28. The Color of Money

I spent alot of time in the 80’s wandering around video stores while my dad was picking out what he wanted to watch.  The front cover of this film always appealed to me for some reason and was ultimately forbidden since it was Rated R…so now I’m all grown up I  can cross another “forbidden” film off the list.  A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon, you are next!

In Martin Scorcese’s The Color of Money, Paul Newman reprises his role as “Fast” Eddie Felson from the 1971 hit The Hustler and is now a smooth talking liquor salesmen. Eddie quickly encounters a young and cocky pool hustler named Vincent and wants to take him under his wing to make him a real success.  After some convincing, he agrees to hit the road with Eddie and learn the ins and outs of hustling pool halls, all the way to a national competition in Atlantic City.

Along the way Eddie must deal with his protégé’s immaturity and unwillingness to learn.  Eddie also ends up getting hustled in a pool hall and losing thousands of dollars, which gives him the desire to return to playing pool and taking the suckers for all their money like he used to.

As Eddie regains his thirst for pride and cash, he also has to deal with Vincent who has split from his teacher now that he has learned all of Eddie’s tricks.  You can guess where it goes from there!

The Color of Money is a fun and easy watch, but it no doubt rides on the strength of its stars.  Paul Newman is a sharp and a commanding presence as he ever was in this Oscar winning role for Best Actor.  Tom Cruise’s performance is also just fine, but is more in the league of Cocktail than Top Gun or Rain Man.

Cruise and Newman steadily build tension off one another throughout the film with the help of a razor sharp script.  Youth versus experience is rarely this exciting to watch in film, with Newman’s veteran swagger and Cruise’s mastery of 80’s brashness.

I have not seen The Hustler and did not know it was somewhat of a sequel to begin with, but the film definitely stands on its own and manages to be smooth, slick, and speedy throughout-yet still maintaining the sleazy and gritty facade of a shady pool hall.

The survey says…3.5 stars out of 5

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Categories: 100 Films

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