Dinner and a Movie: The Hustler

Some Healthy Food Fun:    Dinner and a Movie
The Hustler


On the Menu Minnesota "Fat Burgers" made from Bison, Fast Eddy Fries, Home made barbecue sauce.
Video Clips from the Hustler, How to make Bison burgers


"Anything can be great."
    –Fast Eddie


"The Hustler", has to be in my top 4 list of favorite black and white movies, along with Marlon Brando's Mouritori, Bogie's Casablanca, and the ingenious modern day cult classic, Spike Lee's first film, She's Gotta Have It. There has always been something about those films shot in black and white that have a richness of the characters, the setting and the mood, where it feels more vibrant and lively than a color film.

One famous director said that a black and white film is harder to shoot than a color film. The Hustler is one of my personal "true classics". I am not talking about some consensus list of what makes a classic, or the films that are great because everyone said they are great. Kinda like how everyone rants and raves over Bogart's The Maltese Falcon, whereas I really wasn't feeling it, although I was a huge fan of his Key Largo, and his World War II movie Sahara. I'm Just saying that The Hustler is a classic on my personal list, so far how as how it moved, and still moves me whenever I watch it.

The surface plot to the movie is pretty straight forward. A young upstart pool player, played by Paul Newman, named "Fast Eddie" Felson, wants and gets, a crack at the reigning pool champ , Minnesota Fats, played by Jackie Gleason. Fast Eddie gets the match he wants, almost has Minnesota Fats whipped, but eventually loses. The rest of the movie finds him on a journey, both internally and externally, to obtain self awareness, and make a little money as well.

So, this "Dinner and a Movie" segment requires a healthy but casual meal, something to put in your lap, or on a table while shooting a game of pool, so I will be making Minnesota "Fat Burgers" made from grass fed bison, and Fast Eddie fries. Also, I am preparing a home made barbecue sauce for the burgers. As with any black and white movie I do in "Dinner and a Movie", I will shoot all my photography in black and white.


Barbecue Sauce

–1 tbsp. unrefined organic coconut oil

–1 cup minced organic fresh onion

–1 tbsp. naturally-fermented soy sauce

–3 cloves minced organic garlic

–1 tsp. ground cumin

–1 tsp. dry mustard

–1/3 tsp. ground chipotle chili powder

–1 tsp. dry basil

–1 tsp. dry oregano

–1 6oz. can organic tomato paste

–1 1/4 cups homemade beef broth

—2 tbsp. raw organic apple cider vinegar

–1 tbsp. organic raw honey

Mix together all ingredients, stir,  and simmer slowly for an hour or two.

Fast Eddie Fries

–Organic Potatoes

–Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil

–Pink Himalayan Salt

Sprinkle with salt immediately after fries are finished.

Minnesota "Fat Burgers"

–Grass Fed Bison (between 10-20% fat, for juicy texture)

–Pink Himalayan Salt

–coarse ground black pepper

–1 green organic apple diced fine

–grass fed cheese of choice, I prefer provolone

–2 tsp per lb of sage

–a few organic scallions finely diced

–Organic Virgin Olive Oil

–Other spices as desired

–Sami's Bakery gluten free Millet and Flax Buns

–Organic Tomatoes, Organic Romaine Lettuce

Burger recipe will vary depending on personal preferences. Practice makes perfect when preparing bison. Saute scallion in olive oil, drain oil, add to Bison meat. One of my tricks to counter the gaminess of the bison, I add finely diced apples to the bison meat. It's like a secret ingredient that gives the burger a sweet  taste, where normally the person tasting doesn't know what it is. Check temperature of the burger, should be above 170 before taking off grill or frying pan. Cook each side for roughly 7 minutes, sprinkling additional seasoning if desired.
When flipping your burger you may notice it starting to look somewhat too “well done”. That's because the leanness of the meat will cook the outside quicker than you might be accustomed to. This, in turn, allows the inside to cook slower while helping the meat retain the natural moistures that swirl from within. 

Growing up, my old man was really into pool. When the movie The Hustler was on, we always found ourselves watching this movie. The thing was, my old man would always be talking through the movie about some of the finer points of some of the pool shots that Fast Eddie and Minnesota fats were making. He would be commenting on the angles, trajectories, alternate shots that they should have considered. It seemed to me at the time, there was something more to this movie than the pool, but I didn't know what. I realized over time, the story was about much than pool. It was about triumph and tragedy, fighting the odds, never giving up, and pursuing you passion whatever it may be. As Fast Eddie said , "Anything can be great".

Facts and Trivia about "The Hustler"

–When Fast Eddie prepares for his first matchup against Minnesota Fats, his manager sits down in front of a poster depicting Willie Mosconi, 14-time world champion in billiards from 1941 to 1957. About ten minutes later, Willie himself makes a cameo as the guy who holds onto the bet money. His character name is also Willie.

–All the pool shots in the movie are performed by the actors themselves (Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason) except one: the massé shot (cue ball sends two object balls into the same pocket), performed by Willie Mosconi.

–When first approached to play the role of Fast Eddie Felsen, Paul Newman couldn't accept it because he was scheduled to begin filming Two for the Seesaw with Elizabeth Taylor. When Taylor was held up with the filming of Cleopatra, "Seesaw" was postponed and Paul was able to do this film.

–There's a misconception that the character Minnesota Fats is based on the real Minnesota Fats (Rudolf Wanderone Jr.). Actually, the character appeared in the book and the film before Wanderone, who up until this time had called himself "New York Fats", appropriated the name.

–The Hustler while nominated for many awards, lost all the major ones and the main competition at the Oscars were the films Judgment at Nuremberg and West Side Story. In the scene when Eddie takes Sara out to a restaurant just before the Louisville trip, Sara has a line "I feel pretty" which, of course was the title to a major song in West Side Story.

–Initially Paul Newman turned down the part of Fast Eddie Felson, as he was unavailable, having committed to star alongside Elizabeth Taylor in the film version of "Two for the Seesaw". Robert Rossen then offered the part to Bobby Darin. However, shooting overruns on Taylor's Cleopatra meant that she had to drop out of "Seesaw". Newman was then offered the part of Felson again. Nobody thought to tell Bobby Darin though, who found out from a member of public at a charity horse race.

–Although Jackie Gleason is billed second, he only appears in the film for about 20 minutes.

–One of the first mainstream Hollywood films to use the word "bastard".






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