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View Full Version : Pool Hall Junkies, the movie



bradb
08-29-2007, 01:44 PM
This movie has been out a while and I'm sure it has been discussed much in earlier threads, but I just saw it for the second time and wanted to get other players thoughts on it as I am both intrigued and dissapointed in this movie.

It was written and starred in by Mars Callihan, and features some great actors, Walken, Stieger, etc and some good pool shooting even though they had to do those silly trick shots for veiwers who don't understand pool, but all in all it captured the gritty hustler's pool scene fairly well. Over the top of course in violence and the gambling premise at the end where Johnny Doyle tricks his opponent by taking his shot, which was laughable instead of cleaver or dramatic

Mars, along with his co writer claim that they wrote the script from their own pool hall days as hustlers, but watching them play in the movie they did'nt look like experienced players, they were stiff instead of fluid the way a good player is. You could really tell when they cut from their play to close up shots of the pro player they hired. One surprise was Walken's trick shot which was real, he obviously is a player.

The movie could have been another great one on pool but the editing was disjointed and left big gaps in the plot. Like when his old backer broke his arm, it just did'nt work. Somehow though despite all the flaws, it captured the magic of pool if even for a few fleeting moments. -Brad

9 Ball Girl
08-29-2007, 07:06 PM
Read Here (http://www.billiardsdigest.com/ccboard/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=ccb&Number=63197&Forum=ccb &Words=We%20Came%2C%20We%20Saw%2C&Match=Entire%20P hrase&Searchpage=1&Limit=25&Old=allposts&Main=6319 7&Search=true#Post63197)

wolfdancer
08-29-2007, 11:08 PM
Say, what ever happened to Kato...?
I have a copy of PHJ here....haven't had the urge to watch it again after the first viewing....it looked like they took the worst scenes from the Baltimore Bullet, COM, and the Hustler, and then wrote the script around that...I guess Mr. Walken needed a few extra bucks, and since this didn't call for any real acting on his part....
other then that it was a great movie ...I'll donate my pirated copy to the annual CCB dinner as a door prize....or a doorstop
as for the pool itself, I've seen better in a Fern Bar on Sat nite in SF.....

wolfdancer
08-29-2007, 11:11 PM
I got carried away with my reply to 9 ball girl....she has that effect on people....
It really weren't that bad...and it was about pool....

BigRigTom
08-30-2007, 09:13 AM
I liked the movie! I have the DVD and I have watched it a couple of times now. There are lots of flaws but then there always are lots of flaws in movies. It can not compare with "The Hustler" or "TCOM" but as pure entertainment I still liked it.
Christopher Walken is amazing in just about everything he does so his performance is worth the cost of the DVD.
As for the pool scenes they were lame but the movie was entertaining and thats what I watch movies for "ENTERTAINMENT" ...PERIOD!
If you want realizm in pool go to the pool hall and shoot pool. You may even want to try to hustle a hustler and see what that's like. /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

9 Ball Girl
08-30-2007, 12:37 PM
What I found hilarious was the violin case. How hustler stereotypical is that. /ccboard/images/graemlins/ooo.gif

wolfdancer
08-30-2007, 01:14 PM
that's probably the best assessment of the movie so far....it wasn't good, and it wasn't that bad....
the first room I ever went to...Palace Billiards in SF...had more "atmosphere" then any movie could depict...Gypsies, hustlers, bullet holes in the wall above the cash register, mice running around behind the counter, boosters selling just about everything, and even a murder......

bradb
08-30-2007, 01:24 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote wolfdancer:</font><hr> Say, what ever happened to Kato...?
I have a copy of PHJ here....haven't had the urge to watch it again after the first viewing....it looked like they took the worst scenes from the Baltimore Bullet, COM, and the Hustler, and then wrote the script around that...I guess Mr. Walken needed a few extra bucks, and since this didn't call for any real acting on his part....
other then that it was a great movie ...I'll donate my pirated copy to the annual CCB dinner as a door prize....or a doorstop
as for the pool itself, I've seen better in a Fern Bar on Sat nite in SF..... <hr /></blockquote>

Walken is so good that even the lame script he had to mouth some how came out exciting. Stiegers role wasted his talent. The pool shots were simple banks and unnessessary kicks but dammit!... it still ocasionally hit the mark. Its not how bad the movie was its how good it could have been because Mars was perfect in the role. I think what they probably started out with a good script but then the backers forced them to throw in all the cheezy crap.

Deeman3
08-30-2007, 01:29 PM
It was a lame pool movie but even a lame one beats nothing. I agree on Steiger's performance. It was mindful of my disappoinment with the follow-up to "Silence of the Lambs". What a waste of talent and embarrassment for a great actor (Anthony Hopkins).

bradb
08-30-2007, 01:36 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote BigRigTom:</font><hr> I liked the movie! I have the DVD and I have watched it a couple of times now. There are lots of flaws but then there always are lots of flaws in movies. It can not compare with "The Hustler" or "TCOM" but as pure entertainment I still liked it.
Christopher Walken is amazing in just about everything he does so his performance is worth the cost of the DVD.
As for the pool scenes they were lame but the movie was entertaining and thats what I watch movies for "ENTERTAINMENT" ...PERIOD!
If you want realizm in pool go to the pool hall and shoot pool. You may even want to try to hustle a hustler and see what that's like. /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif <hr /></blockquote>

I agree with you Tom, we can't expect much from a movie (probably never be another Hustler) other than to be a diversion and to be intertaining and the movie did that. As silly as the ending was it did have me wondering what the hell Doyle was doing! And all the scams like the match books under the table legs reminded me of all the stories that floated around the old pool hall where I played. Some were true... most exagerated, but thats what made the the pool halls so great!

bradb
08-30-2007, 02:12 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote wolfdancer:</font><hr> that's probably the best assessment of the movie so far....it wasn't good, and it wasn't that bad....
the first room I ever went to...Palace Billiards in SF...had more "atmosphere" then any movie could depict...Gypsies, hustlers, bullet holes in the wall above the cash register, mice running around behind the counter, boosters selling just about everything, and even a murder...... <hr /></blockquote>

I love it!.. is it still there? There was a snooker pool hall here in Vancouver... 999 Seymour that was the mecca for players from all over Canada, (England when there were matches) and some players up from the states.

It had everything, 30 tables, pro players on the hustle, drug dealing in the back alley, undercover cops, a shooting, hookers (both sexes and some you were'nt sure), and big money matches where you could see the best, Cliff Thorburn, Willy Thorn and some great snooker. There were all kinds of cons going on, I was playing a match and this guy comes by and bumps into me on a critical shot, later I learn my opponent gives him a commission! There was side betting and even betting on the side betting.

There were characters like Joe Big Pool who came out from Calgary and the guy behind the bar was the number one player in Canada who would spot anyone a 100 points.
Its gone now, bought out by Chinese investors and turned into a condo. The big neon sign with lit up nine balls is in an old nostagia museum, all that remians now of a peice of history that is gone forever, only ex players know what happened there.

Deeman3
08-30-2007, 02:29 PM
The Rack, Detroit....

bradb
08-30-2007, 02:35 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote 9 Ball Girl:</font><hr> Read Here (http://www.billiardsdigest.com/ccboard/showflat.php?Cat=&amp;Board=ccb&amp;Number=63197&amp;Forum=ccb &amp;Words=We%20Came%2C%20We%20Saw%2C&amp;Match=Entire%20P hrase&amp;Searchpage=1&amp;Limit=25&amp;Old=allposts&amp;Main=6319 7&amp;Search=true#Post63197) <hr /></blockquote>

Oh god!... 9 ball girl!... you did'nt warn us Fast Larry was in there!

Any way mostly good comments. -Brad

bradb
08-30-2007, 02:43 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Deeman3:</font><hr> The Rack, Detroit.... <hr /></blockquote>

It would make a great writing/photo project for some body to chronical all the old pool halls and tell their stories in a book. Even non players might find it interesting. There are some great storys out there (just ignore anything Minnesota Fats ever said.)

Deeman3
08-30-2007, 03:04 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bradb:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Deeman3:</font><hr> The Rack, Detroit.... <hr /></blockquote>

It would make a great writing/photo project for some body to chronical all the old pool halls and tell their stories in a book. Even non players might find it interesting. There are some great storys out there (just ignore anything Minnesota Fats said.) <hr /></blockquote>

<font color="blue"> Brad:

Yes, there are plenty of great stories but I've told most the downside of telling them. There are some great books chocked full of tales and I think I have every one. We pool players are, of course, one step above or below fishermen in telling our stories. Yes, Fats could tell a great story, some even based in fact. You know, when I listened to him, I really didn't care how true they were, the way he told them was worth the shared knoledge most were total fabrications. of course, unlike Danny Deliberto and Mr. Mosconi, I was not the subject and victim in his tales. Danny, rightfully, would call him but, with his status in the game, had that right. I didn't and, like I said, was as entertained as all my clients were at the time. No matter what you think of Fats, no one could ignore his presence and hearing a few of the old timers relate stuff about him from Blythville and Hot Springs and elsewhere, he, at least early on, didn't have a no-nit in his life. I give more credence to Grady than most of the others if he'd not try to make himself sound like Errol Flynn with the ladies. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

I'd pay to sit down with Dick and listen, then re-tell his stories in print. Can you imagine the people he knew and played? What an honor to exchange conversation with him, Fran and so many others on here. It's like Merril Lynch, they speak, you listen.... /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

When Fran recalls the first time she met Earl, it reminds me of my first time meeting him. Hell, I had forgotten how brash and good he was. Some of us where "there" on some occasions, Fran "lived" there and Dick is one of the last guys who spent real time with many of the greats of the game. It's like knowing someone who played with Babe Ruth! I mean, Babe Cranfield! What more could a pool player want? More Cowbell! /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

What I consder a pool hall, most of you would not be caught dead in.....</font color>

Bumper Pool Anyone???? /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

dr_dave
08-30-2007, 03:30 PM
FYI, I wrote an article about the movie. Here's the link: October '04 article (http://billiards.colostate.edu/bd_articles/2004/oct04.pdf). Some of you might find it interesting.

Regards,
Dave

bradb
08-30-2007, 03:45 PM
What I consder a pool hall, most of you would not be caught dead in.....</font color>

Bumper Pool Anyone???? /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif <hr /></blockquote>

Sounds like you know some great stories yourself. I've been in a few scaly pool halls, one in Dallas almost got me a knife in the ribs, I was saved by the bar guy who escorted me to the door and said "what the hell is a white ass honkie like you doing here?"... I did'nt know it was a black hang out! you would think I woulda noticed.

Fats probably did more to promote pool than any one alive, even Willy had to admit it. I read his book and the story about him falling through the floor on a nine ball shot had me rolling on the floor. But I did'nt believe a word of it. Other stories which sounded like they could be true lost their credibilty though becuase of his whoppers.
If there is a book that chronicals all the great halls I would like to get it. -Brad

dg-in-centralpa
08-30-2007, 04:21 PM
Since we're speaking of pool movies, whatever happened to the movie that was to feature Jennifer Baretta?

DG

bradb
08-30-2007, 04:26 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote dr_dave:</font><hr> FYI, I wrote an article about the movie. Here's the link: October '04 article (http://billiards.colostate.edu/bd_articles/2004/oct04.pdf). Some of you might find it interesting.

Regards,

Dave <hr /></blockquote>

Good analysis of the different shots Dave, maybe I should watch the movie for a third time, I recall Mars making a few decent shots, but I thought he was a fair player at best... not a hustler as he claimed he was in real life. I guess i put my doubt as to his ability in the final game of the movie where he makes an obvious stun for whats supposed to be a missed follow down the rail for shape to the eight ball. I know he had to fake a missed shape shot, but any good player could have been more convincing I think.

The trick shot Walken and Mars made is fairly simple if it is set up right, but it still requires good cuing.

-Brad

dr_dave
08-30-2007, 04:30 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bradb:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote dr_dave:</font><hr> FYI, I wrote an article about the movie. Here's the link: October '04 article (http://billiards.colostate.edu/bd_articles/2004/oct04.pdf). Some of you might find it interesting.

Regards,

Dave <hr /></blockquote>

Good analysis of the different shots Dave, maybe I should watch the movie for a third time, I recall Mars making a few decent shots, but I thought he was a fair player at best... not a hustler as he claimed he was in real life. I guess i put my doubt as to his ability in the final game of the movie where he makes an obvious stun for whats supposed to be a missed follow down the rail for shape to the eight ball. I know he had to fake a missed shape shot, but any good player could have been more convincing I think.

The trick shot Walken and Mars made is fairly simple if it is set up right, but it still requires good cuing.<hr /></blockquote>Well stated. I agree, on both of your points.

Regards,
Dave

9 Ball Girl
08-30-2007, 07:58 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote dg-in-centralpa:</font><hr> Since we're speaking of pool movies, whatever happened to the movie that was to feature Jennifer Baretta?

DG <hr /></blockquote>I believe the production ran out of funds and they're trying to get some, or something like that.

Rich R.
08-30-2007, 10:05 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote wolfdancer:</font><hr> Say, what ever happened to Kato...?<hr /></blockquote>
Kato is alive and well.
Although, quite some time ago, he had some kind of problem posting under the name "Kato", he did reregister using the screen name "ARJ".
IIRC, he can no longer enter pool sites, while at work, so it is difficult for him to post now.
He has also formed an interest in poker, as well as other things.
I keep in touch and he will be at the U.S. Open, as usual. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

wolfdancer
08-30-2007, 10:28 PM
The snooker room sounds like the mate to the Palace....I missed the action in it's heyday, but Robert Byrne featured the room in his book "McGoorty, the Life of a Hustler"
I was there for it's last year, and heard all the stories.
My three favorite characters were
"9 ball" Paul Silva.....the best $5 a game 9 ball player in the U.S. according to the legend....great guy as well, that showed me the ropes a bit
Charley The Gypsy...."King of the local Gypsies"....another neat character...good guy, but that didn't mean he wasn't above getting your $$ somehow...I bought my first cue, a Meucchi from Charley for a couple hundred...I didn't ask where he got it, and nobody ever came up to me and said it was their cue (knock on wood)...I probably lost twice that much to Charley, spotting me the 7...when it should have been the 3,5, and 7
and "Nebraska"...a retired pickpocket of some renown...old age had cost him some of his skills, and he was now reduced to pilfering goods at the local Dep't stores...I bought some nice clothes from Nebraska....he undersold all them stores...course he didn't have their overhead.
It closed in 1989, and I helped remove all the equipment...I should have had a camera to record the "end of an era"
L.Dennis who posts here rarely...could tell many a story from that room.

wolfdancer
08-30-2007, 10:52 PM
Dee, I love them old road stories...any stories, about pool in that era.
Problem is , hard to separate fact from fiction, and after telling the story hundreds of times...it all becomes fact in the mind of the narrator...but it's always entertaining...
My all time favorite though was the guy telling me and a friend about playing some $5,.. 8 ball in a bar in Texas. He's winning some money and the local guy invites him back to the ranch to play on his home table. Our hero cleans the guy out of over $40k as I remember...but the other guy likes the action so much...he gives him his Balabushka...
Them Texans are real friendly, like that, I guess. Win a litle $4 from them, and they'll throw in a bonus item....
Probably all good losers as well down in Ala???

sack316
08-31-2007, 01:29 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote wolfdancer:</font><hr>
Probably all good losers as well down in Ala??? <hr /></blockquote>

not quite so much. I mean I have seen many a stick given as a bonus from the losing player, but it tended to be only after it was broken across something first /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Sack

Deeman3
08-31-2007, 07:31 AM
Jack,

I don't remember those Texas folks being that friendly upon losing and, as far as I know, there's only one Balabuska in Alabama and it 'aint goin nowhere! /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

Good story. My problem is I have too many favorites. /ccboard/images/graemlins/blush.gif

bradb
08-31-2007, 09:46 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote wolfdancer:</font><hr> The snooker room sounds like the mate to the Palace....I missed the action in it's heyday, but Robert Byrne featured the room in his book "McGoorty, the Life of a Hustler"
I was there for it's last year, and heard all the stories.
My three favorite characters were
"9 ball" Paul Silva.....the best $5 a game 9 ball player in the U.S. according to the legend....great guy as well, that showed me the ropes a bit
Charley The Gypsy...."King of the local Gypsies"....another neat character...good guy, but that didn't mean he wasn't above getting your $$ somehow...I bought my first cue, a Meucchi from Charley for a couple hundred...I didn't ask where he got it, and nobody ever came up to me and said it was their cue (knock on wood)...I probably lost twice that much to Charley, spotting me the 7...when it should have been the 3,5, and 7
and "Nebraska"...a retired pickpocket of some renown...old age had cost him some of his skills, and he was now reduced to pilfering goods at the local Dep't stores...I bought some nice clothes from Nebraska....he undersold all them stores...course he didn't have their overhead.
It closed in 1989, and I helped remove all the equipment...I should have had a camera to record the "end of an era"
L.Dennis who posts here rarely...could tell many a story from that room. <hr /></blockquote>

Its sad to see how many of the old time hustlers faded out.

Joe Big Pool slowly lost his eye sight, Last I saw him he was reduced to just sitting alone in the pool hall listening to the games, most people there did'nt even know who he was. They say in his day all the big names from all over the world came to Calgary to play him and left with less money. "I love to beat the white man, its my people's way of getting even" was his favorite line.

When 999 Seymour closed 10,000 dollar antique tables went for just the money to haul them away.

The Texan story is probably true, the top hustlers had a way of winning you over while they emptied your pockets, it was almost an honor to lose to them.

I played a hustler at Seymour who set me up beautifully, The final game he ran 106, I gave him my money and told him i would have payed anyway just to see the run. That was about the only way I could get him back. /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

wolfdancer
08-31-2007, 10:46 AM
/ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

easye521
09-01-2007, 12:53 AM
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Dagwood
09-02-2007, 11:13 PM
After having watched it countless times in the past few years, I have to say that every time I watch it now I think it's just another "Rounders", but about pool.

It's an entertaining movie, but only if you're watching it for the entertainment. If you're watching it for the pool, you'll be sadly disappointed. The movie is deffinitely worth the money I paid for the DVD, and will get me out of a bad mood pretty quickly cause it's so tacky in some parts and downright funny in others.

Ciao...Dags

bradb
09-03-2007, 10:20 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Dagwood:</font><hr> After having watched it countless times in the past few years, I have to say that every time I watch it now I think it's just another "Rounders", but about pool.

It's an entertaining movie, but only if you're watching it for the entertainment. If you're watching it for the pool, you'll be sadly disappointed. The movie is deffinitely worth the money I paid for the DVD, and will get me out of a bad mood pretty quickly cause it's so tacky in some parts and downright funny in others.

Ciao...Dags <hr /></blockquote>

Agreed on all of the above. What is so frustrating to me is each segment begins with such promise then lets you down every time. You wind up both hating and liking the film. Liking it for giving us the game... hating it for selling out.