The Color of Money
October 26, 2004 5:34 PM   Subscribe

AskMovieSpoilerFilter - So a while ago I was watching the excellent "The Color of Money" and I can't figure out exactly why the Tom Cruise character was so pissed at the Paul Newman character at the very end. [spoiler] Did Fast Eddie throw his match because he had been payed off to do so? Presumably simply resigning a match would arouse suspicions if that were the case. Or did he do it to avoid playing Tom Cruise in a tournament? I can't find a precis anywhere on the net that goes into that level of detail...
posted by sfz to Media & Arts (7 answers total)
Eddie won't play Vincent because Vince has let him know that he only got to the finals because Vince threw their semifinals match - Vince has huge side bets going and will make more losing than he could winning. Eddie thought he was winning fairly, and redeeming himself both in terms of his honesty and his ability. When in the last moments he breaks to play (and, let's assume, beat!) Vince in a gentlemen's game, that's when he feels and says "I'm back!"

Damn I love that movie.
posted by nicwolff at 5:48 PM on October 26, 2004

Oh, and you should read Walter Tevis' novels The Hustler (which was the source for the first movie) and The Color of Money (which is excellent but contributed only its title to the sequel). Oh, hell, read all Tevis' books - The Queen's Gambit, The Man Who Fell To Earth, and especially Mockingbird. He's my favorite writer.
posted by nicwolff at 5:57 PM on October 26, 2004

Hmm, not sure I answered your question there! At the simple level, Vince is pissed because by refusing to play, Eddie is undercutting his plan to shark the tournament. More deeply, he's confused and angry because Eddie, who taught him to shark instead of playing for love of the game - who seduced him, really, into moral compromise - has redeemed himself, and his repudiation of hustling includes a righteous contempt for Vince, who still at some level heroizes him.
posted by nicwolff at 6:09 PM on October 26, 2004

Sweet! Thanks!
posted by sfz at 6:33 PM on October 26, 2004

A minor point of form: next time, maybe put the spoiler inside the thread?
posted by signal at 6:36 PM on October 26, 2004

WTF? Eddie doesn't throw a game at the end. He forfeits, which is a completely different thing. And, he did this after playing Vincent (Tom Cruise) so "to avoid playing Tom" doesn't make much sense to me. You sure you were paying attention?

a. Eddie (Paul) and Vince (Tom) play in the semi finals.
b. Vince loses.
-- Eddie thinks he beat him.
-- Vince admits he threw the game so he could make more money in the green room. Vince also implies he thought Eddie knew this.
c. Eddie forfeits the championship game because he realizes he didn't earn it. In addition, he's mad at himself for
-- Not realizing what happened.
-- Finally seeing how it's "wrong" to teach someone to not play their best at all times--(What he taught Vince: "Sometimes when you lose, you win.")--and changing him from a unique player into yet another hustler.

The film is unique because it decieves you into thinking that Vincent is the main character and the one that is going to change the most and learn his lesson and that Eddie is the mentor. Yes, he changes, and yes, he learns, but it's Eddie who's wiser in the end and Vincent who did the teaching (though not consciously.)

Eddie won't play Vincent because...

You're remembering it wrong. Eddie does play Vincent and "beats" him in the tournament. In addition, it is Eddie that wants to play in the green room after the tournament and Vincent that is reluctant.

And I'll second nicwolff's recommendations of the Tevis books. He's a superb writer. The origiinal film, The Hustler, is also worth watching. I think it's a much better movie than The Color of Money.
posted by dobbs at 7:04 PM on October 26, 2004

And as for why Vincent is pissed at Eddie -- it's a Father-surrogate thing. That's all. And Eddie's pissed at Vincent because of a son-surrogate thing. Nothing exotic. Don't even need to get Freudian.

Great flick, too. Loved Forrest Whittaker's cameo -- that instant when he shifts from the eager kid to the con man who's proud of his work is one of the great bits of eyebrow-acting in American film. You can back it up and move it forward and be hard put to see how he does it, but he does.
posted by lodurr at 7:47 AM on October 27, 2004

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