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Glengarry Glen Ross (SE)
DVD disk
Feb 17, 2004 By: Mike Sampson
Glengarry Glen Ross (SE) order
Director:
James Foley

Actors:
Jack Lemmon
Al Pacino
Kevin Spacey

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Poor Sheldon "The Machine" Levine (Lemmon). Once at the top of his game, this real estate salesman has fallen on hard times. Meanwhile hotshot Ricky Roma (Pacino) can't lose. He's on a hot streak, but he's one of the only ones at Mitch & Murray who's doing much of anything. So management brings in a motivational speaker. They are told, in an insane fashion, that they are to be fired unless they can produce. Someone in the office, desperate to stay afloat, plots to break into the Manager's (Spacey) office and steal the coveted Glengarry leads. The police get involved, an investigation ensues and we get an inside look at the tough life of sales.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I remember this movie for a few reasons. One obviously being Alec Baldwin's career-defining speech to the salesmen of Mitch and Murray. His role lasts about 5 minutes but it's easily the best of his career. I find it hard to get through a week without quoting Baldwin's speech. It was a veritable mainstay in college. But I also remember GLENGARRY as the first film in which I really appreciated the art of acting.

Since the film, written by David Mamet, was based off a successful Broadway play, there isn't a whole lot of "action." It takes place primarily in just a few locations so the actors and the script are really on display here. I remember being shocked that Pacino, while notable as Ricky Roma, was nominated for an Academy Award and not Jack Lemmon. His performance as Shelly Levine is something every actor should take note of. Really all the acting here is a dream from Kevin Spacey to Ed Harris to Alan Arkin who sometimes gets overlooked.

My wife finds the film boring and gets annoyed at how I stop and watch it every time that it's on. She says the movie makes her so depressed and she feels so BAD for some of the characters in the film, she can barely sit through it. I can see that also, but I look past that and see the craft by the actors and Mamet in creating characters that were so pathetic that you couldn't help but feel embarrassed for them at times. Truly a great movie.
THE EXTRAS
First up is the Audio Commentary by director James Foley which is a bit of a letdown. It's not a "full" track and he only comments on certain scenes in the film. Lots of silence on this track. I felt like I was listening to Robert De Niro stumbling through the MEET THE PARENTS track again (What did you think of this Bob? "Good..."). Another brief commentary track is included with Alec Baldwin and Alan Arkin talking about their experience on the film. Unfortunately, it's not continuous and like the former track, is edited together with clips of the cinematographer and production designer talking. Not the best way to do a commentary, but some might enjoy Baldwin's comments specifically.

The first featurette on this DVD is A.B.C. (Always Be Closing) which is "an original documentary tracing the psychological intersection of fictional and real-life salesmen." It features interviews the the actors as well as real salesmen as they talk about the discrepancies between the film and how life as a salesman actually is. An interesting look at the lives of the men who do this for a living and thank God it's not as bad as it's sometimes portrayed in the film.

Another featurette on the disc is the bizarre little J. Roy: New and Unused Furniture. It only lasts about 10 minutes and features a furniture salesman discussing his techniques. Odd yet strangely appealing...

The Tribute to Jack Lemmon was a nice enough retrospective on Lemmon and his career. Jack's son Chris (who's also an actor you might recognize) makes a notable appearance and has many touching stories to tell about his father. Makes you really wish you had guys like this back for just a few more movies (although hopefully not a GRUMPY OLD MEN 3).

Some other miscellaneous features include an excerpt from Jack Lemmon on "The Charlie Rose Show" (clips of which have become a mainstay on special edition DVDs), another excerpt from Kevin Spacey on "Inside the Actor's Studio", cast and crew bios and production notes.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS is probably one of my top 15 movies of all time, though I hate to ever have to make that list. Some of the greatest performances compiled all into one production, it truly is a powerhouse of the acting profession. While this isn't the greatest DVD that could've come out of this film (I hear Lemmon was awesome on a Laserdisc commentary track that isn't included here), it's an OK job and I'm jus happy to finally have this film on DVD! For anyone who hasn't seen it, I highly recommend you watch it and for existing fans, I don't think I have to tell you to check it out. It won't disappoint.
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