Poolhall Junkies

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Total Count: 43


Audience Score

User Ratings: 20,245
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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 far Joe has gone to keep him down, Johnny breaks away from him, but Joe and his thugs take revenge against Johnny by breaking his wrists. Tara (Alison Eastwood), Johnny's upper-crust girlfriend, urges him to get out of the pool racket, and Johnny grudgingly agrees, though he feels empty without the excitement of the table. Johnny renews ties with his younger brother Danny (Michael Rosenbaum), and begins to fear he's going to fall into the same sort of traps that snared him -- especially when he finds out that Joe has his eyes on Danny. Johnny decides to give pool playing another go, and teams up with Mike (Christopher Walken), who bankrolls hustlers and would like to take Joe down a notch or two. But Joe has found a new player, Brad (Rick Schroder), whose talent rivals Johnny's, and he's not sure if he knows a way to beat him on the green felt. Poolhall Junkies also features Rod Steiger in one of his final roles; the film didn't see theatrical release until nearly nine months after his death. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


Critic Reviews for Poolhall Junkies

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (29)

  • 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.

    Mar 21, 2003 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Mar 21, 2003 | Rating: 1.5/4
  • [A]ll of it just seems so familiar and so trite, we know exactly where this is going.

    Mar 4, 2003
  • 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.

    Feb 28, 2003 | Rating: 1/4

    Jan Stuart

    Top 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.

    Feb 28, 2003 | Rating: 2/4
  • Is this a great movie? Not at all. Is it more or less consistently entertaining? Yes.

    Feb 28, 2003 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Poolhall Junkies

  • Aug 10, 2012
    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.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 16, 2012
    Poolhall Junkies is a unique, low-budget indie take on pool hustlers. The film is incredibly energetic, with often jarring changes in scenes and even tone. This is off-putting initially, but it actually manages to work well with the film's manic energy. The script, though it features some stilted dialogue and corny dialogue, has a number of cool exchanges that bring some humorous moments. The performances involved range from adequate (Mars Callahan) to good (Chazz Palminteri, Christopher Walken). The pool play itself is also interesting and generally done well, though I would have liked more attention to be paid to some of the mechanics of it. What really makes the film though is it's fun nature, which makes up for some of its technical lacking (too many shifts in narrative focus). 3.5/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 28, 2012
    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.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • May 23, 2011
    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.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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