Spotlight on Scorsese: The Color of Money (Cinemaniac Reviews)

Alexander Diminiano is the creator of Cinemaniac Reviews, yet another one of the first blogs I discovered on WordPress.  Covering a huge range of films from classics to new releases, Alexander also holds the title of the youngest reviewer I have met so far, though you would not guess it by the quality of his site.  Check his blog out here or take a look at the Blogger Interview we did a while back.

“I’ve got to admit it’s getting better,
A little better all the time.
I have to admit it’s getting better,
It’s getting better,
Since you’ve been mine,
Getting so much better all the time!”
–”Getting Better” by The Beatles

268025_detHad The Color of Money not been crafted in the hands of director Martin Scorsese, I may have easily given it a pass. This is (in technicality) the sequel toThe Hustler, and there’s certainly a fear of a similarly slow work. But essentially, this isn’t a sequel. It has a different style, color cinematography, and it sets up two and a half decades after its predecessor. Sequels have certainly done this, but what we’re dealing with here feels like something more broad. If The Hustler is the appetizer, The Color of Money is the main course. Watching the two consecutively, the 1961 work feels as if it were produced for the sake of its own successor. The back story is a decent supplement (particularly during the opening twenty minutes), but it isn’t at all necessary to fully enjoy this later, slightly better work.

image0031The Color of Money sets the stage two decades after its predecessor. “Fast Eddie” (Paul Newman) has retired from hustling the billiard tables, gone back to a regular lifestyle, a mundane job. Occasionally, he will hang around the bar and watch folks play pool. Upon doing this, he discovers a bright, swift young fellow named Vincent (Tom Cruise) and brings him up like a son in the world of hustling. He is taught how to use this as a skill to gamble, how not to get caught, how to compete, how to deceive. The story is thus similar to, yet all the more intriguing than The Hustler. And as Eddie is training the young chap, he realizes what he truly desires: to venture back into that alluring world he knew so well when he was young.

paul-newman-the-color-of-moneyThe Color of Money is a well-acted drama. Newman, of course, is perfect; at least twice as great as when he previously portrayed Eddie. It is indeed impressive how minimally flaws are left unfixed. Strangely enough, the two I can think of are too major to miss. One is the relationship between Vincent and his girlfriend Carmen (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). I’ll be short with it: it’s cheesy, difficult to believe, and almost murders both characters. Then there’s the finale. Overly foreshadowed, to the point at which it’s entirely predictable nearly twenty minutes ahead of time. Paul Newman trains Tom Cruise, as he himself re-indulges in nine-ball pool. Should I say much more, the final half hour becomes a useless watch. That’s never a good thing when we’re dealing with a film.

images (12)But there’s too much else to not recognize the film for. The soundtrack is an outstanding compilation that represents 1980s. I often waited for a scene set against no music, but it never happened. Of course, Scorsese’s direction is impressive. This isn’t his usual film, but neither are Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore or The King of Comedy, both of which are fantastic. Unlike those two, however, you can identify this instantaneously as his work, simply because of its unique sense of style. What more is there to say? It’s no classic, but it’s worth your money, regardless of the color.

The Verdict: 7.0/10  –  Good

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About r361n4

I'm a student at the University of Washington Majoring Business. I've always loved movies and my goal is to work on the financial side of the film industry. Until then though, I figure I'll spare my friends from my opinions and shout them from a digital mountaintop for anyone who's interested. After all, if a tree falls in a forest and nobody blogs about it, does it really happen?
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8 Responses to Spotlight on Scorsese: The Color of Money (Cinemaniac Reviews)

  1. Thanks for this, Andy! I really appreciate it.

  2. ckckred says:

    I was impressed by Newman’s performance, but I wouldn’t call this Scorsese’s best. Nice review.

    • I’ve given too many A+es to Scorsese simply because he’s a master at his work. Who’s That Knocking at My Door, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, After Hours, Raging Bull, and a few more are perfection as I see them. I’d say my favorite of his is The Departed (because it has Jack Nicholson, which makes for an easy choice). 🙂

      Totally agreed that this isn’t Scorsese’s best. Good movie, regardless.

  3. Reblogged this on Cine-maniac Reviews and commented:
    Greetings, followers!
    At the same time that I am in the “watching” stage of my own Scorsesethon (reviews begin going up in mid-April), Andy Swinnerton of the film blog Rorschach Reviews is spotlighting guest reviews of Martin Scorsese’s outstanding canon. Aptly enough, the feature is titled, “Spotlight on Scorsese”.
    Today, my review of The Color of Money was featured on the spotlight. You all know that I can get pretty arrogant/egocentric (sorry!), but there are other great reviews of the man’s filmography on Andy’s blog as well that I’d strongly recommend checking out. And, check out the movies themselves, as well.
    So…without further ado…click the reblog above.

  4. Mark Hobin says:

    When you told me you were doing The Color of Money, I didn’t realize it had already been posted. Great review. I agree with you. It’s no classic but it is enjoyable. I always felt Newman’s Oscar win was retribution because the actor had never won (for better choices) throughout the years.

    • I agree with you there. I keep forgetting about Newman’s Oscar in fact. He didn’t win for The Hustler or Cool Hand Luke, and I don’t think he was even nominated for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Huge sin.

  5. I love both films but I do prefer The Hustler over this. And I think if Paul Newman wasn’t cast as Fast Eddie they wouldn’t be quite as good.

  6. Pingback: Scorsese Spotlight: Who’s That Knocking at My Door? (Cinemaniac Reviews) | Rorschach Reviews

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