Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
July 7, 2022 6:59 AM - Subscribe

When an office full of Chicago real estate salesmen is given the news that all but the top two will be fired at the end of the week, the atmosphere begins to heat up. Shelley Levene, who has a sick daughter, does everything in his power to get better leads from his boss, John Williamson, but to no avail. When his coworker Dave Moss comes up with a plan to steal the leads, things get complicated for the tough-talking salesmen.

The powerhouse cast includes Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris, Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, and Jonathan Pryce. Directed by James Foley from a script by David Mamet, based on his play.

Alec Baldwin's fiery monologue was not in the play and was added specifically for the film.

Rated 95% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Amazon Prime, Hoopla, Kanopy, and Pluto TV.
posted by DirtyOldTown (20 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This movie is to sales offices as Major League is to professional baseball players.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:14 AM on July 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

I can't say that this is probably peak Mamet, since I've only seen this and House of Games but I think that it's probably Mamet's peak in terms of recognition from and influence on the culture at large. If it's the Major League for sales offices, it's also become the Rosetta Stone for late-stage capitalism: fighting over the scraps.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:35 AM on July 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

When I make the comparison to Major League, I'm saying it's the most endlessly quoted in the industry, for better or worse.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:08 AM on July 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

When I was the IT support for a Sales office, having "Always Be tickets" written on the whiteboard got me so much credit with the staff.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 10:04 AM on July 7, 2022 [10 favorites]

Every 8 minutes somewhere in a sales office in America, some sales bros are hunched over someones laptop smirking and watching the Alec Baldwin monologue, quoting along with it.
Someone shakes his head and says "so badass" when he busts out the brass balls. They then proceed to quote it to each other for the rest of the day.
posted by windbox at 11:55 AM on July 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

I consider it a red flag anytime I encounter a person who does not realize this movie/play is a satire.

In my 20s I tried working in a call center, selling newspaper subscriptions. In the training meetings, the manager dude was unironically quoting this movie, especially the Always Be Closing part. I lost it and went on a full-on rant about how dishonest the whole enterprise was. I was let go almost immediately.
posted by wabbittwax at 3:03 PM on July 7, 2022 [10 favorites]

The three categories of sales room references to Glengarry Glen Ross, in reverse order of red flag:

1) This is that we do. This is our Bible. Learn it.
2) Oh, shit, sometimes what we do makes us dead inside. This satire stings but satisfies.
3) We're not assholes here. This isn't Glengarry Glen Ross.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:36 PM on July 7, 2022 [5 favorites]

I keep this movie in the same brain compartment as Fight Club and Falling Down. Each of which is excellent but I find the more enthusiastically a person likes it, the more likely they are to have taken the exact opposite of the point.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 3:49 PM on July 7, 2022 [18 favorites]

Actual salesperson here. I hate this movie.
posted by COD at 5:08 PM on July 7, 2022 [6 favorites]

Wait, people think of this movie as like The Art of War for salesmen?? That’s kind of frightening.
posted by Naberius at 10:07 PM on July 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

I'm a sales person myself. I think it's a great movie, but my comfort level at a job is inversely proportional to how much the environment reminds me of the sales office in the film.

Most people I've worked with who make references to it do so as a way of disparaging where they work, not of emulating anything in it.

There are people who think the Alec Baldwin speech is "cool" but they're a) rare, b) the worst, and c) bottom feeders.

There probably isn't a great film about high-end sales because it's inherently boring: advance research to insure you're reaching the right people instead of scattershot "call everyone" BS; consultancy over pressure; long sales cycles with repeated calls; etc.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:11 AM on July 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

So, @DirtyOldTown, you think a movie about me writing 75 page government web site proposals won't be exciting? I guess I won't be inviting you to the premier :)
posted by COD at 1:46 PM on July 8, 2022

I'm currently working on an RFP for large scale K-12 internet access that is dozens of pages long and positively riveting. I'm thinking George Clooney plays me, the seasoned middle age fiber sales rep.

The only break I get is that my spouse (rarely seen mefite Comrade Doll) used to have a fun party-planning job that people loved to hear about, and I was the boring one. Now she sells industrial automation parts and she has that title locked down.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:04 PM on July 8, 2022 [4 favorites]

Long ago I was in sales, too, but that has absolutely nothing to do with why I love this film.

I had seen House of Games when it came out — which is why I went to see this in the theater — but I recall being hypomanically enthusiastic about this film with my (then) wife as we walked to the car afterwards. In particular, the "Go to lunch" repetition just sort of blew my mind. My whole theory about Mamet's dialogue was that it was "hyperreal": he incorporates disfluencies that are otherwise almost entirely absent in conventional dialogue, but he does so in a very stylized manner.

I also wrongly predicted Lemmon would get an Oscar nomination for this — I still think he should have.

Trivia: A few years later, I unknowingly bought the same model of BMW Alec Baldwin's character bragged about. Same color, too. His might have been the 12-cylinder 850; mine was the 840.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:23 PM on July 8, 2022 [3 favorites]

I recently bought a set of steak knives...
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:06 AM on July 9, 2022 [4 favorites]

The real sales connoisseurs know that the monologue to memorize isn't "Always Be Closing" but Ricky Roma's pitch to the hapless mark in the Chinese restaurant: "I'm glad I met you, James. I want to show you something. It may mean something to you, it may not. I don't know. I don't know anymore. What is that? Florida. Glengarry Highlands. Florida. Bullshit. And maybe that's true, and that's what I said. But look at this."
posted by How the runs scored at 8:55 PM on July 9, 2022 [4 favorites]

My favourite Pacino monologue in this is when Williamson has just blown it for him and Roma just unloads on him with every emasculating insult in the book. The way he delivers it, starting with a defeated whisper and building to a classic Pacino roar is everything that makes Pacino great, in one speech.
posted by wabbittwax at 4:57 AM on July 10, 2022 [3 favorites]

Too bad Mamet turned out so wrong.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 11:24 AM on July 10, 2022 [5 favorites]

I consider it a red flag anytime I encounter a person who does not realize this movie/play is a satire

Even Jack Lemmon's character groans at what's going on, in-film.

What's funny is that everyone who knows their line of work is bullshit doesn't walk away without some damage.

Lemmon, Pacino, Harris, Arkin — they know they are bullshitters, liars, and crooks, and no matter what they do, all of them lose something at the end: money or status, or both.

The true believers, Spacey and Baldwin, those two are still at the top of the heap, at the end.

The movie is about capitalism, of course. But I think on some level it's also about anything requiring a belief system, and what happens if you buy into the magic, or not. Magic — deceit — is at the heart of a lot of Mamet's films, at least before the MAGA worms ate his brains.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:57 PM on July 10, 2022 [5 favorites]

I absolutely love the take on Alec Baldwin's monologue in the dark comedy TV show Barry. Bill Hader plays Barry, the pushover hitman who starts taking an acting class. Scene from season 1 episode 4
posted by cadge at 9:01 PM on July 11, 2022 [5 favorites]

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