What REALLY goes on in a job interview? Find out in the new revision of "Sweaty Palms: The Neglected Art of Being Interviewed" (Warner Books) by Tony Medley, updated for the world of the Internet . Over 500,000 copies in print and the only book on the job interview written by an experienced interviewer, one who has conducted thousands of interviews. This is the truth, not the ivory tower speculations of those who write but have no actual experience. "One of the top five books every job seeker should read," says Hotjobs.com.

Edmond (3/10)

by Tony Medley

The filmmakers said that “we gave the script to all the studios around town and told them that we had William H. Macy starring and David Mamet writing and Stuart Gordon directing and they all said, ‘Great! We’ll read it this weekend,’ and never heard from them again.” Maybe, just maybe, there was a reason why they never heard from them again.

Director Stuart Gordon says, “We are all racists. I am continually shocked and amazed at the words that fly out of my own mouth when someone cuts me off in traffic. We try to hide our racism from each other and from ourselves. But we secretly know It’s alive and well within us.”

Gordon is an admirer of Michael Moore, calling “Bowling for Columbine” (2002) “brilliant.” Others have called it a polemic replete with factual inaccuracies. “Edmond” is a film where everyone involved seems smitten with sending a political message about what they feel is wide spread white racism. Maybe all the people involved with this movie are racist; I have no way of knowing. But it’s a mistake to paint everyone with the same brush.

Edmond (Macy) leaves his wife for no reason other than that he doesn’t love her and feels he is in the “wrong place” in his life, something he’s been told by a soothsayer. So he just walks out with the clothes on his back.

As unrealistic as this is, what follows is sheer fantasy. Edmond is around 46-years-old, but never has there been a more naïve man wandering around the streets of Los Angeles. To present a character as ingenuous is one thing. It apparently worked in “Forrest Gump” (1994). But to present a seemingly successful businessman as infantile and unknowing as Edmond is presented defies credibility and destroys any chance the movie has to gain verisimilitude. His meetings and conversations with hookers, strippers, pimps, and other people are ludicrous. Nobody who has lived in a city as long as Edmond has, is that untouched by the realities of life.

David Mamet has penned some good (but not great) movies, like “Wag The Dog” (1998, shared credit) and “The Untouchables” (1987). I liked Glengarry Glen Ross (1984) on the stage, but it was filled with four-letter words and I didn’t like it enough to watch the movie. Once was enough. But he’s also had disappointments, like “The Spanish Prisoner” (1997) and the silly “Spartan” (2004), another film that foisted his political beliefs on his audience. “Edmond” is in the latter category.

“Edmond” epitomizes his great weakness, dialogue that is not credible. People in real life just don’t talk like Mamet has them talk, at least in this film. There is a scene shortly after Edmond walks out on his wife in which he is seated in a bar speaking with an unnamed character played by Joe Montagna. The dialogue is laughably implausible as Montagna, who doesn’t know Edmond from Adam, goes off on a racist diatribe. Co-producer Lionel Mark Smith, who plays the pimp, says, “What do white guys sitting in a bar watching a basketball game talk about? They talk about sex and race.” Sorry, Mr. Smith, but that’s rubbish. I’ve been a white guy sitting in a bar watching a basketball game and, while sex was sometimes a topic for discussion, race never was. Never once! In Smith’s uninformed comment shines forth the main problem with this film. Gordon and Mamet and Smith and everyone else involved simply take it as gospel that all white people are racist and impose that belief on their audience.

Asked what the movie means, Macy paused for several moments before replying, “I don’t know what it means. Edmond was looking for freedom and he found it in prison. He was looking for safety and found it in a man who attacked him. He was looking for honesty and he found it in prison. Sounds right to me.” That says a lot about Macy and his view of American society.

Macy said it took him five weeks to learn all the lines, and there are a lot of them. Most of the film is Macy talking, spouting. He said they were the toughest lines he ever had to learn, “I have never done a darker piece of work – a descent into hell.”

Another reprehensible part of the movie is the murder scene. Someone is killed in the prime of life, but there is no horror at it. There’s nothing that emphasizes that someone’s life has ended almost before it started. Oh, we see blood spurting, but it happens and we are then left to forget the victim. This is the way Hollywood seems to like to treat murder, not as something horrible, but as something that happens and then we go away and forget about it. Well, it is horrible and the horror of it should be emphasized. I’m not talking about the physical brutality of the act of murder itself. I’m talking about the horror of someone’s life, the only chance at living they will ever have, being ended by the voluntary, vicious act of someone else. Hollywood loves to use murder as a plot device, but it has not faced up to the responsibility of painting it for the terrible act that it is.

The set wasn’t as dark as the movie, however. On the day they shot the scene in which Edmond attacks the Pimp, they were shooting on an outside set at a studio. As Macy was pummeling Smith, who is black, Jamie Foxx, who was filming on a set in a building overlooking the “Edmond” set, yelled out the window, “What are you shooting down there? Do you need help, brother?”

They needed help, all right, but not with shooting that scene. They needed a new script with credible dialogue to tell what could have been an interesting story about a man descending into madness without basing it on white racism and bigotry.

August 12, 2006