Movie Review: Putting The Squeeze On The Squeeze

by Jim Claggett, Inside Golf

Movies about sports are difficult, both to make and sometimes to even watch.

Hollywood has tried for years to find the perfect balance between the drama needed to drive the story and the realism of the sport to make it believable.

The most recent entry into the competition is “The Squeeze”, a story about a young golfer with loads of talent and a need for money.

He gets involved with a shady gambler and heads down a road of winning more money than he could imagine but there is, of course, a price to pay. I mean, it is Vegas. What did you expect, right?

So I sat down with three of my golfing buddies to watch this flick and get some feedback from them about the movie. Okay, it was more about seeing if they felt the same way I did as to what we were watching.

Now, to be fair, I am picky about what entertains me and even more picky when that entertainment involves a sport. The overwhelming opinion was the golf scenes were well done. The players swings (other than the one young actress) were solid and the shots made were easy to believe given who was making them.

The acting throughout the movie was not something which was going to have members of the academy scrambling to get this movie onto the ballot for next spring.

I did like the young man who portrayed Augie (Jeremy Sumpter), his girlfriend Natalie (Jillian Murray) was strong but the rest of the cast seemed very thin stereotypes of the people they were playing.

Michael Nouri could have been much more threatening as Jimmy Diamonds but instead he came off as a very polite villain. The line where he lays it out for our young hero and closes with the fact young Augie might wind up in some water wearing lead boots was more funny than rattling.

No offence to Chris McDonald, who plays Riverboat, but we couldn’t help but see Shooter McGavin of Happy Gilmour fame instead. In fact, there is one scene where a dramatic putt is holed and he goes for the six gun McGavin trademark but doesn’t get it out of the holster.

My biggest issue with the movie was the lack of golf shown in a golf movie. Terry Jastrow has produced plenty of golf in his career so it made me wonder why he wouldn’t have included more golf in this flick.

It was about 20% golf in my opinion so it begs the question - was he trying to attract golfers to watch the movie or non-golfers?

The movie runs 1.5 hours with little time spent on developing these characters, even to a reasonable level as far as movies go. We have scraps of information to go on as to how Augie got to be so good, why his father was so angry at his family and (small spoiler alert) why a U.S. Amateur champion would put his status on the line for a gambler of notorious repute.

What about Riverboat? Is this the first time he’s lured a young golfer into this dark world? So there were a few holes in the story and some Hollywood cheese (a rooftop meeting where you can see who the good guy is and who isn’t without seeing any of the movie up to that point).

Was it the worst sports movie I have seen? Not by a long shot. Was it the best golf movie I have seen? Sorry but there are plenty of others who deliver a good amount of golf to compliment a good story.

“The Squeeze” is worth a look whether you golf or not and of course you can make your own judgement.

So I would mark down a par on the golf segments but for the overall movie the scorecard would reflect a bogey.