Take this Hustle 2022 Quiz to find out which character you are. We update the quiz regularly and it’s the most accurate among the other quizzes.
Adam Sandler is arguably the most basketball-related movie star currently working. In his standup days, he had that great bit about Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points in one game, which demonstrated his love of the game. Who can forget the iconic Lakers game scene from 2011’s “Jack and Jill?” Okay, perhaps not. But what about his incredible performance in 2019’s ultra-stressful “Uncut Gems” as a degenerate gambler obsessing on “this is how I win” betting on NBA games and players?
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Sandler returns to the boards in his latest Netflix film, “Hustle,” and the boards are all over the world in the first few minutes. Sandler portrays Stanley Sugarman, a Philadelphia 76ers talent scout. He’s on and off planes, in and out of hotels, and observing locals all over the United States and Europe. On a Zoom call, his wife, Teresa (Queen Latifah), tells him, “You’re killing yourself.” “That’s the plan,” he says wryly.
In Sandler’s disciplined, low-key portrayal, Stanley’s self-doubt is more subtext than text. Stanley strongly advises against signing a German player during a meeting with team owner Rex Merrick (Robert Duvall). Rex’s son Vince (Ben Foster, beard and head shaved, indicating a genuine lack of vanity as he looks appropriately ridiculous) wants the guy, and Stanley refuses. Rex notices this before appointing Stanley as an assistant coach. Also, you must try to play this Hustle 2022 Quiz.
The gig is only temporary. Rex dies, Vince takes over, and the twerp demotes Stanley, telling him he can reclaim his coaching job if he returns to the road and finds a missing piece.
Stanley is entertained in Mallorca, Spain, by an old friend who wants him to become an agent. No way, Stanley says. He wants the position of assistant coach back. Are you clinging to a dream? “Fifty-year-old men don’t have dreams,” he says. “They suffer from nightmares and eczema.” And yet. In Spain, he comes across a local player who has the goods. Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangomez, a real-life player with the Utah Jazz), a tall drink of water with a lot of raw talent, a temper, and, as we learn later, a rap sheet. Despite Vince’s opposition, Stanley transports the player to the United States and he soon becomes a freelancer.
At this point, the film, directed by Jeremiah Zagar, resembles “Rocky” if told from the perspective of coach Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith). Putting his family’s life on the line (luckily, his wife and teen daughter believe in him), he works on sanding down Bo’s rough edges, doing stair runs in the wilds of South Philly, and teaching Bo how to deal with trash talk, which proves to be a rather persistent issue. When Bo achieves a certain goal, Stanley exclaims, “Yeah, Rocky!”
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Bo and Stanley are the victims of a cruel betrayal just as Bo is about to show the basketball world what he’s made of. This could be described as a process film with twists—and, of course, a happy ending. The solution to one of Bo’s problems is very 21st century, combined with the clout to book all-star cameos—Alex Stanley, who wants to go to film school, concocts a viral video of Bo in action, introduced by Julius “Dr. J.” Irving himself.
If “Hustle” uses a lot of sports movie cliches, it does so lightheartedly. And its atmosphere is sensitive and knowing, as is its depiction of Stanley’s milieu. But be warned: this film is VERY basketball-centric. If you’re not a fan, you might be perplexed. The film is nearly two hours long, and let me tell you, the list of NBA players and luminaries who appear as themselves or in character roles at the end of the film is quite long. For a brief moment, I wondered if Jordan Hull, who plays Stanley and Teresa’s crafty daughter, was also a WNBA player. She does not. Jordan Hulls, on the other hand, is a professional basketball player in Germany. Just so you’re aware.
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