Aug 16, 2007

Wiwille's movie reviews part 11.

When anti-alcohol activists, few in number they are, try to educate anyone in earshot the dangers of the substance normally they turn to the fact that when intoxicated your ability to preform various activities is largely impaired. Heavy equipment, driving, blogging, and believing your the best karaoke singer on earth are just a few of the activities that are stunted by the consumption of 16 drinks.

Like most casual pool players I cannot play well without a few beers in me. I don't know why this is. Maybe it's because I'm more relaxed and I could care less whether I win or lose at it. Maybe it's because while intoxicated my mind is on more critical things like how the hell I'm going to get home, how much the bar tab will be, and/or boobies.

Poolhall Junkies is the latest in a rash of movie review submissions. Scott, author of Life is Grand, Love is Real and Beauty is Everywhere!, requested this calling it a "really great movie". Well he's write and he's wrong, and of course I'll get into why.

Poolhall Junkies tells the story of Johnny Doyle, a child prodigy in the game of billiards. Taken under the wing of a mobster named Joe, Johnny spends most of his adult life fine tuning the art of hustling wanna be pool sharks. Upon learning his employer kept him out of the professional circuit Johnny ends his relationship with him and attempts a straight life. After trying out a working class lifestyle he finds himself constantly drawn back in the poolhalls, betting on games, and contemplating how he could've been the best much to the dismay of his upper calls girl friend. He could've been a contender if you will (If you got that reference you're super cool).

As with most stories of this nature the mobster returns and picks apart at Johnny. Donny, Johnny's little brother, ends up being hustled by Joe and as a result robs a pawn shop and gets thrown in jail. Johnny of course has to return to the pool table and win a bunch of money against Joe's new hired pool hand to even the score.

You're probably reading this and thinking this movie sounds pretty simple and you're right. The plot sounds like it was ripped off of any bad martial arts film. The script for the most part is weak, the direction is lax, and the acting can be downright painful at times. Still this being said the movie has some real strong points as well. The soundtrack is great. As the good natured Scott is a music lover I imagine this is a huge reason why he likes this film. Some of the lines are absolutely hilarious and Christopher Walken is always a treat to watch even if he's playing the same character over and over again. The poolhall scenes are shot well, if not a little overdone, but still it is impressive how they show the actors actually making the shots.

Amazingly enough Rick Schroeder is in it and isn't half bad.

I'm really torn how I feel about this movie though. Is it high brow cinema? Hell no. Is it a good film? Well not really. Is it entertaining? Certainly. This is not "The Hustler" or "The Color of Money", but sometimes films like this one have a certain appeal for reasons you can't explain.

"This brash little indie is oddly endearing and fun to be around." - Colin Colvert


Scott said...

Excellent review, I would expect nothing less. I would totally agree with pretty much everything you said. The music does really make the movie as does Walken, but Chaz Palmientari (worst spelling ever) is amazing. Love his character and energy.

Thanks for checking it out.

Miss Ash said...

Your review does not make me want to rush out and see this, and since it was recommended by Scott LOL. (He suggested a book that is still sitting in my trunk as I could not get through it as it was terrible) :P

Mattbear said...

Hmmm. This will probably wind up in my netflix queue around number 402, and I will get around to seeing it in a couple of years. But hey, that's cool.

Your plot synopsis sounds like this movie starts off as The Hustler and then vears into territory.

Mattbear said...

Doh. That was supposed to read "Veers into 'Crossroads' territory"