Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Stand Up Guys


Al Pacino is just getting out of prison after serving twenty-eight years. He’s met on the outside by Christopher Walken. We soon discover that Walken is under orders from a mob boss to kill Pacino, his best friend, because the reason he was in jail was for murder, and the person killed was the mobster’s only son. Doesn’t matter that it was an accident, because the idiot son started shooting and Pacino hit him in the crossfire; he has to die. Pacino is aware of this, and aware that the only reason he wasn’t iced in the pen, which would have been easy, is that the boss wanted him to serve his full term and then be whacked. Pacino also knows that the job will fall to Walken. It has to be done before ten the next morning. Walken admits it, and the two of them go out for a last fling. There’s no point in running, no point in Pacino trying to kill Walken, because then someone else will do it. Better to be killed by your best friend than a stranger.

They steal a souped-up Camaro from some other low-lifes, go to a nursing home to get Alan Arkin, their old driver. They visit a whorehouse (with some of the most beautiful whores I’ve ever seen), and Pacino can’t get it up. So they raid a pharmacy … where Walken loads up on all the meds an old man needs to get through the day and Pacino swallows a shitload of Viagra. He performs like a stallion, but the erection won’t go away, and he ends up in the hospital needing to have his Mount Everest of a hard-on drained …

There are other adventures (there’s a naked woman in the trunk of the Camaro), some of them quite funny. It’s clear this is going to be their last hurrah, but not so clear how it’s going to come out. We both enjoyed the story and the performances. Pacino reins in his tendency to go too far, and Walken uses his sad face instead of his menacing face. It’s sad, and funny, and in the end I felt good for them. They did the right thing.