Day 353: The Hustler (1961)

hustler1961-3I can’t believe that out 52 Sundays in year that after today there is only one Sunday left in the whole entire year. So for this week’s Sunday At The Classics, I decided to check out the pool hall classic from Paul Newman (Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid) in The Hustler. Fast Eddie Felson (Newman) is one of the best pool hall hustlers around that is looking for that match up that could make him the big money. One match with the best around in Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) sends Eddie into a downward spiral that leaves him broke with no manager. A chance meeting with a girl (Piper Laurie) at the bus station begins to show him that there is more to life then just winning and losing and Eddie then begins his comeback. The film also stars George C. Scott (Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb) as Bert Gordon, Myron McCormick (The Fight For Life) as Charlie, Murray Hamilton (Jaws) as Findley, Michael Constantine (My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2) as Big John, Stefan Gierasch (High Plains Drifter) as Preacher, Jake LaMotta (Raging Bull) as Bartender, Vincent Gardenia (Little Shop Of Horrors) as Bartender, and the film was directed by Robert Rossen (The Roaring Twenties).

paul-newman-the-hustler-1961There is definitely a reason why this is a must see film and a absolute classic. The sequence in the beginning of the film between Fast Eddie and Minnesota Fats was absolutely amazing and it kept you hooked because you wanted to see who would quit first. The relationship between Piper Laurie’s character Sarah and Fast Eddie was also a fascinating aspect of the film because they were theoretically not made for each other, but then again maybe they were. There’s the old adage that women love the bad boys and maybe she was experiencing that, but she was such a benefit for him more than he was for her. The acting in the film was phenomenal and you have to love the camera work in this film because the shots always looked so full and they painted the various settings just right. You felt like you were in an actual dingy smoke infested pool hall the whole time you were watching. In a way in this film, you were hopeful of Eddie, but he could definitely frustrate you which is why I loved the story of the film. They had all the right conflicts and sub plots to keep you hooked from beginning to end. One of the other things I loved about this film is the very end during the credit sequence when everyone except George C. Scott leaves the pool hall by the end of the credits. You’ll find out why for yourself, but I thought it was poetic justice. I need to check out The Color Of Money (which is the sequel), but give this one a watch while you are it. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.

Day 92: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016)

122215-big-fat-greek-wedding-2-poster.jpg.resize.400There are movies in the world that I always said that I would never bother checking out, but I have gone against my word a couple of times. One of those times was Magic Mike XXL and now My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is the other film and that is also today’s film. The film fast forwards 17 years later as Toula (Nia Vardalos) and Ian’s (John Corbett) daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris) is at that age when she wants to leave the house and city for college. Toula is having a hard time with this as she also has to balance a problem at her parents house. Gus (Michael Constantine) and Maria (Lainie Kazan) think they’ve been married, but it turns out the priest never signed their marriage certificate. So, Maria wants to have a real wedding and the family has to plan it. The film also stars Joey Fatone (Family Feud) as Angelo, Andrea Martin (Wag The Dog) as Aunt Voula, Gia Carides (Year One) as Nikki, Alex Wolff (The Sitter) as Bennett, Louis Mandylor (The Quest) as Nick, Bess Meisler (Daddy Day Care) as Mana Yiayia, John Stamos (Full House) as George, Mark Margolis (The Wrestler) as Panos, and the film was directed by Kirk Jones (Walking Ned Devine).

3c08f990f7258600cd7b4a0c5b692fdeAs far as the movie goes, I actually enjoyed watching this film for what it is. It follows that motto of no matter how dysfunctional or weird that your family might be, they are exactly what you call them which is family. The movie is fun to watch especially if you come from a European/Mediterranean family like I did which helps you connect with the family. When the family is whole and together on screen is where the real laughs happen in the film and there is plenty of it. Andrea Martin deserves a lot of credit for stealing some scenes in the film and being hilarious. The only thing that bugs me is that I never saw the first film so I have nothing to really base any judgement off of. I can’t tell you whether it’s better than the first which took the world by storm back in 2002. All I can really say is that the film was fun to watch and the acting is definitely where it’s at in this film. Kudos to the studio for getting all of the original cast members back for the film and even adding some cool cameos like Rob Riggle. One of the things I liked about the film was the soundtrack with a Greek cover of Billy Idol’s White Wedding (by George Kostoglou).  I thought it was cool.  The film isn’t the greatest film in the world, but it does it’s job which is to entertain you. I’ll have to check out the first film now that I have seen this one. I am going to give this one an B for a final grade.