Wednesday, March 14, 2012
GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS
(October 1992, U.S.)
The only thing I find harder to believe than the dishonest, dishonorable, corrupt sons-of-bitches who sell real estate in GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS is the fact there exist real people in real life who would actually be STUPID enough to buy their bullshit and hand over their money. This film depicts two days in the lives of four real estate salesmen (Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris and Alan Arkin) and how they become desperate when the corporate office of Mitch and Murray sends a nasty representative Blake (played with real brass balls by Alec Baldwin) to "motivate" them by announcing in a torrent of verbal abuse that, in one week, all except the top two salesmen will be fired. The film, like the play, is notorious for its use of profanity, despite the fact that it makes for great dialogue, nonetheless. The actual title of the film comes from the names of two of the real estate developments being peddled by the salesmen characters (Glengarry Highlands and Glen Ross Farms). This is good to know because for years I had no idea where the "Glen Ross" part came from.
So let me first ask if any of you readers ever had to take huge quantities of abuse from an asshole employer like Alec Baldwin or Kevin Spacey because you needed to hold onto your job? Sure you have! I'm no exception. Mine was the president of the facilities management department at Bronx Lebanon Hospital and he ran the office like a concentration camp with his own set of Gestapo tactics; the man was English, too. One of the greatest days of my life was the day I finally left that job! The only difference is that I'm not in the selling game, so I have absolutely no idea what it must be like to have to hit the pavements every day to try and get people to sign on the dotted line and take home your commission. Must be a real bitch, I'm sure.
For a moment now, let's put aside the abusive work environment of GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS and concentrate on the ethics of the men involved. Although I've dealt with my small share of real estate agants, this film certainly represents them as corrupt and as shady as most lawyers. Is it a fair representation? Who can tell. How far is one prepared to lie, cheat and steal to not only earn his big commission and win the prize Cadillac El Dorado, but to also hold onto their only means of income? And remember somthing else - this film takes place in the early 1990s when the men are still doing their business on pay telephones. Can you possibly imagine how much more damage they can potentially do in today's world of the internet and cell phones?
Al Pacino, by the way, is just as brilliant on screen as he ever was. He's smooth, charming and full of rage and wit. Hell, I might buy some land from him if I sat there listening to him go on and on long enough.
So in conclusion, can I interest any of you in buying the Brooklyn Bridge??
Favorite line or dialogue:
Blake: "Put...that coffee...down! Coffee's for closers only! You think I'm fucking with you? I am not fucking with you. I'm here from downtown. I'm here from Mitch and Murray. And I'm here on a mission of mercy. Your name's Levine? You call yourself a salesman you son of a bitch?"
Dave Moss: 'I don't gotta sit here and listen to this shit."
Blake: "You certainly don't pal, 'cause the good news is - you're fired. The bad news is - you've got, all of you've got just one week to regain your jobs starting with tonight. Starting with tonight's sit. Oh? Have I got your attention now? Good. Cause we're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. As you all know first prize is a Cadillac El Dorado. Anyone wanna see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired. Get the picture? You laughing now? You got leads. Mitch and Murray paid good money, get their names to sell them. You can't close the leads you're given you can't close shit. You ARE shit! Hit the bricks pal, and beat it 'cause you are going OUT.
Shelley Levene: "The leads are weak."
Blake: "The leads are weak? Fucking leads are weak. You're weak. I've been in this business fifteen years."
Dave "What's your name?"
Blake: "Fuck you. That's my name. You know why, mister? You drove a Hyundai to get here. I drove an eighty-thousand dollar BMW. THAT'S my name. And your name is you're wanting. You can't play in the man's game, you can't close them - go home and tell your wife your troubles. Because only one thing counts in this life: get them to sign on the line which is dotted. You hear me you fucking faggots? A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing. ALWAYS BE CLOSING. A-I-D-A. Attention, Interest, Decision, Action. Attention - do I have you attention? Interest - are you interested? I know you are, because it's fuck or walk. You close or you hit the bricks. Decision - have you made your decision, for Christ? And Action. A-I-D-A. Get out there - you got the prospects coming in. You think they came in to get out of the rain? A guy don't walk on the lot lest he wants to buy. They're sitting out there waiting to give you their money. Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it? What's the problem, pal?"
Dave: "You. You're such a hero, you're so rich, how come you're coming down here wasting your time with such a bunch of bums?"
Blake: "You see this watch? You see this watch?
Dave: "Yeah. '
Blake: "That watch costs more than you car. I made $970,000 last year. How much'd you make? You see pal, that's who I am, and you're nothing. Nice guy? I don't give a shit. Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids. You wanna work here - close! You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can't take this, how can you take the abuse you get on a sit? You don't like it, leave. I can go out there tonight with the materials you've got and make myself $15,000. Tonight! In two hours! Can you? Can YOU? Go and do likewise. A-I-D-A. Get mad you son of a bitches! Get mad! You want to know what it takes to sell real estate? It takes BRASS BALLS to sell real estate. Go and do likewise, gents. Money's out there. You pick it up, it's yours. You don't, I got no sympathy for you. You wanna go out on those sits tonight and close, CLOSE. It's yours. If not you're gonna be shining my shoes. And you know what you'll be saying - a bunch of losers sittin' around in a bar. 'Oh yeah. I used to be a salesman. It's a tough racket. These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. And to you they're gold, and you don't get them. Why? Because to give them to you is just throwing them away. They're for closers. I'd wish you good luck but you wouldn't know what to do with it if you got it. And to answer you question, pal, why am I here? I came here because Mitch and Murray asked me to. They asked me for a favor. I said the real favor, follow my advice and fire your fucking ass because a loser is a loser."
That was the best fucking thing Alec Baldwin ever did on film!