I recently had the opportunity to view an advanced screening of The Squeeze movie and found it to be a thoroughly entertaining hour and a half.
I’m not sure how I got on the advanced list for the viewing but I’m glad I was. The whole process was a new experience and I found it really exciting. I was allowed on a conference call with some of the cast, Terry Jastrow, the writer/director and Kieth Flatt, the guy who’s life the story is loosely based as well as about a dozen sports writers. I sat on the conference call for about an hour and listened to all these great sports writers from across the country ask these great questions hoping no one would ask me if I had anything to add. I realized early in the process how much of a rookie I was and how great of an opportunity I had been given just for being allowed in the arena. Thanks to Mrs. Mary Beth Lacy of Mary Beth Lacy Inc, who is doing the golf pr for the film.
During the call Terry Jastrow, went through how Kieth told him his story over dinner with their respective wives. Jastrow says he knew immediately he had to make it into a movie. And so, The Squeeze movie project was born. The process started with a great true story about a fearless guy who makes money playing golf for high stakes gamblers, added an updated theme, threw in a couple of Hollywood heavyweights like Michael Nouri and Christopher McDonald and the result was a very fun movie to watch.
The Squeeze is about a young talented golfer, Augie, who gets swept up in a professional gamblers hustle to the point he’s left with only two choices, lose or die versus win or die, hence the Squeeze. Throughout the film, Christopher McDonald, (who plays the main nemesis Riverboat), ratchets up the stakes until Auggie is out of options. Christopher McDonald has got to be one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood today and is certainly one of the most instantly recognizable. He’s been in countless movies and TV shows and usually plays to his trademark arrogant, slightly bully, but always slick character. I thought his performance in The Squeeze was classic. You could tell he wasn’t just phoning it in, he appeared to be enjoying the character. He comes off as a guy who knows all the angles instantly and know how to maximize his chances at winning. The other half of the Squeeze comes from Michael Nouri’s character, Jimmy Diamonds, a Las Vegas pro gambler with a penchant for big bets and not backing down to anyone. Like Chris McDonald, Michael Nouri is instantly recognizable and has been in hundreds of TV Shows and movies. Michael Nouri is completely believable as Jimmy Diamonds, with all the swagger, confidence and ruthlessness a big time Las Vegas gambler would have. Jimmy Diamonds motto seems to be if the odds aren’t in your favor, you need to change the odds.
What I loved about Jeremy Sumpter, who plays Augie, the guy is a golfer. He plays a golfer, he looks like a golfer and you can tell he can play. I learned during the conference call one of the requirements to try out for the part was you had to be a single digit handicap. I believe Jeremy plays close to a 1 or 2. The folks behind the movie made sure anybody who was going to swing a club on camera was an actual golfer not an actor trying to fake their way through it. During the climax game of the Squeeze when they show the balls flying off the first tee, that’s the actors real shots. That says a great deal about the commitment to the game and the authenticity of the movie Terry Jastrow and company had.
There is a point in the movie, where Augie is at the crossroads and his girlfriend Natalie (Jillian Murray) gives him what I think is the real launching off point of the movie, “you’re doing it for the right cause, but it’s not the right solution”. From that point onward, Auggie has to learn to dance with the devil and not get burned. I liked the fact the writers made it clear Auggie had a choice. There’s always a choice.
The Squeeze is a fun movie worth watching over and over.
You can’t beat the cast, the story holds up, and it’s a movie about golf your wife won’t mind watching with you, what else could you want? The Squeeze will be released nationwide April 17th in select theaters across the country and simultaneously released “on Demand” and by digital download from Groupon. The Groupon offer is pretty unique, ” The offer is available in two separate packages. Customers can either order the movie plus Tom Watson’s “Lessons of a Lifetime” DVD set, the most popular golf instructional video ever, for $19.99 (a $47.95 value), or the movie plus a tee time in their area via EZ Link, America’s largest tee time company, for $13.99 (a $28 value).”
I would love to see a follow up movie with Michael Nouri and Chris McDonald reprising their roles as Jimmy Diamonds and Riverboat in some high stakes gambling escapade like “the Sting” or “Oceans Eleven”. I would watch that.
You can watch the Squeeze trailer here.