Stand Up Guys (2013)

It’s like Amour, but with more guns and boners.

A couple of aged con men (Alan Arkin, Al Pacino, Christopher Walken) are back to their old ways by getting the gang back together, having fun, and causing a bunch of havoc like they all used to. However, one has a new assignment another and bears some not-so good news for that person, as well as the gang. If this sounds vague, just watch the damn trailer. You’ll know what I’m talking about.

Even though you may not know this because you’ve been so distracted by the work they’ve been putting-out over the years, but Alan Arkin, Al Pacino, and Christopher Walken are all getting older and the days where big, money-making roles coming their way, are getting dimmer and dimmer. It’s a sad thought to have in your head when you think about the material these guys have given over the years and why you think vets like these will automatically, always be around no matter what life brings them. However, the fact still remains: these guys are getting older, and their choices for roles are starting to get lousier.

I remember when I first heard about this movie, who it had, and what the central-premise was, my mind went straight to comedy, but after the trailer: I realized that it was far from that. The trailer gave-off a darker-vibe, that did have a comedic-elements to it, but wasn’t all about a bunch of old dudes having a crazy old time, like the golden days, and never letting-up for a second. That intrigued me about this flick but sadly: that was the trailer, and THIS, is the movie.

Wow, you can totally tell Fisher Stevens really connects with his actors.
Wow, you can totally tell Fisher Stevens really connects with his actors.

Director Fisher Stevens gives this flick the look and feel of it’s main characters: slower and worn-out. Instead of making this flick all about the bang-bang, the action, and the wildness of the night, the film is more relaxed and calm in how it shows these guys going about their one, glorious day, talking about their lives, where it’s taken them, and how much they miss the old days of just being wild and free. It’s alright to see a movie about a bunch of old men reminiscing on the golden years, but here, Stevens plays it out in a way that’s so obvious and so conventional, that it almost doesn’t feel genuine. Instead, it feels like these guys are just sapping on-and-on about their lives, because the script needs them to and there’s no real emotion to it. That’s a shocker of a statement, considering you have Oscar-winners in the lead roles!

Speaking of the Oscar-winners, all of them are fine, except that the script that they are working with just blows. Al Pacino is playing his usual, fun-loving spirit of an old man that can’t get enough of life because he’s out of the clink, and as fun as it may be to see Pacino rolling around the screen, having a fun-time, it does get a bit old by about, I don’t know, say the fourth or fifth boner joke. Oh yeah, need I forget to tell you, this is one of those flicks that’s less concerned about what these guys have been up to over the past years, and more concerned with the pills they take to get their boners up-and-running, and just how much a fire-ball they can be in the sack. That seems like material that’s meant strictly for a Farrelly Brothers movie, not one that features Oscar-winners of this nature. Pacino can be okay in this movie, but just like the film’s nature and characters: he feels worn-out.

I can’t say the same thing about Christopher Walken, but yet, I can’t totally back the guy up all that much, either. Walken has that quirky look in his eyes and deliver in his voice, but there’s nothing much here that really has you rooting for the guy, hoping that he ends-up going the good way, as opposed to the bad way. There is this small, but over-bearing subplot about him and his “possible” granddaughter that’s as obvious as a gay man in a strip-club. What I mean by that is, is that you can point it out, right away, and as soon as it shows up, so it only gets worse when the film constantly continues to shove it down our throats by saying, “BTW!! THAT’S HIS GRANDDAUGHTER!!!”. It didn’t make me feel anything more for the guy, nor did it give me anymore sympathy or care for these characters; it was just there to give these guys material to work with.

However, what I said about Pacino and Walken, could not be said about Alan Arkin who seems to really be having the most fun out of three as the fella they break-out of the old person’s home. Arkin always has that wacky deliver that makes his character stand-out the most and it’s no surprise that he not only gets the best-lines, but is also allowed to stretch-out more of his dramatic-lungs as well. I don’t know where those dramatic-lungs where at in his Oscar-nominated role in Argo (still “wtfing” about that), but regardless, the guy is still fun and brings a lot of much needed excitement and joy to the screen when it seems like Walken and Pacino may be taking naps, here and there.

"Seriously, somebody help me up."
“Seriously, somebody help me up.”

You would think that with these three dudes in roles where they just practically play themselves, that almost nothing can go wrong, but that’s where the movie comes in and shows you otherwise. Instead of making their one, glorious night one chock-full of spills,  thrills, bangs (there are some of them, but not coming from the barrel of a gun like I wanted), booms, fun, and excitement, it’s more of a night where they just slowly move around, from one spot to another, without any real moments of delight to keep us awake. Even at an hour-and-a-half time-limit, the film does still feel stretched beyond it’s limits and as each and every situation goes by with a total and complete whimper, you’re pretty much expecting the film to end (or probably die) at any second.

Thankfully, when it does end, it ends to the tune of Gary Clark Jr.’s “Bright Lights”, which is pretty cool because it’s the only type of energy the film has had up until that point, but stops being cool, once you realize how damn anti-climactic and silly it’s ending actually is. I don’t want to give anything away to you peeps out there who may be clamoring the trip to go out and see this piece of old-geezer’s sap-fest, but trust me, the ending is stupid and will probably have you feel more pissed-off that you bothered even seeing this, let alone remembering these three stars for all that they used to be. Now, they are just old guys, who’s best days are probably behind them. I think I’m tearing up now just thinking about it.

Consensus: Walken, Pacino, and especially Arkin, all seem like they are having fun in Stand Up Guys, but it’s not enough to save this terrible-material from being nothing more than just a lame-excuse to get a bunch of Oscar-winners, to sit-around, chit-chat about the old days, do “old people”-like things, and suffer excruciatingly long boners. Hey, what do you think the “Stand Up” stood for?

3.5 / 10 = Crapola!!

Just give us the shot, so we can hopefully forget about this.
Just take the damn shot, so we can hopefully forget about this.


  1. Pacino has been a real disappointment in the last decade, maybe longer. Can I ask you a question? Did you notice if he was chewing gum throughout the entire movie? That seems to be his shtick.

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