girlfriend Tara (Alison Eastwood) hates him playing. His younger brother Danny (Michael Rosenbaum) thinks he's better than he actually is. He befriends Tara's boss Uncle Mike (Christopher Walken) by hustling a rival. Joe breaks Johnny's hand and has a new protégé in Brad (Rick Schroder).

    Mars Callahan's directing and acting is below par. However there is an audacious energy about this movie. He's shooting for both Swingers and The Hustler. Mars is nowhere near good enough to hit the target but he really tries. It's low budget indie with hard talk, real pool and some great actors. The big missing elements are a better director and a better leading man.
  • spens-116 November 2004
    This movie could only appeal to someone who doesn't know the game. The actors can't hold a cue and are shown making ridiculous and sometimes even illegal shots (the push stroke to roll a ball along the rail is not a legal stroke). Bank shots being played when a direct shot is available.. etc. This movie sucks as a pool movie. The acting is poor and the scenes contrived. The movie would have us believe that someone could get away with betting that a shot could be made on a player's turn and then being able to take the next shot because the player bought his opponent's turn and therefore the subsequent shot was still his. Guy would have his ass kicked.
  • jack_thursby14 January 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    The trivia for "Poolhall Junkies" says that the two individuals behind the movie spent two weeks on the script and ten years trying to get the movie made. Well, I believe the two weeks on the script part because the script is utterly wretched, but I don't know about the ten years part because this movie rips off "Rounders" to a huge extent. In fact, "Poolhall Junkies" is just like "Rounders" minus the great acting, the interesting story, the realistic dialog and the production values. "Poolhall Junkies" is a juvenile fantasy film about hustling and pool that never approaches the heights or depths of hustling and poker as depicted in "Rounders".

    The story in "Poolhall Junkies" follows Johnny Doyle (Mars Callahan)a pool prodigy discovered and groomed by Joe (played by a slumming Chazz Palminteri) to be a pool hustler. Johnny double-crosses Joe for reasons that I'm not going to get into because they're stupid, and later has to face Joe's new hustler Brad (played by a slumming Rick Schroder) in a high-stakes game of pool, while suffering from a broken wrist given to him by an angry Joe. Okay, we all know what the ending will be in a film like this -- its the journey that makes it worthwhile, and "Poolhall Junkies" makes the journey painful and nausea inducing. Not even an appearance by Christopher Walken can save this Hindenburg of a movie.

    The stupidity of this movie especially shines through when Johnny is having some trouble in the climatic final game versus Brad, who is revealed to be the 13th ranked pro pool player in the US. That's when Nick (Rod Steiger), the grizzled old hustler who owns the pool hall the match is being played in, reassures Johnny by saying "Don't worry. I've seen his type many times before... they always crack under pressure. He can't last, so hang in there." Well, no. Since the guy is the 13th ranked player in the US he obviously doesn't crack under pressure because if he did then he obviously would be unable to make his living playing pool for high stakes.

    And why would a pro-player work for a two-bit hustler like Joe anyway? He could hustle for himself if he felt the need to make pocket money, there's nothing to be gained by hooking up with a small time criminal. The whole scenario makes absolutely no sense, except to the scriptwriters of "Poolhall Junkies". And the whole movie is full of idiotic sequences just like this one. Save your time and your eyes and watch "The Hustler" again if you're in the mood for a pool hall flick.
  • lastknown11 September 2004
    I rented Poolhall Junkies. Sometimes one rents a string of bad movies and wonders if the end will ever come. One may even think of giving up. Well, poolhall junkies didn't make me give up, but I have taken to renting movies I have already seen and liked. Watching Poolhall Junkies, as I see it, is like finding out you have a terminal disease and doing your best to find new habits that may save your life for a little while.

    I couldn't sit through the film. I felt bad that I couldn't as I did rent it. But, after that scene where the main character (I hesitate to use the word character at all in a review of a film with no character whatsoever) is informed that his brother has been beaten, I just turned it off. "God please stop" went through my head. And so I did. The memory remains though.

    I suppose mostly the characters bothered me. The lead actor was completely unconvincing. He was supposed to be tough, witty and well-rounded, but he came off as a pretentious brat, a true fake. In fact, all the characters were pretentious brats.They were not smart or clever (and the characters were shown over and over, like a broken record, to be what they weren't.... I feel greater sickness as I remember the details). They were not anything. They were just fakes. Alison Eastwood was in the film. Wouldn't it have been immensely satisfying if Clint Eastwood somehow entered the plot to visit his daughter, and ended up doing a high plains drifter job on everyone. Then, poolhall junkies would have been a classic. The most hated collection of film fakes getting killed off by the ultimate gunman. Forgive me, I'm dreaming -- trying to manipulate my poolhall junkies nightmare.

    I'll say it definitively. Just about everything about Poolhall Junkies is fake ... imitations of imitations. Its fakeness goes along with the growing number of fake people strolling around, so I'm sure a very real fan base exists for it.

    Most have heard the line "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." This is like a law in many circles. One could then propose and argue that poolhall junkies is admirable (if you recall,I did infer doing so would make one a fake, just for the hell of it, you know) and all I could do is accept it due to perception laws. I won't though. In response to syllogisms about perception, I propose ugliness goes right down to the bone. Ugliness to the bone: This is how Poolhall junkies looks in my eyes, and my perception may be more than an opinion. Yes, this is a matter of perception too. Oh well!
  • The problem is that it is hard to make a Martin Scorsese film that's already been made, unless you are Martin Scorsese himself. The other problem is trying to impress a person who believes that Scorsese is one of the top five greatest directors in American film. With that I suppose I have tasted my own philosophies because Poolhall Junkies is an impressive little picture. There is a world all on its own in the game of pool that exists in two sectors. One is the game itself. The other is the hustle. The game on a whole is something like life. It relates its success to the skill and ambition used to play. Ultimately, determining who wins and who loses. In the world of pool the man with the best shot is not the winner. The winner is man who knows how the shot was made. So if the game is life than the hustle must be fate. The hustle is, in the sense of the game world, how you see yourself. `If you think your a loser the only person who you'll be able to beat are the ones who think they are bigger losers than you,' advises Nick (Rod Steiger in his last performance), the hall owner. Therefore in a universe where the game is life, one must be willing to live by the hustle. It's true, Poolhall Junkies could have focused itself on violence and the quarrel between an honest guy caught in a bad mans world. But it doesn't. It doesn't because it is a film that knows its game, and understands how its players approach it. Johnny is a man who lives pool. He never misses because `the cue was part of his arm and the balls had eyes.' But after his hustling mentor Joe throws away Johnny's chances at being the best player in the world, Johnny is forced into the seedy world of the hustlers. It‘s also true that there is not much story to a film like this. It has its basic set up and then let‘s its characters roam freely as they wish. Sometimes all they want to do is have fun, sometimes they chose good, and sometimes bad, but in life that's how the game works. Even in its lack of story it still believes that the players are the fuels for the game, so why not be the focal point? So I'm not going to waste time explaining plot twists involving lost money and lost tempers because Poolhall Junkies never embodies that standard or seriousness. This is a film so cleverly acted and crafted that even the ones who know nothing of pool can walk away feeling, not only educated, but intoxicated by its vivid nature. Writer/director Gregory `Mars' Martin is only on his second feature with Poolhall Junkies but he realizes that in order to hold the audience's attention they must view the game as a risk not an investment. In turn, the film has a risky nature about it. In not separating heroes from villains, no character, not even Johnny, has a feeling of safety. By doing that Martin has created an atmosphere where the stakes are always high and always up for grabs. The pool room scenes in question are beautifully choreographed by Robert Morris. Morris knows where the importance of his focus lies. On the movement of the balls. How they manoeuvre. Defy gravity. And even speak a hidden langue of their own, is filmed in such slick and fast cutting that the film becomes not about who is putting the ball in the hole. But the intrigue of seeing how it will make its way there. Martin plays Johnny with remarkable skill as well. He is an actor who crosses somewhere between the flashy confidence of James Woods and the slick tough guy of Michael Madsen. In that, Martin is able to deliver a performance of compassion and inner choice, but never lowering himself to fit a character label. He obviously had a good time making this film. In an act of pure genius casting we see the always-devilish Chazz Palmintero and the always-wonderful Christopher Walken appearing on none other than the same screen. Palmintero is riveting as Joe, delivering every line with such malicious confidence that it is almost impossible to not feel a pleasurably guilty sensation every time he walks on screen.

    Speaking of screen pleasures, Walken alone would be worth the price of admission as Mike, Johnny's backer. Walken is again at the top of his game, delivering yet another crisp, cool performance, that at the moment when he asks Johnny if he ever watches the animal channels, you know to expect one of his ingenious monologues, that none other but Walken are capable of pulling off. There are other characters is the film. Tara is the love interest and Johnny's brother Danny and his friends serve mostly as comic relief, repeating jokes that have been done better somewhere else. But none of them quite reach the desire of the game. Seemingly whose only motives are to distract from it, taking away the sense of professionalism exhibited in the films best scenes, and replacing it for exaggerated views on outside issues.

    Poolhall Junkies is indeed a rare film about pool and pool alone. Its best scenes focus on nothing but. There is no violence or anything typical of a movie where money is at risk. Strange because in a world where the game is life and the hustle is fate, that must make the table the voice of ambition. Any movie can overpower that sensation with distractions. It takes a good one to listen.
  • deanrl129 March 2003
    This movie has some of the worst acting and disjointed writing that you will ever see. The basic plot is that Johnny Doyle could have been a pro pool player but was kept down by Joe and now his confidence was shattered against the good player. This gets contradicted many times in the movie because he has major confidence in himself and is always telling everyone that he is the best. I couldn't tell if they were supposed to be funny but his brother and his brothers friends were funny they were so bad. None of them could act, they tried to give them clever coffee shop dialogue like in Swingers but it was just stupid and very immature. I am not sure what age these guys were supposed to be they looked like they were in their 30's but talked about living with their parents being virgins and other high school type conversations. When one of the friend went on the road it was supposed to be a big deal but they did nothing with it and later he was back with no explanation and all the money he left with. In another stupid piece of writing Johnny had to win at pool to get the money to bail his brother out of jail so to get the money to bet he got Christopher Walken too back him. They ended up betting way more than the bail so why didn't he just get the money for the bail and not risk losing it in pool. Also it shows again that Hollywood writers don't really know what bail is, they seem to think it is buying your way out of jail and then everything will be ok. The worst part of this movie were the 'clever' hustles that they did for example i bet i can tell you where you got your shoes. These were little tricks that you learn in about grade 6, even the one in the bar with the shooters and 2 beers, I find it hard to believe any adult would fall for these hustles. This movie is the best example of a writer that thinks he is cool and hip and can write that way and clearly is not and can not.
  • Seriously. This entire film was a bunch of incredibly contrived garbage. Alison Eastwood acts like a piece of wood. The writer/director/star of this movie couldn't act or write or direct.

    Case in point, this ridiculous mini-scene at an RV lot: "I'll bet you (something ridiculous) I can tell you where you got your shoes." "Yeah, where?" "You got your left shoe on your left foot and your right shoe on your right foot." (Cut to next scene, with the con accomplished.) What a load of crap! Anyone who has ever been to New Orleans knows that old line.

    I believe that this is a bold cinematic misadventure. This film is terrible on every level. I would encourage the filmmaker to cut his losses and go back to barber college or clown school or anything that requires him NOT to be in front of or behind the camera.
  • They had all the pieces in place--the cast, the locations and the cameras. If only they'd remembered to bring a fresh idea or two with them.

    Poolhall Junkies retreads every pool hustler cliche in the book and doesn't even bother to polish them up a little. Now cliches are fine if you can pull them off with wit and style, but PJ is a real hit-and-miss proposition. The best parts of the movie are the scenes were players are arranging matches, each try to negotiate the best handicap or "spot" from the other. But too many of the hustles and scams shown in this movie couldn't fool a 10th grader. They're definitely of the "why don't you bet me that I can't do this" variety. And if anyone tried to pull the gimmick Johnny uses in the final, big-money game he'd get his hands broken along with a few other

    parts.

    The love story definitely doesn't work and feels kind of forced. You know, there are a lot of terrific women players, and some of them like Vivian Villareal and Jeanette Lee won a lot of money in poolrooms before they turned pro. Maybe the Alison Eastwood character could have been a pool player herself instead of the stereotypical love interest whose only function is to disapprove of her man so he can redeem himself in her eyes in the final reel. A female pool player at least would have been a new idea for the movies.

    The Michael Rosenbaum, Chaz Palminteri and Christopher Walken characters are underwritten, but maybe that's a reflection of the times in which we live. The Palminteri character is especially disappointing when you think of what George C. Scott did with the same type of role in "The Hustler." Rick Schroder was a pleasant surprise and looks the most like a real pool player. His match with the Rosenbaum character was a pretty accurate telling of how a real match between two hustlers might play out. Actually, the most interesting and original character in the movie was Anson Mount's Chris. They should have made the movie about him instead of Johnny Doyle. Mount was also good in "City by the Sea." Maybe it's time someone gave him a movie of his own.

    As a poolplayer, I have to say one of the most disappointing aspects of the film was the way the games were filmed. I've read that director Mars Martin is a pool player himself, but you could never tell from the way these games are filmed. Look, you either like pool or you don't, and the quick cuts and choppy edits meant to jazz things up actually diminish rather than embellish. Also, too many of the shots shown in matches are trick shots rather than the type of shots you'd see in an actual match. Only in the movies do pool players like bank shots. In reality, they avoid them like warped cues. Maybe they should have hired a few real pros and let them play a little. It would have been a lot more engaging. OK, I realize I'm nitpicking this part of the movie a bit and that most people probably want to see a story instead of a pool documentary, but still...

    About 20% of this screenplay hits the mark with its depiction of the life of real poolhall junkies. The rest is strictly recycled from the formula factory. Still you might like it if you're under the age of 11 or haven't seen a movie in the last 30 years. Give it a chance, especially if you're into pool, but don't get your expectations too high. This is definitely more "Baltimore Bullet" than "The Hustler."
  • Fantastic and very well written. I actually never heard of this movie and saw it on the shelf at Family Video and decided to get it. I was pleasantly surprised!
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