J.R. is a typical Italian-American on the streets of New York. When he gets involved with a local girl, he decides to get married and settle down, but when he learns that she was once raped... See full summary »
Pool hustler Fast Eddie Felson finds the young, promising pool player Vincent in a local bar and he sees in him a younger version of himself. To try and make it as in the old days, Eddie offers to teach Vincent how to be a hustler. After some hesitations Vincent accepts and Eddie takes him and Vincent's girlfriend Carmen on a tour through the country to work the pool halls. However, Vincent's tendency to show off his talent and by doing so warning off the players and losing money, soon leads to a confrontation with Eddie.Written by
Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>
Older, wiser ex-pool hustler Paul Newman (as "Fast" Eddie Felson) spots younger, dumber pool playing fanatic Tom Cruise (as Vincet Lauria). Mr. Newman sees in Mr. Cruise the same ability he once possessed. Newman thinks, however, Cruise is a "flake". He decides to teach Cruise the tricks of the pool-hustling trade, make lots of money, and bring him to the BIG pool playing tournament in Atlantic City. BUT, the ex-champ and protégée have problems, and split up. Newman gets a new pair of eyeglasses, and decides to re-enter the game. Who do you think he meets during the ending tournament?
Most obvious strength is Newman's excellent portrayal; the entire film rests on his characterization, and his expertly delivers the goods. Newman either inspires, or allows everyone else to shine on their own; at least, that's what comes across on screen. Newman is a marvelous actor. Cruise wisely plays his part not as a younger version of Paul Newman, but as a unique, naive character, with similar pool table expertise. May Elizabeth Mastrantonio (as Carmen) has a choice role as Cruise's accompanying girlfriend. Watch for a great scene wherein Newman shows he understands women as well as he does pool.
The movie doesn't seem very realistic, after the three get going. The barrooms and pool halls are surprisingly smoke-free. Perhaps, director Martin Scorsese was portending a "smoking ban". The soundtrack music is too good, in most instances; sadly, there are no cheap jukeboxes playing awful oldies. Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" is an exception; it is a good song, and is used very well in the film. No balls jump off the table (or anywhere); it's a tight, professional picture. And, Martin Scorsese, Paul Newman, and Tom Cruise are certainly an irresistible box office hustle.
******* The Color of Money (1986) Martin Scorsese ~ Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, May Elizabeth Mastrantonio
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