Pool Hall Junkies


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Pool Hall Junkies
The Masked Reviewer

It wouldn't be giving too much away to say that this film deals with the game of pool.  Some have said that pool is a sport, but the Masked Reviewer doesn't want to get into that debate here.  If you're looking to start that fight, go find yourself a few bowlers and some chess players and have at it.  The winners can argue about whether tomatoes are a fruit or a vegetable. 

The film stars (and was written, directed, and produced by) Mars Callahan.  You may remember Mars from such other projects as....nothing.  Isn't this a bit much to handle on your first time out?  We all appreciate drive and ambition (in other people) but geez.  The Masked Reviewer is worried about this guy.  He's headed for hypertension problems.  It's a good thing he plays pool to relax.

It is impressive that in his first feature film, he was able to land the likes of Christopher Walken, Chazz Palminteri, Rod Steiger (his last role), Allison Eastwood (no relation to Clint, other than being his daughter), Rick "Silver Spoons" Schroder, and Ernie Reyes Jr. (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II). 

But should you see it, other than for the fact that Mars Callahan did a lot of work and got a lot of stars to be in it?   Do you like movies about pool?  If you've seen The Hustler, The Color of Money,  Pool Hustlers (directed by Maurizio Ponzi), The Last Time I Committed Suicide (Keanu Reeves), and The Baltimore Bullet (starring James Coburn and Omar Sharif (is bridge a game or a sport?)), then you're sure to like Pool Hall Junkies.  If you like seeing a few really cool trick shots, you'll like the film too.

Pool Hall Junkies is not as heavy as other pool hustling movies.  It's well paced and generally well acted. 

If, like the Masked Reviewer, you are a fan of Christopher Walken, you'll be happy to see the film just for his performance.  He is the best part of the film, and a joy to behold.  He should be "Walken-home with the Oscar" for this one.  Witty, huh?  The film features a couple of soon-to-be-classic Walken monologues.

If you are offended by gambling or have no interest in the game of pool, you might not enjoy this film.  If you need a film to have a main character who is well defined and that you care about for the whole movie, your interest might fade now and then, providing a great chance to run to the restroom.  But all in all, it's a nice small film with some entertaining moments.

Expectation from the Title: The story of drug addicts living under a billiard table, or guys who really like pool.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Nice): That Mars Callahan fellow must be a very hard worker.

The Pros: Walken.  A few clever hustling tips, a couple of great pool shots. 

 The Cons: A little unevenly acted, a few problems with character development.


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