On the last evening of a convention two seen-it-all industrial lubricant salesmen and a youngster from the research department gather in the hotel's hospitality suite to host a delegates party. The main aim is to get the business of one particular big fish. When it becomes apparent that it is the lad who has developed a direct line to the guy, his strong religious beliefs bring him into sharp conflict with his older and more cynical colleagues.
Quotable:Phil Cooper: “It doesn't matter whether you're selling Jesus or Buddha or civil rights or 'How to Make Money in Real Estate With No Money Down.' That doesn't make you a human being; it makes you a marketing rep. If you want to talk to somebody honestly, as a human being, ask him about his kids. Find out what his dreams are - just to find out, for no other reason. Because as soon as you lay your hands on a conversation to steer it, it's not a conversation anymore; it's a pitch. And you're not a human being; you're a marketing rep. “
Read reviews by Roger Ebert and Spirituality & Practice
Questions For Discussion
About The Movie
- How does the setting of the hospitality suite play into the themes of the movie?
- This movie was originally written as a play. How does the play-derived screenplay enhance or detract from our experience of viewing the movie?
- How do mirrors and clocks appear in the film? Are there other symbols you noticed?
- Describe the relationships between Phil, Larry and Bob in terms of their outlook on life. What similarities or differences do you notice between them? How would you compare the character Bob with the character Buddy from the movie Get Low.
- This movie is driven by dialogue. In what way do (or perhaps don’t) the conversations reveal character and move the plot? What is one quote that struck you?
- How do the fantasies of each character reveal their basic personalities?
About The Themes
- What do you think the movie has to say about the ordinary and extraordinary moments in our lives?
- Do you think this movie is anti-religious? Why or why not?
- What Biblical stories does the movie remind you of? Why?
- What do you make of Phil's dream of meeting God?
About Our Lives
- What do you like and dislike about each of the characters?
- Did your opinion of any of the characters change during the movie? If so, why?
- After seeing how difficult it is for people at different life stages to really talk to each other, are you more optimistic or pessimistic? Why?
- Phil says:
“I'm saying you've already done plenty of things to regret, you just don't know what they are. It's when you discover them, when you see the folly in something you've done, and you wish that you had it do over, but you know you can't, because it's too late. So you pick that thing up, and carry it with you to remind you that life goes on, the world will spin without you, you really don't matter in the end. Then you will gain character, because honesty will reach out from inside and tattoo itself across your face.”
How do you think Phil understands honesty? Would you call yourself honest person? Why or why not?