Tuesday Threes: The Answer

by | Dec 30th, 2009 | 10:30AM | Filed under: Threes

Can't fool you guys. More than 125 answers, only a few incorrect as far as I can tell, and not one person guessed Glengarry Glen Ross!

First on the scene with the right answer was Randall–he takes home the homemade construction-paper medal. Not far behind were Spaz and our ol' Threes pal Nichol in second and third.

So what film was it that featured Alec Baldwin (appearing now in It's Complicated), Kevin Spacey, and Sigourney Weaver (in Avatar, of course)? Lay a little elbow grease, and maybe some cursor highlighting, on the Inviso-Text and see!

Yep, it was 1988's Working Girl, from director Mike Nichols (The Graduate) and screenwriter Kevin Wade (who would later go on to write Junior, Meet Joe Black, and Maid in Manhattan). The movie is maybe best known for pushing Melanie Griffith into the mainstream spotlight as Tess, the tough-talking woman who works her way up from the secretary pool. Even though she's Tippi Hedren's daughter and had been a working actress for almost 15 years, Griffith's career started to get real traction in the mid-'80s with 1984's Body Double and (my personal favorite) 1986's Something Wild (not to mention Cherry 2000!), peaking with a Best Actress Oscar nomination for Working Girl.

Weaver, of course, played Tess's nightmare boss. It was a peak year for the actress–she'd hit it big with Aliens in 1986, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award, and at the 1989 Oscars the following spring she found herself nominated twice: for Best Actress in Gorillas in the Mist and again for Best Supporting Actress here in Working Girl.

Working Girl also earned a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Joan Cusack, a director nom for Nichols, and a Best Picture nomination. Rain Man took the Best Picture and Director that year, Cusack and Weaver lost to Geena Davis in The Accidental Tourist,  and Griffith and Weaver lost Best Actress to Jodi Foster in The Accused. The only Oscar Working Girl won was for Carly Simon's theme song, "Let the River Run." (A song that, due to full disclosure rules, I must admit that I owned a cassingle of and listened to a lot that winter. Whenever I try to tell you how cool my musical taste was in the '80s with The Replacements and Lyle Lovett and industrial dance music, just remind me of that "Let the Rivers Run" cassingle.)

One of the great things about Alec Baldwin's career is that at some
point–right around 1999's Outside Providence–he
"pulled a Shatner" and turned the corner
from playing sexy, kinda scary boyfriends or players and
mocking those roles. Now we're so used to seeing him on screen or TV as
the puffed-up buffoon, we forget that he was once the hot, dangerous
sex symbol. Working Girl capped Baldwin's break-out year in '88–he was suddenly everywhere that year. The sleazy old pal in She's Having a Baby (the first time I remember noticing him), the dead husband in Beetlejuice, Michelle Pfeiffer's murdered mob husband in Married to the Mob (also from Something Wild director Jonathan Demme and also featuring Joan Cusack), and finally Tess's cheatin' boyfriend in Working Girl

Kevin Spacey played a sleazeball "date" Tess is set up with in Working Girl–as Eddy Utter noted, he was hired for the role at the last minute when another actor dropped out. It was not Spacey's first film role, but his career was also starting to build steam–he was getting rave reviews for his extended guest role as the villianous Mel Profitt on the TV crime series Wiseguy. Still, it would be four more years before Spacey would join Baldwin in the film version of Glengarry Glen Ross, and three more after that before his own Oscar-nominated breakout role in The Usual Suspects.

A trivia side note: Working Girl was also the first screen appearance of David Duchovny, and an early film role for one of my current favorite character actors, Oliver Platt.

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