Plot: What’s it about?
After Tom Cruise made a little movie called “Top Gun” his follow-up was this little movie about pool, directed by Martin Scorsese. Now saving the world against the Russians and playing pool are as opposite as night and day, but Tom Cruise has always picked his projects very carefully, well after Top Gun anyway…In this, Cruise plays a local small time pool hustler named Vincent Lauria. Vincent and his girlfriend hang out at the local bars taking $20 a rack off the local folks. This and working at a toy store, Vincent calls making a living. It’s very early on that we meet ‘Fast’ Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) who reprises his role from this movie’s unofficial predecessor, The Hustler. Newman, who won his first Academy Award for this role, is a burnt out, once-been pool shark who now makes a very good living selling liquor and staking up and coming pool sharks. He sees Vincent play and all of the sudden the fire is lit! He must take young Vincent under his wing and tell him everything he has learned (the hard way).
Cruise plays the character of Vincent to a tee. He’s everything that the actor embodies in most all of his roles, cocky, arrogant, naive, but most of all—likeable. While Eddie breaks his back to teach Vincent all the in’s and out’s of pool hustling, all Vincent is interested in doing is playing with his new pool cue. The story follows the gang across the country, until they eventually end up in Atlantic City, where Vincent and Eddie have already had a minor falling-out and have gone their seperate ways. The Color of Money works on so many levels that it’s impossible to classify it as a certain “type” of movie.
The Color of Money is one of those movies that has been overlooked by major audiences, as it didn’t seem to be the right role for Cruise at that time. Now, he has seemed to embrace his artistic side with newer movies like “Magnolia”, “Eyes Wide Shut” and “Jerry McGuire”. If, for nothing else, you see this, see it for great performances by Paul Newman and Tom Cruise and see a superbly directed movie by the one and only Martin Scorsese.
Video: How does it look?
Ok, not once, not twice, but three times it’s labeled on the box “Enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions (once on the sticker). Wouldn’t it be great if Disney would actually take an old print of a movie and make a new anamorphic transfer? Well, they don’t. And what’s worse is that they tell you they do and then don’t deliver. Nevertheless, this is the first time that this movie has been presented in it’s original widescreen format and it does look pretty good. Not great, pretty good. There are elements of artifacting, and this print is showing it’s age, as it’s coming up on it’s 15 year anniversary. Maybe Disney will do a recall like they have with so many of their other titles, but I doubt it. Add this to the list of other botched Disney titles…
Audio: How does it sound?
To my knowledge, I can’t think of any other movie that is presented in Dolby Digital 4.1, I’m sure they’re out there, I just can’t think of one. Essentially what 4.1 means is that it’s like 5.1, where sound comes through all five channels, however the surrounds are mono. The sound is good, not excellent, but it serves it’s purpose. The sound of pool balls breaking has never sounded better, and the scene where Cruise is dancing around to Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” is one of the best sounding in the movie.
Supplements: What are the extras?