Sometimes it's all about the casting. The notice of a screening came around, I read the names Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin, and it didn't matter in a way what the movie was about - although it didn't hurt that it was a crime movie.
The thing most people will take away from Stand Up Guys is that it contains Al Pacino's best performance in years. So if you don't think Al Pacino still has it in him, this is a welcome chance to be proved wrong. But here's something interesting. Stand Up Guys also contains Christopher Walken's best performance in years. In addition, the film is extraordinarily well cast, and the acting, even in the smaller roles, is more than noteworthy.
Mixed or average reviews- based on 42 Ratings
Feb 2, 2013I really, really loved this movie, all the more so because many of the critics had me expecting a piece of crap. Wow, talk about losing faith in these "experts" on film. Really puzzled as to why it was so panned. Can't help but believe some ageism is at work: wrinkly old guys are not supposed to be going to bed with young hookers or beating up young studs. Oh yeah, an Asian store clerk gets punched by Pacino's character so I guess this got the PC brigade riled up). Its a movie for Christ's sake. One critic even said it lacked "plausibility." Earth to critic: this wasn't a documentary. Go see it; you'll love it, especially if you grew up with these guys on the screen like I have.… Full Review »
Jan 28, 2013Storyline: Val (Al Pacino) has been in prison for 28 years and took the fall for everyone else but a grudge has been held by Claphands (Mark Margolis) all this time and orders Val's best buddy, Doc (Chistopher Walken) to kill him. Doc is reluctant to carry it out and while trying to delay it they end up teaming up with Hirsch (Alan Arkin) and show they still have what it takes. I know it sounds like a run of the mill buddy movie, and it kind of is, but Pacino, Walken and Arkin make this film. I think the script is smart because while it has what you expect from a buddy movie with old time gangsters in it the dialogue, jokes and one liners are subtle enough to satisfy the more intelligent viewer.
Acting: I knew when I first heard about this movie and saw the cast list that I needed to see it for the acting if nothing else and it excels at this. Pacino, Walken and Arkin looked like they really enjoyed making this and the chemistry is obvious. The real surprise for me is the support. They are all very, very good in the smaller roles.
Direction: I had no idea until seeing this film that Fisher Stevens directed never mind won an Oscar. I've seen him in countless films but was never impressed, but now, I'll be watching for his work. It looks like he allowed a bit of ad-libbing as some of the scenes had an authentic feel about the dialogue.
Production: I have no idea how much this cost but it's a very well produced movie but does appear to have a low budget. This is a character driven movie and with these three doing the driving it can't and doesn't fail. I'd like to think that if it had no big names as the leads it would still be good but this just simply isn't the case. Without them it would have been very humdrum but it does have them and it's far from humdrum.
Conclusion: It's not their best work but this is a well cast, well acted and well written film that I enjoyed greatly and found funny, especially Alan Arkin. A very good movie. Recommended.
Score: 7.5/10… Full Review »