An ode to old time gamblers, now outdated in an age of powerful upscale casinos, YONKERS JOE tells the story of a dice hustler (Palminteri) whose determination to make one last grab for a big score in Vegas is complicated ... more »by the reappearance of his estranged son.« less
Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO Reviewed on 11/20/2015...
Two long time favorite actors of mine, with never enough exposure (work), are Chazz Palminteri (The Usual Suspects) and Christine Lahti (Chicago Hope). They work so well together in this gambling movie. Well it is a movie about gambling but more about human nature and how easy it is to find the quick and easy way to survive. They cheat and out-smart most of the casinos from Atlantic City to Vegas and make it a way of life. Along comes Yonkers Joe (Palminteri) junior portrayed by an absolutely fabulous young actor Tom Guiry who has Downs Syndrome (but not really). See the extras after watching the film. The older Joe must decide whether to keep up his risky lifestyle or become a more responsible parent to his boy. Lahti follows along no matter which way he chooses to live his life and in the mean time we learn a lot about the world of professional gambling. Loved it!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Tough watch, great gambling film
Steve Kuehl | Ben Lomond, CA | 05/18/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Aside from the premise that gets repeated everywhere about this being a father/challenged son film, I looked at this as more a gambling film. Once you watch the special features, it was apparent that was the primary intention anyway.
One solid performance by Tom Guiry (who I remember most from Black Irish movie) and a slew of normal performances by everyone else lead up this film about cheats and hustlers making a buck. Chazz as the father, takes over the care of his challenged son that he has essentially ignored for years. Through their trials and difficulties, we see them become closer, all whilst cheating everyone they come across. The filmmakers stressed the importance of the viewer liking the leads, but they were all cheats so it didn't work as well with me.
The special features make this three star film a four though.
15 minute making of documentary; extremely dry and slightly informative. 8 minute documentary on the technical consulting by "Fast Jack"; more touching than the movie, as the old guy gets choked up talking about his past - if you skip the rest, even the movie at least give this a watch. 5:30 minute clip on the look of the film, sets, lighting, etc. 7:30 minute clip on the premier footage and more interviews But the best: a 6:30 minute look into the moves used in the film...wow. They review the slights of hand and tricks used in dealing cards and playing poker. I watched it in slow motion a few times just to try and figure out how in the heck they were pulling some of those things off. Was fun to sift through.
This was the director's first real film, and he did a decent job. The film quality was average to poor at times, the sound was selectable between 5.1 or 2.0, and the music drowns up too heavily in a few scenes, but seeing all of the background props, tricks and gambling makes for an adequate gaming watch."
Every GAMBLER should see this FILM!
Don't fold til you're old | New York, NY | 02/18/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a terrific film. The inside, tricks of the trade of the gambler are depicted with such realism that I forgot I was watching a movie. Yonkers Joe, played to perfection by Chazz Palminteri can minipulate cards and dice in order to make himself win -- I would defy anyone to try and catch him. What's different about this story is Joe doesn't make a ton of money, he uses his skills to get by until something happens that drives his ambition. I wondered after seeing this movie, if I had ever been conned in this fashion, because I didn't think these types of skilled gamblers would waste their time on small money, back room VFW type poker games. But why not? These people don't care about showing off they just want your money. These are crooked characters who operate outside the law, but when performed and photographed with such honesty and meaning, I understood their motives and was drawn in by them. The story between Chazz and his son is truely moving. If the actor playing Chazz's son isn't really mentally challenged, he's surely the greatest actor on the planet and deserves an Oscar! This is the best movie I've seen all year. In you've ever played poker or shot craps, you have to see this movie."
Right on the money
John E. Farrell | manchester ,ct | 03/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"having seen YONKERS JOE at a local theater and also on VOD and have been been somewhat of a gambler for over 40 yrs i find the gambling scenes to be right on the money ,true to life ,,great filming and just so interesting observing those never seen gambling moves ,,the drama story was also great ,keeping you glued to the screen for a solid 100 minutes. the acting couldn,t have been better ,truly great ,i applaud the director and all that were involved with YONKERS JOE. thank you"
Best Movie I've seen in a long time...
Toni Smith | Rochester, NY | 03/21/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Loved this film!! Was suprised that I enjoyed this so much when I read the title about it being about gambling. At first I was like, "Oh, he brought home another guy film", so I almost skipped watching this. What a mistake that would have been! I like to gamble a little but am not usually into this sort of movie. But I didn't see this as so much of a gambling film. (I can usually filter out stuff I'm not interested in when watching a movie.) Enjoying mostly drama, I like the emotional stuff in a film. The acting in this film was great and very belivable and the story was sometimes depressing but also sweet and made me cry a little. Basically, I watch a movie to either cry, laugh or feel some sort of emotion. This film had me doing all 3! The jokes were funny, albeit, not PG rated! The film kept me interested the whole time and I can honestly say that has happended for me in a long, long time. And I watch a lot of films. I also don't normally write reviews but I was so taken by this film that I had to write something Also, if you are like me and you like closure at the end of film, Yonkers Joe does just that. It doesn't leave you hanging! I want an ending to fill me up and Yonkers Joe did just that.... There's so much crap out there with "A" listed actors and I am usally so dissapointed that I had to comment about this film since it was such a suprise attack!!!!!!!!"
A poignant and tender film
Terry M. Sandler | Fishkill, NY | 02/08/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Robert Celestino's most tender film to date. He brings out the best performances in this moving film about a father's gambling addiction and the tormented relationship with his mentally challenged son. The realism of the acting leaves the audience drained because you can't help but become attached to these tragic characters."