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Poolhall Junkies

Poolhall Junkies (2002)

tomatometer

15

Average Rating: 3.9/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 11

No consensus yet.

audience

88

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 20,099

My Rating

Movie Info

A small-time pool shark with dreams of the big time seeks revenge against the mentor who did him wrong in this drama. Johnny Doyle (Mars Callahan) was a teenaged orphan when Joe (Chazz Palminteri) took him under his wing and taught him everything there is to know about shooting pool. Johnny became a genius with a cue, but while he dreamed of becoming a respected professional billiards player, Joe preferred to keep him working along the lower rungs of pool hustling. When Johnny learns just how

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Chris Corso, Mars Callahan

Aug 26, 2003

$0.5M

Samuel Goldwyn Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (48) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (29) | DVD (13)

This brash little indie is oddly endearing and fun to be around.

May 15, 2003 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Whatever you want to say about this Mars Callaghan -- who is an avid cue-man in real life -- he would seem to be able to sink anything. Darned if he doesn't make this whole movie disappear.

March 21, 2003 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a director, Callahan wants the verve that Martin Scorsese brought to The Color of Money, but his visual approach is careless, relying too much on clichéd slo-mo and hasty edits.

March 21, 2003 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[A]ll of it just seems so familiar and so trite, we know exactly where this is going.

March 4, 2003 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

90 minutes of slow-leaking, macho stomach gas, in which everyone talks like they were on brawny pills and every tawdry song on the soundtrack makes you feel as if you were trapped in a lap dance club.

February 28, 2003 Full Review Source: Newsday
Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This film coulda been a contender if Callahan hadn't worn so many hats -- but it has moments that make it worth waiting for on video.

February 28, 2003
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The fast-paced picture sizzles with energy, and it's a tour de force for Mars Callahan, who co-wrote and directed.

September 26, 2003

A lowlife billiards drama that lacks the drive and edginess of the classic The Hustler, Poolhall Junkies does get by on its humor, energy and earnest charm.

September 14, 2003 Full Review Source: Long Island Press
Long Island Press

With a better lead and more inspired direction, Poolhall Junkies might have been decent entertainment. But Callahan the actor is the biggest liability in Callahan the director's film.

September 7, 2003
Las Vegas Weekly

If you saw this film, then you were hustled.

August 31, 2003 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

When Christopher Walken saunters into Poolhall Junkies, he kicks it from so-so to worthwhile.

May 16, 2003 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Though there's not much in Poolhall Junkies we haven't seen many times before, the film manages to remain mostly entertaining due mostly to some surprisingly effective performances and a brisk pace.

April 13, 2003 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

It's disreputable, occasionally ludicrous and merely kinda fun.

March 25, 2003 Full Review Source: eye WEEKLY
eye WEEKLY

About as disposable as a B-movie can get.

March 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

The snappy dialogue and cool characters provide enough pure entertainment to make this is a fun flick.

March 21, 2003
Jam! Movies

I haven't enjoyed a cheesy, over-acted B-movie as much since Eddie And The Cruisers.

March 21, 2003
Jam! Movies

The result is by no means the embarrassment that many such offerings from unjustifiably vain actor-auteurs have been, but nor does it present much of anything new or compelling to demand one's attention.

March 21, 2003 Full Review Source: Dallas Observer
Dallas Observer

The movie does feature enough amiable characters to keep you interested throughout and even more so if you're a fan of pool.

March 12, 2003 Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

Dull and lifeless.

March 7, 2003 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

A poster of The Color of Money in one poolhall is less homage than ironic.

March 6, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

This film seems destined to join the ranks of such 'classics' as Showgirls, Rock Star, and other debacles that are so atrociously campy that they end up being fun to watch.

March 4, 2003 Full Review Source: Premiere Magazine
Premiere Magazine

It's the sort of movie where someone can describe a character as being from 'the good side of the tracks' and mean it.

March 1, 2003 Full Review Source: EricDSnider.com
EricDSnider.com

Audience Reviews for Poolhall Junkies

Johnny Doyle: You watch my mouth, Chico. 'Cause you sure as hell don't wanna watch me play pool. Unless, of course, I'm blind folded and hand cuffed with a pool cue stickin' out of my ass. Or maybe you'd bet the twenty thousand then? 

"Sometime You Get A Second Shot... Make It."

Poolhall Junkies seems like a movie that has elements of Edward Burns, Quentin Tarantino, and The Hustler. In the end, it doesn't work. It doesn't work because Mars Callahan's script and direction is off; not to mention how bad his acting is. The dialogue is spit out at a fast pace, maybe to make us not realize how stupid a lot of it is. Here's another director who saw how Tarantino liked to write quick, snappy dialogue, and thought he could get in on it too. Problem is, his dialogue isn't smart like Tarantino. It's just bullshit. The movie is saved by Chazz Palminteri and especially Christopher Walken, though.

Johnny is a pool shark who has been under the guidance of a shady mentor, Joe. Johnny never wanted to be a hustler, he wanted to be a pro. When Joe didn't allow that, and Johnny finds out; he gets out. Joe retaliates by getting Johnny's brother involved. This makes Johnny come back to the world of the pool shark for one last big game against Joe and his player, and a rich backer, Mike, shows up to help Johnny with the finances.

Poolhall Junkies is nothing special, but it isn't all that bad either. There's a certain amount of fun that comes from the film, but in the end, it is brought down by its own stupidity. There's not a whole lot of good movies made about pool, but the masterpiece film, The Hustler, keeps making people think that there's a lot of potential in the pool hall setting. There is, but you have to know how to use it. Callahan didn't quite know exactly how to use it and it shows.
August 10, 2012
blkbomb
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Interesting concept for a film, Poolhall Junkies is the story of a Proffesional pool player and hustler Johnny Dyole who wants to go ligit and break away from his dishonest mentor, Joe. The film is at times uneven, and you can see that there are aspects that they could have improved on, but for the most part it's average film thats very entertaining. I use to appreciate this film very much, but re watching it, you kind of notice that the script needs a bit of work and that that the acting is somewhat sketchy by Mars Callahan who acts also as the film screenwriter and director. One thing is for sure, Callahan's idea of casting Chaz Palminteri and Christopher Walken was a good idea, and there the ones who really deliver on screen. The dialogue is witty, and the script is smartly conceived, but it's obvious that this is a film by a first time screenwriter and director. That's not saying that it's a bad thing, but I've a lot better. The film is a mix of comedy, crime and drama and it's quite an interesting blend of genres in one film. Poolhall Junkies manages to be a good, entertaining film. But it never achieves anything beyond great. It's a cool little film with a decent cast.
May 23, 2011
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Mike: What do you call a thousand lawyers buried up to their necks in sand?
Johnny Doyle: What?
Mike: Not enough sand.

A very fun movie about hustlers in the poolhall. There isn't much too it, a lot like the movie Rounders, but this doesn't take itself as serious.

It's fun, has a lot of cool pool shots that aren't fakes or done with camera tricks. It moves along quickly enough and there's also the help of Chris Walken stepping in and giving off some great lines.

The story revolves around a young guy, Mike played by writer and director Mars Callahan, who has a natural gift at pool, but has been raised by a mentor, played by Chazz Palmenteri to hustle others.

Mike attempts to break off his connections with the hustler life, but cannot help to continue playing pool. Through this he manages to meet his girlfriends uncle, played by Chris Walken who takes a liken to him.

The movie eventually boils down to a showdown where Mike has to prove himself as a master pool player.

Johnny Doyle: Bet twenty thousand!
[the poolhall falls silent]
Johnny Doyle: Oh, did I stutter? Everybody gone all quiet and shit? About a minute ago it was like an evening at the Apollo up in this motherfucker, now all of a sudden it's quiet as a church. That's all right, Chico, I don't blame you. I've been beatin' this Jimmy Walker lookin' motherfucker all goddamn night, he can't win.
Chico: You'd better watch your mouth, Johnny!
Johnny Doyle: You watch my mouth, Chico. 'Cause you sure as hell don't wanna watch me play pool. Unless, of course, I'm blind folded and hand cuffed with a pool cue stickin' out of my ass. Or maybe you'd bet the twenty thousand then?

While the plot is pretty familiar, as I have mentioned, the movie is about having a good time watching it. Walken, in particular, seems to have fun with delivering the plot related lines with a slight smirk.

The film also boasts a good soundtrack and enough style to make it standout a bit. Fun flick.

Joe: How the fuck does that make you feel... to be in that position with all your money on the table?
Mike: How much you got, Joe?
Joe: What?
Mike: Total. You put down 80 thousand like it didn't matter. That's a lot of money for somebody like you and him. I think it matters.
Joe: What's the difference...
Mike: I'm a millionaire! That's the difference. I lose 80 I get another 80. For me it doesn't matter. See, I think it's you... who's sweating this, the both of you.
June 26, 2008
DrZeek

Super Reviewer

Poolhall Junkies is an indie film with some edgy comedy and clever writing. The film follows a group of hustlers at a local pool hall who end up crossing a professional pool-hustler that's out for revenge. The ensemble cast works well, creating a rich and interesting group of characters. And, there's a lot of sharp dialog that's edgy and fun. However, the film takes a while to find its direction and has a few too many side stories going on. Still, Poolhall Junkies is a fun and entertaining film that's good for some laughs.
June 28, 2012
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

    1. Mike: You had Phil shaking like a dog shitting peach seeds.
    – Submitted by Scott F (21 months ago)
    1. Johnny Doyle: Bet twenty thousand! Oh, did I stutter? Everybody gone all quiet and shit? About a minute ago it was like an evening at the Apollo up in this motherfucker, now all of a sudden it's quiet as a church.
    – Submitted by Kristin S (2 years ago)
    1. Johnny Doyle: No. See, I just paid five-thousand dollars for your shot. Now it's my shot.
    – Submitted by Kristin S (2 years ago)
    1. Johnny Doyle: But Merv, I didn't say I would tell you where you'd bought 'em, I said I'd tell you where you got 'em, and right now you got your shoes on your feet.
    – Submitted by Kristin S (2 years ago)
    1. Joe: You beat them, you take their money, you call them names to their faces... and they love you. I don't know how you do it. I never saw anything like it. Beating a man out of his money, that's easy. Anybody can do that. But beating a man out of his money and making him like it... that's an art. That's an art of a true hustler.
    – Submitted by Kristin S (2 years ago)
    1. Mike: Now... don't beat him. Kick his ass!
    – Submitted by Kristin S (2 years ago)
View all quotes (6)

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