‘Hustle’ Movie Review – Full Circle Cinema
Composed of 450 players, the NBA is one of the most difficult leagues to integrate. The process is difficult and detailed. Lebron James and his partner Maverick Carter produced a very detailed film about the Netflix process titled Hustle. We all know James’ path to the NBA, and we also know many other stars born on the way to the state. Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant are all players who went to the NBA right out of high school. But what about a foreign player? One that isn’t permanently televised in the United States?
Hustle follows NBA scout Stanley Sugerman (Adam Sandler) as he finds the perfect basketball player for the 76ers. He goes from city to city, state to state and country to country in search of the next best thing. He first looks for a player named Hass (Moe Wagner) and he doesn’t like him. After a tense conversation with Vince (Ben Foster), the son of 76ers owner Rex Merrick (Robert Duvall), he was offered an assistant coaching job. Rex dies the same night and he is sent back to the track by Vince who dislikes him because he thinks he knows more than Stanley. He then finds Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangomez), a versatile basketball player any team could use. He has everything you expect from a player, but he also has baggage.
The two go on a trip after Vince quits his job as an NBA scout and takes it upon himself to try to make sure Bo can live out his dream. The only thing standing in his way? A terrible media, a dark past and a bad guy Kermit Wilts (Anthony Edwards). Stanley must find a way to balance his family and help Cruz, who is away from his daughter for the first time. The journey is long and exhausting, but they create the father-son bond that neither of them has known before.
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The way it all blends together so well, it’s like a very pivotal painting, a work of art. Will Fetters and Taylor Materne give us a very well written film. Director Jeremiah Zagar and cinematographer Zak Mulligan capture the angles of the handles, the shots, the chatters, the passes, and it’s all great. Between Hustle and Win time, basketball fans are living a dream. The script has a few minor flaws, as the film becomes quite predictable towards the end. Overall though, it’s very sincere and full of emotion.
The acting in this film is awesome. Sandler taps into his Uncut Gems manners a bit, and Queen Latifah is brilliant as always. Hernangomez plays his character very well. A single father born in Spain trying to support his daughter. It shows all the emotions of a basketball player doing what he can to support his family. This movie sums up what it takes to become an NBA player. Edwards also plays a wonderful villain, as well as Foster.
The film showcases all of the ways basketball and the NBA have evolved. We have challenges on social media, NBA on TNT, and what a global sport it is. Philadelphia, where most of the film takes place, is home to some of the biggest sports fans on the planet. They love their 76ers and have a rich basketball history. Players like Dr J and Allen Iverson who created a great culture when they played there. There’s a lot in this movie that screams basketball. Even the open gym sessions that NBA players have during the summer were highlighted in some way. It’s just a complete basketball movie that engulfs the culture.
I loved this film. It’s the best basketball movie I’ve seen since. Coach Carter. Was it a bit cheesy at times? Sure. The film as a whole is a great story that is well told. I enjoyed watching Sandler in another serious movie. The film also shows how great basketball athletes are. Edwards and Hernangomez are two rising young NBA stars. Hernangomez has an incredible story of how he became an NBA player, and it’s not exactly that, but it’s very close. I really appreciated Hustle as a movie fan and a basketball fan. I hope you all did or will too. – Rascal F. Kennedy
Hustle is now streaming on Netflix.