***½

You gotta have two things to win: you gotta have brains and you gotta have balls.  Now you have too much of one and not enough of the other.

Martin Scorsese reads opening monologue and it is cheesy pie.  It’s interesting how much Paul Newman’s voice changed from The Hustler until this one.  That said, he can still deliver when he’s got the right material, Mary Mastrantonio and he have a great scene with him outclassing her as a hustler.  I feel like this movie has me saying uh oh a lot.  On the bright side, one time has Tom Cruise getting the crap beaten out of him.

The irony of having actors yelling at each other about acting, and then to have Mastrantonio use the analogy of people acting in movies not going home and sleeping with each other.  The only thing that would have made the scene cooler would be if there were a rumor about Tom Cruise and Paul Newman having an affair with each other during the movie.  The pool/drinking/hanging out montages were very well done in this…well, except for the part where there’s some sped up footage of pool—what the hell was Scorsese thinking?  And what happened to Mary Mastrantonio?  She seemed really good in this.  She deserved her Best Supporting Actress Oscar nom.

I went into this film assuming that this would be a let down, that Paul Newman won Best Actor because of his body of work leading up to this film.  He failed to win for The Hustler, Hud, Cool Hand Luke, The Verdict and two other films before this.  Looking back, how could the Academy rationalize Newman’s failure to win at least one Best Actor Oscar in those films!  Newman brought ‘Fast’ Eddie Felson back to life and added in years of life experience.  Having not seen any of the other 4 nominees from 1987, I still believe he actually deserved this one.  If not for the cheesy pie ending, this would easily be a four star movie.

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