Genre Spotlight: Homeboy

This was supposed to be a review of Raging Bull. I’d seen it before, but couldn’t remember if I liked it or not, so I figured, hey, why not revisit it for the theme month? Then I started watching it and remembered I really don’t like Raging Bull at all. So I hopped onto Netflix to find a different sports movie to watch; I settled on Mickey Rourke’s 1988 film Homeboy. You may be thinking, Homeboy? I’ve never heard of that. I assure you, there is a reason. In short, I had made a terrible mistake.

Homeboy is the story of Johnny Walker. Let us pause for a moment and consider the artistic merit and thought of the name. Ready? Right, moving on. Johnny Walker is played by pre-whatever-made-him-look-like-that Mickey Rourke; he is a boxer at the end of his career, and clearly not all there. Christopher Walken co-stars as his promoter, Wesley.

You may see where the trouble begins when I tell you that not only is he the star, but Mickey Rourke is the screenwriter. Adding to that feeling of sympathetic regret you’re having towards me is knowing that the film is the only directing effort by Michael Seresin, who is better known to film buffs as a cinematographer who worked on such films as Step Up, Mercury Rising, Fame, and Harry Potter 3.

The plot centers on Walken, a two-bit crook in addition to being a fight promoter, strip club manager, stand-up comedian, and lounge singer (and I swear I am not making that up), trying to pull Johnny into a life of petty crime. Johnny, on the other hand, is focused on flirting with the owner of a local boardwalk mini-carnival (played by Rourke’s then-wife Debra Feuer). And also being a cowboy, dice player, drunk, and Forest Gump-type (again, not making that up).

The movie’s a mess. Meandering, poorly acted by almost everyone involved, with laughably bad dialogue. Christopher Walken is at his Christopher Walken-ist, which is great (because Christopher Walken is a fantastically entertaining ham), but doesn’t help anything. It does have a decent soundtrack, which is the direct result of Eric Clapton somehow having agreed to be involved.

I can in no way endorse you watching Homeboy. It is, however, on Netflix Instant if you are some sort of masochist or in need of something for a bad movie night. There’s a boob–just one–at the beginning, if that does anything for you.

Jonathan is a freelance curmudgeon and would rather be Walken than drivin’. Follow him on Twitter and look at his art.


About Jonathan MacFarlane

Jonathan is a professional curmudgeon and amateur layabout. He makes art at; follow him on Twitter at

Posted on September 16, 2011, in Genre Spotlight, Sports and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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