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Friday Foster [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] review

Posted : 7 years, 11 months ago on 10 September 2009 03:47 (A review of Friday Foster [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC])

by Dane Youssef


"Tired of brainless, star vehicle, rom-com candy-coated Hollywood crap? So am I! And here's why!"


The premise of "America's Sweethearts" sets us up for an inspired, lacerating, in-your-face send-up of Hollywood and silly rom-com star vehicles. Then it turns into one of them. Like a young mind full of bright ideas, originality and vision, it sells out and becomes the very type of evil it was speaking out against.

Although John Cusack isn't as great as he certainly used to be, you could always count on him to sign up for only the highest-caliber projects. But this shows strong signs of a dry spell. I'm guessing the flowing river of scripts sent to him is beginning to run dry.

Ever since Lloyd Dobbler in "Say Anything," Cusack has pretty much been type-casted into playing the same role: The smart, calculated, neurotic and love-sick guy who has just been dumped by the love of his life (Better Off Dead, Being John Malkovich, High Fidelity), and seems too smart and adult for his age). Cusack has always seemed so advanced for his age, but now he seems to have grown into his age and now, he's just another routine pedestrian actor.

Now I enjoy Crystal in his movies (although his steady-fire Jewish borscht-belt shtick is wearing thin). And here he does his usual bit here as a fluent veteran c**k-and-bull, scam artist, fast-talking PR agent. This is the role Crystal was born to play. And he's been playing it since he was born.

But the movie (which was co-written and co-produced by Crystal) has to make Crystal into a sweetheart. Billy Crystal has always been more of a Borscht-Belt comedian than an actor, which is why he always plays himself in any movie he does, and here he does his usual Oscar-night banter as the PR Lee Phillips who flashes a showbiz smile and orchestrates at lot of routine Hollywood BS and cover-ups.

Catherine Zeta-Jones does a good job doing a stereotype caricature of a rich, spoiled, over-rated, over-egotistical mega-movie-star [profanity removed] who's obviously supposed to remind us of Julia Roberts. Reportedly, the Gwen Harrison role was offered to Julia Roberts, but she turned it down out of fear that people would think that was the real Julia Roberts. Hmmmmm.....

Yes, you have to admit--people are very gullible and easily leaden. They need to believe that this unnaturally perfect life exists. Otherwise, what would their escape from the dreary and depressing, soul-and-bone crushing society be? If anyone ever believe Roberts to be a over-egotistical-pumped-up monster like Gwen in this movie.... her fan-base would dry-up and so would her career.

With all the flavor-of-the-month celebrities out there, Roberts is one of the few, precious to have any real staying power. Don't rock the boat, Jules. The only actress I could imagine could pull the villainous heartless [profanity removed] movie-starlet off as good as Roberts would be Amanda Peet, who's sort of become a staple of weird, bizarre, off-kilter romantic comedies ("The Whole Nine Yards," "Saving Silverman" and "Whipped"). Maybe she would have been better than Zeta-Jones. Perhaps it would have been best to not sign Roberts up, as she seems unbelievable as a wall-flower-turned-blossomed rose.

But there is an entire mainstream religion of mindless moronic lemmings who would leap off a cliff onto jagged rocks down below if anyone like Roberts had a life that was anything but wine and roses... and red-carpet Oscar-night bliss. Christopher Walken can always, always take a nothing movie... and suddenly make it all seem worth-while. And he actually manages to nearly resurrect this thing back from the dead as the Oscar-winning borderline psychotic-director Hal Weidmann (who seems to echo Kubrick).

Seth Green, usually a fiery actor, like everyone else, is dampened here. I remember thinking how much better this damn movie would be if lived up to all to the foreplay. The flick opens brilliantly. We're promised a satirical anti-dote to the brainless, bland, formulaic [profanity removed] that Hollywood is dispensing. And they give us more of it. Practically, a love letter to it. We get screwed. We feel more cheated than Eddie. We're expecting some clever, well-written, merciless biting satire against Hollywood, mindless rom-coms with big-name stars in them, the film critics and journalists, and the fans who watch this garbage... And what do we get? Not an assault on the idiocy, but more of the idiocy itself. A golf ball hitting someone in the head, someone jamming a phone into a chair, a dog sniffing at someone's crotch, a guy falling onto a cactus crotch-first, fat people, etc.

Cheap sit-com crap you can see on the ABC Wedensday night family line-up or on any other sitcom on regular network television anytime. I kept asking myself: How could such talented people with such an inspired, brilliant premise be so bad... and boring? I went to"box office & business" on IMDb and got my answer: The film's budget was an estimated $48,000,000. It grossed a whopping $93,607,673, and that's just in the US. Is it just me, or is everyone is this cast wearing a leather jacket? Actually, Zeta-Jones wears leather pants in one scene and so does Billy. Was there some kind of dress code on the set? How many cows were slain for this? How much time, talent and resource was wasted?

SPECIAL NOTE: This death-threat of a review has more interesting writing than anything that occurred in "America's Sweethearts."


--Hating Stupid Scripted Hollywood On-Screen Romances, Dane Youssef


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America's Sweethearts review

Posted : 7 years, 11 months ago on 10 September 2009 03:46 (A review of America's Sweethearts)

by Dane Youssef


"Tired of brainless, star vehicle, rom-com candy-coated Hollywood crap? So am I! And here's why!"


The premise of "America's Sweethearts" sets us up for an inspired, lacerating, in-your-face send-up of Hollywood and silly rom-com star vehicles. Then it turns into one of them. Like a young mind full of bright ideas, originality and vision, it sells out and becomes the very type of evil it was speaking out against.

Although John Cusack isn't as great as he certainly used to be, you could always count on him to sign up for only the highest-caliber projects. But this shows strong signs of a dry spell. I'm guessing the flowing river of scripts sent to him is beginning to run dry.

Ever since Lloyd Dobbler in "Say Anything," Cusack has pretty much been type-casted into playing the same role: The smart, calculated, neurotic and love-sick guy who has just been dumped by the love of his life (Better Off Dead, Being John Malkovich, High Fidelity), and seems too smart and adult for his age). Cusack has always seemed so advanced for his age, but now he seems to have grown into his age and now, he's just another routine pedestrian actor.

Now I enjoy Crystal in his movies (although his steady-fire Jewish borscht-belt shtick is wearing thin). And here he does his usual bit here as a fluent veteran c**k-and-bull, scam artist, fast-talking PR agent. This is the role Crystal was born to play. And he's been playing it since he was born.

But the movie (which was co-written and co-produced by Crystal) has to make Crystal into a sweetheart. Billy Crystal has always been more of a Borscht-Belt comedian than an actor, which is why he always plays himself in any movie he does, and here he does his usual Oscar-night banter as the PR Lee Phillips who flashes a showbiz smile and orchestrates at lot of routine Hollywood BS and cover-ups.

Catherine Zeta-Jones does a good job doing a stereotype caricature of a rich, spoiled, over-rated, over-egotistical mega-movie-star [profanity removed] who's obviously supposed to remind us of Julia Roberts. Reportedly, the Gwen Harrison role was offered to Julia Roberts, but she turned it down out of fear that people would think that was the real Julia Roberts. Hmmmmm.....

Yes, you have to admit--people are very gullible and easily leaden. They need to believe that this unnaturally perfect life exists. Otherwise, what would their escape from the dreary and depressing, soul-and-bone crushing society be? If anyone ever believe Roberts to be a over-egotistical-pumped-up monster like Gwen in this movie.... her fan-base would dry-up and so would her career.

With all the flavor-of-the-month celebrities out there, Roberts is one of the few, precious to have any real staying power. Don't rock the boat, Jules. The only actress I could imagine could pull the villainous heartless [profanity removed] movie-starlet off as good as Roberts would be Amanda Peet, who's sort of become a staple of weird, bizarre, off-kilter romantic comedies ("The Whole Nine Yards," "Saving Silverman" and "Whipped"). Maybe she would have been better than Zeta-Jones. Perhaps it would have been best to not sign Roberts up, as she seems unbelievable as a wall-flower-turned-blossomed rose.

But there is an entire mainstream religion of mindless moronic lemmings who would leap off a cliff onto jagged rocks down below if anyone like Roberts had a life that was anything but wine and roses... and red-carpet Oscar-night bliss. Christopher Walken can always, always take a nothing movie... and suddenly make it all seem worth-while. And he actually manages to nearly resurrect this thing back from the dead as the Oscar-winning borderline psychotic-director Hal Weidmann (who seems to echo Kubrick).

Seth Green, usually a fiery actor, like everyone else, is dampened here. I remember thinking how much better this damn movie would be if lived up to all to the foreplay. The flick opens brilliantly. We're promised a satirical anti-dote to the brainless, bland, formulaic b---h that Hollywood is dispensing. And they give us more of it. Practically, a love letter to it. We get screwed. We feel more cheated than Eddie. We're expecting some clever, well-written, merciless biting satire against Hollywood, mindless rom-coms with big-name stars in them, the film critics and journalists, and the fans who watch this garbage... And what do we get? Not an assault on the idiocy, but more of the idiocy itself. A golf ball hitting someone in the head, someone jamming a phone into a chair, a dog sniffing at someone's crotch, a guy falling onto a cactus crotch-first, fat people, etc.

Cheap sit-com crap you can see on the ABC Wedensday night family line-up or on any other sitcom on regular network television anytime. I kept asking myself: How could such talented people with such an inspired, brilliant premise be so bad... and boring? I went to"box office & business" on IMDb and got my answer: The film's budget was an estimated $48,000,000. It grossed a whopping $93,607,673, and that's just in the US. Is it just me, or is everyone is this cast wearing a leather jacket? Actually, Zeta-Jones wears leather pants in one scene and so does Billy. Was there some kind of dress code on the set? How many cows were slain for this? How much time, talent and resource was wasted?

SPECIAL NOTE: This death-threat of a review has more interesting writing than anything that occurred in "America's Sweethearts."


--Hating Stupid Scripted Hollywood On-Screen Romances, Dane Youssef



danessf@yahoo.com

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"EXPERIMENTAL... LIKE THE EDSEL AND MCCARTHY"

Posted : 7 years, 11 months ago on 9 September 2009 03:41 (A review of Just A Kiss [2002])

by Dane Youssef


"An EXPERIMENTAL PLAY. AN EXPERIMENTAL MOVIE. HEY, LET'S FACE IT... THEY DON'T ALWAYS PAN OUT."


"Rocky" and "Good Will Hunting" are the best of examples of what happens when out-of-work actors write.


In these situations, they can write themselves work. And with some talent, some and a little luck, these unemployable actors are never unemployed again.


Nervous nebbish actor Patrick Breen wrote this experimental Off-Off broadway play "Just A Kiss" about how one single event can completely can change not just the lives of the kissers and their significant others, but people outside their little circles.


A whole chain reaction. One kiss. Between two people who shouldn't be kissing. And then hell breaks loose. Not just the kissers and their significant others. But people outside the circle as well.


A promising idea even though we have seen it before. One person and one desicion. That's all it takes.

Oddball character actor Fisher Stevens is a friend and collaborator of Breen's and makes his directorial debut with this experimental film and the often-dubbed "character actor" does some experimental character direction here with this one.


Perhaps the film is trying to be too many things at once.


Maybe the real problem with "Just A Kiss" is it takes too many targets. Social commentary on love, life and relationships (especially in NYC). A black comedy. An experiment. A drama. A dramedy, perhaps? And if that's not enough, the movie tries too hard to be "hip" and "stylish" and "ground-breaking" with it's technique.


"JAK," which could probably be best described as an "Anti-romantic comedy." What bothers me the most is that it's not a succesful one. But boy, it sure could have been.


Dag (named after a former U.N. secreatry, who's a "real dog"--yes, an intentional joke beaten like a dog) is a commercial director who's dating Halley (a woman who saved his life) and living with her.


He's unfaithful quite frequently and seems to be prone to having flings with some of Manhattan's more mentally ill chicks. It's a shame Dag can't be faithful to Halley because she's the sanest woman he can come across.


Maybe it could have had it been... less ambitious? That's not the right attitude. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Should we HATE everybody for trying?


His friend Peter, a commercial actor (who also wrote this film) is having relationship trouble with his mentally unbalanced ballerina girlfriend who has a steady habit of cheating on him with everybody, she also has a married man named Andre (Taye Diggs) who comes over to sleep with her regularly and HE winds up having sex with Halley and bcomes her boyfriend. Peter has a quick one with Colleen, Andre's wife.


And... people start dropping and dying pretty quickly. Couples couple up with other people and the body count rises as people kill themselves or each other.


But now the problems with the movie: A lot has been made about the film's use of rotoscoping. An animation technique that was a favorite (and perhaps partially invented) of X-rated adult animation pioneer Ralph Bakshi. His "adult" cartoons often blended animation with live-action. This movie does the same.


Except with a live-action cast who only "occassionally" animate and do things that are glossed with cartoon frosting.


Why does this movie employ rotomation? Perhaps because the characters are cartoon characters themselves. They're so overplayed in a big, broad slapstick sort of way. Imagine Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny sitting around doing Neil LaBute or Todd Solondz material. It can be cute. For a few seconds. Maybe it's a metephor. Maybe it's supposed to mean this movie is more of a metephor than commentary. Or maybe it's just supposed to be stylish and hip.


But it just doesn't work here, pure and simple.


That is not to say ALL the rotoscoping in the movie is a bad idea. The intro in the title sequence is pretty great. But it just makes the rest of the badness so much more clear.


We hear Dag telling a story where he and Peter are in the back of a cab and speeding through NYC. We see rotomation at work outside illuminating the already-lit Manhattan after-hours club scene. Inside, everything is hopping... and litterally glowing. So are a lot of the people. A woman with a slavic accent screams at a man in a Porsche and makes death threats.


Dag moves towards her as the Porsche drives away. Onlookers think it's a bad idea. Who cares? She's vunerable.


They have passionante animal sex (complete with rotomation highlighting visuals). The morning after they wake up. She turns out to not have an accent. She's American. She sobs, I'm engaged! Dag just decides they should just forget last night, get her things and show her out the door.


Oh, she's crazy. Right before she takes that step out, she smiles and says (in a NEW accent), "She does this kind of shit all the time." And we see her eye turn a frightening color. She's got multiple-crazy. This is a nice touch. Good little montage there, Steve.


But unfortunatly, this isn't a movie where they're satisfied with the little touches.

I love how diabolical the soundtrack is. This music is truly inspired. And kind of fitting for this movie, I guess. The thing how the movie is that it's so promising, it plays out like a notebook of theories and ideas by a first-year philsophy major.


The cast is great and than more able to play these characters. But the movie is directed like it's farce and slapstick when it's supposed to be serious. It moves at the pace and is styled like an MTV music video--which is all wrong for this material.


One bright spark is Marisa Tomei. Ever since "My Cousin Vinny," she's been typecast into playing that one role. The sexy, sassy and quick-tempered girlfriend who's kind of the whole point-of-sanity for her hair-trigger, on-the-edge boyfriend.


She got the Oscar for the role. Ever since, she has never been allowed to play another role. But in this movie, she has been granted the opportunity.


She plays a mentally unstable and potentially homicidal waitress. She makes small talk with Dag, plays his confidant. She reads fortunes in rings left by cold beer bottles. She reads his. He needs a one-night stand to help him to forget. She throws herself at him. "Leave your number." He does. This only makes things worse in a way I can't quite reveal here.


There's one potentially funny "Seinfeld-ian" moment as Peter makes a cellular call on a plane right before landing. The radio transmission interfears with the control tower. The plane breaks in half and passengers die. Now that really made me laugh.


The tourist class (business and coach) all die horribly whereas the first class skitter across the runway and land safely close to the gates. No here is an inspired bit. With a director able to juggle multiple tones a little better, this could've been a success.


But the actual final product plays out like an exercise or a list or experimentation of different cinematic styles. Which, actually, I guess, it is. Steven has always been a character actor, and now he's a character director. Let's hop his next character is at least somewhat better.


Lets also hope their next collaboration is better. Hell, it'll be easy to top this one. "Just A Kiss"... just doesn't work. "Just A Kiss" just isn't enough.


Better luck next time.



--Wanting More Than Just One Kiss. Dane Youssef



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"EXPERIMENTAL... LIKE THE XFL, EDSEL AND MCCARTHY"

Posted : 7 years, 11 months ago on 9 September 2009 03:40 (A review of Just a Kiss)

by Dane Youssef


An EXPERIMENTAL PLAY. AN EXPERIMENTAL MOVIE. HEY, LET'S FACE IT... THEY DON'T ALWAYS PAN OUT.


"Rocky" and "Good Will Hunting" are the best of examples of what happens when out-of-work actors write.


In these situations, they can write themselves work. And with some talent, some and a little luck, these unemployable actors are never unemployed again.


Nervous nebbish actor Patrick Breen wrote this experimental Off-Off broadway play "Just A Kiss" about how one single event can completely can change not just the lives of the kissers and their significant others, but people outside their little circles.


A whole chain reaction. One kiss. Between two people who shouldn't be kissing. And then hell breaks loose. Not just the kissers and their significant others. But people outside the circle as well.


A promising idea even though we have seen it before. One person and one desicion. That's all it takes.


Oddball character actor Fisher Stevens is a friend and collaborator of Breen's and makes his directorial debut with this experimental film and the often-dubbed "character actor" does some experimental character direction here with this one.


Perhaps the film is trying to be too many things at once.


Maybe the real problem with "Just A Kiss" is it takes too many targets. Social commentary on love, life and relationships (especially in NYC). A black comedy. An experiment. A drama. A dramedy, perhaps? And if that's not enough, the movie tries too hard to be "hip" and "stylish" and "ground-breaking" with it's technique.


"JAK," which could probably be best described as an "Anti-romantic comedy." What bothers me the most is that it's not a succesful one. But boy, it sure could have been.


Dag (named after a former U.N. secreatry, who's a real dog) is a commercial director who's dating Halley (a woman who saved his life) and living with her.


He's unfaithful quite frequently and seems to be prone to having flings with some of Manhattan's more mentally ill chicks. It's a shame Dag can't be faithful to Halley because she's the sanest woman he can come across.


Maybe it could have had it been... less ambitious? That's not the right attitude. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Should we HATE everybody for trying?


His friend Peter, a commercial actor (who also wrote this film) is having relationship trouble with his mentally unbalanced ballerina girlfriend who has a steady habit of cheating on him with everybody, she also has a married man named Andre (Taye Diggs) who comes over to sleep with her regularly and HE winds up having sex with Halley and bcomes her boyfriend. Peter has a quick one with Colleen, Andre's wife.


And... people start dropping and dying pretty quickly. Couples couple up with other people and the body count rises as people kill themselves or each other.


But now the problems with the movie: A lot has been made about the film's use of rotoscoping. An animation technique that was a favorite (and perhaps partially invented) of X-rated adult animation pioneer Ralph Bakshi. His "adult" cartoons often blended animation with live-action. This movie does the same.


Except with a live-action cast who only "occassionally" animate and do things that are glossed with cartoon frosting.


Why does this movie employ rotomation? Perhaps because the characters are cartoon characters themselves. They're so overplayed in a big, broad slapstick sort of way. Imagine Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny sitting around doing Neil LaBute or Todd Solondz material. It can be cute. For a few seconds. Maybe it's a metephor. Maybe it's supposed to mean this movie is more of a metephor than commentary. Or maybe it's just supposed to be stylish and hip.


But it just doesn't work here, pure and simple.


That is not to say ALL the rotoscoping in the movie is a bad idea. The intro in the title sequence is pretty great. But it just makes the rest of the badness so much more clear.


We hear Dag telling a story where he and Peter are in the back of a cab and speeding through NYC. We see rotomation at work outside illuminating the already-lit Manhattan after-hours club scene. Inside, everything is hopping... and litterally glowing. So are a lot of the people. A woman with a slavic accent screams at a man in a Porsche and makes death threats.


Dag moves towards her as the Porsche drives away. Onlookers think it's a bad idea. Who cares? She's vunerable.


They have passionante animal sex (complete with rotomation highlighting visuals). The morning after they wake up. She turns out to not have an accent. She's American. She sobs, I'm engaged! Dag just decides they should just forget last night, get her things and show her out the door.


Oh, she's crazy. Right before she takes that step out, she smiles and says (in a NEW accent), "She does this kind of shit all the time." And we see her eye turn a frightening color. She's got multiple-crazy. This is a nice touch. Good little montage there, Steve.


But unfortunatly, this isn't a movie where they're satisfied with the little touches.


I love how diabolical the soundtrack is. This music is truly inspired. And kind of fitting for this movie, I guess. The thing how the movie is that it's so promising, it plays out like a notebook of theories and ideas by a first-year philsophy major.


The cast is great and than more able to play these characters. But the movie is directed like it's farce and slapstick when it's supposed to be serious. It moves at the pace and is styled like an MTV music video--which is all wrong for this material.


One bright spark is Marisa Tomei. Ever since "My Cousin Vinny," she's been typecast into playing that one role. The sexy, sassy and quick-tempered girlfriend who's kind of the whole point-of-sanity for her hair-trigger, on-the-edge boyfriend.


She got the Oscar for the role. Ever since, she has never been allowed to play another role. But in this movie, she has been granted the opportunity.


She plays a mentally unstable and potentially homicidal waitress. She makes small talk with Dag, plays his confidant. She reads fortunes in rings left by cold beer bottles. She reads his. He needs a one-night stand to help him to forget. She throws herself at him. "Leave your number." He does. This only makes things worse in a way I can't quite reveal here.


There's one potentially funny "Seinfeld-ian" moment as Peter makes a cellular call on a plane right before landing. The radio transmission interfears with the control tower. The plane breaks in half and passengers die. Now that really made me laugh.


The tourist class (business and coach) all die horribly whereas the first class skitter across the runway and land safely close to the gates. No here is an inspired bit. With a director able to juggle multiple tones a little better, this could've been a success.


But the actual final product plays out like an exercise or a list or experimentation of different cinematic styles. Which, actually, I guess, it is. Steven has always been a character actor, and now he's a character director. Let's hop his next character is at least somewhat better.


Lets also hope their next collaboration is better. Hell, it'll be easy to top this one. "Just A Kiss"... just doesn't work. In the end, "Just A Kiss" just isn't enough.


Better luck next time.



--Wanting It To Go A Little Further Than A Kiss, Dane Youssef



danessf@yahoo.com

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"EXPERIMENTAL... LIKE THE EDSEL AND MCCARTHY"

Posted : 7 years, 11 months ago on 9 September 2009 03:39 (A review of Just a Kiss)

by Dane Youssef


An EXPERIMENTAL PLAY. AN EXPERIMENTAL MOVIE. HEY, LET'S FACE IT... THEY DON'T ALWAYS PAN OUT.


"Rocky" and "Good Will Hunting" are the best of examples of what happens when out-of-work actors write.


In these situations, they can write themselves work. And with some talent, some and a little luck, these unemployable actors are never unemployed again.


Nervous nebbish actor Patrick Breen wrote this experimental Off-Off broadway play "Just A Kiss" about how one single event can completely can change not just the lives of the kissers and their significant others, but people outside their little circles.


A whole chain reaction. One kiss. Between two people who shouldn't be kissing. And then hell breaks loose. Not just the kissers and their significant others. But people outside the circle as well.


A promising idea even though we have seen it before. One person and one desicion. That's all it takes.


Oddball character actor Fisher Stevens is a friend and collaborator of Breen's and makes his directorial debut with this experimental film and the often-dubbed "character actor" does some experimental character direction here with this one.


Perhaps the film is trying to be too many things at once.


Maybe the real problem with "Just A Kiss" is it takes too many targets. Social commentary on love, life and relationships (especially in NYC). A black comedy. An experiment. A drama. A dramedy, perhaps? And if that's not enough, the movie tries too hard to be "hip" and "stylish" and "ground-breaking" with it's technique.


"JAK," which could probably be best described as an "Anti-romantic comedy." What bothers me the most is that it's not a succesful one. But boy, it sure could have been.

Dag (named after a former U.N. secreatry, who's a real dog) is a commercial director who's dating Halley (a woman who saved his life) and living with her.


He's unfaithful quite frequently and seems to be prone to having flings with some of Manhattan's more mentally ill chicks. It's a shame Dag can't be faithful to Halley because she's the sanest woman he can come across.


Maybe it could have had it been... less ambitious? That's not the right attitude. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Should we HATE everybody for trying?


His friend Peter, a commercial actor (who also wrote this film) is having relationship trouble with his mentally unbalanced ballerina girlfriend who has a steady habit of cheating on him with everybody, she also has a married man named Andre (Taye Diggs) who comes over to sleep with her regularly and HE winds up having sex with Halley and bcomes her boyfriend. Peter has a quick one with Colleen, Andre's wife.


And... people start dropping and dying pretty quickly. Couples couple up with other people and the body count rises as people kill themselves or each other.


But now the problems with the movie: A lot has been made about the film's use of rotoscoping. An animation technique that was a favorite (and perhaps partially invented) of X-rated adult animation pioneer Ralph Bakshi. His "adult" cartoons often blended animation with live-action. This movie does the same.


Except with a live-action cast who only "occassionally" animate and do things that are glossed with cartoon frosting.


Why does this movie employ rotomation? Perhaps because the characters are cartoon characters themselves. They're so overplayed in a big, broad slapstick sort of way. Imagine Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny sitting around doing Neil LaBute or Todd Solondz material. It can be cute. For a few seconds. Maybe it's a metephor. Maybe it's supposed to mean this movie is more of a metephor than commentary. Or maybe it's just supposed to be stylish and hip.


But it just doesn't work here, pure and simple.


That is not to say ALL the rotoscoping in the movie is a bad idea. The intro in the title sequence is pretty great. But it just makes the rest of the badness so much more clear.


We hear Dag telling a story where he and Peter are in the back of a cab and speeding through NYC. We see rotomation at work outside illuminating the already-lit Manhattan after-hours club scene. Inside, everything is hopping... and litterally glowing. So are a lot of the people. A woman with a slavic accent screams at a man in a Porsche and makes death threats.

Dag moves towards her as the Porsche drives away. Onlookers think it's a bad idea. Who cares? She's vunerable.


They have passionante animal sex (complete with rotomation highlighting visuals). The morning after they wake up. She turns out to not have an accent. She's American. She sobs, I'm engaged! Dag just decides they should just forget last night, get her things and show her out the door.


Oh, she's crazy. Right before she takes that step out, she smiles and says (in a NEW accent), "She does this kind of shit all the time." And we see her eye turn a frightening color. She's got multiple-crazy. This is a nice touch. Good little montage there, Steve.

But unfortunatly, this isn't a movie where they're satisfied with the little touches.

I love how diabolical the soundtrack is. This music is truly inspired. And kind of fitting for this movie, I guess. The thing how the movie is that it's so promising, it plays out like a notebook of theories and ideas by a first-year philsophy major.


The cast is great and than more able to play these characters. But the movie is directed like it's farce and slapstick when it's supposed to be serious. It moves at the pace and is styled like an MTV music video--which is all wrong for this material.


One bright spark is Marisa Tomei. Ever since "My Cousin Vinny," she's been typecast into playing that one role. The sexy, sassy and quick-tempered girlfriend who's kind of the whole point-of-sanity for her hair-trigger, on-the-edge boyfriend.


She got the Oscar for the role. Ever since, she has never been allowed to play another role. But in this movie, she has been granted the opportunity.


She plays a mentally unstable and potentially homicidal waitress. She makes small talk with Dag, plays his confidant. She reads fortunes in rings left by cold beer bottles. She reads his. He needs a one-night stand to help him to forget. She throws herself at him. "Leave your number." He does. This only makes things worse in a way I can't quite reveal here.


There's one potentially funny "Seinfeld-ian" moment as Peter makes a cellular call on a plane right before landing. The radio transmission interfears with the control tower. The plane breaks in half and passengers die. Now that really made me laugh.


The tourist class (business and coach) all die horribly whereas the first class skitter across the runway and land safely close to the gates. No here is an inspired bit. With a director able to juggle multiple tones a little better, this could've been a success.


But the actual final product plays out like an exercise or a list or experimentation of different cinematic styles. Which, actually, I guess, it is. Steven has always been a character actor, and now he's a character director. Let's hop his next character is at least somewhat better.


Lets also hope their next collaboration is better. Hell, it'll be easy to top this one. "Just A Kiss"... just doesn't work.


Better luck next time.



--Wanting A Whole Lot More Than Just A Kiss, Dane Youssef



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"ALWAYS BE CLOSING!"

Posted : 7 years, 11 months ago on 9 September 2009 06:56 (A review of Glengarry Glen Ross (Special Edition) / Boiler Room (2 Pack))

by Dane Youssef


Well-played, well-written look at the bottom rung on society--salesman. Real-estate, exactly.


Yes, it's a "photographed play." Like just about every other play adaptation to the big screen... but it's so well done, you don't care. Like "The Odd Couple" or... "Lost In Yonkers..."


The actors thankfully move outside the office a bit (outside the building, in cars, phone booths, restaurants... and at one point, over to someone's house)


This movie could have been called "Life of A Salesman." Men who dedicate their lives to selling real estate. Land and so forth. It's not as easy and as coast-worthy as it all seems.


God, what a racket. These people are all so cynical, bitter and desperate. They're claustrophobic and turning on each other. Their whole source of income and life rely on these little cards. "Leads." Little cards with names, numbers and addresses of people who want to buy land. But some of them are so old...


A red-hot salesman from downtown (Alec Baldwin, in a role written especially for him) comes down to motivate, drill and berate everyone into bringing their numbers up. When another salesman makes the mistake of protesting against all the abuse and calling Blake on his rant, Blake decides to put him in his place.


He flashes his watch. He shows off his car. "I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? Mitch & Murray asked me to come down. To help get the numbers up. As a favor. I told them that the real favor would be to take my advice and fire you. Because a loser is a loser."


Then Baldwin shows the 'Glengarry Glen' leads. He holds them and shows them off to the other salesman like he's holding the royal crown jewels. The hope diamond. The holiest of holy grails. Well, to these guys... they are. Baldwin remarks smugly, "These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. To you, these are gold... and you don't get them. Why? Because to give them to you is just throwing them away." I like when Ed Harris starts to protest of this guy's dressing-down and Baldwin snaps back. He shows no mercy. Drills right through him. This is some of the best Baldwin has ever done.


"You see this watch? You see this watch? That watch costs more than you car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see pal, that's who I am, and you're nothing." He goes on and on in this personal dressing-down. Every monologue, every big scene is worth it's weight in gold. Worthy of Spalding Gray.


Then he FINALLY drops the bombshell. "We're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired."


And there are more than three salesman in the office. One way or another, a lot is going to be trimmed. Not necessarily fat. Just... trimmed. A lot. To save money.


The characters are sharply drawn and in a story that is intertwined and sown together with skill and surprise. The all-star cast does the best with Mamet's angry, fierce and realistic speak (the adaptation is by Mamet himself, from his Pulitzer-Prize winning play). Pacino is (as always, blistering) as the star salesman who's landed the top of the board with his fresh catch James Linsk (Alan Arkin).


Likewise, Ed Harris as Dave Moss is so damn good himself good as an angry, self-righteous salesman who's just such a 48-karat asshole. An arrogant S.O.B. A great moment is when someone finally deflates him. Pops the big bag of hot air. Shows him to be scared and insecure underneath it all. His repeated cries of "Fuck you!" just reveal how truly desperate and insecure he truly is...


The buttoned-down office manager John Williamson (Kevin Spacey) who's "by the books to the core" and has never been out there, selling it, in the sh*t a day in his life. He's just a company man. "A secretary... and white bread" as some of the salesman in the office call him.


But the true breadwinner is the touching elderly Jack Lemmon as Sheldon "The Machine" Levene. Once the office golden boy, he was ahead and selling big week after week after week... reigning the very top of the board. The owners used to say things like "That car, that trip to Bermuda... you bought that for me..." Now he just can't sell. He sounds so grandfatherly and princely on the phone... you want to trust him so much. He's like Santa Claus.


But Shelley cannot find anyone who wants to buy. All the name and address cards ("leads," they're called) are older than Lemmon. Many have moved on and found better service elsewhere. The machine is longer up and running and Lemmon does a magnificent job of painting him a portrait of a burned-out star. A has-been. It's painful to look into those big sad dog-eyes of his...


He at one point goes to the house of someone who just doesn't want to buy. That's understandable, isn't it? Hey, how many times have you met a salesman who just won't get it. But Shelley's desperate. He bargains. He pleads. He drops his price. No sale. His heart seems to be breaking when...


There are many a great moment in "GGL." Where Baldwin drills the troops, when Harris is hoisted on his own petard, when Lemmon works his old time magic with potential customers... and when a salesman pulls a hustling con on a customer... all to have one misunderstanding--a split second blow the deal.


It would be unfair to go on with how the rest plays out. Suffice to say that it is worth watching again and again and again. The whole movie. It's a hard-boiled classic. Look for it wherever you can. Ask for it by name: "Glengarry Glen Ross."


--Believing The Mantra: "Sell or Die," Dane Youssef


danessf@yahoo.com

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"ALWAYS BE CLOSING!"

Posted : 7 years, 11 months ago on 9 September 2009 06:55 (A review of Glengarry Glen Ross [UMD Mini for PSP] [1992])

by Dane Youssef


Well-played, well-written look at the bottom rung on society--salesman. Real-estate, exactly.


Yes, it's a "photographed play." Like just about every other play adaptation to the big screen... but it's so well done, you don't care. Like "The Odd Couple" or... "Lost In Yonkers..."


The actors thankfully move outside the office a bit (outside the building, in cars, phone booths, restaurants... and at one point, over to someone's house)


This movie could have been called "Life of A Salesman." Men who dedicate their lives to selling real estate. Land and so forth. It's not as easy and as coast-worthy as it all seems.


God, what a racket. These people are all so cynical, bitter and desperate. They're claustrophobic and turning on each other. Their whole source of income and life rely on these little cards. "Leads." Little cards with names, numbers and addresses of people who want to buy land. But some of them are so old...


A red-hot salesman from downtown (Alec Baldwin, in a role written especially for him) comes down to motivate, drill and berate everyone into bringing their numbers up. When another salesman makes the mistake of protesting against all the abuse and calling Blake on his rant, Blake decides to put him in his place.


He flashes his watch. He shows off his car. "I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? Mitch & Murray asked me to come down. To help get the numbers up. As a favor. I told them that the real favor would be to take my advice and fire you. Because a loser is a loser."


Then Baldwin shows the 'Glengarry Glen' leads. He holds them and shows them off to the other salesman like he's holding the royal crown jewels. The hope diamond. The holiest of holy grails. Well, to these guys... they are. Baldwin remarks smugly, "These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. To you, these are gold... and you don't get them. Why? Because to give them to you is just throwing them away." I like when Ed Harris starts to protest of this guy's dressing-down and Baldwin snaps back. He shows no mercy. Drills right through him. This is some of the best Baldwin has ever done.


"You see this watch? You see this watch? That watch costs more than you car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see pal, that's who I am, and you're nothing." He goes on and on, but I won't spoil it here.


Then he FINALLY drops the bombshell. "We're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired."


And there are more than three salesman in the office. One way or another, a lot is going to be trimmed. Not necessarily fat. Just... trimmed. A lot. To save money.


The characters are sharply drawn and in a story that is intertwined and sown together with skill and surprise. The all-star cast does the best with Mamet's angry, fierce and realistic speak (the adaptation is by Mamet himself, from his Pulitzer-Prize winning play). Pacino is (as always, blistering) as the star salesman who's landed the top of the board with his fresh catch James Linsk (Alan Arkin).


Ed Harris as Dave Moss is so damn good as an angry, self-righteous salesman who's just such a 48-karat asshole. An arrogant S.O.B. A great moment is when someone finally deflates him. Pops the big bag of hot air. Shows him to be scared and insecure underneath it all. His repeated cries of "Fuck you!" just reveal how truly desperate and insecure he truly is...


The buttoned-down office manager John Williamson (Kevin Spacey) who's "by the books to the core" and has never been out there, selling it, in the shit a day in his life. He's just a company man. "A secretary... and white bread" as some of the salesman in the office call him.


But the true breadwinner is the touching elderly Jack Lemmon as Sheldon "The Machine" Levene. Once the office golden boy, he was ahead and selling big week after week after week... reigning the very top of the board. The owners used to say things like "That car, that trip to Bermuda... you bought that for me..." Now he just can't sell. He sounds so grandfatherly and princely on the phone... you want to trust him so much. He's like Santa Claus.


But Shelley cannot find anyone who wants to buy. All the name and address cards ("leads," they're called) are older than Lemmon. Many have moved on and found better service elsewhere. The machine is longer up and running and Lemmon does a magnificent job of painting him a portrait of a burned-out star. A has-been. It's painful to look into those big sad dog-eyes of his...


He at one point goes to the house of someone who just doesn't want to buy. That's understandable, isn't it? Hey, how many times have you met a salesman who just won't get it. But Shelley's desperate. He bargains. He pleads. He drops his price. No sale. His heart seems to be breaking when...


There are many a great moment in "GGL." Where Baldwin drills the troops, when Harris is hoisted on his own petard, when Lemmon works his old time magic with potential customers... and when a salesman pulls a hustling con on a customer... all to have one misunderstanding--a split second blow the deal.


It would be unfair to go on with how the rest plays out. Suffice to say that it is worth watching again and again and again. The whole movie. It's a hard-boiled classic. Look for it wherever you can. Ask for it by name: "Glengarry Glen Ross."


--Believing The Mantra: "Sell or Die," Dane Youssef



danessf@yahoo.com

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"ALWAYS BE CLOSING!"

Posted : 7 years, 11 months ago on 9 September 2009 06:55 (A review of Glengarry Glen Ross)

by Dane Youssef


Well-played, well-written look at the bottom rung on society--salesman. Real-estate, exactly.


Yes, it's a "photographed play." Like just about every other play adaptation to the big screen... but it's so well done, you don't care. Like "The Odd Couple" or... "Lost In Yonkers..."


The actors thankfully move outside the office a bit (outside the building, in cars, phone booths, restaurants... and at one point, over to someone's house)


This movie could have been called "Life of A Salesman." Men who dedicate their lives to selling real estate. Land and so forth. It's not as easy and as coast-worthy as it all seems.


God, what a racket. These people are all so cynical, bitter and desperate. They're claustrophobic and turning on each other. Their whole source of income and life rely on these little cards. "Leads." Little cards with names, numbers and addresses of people who want to buy land. But some of them are so old...


A red-hot salesman from downtown (Alec Baldwin, in a role written especially for him) comes down to motivate, drill and berate everyone into bringing their numbers up. When another salesman makes the mistake of protesting against all the abuse and calling Blake on his rant, Blake decides to put him in his place.


He flashes his watch. He shows off his car. "I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? Mitch & Murray asked me to come down. To help get the numbers up. As a favor. I told them that the real favor would be to take my advice and fire you. Because a loser is a loser."


Then Baldwin shows the 'Glengarry Glen' leads. He holds them and shows them off to the other salesman like he's holding the royal crown jewels. The hope diamond. The holiest of holy grails. Well, to these guys... they are. Baldwin remarks smugly, "These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. To you, these are gold... and you don't get them. Why? Because to give them to you is just throwing them away." I like when Ed Harris starts to protest of this guy's dressing-down and Baldwin snaps back. He shows no mercy. Drills right through him. This is some of the best Baldwin has ever done.


"You see this watch? You see this watch? That watch costs more than you car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see pal, that's who I am, and you're nothing." He goes on and on, but I won't spoil it here.


Then he FINALLY drops the bombshell. "We're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired."


And there are more than three salesman in the office. One way or another, a lot is going to be trimmed. Not necessarily fat. Just... trimmed. A lot. To save money.

The characters are sharply drawn and in a story that is intertwined and sown together with skill and surprise. The all-star cast does the best with Mamet's angry, fierce and realistic speak (the adaptation is by Mamet himself, from his Pulitzer-Prize winning play). Pacino is (as always, blistering) as the star salesman who's landed the top of the board with his fresh catch James Linsk (Alan Arkin).

Ed Harris as Dave Moss is good as an angry, self-righteous salesman who's just such a [profanity removed] . An arrogant S.O.B. A great moment is when someone finally deflates him. Pops the big bag of hot air. Shows him to be scared and insecure underneath it all. His repeated cries of "F-ck you!" just reveal how truly desperate and insecure he truly is...

The buttoned-down office manager John Williamson (Kevin Spacey) who's "by the books to the core" and has never been out there, selling it, in the sh*t a day in his life. He's just a company man. "A secretary... and white bread" as some of the salesman in the office call him.


But the true breadwinner is the touching elderly Jack Lemmon as Sheldon "The Machine" Levene. Once the office golden boy, he was ahead and selling big week after week after week... reigning the very top of the board. The owners used to say things like "That car, that trip to Bermuda... you bought that for me..." Now he just can't sell. He sounds so grandfatherly and princely on the phone... you want to trust him so much. He's like Santa Claus.


But Shelley cannot find anyone who wants to buy. All the name and address cards ("leads," they're called) are older than Lemmon. Many have moved on and found better service elsewhere. The machine is longer up and running and Lemmon does a magnificent job of painting him a portrait of a burned-out star. A has-been. It's painful to look into those big sad dog-eyes of his...


He at one point goes to the house of someone who just doesn't want to buy. That's understandable, isn't it? Hey, how many times have you met a salesman who just won't get it. But Shelley's desperate. He bargains. He pleads. He drops his price. No sale. His heart seems to be breaking when...


There are many a great moment in "GGL." Where Baldwin drills the troops, when Harris is hoisted on his own petard, when Lemmon works his old time magic with potential customers... and when a salesman pulls a hustling con on a customer... all to have one misunderstanding--a split second blow the deal.


It would be unfair to go on with how the rest plays out. Suffice to say that it is worth watching again and again and again. The whole movie. It's a hard-boiled classic. Look for it wherever you can. Ask for it by name: "Glengarry Glen Ross."


--Believing The Personal Mantra: "Sell, Sell, Sell," Dane Youssef


danessf@yahoo.com

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"ALWAYS BE CLOSING!" by Dane Youssef

Posted : 7 years, 11 months ago on 9 September 2009 06:54 (A review of Glengarry Glen Ross )

by Dane Youssef


Well-played, well-written look at the bottom rung on society--salesman. Real-estate, exactly.

Yes, it's a "photographed play." Like just about every other play adaptation to the big screen... but it's so well done, you don't care. Like "The Odd Couple" or... "Lost In Yonkers..."

The actors thankfully move outside the office a bit (outside the building, in cars, phone booths, restaurants... and at one point, over to someone's house)

This movie could have been called "Life of A Salesman." Men who dedicate their lives to selling real estate. Land and so forth. It's not as easy and as coast-worthy as it all seems.

God, what a racket. These people are all so cynical, bitter and desperate. They're claustrophobic and turning on each other. Their whole source of income and life rely on these little cards. "Leads." Little cards with names, numbers and addresses of people who want to buy land. But some of them are so old...

A red-hot salesman from downtown (Alec Baldwin, in a role written especially for him) comes down to motivate, drill and berate everyone into bringing their numbers up. When another salesman makes the mistake of protesting against all the abuse and calling Blake on his rant, Blake decides to put him in his place.

He flashes his watch. He shows off his car. "I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? Mitch & Murray asked me to come down. To help get the numbers up. As a favor. I told them that the real favor would be to take my advice and fire you. Because a loser is a loser."

Then Baldwin shows the 'Glengarry Glen' leads. He holds them and shows them off to the other salesman like he's holding the royal crown jewels. The hope diamond. The holiest of holy grails. Well, to these guys... they are. Baldwin remarks smugly, "These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. To you, these are gold... and you don't get them. Why? Because to give them to you is just throwing them away." I like when Ed Harris starts to protest of this guy's dressing-down and Baldwin snaps back. He shows no mercy. Drills right through him. This is some of the best Baldwin has ever done.

"You see this watch? You see this watch? That watch costs more than you car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see pal, that's who I am, and you're nothing." He goes on and on, but I won't spoil it here.

Then he FINALLY drops the bombshell. "We're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired."

And there are more than three salesman in the office. One way or another, a lot is going to be trimmed. Not necessarily fat. Just... trimmed. A lot. To save money.

The characters are sharply drawn and in a story that is intertwined and sown together with skill and surprise. The all-star cast does the best with Mamet's angry, fierce and realistic speak (the adaptation is by Mamet himself, from his Pulitzer-Prize winning play). Pacino is (as always, blistering) as the star salesman who's landed the top of the board with his fresh catch James Linsk (Alan Arkin).

Ed Harris as Dave Moss is good as an angry, self-righteous salesman who's just such a [profanity removed] . An arrogant S.O.B. A great moment is when someone finally deflates him. Pops the big bag of hot air. Shows him to be scared and insecure underneath it all. His repeated cries of "F-ck you!" just reveal how truly desperate and insecure he truly is...

The buttoned-down office manager John Williamson (Kevin Spacey) who's "by the books to the core" and has never been out there, selling it, in the sh*t a day in his life. He's just a company man. "A secretary... and white bread" as some of the salesman in the office call him.

But the true breadwinner is the touching elderly Jack Lemmon as Sheldon "The Machine" Levene. Once the office golden boy, he was ahead and selling big week after week after week... reigning the very top of the board. The owners used to say things like "That car, that trip to Bermuda... you bought that for me..." Now he just can't sell. He sounds so grandfatherly and princely on the phone... you want to trust him so much. He's like Santa Claus.

But Shelley cannot find anyone who wants to buy. All the name and address cards ("leads," they're called) are older than Lemmon. Many have moved on and found better service elsewhere. The machine is longer up and running and Lemmon does a magnificent job of painting him a portrait of a burned-out star. A has-been. It's painful to look into those big sad dog-eyes of his...

He at one point goes to the house of someone who just doesn't want to buy. That's understandable, isn't it? Hey, how many times have you met a salesman who just won't get it. But Shelley's desperate. He bargains. He pleads. He drops his price. No sale. His heart seems to be breaking when...

There are many a great moment in "GGL." Where Baldwin drills the troops, when Harris is hoisted on his own petard, when Lemmon works his old time magic with potential customers... and when a salesman pulls a hustling con on a customer... all to have one misunderstanding--a split second blow the deal.

It would be unfair to go on with how the rest plays out. Suffice to say that it is worth watching again and again and again. The whole movie. It's a hard-boiled classic. Look for it wherever you can. Ask for it by name: "Glengarry Glen Ross."

by Dane Youssef

danessf@yahoo.com

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"ALWAYS BE CLOSING!" by Dane Youssef

Posted : 7 years, 11 months ago on 9 September 2009 06:54 (A review of Glengarry Glen Ross )

by Dane Youssef


Well-played, well-written look at the bottom rung on society--salesman. Real-estate, exactly.

Yes, it's a "photographed play." Like just about every other play adaptation to the big screen... but it's so well done, you don't care. Like "The Odd Couple" or... "Lost In Yonkers..."

The actors thankfully move outside the office a bit (outside the building, in cars, phone booths, restaurants... and at one point, over to someone's house)

This movie could have been called "Life of A Salesman." Men who dedicate their lives to selling real estate. Land and so forth. It's not as easy and as coast-worthy as it all seems.

God, what a racket. These people are all so cynical, bitter and desperate. They're claustrophobic and turning on each other. Their whole source of income and life rely on these little cards. "Leads." Little cards with names, numbers and addresses of people who want to buy land. But some of them are so old...

A red-hot salesman from downtown (Alec Baldwin, in a role written especially for him) comes down to motivate, drill and berate everyone into bringing their numbers up. When another salesman makes the mistake of protesting against all the abuse and calling Blake on his rant, Blake decides to put him in his place.

He flashes his watch. He shows off his car. "I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? Mitch & Murray asked me to come down. To help get the numbers up. As a favor. I told them that the real favor would be to take my advice and fire you. Because a [profanity removed] is a [profanity removed] ."

Then Baldwin shows the 'Glengarry Glen' leads. He holds them and shows them off to the other salesman like he's holding the royal crown jewels. The hope diamond. The holiest of holy grails. Well, to these guys... they are. Baldwin remarks smugly, "These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. To you, these are gold... and you don't get them. Why? Because to give them to you is just throwing them away." I like when Ed Harris starts to protest of this guy's dressing-down and Baldwin snaps back. He shows no mercy. Drills right through him. This is some of the best Baldwin has ever done.

"You see this watch? You see this watch? That watch costs more than you car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see pal, that's who I am, and you're nothing." He goes on and on, but I won't spoil it here.

Then he FINALLY drops the bombshell. "We're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired."

And there are more than three salesman in the office. One way or another, a lot is going to be trimmed. Not necessarily fat. Just... trimmed. A lot. To save money.

The characters are sharply drawn and in a story that is intertwined and sown together with skill and surprise. The all-star cast does the best with Mamet's angry, fierce and realistic speak (the adaptation is by Mamet himself, from his Pulitzer-Prize winning play). Pacino is (as always, blistering) as the star salesman who's landed the top of the board with his fresh catch James Linsk (Alan Arkin).

Ed Harris as Dave Moss is good as an angry, self-righteous salesman who's just such a [profanity removed] . An arrogant S.O.B. A great moment is when someone finally deflates him. Pops the big bag of hot air. Shows him to be scared and insecure underneath it all. His repeated cries of "F-ck you!" just reveal how truly desperate and insecure he truly is...

The buttoned-down office manager John Williamson (Kevin Spacey) who's "by the books to the core" and has never been out there, selling it, in the sh*t a day in his life. He's just a company man. "A secretary... and white bread" as some of the salesman in the office call him.

But the true breadwinner is the touching elderly Jack Lemmon as Sheldon "The Machine" Levene. Once the office golden boy, he was ahead and selling big week after week after week... reigning the very top of the board. The owners used to say things like "That car, that trip to Bermuda... you bought that for me..." Now he just can't sell. He sounds so grandfatherly and princely on the phone... you want to trust him so much. He's like Santa Claus.

But Shelley cannot find anyone who wants to buy. All the name and address cards ("leads," they're called) are older than Lemmon. Many have moved on and found better service elsewhere. The machine is longer up and running and Lemmon does a magnificent job of painting him a portrait of a burned-out star. A has-been. It's painful to look into those big sad dog-eyes of his...

He at one point goes to the house of someone who just doesn't want to buy. That's understandable, isn't it? Hey, how many times have you met a salesman who just won't get it. But Shelley's desperate. He bargains. He pleads. He drops his price. No sale. His heart seems to be breaking when...

There are many a great moment in "GGL." Where Baldwin drills the troops, when Harris is hoisted on his own petard, when Lemmon works his old time magic with potential customers... and when a salesman pulls a hustling con on a customer... all to have one misunderstanding--a split second blow the deal.

It would be unfair to go on with how the rest plays out. Suffice to say that it is worth watching again and again and again. The whole movie. It's a hard-boiled classic. Look for it wherever you can. Ask for it by name: "Glengarry Glen Ross."


by Dane Youssef


danessf@yahoo.com

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