I 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).
There 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.
I have always been a huge fan of Natalie Portman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt so when you combine the two and have them in a movie, I am probably going to watch. That was definitely when it came to today’s film which is called Hesher (the movie poster was also bad ass). TJ (Rubber‘s Devin Brochu) for the last two months has been having a rough time since the death of his mother whether it’s dealing with his dad (The Office‘s Rainn Wilson) who is also depressed or the school bully who beats up on the poor kid all the time. One day unexpectedly, a mysterious anarchist named Hesher (Levitt) moves into his garage and introduces a little bit of chaos into his life and turns things upside down for his family. The film also stars Natalie Portman (Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge Of The Sith) as Nicole, Piper Laurie (The Hustler) as Grandma, Brendan Hill (Dude, Where’s My Car?) as Dustin, John Carroll Lynch (American Horror Story) as Larry, Mary Elizabeth Barrett (There Will Be Blood) as Meryl, Frank Collison (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) as the funeral director, Monica Staggs (Tears Of The Sun) as Mom, and the film was written and directed by Spencer Susser (I Love Sarah Jane).
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is just absolutely brilliant in the film as he is the agent of chaos for the family. Sometimes in order to get people to see clearly when their minds are clouded is to introduce a little chaos and that is what Hesher does for them. The film is a dark comedy which means it’s not a film that contains stupid funny like the previous film I watched for this blog. Every character sort of has a balance with each other and there is a cause and effect for all of them when Hesher shows up. Natalie Portman’s character is a mess and she becomes even more of a mess when she meets Hesher, but she seems to turn out OK just like TJ’s family. When I was first watching the film, I felt like Hesher wasn’t real because it seemed that only certain people could see him and he never got blamed for anything stupid he did. It almost like he was an agent of God sent down to try and help them fix their messed up lives, but other people can see him. The other appealing thing about this film is the soundtrack because Hesher himself is a heavy metal maniac. If you love early Metallica and some Motorhead thrown in there, then you will love the soundtrack like me. Jospeh is an amazing actor and combine him with other amazing talents and you have a hidden gem here. That is why I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
For today’s film, I only have one question to ask all of you and it’s are you ready to meet one of the most dysfunctional families ever? The film is called Eulogy and it stars Zooey Deschanel ((500) Days Of Summer) as Kate Collins, a girl who is supposed to give a eulogy at her grandfather’s funeral. The only problem is that she doesn’t know what to say and looks to her father (Hank Azaria), a failed actor turned pornstar and his dysfunctional siblings which include a lesbian, an overbearing bitch, and a sleazeball for some memories of the old man which turns out to be a project. Oh not to mention that she has to help prevent her grandmother from committing suicide in this black comedy. The film stars Debra Winger (Urban Cowboy) as Alice Collins, Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) as Skip Collins, Kelly Preston (Twins) as Lucy Collins, Rip Torn (Men In Black) as Edmund Collins, Piper Laurie (Carrie) as Charlotte Collins, Famke Janssen (X-Men) as Judy, Glenne Headly (Don Jon) as Samantha, Jesse Bradford (Romeo + Juliet) as Ryan, and the film was directed by Michael Clancy.
I have found in the past that some black comedies can be a little hard to digest only because you are trying to find the humor in the film. I think since I have grown up so much and found how crappy life can be, it’s easier to find it now when your cynical. I thought that I have seen some real dysfunctional families in my time, but nothing tops the Collins family who are in for the biggest surprise towards the end. If you like character driven movies, I think this is a great film for characters because everyone in the film is just so darn unique and the personalities of some while typical are just as interesting too. I was watching this film and I did not realize that Debra Winger was in the movie the whole time. She does an amazing job playing the overbearing, hypocritical, controlling sister while the always beautiful Kelly Preston just looks amazing as she plays the lesbian sister. Ray Romano plays your prototypical bonehead, disgustingly perverted, can’t handle feelings kind of guy. Famke Janssen’s character is very witty as she has to be as the controversial soon to be wife of Kelly Preston in the film. Don’t think by all that that Zooey’s character is the only normal one in the film because she has issues of her own as well. The movie has it all from your drama filled subplots that unfold before your very eyes to those moments that you just laugh with. I honestly had never heard of this film, but I am glad that I caught it on HBO when I did. I am going to give this film an B+ for a final grade.