"Everybody makes their own fun. If you don't make it yourself, it ain't fun. It's entertainment."A rare comedy from David Mamet, released in 2000 and featuring an ensemble cast including William H. Macy, Alec Baldwin, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julia Stiles, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.It's basically a meta movie about the Horrible Hollywood filmmakers who descend on a hapless town in Vermont and wreak various types of havoc.
— Ann Black
This film contains examples of:
- Amoral Attorney: Marty
- Credits Gag: Several:Only 2 animals were harmed during the filming of this motion picture.A complete list of this film's associate producers is available upon written request.Actually, American Humane Association was on set to monitor the animal action... no animal was harmed in the making of this film.During the closing credits, after the end of the song, "The Song of the Old Mill", a fictional interviewer speaks to Howie Gold (played by Jonathan Katz) about the song. Gold says the song can no longer be called "The Song of the Old Mill", since the movie's title has been changed from The Old Mill to The Fires of Home.At the very end of the closing credits, immediately following a brief jazzy instrumental, a voice (David Mamet) says, "Once more, and can you try to play the notes this time."
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon:Marty: Either she follows her contract, or I'm gonna rip out your heart and piss on your lungs through the hole in your chest. ... And my best to Marion.
- Drunk Driver: Bob Barrenger
- The Ending Changes Everything: Joe White perjures himself in court and instantly regrets it. It turns out that the whole court scene was just a play designed by Ann to give him a chance to rethink his choice before the real court case begins.
- Ephebophile: Bob Barrenger
- Greek Chorus: The two farmers who wander the streets giving meta commentary.
- Hollywood Nuns
- Horrible Hollywood: The plot description.
- Intercourse with You: The closing credits Award Bait Song, performed by Patti LuPone, includes the line, "The life was a sweet, old-fashioned dream and the memory lingers yet. / And I think of our hour by the old mill stream and I find that I'm still wet..."
- Karma Houdini: Bob Barrenger, again
- Mamet Speak: A lot of it, and yet surprisingly light on his signature Cluster F Bombs.
- Matzo Fever: Claire confesses this to Joe when she finds a box of matzo crackers in his room:Claire: I love Jewish men.Joe: Uh, why?Claire: You know.
- Meet Cute: Bookseller Ann meets Joe, the film's writer, when he comes to her shop to buy a typewriter and she recognizes a play that he wrote. Shortly afterward, she unceremoniously dumps her local politician fiance.
- Noodle Incident: Several.
- A number of buildings were destroyed or damaged in "a spate of suspicious fires" in 1960. Hints that a disturbed teenager and arson were involved, but no details. Also, the fires were somehow the inspiration for the formation of the Waterford Huskies.
- At the train station, the writer notices that the Waterford Huskies have won the championship every year except for 1975 — and there is a blank space for that year. A station worker walks up close to Joe to explain like it's some dark secret, but is interrupted by Walt's arrival before he gets a word out. The tie-in website Bazoomer.com teases an answer, promising the whole story if you follow a link. The link leads to a blank white page.
- The film crew has apparently been kicked out of New Hampshire (the entire state). No one is willing to talk (at least onscreen) about what happened there, though it's a good guess that it had something to do with Bob's taste in women.
- Not What It Looks Like: At first Joe goes to some length to keep Ann from finding out that a nude Claire is in his room (against his will), thinking that the trope will play out. Then when she suddenly walks back in and catches Claire, Joe immediately explains what's going on, and Ann believes him.Joe: Wait, you believe that?Ann: I do if you do.Joe: But it's insane!Ann: So's our electoral system but we still vote.
- Product Placement: The film within the film is an 1870s Oscar Bait historical drama, yet the website Bazoomer.com goes to great lengths to try to get product placement. In the end, they do.
- Right Behind Me: Walt's assistant is confused by Claire's sudden refusal to do a nude scene, as she's done so many before that "The whole country can draw her tits from memory." Then he realizes Claire is behind him, and worse, Walt had just talked her into doing the scene before she heard that.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Marty pays off everybody to drop the charges against Bob Barrenger.
- Toplessness from the Back: Discussed. The screenwriter finally figures out how to preserve his critically important nudity scene with an actress who refuses to get naked.
- Woman Scorned: Carla