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Film: Tin Men
Looney: You and your lovely wife might have been asking yourself, "Exactly what are the benefits of aluminum siding?"
Cheese: It won't chip, peel, blister, crack, flake or rust in any way.
Gil: The only maintenance you'll ever have is to wash it down twice a year with a hose.
Mouse: It affords much greater insulation, which means it cuts down on your heating bills.
Gil: I'll tell you what; only on this sale, I'll throw in a garden hose on this sale.
Mouse: Let's do some business.
Montage of salesmen

Tin Men is a 1987 comedy-drama from writer/director Barry Levinson that stars Richard Dreyfuss, Danny De Vito, and Barbara Hershey.

The title is a slang term for aluminum siding salesmen, which both Bill "BB" Babowsky (Dreyfuss) and Ernest Tilley (DeVito) are, for different firms in 1963 Baltimore. Early in the film, BB buys a new car, only to be immediately rear-ended by Tilley as he's backing out of the lot. The two immediately get into an argument, and it eventually leads to an Escalating War between the two, which includes BB seducing Tilley's wife Nora (Hershey). The film also shows the lengths salesmen go to get a sale, which leads to a government investigation.

This is the second in Levinson's Baltimore trilogy (following Diner), and like the previous film, was well received for its Seinfeldian Conversation and its performances.

This film contains examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: The Fine Young Cannibals are the band playing at any of the bars the characters go to. To be fair, the songs they perform ("Good Thing", "Hard as it Is", "Social Security", and "Tell Me What") at least attempt to sound period, but still.
  • "Before" and "After" Pictures: One of the scams BB and Moe use is to pretend to be photographers from Life magazine who are taking pictures of a house before it installs aluminum siding. Naturally, the homeowner would rather be the house in the "after" picture...
  • Benevolent Boss: Wing. Even when he has Tilley fired, he still gives him money to tide him over.
  • Bonanza: Sam is obsessed with this show, or rather, obsessed with pointing out how unrealistic it is.
  • The Casanova: BB is somewhere between this and a Lovable Rogue, especially when he turns his sights on Nora.
    Moe: (watching admiringly as BB charms Nora at their first meeting) He's got the gift.
  • Genre Savvy: BB. He sees the government investigators are eventually going to affect his business, so he starts looking for another option.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Martin Crane is BB's partner.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Moe, though it's ultimately averted by the fact he doesn't die from it.
  • Lovable Rogue: Most of the salesmen - especially BB - except for Tilley.
  • Married to the Job: Tilley. It's part of the reason why Nora so eagerly enters into an affair with BB, as she's starved for affection.
  • The Mole: Stanley
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: BB; also, probably Cheese and Mouse.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Tilley does this to BB when he catches BB sneaking into his house. Turns out BB was looking for Nora.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: BB gives one of these to Stanley when he finds out Stanley's The Mole.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: All of the characters are this, which is why they're under investigation.
  • Spiritual Successor: As noted above, to Diner. The films even share a character, Bagel, the tin man played in both movies by Michael Tucker.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Except for the feud, BB and Tilley's stories are shown separately.
  • Unsatisfiable Customer: Tilley is one of these, which blows the attempts of BB and Tilley's friends to get BB and Tilley to make peace with each other out of the water; BB becomes so frustrated at Tilley taking so long to order breakfast that they start up their feud again.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: BB pretends to be a widower out food shopping to charm Nora when they first meet.
Time of the ApesFilms of the 1980sToo Much: The Robot With a Heart

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