The title of this article is a reference to a great piece of 1980’s shtick, written back when there was still some originality in cinema.
The movie, Ruthless People, is a jet-black comedy starring Danny DeVito as a “self-made businessman” called Sam Stone. He was once a great salesman, who back in his prime thought he was marrying into money. And he was … eventually.
His father-in-law was rich, and old and sick. But as DeVito laments at the start of the film he didn’t die. He just got “older and sicker and older and sicker” …. for 15 years. Finally, Stone was frustrated enough to go out and earn his own fortune. But in the meantime he was stuck in a marriage with a woman he had never loved.
We learn all this as he pours out his heart to his mistress. We also learn something else. He wants shot of the wife entirely. And because he wants everything she has “her money, it’s my money!”, he has decided to murder her. That day.
He is going to knock her out with chloroform and then throw her off a cliff.
But Sam doesn’t know that his mistress has been waiting for this day almost as long as he has. She has dispatched her real boyfriend to follow Stone and film him doing the deed. Then she, and her fella, intend to blackmail him.
Sam goes home keen eyed with anticipation. He finds an empty house. Frustrated he settles for the satisfaction of killing her dog – which he detests almost as much as the wife. The dog does a runner and he throws the chloroform bottle after it.
And it’s then that the phone rings and launches us headfirst into the premise of this most madcap of movies.
The caller is a man who tells Sam he has kidnapped his wife. He demands a ransom.
He tells Stone what the ground rules are, and warns that any deviation will result in her death. If he does not pay she dies. If the police or the media get involved she dies. Does Sam understand this? A smile spreads across his face. “Perfectly,” he says, like someone who has just been told that his lottery numbers have come up and does he understand what this means?
An unspecified amount of time later, the kidnapper sits aghast in front of his TV as cameras and journos crowd outside Sam Stone’s house. Police cars are lined up in a row. Officers are taping off the crime scene.
He flicks to another station. It’s the headline. Another station. More breathless media reports. “It’s on every goddamned channel,” the kidnapper laments before turning to his partner in crime – his wife. “What did he do? Hire a publicist?”
The kidnapper is played by Judge Reinhold and his wife by Helen Slater. Picture those two. Do they sound like the traditional movie kidnappers?
No, and they’re not and they are brilliantly cast as two decent people driven to a crazy act … and utterly unprepared for what comes next. These are the “ruthless people” who are threatening murder if they don’t get what they want.
Sam doesn’t show for the first ransom drop. He’s busy that day, organising a fake one to fool the police. When the kidnappers call back his wife is still very much alive and their tone is more of disappointment than anger. This infuriates Sam who expected to be told they’d killed her, and they still want money and still expect him to pay.
“I’m a reasonable man, and we’re willing to give you one more chance,” Reinhold says, much to Sam’s utter disgust. After he fails to turn up for the second time, and he gets another call wanting an explanation he tells them the ransom sounds like too much money, expecting them to be so offended they murder her on the spot.
But they agree to accept less.
The movie is excellent. If you can find it on a streaming platform see it, it’s nuts.
Which brings me to the departure of Ross Wilson from Ibrox.
I don’t feel any particular way about his departure, and that might sound strange. Ibrox fans are excited about it because they believe that he’s been the architect of their dire transfer policy.
But the problems there have always run much deeper than Ross Wilson.
They were delighted about this guy when he was hired, based on his record at Southampton … but I wrote at the time that this record was not what it seemed, and it wouldn’t necessarily translate to Ibrox.
At Southampton he worked with a world class scouting team.
The club had plenty of money to spend.
At Ibrox, he was working with second rate tools and very little cash. He made some huge mistakes. But considering the circumstances there he can perhaps be forgiven for that to one degree or another. That club’s basic infrastructure is nowhere near as good as ours and his success rate is probably on average for them over the last 12 years.
He is being blamed, of course, for the players who are soon to depart the club on freedom of contract and their failure to make a profit on them.
That’s where I’m reminded of DeVito’s Sam Stone, and specifically those pitiful kidnappers who are willing to negotiate until their initial $500,000 demand has been reduced to 10% of that … and to their astonishment he still refuses to pay.
I thought of that a lot these past few years when Ibrox was trying, in vain, to drum up interest in its players for what we all said were ludicrous sums.
These Ruthless Peepul set the prices and waiting for mugs willing to pay them.
This was based, in no small part, on the idea that we had done it. But they never grasped what it was that we had actually done; as I’ve said time and again, most of the guys we made big money on cost us big money in the first place, and they don’t have £4 million to spend on a comer in the hope that he fulfils his potential and that the English clubs come calling.
But no club ever wanted to pay the crazy fees they wanted. And as those contracts started to run down Ibrox did what Barbara Stone’s kidnappers did … they would go away, lower the price, and wait for clubs willing to pay that. And no-one did.
In their desperation, they even attempted some phony baloney trickery by getting their media lackeys to make up stories every once in a while about clubs offering mad fees in the hope of starting a bidding war.
They were so bad that our fans would openly laugh at them.
But how much of that is Wilson’s fault? The kidnappers did one thing wrong above all else; they misunderstood the relationship between Sam Stone and his wife.
They didn’t realise what a horror she was capable of being until they were personally exposed to her. “I don’t think he loves her,” Slater wails at one point. “Let’s face it,” Reinhold says, “Gandhi would have strangled her.”
But I reckon Wilson knew those prices were ludicrous. I don’t think he was in any way responsible for setting them. He was simply doing as he was told. It was his job to find buyers at those fees and he must have known that it was a fool’s errand.
Let me put it this way; would he have sanctioned deals for those guys if he’d been at Southampton? Would he sign any of them for Notts Forest, even now? Do you see him returning to Ibrox any time soon for any of the players they have on their books?
Ibrox has been both arrogant and stupid in their efforts to emulate Celtic’s transfer strategy, and we said this right from the start. They wanted to appear ruthless, but they were asking for far more than these guys are worth and the really ruthless people are those at other clubs whose job it is to find players capable of making their teams better.
There is one exception; players considered to be good “prospects.” On that basis alone they got decent money for Patterson and Bassey, but those deals haven’t worked out brilliantly for their clubs. That road might be closed to Ibrox for a long, long time to come … and the only way to sell those kinds of players is to give them extended first team football.
Do you see Ibrox blooding “project players” any time soon?
The other thing they constantly do wrong is talk up how much money they have to spend, and this summer that is going to be hugely consequential because they’ll be dealing with ruthless people in this instance too, people who know desperation when they smell it wafting on the air, and between that and the club talking up the transfer kitty (which they need to do to sell season tickets) they aren’t going to get anybody cheap.
In the movie, the kidnappers converse with Barbara after a strange confluence of circumstances turn the police on to Sam and the possibility that he has killed her. Once she realises that he wanted her dead, and that he now needs her alive and unharmed, they call him back. They’ve finally gotten ruthless, and this time they want a hell of a lot more than $500,000.
The more The Mooch brags in the media about his transfer war chest, the harder other clubs will be to deal with.
It’s just like the movie, and the number of times you look at the main characters and the messes they get themselves into and you think, “You didn’t really think this through too well, did you?”
The Ibrox fans are cock-a-hoop about the departure of Wilson, but they haven’t considered what his departure really means.
The club has been planning the summer. How much of that plan will survive his leaving? Are they back to square one? What files or reports is he taking with him? Will Ibrox be able to compete if Forest suddenly want some of their targets?
But more than anything, are the problems leaving with him?
Or are their real troubles still inside the walls?
Because here’s something else they haven’t considered in this moment of their joy; the club has now lost its chairman and its director of football inside a fortnight.
Does that sound like a vote of confidence in the future of the club?
These people were critical to the functioning of the whole operation and know exactly what’s waiting for them on the other side of this campaign … and these people have run for the hills.
Are these the real Ruthless Peepul, folks who know that this summer is going to be a colossal shambles and who have had enough of the anger and fury directed at them and are glad they won’t be around for the real melt-down?
Have the Ibrox fans even considered that?
Of course not. Because they never do.
They’re like the movie’s other great character, the boyfriend of the mistress, who is so dumb that instead of filming “the murder” of Sam’s wife he videos a random stranger having rough sex in his car and mistakes the woman’s screams for someone being killed. Later on in the movie he tries to rob the kidnappers in the middle of the police surveillance sting and doesn’t even believe the cops are there after they’ve fired a warning shot at him.
“This may well be the stupidest person on the face of the earth …” one stunned officer says. “Maybe we should shoot him.”
I’m guessing that guy has never seen the Peepul in action.
James Archibald says:
April 13, 2023 at 10:46 am
Jimmy R says:
April 13, 2023 at 10:51 am
Johnny Green says:
April 13, 2023 at 12:32 pm
April 13, 2023 at 1:29 pm
Voice of Reason says:
April 13, 2023 at 1:33 pm
Joe Mullaney says:
April 13, 2023 at 2:53 pm
April 13, 2023 at 4:33 pm
Tenaka Khan says:
April 13, 2023 at 3:38 pm
April 13, 2023 at 4:06 pm
April 13, 2023 at 4:34 pm
Mr James A Burns says:
April 13, 2023 at 8:00 pm
John mcq. says:
April 13, 2023 at 11:44 pm
Les Gray says:
April 14, 2023 at 12:23 am
absolutely brilliant I just read king in the herald so much guff he’s not a transfer guru anymore not a jot after all the guff he wrote about him. the boyfriend filming the couple was he not a detective ???HH
It’s beginning to look as though Park was ousted in one of those mythical bloodless coups. Bennet and his backers are now stamping their authority on the club structures (as they seek revenge?) because they realise that they are falling further behind Celtic rather than catching us up.
Remember when Ashley had his placemen on the ibrox board and they were within 6 – 12 months of breaking even off the park but were not making fast enough progress on the park to satisfy the peepul? King made his move, had numerous days in court, won a league and bailed out leaving the club hamstrung with debt.
The confetti shares have eased the debt problem at the expense of the footballing side of things. Failure on the park has got the peepul agitated. Perhaps agitated enough to set off on another crazy ride seeking the thrills of becoming champions again. Problem is, as history shows, that is a ticket to oblivion.
The football world has moved on. Financial sustainability restrictions make it almost impossible to operate the sugar daddy model, which seems to be the only option they will consider.
I read an article on Rangers News earlier today regarding a young Nigerian striker that they are being encouraged to buy as soon as possible and the reasons are that the 18 year old should be introduced to the first team as soon as possible so they can sell him on for a large profit. Their faith in this kid being a potential star is, wait for it, because Man City, Chelsea and PSV Eindhoven have been casting “Admiring glances” his way.
LOL, that is their whole basis for snapping him up, pishful thinking mixed with desperation. No wonder their scouting system is dire if that is the basis of their thoughts.
Let them squeal!
So the DOBs fanbase have got what they wanted within the board room of the shithole.
Only confirms how desperate the need for ST money from the gormless mutant knuckle daggers is currently.
I would suspect that the finical situation is so dire currently that a major battle is on in trying to avoid going into administration yet again.
Can they possibly survive without any form of European income if a criteria can’t be produced to gain a European licence to play in such competition?
I very much doubt it, and where is the money going to come from to attract the player’s capable of playing at a European standard?
This remains a summer where we can look in and watch all the chaos and bullshit unfold with plenty of jelly and ice cream on hand to amuse ourselves on.
The banter years never really went away either and the explosion of the return is very nearly here now, starting in 2 weeks time
If u read Dark Mingwalls various posts on Fester Fester it appears as tho the Lying King issued an ultimatum tae 5 Chins of “Gies ma cash or Al stick uze in Liquidation” Strangely enuf it wiz the club threatened this time NOT the Company lol! Let’s face it they are Financially Fuked & King stirring the pot can ONLY be good news again for their impending IMPLOSION! Cup Semi defeat will send these CLOWNS to the brink of Boycotting ST, if that happens they really are FUKED!!
I haven’t see Ruthless people. Not much point watching it now. ?
I would strongly recommend that you do, Joe. Danny is brilliant as the main protagonist, but Bette Midler, as the wife, steals the show.
Bennett has shown this week that his tenure is going to be a disaster. Although they’ve been behaving as odiously as ever recently, they’ve dialled down the embarrassing public outbursts recently. But the disgraceful statement they released this week regarding Clancygate is a return to DUP Man levels of moon howling. Looks like the tired old siege mentality tactics are being rolled out in an effort to bolster ST renewals.
When will sevco die this is what every decent law abiding tax paying citizen not subject in Glasgow Scotland UK Europe the whole planet wants die sevco die.
I would strongly recommend that you do, Joe. Danny is brilliant as the main protagonist, but Bette Midler, as the wife, steals the show.
Love it, love it. Looking forward to them in tatters. The sooner the better.
Never really sure why James you are so keen to tell them where they are going wrong. You must be aware of the old saying never interrupt the enemy ——-
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