To Win or Not To Win
The Squeeze fascinated me with its interesting story about a talented young golfer who gives up his dreams of qualifying for the U.S. Open in order to participate in high-stakes matches arranged by a professional gambler. Jeremy Sumpter and Christopher McDonald seem perfect for the key roles of golfer and gambler, respectively. Plus, the film is produced, written and directed by Terry Jastrow, so the golf shots appear authentic. After all, Jastrow (Killer Golf) is a real golfer and has directed 60 major championships, including 21 U.S. Opens. The movie also boasts a fine supporting cast, including Michael Nouri, Katherine LaNasa, Jason Dohring and Jillian Murray.
When 20-year-old Augie (Sumpter/TV's Friday Night Lights) wins a local Texas golf championship by 15 points, Riverboat (McDonald/Superhero Movie) and his flamboyant wife Jessie (LaNasa/The Campaign) hear about it on the car radio. They just happen to be driving across country and find themselves near the golf course where Augie racked up this big win. Naturally, they can’t resist finding Augie and drawing him into their web. Riverboat is a flashy professional gambler -- and he sees Augie as his ticket to big bucks. “All you have to do is play golf,” he says.
At first, Augie turns him down. But there’s trouble on the home front, and he needs money. Natalie (Murray/An American Carol), his feisty girlfriend, doesn’t like the idea one bit, but Augie finally agrees to go along with Riverboat (don’t you just love that name for a gambler?). Little does he know this decision will end up in a life-or-death million dollar match involving Las Vegas gangster Jimmy Diamond’s (Nouri/TV's The Slap) champion golfer Aaron (Dohring/Veronica Mars). Should Augie play to win, or lose to live? As you can guess, the last part of The Squeeze offers plenty of suspense.
I should also mention the movie's unusual opening sequence, which involves the wildest golf action I've ever seen on screen. It's something called a "cross-country golf game." Evidently, filmmaker Jastrow used to play this back in Midland, Texas. What fun!
If you enjoy movies about golf, this one should please you. I rate it as one of my favorites, along with Pat and Mike, Tin Cup, and The Greatest Game Ever Played.
To find a man’s true character, play golf with him. – P.G. Wodehouse
Gambling can turn into a two-way street when you least expect it. Weird things happen suddenly and your life can go all to pieces. – Hunter S. Thompson
(Released by ARC Entertainment and rated “PG-13” for violence, language and some sexual material.)
For more information about The Squeeze, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.