Sunday, November 26, 2006

TWO GREAT AMERICAN DRAMAS!

It strikes me that I wrote about these films before but if I did I can't find the post in the archive so I'll take another stab at it. In my opinion these are among the best dramas of the last half century. Glengarry is the best play about the dark side of making a living; Marty is the best play about finding someone to love.

Notice that I didn't say Marty was the best romance. Marty isn't a romance, rather it's about needing people and survival in the relationship jungle. I like it because it's about a subject that's really important. It's amazing how many dramas are about unimportant things. Animated films are often about learning to be yourself, which surely rates at the bottom of any objective list of important themes.

 
Glenngary is about how serious work is and how easily work can be taken away from you. You have to work to live yet work is not a right but more like a kindness that an employer bestows on you and can withdraw at any time. I don't mean to attach any political interpretation to this, I'm definitely not a Marxist, I simply note that it's surprising that something as vital as a job is apt to be so fraught with insecurity.

In modern society we're no longer independent hunters or farmers but rather supplicants with our tin cups out, hoping that someone with a job to offer will look kindly on us. It seems odd because philosophy and religion describe each individual as immeasurably important yet in another way we don't seem to be important at all. It's a puzzling icongruity which David Mammet presents without comment.

21 comments:

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Craig D said...

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Anonymous said...

Yeah, since I started blogging, I've made trillions of dollars. I own both Microsoft and Apple, plus large chunks of Manhattan.

Actually, I saw "Marty" just a few weeks ago, for the first time... and I was blown away with what a wonderful little movie it is. Ernest Borgnine is brilliant in it, and I wish he'd played more nice guys instead of bullies and antagonists.

Although I dig him in just about anything.

I had to read "Glengarry GlenRoss" in one of my Lit classes back when I was majoring in literature. Such a hard-hitting play. I haven't seen the movie version yet though.

Years after that, I was working as an ad designer at a newspaper and man oh man, the atmosphere was almost the same. Desperation wafting around like the odor of flop sweat, soul-killing "pep talks" and backstabbing.

I loved it. The human theater.

Jennifer said...

Hi Uncle Eddie!

I'll definitely have to check out those two movies. I have heard a lot of really good things about both of those movies.

P.S. - Uncle Eddie, it looks like you may have to enable comment moderation soon...

Ohjeepers said...

Holy Crap!
I LOVE Glengary Glenross. I always find that movie inspirational in a bizarre sort of way. As much as the movie shows how desperate and helpless Man can often be, I really like the idea that you can control your own destiny through pure will power.

Not to mention “Put that coffee down, coffee is for closers”, which is funny as hell.

James.

Ohjeepers said...

Holy Crap!
I LOVE Glengary Glenross. I always find that movie inspirational in a bizarre sort of way. As much as the movie shows how desperate and helpless Man can often be, I really like the idea that you can control your own destiny through pure will power.

Not to mention “Put that coffee down, coffee is for closers”, which is funny as hell.

James.

Charles Oines said...

I'm not that fond of Glengarry for the simple reason that it makes me feel sympathy for telemarketers.

NARTHAX said...

According to economics, more is always better. According to human existence, it doesn't play out like that, except for the ownership class.

Forbes said...

I've had a a copy of Glengary Glenross on DVD for 2 years and I still haven't watched it yet. I think I bought it because it was cheap but the fact that someone found it inspirational is enough encouragement to watch it now.

"You have to work to live yet work is not a right but more like a kindness that an employer bestows on you and can withdraw at any time."

Even when you are your own boss your customers become the employers. I live to serve!!! Is there any way out of this or is this thought just a self-indulgence?

Michael Valiquette said...

I worked in boiler room for 13 months. Turns out I'm a closer. Glengarry Glenross is now a souvenir of an experience I hope I never have to return to but was incredibly educational. The movie nails it. Life is hard, take what you can or someone else will. It's unfortunately very true. Not a philosphy that sounds too attractive but most of us could stand some toughening up like that.
Haven't seen Marty yet.

cableclair said...

much much love for David Mammet! And what a cast it is!

Need to see Marty. Yesss.

murrayb said...

alec baldwin is AMAZING in that movie.
http://www.whysanity.net/monos/ggr2.html
seeing this monologue in school made me scared of the "real" world.

imagine him as an animation supervisor?
The keys are weak? the KEYS are weak? YOUR WEAK.the good news is: you're fired.

tundrahardnut said...

Fuck Alec Baldwin. He can go suck Hugo Chavez's cock for all I care. That commie-ass.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there HAVE been many studio heads just like Baldwin in that film.

J. J. Hunsecker said...

I agree with you, Eddie. Glengarry is an excellent movie! I like Marty, but I don't think it's as good as Glengarry is.

Anonymous said...

I wish you'd gone into more detail about "Marty". It's a well written character study, that's for sure...as far as the description of it you do give, it reminded me of a film I'd rate even higher in that same category: "The Apartment". That one too is about the importance of finding someone to love, needing meaningful relationships in one's life, loneliness, etc.--and it's also not a half-bad snapshot of the same sort of "Glengarry Glen Ross" ratrace. : )
Interesting titles, indeed.

Anonymous said...

Hey Eddie, if you haven't visited this site already, you should. It's an urban legend archive website that tries to find out if the latest rumors are true or not.

www.snopes.com

I recommend the Fauxtography section; there’s a ton of real and fake photos that might give you some creative ideas on what to draw.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Anonymous: Thanks for the tip about Snopes!

Jennifer: I'll hold out against comment moderation as long as I can. I hate to put people through that.

I have no idea what adbrite is. I'm as greedy as the next man and if I thought there was decent money in it I probably would consider advertising but if it's only a couple bucks a month it doesn't seem worth the inconvenience to the readers.

Narthax: It's currently an unresovable problem. If you prevent employers from firing people the business gets slack and uncompetitive and the end result is far fewer jobs. If you don't prevent it then some people will always have to live like the guys in Glengarry. We need a genius to show us what can be done about this!

Cable: Mammet is indeed an interesting writer!

jenny: "The Apartment?" I haven't seen it in a while. I'll look it up!

R said...

I've always wanted to see the original version of Marty, with Rod Steiger (it was made for TV)But I dunno if it's available anywhere..

Jorge Garrido said...

Eddie, I predict Snopes will become your new favourite site! It sure as hell was mine when I discovered it!

Anonymous said...

I hope you do look it up; it's a Billy Wilder film, with jack Lemmon & Shirley MacLaine. Famously referred to as "a dirty fairy tale" by the NY Times or somewhere it's actually a tour de force of drama and comedy together; has some of the best character interactions and moments superbly played by MacLaine and Lemmon(never better). Beautifully shot and a lovely score, too. What's not to love?
-Jenny