Tag Archives: David Mamet

The Monday Movie – House Of Games


“I should raise your ass… but I’m just going to call. My marker’s good for a moment?”
“What is this ‘marker’. Where are you from?”
“Where am I from? I’m from the United States of Kiss My Ass…”

I’m a big fan of playwright and screenwriter David Mamet and have featured his work (specifically Glengarry Glen Ross) previously in the Monday Movie feature.

There can be few mainstream writers who so polarise opinion and create so much controversy.

The 1987 film House of Games was his directorial debut, after almost two decades of increasingly succesful and acclaimed work writing plays and movie scripts.

It’s the first of two films he has written and directed that deal specifically with con artists and their victims (though deception and cheating are recurring themes in much of his work), the other being the also excellent The Spanish Prisoner (1997). But while The Spanish Prisoner is about a high-end, multi-million-dollar corporate con, House Of Games is rooted firmly at the sleazy, small-time end of the swindlers’ scale.

The set up for the scene below is as follows. A psychiatrist (played by Mamet’s then wife Lindsay Crouse) has written a successful book, about obsession and compulsion in everyday life, that has made her wealthy

She is disturbed when a young patient tells her he owes a shady gambler (Joe Mantegna) $25,000 and will be killed if he doesn’t pay it back, so she decides to intercede on his behalf. She visits Mantegna at a seedy pool hall, where she finds him in the middle of a game of poker.

He tells her the debt is actually only $800 and offers to cancel it if she pretends to be his girlfriend to help him fleece one of the other players at the table (played by Mamet regular Ricky Jay (left)). Mantegna explains that Jay has a “tell”, an involuntary action he always performs when he is bluffing. He tells Crouse he will leave the table in the middle of a big hand, so that Jay drops his guard, leaving Crouse to look for the tell, tipping him off about whether to call or fold.

The scene concludes (with the first of the film’s many twists) at the start of this video:

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The Monday Movie – Glengarry Glen Ross


If there’s one film that serves as a veritable acting masterclass, it is surely Glengarry Glen Ross.

The 1992 film was directed by James Foley and written by the inimitable David Mamet, based on his own 1983 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning stage play of the same name.

It tells the story of two turbulent days in the lives of four real-estate salesmen and , as their high-pressure world starts to crumble around them, a process fuelled by their own arrogance and insecurity, together with the loathing they feel towards their bosses and their disdain for potential clients.

The stage version of Glengarry Glen Ross is quite short, running just a little over an hour, so for the film, Mamet added an introductory scene written especially for Alec Baldwin. He plays corporate trouble-shooter Blake, who is sent to the sales office by company bosses Mitch and Murray to “motivate” the salesman – in other words bully, threaten and humiliate them and warn them that if they don’t up their game, they’ll be out on the street.

In a cast of acting heavyweights (Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Kevin Spacey (in one of his first major film roles), Ed Harris, Alan Arkin), Baldwin’s scene arguably steals the film.

Here it is in all its menacing, foul-mouthed glory.

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TV Newsround: The Show Will Go On… The Fate Of 58 Shows!


It’s that time of year when the US TV networks decide (or rather, share with the world) which shows live and which shows die.

The upfronts take place next week in New York, when the fate of your favourite show will be officially revealed.

However news about the future (or lack thereof) of many of the bigger shows has already leaked, plus a few already had previous multi-season agreements in place.

So here is a round-up of which shows will definitely be back (some of these, in particular the shows that air during the summer, were already known and mentioned in previous Choob posts), plus the ones that are still sweating it out.

ABC

The sixth and final season of Lost will begin early in 2010.

Brothers And Sisters will be back in September for its fourth season.

New comedy-drama Castle, starring former Firefly star Nathan Fillion as a mystery writer who teams up with an NYPD cop to help him research his new novel, has been renewed for a second season. The first season ended in the US last week.

Grey’s Anatomy gets a sixth season, while its spin-off Private Practice is renewed for a third.

Desperate Housewives has been given a sixth season.

Season four of Ugly Betty begins on September 24.

ABC Family comedy-drama Greek has an order for a 20-episode third season.

CBS

CBS has yet to make a decision on a fifth season of sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine, starring former Seinfeld star Julia Louis-Dreyfus (right), but ABC has agreed a back-up deal which will see the network pick up the show if CBS decides to pass on it. It’s the second time in two years that ABC has tried to take over the show.

This is less certain than most of the other shows listed here but rumours are circulating that, somewhat surprisingly, David Mamet‘s special forces military drama The Unit is being given a fifth season.

Again, not a dead cert, but police drama Cold Case is said to have a good chance of a seventh season.

It was revealed back in March that sitcoms Two And A Half Men and The Big Bang Theory have been guaranteed three and two more seasons respectively.

Fox

Day eight of 24 will begin early next year. Is said to be set in New York and feature the return of CTU.

Sci-fi detective drama Fringe has been renewed for a full second season.

Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse, starring Eliza Dushku, will be back for a second season of 12 episodes.

The Simpsons has been renewed for two more seasons. The 44-episode order will take the show through to the end of its 22nd season (and 493 episodes), making it the longest-running series in primetime US TV history.

The first season of Family Guy spin-off Cleveland is yet to air (it was pushed back from Spring to the Autumn), but it has already been given a 13-episode second-season order.

FX

Dennis Leary firefighter drama Rescue Me has been renewed for an 18-episode sixth season.

Biker gang drama Sons Of Anarchy, starring Hellboy’s Ron Perlman, has been given a second-season order.

HBO

A fourth season of bigamy drama Big Love (below) has been ordered.

Vampire drama True Blood will be back for a second season.

Entourage gets a sixth season.

NBC

Despite diminishing ratings, Heroes will be back for season four.

The American version of The Office gets a sixth season.

Tina Fey’s (right) comedy 30 Rock saw ratings grow slightly this year and, though still on the low side, it has been rewarded with a fourth season.

Season eleven of Law and Order: SVU has been ordered.

Friday Night Lights has been given two more 13-episode seasons (its fourth and fifth).

Parks and Recreation, the new sitcom from the makers of the US version of The Office, which stars Saturday Night Live‘s Amy Poehler, gets a second season.

Supernatural drama Medium has been given a sixth season.

New LA-set cop drama Southland began its seven-episode first season last month and has already been renewed for a 13-episode second.

Showtime

Historical drama The Tudors will return for a 10-part fourth (and final) season, which will complete the saga of King Henry VIII.

Season 5 of Weeds, starring Mary-Louise Parker, right, begins on Monday, June 8.

Dexter, starring Six Feet Under’s Michael C Hall as a serial killer who works for the Miami police department. Season three recently ended its run and the network has been renewed for at least two further seasons, of 12 episodes each.

Black comedy-drama The United States Of Tara, has been given a second, 12-episode season. The show, created by Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody, stars Toni Collette as a wife and mother-of-two who suffers from dissociative identity disorder.

Californication, starring David Duchovny as a charming but troubled writer, has been renewed for a third season.

TNT

A second season (15 episodes) of crime drama Leverage has been given the go-ahead.

Superboy drama Smallville will be back in the Autumn for its ninth season.

Supernatural returns for season five.

One Tree Hill gets a seventh season.

Newcomer 90210 gets a second season (plus a pilot order for an updated version of original Beverley Hills 90210 spin-off, Melrose Place – more details here).

A third season of Gossip Girl has been ordered.

Comedy Central

The Sarah Silverman Program will be returning for a third season. With Sarah Silverman, right, obviously.

AMC

The superb Mad Men has been renewed for at least two more seasons.

SyFy

Sci-fi/fantasy drama Sanctuary, starring Stargate SG1 ’s Amanda Tapping, will be back for a second season.

USA

Miami-set tongue-in-cheek drama Burn Notice, below, about a spy inexplicably cast adrift by his bosses and left to fend for himself, has earned a 16-episode third-season order. It begins on June 4.

Comedy-drama Psych, about a fake psychic who helps the police, has been given a fourth season.

Monk, the comedy-drama about an obsessive-compulsive private detective, gets an eighth and final season.

Lifetime

With the third season of Army Wives not due to begin until June, the Lifetime channel has ordered a fourth season.

Starz

Ensemble drama Crash, based on the 2005 Best Picture Oscar-winning film of the same name, has been renewed for a 13-episode second season

TBS

A nine-episode third season of My Boys, a comedy about a female sports writer in Chicago and the men in her life, has been ordered.

Syndication

Syndicated sword-and-sorcery fantasy drama Legend Of The Seeker, currently airing its first season, has been renewed for a second run. The show is based on the Sword Of Truth series of books by Terry Goodkind.

Prospects for the following shows could still go either way but they haven’t been officially cancelled yet:

Fox

A third season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, starring Summer Glau, right, looks highly unlikely but if you believe in miracles, now’s the time to start praying for one.

ABC

Talks are reportedly underway for a ninth season of medical comedy Scrubs, though possibly without regular appearances from several of the original cast.

NBC

Negotiations for a possible fifth season of My Name Is Earl continue.

A fan campaign to win a third season for Chuck continues, amid rumours that a decision will be delayed until after the upfronts.

No word either yet on season 20 of the original Law and Order.

(This post seemed like a good, simple, quick idea when I started it – several hours ago! Hope someone finds it useful.)

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