"You’re an incredible flake."
Description: Critical appraisal of pool hustler Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) in the motion picture The Color of Money (1986).
"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned." - Fast Eddie Felson
Eddie "Fast Eddie" Felson is liquor salseman and former pool hustler who was forced out of the game by gangsters year earlier. One day, Eddie sees an up-and-coming pool hustler Vincent Lauria (Tom Cruise), that reminds him of a younger version of himself. When they first meet, Eddie sizes up the cocky kid, saying:
"You are a natural character. You're an incredible flake. But that's a gift. Some guys spend half their lives trying to invent something like that. You walk into a pool room with that go-go-go, the guys'll be *killing* each other, trying to get to you. You got that."
At first, Eddie tells Vincent, "You couldn't find big time if you had a road map," but later Eddie offers Vincent this counsel: "You got to have two things to win. You got to have brains, and you got to have balls. Now, you've got too much of one, and not enough of the other." Eddie adds, "Pool excellence is NOT about excellent pool."
Traveling across the country to a variety of pool halls, Eddie mentors Vincent in the ways of pool, but eventually the two have a falling out and go their separate ways, until Eddie meets Vincent in Atlantic City.
Eddie is no longer in the game to hustle money, he wants to win on skill alone, whereas Vincent plays to win by making back room side deals. In their first match, Vincent throws the game, but wins big money because he made a side bet that Eddie would win.
To even the playing field, Eddie loses the next game on purpose, and finally Eddie ("the master") and Vincent ("the student") play a face-to face showdown to prove who really is the best of the best.
As the film ends, Vincent and Eddie are in an empty pool hall ready to play. Vincent still cocky as ever asks Eddie why he is so sure he will win. Eddie lines up his shot on the pool table, thrusts his cue stick into the ball, and simply says, "I'm back!"
See also - The Hustler (1961)