|This could be termed a
"reverse buddy" movie - the story of three mates - Jake,
Wayne and Thomas - who enter a local pool tournament for a prize pot
of NZ $ 20000. As the tournament progresses they grow apart as a
result of their experiences. They encounter love, friendship, betrayal
and obsession during journeys of personal discovery. It addresses
issues of life and relationships from a unique perspective. Sounds
reasonable for a low budget production. This is probably the story
that was sold to the New Zealand Film Commission to obtain funding.
Here is what I think really happened:
- Simone Kessell has an
extended topless scene in bed with Jake.
- Angie Meiklejohn is
briefly topless in a dark sex scene.
|A group of mates,
containing wannabe actors and filmmakers, like to hang out in bars and
play pool. When one of them is made redundant he decides to write a
script about a group of mates who hang out in bars and play pool! He
is inspired by the story of the real "Stickmen", who guess
what: are mates who play pool. The writer together with his mates Mr
Director and Ms Producer embark on procuring the finance necessary to
produce the film. This would appear an impossible task as a film about
pool is unlikely to be a commercial success. However, as this is a
local film involving local talent they can qualify for a grant from
the New Zealand Film Commission. However, not even a film commission
is likely to approve funding for a film exclusively concerned about a
group of guys playing pool. They introduce the "serious"
issues - love, friendship, betrayal and obsession - pocket the funding
and Stickmen becomes reality. Come to think of it, the movie may have
been better if the first part focused on how the movie came about as
opposed to two extra games of pool.
Back to the movie. The guys play
pool, meet girls, play pool again, break up, and play more pool. Spot
the trend? A measure of diversion is provided by two girls - Karen
(Simone Kessell) and Sara - entering the lives of Jake and Thomas,
respectively. The girls clearly have an agenda that the boys fail to
additional features including a making of documentary,
commentary with writer and director, cast biography, photo
gallery and trailers.
|This is and was always going to be a
film about pool with the consequence that the story is largely
predictable. There is too much pool - surely not every single shot in
every game had to be shown. Being a low budget movie it seems that the
only special effects they had were the pool shots and wished to
maximize this. The "serious" issues mentioned above served
as mere window dressing. The filmmakers missed the opportunity of
doing something unique - looking at life through pool. However, it is
unlikely they ever had any intention of doing so. Being revealed 15
minutes prior to the intended denouement dilutes the one major plot
twist, involving the girls. The acting is good and the cast does an
excellent job of keeping the viewer interested. This is aligned to
good character development, largely due to the cast, and there are
interesting cameos. The filmmakers deserve an award for one thing: the
film was test screened to a group of 16 year old male media studies
students! This is a practice that must be made compulsory in
I score this 53/100. It is decent and
pretty good for a film about pool but not a must see by any means.
guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence, about like three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, about like two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, about like two stars from the critics.
Films under five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film, equivalent to about one
and a half stars from the critics or less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Based on this
description, this film is a C.
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