Glengarry Glen Ross

chriskchrisk Indianapolis
Really looking forward to hearing this podcast. Not sure who commissioned it, but thank you for saving me the money.

Should be a bit of a change-up after the last three. Though similar to Pontypool, 80% of it takes place in the same location. This was a play first, and that's pretty obvious. Unlike some plays brought to film though, it's well shot and has great atmosphere. I think the jazz score really helps with the mood.

The acting is phenomenal. I hate to say this about a movie that's such a sausage-fest, but it's the most well-acted movie I've seen. Not counting 30 Rock, I think this is the best role of Alec Baldwin's career, even though he's only in it for 5 minutes or so. Jack Lemmon's part is a standout - he's pathetic and conniving, but you feel for him. He said in the DVD extras it was the best cast he'd ever worked with. Kevin Spacey is was pretty much an unknown when this came out, and he's good. It's just perfectly cast, top to bottom. Jim and ARon have knocked Pacino's other work from around this time- probably with some justification, but he's great in this.

Also from that Lemmon intereview - he talks about Mamet, and his writing style. He talks about how all the "um"s, "ah"s, and "mmms" are scripted. If you ever read a Mamet play, you can see that's true. 

I think if you choose, you can also pull out some commentary on capitalism and competition. How we judge people and success based on money and the ability to obtain it, whether or not that was done honorably. I get the feeling Trump's rationalizations for his behavior would make perfect sense to these guys. Aside from that though, it's just fun to watch these guys go at each other.




Comments

  • Ok, as the official unofficial old man of club Bald Move, I'm wondering if anyone can tell me where to find the link to commission a podcast or to get a share of one if it is already started. For the life of me I can't find it.
  • It's fun to see Ben Affleck's terrible ripoff of Alec Bladwin in Glengarry in the movie Boiler Room.
    ryanfoster
  • FreddyFreddy Denton, Texas
    Every time my wife does something sexy with her eyes I can't help but say "are you trying to get me to invest in the Glengarry Highlands?"
    ryanfosterblacksunrise7
  • Ok, as the official unofficial old man of club Bald Move, I'm wondering if anyone can tell me where to find the link to commission a podcast or to get a share of one if it is already started. For the life of me I can't find it.

    I got you, old man. http://baldmove.com/product-category/commissions/

    In the future, if you click the word "Shop" at the top of the front page, it can take you to where you want to go. 
    blacksunrise7
  • Thank you my Bald Move brother. Btw, I am super excited over the Glengarry podcast. Saw it in the movies when it first came out while visiting a friend who decided to go back to law school at the University of Michigan and it blew me away. The acting was superb. It is a work of art.
  • I haven't seen this yet, I am looking forward to watching before I hear Jim and A-Ron's take on it.
  • Natter CastNatter Cast San Francisco, CA
    Mamet is one of my favorite writers, but he's a very frustrating filmmaker.  Having read his theories on film, he is far too restrictive in his control of actors, even when they're delivering great material.

    This dichotomy of his talent has always fascinated me.  In my own writing, I've emulated his natural, rhythmic flow of dialogue, with sentence fragments, partial ideas, characters interrupting each other and reinforcing each other.  It's like smooth, white jazz.

    And it really comes to live in GGGR better than any other film of his work.  When other film directors direct his material, it sparkles.

    When Mamet directs his own work, it can feel stilted and artificial, especially when he casts his usual troupe (Joe Matenga, Bill Macy, etc)

    On the extreme end, I'd suggest checking out Homicide and House of Games, both early Mamet movies with his Chicago troupe.  I like them, but I find myself having to just blank out on the line readings.  They're very flat.  I mainly appreciate the structure of the story and the text of the dialogue (which Mamet asserts are the only important things in a film, along with the framing...actors are NOT to bring any emotion or personal experience to anything they do.)

    Then look at The Spanish Prisoner and Heist, which are later Mamet-directed films with Hollywood actors (Steve Martin, Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito.)  These guys are larger than Mamet and there's no way they're going to go in for his flat delivery.  

    And finally, look at American Buffalo (which is a GGGR-like lowlife shyster heister with pawn shop owners instead of real estate salesmen) starring Dustin Hoffman and Dennis Franz.  Like GGGR, this movie was not directed by Mamet and even though the text is not as pleasing as House of Games, it's a much better film because the performances are richer.

    Mamet also frequently employs twists like he did in GGGR.  American Buffalo, Homicide, House of Games, Spanish Prisoner all involve similar turnabouts.  These twists are often deeply revelatory of how the characters have been deluding themselves.  They contradict the rhythmically repeated jazz of the 90 minutes of dialogue that precede them in a pleasing way.

    I think this is why I ended up giving M. Night Shyamalan more line than he deserved.  There IS a way for twists to work without making the audience feel like idiots for paying attention.
    chrisk
  • Natter CastNatter Cast San Francisco, CA
    The historical context of the industry drying up was the early 80s.  The film takes place in the late 80s, but the play was written in the early 80s.

    Prior to the tax reforms of the early 80s, the marginal tax rates used to be much higher.  We saw a bit of this on Mad Men where characters complained about 90% taxes.  It wasn't that high by the end of the 70s, but still pretty high.

    So the tax code used to be peppered with shelters where people could park their money and avoid having to pay tax.

    In the early 80s, tax reform brought in massive rate cuts (to right around where they are now) but also wiped out many of these shelters, leaving pretty much businesses losses, expenses and IRA/401ks for the average taxpayer.

    So the market for cheap ass real estate dried up because people didn't need to sink their money into a boondoggle and let it sit for decades to avoid paying taxes.  That combined with greater consumer protection really did a number on these boiler rooms.

    When's the last time any of us got a sales call for real estate?  Can you even imagine investing in real estate based on some guy knocking on your door?
    Doctor_NickkojiattwoodDummy
  • @Jim and @A_Ron_Hubbard thanks so much much guys, you guys crushed it.
  • Alan Alda did play Shelly Levine in a broadway production of GGR, which I can absolutely picture.

  • SNL Christmas parody of GGGR
    A_Ron_Hubbardkojiattwood
  • edited October 2016
    To anyone in NYC (at the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts, in Lincoln Center), I highly recommend seeing the production on videotape of the performance of Glengarry with the original lineup of Mantegna, Prosky, JT Walsh, and especially James Tolkan, who is FANTASTIC as David Moss (most know Tolkan as the principal in Back to the Future--"Slacker!!!")
    As wonderful as the film is, I still prefer this version.
  • adobo1148 said:

    Alan Alda did play Shelly Levine in a broadway production of GGR, which I can absolutely picture.

    That particular cast, aside from Schreiber, was quite disappointing, amazing sets, though.
    adobo1148
  • @Jim PUT THAT BURRITO DOWN !!!! Burritos are closers only.....

    ALWAYS
    BE
    PODCASTING

  • Love how Baldwin says closing, and Seth Meyers is about bust out laughing
  • chriskchrisk Indianapolis

    Mamet is one of my favorite writers, but he's a very frustrating filmmaker.  Having read his theories on film, he is far too restrictive in his control of actors, even when they're delivering great material.

    This dichotomy of his talent has always fascinated me.  In my own writing, I've emulated his natural, rhythmic flow of dialogue, with sentence fragments, partial ideas, characters interrupting each other and reinforcing each other.  It's like smooth, white jazz.

    And it really comes to live in GGGR better than any other film of his work.  When other film directors direct his material, it sparkles.

    When Mamet directs his own work, it can feel stilted and artificial, especially when he casts his usual troupe (Joe Matenga, Bill Macy, etc)

    On the extreme end, I'd suggest checking out Homicide and House of Games, both early Mamet movies with his Chicago troupe.  I like them, but I find myself having to just blank out on the line readings.  They're very flat.  I mainly appreciate the structure of the story and the text of the dialogue (which Mamet asserts are the only important things in a film, along with the framing...actors are NOT to bring any emotion or personal experience to anything they do.).

    This is soooo true of Mamet directed movies. Spanish Prisoner is a damn bore, full of phlegmatic performances. House of Games should be a great movie but it's comes off as incredibly low effort. He appears to have no interest at all in visuals either. I always figured this was due to Mamet being a film novice, but it's interesting to learn about his philosophy, which I wasn't aware of.

    Natter Cast
  • The hits just keep on comin'. Mulholland Drive, Primer, now GGGR. I had never seen GGGR but was eager to see it when the podcast was released. and it was awesome! Thanks to the commissioner for GGGR. I really enjoyed the film, and the podcast.
  • Natter CastNatter Cast San Francisco, CA
    edited October 2016
    chrisk said:

     is soooo true of Mamet directed movies. Spanish Prisoner is a damn bore, full of phlegmatic performances. House of Games should be a great movie but it's comes off as incredibly low effort. He appears to have no interest at all in visuals either. I always figured this was due to Mamet being a film novice, but it's interesting to learn about his philosophy, which I wasn't aware of.

    Yeah, I've read his books on filmmaking.  He takes the craft very seriously and has some great insights into it, especially where film and theater intersect.

    But his philosophy of acting, while complete and well-argued, absolutely does not produce anything like a desirable cinematic result.

    I love his films, including Spanish Prisoner, but only because I'm primarily a writer and I can just shut off the clearly gods-awful performances he takes such pride in and focus on the rhythm of the dialogue.  It actually works well in some places...Homicide has some great cop patter that plays well with flat reads, because it feels like two weary guys just going through the paces of their usual conversation.

    The only film of his I can't get through is Oleanna.  It's a great story and a great play acted by two great actors, but the depth of the emotion is completely absent because he has characters on camera doing line readings like they have to project to the cheap seats.  And unlike a lot of his other films, the emotional landscape in this piece is incredibly nuanced.  It requires ambiguity in the reads to keep the audience engaged.


  • Agreed across the board when it comes to Mamet as a director. But as a writer, man, he's so impressive. After GGGR, The Edge is my favorite Mamet-written movie. 
  • chriskchrisk Indianapolis
    The thing that bugged me about The Edge - Alec Baldwin constantly saying "Charles" when addressing the other character. I think it was intended to be a character thing, but man did it annoy me.
  • He also lives by the motto "Always Be Charlesing".
    chrisk
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