We threw it back to The Hustler for #TBT a couple of months back. Today, since Tom Cruise is in the news with Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation breaking Friday, I thought I'd take a look at The Color of Money starring Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastroantonio and Paul Newman reprising as Fast Eddie Felson.
While both The Hustler and The Color of Money are both inspired by Walter Tevis books featuring Fast Eddie as the protagonist, the inspiration for the second film is loose at best.
Here's what the book is about:
After 20 years of hibernation, former pool champion "Fast" Eddie Felson is playing exhibition matches with former rival Minnesota Fats in shopping malls for prizes like cable television. With one failed marriage and years of running a pool hall, Eddie is now ready to regain the skills needed to compete in a world of pool that has changed dramatically since he left it behind. The real challenge comes when Eddie realizes that in order to compete successfully, he must hone his skills in the game of nine-ball as opposed to the straight pool that had once won him fame. With a new generation of competitors, fear and doubt and the daily possibility of failure arise, giving Fast Eddie a new challenge to overcome.Which has almost nothing to do with the movie:
Fast Eddie Felson teaches a cocky but immensely talented protégé the ropes of pool hustling, which in turn inspires him to make an unlikely comeback.
While Paul Newman won a Best Actor Oscar and Mary Elizabeth Mastroani received a lot of positive reviews including both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, Tom Cruise was the odd man out. But that makes sense, he was the young guy, playing the trope of trying to knock the big man down a notch.
Directed by Martin Scorsese from an Academy Award winning screenplay by Richard Price, The Color of Money has been on my 'to see' list for a long time. Oh, I watched it a long time ago—that would be when it came out in 1986—but mostly I remember being unimpressed. The seediness of the pool hall, the crassness of the culture, the character manipulations turned me off. I was looking for confirmation that the world was a better, brighter place than it was, than it is, the harsh ugly truth was an unwelcome turnoff. At the tail end of a long, ill-fated relationship, it's possible that I saw everything through, not rose-tinted, but dark glasses, the kind blind people used to wear, not to help them see, just to shield the public from staring at their unseeing eyes.
It's time to revisit this particular movie from the past if only to check in with that very enthusiastic boyish Tom Cruise. How could we be surprised at his couch-jumping antics when it's clear early on that boundless enthusiasm is in his DNA? At 53, Tom Cruise may have mellowed and grown in real self-assurance and confidence. His Mission Impossible' Ethan Hunt may be the guy that can do it all, but it's Tom Cruise, and his youthful boundless enthusiasm, that drives the car, and climbs aboard moving planes. Let's take a look at the boy before he became the man. The Color of Money is available to stream on youtube, GooglePlay, Amazon and Vudu.
Check out the trailer for The Color of Money
Movie for a #ThrowbackThursday
Read Roger Ebert's original 1986 review: