Monday, July 18, 2005

“Oh, you’re a bad pony – and I’m not going to bet on you.”

The Movie: House of Games, 1987 (David Mamet, director and screenwriter, from a story by Mamet and Jonathan Katz)
Who says it: Joe Mantegna as Mike, a master con artist
The context: Dr. Margaret Ford (Lindsay Crouse), begging Mike for protection, has just revealed too much about her own motivations – or has she?
How to use it: When you realize someone hasn’t told you everything you need to know.

Oh, how I love this movie. I've seen it well over a dozen times, I own it, I see new things in it every time I watch it -- and even though I know perfectly well how it ends, it always comes as a shock. It is Mamet's best con-within-a-con-within-a-con film, so good that the movie itself is a con, and I watch it over and over, trying to rationalize the behavior of the central characters.

Lunch at the Yarmouth Clam Festival yesterday involved the consumption of many types of deep-fried food. I had chicken nuggets, but they could have dropped any kind of vaguely triangular breaded flesh into the boiling oil, and I would not have known the difference. They could have been possum nuggets. Tasty, in any case.

I could buy my own corn dog/fried vegetable stand, if I wanted to. One was marked "For Sale" at the Pittston Fair on Friday night. Two deep fat fryers, signage, a refrigerated food storage unit, and some other essential equipment, plus space at fairs throughout Maine and New Hampshire next summer, all for $2,000. It's tempting.

"You could get a great book out of it," Steve Lechner said yesterday, a thought that had already occurred to me. But I have little patience with stunts performed for no reason other than to get a book out of it. If I spent a summer frying corn dogs at small-town fairs in New England, I'd be doing it for the experience, not just so people could read about me doing it.

No, Mom, I am not seriously thinking about doing this. Just a daydream.

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