Stand Up Guys

Fisher Stevens (2012)

Last Featured: Feb. 10, 2015

Image Credits: Lionsgate

It's too bad that many people missed this gem in theaters. Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, and Christopher Walken star as gangsters past their prime in this crime drama from actor-turned-director Fisher Stevens. 

It’s hard to label Stand Up Guys as a fully-fledged indie. With its heavyweight cast of Al Pacino, Allan Arkin, and Christopher Walken, it seemed destined for fame; but from some strange alignment of the stars, fewer people saw this gem than some of the more obscure pictures we’ve recommended.

The grizzled trio play old-age gangsters, former wiseguys who participated in the biggest crimes of their day. Val (Pacino) finally walks out of jail, having served a long sentence after refusing to snitch on his partners in crime. He is met at the gate by Doc (Walken), his oldest friend and criminal accomplice, and they set out to quench the thirsts Val built up during his time in prison. 

Sadly, Doc is given the responsibility to “take out” his old friend. The boss wants Val dead and gives Doc no choice but to carry out the hit, but he agrees to allow the night of debauched fun that Doc feels he owes his dear friend. Their night together is a raucous batch of satisfying vignettes. Their journey explores vengeance, honor, friendship, family, and even a brothel, and a surprisingly talented supporting cast fleshes out the city in the background. 

Stand Up Guys provides ample opportunity for touching moments and satisfying humor, and the gusto the leads bring is enough to carry the movie on its own. You may have missed it in theaters, but thankfully this rich bit of fun will live long in rental and streaming heaven.