Tag: rip torn

MOVIE REVIEW | Sweet Bird of Youth (1962)

Sweet bird
“Well, I may have done better… but God knows I have done worse.”

It’s always easy to look back at bygone eras in art and assume they were somehow different, even better.  It feels like in my lifetime, the biggest movie stars were either action movie meatheads or pretty boy idols.  While the 50s, 60s and 70s were all about  legit actors in serious roles.  But just like the 80s had action stars, like Bruce Willis in Die Hard, who proved the action genre wasn’t brain dead, previous generations had plenty of vapid, vacant movie stars where their pursuit of fame greatly outweighed their desire to be great actors. Like Elvis in pretty much anything.

But one of the actors to perpetuate my belief that things were better back in the day, is Paul Newman.  He had movie star good locks, he had movie star fame, he had movie star success.  But with the years since his heyday, I have the benefit of only the real crackers remaining famous and relevant.  So while I’m sure he made more than a few clunkers, his legacy means he’ll always be remembered for the crackers, like Sweet Bird of Youth. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | The Cincinnati Kid (1965)


The young, cocky up and comer, going for one big win against the old guard is almost its own genre. Paul Newman did it in 1967 as a pool hall grifter in The Hustler as Fast Eddie Felson. Then backed up again 25 years later, reprising the Felson role for The Color of Money. Matt Damon did it at the poker table with Rounders in 1998. And I’m sure there are dozens I haven’t seen, or just forgotten. It’s a tried and true plot formula that lets you put the charisma filled star of the day in the lead role, then let the seedy, yet enviable cool of the not-quite legit world deliver a seedy, yet enviably cool story. Two years before Newman tore up the felt against Minnesota Fats in The Hustler, Steve McQueen did it poker style, in The Cincinnati Kid.

The titular Kid, McQueen is on a winning streak and can’t be beaten. Whether it’s high stakes cards with the city’s most ruthless gamblers, or a simple coin flip with a young boy in the street, the Cincinnati Kid can’t lose. Which means it’s time for him to go for the big one, local poker king, Edward G Robinson as Lancey Howard. (more…)