Altvater: ‘The Squeeze’ mixes golf, high-stakes gambling, intrigueWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
“Tin Cup,” starring Kevin Costner and Rene Russo, was Hollywood’s last effort at a movie with a golf theme, but golf fans lament it as more of a love story than a true golf movie. “Caddy Shack” and “Happy Gilmore” are two of the highest grossing golf movies of all time, but both play more to a ridiculous comedic storyline with golf as a backdrop. There are over 20 million Americans who enjoy the occasional round of golf — a sizable market that hungers to see golf scenarios acted out on the big screen.
They might finally get it with “The Squeeze.”
Screenwriter, director and producer Terry Jastrow and his wife, actress Anne Archer (“Fatal Attraction,” “Patriot Games,” “Clear and Present Danger”), were having dinner one evening in Las Vegas with Keith Flatt and his wife, when Keith related an incredible story. Flatt was an accomplished golfer, with dreams of winning the U.S. Open as a youth, in a small town in Texas. He extolled them with a tale of high-stakes gambling that ended in a life-or-death $1 million match in Las Vegas.
Jastrow has been in the entertainment business for over 30 years and recognized a good story when he heard it. He was with ABC Sports for 22 years and produced 62 major championships, Indy 500s, Super Bowls and the Olympics. He is also an actor and has been involved in the movie business over the years.
He wrote the screen-play for “The Squeeze” and along with his wife, set out to get it onto film. Funds had to be raised, actors cast and filming locations chosen. Several old friends jumped in to help provide the necessary investment, including, Hall of Fame golfers Tom Watson and Judy Rankin.
Watson was somewhat skeptical and withheld his support until Jastrow could prove he would cast an accomplished golfer in the lead role. Jeremy Sumpter fit the bill nicely as “Augie,” the naive young player whisked into the ruthless world of gamblers and mobsters. Sumpter (J.D. McCoy in TV’s “Friday Night Lights”) has 15 years of acting experience, but more importantly holds a +1 handicap at his home course in California.
When Watson viewed a video of Sumpter on the golf course, he was immediately all in and commented,
”Jastrow’s true understanding of the game (with 22 years sports directing experience) injects reality into the scenes with a stream of golf humor that golfers will find both familiar and believable, which are sadly lacking in all previous golf movies.”
Movie fans will recognize Riverboat (Christopher McDonald) as Shooter McGavin from Adam Sandler’s “Happy Gilmore.” McDonald is perfectly cast as the sleazy gambler that lures Augie with the promise of easy money. Katherine LaNasa, a veteran of both cinema and television, steals the show with a quirky performance as Riverboat’s girlfriend. Michael Nouri rounds out the main characters in the movie as a Las Vegas mobster, who loves to gamble, but always wants to tilt the odds in his favor.
“The Squeeze” becomes apparent, when Augie is caught between Nouri, who threatens to kill him if he doesn’t throw the match, and McDonald, who threatens not only Augie, but his entire family.
The movie, which has garnered praise from the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson, is being marketed in a unique method. It will be available for download through a Groupon special on April 16. It will be released to selected theaters April 17 and also becomes available for viewing on video on demand.
A full interview with Terry Jastrow can be heard on Back 9 Report at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 14 or downloaded at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edraft/2015/04/15/the-back-nine-report-presented-by-edraftcom-100th-show.
However you like to watch movies, “The Squeeze” is a must-see for golf fans.