Hu$tle


Ardolino, Frank, Nine


HU$TLE. Directed by Peter Bogdanavich. ESPN Original Entertainment, 2004.

The way the title of the movie HU$TLE is written in large, white, italicized letters except for the red dollar sign expresses its theme and perspective on Rose. Peter Edward Rose, the famous "Charlie Hustle" noted for going all out on every play, became a hustler in the sense of a degenerate gambler, huckster, and con man when he managed the Cincinnati Reds after his playing career ended. (1) The movie, which begins with the note that it may not be suitable for children under fourteen, is based on the 1989 Dowd report, which was ordered by Bart Giamatti, Commissioner of Baseball, to document the charges against Rose. Inevitably, certain aspects have been fictionalized in the dramatization of events re-created to convey the sense of Rose's shady activities at this time. (2)

Tom Sizemore has a moppet haircut something like Rose's during this period, but it makes him look like a big, playful puppy dog rather than the "hard dude" Rob Dibble said Rose was when he pitched for him. The director, Peter Bogdanavich, who considers Rose's tremendous fall from grace "an American tragedy," felt that the script made Pete look so bad that he tried to temper the negative effect with closeups of Sizemore. This "humanizing touch" produced both a softening of his appearance and a falsification of Rose's essential character. Sizemore's Pete Rose is presented as a good-time Charlie Hustle who keeps womanizing and running his scams on an assortment of supposed friends and sleazy hangers-on to support his gambling habit without any sense of consequences. His job as a Major League manager seems an interruption to his gambling activities; Rose is mad about money and willing to turn every aspect of his career and fame into moneymaking propositions.

Nothing is sacred to Rose; many times he sells the supposed bat he broke Cobb's hit record with, and he uses his celebrityhood to keep his associates enthralled so that they will continue to lend him money to support his gambling. He loses large sums of money, but he doesn't expect to pay because he's Pete Rose and it's only "monopoly money," as he says to his worried wife. When his cronies demand the money he has inveigled from them, he gives them autographed baseballs and a pep talk about how much they should appreciate being allowed to be on the same "team" with the baseball legend.

Rose once described himself, in his infamous 1979 Playboy interview, as playing "like a roughneck ... hard and tough." (3) Sizemore conveys little of this competitive bravado in his hunched body language and quick, sidelong, ferretlike looks, which are intended to curry favor and at the same time to size up the situation. The only vestige of Rose's compulsive aggressiveness appears in his burning desire for money and his exploitation of others. This portrayal depicts Rose as an aging sports hero who uses the dangerous practice of indiscriminate betting to compensate for the loss of his skills and the excitement of playing the game.

Bogdanavich makes good use of the contrast between Rose's golden past and the frenetic con games of his leaden present. The movie begins with scenes showing Rose breaking Cobb's record of 4,192 hits; as he stands there accepting the cheers of the fans, the glorious scene fades to the gym where Pete meets with his gambling cronies. When Rose meets with Reds owner Marge Schott to discuss the prohibited presence of his associates in the dressing room, he looks longingly at the Big Red Machine's championship trophy in a glass case. Also, as his sleazy flunky Gio shoots steroids and snorts dope in Rose's house, we see behind him a huge, now-ironic cardboard figure of Pete in his prime. On another occasion Paul Janszen, Rose's primary dupe, who later provides evidence against him, looks sadly at the aging, overweight, and overextended great as he sleeps on the couch while plays from his stellar career are shown on TV.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Hu$tle
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.