Former pool champ Fast Eddie Felson takes a hotheaded young protégé under his wing, inspiring him to stage a comeback.
The Color of Money (1986)
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Written by Richard Price
Starring Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth
Mastrantonio, Helen Shaver, John Turturro, Bill Cobbs
Sequel to 1961's The Hustler
Based on the novel by Walter Tevis
Oscar Wins - Best Actor (Paul Newman)
Oscar Nominations - Best Supporting Actress (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction
Who knew a belated sequel to The Hustler would be so worth watching? There's a 25 year gap between these two films, but Paul Newman doesn't miss a beat transforming back into Fast Eddie Felson, pool player extraordinaire. Only this time, Eddie's past his prime, having squandered a promising career as a pool shark. While I'm glad Newman won an Oscar for his trouble, I don't think this is the film he should've won for. It's such a blatant career Oscar. Personally, I'd give it to him for The Verdict, but that's a debate that could go on forever. Having said that, his performance in The Color of Money is pretty damn good, and he outshines all of his costars.
Fast Eddie Felson gave up the game, but he didn't give up the life. Now he hangs around pool halls just reading people. One day, he encounters promising newcomer Vincent (Cruise), who is every bit as naturally talented as Eddie himself once was. He takes Vincent under his wing, teaching him how to play people as well as he plays pool. But just like Rocky V, he creates a monster and must take him down himself once Eddie starts to realize he may have left the game, but the game never left him. A comeback begins, and Fast Eddie is back. Despite Scorsese basically saying it was a paycheck gig to direct this one, he does bring his flair to the film and produces something very entertaining.
The Color of Money isn't quite as good as The Hustler, but it's pretty close. And that's a tall order, living up to a classic like that. I think it's cool that Paul Newman wasn't just willing to revisit Eddie Felson, he was eager to. You can feel that the entire time. This was a character dear to his heart, and he brought him to life twice with gusto.