Stand Up Guys (2013)

Stand Up Guys (2013)
Stand Up Guys (2013) DVD / Blu-ray

By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Three Beers) –

Val (Al Pacino) is a small-time gangster who has spent the last 28 years in prison for the accidental death of one of his accomplices during a robbery.  Upon his release, he is met by Doc (Christopher Walken), a former partner who managed to avoid prosecution for the same crime.  Doc takes Val out for a night on the town, picking up their dying friend Hirsch (Alan Arkin) at a nursing home to bring the gang back together for a final night.  What Val doesn’t know is that Doc is under orders to kill him by 10:00pm the next day.  (The accomplice killed in the robbery was the son of Mob Boss “Claphands” (Mark Margolis), and he is a decidedly unforgiving individual).

A Toast

This film could be called “America’s dumpiest most wanted”, as the characters in the film are once-respectable gangsters who have seen far better days. Al Pacino and Christopher Walken have such excellent screen chemistry that one gets the sense they had an absolute ball making this movie.  It comes out prominently in their performances, which seem effortless without feeling tossed-off, and lose none of the complexity and power they are both capable of.  Walken has a voice that is capable of the strangest kind of emotion.  He could read out of a children’s book and it would be amazing.

Yes, yes it is

The story is simple but well staged, and is loose enough to allow these film vets time to play around with their characters. I found myself laughing more often than not at the antics of the pair, and feeling genuine concern for Val and Doc’s plight.

Beer Two

None of this ever coalesced into anything more than a simple piece of light entertainment.  The script attempts nothing we haven’t seen and heard before.  To be fair, it never tries for anything new anyway, but it is a shame that Al Pacino and Christopher Walken couldn’t make their first onscreen team-up more substantial.

What keeps this film watchable though is Christopher Walken, whose comedic timing is employed in equal measure with his intense acting style he has honed ever since Annie Hall.

Beer Three

Some of the comedic elements feel a bit too generic, particularly a rather forced scene where Pacino takes too many Viagras.  Still, Pacino and Walken’s amiable relationship manage to keep the film from completely falling off the edge.



If you want to see two of the greatest actors of their generation have a great time working together, this is a good choice.  It won’t win any awards, but then it wasn’t meant to either.


Drinking Game

Take a Drink: when Walken pauses at a strange part of his line

Take a Drink: whenever they eat at the same diner

Do a Shot: for an Al Pacino boner

About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah


  1. I’d been scared off a bit by the caliber of reviews this one had been getting, but I think I’ll give it a watch at some point now. That cast has to count for something!

  2. I agree that it was a treat to see Pacino and Walken together. But the script felt aimless, and at a certain point I just wanted Walken to kill Pacino, so the film would end and I could leave.

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