Moments of Brilliance: Poolhall Junkies

There is a phenomenon that exists on university campuses all over the country, where everyone sort of just agrees that a movie is good. It’s usually a movie that didn’t do well initially. Everyone secretly discovers the movie and then shows it to drunk friends in dorm rooms, or on lazy Sunday nights, and it strikes a chord with all the wide-eyed 18 and 19 year old kids away from home for the first time because it’s so different or weird from anything they’ve seen.


I remember being 18 and sitting in my shitty dorm room absolutely dead set on expanding my horizons. I’d go see every boring movie, attend the concert of every awful band, and buy whatever was new and underground. Quality was an afterthought. All that mattered is that I had a secret. I had a thing that no one else heard about, even though usually the way it actually happened was A.) everyone knew about it, too, but also treated it like a secret, or B.) no one knew, because no one cared, because it sucked.

When I was going through school, the big secret movies were Boondock Saints, Fight Club, Office Space, and Donnie Darko.

Boondock Saints actually sucked. We all need to come to terms with that. I own it. I had a poster of it, but it sucked. I can admit that now.

Fight Club was and is still amazing, but everyone treats it like Scarface where they either turned it off during the last 20 minutes, or they completely and totally missed the point and think Tyler Durden has the right idea. It’s a fantastic movie, brimming with interesting topics for debate that’s largely been co-opted by idiots.

This movie is the reason Brad Pitt gets to be that good-looking and still be well liked by heterosexual men.

Office Space is a great comedy about what a lack of ambition and an abundance of fear or apathy can do to us, and I’m still amazed that Ron Livingston isn’t a bigger name in comedy, or acting in general.

Donnie Darko is a neat movie that, like Fight Club, was embraced by people who can’t really handle complex ideas or just kind of go in for the easy to identify lessons, but I enjoy Darko quite a bit, but I can’t watch it a lot.

I found and attached myself to two other movies in the hopes of discovering something new first, and because when you’re 22 and have no real measure of the world you, for some reason, feel the need to fight the power.

One was Green Street Hooligans which is fodder for a later column, and the other was Poolhall Junkies.

The baby of star/writer/director Mars Callahan, the movie is Rocky if Rocky was about going in the distance in a pool hall. A young, angry, restless, but talented young man must exorcise his past demons, and embrace his future; whatever it may be, by using a skill not respected by mainstream society.

Basically the pipe dream of every young man between the ages of 18 and 21.

The movie itself is serviceable, but not brilliant, and a few of the situations are forced with some funky dialogue sprinkled throughout. The supporting cast largely acts like close friends of the writer playing exaggerated versions of themselves with a lot of time spent establishing personalities that don’t really affect the main character and his quest.

This movie is responsible for about two and half months of constant pool playing between me and future roommate, Jenkins.

There is however a nice little inspirational speech that takes place between Johnny and Christopher Walken who is in this movie because of course he’s in this movie. He’s in everything. I think Hollywood pays him in lunches and rides to the airport. He just wanders around Los Angeles and the Valley, and no one stops him from walking onto sets or lots because, hey, Christopher Walken. He meanders around until a director or producer sees him and asks, “hey, Chris, you hungry?” One sandwich later, cinematic gold is unearthed and sent directly into your eyeballs.

I know what you’re thinking: tall, lean, the hair, but no, they are not father and son, or related in anyway. They do acknowledge the hair earlier in the movie, though.

I love that speech. It sounds natural. Like that’s the kind of thing Christopher Walken thinks about all day while he goes to work, shops for groceries, or just drives around. He spends all day thinking about lions and how awesome lions are.

This is how he runs errands.

I want that speech to play every time I give up on a script, rewrite a skit so it’s “safer,” or half-ass a workout. I want the speech from Rocky Balboa to be the noise my alarm clock makes when I wake up, and I want the speech from Poolhall Junkies to be my afternoon coffee to get me through the second half of the day.

Okay, and because I can’t post anything from Rocky without a montage, let’s start out the week right, and go rip Monday’s balls off.

As you can see, Chad’s come up with these little badges to put at the end of our articles/columns/rants. If at all possible, whenever you look at mine, imagine the picture saying, “c’mon baby. Don’t you wanna be a STAR?” Then cry in the shower.


About Nonstop Karate

Created by Chad Quandt and Matt Loman Lonely. Online. Angry due to being online and lonely.

Posted on January 17, 2011, in Matt Loman, Moments of Brilliance, Pop Culture and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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