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Poolhall Junkies
Poolhall Junkies
Actors: Mars Callahan, Chazz Palminteri, Michael Rosenbaum, Rick Schroder, Rod Steiger
Director: Mars Callahan
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2003     1hr 39min

Johnny was a poolhall hustler, one of the best, until he discovered how his manager Joe had ruined his life. he left Joe int he hands of some heavy-duty drug dealers and split the scene. Now he's trying to go legit, save h...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Mars Callahan, Chazz Palminteri, Michael Rosenbaum, Rick Schroder, Rod Steiger
Director: Mars Callahan
Creators: Mars Callahan, Carol Gillson, David Kronemeyer, David Peters, Joey Nittolo, John J. Hermansen, Chris Corso
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Hbo Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/26/2003
Original Release Date: 03/21/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 03/21/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 39min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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Member Movie Reviews

Reviewed on 1/16/2010...
My husband and I found this dvd by accident, purchasing at our local grocery store. We are avid pool players, in our mid-30's, professionals...we LOVED this movie. It's our all-time favorite. I don't normally like to watch a movie over and over...but this is the exception. We LOVE Mars Callahan AND, of course, Christoper Walkin. GREAT movie, especially if you like pool.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Surprisingly good
Ping Lim | Christchurch | 05/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"A street-wise talented pool player missed his opportunity to play in the big time as his mentor decided that he's better off husting money from the downtrodden. So, the movie fast-forwarded to 15 years later when he's no better off despite that he's got a well-to-do paralegal beautiful girlfriend, a poolhall owner who treated him like his own son in the shape of the late Rod Steiger, a loving brother with a bunch of friends who aspired to be like him. By chance, he discovered that all these years, his mentor betrayed him by witholding the truth from him. The relationships soured & they went separate ways. As fate had it, his brother got tangled up with his ex-mentor & he had to play pool for the one last time to save his brother & his honour. The movie happily chugged along & Christopher Walken played the mysterious chap who backed the talented player & helped him to believe in his own self. The message that this movie tried to say is simply: life is what you made it to be. If you keep thinking that you are a loser, you are bound to end up with losers like yourself whilst if you believe that you are a winner, you can escape from the vicious cycle & be someone truly great. Definitely a feel good movie with no pretension. Highly recommended."
Rack 'em and Smack 'em
Glenn A. Buttkus | Sumner, WA USA | 03/31/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Gregory Mars Martin (Callahan), aka Mars Callahan, has given us a chunk of his heart, and great waves of youthful enthusiasm. Callahan, an accomplished pool player, and his hustler buddy Chris Corso, wrote this screenplay. It was shopped around for over ten years, and now it has emerged as a sterling Indie; something to aspire to. It was filmed in Salt Lake City, but little was made of that. It could have been any large city. His directorial style is sideswipe close to that of Edward Burns; urban, hip, gritty, and intelligent. Hopefully Callahan has some other ideas, and he will follow up with new projects.
Callahan obviously loves movies, and he has given himself the lead part; Johnny Doyle. As it turns out, he is a gifted actor. Roger Ebert called him," McQueen cool.". Another critic, a cretin, called him," Vince Vaughn lite.". Ebert wrote further,
" This is a young man's film, humming with the joy of making it.".One can't help but to notice when Callahan makes his first appearance on the screen that he does have a tall lanky hip young Christopher Walken persona. Brilliantly for the film, Walken himself was cast in the movie. In an early scene, when he and Walken share the frame, Walken said," I noticed you right away; the hair. Are we related ? " The movie is laden with other movie-lover's moments; tongue-in-cheek and over the top. If a person likes to shoot pool, this film will be smoky eye candy. The cons, the chatter, the grifts, and the trick shots; all slip by smoothly. You can hear the echo in the pool room, and smell the chalk, the felt on the tables, and the cigar smoke. You hear those ceramic balls crash together in a macho symphony of staccato clanks; and what a lovely sound it is. Callahan in voice over in the preface, speaks of Johnny Doyle,
" The cue was part of his arm, and the balls had eyes. And he really believed that he couldn't miss.". With Callahan in the lead, speaking his own written dialogue, one senses more immediacy, more reality in the pool hall scenes. As a director, he scored well, landing four heavy hitters in the casting; Walken as uncle Mike the millionaire, Chazz Palminteri as Joe the hustler, Rod Steiger as Nick the owner of the pool hall, and Rick Schroder as Brad the shark. Alison Eastwood was fine, as well, as Johnny's ladyfriend, Tara. This modest little film has all the grit, the validity, and the sting of THE HUSTLER, and in some subtle ways it scores higher than the Scorsese opus THE COLOR OF MONEY. The plot, far from original ( a young man becomes a pool hustler, but learns to hate the con and yearns for the validation of turning professional), never the less is engaging in Callahan's capable hands. We can not help but care about Johnny Doyle. We want him to get his girlfriend back, and get revenge on the vicious hustler that ruined his life, working him like a pool whore, and then nearly breaking his left wrist in reprisal; and we want him to beat the daylights out of the stoic stud pro-ringer pool shark; and we want him to renew the faith that the pool hall owner has always had in him; and we want him to get his younger brother out of jail (Michael Rosenbaum), who got himself deep into a jam while trying to emulate Johnny.Christopher Walken simply in a few brief scenes dominates the screen. He is more relaxed, more dynamic, and more focused in this role than he has been in years. He delivered one classic soliloquy that started with," Do you ever watch the Nature Channel ?". This speech will be a highlight for film buffs to review for the next millennium. He is one of a handful of actors, like Harvey Keitel, Tim Robbins, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth, and Gary Oldman, that supports the notion that film truly is Art, and that Independent Films are the breath of life. For movie actors it used to be that only appearing on stage, doing live theatre in front of an audience, could produce that kick, that adrenilin rush. But now, it seems, that same high can be achieved when a star works cheap and takes chances in the celluloid world of the Indies. Roger Ebert also wrote that this film was," enjoyably overwrought, and exuberantly stylish."; praise from Caesar. It certainly is worth a look. For me it ranks high in the short lexicon of billiard epics."
Excellent Cult Favorite....Highly Recommended !!!
The Jaundiced Eye | Texas, USA | 08/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The story of how this movie got made is almost as entertaining as the result. A talented pool player, Mars Callahan, wrote the script and sold it, much like Quentin Tarrantino and True Romance, but the script languished on the shelf for ten years. At this point, Callahan decided to take personal control and get the movie made. Somehow, he persuaded noted stars like Rod Steiger, Chazz Palminteri, Christopher Walken, etc. to appear in it, while he would assume the role of author, star, and director. How he accomplished this feat would be an excellent subject for a documentary film (like Overnight, but this time with a heroic principle character).

Mars Callahan has remarkable swagger and presence for a relative newcomer, especially in the company of such a distinguished cast. His personality and appearance remind me of a young Christopher Walken, and their scenes together are riveting.

Regardless of the history, the resulting movie is a bit uneven but overall very entertaining. The roles are cleverly written (possibly why noted actors were willing to play them) and very well portrayed. The pool shooting is first rate. Indeed, they accomplish the difficult task of making the pool games dramatic, original, and suspenseful. There is a lot of humor, very little violence (by today's standards), and no skin/sex. Instead, the movie relies on a generally excellent script and skillful characterization to thoroughly entertain rather than shock, nauseate, or accomplishment that is becoming increasingly rare.

The weakness, in my opinion, is that the younger brother (Michael Rosenbaum) and his three pool-playing buddies are a little juvenile, with banter and antics reminiscent of American Graffiti or American Pie. This is out of character with the generally sophisticated overall tone, but was probably included to broaden the appeal of the movie to include a younger audience. It does not really damage the film, but simply dilutes it a least for me. A younger viewer may feel the opposite is true.

The bottom line: this is an amazing piece of work. Amazing for the fact that it ever got made....amazing for who appeared in it....and amazing for its overall quality. Even if you are not a great fan of pool, you will be knocked out by the superb dialog, plot, and performances of Mars, Rod, Christopher (an absolute genius), Chazz, and the gang. This is a gem !!!!"