Glengarry Glen Ross – Alec Baldwin
So in order to be great, a movie must contain great scenes. Some movies are defined by and best remembered for one or two scenes in particular. These are the scenes that you don’t forget, whether it be for a variety of classic quotes, a moment of breathtaking action or some insane special effects. I decided it might be pretty cool to put some of these scenes in the spotlight here at Movie Melt, and to take it even one step further by breaking down these scenes into individual moments that make them great movie scenes. We will dissect the scene, if you will.
So we’d like to start with one of my all time favorites, a speech by Alec Baldwin in the fantastic and underrated drama ‘Glengarry Glen Ross,’ about a group of salesman coming up on hard times. Baldwin comes in from corporate as a man on a mission to light a fire under these salesman, and he pulls no punches in doing so. Let’s get into it. Check out the video and follow along as I call out my favorite moments with their time on the video:
0.20 – “Coffee is for closers!”
So Baldwin comes in swinging as he begins to talk to the salesman (including Ed Harris, Alan Arkin, Jack Lemmon and their manager Kevin Spacey), immediately getting their attention by screaming at Jack Lemmon’s kind old character Shelley to “put that coffee down!” The group look shocked, but the tone is set and we as viewers are sitting up a little in our seats.
1:43 – “Third prize is your fired.”
As the salesmen, Ed Harris in particular, begin to be insulted and irritated by Baldwin’s unprovoked attack, he ups the ante to keep their attention. He declares that this months sales competition will be a little different. He immediately shows them that only first place matters, with the prize being a Cadillac, as opposed to the second prize – steak knives. As the title suggests, the third prize is a pink slip. Classic!
2:10 – “The leads are weak? You’re weak!”
Shelley Levine responds to Alec with a puny suggestion that the leads they have been given are weak. The response is fantastic and without hesitation. Baldwin makes sure Shelley is aware that the only reason for a lack of sales is a lack of ability, and a lack of any backbone. The disrespect and verbal abuse just keeps flowing, and nobody delivers it quite like Alec Baldwin.
2:18 – “F*** You, that’s my name…”
Well, the crew wants to know their abusers real name. The title pretty much sums up what happens next. He also adds, so eloquently, that “you drove a Hyundai to get here, I drove an $80,000 BMW, THAT’S MY NAME….”
3:00 – ABC: Always Be Closing
Perhaps this great movie scene’s most iconic saying, and perhaps even the movies most memorable moment is the acronym Baldwin presents to the team. ABC, standing for “always be closing.” This just sums up the no nonsense, no excuses attitude he is preaching, and the use of a middle school acronym just further pushes the idea that these salesmen are puny children compared to him,
4:08 – “You see this watch. This watch costs more than your car…”
After his hard nosed motivational tactics are delivered, he certainly hasn’t won any new friends among the salesmen. Some motivational methods include breaking the subjects down before picking them back up with positive thoughts. Baldwin however, decides to follow up his rant with sheer arrogance in the form of personal insults towards their manhood and livelihood. Fantastic stuff!
4:30 – “Good father? F*** you, go home and play with your kids…”
My personal favorite from this great scene is this insane statement directed towards Ed Harris (who he takes a particular pleasure in attacking it seems). He is describing the fact that he doesn’t care what these men perceive as their best attributes or strengths. If they aren’t selling, they are nothing and he wants them to know it.
5:20 – “It takes brass balls to sell real estate”
Adding a little humor with this ridiculous gesture, Baldwin reaches into his briefcase and grabs a real pair of brass balls. He turns back towards his subjects and these balls line up wonderfully within the vicinity of where his real ‘balls’ may be sitting were he not wearing such wonderful pants. His last show of complete arrogance is bold and caps off his rant in great fashion.
So for anyone who hasn’t seen the film, you have to. Not even mentioned here is Al Pacino, as hot shot salesman Ricky Roma. Roma delivers an almost equally compelling speech, as he tears apart Kevin Spacey for not getting his hands dirty. Full of great dialogue and some real life situations many people can relate to, the film is one of the most underrated movies out there.
Always Be Closing!