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
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