Review this movie
Apr 13, 20137I found this a very bittersweet tale with an ending that may not have played well to many audiences (I liked the ending by the way). It’s quite melancholic although there are some very amusing moments to ease the way. All of the main parts were excellent with Pacino, Walken and Arkin all living up to their billing. A nice soundtrack sets the scene with many old tracks of yesteryear plus a a new song at the end from Jon Bon Jovi. Over all, I think I probably enjoyed this a tad more than the critics and would happily watch it again sometime. Some may find it a little too downbeat, but I enjoyed it; particularly the ending.
SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED
My score: 7.3/10… Expand
Feb 6, 20131In the first film of 2013 worse than “Movie 43”, “Stand Up Guys”, which contains a rather intriguing premise, is absolutely ruined by a perfect storm of tonally clunky direction, a script filled with some of the stupidest dialogue (I swear, some of the lines here are out-and-out plagiarized) and a wealth of surprisingly terrible acting from Al Pacino, Alan Arkin and Christopher Walken; notken; not to mention, Lucy Punch (Bad Teacher) doing one of her worst accents yet.
The Plot: In yet another elderly “let’s get the band back together” storyline, Pacino and Walken (who each play annoying versions of themselves) are a couple of aging hit-man types that go by the names Val and Doc; who also happen to be best friends. The movie begins on the afternoon that they reunite, after Val is released from a long stint in prison. But when Doc’s promise to Val of a night out he won’t soon forget, coincides with Val learning that a hit has been put on him, he quickly realizes that Doc’s motives may not be all that they seem. The entire tone of “Stand Up Guys” is in fact its own worst enemy. Beneath this dark storyline, there lies a slew of underdeveloped and rather generic slapstick sequences, mostly between Pacino and Walken, which seems more suitable to a “comedy” such as “Old Dogs” or “Wild Hogs”. But far worse than having to hear a barrage of “I don’t know how to work this new fangled computer” or countless prescription drug jokes, is having to sit through the multitude of humorless and disturbing erectile dysfunction bits, which seem to be the ONLY driving force of the first two meandering acts of this movie. OK, so if you don’t see the problem with this, then let me spell it out for you. If you’re going to make “Grumpy Old Men”, make “Grumpy Old Men”. And if you’re going to make a crime drama concerning a hit-man that is ordered to kill his best friend, then make that movie. But by attempting to haphazardly mash these two types of very distinctive films together, all the filmmakers have done is created a movie where essentially the poor comedic humor cancels out all dramatic effect, and vice versa. In short, the tone is the reason (above all others) that we don’t care about any of these characters. Suffice to say, Pacino’s erection sadly motivates the first half of the story, but after about 45 minutes there stems a very compelling initial diner sequence, which fooled even me into thinking that this movie was officially going to start getting good. Well that was short lived because soon afterwards Arkin’s character makes his first appearance and “Stand Up Guys” ventures into non-sense land, crashing and burning in a wreckage of cringe inducing one-liners, unfathomably impractical situations and asinine revelations, resulting in something that is simply downright pathetic.
The Acting: So when I made mention that “Stand Up Guys” contains terrible performances, this in fact may be the understatement of the decade. Yes, it doesn’t help that Pacino can hardly move anymore or that Arkin and Walken continue to play caricatures of themselves, or even how each one of these actors very particular voice cadences gets in the way of any sentimentality “Stand Up Guys” should have had, but at the end of the day, no real excuse can be made for performances which come across as though each actor is reading this script for the first time. Plus, it has come to my attention (through this film and “Seven Psychopaths”) that anytime Christopher Walken isn’t reciting his lines for ironic laughs, he is literally unbearable to watch or listen to. Final Thought: And if all of that weren’t bad enough, “Stand Up Guys” contains the worst ending of any film this year (so far). But on the other hand, maybe this movie was meant to be a satirical piece of filmmaking, promoting, through subtle yet methodical means, director Fisher Stevens’ backhanded theory on how Pacino, Arkin and Walken should be ushered out of the business by any means necessary (short of shooting them all in the heads). If that’s the case, then “Stand Up Guys” is still a bad movie. Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
Follow me on Twitter @moviesmarkus… Expand
Feb 4, 20136The film starts as Al Pacino gets out of prison after 28 years. He's met by his best friend, Christopher Walken, and they spend one wild night before it's Walken's job to kill Pacino. Sure, the characters have names, but it doesn't matter. This is an indulgent acting workout for the two leads (plus Alan Arkin in a funny smaller role). The dialogue is forgettable, the situations strain credibility and there's too much chatter. If you enjoy watching these actors indulge themselves, you'll be in heaven. Otherwise, sit it out.… Expand
Feb 2, 201310I 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.… Expand
Feb 1, 20133Al Pacino won an Oscar in 1992, Christopher Walken in 1978 while Alan Arkin received his in 2006. All 3 have been well financially rewarded, and prize awarded, for their many years of fine performances but it has been awhile since any of them have had a major hit. Being a fan of Pacino’s since 1969 when I saw him on stage, in “Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie”, and in film, in “The Panic In Neec In Needle Park” in 1971, I have gone to every current movie of his hoping that it would be the one to put him back on top.
“Stand Up Guys” is more of an actors class exercise than a film with each actor playing characters they have played before but as if given a signal to ‘go for it’. As the movie starts Pacino is being released from prison after serving 28 years taking the fall for his gang where a mob boss’s son was killed. Walken picks him up and it isn’t long before both know that he is suppose to kill Pacino. One of the first stops is a brothel where Pacino isn’t able to perform so they leave, break into a pharmacy and steal some drugs along with Viagra which he takes a handful of and after a raunchy scene or two they have to go to the hospital. At the hospital they meet a nurse, played by Julianna Margulies, who just happens to be the daughter of the third member of their gang, Arkin, who they find is in a nursing home. Yes they break him out and go on a wild race but first stopping back at thebrothel for an item on his bucket list.
Walken is suppose to kill Pacino before 10 AM in the morning but first they help a woman who has been raped get revenge, Pacino eats a surf and turf dinner with a root beer float, comes back to the same restaurant in the early morning to have 2 steaks, waffles and a shake. Oh, by the way, there is a reason they keep on coming to this restaurant.
There really doesn’t seem to be much sense in the screenplay by Noah Haidle or the direction of Fisher Stevens. It is hard to place when, or where, this all takes place as there isn’t a cellphone or computer in sight no plus when was the last time you saw a pay phone in a restaurant? At the same time they steal a car that doesn’t need a ignition key to start.
Actors of this caliber are always a joy just to watch even if it looks like an Actors Studio class but it seems Hollywood and Independent films are having a problem with the old actors and getting stories worth their talents.
By the way it is time for Pacino to clean up and doing something with his face and head hair!… Expand
Jan 28, 20137Storyline: 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… Expand
Jan 26, 20139Stand Up Guys is even better than I thought it would be going in. It was phenomenal! I am a huge fan for the more slower paced type of films, and I'm just 18. Movies these days feel rushed: both on screen and the production of them. This will go into my short list of favorites for the best films released in 2012. I stayed away from it early on only because of the rating. But I guess, what drew my attention was the poster for it. Now I wasn't "judging the book by its cover"; it simply reminded me of a scene in A Clockwork Orange. So naturally, I was hooked!… Expand
Dec 19, 20127The critics who panned this film were far too harsh. The individual acting performances are uniformly excellent (Pacino, Walken, Arkin, Punch in particualr) It's just a "small" film. Not a ton happens, and it revels in the importance of long-standing friendships, and the value people placed on loyalty above all else. I saw this film with very modest expectations and came out pleasantly surprised.… Expand
63Some actors don't need top-shelf material. Just the pleasure of their company is enough. And so Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin turn the insubstantial Stand Up Guys into solid entertainment.
100The 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.