It is always interesting to read a book that has since become a movie. That said, “The Color of Money” has always been one of my all-time favorite films. Paul Newman as Fast Eddie Felson in what was (deservingly but incredibly) his only Best Actor Oscar win and Tom Cruise dancing to “Werewolves of London” makes for great entertainment.
The reason I read – especially these days – is for inspiration, for motivation and to feel kinship with the characters.
Fast Eddie, now 50 years old and 20+ years after the events of “The Hustler”, finds himself in a trance, walking through a meaningless life. He looks up, has little left and certainly has paid little respect to his own talents. Pool – absolutely – is a talent, but his lie more deeply: understanding people, winning money and aging well.
The book is nothing like the movie; Minnesota Fats plays prominently in Felson’s decision to re-focus on his pool greatness. The people are different but the theme is the same: at any age, at any time, we can be presented opportunities to shine. We have to seize every one of them, lest we will one day look back and regret not doing so. But, by then, it is too late.
“The Color of Money” is a tremendous book with a great story; Walter Tevis’s incredible descriptions and detail make you feel like you are watching a whole another movie. You see the pool table, you can hear the chants and the nine balls landing in their pockets and you feel yourself rooting for Fast Eddie to realize – once again – his gift.
The protagonist distanced himself from pool over the years, but it was always there. And when he reclaimed it, the result was enthralling for all 294 pages.
On the snap!