DEBUNKING DAVID MAMET. David Mamet made his name by writing edgy plays with crackling dialogue in the early 1980s, and then contributing that same ear for incredible dialogue to mainstream Hollywood films. Remember “That’s the Chicago Way” from The Untouchables? Those wonderful riffs from “Wag the Dog”? Did you bother to watch “Ronin”, a so-so action film, but with lines like “Have you ever killed anybody?” DeNiro:”I hurt somebody’s feelings once.” If so, that’s Mamet.
Flak Magazine recently put up an article by Matt Fisher (who’s email is [email protected] Paging Dr. Hitchcock…) which argues that Mamet has been on cruise control for quite sometime. Because he’s in demand, he no long has to try:
He has become drama’s answer to George Lucas; automatic acclaim has shrunk the scope and scale of his efforts, because no matter what he turns out, hey, it’s a David Mamet movie. But unlike George Lucas, his hip cachet prevents everyone from bursting his balloon with a long-overdue reality check.
Fisher argues that Mamet’s Hollywood hip cache comes largely from Glengarry Glen Ross, a film Fisher seems to really admire. But from the point of view of somebody who worked, effectively, in sales for many years, Glengarry was such a depressingly overblown series of clich