Ok at the start of the week I exclaimed I want to do ’15’ films minimum this week…hmmm well in the end I only finished on 12, am I happy with that? – You betcha! I am.
99 / 365 – ‘The Hustler’ (1961) – 134 mins
IMDb Challenge #61 / 250 – Ranked #192 – Via DVD Collection
“Fast” Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) is a small-time pool hustler with a lot of talent but a self-destructive attitude. His bravado causes him to challenge the legendary “Minnesota Fats” (Jackie Gleason) to a high-stakes match, but he loses in a heartbreaking marathon. Now broke and without his long-time manager, Felson faces an uphill battle to regain his confidence and his game. It isn’t until he hits rock bottom that he agrees to join up with ruthless and cutthroat manager Bert Gordon (George C. Scott). Gordon agrees to take him on the road to learn the ropes.
Having enjoyed The Hustler immensely on countless occasions, I can quite easily say it’s the second best sports movie of all-time and only marginally behind the first – ‘Raging Bull’. Paul Newman in the lead role oozes cockiness and charm as Fast Eddie, even though he was criminally denied his first Oscar here, this masterpiece propelled him into Hollywood superstardom to make him the ‘King of Cool’. Ironically though twenty-five years later, the Academy did honour Newman with his first and sole Best Acting Award for reprising the role of Fast Eddie in Martin Scorsese’s 1986 sequel, ‘The Color of Money’.
Whilst there’s a huge amount of style on show, The Hustler also boasts some great dark and moral drama, which is filled with tension, as it explores the relationships between talent and success, greed and evil and ultimately the lengths some people will go too and the sacrifices they will make, in order to become a winner – this all adds up to make ‘The Hustler’ – faultless and timeless.
100 / 365 – ‘Star Trek’ (2009) – 127 mins
IMDb Challenge #62 / 250 – Ranked #185 – Via DVD Collection
The young crew onboard for the maiden voyage of the most advanced starship ever created, the U.S.S. Enterprise, must find a way to stop the evil Nero (Eric Bana), whose mission of vengeance threatens all of mankind. But the fate of the galaxy rests in the hands of bitter rivals born worlds apart. One, James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine), a delinquent, thrill-seeking Iowa farm boy, a natural-born leader in search of a cause. The other, Spock (Zachary Quinto), grows up on the planet Vulcan, an outcast due to his half-human background, which makes him susceptible to the volatile emotions that Vulcan’s have long-lived without, and yet an ingenious, determined student, who will become the first of his kind accepted into the Starfleet Academy. The crew is led by Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood).
To honest with you I have never been a massive ‘Trekkie’ fan, I mean I’ve seen all the ‘original’ films and have enjoyed them, but have never come away afterwards thinking they were that fantastic. Shoot light-years ahead to 2009 and watching for the third time today, in what essentially is a character building re-boot, mixed with some thrilling action, I can satisfying say the overall effect is a sensationally different experience, in J. J. Abrams slick and spectacular production. I boldly await the sequel.