Mama Gravas (1979)
Back from what?
I took a week off to study for my finals.
You didn't even notice I wasn't here?
I don't even notice you now.
Thanks. It's nice to be back.
I'm back from my finals.
Do I have the right garage?
Oh, yeah, yeah.
Your finals, right. Oh, yeah!
Sorry, John, we've just had other things on our minds.
Yeah. These guys from Hollywood are coming here today.
They're going to make this big movie on cab drivers.
They're going to do research right here in the garage.
Wow! Who's coming?
Well, you know Roger Chapman, that big director?
Yeah. He's coming, and Michael Patrese, the star.
He's starred in that flick. He's coming, too.
Michael Patrese, now he's a good actor, isn't he?
Yeah. He's got a lot of potential.
You know, if he really applies himself and concentrates, one day he could be as big as Brando, Pacino... me, you know.
Bob, maybe there's a part in this movie for you.
Gee, why didn't I think of that?
( Mutters )
ALEX: Hey, John!
How did your finals go?
Isn't it incredible?
Some movie people from Hollywood are coming to the garage.
Oh, is that today?
Alex, aren't you excited?
Sure. So, how did your finals go?
What was it? Multiple choice? Essays? What was it?
Essay. Excuse me, Alex.
How come you're more interested in my life than I am?
ELAINE: Yeah. Huh?
JEFF: Hey, somebody just pulled up in a limousine.
( Excited shouting )
This is ridiculous.
We look like a bunch of groupies.
Don't hang around the door. Come on.
Well, what do you want us to do, Bobby?
I don't know. Do what you normally do.
Act natural, act... Play cards or something.
Make believe... Oh, come on, come on...
See what I mean?
This is why we came to New York.
You can't stage this kind of reality.
I'm looking for a Mr. Louie De Palma.
Hi. I'm Roger Chapman.
I spoke to your boss, Mr. McKenzie.
Right, right. How are you, sir?
Listen, if there's anything I can do to make your visit here more pleasant or productive, just say the word.
Okay. Boy, this place is thick with atmosphere.
Yeah, well, sometimes the ventilation's bad.
Where do you want to start?
Well, I'd like to say a few words to the drivers.
Oh. I think it would be good if I talked to them first.
See, I used to be a driver, and I have a special rapport with them.
Okay. All right?
Okay, clowns, listen up here.
And shut your mouths.
This man has something to say to you.
Was that... satisfactory?
You bet. Thank you.
Gather in here.
My name is Roger Chapman.
Hi. Yeah, we know.
This is my assistant, Lea, and my aide, Richard.
Hey, Richard. Now, I just want to kind of let you people know where I'm coming from.
We're gonna make a movie about cab drivers, and the reason we're here is we want reality.
Not Hollywood reality.
We want real reality.
So, we want to... we want to... live with you guys.
We want to eat with you and talk with you and-and get inside your heads.
You know, why don't you forget we're from Hollywood, and forget we're even making a movie.
We're just some people who-who would like to find out what it's like to drive a cab.
Now, anybody have any questions?
How'd they part the Red Sea in The Ten Commandments?
Uh, he-he's only clowning around.
What's wrong with you?
Hey, listen, have you all had breakfast?
'Cause I was just thinking of ordering something for all of us.
What do you guys want?
No, come on. Hey, every morning we are here, I'm going to bring in whatever you guys ask for.
So, what will it be?
Well, I'll have some coffee.
Yeah, and some doughnuts.
You can have anything. Anything at all.
RICHARD: Hey, Michael!
ROGER: Michael, Michael, you're here.
How you doing? Sorry I'm late.
( Indistinct voices )
That's all right. I just got here myself.
Everybody... this is Michael Patrese.
Hey, Tony Banta.
How you doing?
Hey. Hey, uh, Bobby here wants to be an actor, too.
Oh, Tony... Come on! You know you want to be an actor.
Aw, Tony! Come on!
Hi. Can you get me a part in the picture?
I think we'd better get started right away.
Uh, let me tell you what we have so far.
We have a script... but it's not a particularly good one.
It just doesn't have any, um... guts.
It's the story of a... it's the story of a cabby named Joe.
He's a good driver.
He's been at it for some time, and...
And that's all we have.
The rest of it's going to have to come from you people.
We want to hear all of your stories, and maybe one of your stories is Joe's story.
BOBBY: Hey, you know, the guy you really ought to talk to is Alex Rieger.
He's got the best stories.
Okay, which one of you is Alex?
Uh... He's over there.
Okay. Thank you.
Hi. Roger Chapman.
Hi. Alex Rieger.
Great. Listen, can we talk for a few moments?
Uh, listen, I, uh...
I mean, I don't know you.
You're probably a very decent guy, but...
You're right. You don't know me.
( Chuckles )
( Forced chuckles )
This is some kind of joke, right?
Yeah. Little one.
Listen, I, uh... I'm, uh...
I just wish you, uh... you wouldn't count me into this, huh?
Hey, hey, Alex, all he wants to do is ask you a few questions.
Yeah. Yeah. Well, I just don't feel like answering any questions.
Look, I'm a cabby. You want me to take you some place, I'll take you some place.
There's a reason you call your private life private, and if I was to talk about it with somebody I don't know, well, it just wouldn't be private anymore.
So, uh... I'm sorry. Excuse me, will you?
I'll see you all tomorrow.
That's our Joe.
Well, uh, thanks for breakfast.
Oh, my pleasure. Listen, I hope you don't mind my picking your brain that way.
Some of those stories were just great.
Thanks. Some of them even happened.
You know what? Has anyone ever told you you... look a little like a young Lana Turner?
'Cause you don't.
But you know what?
You're very pretty.
And I had a wonderful, wonderful morning.
This guy's got the fastest left hook you've ever seen.
That's right, yeah.
Tony, you're a boxer, aren't you?
Yeah. We were just talking about next week's title fight, next Thursday night.
You got tickets?
Get Tony a seat for that fight Thursday night.
Gee, thanks! Bobby, I'm going to go to the fight.
That's great! Oh... you need two tickets.
You've got a girlfriend.
Well, not right now.
Well, Lea here is kind of a boxing fan, you know.
Would you mind taking her?
I guess I could.
Oh, he doesn't have to.
No, that's the kind of guy I am.
I'll go make the arrangements.
You lucky stiff.
I'm going to sit in the first row of the fight, and I'm not even going to have to get knocked out of the ring to get there.
Hope it's a good one, Tony.
MAN: Excuse me, Mr. Chapman?
Yeah. Food's here.
I had the eggs Benedict.
JOHN: Mr. Chapman?
Excuse me, Mr. Chapman?
Listen, I think I might have a very interesting thing for you.
Well, go ahead, John, shoot.
Okay, well, about four months ago, this guy jumped into my cab and he says, "Take me to 54th Street."
When we get there, he says...
( laughs )
He says... he says...
He says, "My God!
They've torn the building down."
( laughs )
It turns out instead of taking him to 54th Street, I'd taken him to 53rd Street.
Huh? When we found out, you know, we were both so amused, we just sat there and laughed.
It was... As any of us would, John.
Tell me, do you, uh... do you have a lot of stories like this?
Well, they're not all as good as that one, but, uh...
Yeah, I could tell you a few.
One time, this girl came in...
You know, John, John, John, John... I have a better idea.
Why don't you write them all down as they occur to you, then scoop them up in a big pile.
Then bring them to me, and I'll see that they get just the treatment they deserve.
Oh, great. Thanks.
I'll go get started.
You do that. Thanks.
( Chuckles )
Excuse me, Mr. De Palma.
Listen, there's, uh, something I'd like to ask you.
Well, we've heard that certain dispatchers will take advantage of their position by... taking bribes you know, shaking down drivers, that sort of thing.
Is there any truth in that?
What's it worth to you to find out?
I think you just answered my question.
( Snarls )
Hey, Alex, you want some pigs in a blanket?
Oh, actually, I was on my way to Mario's.
Anyone want to come?
Are you kidding?
The food at Mario's is terrible compared to this.
They use horse meat for hamburgers.
Take my word for it.
Who are you?
The cook at Mario's.
You know, Alex, I think I know how you feel about talking to me, and I... I want to tell you I respect you for it.
But you know, I got a hunch about you.
I think that you can really help this picture, and I'm not going to leave you alone until I get what I want, you know?
I didn't get where I... where I am in this business today by taking no for an answer.
Or by taking no answer for an answer.
Look, Alex, you hang out here and I'm going to be around you every minute.
You'd just better face it.
I'm going to bug you like crazy until I get what I want.
Hey, look, I don't have to take this.
You know, we got a union here, we got rules.
Hey, Louie, Louie, where's the shop steward?
Where is he? Who is he?
I want to see the shop steward.
Hey, you know, we're supposed to have one.
It's a union rule that says one of the drivers is supposed to be the representative from the union.
Yeah, come on. Anybody know who he is?
Get him in here, because I got a grievance.
All right, all right, keep your pants on.
I'll look him up here.
Ben Goretski is the shop steward.
Ben Goretski to the cage.
I never heard of him.
That's because he's been dead for two years.
Never mind, Ben.
Wow, looks like we're going to have to elect a new one.
Oh, I nominate Alex.
Oh, come on, now, Elaine. Don't!
Yeah, it's a good idea.
All right. All those in favor of Alex being our new shop steward say "aye."
Wait a minute! Look, I don't want to be the shop steward.
We can't force him into it.
Well, why don't we just let Ben Goretski keep doing it?
He's been doing a good job.
All those in favor of keeping Ben Goretski as our shop steward say "aye."
The ayes have it.
Ben... if you can hear me, congratulations.
Okay, what do you want to know?
You know, this is the best pate we've had all week.
Hi, Tony. How was the fight?
Yeah? Who won?
I don't know. Lea and I left early.
Boy, I hope we get to fit in another fight before you have to leave town.
Hi, everybody. Hi, Alex.
Hey, have you had breakfast yet?
The sturgeon is really good today.
I just had breakfast with Roger. You know, I told him things I haven't thought of in years.
Yeah? Is he going to use some of your stories?
Well, he said they were very interesting, but they weren't really right for the movie.
He said they were more like television.
You know, after all that fuss I made, I really have to admit it's been... it's been a lot of fun.
( Scoffs )
I can understand these other dummies being taken in by those Hollywood phonies, but I thought you had more sense, Rieger.
What are you talking about?
Big Hollywood picture.
They come in here, disrupt the garage, make all kinds of extra work for me, and don't even offer me a dime for my troubles.
If I hadn't been selling the leftovers to Mario's, this week would have been a total loss.
Good morning, Louie. How are you?
( Mutters )
Roger. Hey, hi.
Thanks for breakfast, really.
My pleasure. Thank you. Hi.
Hi, Mr. Chapman. I'm almost finished with my stories.
Great news, John.
Listen, we're going to have to go back to Hollywood tomorrow.
Yeah. But I just wanted to tell you that we're going to have a little get-together up at my suite at the Plaza tonight, about 8:15
( murmuring ) And we'd love to have all of you.
Hey, we'll be there.
Don't worry about it. ( excited shouting )
Oh, also, the biggest news... Louie, come on down here.
This concerns you, too.
If your caterer is missing any silverware, I had nothing to do with it.
No. I was talking to your boss, Mr. McKenzie, and I told him how we want to shoot this picture on location in New York.
And I asked him if it was all right with him to shoot some of the scenes right here in the garage and use all the drivers as extras.
( Excited chattering )
I think there's a part in this film for you.
( All cheering )
Oh, wow! That's great!
Wait, wait. Did McKenzie agree?
Yeah. He said it was fine with him.
He said just as long as Louie didn't object.
You mean... it's up to me whether you guys come back and shoot your picture here?
Uh, yeah, Louie.
Um, well, we'd be here for over a month, and he was worried that you might think it would be a little too disruptive for the garage.
( Chuckles )
You mean... that it's entirely up to me.
Well, uh, yes, Louie, it is.
So, uh, so what do you say?
You going to let us make a movie right here in your garage?
Mr. Chapman... I ain't letting you take a snapshot in this garage.
BOBBY: Hey, man, what's the matter?
Why not, Louie?
No. He's been in here all week disrupting the whole operation.
I can't take a month of that.
Oh, terrific. Thanks a lot.
Well, you know, Louie, uh... we might try to make it worth your while.
Well, Louie, if we have to build a whole garage set out on a lot in Hollywood, that's going to cost us a lot of money.
Well, since you're putting it in those terms, Mr. Chapman, perhaps we could do a little business.
Would you like a little drink here?
Yeah. How about yourself?
Oh, sure, I'll have one. There's for you.
And for me.
Just, uh, what sort of figure did you have in mind?
Well, let's say we make you... location coordinator.
( Grunts )
And we pay you...
Well, that's not exactly the sort of figure that I had in mind, but... what the heck?
You got yourself a deal.
Great. Okay, and I'll see you at the Plaza tonight.
All of you. Later, Rog.
Bye-bye. We'll be there, Rog.
Hey, Louie... what sort of figure did you have in mind?
I was going to ask him for $25.
( Shouts )
( Indistinct voices )
Well, here's to a great picture, a bunch of great people, and to friendship.
Am I forgetting anything?
Yeah. To $15,000.
How much did it cost to stay here, Lea?
Oh, it cost about $225 a day.
Wow. Hey, Rog!
You're crazy spending that kind of cash.
Next time you're in town, you come stay with me.
Well, I guess when we get back to New York, you're going to be seeing a lot more of Lea, huh?
( Phone rings ) Boy, I sure hope so.
But, uh, I don't think she has any more.
Excuse me, Mr. Chapman?
It's Peter Koppelman from Hollywood.
Koppelman. He's head of production at Paramount.
No. John Muncie is head of production at Paramount.
No, there's been some sort of shakeup.
Koppelman, who used to be with Universal, is now at Paramount.
Hawthorne, from Columbia, is now head of production at Universal.
And Lou Green from MGM is taking over Columbia.
Then where the hell is Muncie?
He's at Burger King.
Never mind, just give me the phone.
Hello, Peter? Hey, congratulations, man.
It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
Yeah, listen, I know you're probably way over your head getting settled in out there in the new job, and all, but have you had a chance to look at that cab driver script yet?
Right. I didn't like it either.
You see? And that's why I sent it to you to read.
Right, uh, but what do you think of the idea?
You're canceling the project?
Peter, I have two years of my life in this thing.
Listen, I... Peter?
Listen, Peter, we... we have some fantastic stuff here.
We've got wonderful, warm human stories.
Don't say no, man, until you've heard them!
Wait... Alex, Alex, tell him the one about the baby that was born in your cab.
Huh? Make it twins!
( Whispers ): Make it twins.
Uh, hello, Mr. Koppelman?
My name is Alex Rieger.
Uh, yeah, I was really thinking that this would be right for television, but I don't see why it can't transfer to the big screen.
Just tell him the story.
Oh. Uh, well...
It was a very cold night early in January, and...
You hate it already? How can you hate it already?
Lea, you used to go out with him.
You talk to him.
No, not with Koppelman.
Just with Muncie and Hawthorne.
I used to go out with him.
Give me the phone!
( Mutters )
Hello, Mr. Koppelman.
Uh, this is Louie De Palma, your location coordinator.
You can't cancel this picture.
I already told my mother about the $15,000.
She thinks we're moving to Queens.
No, please, Mr. Koppelman!
Please. I'm begging you.
I'm begging... I'm on my knees, Mr. Koppelman.
Please, please, you got to listen to me, please!
Louie, Louie, Louie!
Control yourself, will you?
What do you mean, who the hell am I?
I just told you!
I'm Louie De Palma, your location coordinator.
Now, listen to me, Koppelman.
I'm warning you, you cancel this picture, you're going to wake up tomorrow with one of your horses' heads in your bed.
Koppelman, I swear, you cancel this picture, I'll kill you!
I'll kill you!
Can you believe that? He hung up on me.
The nerve of some people.
Louie, Louie, Louie.
( Sobbing ): $15,000!
All right, Louie, Louie, listen, listen.
Louie, please. Look, you just had a bad break.
Now, come on. $15,000!
Come on, you couldn't help it.
$15,000! There's nothing you could do about it.
Louie, come on, Louie, Louie!
You just got to be a man, Louie.
Louie, Louie, look. Fifteen...
You got to walk out of here...
You got to walk out of here with this head held high, you hear me?
I just want to go into the bathroom for a moment.
You're right, Alex.
I got to keep my head up high.
As long as a man has his pride and his dignity, it doesn't matter what this rotten world tries to do to him.
Come on, let's get out of here.
WOMAN: Night, Mr. Walters.
( Grunts )