Sunday, March 12, 2017
Mike ODonnell 96 "The Hustler"
Nothing makes the mouth water like golden age cinema. Hard shadows, black and white, smooth dialogue through cigarette smoke, stiff drinks and puppy eyed girls. All these things and more make a film "golden" make it "classic". All these elements are always accompanied by the greatest names in the game, the biggest and brightest stars to ever grace the big screen. Now I'm sure we all have our favorites in that regard, mine has always been and will always be the great Paul Newman. Something in his performances, thee eyes, his smile, his charm, a true classic, a real game changer that commanded attention in every role.
The Hustler won't be thee only Newman to pop up on this 100 list but I'll start with it. Pool has the allure of cool naturally hard wired into it. All you have to do is walk into a pool hall and look at a single table, the light shinning hard on the green, the balls racked and waiting. Within seconds I need a drink and a smoke and a pool stick in hand. Wether you suck at pool or great like Eddie Felson there's something about it, just like there's something about classic cinema. The Hustler is both these things ontop of Paul Newman making it an instant triple threat in my book. Fast Eddie Felson is a smooth talking hustler who's biggest opponent is himself. With a insatiable appetite for the game and an inability to recognize his success and when to call it quits. Beyond Newman the rest of the cast is incredible as well, with George C. Scott, Jackie Gleason, and Piper Laurie, all of whom play there characters to absolute perfection. The whole movie floats like a boxing match, with elegance and grace and heartbreak, all the while filled to the brim with style and 1000 lessons learned. A character study for the ages that remains an absolute favorite with only my highest praises to give.