Mars Callahan, Chazz Palminteri, Rick Schroder, Rod Steiger, Alison
Eastwood, and Christopher Walken.
Junkies is just oozing with cool and style!
cooler than watching Christopher Walken and Chazz Palminteri in
a pool hall volleying verbal swipes at one another? Discovering
a multitalented actor/director named Mars Callahan in the middle!
This Mars fellow is like a six-foot plus dreamy mansicle flavored
with essence of John Cusack and Casey Affleck. Not only is he
cinnabun sweet on the retina the guy's a good actor and he wrote
and directed this delightfully hip shindig.
Johnny (Mars Callahan) is a young au fait pool player.
He's about fourteen and ready to take on the world with his game.
He's a pool shark they've already dubbed "The Side Pocket
Kid." But Johnny has a mentor. This mentor is a slithering
grease ball named Joe (Chazz Palminteri). Joe sees it this way;
he found John, trained him and backed him so he figures the "kid"
all move on fifteen years into the future and there's Johnny still
hustling in pool halls. He earns a decent living but it's scamming,
not circuit playing. Johnny always wanted to go pro but he never
got the chance. Or did he?
been holding the kid back all these years
and Johnny's wise
to the guy, see.
ways and Johnny tries to work his way into society of the nine-to-five-
worker bee. That last about five minutes and Johnny' back in the
a fancy soiree of the rich and powerful he meets a twinkle-eyed
gent named Mike (Christopher Walken) with a passion for gambling
and the bank roll to see pretty much any hand. Mike also happens
to be the uncle of Johnny's gal Tara (Alison Eastwood).
a paralegal by day law student by night - strictly legit. She's
none too keen on Johnny's profession. She wants a "normal"
story short, Johnny's little brother Danny (Michael Rosenbaum)
isn't as good with a cue stick and ends up in pretty deep financial
crapola with recurring sleaztack Joe who is now wielding a new
pool shooting crony named Brad (Rick Schroder).
The only way
to get Danny boy out of troubleville is to have a showdown - Pool
hall style - with Joe's player.
the way to getting his brother out of the scrape Johnny may just
find himself and be finally ready to follow his heart. Sniff.
Johnny's turning point also happens to house the next legendary
monologue of the 'Christopher Walken Impersonators Club of America'
- trust me. This is Walken "doing" Walken and it's just
Junkies has an age old tried and true story line, yes, but
director Mars Callahan had the great fortune of gathering Walken,
Palminteri, Rick Schroder and dearly departed Rod Steiger for
this electric film. The characters talk realistically without
sounding like they're trying to be clever. That's a whole lot
harder than it sounds, and it's thanks to the caliber of Callahan's
whole ensemble of actors (down to "Danny's" goofy cohorts)
that truly makes this film delightful.
Junkies no doubt will be held up against legendary pool hall
great, The Hustler (heck they even leave a poster of "
Minnesota Fats" hangin' in da place and Johnny the pool shark
spends the finale of the film in a Hustler tee) and/or the box
office hit, The Color of Money. But you'd be wrong to dismiss
Callahan and co-writer Chris Corso's screenplay as a remake typical
hackfest rip-off. This rich fast paced picture stands firmly on
its own film legs as a delightful drama filled with memorable
characters that bubble with life. And kudos to the director of
photography, Robert Morris, for giving the film its old fashioned
feel within a modern world!
if you're not a big pool bar fan, believe me there's plenty of
other wonderful tidbits to keep you amused as the pros involved
slam the eight ball into the left pocket. Enjoy.
French fries and Jack Daniels
Aside: I also find it extremely cool that Chazz "Dick Tracy
" Palminteri, who wrote and starred in his A Bronx Tale,
has now basically done the same for a mini him named Mars Callahan.
Swell and sweet? Bravo!
a nice lack of chronic cigarette smoke in these folk's
pool hall - another cool move!