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Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

July 9, 2009

10/10 Brass Balls

Terrible name for a movie, but it’s my favorite script of all time.

Glengarry Glen Ross is about four crooked real estate brokers who are given an ultimatum by their boss: sell as many properties as you can by the end of the day, the person with the most gets a car, the person with the least gets fired. Nice and straightforward.

So what makes this the best script of all time?

One: It’s written by David Mamet, who is one hell of a writer. He keeps things simple, he’s all about dialogue, he curses like it’s a comma, and he is razor-freakin’-sharp. If you’ve never read or heard anything he’s written, it’s kind of hard to describe what makes Mamet-speak different from other writers without hearing it for yourself. I was tempted to put a line from the movie in here, but it’s just not the same.

The point is, no one writes like David Mamet. He writes the way guys actually talk and he ain’t sugarcoating shit. He’s ruthless, he’s coarse, he’s funny, and you’ll want to go back and watch this sucker out of sheer quotability.

Two: Look at the cast. Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris, and Alan Arkin play the brokers, Kevin Spacey plays their boss, and Alec Baldwin is only on-screen for maybe 10-15 minutes as a corporate rep who’s brought in to “motivate” everyone, but it’s the best bit of acting he’s ever done in his life. This movie shows why he’s the only Baldwin who hasn’t fallen into a dark pit of obscurity that hit rock bottom at I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!

Mamet’s dialogue is good on paper, but it’s a hundred times better when it’s delivered by some of the best male actors out there.

Three: Put those first two factors together and you’ve got one of the best talking heads movies of all time. You really don’t need anything but dialogue with this movie because it’s just so damn good. It’s an intense, believable, and ultimately sad movie about a group of hard-working American guys who get paid to swindle people for a living.

After recently spending a good couple weeks trying to find a new apartment in New York, I quickly found that a lot of the brokers out there are some real rat bastards who would love nothing more than to fuck you over so they can get their commission. And even though I’m no broker and have no desire to ever walk into a real estate office ever again, Mamet hit the nail on the head in giving his audience an inside look into a profession that could otherwise be pretty damn boring.

Not much of a date movie, but I love recommending Glengarry Glen Ross to people. You gotta see it. If anything, it’ll give you newfound respect for your job that you never knew existed.

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