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>
When Vincent comes to Eddie's room near the end of the movie to tell him that he let Eddie beat him, the music playing in Eddie's room is jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker performing "I'll Remember April." Two years after TCOM was made, Forest Whitaker, who also hustled Eddie in this movie, portrayed Parker in Clint Eastwood's film Bird (1988). See more »
There are many situations where after making a shot the cue ball is shown to be in one place on the table and then before the next shot the cue ball has moved to a slightly different place on the table. See more »
Nine-ball is rotation pool, the balls are pocketed in numbered order. The only ball that means anything, that wins it, is the 9. Now, the player can shoot eight trick shots in a row, blow the 9, and lose. On the other hand, the player can get the 9 in on the break, if the balls spread right, and win. Which is to say, that luck plays a part in nine-ball. But for some players, luck itself is an art.
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A good ride, colorful shooting (camera and pool), but a bit thin overall, except Newman.
The Color of Money (1986)
The reputation of this films rides partly on its director, a mainstream Martin Scorsese, and on the previous film it bounces off of (and makes vague reference to), The Hustler. Key to both films is the astonishing Paul Newman, who holds his end of the stick and then some. The rest of the cast is purely in canned and competent support roles, or in semi-star roles by two young actors with some screen presence but no great subtle skill to match Newman's.
I'm speaking not only of Mary Elizabeth Mastrontonio, who is forced to play the slightly tough, slightly sexy, generally submissive girlfriend, but also of Tom Cruise, who is brilliant at being "flakey" partly because he is in real life, from all accounts. You give Scorsese credit here for using the young actor in a role that matches his natural persona, in contrast to others, including Spielberg, who seem to make more of the actor than there is, and a certain falseness gets in the way. But this film uses the awkwardness and naive, boyish qualities of Cruise as a sudden pool shark really well.
What holds it all back? I think basically plot. I mean, it's fun to see the big hustle at play, and to get stung once or twice when things aren't what they seem. But we sort of know going in that that's the general plan, and then it happens. And it takes a long time happening...there are no (no) complications here, beyond pool and hustling. The romances, for what they are worth, a completely thin, and didn't have to be. The settings, all these great (great) poolhalls and small town joints are terrific, populated a little too perfectly by locals of all different stripes. The camera-work makes some fairly cinema verite footage make sense in the scenes, but not with either edge or lyricism.
This all sounds a little like I'm working hard to point out the flaws, and I must go back to where I started about Newman, and the basic strength of the aging pool player facing a change in his personal scenery. It's a canned affair overall. Well done, sure, but without the richness of the best of Scorsese's work, or the best of Hollywood, for that matter, including the preceding The Hustler, which you might see in a pairing with this one.
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