Poolhall Junkies ★★½ 2002 (R)
Johnny Doyle (writerdirector Callahan) is a pool hustler who always aspired to greatness, and could've had it. His mentor/backer Joe (Palminteri) sabotaged his chance at the pro tour a while back. When Johnny left him, Joe broke his wrist and found himself a new boy, Brad (Schroder). Johnny impresses his girlfriend's uncle Mike (Walken) who agrees to bankroll his road to the final showdown with Brad and Joe. Gritty but enthusiastic debut for Callahan doesn't wallow in cliches, it revels in 'em. Fortunately, it all works because of Callahan's obvious joy at getting to make the movie, the work of the elder actors (including Steiger in his last role), and the good sense of the younger ones to stay out of their way. Walken's performance alone is worth the price of a rental. Excellent pool hall action makes up for the times Walken's not on screen. 94m/C VHS, DVD . US Mars Callahan, Michael Rosenbaum, Chazz Palminteri, Rod Steiger, Christopher Walken, Rick Schroder, Alison Eastwood, Glenn Plummer, Ernie Reyes Jr., Peter Mark Richman, Anson Mount; D: Mars Callahan; W: Mars Callahan, Chris Corso; C: Robert Morris; M: Richard Glasser.