It seems to me to be a vulnerable position, where what you think does not matter much. One has to be quick on their feet and be able to respond to any query. The bottom line is you have something that you want someone else to buy from you. A career in sales takes a certain personality; I briefly tried and was not successful. I feel one not only has to sell their products but sell themselves to an individual. The thing that bugged me about this scenario was the person you are pitching may be making their decision on the most random of things. They may not like the way you dress or the way you look or even the way you talk; it can be based on such a biased opinion that has nothing to do with your products. I could not handle that type of environment, plus my brutal honesty did not sit well with customers. Isn’t it interesting that what I just wrote could easily be applied to dating? Think about it, aren’t people trying to sell (so to speak) themselves to other people? When two people meet with the intention to date, each one is going to try to accentuate their positive attributes. It is like a sales pitch. I knew someone who literally had a checklist of requirements that potential dates had to meet before they would agree to go out with them. I tried explaining to them that it works both ways; they needed to present themselves in the best light if they hoped their possible date would take an interest in them. Whether it is personal or business I find sales meetings to be stressful; that is why I could relate to the main character in this drama. DESPERATE to land a sale Alan, played by Tom Hanks (Bridge of Spies, Captain Phillips), agreed to fly to Saudi Arabia to pitch his product to the monarchy. Alan would quickly realize selling to a monarchy was different than selling to a company. Based on the novel this movie also starred newcomer Alexander Black as Yousef and Sarita Choudhury (The Hunger Games franchise, Lady in the Water) as Zahra. I thought the acting was good though I felt Tom’s role had a familiar ring to it. He still did a fine performance but it did not seem as fresh to me. The idea behind this story was intriguing; however, the dual story lines hindered the telling of it. Separately I enjoyed each story but I never felt I was getting the whole tale. Now visually the film had a lot to offer just because the territory was foreign to me. I also was fascinated with the culture clash in this picture. As the film neared the end I felt things were rushed to tidy up the story. This film had some good selling points; I only wished it had sold me on its entertainment value.
2 ½ stars
Anger can be just as constructive as it can be destructive. Some years ago I was riding in a car with a group of friends. We got side swiped by a car going in the opposite direction. The driver of our car got so angry he swerved into oncoming traffic, hoping to spin the car around and chase after the car that hit us. Instead we got rear ended and wound up on the curb. That is an example of anger being destructive. If it wasn’t for my anger, I do not think I would have pushed myself to become certified as a group exercise instructor. Knowing the feeling of being picked last in gym class, I was determined to create an environment that was accepting of all types of people and maybe more importantly, accepting of myself. Anger was a big motivator for top salesman Ted Riker, played by Michael Keaton (White Noise, Jackie Brown). He had no time for pleasantries or politeness; everyone in the company feared him. When he had to mentor newbie Jamie Bashant, played by Brendan Fraser (Inkheart, Bedazzled), it was similar to leading the sacrificial lamb to slaughter. But when hard nosed Ted met Jamie’s fiancee Belisa, played by Amber Valletta (Transporter 2, Gamer), a beat of life could be heard in his heart. Would that heart beat affect company sales? The best part of this movie was watching Michael Keaton. For me, he is one of the best when it comes to displaying crazy anger; it forcibly grabs one’s attention. Brendan, on the other hand, does not have a wide range to his acting; it seems as if he handles his recent roles all the same way: wide eyed, extra large gestures, not much depth. The other issue I had was with the story. Part comedy, part drama and part thriller; I would have preferred one genre to give this movie more focus. What kept me interested in this film was watching Michael letting loose, along with the couple of twists that took place. On a deeper level, I tend to be curious when I recognize anger in a person.
2 1/2 stars — DVD