Cult Classic: Glengarry Glen Ross
As Glengarry Glen Ross hits the stage in Dublin this week, we thought it best to revisit the 1992 cult classic of the same name.
Having worked in telesales for two years, in addition to the mind-numbing ordeal of being a "chugger", walking up and down streets harassing strangers to sign up for charities, I can tell you of the power of Glengarry Glen Ross.
An acclaimed Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning 1984 play before it hit cinemas in 1992, the film centred upon two days in the lives of four real estate salesman giving the ultimate kick up the arse by "motivator" Alec Baldwin's Blake.
Promised by Blake an incredible first prize of a Cadillac El Dorado in a sales contest and second prize of a set of steak knives, the salesmen - including Jack Lemmon's Shelley "The Machine" Levene - are understandably unnerved by the third prize; getting the sack.
In Blake's world there is no time for losers and only space for "closers". Closers get the good sales leads and more importantly, only they get coffee (Baldwin's "Coffee's for closers" is embedded in every current or one-time salesman's minds by now, I'd imagine).
Anyone who has worked in sales will have at least watched Baldwin's stunning turn as Blake from the film and could perhaps recite his entire scene from memory, as he is quite simply a cold, cruel force of nature.
"A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing, always be closing," chomps a rabid Baldwin as he circles the downtrodden salespeople in the film's most iconic scene.
"I made $970,000 last year. How much you make?" he then asks Ed Harris' Dave Moss. "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!"
Rather than push themselves to the limit and pound the phones, the salesmen have a better idea - break into their firm's office and sell the coveted leads to a competitor. From here the lead characters' moral axis spins out of control, none more so than Lemmon's once-prolific salesman Shelley.
While he was once "The Machine", a reputation owed to his consistency in getting results, he now has a sick daughter and can't close to save his life. It is a pathetic role ably played by an incredible actor.
Aside from Baldwin's rabid Blake, Glengarry Glen Ross' second most memorable facet is that of the character of Shelley, who is perhaps most recognised in The Simpsons' failed salesman Gil Gunderson.
Whether he's attempting to sell Coleco computers or having his office partitions removed each day by Lionel Hutz's Red Blazer Realty, he was supposed to be, as explained by show runner Mike Scully, a "one-shot thing" but has since become one of the most memorable supporting characters in the show's history.
This week Glengarry Glen Ross finds its true home, however, as it returns to the stage of the Gate Theatre in Dublin for an extremely well-reviewed adaptation of David Mamet's creation.
So whether you're catching the cult classic film, heading out in the capital or switching on a Gil-starring episode of The Simpsons, this ruthless work of art is still able to seal the deal nearly 30 years later.
For more cult films, check out the Jameson Cult Film Club.