This recent letter to Atlanta Journal-Constitution "film columnist" Alan Smithee was too good not to share in its entirety:
Dear Mr. Smithee,
It is high time that a long-standing argument among (initially) friends be settled. And this argument pertains to the greatest scene in any movie of all time. I ask this as a loaded question, of course, because I believe I know the answer to the question. One hint: Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris and Kevin Spacey. Oh, do I have your attention now?
This movie is adapted from a David Mamet play and was turned into one of his movies around 1990. It certainly earned its "R" rating. Last clue: Alec Baldwin comes in from the home office for an "inspirational scene." Can you name this movie scene and what makes it so great?
Scott W--------, Cumming
Dear You … Child,
PUT THAT COFFEE DOWN!!
Coffee's for closers only.
You come into my house and then presume to speak for me? "Glengarry Glen Ross" contains the greatest scene in any movie of all time? Says who? You ?
It matters not one whit to me or anyone else how much you like that movie.
Oh, do I have your attention now?
It is a great movie. And a great scene. It's great because the writing and the acting are nearly perfect. And this particular scene was not in David Mamet's original play, but was added to the 1992 film and written specifically for Alec Baldwin. It's the best thing Baldwin’s ever done. He displays brass you-know-whats.
But great doesn't mean greatest.
I can think of several that are as good, if not better. The flight of the helicopters in "Apocalypse Now." The shooting of Vito Corleone in "The Godfather." The trial in "To Kill a Mockingbird." The dinner revelation in "The Celebration." Omar Sharif’s entrance in "Lawrence of Arabia." Tony Curtis running by a moving train and reaching to grasp Sidney Poitier’s hand in "The Defiant Ones." Jack Lemmon announcing his engagement in "Some Like It Hot." David Hemmings studying the park photographs in "Blow-Up." Hitchcock’s shower scene in "Psycho."
I could go on.
And I will. Just one more. Lemmon in "Glengarry Glen Ross." Every scene he's in.
P.S. You get third prize (you know what that is, don"t you, Scotty?). Plus a "Batman Begins" T-shirt and an "Ask Alan Smithee" T-shirt.
OK, folks, what did he forget? To the comments with you!
[Please, you're not getting any work done today--you just keep checking the weather for this weekend and plotting how early you can leave work tomorrow and still call it a half-day.]