Golf movies are tough to rate when comparing them with mainstream action or comedy flicks. Most of the golf films we’ve seen in the past have used the game of golf as a metaphor or simply a means to tell another story. For example, Tin Cup was a love story about a golf pro from West Texas that qualifies and contends for the US Open Championship, all in an effort to win the heart of the woman who is dating his nemesis. The Legend of Bagger Vance was another golf movie that used golf as a means to help the protagonist find his way and get his life back together after a traumatizing war experience.
The latest golf movie to come out is one called The Squeeze. Written and produced by long time ABC Sports golf producer Terry Jastrow and based on actual events, The Squeeze features a young man called Augie who’s family is struggling to scrape together a living in a poor southern town. Augie just so happens to be a golf prodigy, winning the city championship by 15 strokes and catching the eye of a professional gambler called “Riverboat” played by Christopher McDonald, who also happens to have played “Shooter McGavin” in the golf comedy Happy Gilmore. The story centers on Augie and Riverboat teaming up to hustle local golfers out of their money, and soon they go out to Las Vegas in a quest for big money. Biting off more than he can chew, Riverboat lures Vegas kingpin Jimmy Diamonds into a high-stakes match after beating him in poker. Jimmy tips the odds in his favor by threatening to kill Augie if he doesn’t throw the match.
While the movie isn’t a big Hollywood production with a massive payroll and fancy special effects, they did a good job with the golf scenes, making sure to get actors that play well enough to make the on-course action believable. The actors do a good job bringing their characters to life, but Riverboat’s character is a bit of a cliche if you ask me. He’s dressed like a (predictably) riverboat gambler from the 30s, and his wife Jessie is the stereotypical southern belle. To top it off, the couple drives around in a classic powder blue Thunderbird. It all seems a bit over the top for 2015.
While the story has a few holes in it and ending comes out of nowhere, overall the film is entertaining. If I were to nitpick I think the story needed about 30-40 minutes more to develop Augie’s backstory and also to set up the finale. Clearly the producers weren’t going for an Oscar when shooting this movie. Overall it’s a fun story that is easy to identify with. Everyone seems to know a stick at the local club that has hustled or been hustled on the golf course, and The Squeeze does a pretty good job at exploring the lifestyle of golf hustlers and perils of getting in over your head.
The Squeeze is in select theatres now and will be available on DVD and Video on Demand June 9th, 2015.