Hustle (Sports, Drama) (2022)
Director: Jeremiah Zagar
Writer: Taylor Materne, Will Fetters
Stars: Adam Sandler, Queen Latifah, Ben Foster, Juancho Hernangomez
Frustrated and disillusioned, an NBA scout’s genuine love for basketball is reignited as he discovers an incredible talent on the streets of Spain. He convinces the player to travel to the U.S. and tries to make him the next best thing in the National Basketball Association.
Proposed by Adam Sandler after seeing Jeremiah Zagar’s debut feature, ‘’We The Animals’’, ‘’Hustle’’ is a basketball fanatic’s film. Partially produced by LeBron James and starring a substantial amount of NBA personalities, it’s meant to be an accurate basketball motion picture. ‘’Hustle’’ is produced by Happy Madison Productions, SpringHill Company and Roth/Kirschenbaum Films while being distributed by Netflix.
International NBA scout Stanley ‘’Stan’’ Sugerman (Adam Sandler) travels to Spain after a frustratingly painful demotion by his late boss’s son. When his efforts there leave him empty-handed, Stan observes a street game by chance, shocked to witness an untouched talent. An offer is made, and an NBA career is in the making.
In terms of sports films, specifically basketball, ‘’Hustle’’ could become as beloved as the 1996 ‘’Space Jam’’ although for differing reasons. Those involved with the creation of this film clearly wanted to create a labour of love, and for a Netflix-distributed project these days, that is honestly surprising. It’s a sports film for sports fans that non-sports lovers could get a kick out of — Everyone loves an underdog story.
Apart from enjoying Netflix’s ‘’Last Chance U: Basketball’’ series, I’ve got to admit I’m far from a basketball enthusiast. There’s some reason, besides not that many being released each year, that sports aren’t a very saturated genre on Mark’s Remarks. That said, this leads to a proper estimation of whether ‘’Hustle’’ is to be enjoyed by the general public — the answer is an astounding: Yes. But hold the confetti and put that popcorn back into the cupboard for a moment longer. The mentioned Netflix series and films like these often focus on sports teams, whereas Zagar’s feature is more similar to ‘’The Way Back’’, coach-focused creating a personal drama with Hernangomez’s Bo Cruz and Sandler’s Stan Sugerman being the centre of attention.
The comparison to ‘’The Way Back’’ is perhaps too much and easily made, but it’s fair; however, like aforementioned ‘’Hustle’’ is more basketball forward, and the entire NBA alumni section hasn’t been drummed up for bupkis. The narrative within, an underdog basketball prospect being accepted into a coach’s family and trained to shine beneath premier lights hardly ever has a chance to fail, and the passion injected into such a film shows.
While usually featuring as a doofus in comedy films, it’s ultimately delightful to see Sandler in a movie such as ‘’Hustle’’ coming across as a weathered and run-down NBA figure. If there’s anything we’d need, it’d be more of this Sandler.
Worth the hustle.