This episode - which was a doozy, by the way - features Chuck on a mini tour of some of NYC’s iconic eating and drinking landmarks. Let me know which ones I’ve missed but here are the ones I have:
Orrin: The new, beefed up non-competes. Ready to be signed.
Bobby: They better be iron fucking clad.
Orrin: Believe me, they're tighter than AC/DC in '78.
Bobby: Then let 'em fly.
AC/DC are an Australian rock band formed in Sydney in 1973 by Scottish-born brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. Their music has been described as hard rock, blues rock, and heavy metal. The group have said they are "a rock and roll band, nothing more, nothing less". AC/DC have sold more than 200 million records worldwide, including 71.5 million albums in the United States, making them the tenth highest-selling artist in the United States and the 14th best selling artist worldwide.
Chuck: Man that preacher can sing.
Larry Brogan: Hmm?
Chuck: Al Green! The Reverend. But this is before that. Now, this is The Belle Album. It's considered by many to be the long player he made as an apology and entreaty to Jesus Christ for the life of the flesh he had been living before he joined the ministry.
Larry Brogan: Is that so?
Chuck: Indubitably. Just two years earlier, he was scalded when his girlfriend threw a boiling pot of hot grits over him in the midst of a fight. She felt so bad after, that she retreated into the bedroom, picked up his handgun, his handgun, and shot herself. Dead.
Albert Leornes Greene (born April 13, 1946), often known as The Reverend Al Green, is an American singer, songwriter and record producer, best known for recording a series of soul hit singles in the early 1970s, including "Take Me to the River", "Tired of Being Alone", "I'm Still in Love with You", "Love and Happiness", and his signature song, "Let's Stay Together". Inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, Green was referred to on the museum's site as being "one of the most gifted purveyors of soul music". He has also been referred to as "The Last of the Great Soul Singers". Green was included in the Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, ranking at No. 65, as well as its list of the 100 Greatest Singers, at No. 14.
The Belle Album is the 12th studio album by soul musician Al Green. It is his first album recorded without longtime producer Willie Mitchell, owner of Green's former label, Hi Records. With Mitchell and his label Green also abandoned the famed Hi Rhythm Section, which had previously played a large part in defining Green's distinctive musical style. This also marks the first instance in which Green plays lead guitar on his records. The Belle Album is one of the last in a string of secular recordings made by Green; he had recently converted to Christianity and had been ordained as a pastor, and thereafter he began creating gospel records exclusively.
Bobby: I want you two in sync like incestuous ice dancers.
Bonnie: My thong's already riding up my crack, I don't need you up there too, Axe.
Bobby: Oh, that's exactly where I am.
This one will become a classic. There are at least two pairings of famous, champion ice dancing siblings to whom this may be a reference: the American Shibutani siblings, Alex and Maia and the Israeli Zaretsky siblings, Alexandra and Roman. I don’t think anyone’s genuinely suggested that there partnerships are incestuous. They just seem that way…
Bonnie: Yeah, but when he does, Ovi goes bardown. This lame loses the puck between his legs, or airmails it into the goddamn glass.
Alexander Mikhailovich Ovechkin (born 17 September 1985), often referred to as "the Great Eight" or "Ovi", is a Russian professional ice hockey winger and captain of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League (NHL). Prior to entering the league, Ovechkin played for Dynamo Moscow of the Russian Superleague for four seasons, from 2001 until 2005, and returned to play for them briefly during the 2012–13 NHL lockout. A highly touted prospect, Ovechkin was selected by the Capitals first overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. With the 2004–05 NHL lockout cancelling the season, Ovechkin remained in Russia until 2005, joining the Capitals for the 2005–06 season. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year, scoring 52 goals and 54 assists to lead all rookies with 106 points and finishing third overall in league scoring.
Nicklas Bäckström (born 23 November 1987) is a Swedish professional ice hockey centre and an alternate captain for the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League (NHL). Bäckström was selected fourth overall by the Capitals at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, and has since gone on to become Washington's all-time franchise leader in assists. Bäckström won his first Stanley Cup with the Capitals in 2018.
Charles Snr: Make the rounds, Sonny. Like Billy Phelan did in his city. You know exactly where all the people are who can help you. Use them the way a bathhouse piano player used poppers to give you that electric shock of power just when you need it most.
This is a nod to the same source the episode title is refencing: William Kennedy’s 1978 novel, Billy Phelan's Greatest Game. The narrative is based on an actual event, the attempted 1933 kidnapping of John O'Connell Jr., the nephew of Daniel P. O'Connell. In 1930s Albany, New York, Billy Phelan is a hustler at pool, card sharp, bowler, and occasional bookmaker. Martin Daugherty is a reporter, and the son of a famous writer now grown old. Phelan and Daugherty become involved in the events surrounding the kidnapping of the son of a corrupt Albany political boss. The kidnapping is the central point of the story, but Kennedy also details the everyday lives of the characters inhabiting Albany's working class and poor neighborhoods. Some of the characters, including Billy Phelan's father Francis, appear in Ironweed, the third installment of the Albany Cycle.
Taylor: Axe and Wags, even Wendy, are like the United Citizen Federation. They turned us all into Starship Troopers, sent us to Klendathu and some of us got our brains eaten. And it wasn't until the end of our time in that we realized: we were the bad guys all along.
This is Taylor being a massive Starship Troopers geek. Starship Troopers is a 1997 American satirical military science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Edward Neumeier. It originally came from an unrelated script called Bug Hunt at Outpost Nine, but eventually licensed the name Starship Troopersfrom a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. The story follows a young soldier named Johnny Rico and his exploits in the Mobile Infantry, a futuristic military unit. Rico's military career progresses from recruit to non-commissioned officer and finally to officer against the backdrop of an interstellar war between mankind and an insectoid species known as "Arachnids". The only theatrically released film in the Starship Troopers film series, it received negative reviews from critics on release. It grossed $54.5 million in the US and a total of $121.2 million worldwide against its budget of $105 million. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects at the 70th Academy Awards in 1998. In 2012, Slant Magazine ranked the film #20 on its list of the 100 Best Films of the 1990s.
Farhad: Regardless, the Sheik will not see the value in paying above market.
Wags: Two and twenty is standard.
Farhad: Was standard. Not for an investment the size of ours.
Wags: It doesn't matter if it's as swole as Dirk Diggler on his first night with Rollergirl. This is one of those rare cases where size doesn't actually matter.
This is a Boogie Nights thing. Boogie Nights is a 1997 American drama film written, produced and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. It is set in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley and focuses on a young nightclub dishwasher who becomes a popular star of pornographic films, chronicling his rise in the Golden Age of Porn of the 1970s through to his fall during the excesses of the 1980s. The film is an expansion of Anderson's mockumentaryshort film The Dirk Diggler Story (1988), and stars Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, Don Cheadle, John C. Reilly, William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Heather Graham, as Rollergirl.
The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 1997 and was released on October 10, 1997, garnering critical acclaim. It was also nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay for Anderson, Best Supporting Actress for Moore and Best Supporting Actor for Reynolds. The film's soundtrack has also received acclaim.
Farhad: In the meanwhile, I am hopeful that in the spirit of friendship, our night time plans remain on.
Wags: On like Chaka Khan. Chaka Khan. Chaka Khan. Chaka Khan, let me rock ya, let me rock ya, Chaka Khan. Let me rock ya, that's all I wanna do.
Yvette Marie Stevens (born March 23, 1953), better known by her stage name Chaka Khan, is an American musician, singer and songwriter. Her career has spanned nearly five decades, beginning in the 1970s as the lead vocalist of the funk band Rufus. Khan received public attention for her vocals and image. Known as the Queen of Funk, Khan was the first R&B artist to have a crossover hit featuring a rapper, with "I Feel for You" in 1984. Khan has won ten Grammys and has sold an estimated 70 million records worldwide.
Wags: Taylor fucking Mason I'm telling you. But gorgeous. Like Kate Jackson hot.
Bobby: You sure?
Wags: Pretty fucking sure. I looked right into her, their, eyes.
Whoa, whoa! The most vaunted Donny left in the city.
Donny Deutsch: Very funny, Chuck. Uh, you know Kenny D., right?
Chuck: Oh, yes. Well, anyone who flies knows that Mr.Dichter can change the tenor of your trip in a moment's.
Kenny Dichter: Fleet is always available for you, Chuck.
Chuck: Nice to see you.
Donny Deutsch: What's up, Chuck?
Chuck: Well, I find myself in need of the proverbial lifetime pass to the Polo Grounds. And I'm prepared to give you Cleopatra on a plate for it.
Donald Jay Deutsch (born November 22, 1957) is an American advertising executive and television personality. He was the host of the CNBC talk show The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch (2004–2008).
Kenny Dichter is an American entrepreneur who is currently the C.E.O of the private aviation company Wheels Up. Previously, he co-founded Alphabet City Sports Records, Marquis Jet, and Tequila Avión.
The Polo Grounds was the name of three stadiums in Upper Manhattan, New York City, used mainly for professional baseball and American football from 1880 through 1963. As the name suggests, the original Polo Grounds, opened in 1876 and demolished in 1889, was built for the sport of polo. Bound on the south and north by 110th and 112th Streetsand on the east and west by Fifth and Sixth (Lenox) Avenues, just north of Central Park, it was converted to a baseball stadium when leased by the New York Metropolitans in 1880. The third Polo Grounds, built in 1890 and renovated after a fire in 1911, is the one generally indicated when the Polo Grounds is referenced. It was located in Coogan's Hollowand was noted for its distinctive bathtub shape, very short distances to the left and right field walls, and an unusually deep center field.
Grigor: It's true, I am not the Sheik. But in some ways, I am. Our powers. Our reach, is similar.
Bobby: His English is better.
Grigor: Yeah, sure. He went to your schools. I had to pick it up watching the Happy Days and Mike Wallace. Though my favorite was Rollerball. The original.
Grigor: I do this for you as a favor for old times' sake. This is what I'm telling you.
Bobby: Thank you.
Grigor: No sweat, Fonzie.
Happy Days is an American television sitcom that aired first-run from January 15, 1974 to September 24, 1984 on ABC, with a total of 255 half-hour episodes spanning eleven seasons. Created by Garry Marshall, the series presented one of the most successful series of the 1970s, an idealized vision of life in the mid-1950s to mid-1960s Midwestern United States, and starred Ron Howard as teenager Richie Cunningham, Henry Winkler as his friend Arthur "Fonzie"/"The Fonz" Fonzarelli, and Tom Bosley and Marion Ross as Richie's parents, Howard and Marion Cunningham. Happy Days became one of the biggest hits in television history and heavily influenced the television style of its time.
Myron Leon "Mike" Wallace (May 9, 1918 – April 7, 2012) was an American journalist, game show host, actor, and media personality. He interviewed a wide range of prominent newsmakers during his seven-decade career. He was one of the original correspondents for CBS' 60 Minutes, which debuted in 1968. Wallace retired as a regular full-time correspondent in 2006, but still appeared occasionally on the series until 2008.
Rollerball is a 1975 science fiction sports film directed and produced by Norman Jewison. It stars James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck, Moses Gunn and Ralph Richardson. The screenplay, written by William Harrison, adapted his own short story, "Roller Ball Murder", which had first appeared in the September 1973 issue of Esquire. Although Rollerball had an American cast, a Canadian director, and was released by the American company United Artists,it was produced in London and Munich.
Bobby: You okay, man?
Wags: I don't know what's coursing through my body. GHB, ketamine. Whoof. I mean, everything was going great. Then they turned on me like Sharon Stone did in Total Recall.
Bobby: Well, you do look a little like Kuato.
Sharon Vonne Stone (born March 10, 1958) is an American actress, producer, and former fashion model. After modelling in television commercials and print advertisements, she made her film debut as an extra in Woody Allen's comedy-dramaStardust Memories (1980). Her first speaking part was in Wes Craven's horror film Deadly Blessing (1981), and throughout the 1980s, Stone went on to appear in films such as Irreconcilable Differences (1984), King Solomon's Mines (1985), Cold Steel(1987), and Above the Law (1988). She found mainstream prominence with her part in Paul Verhoeven's action film Total Recall (1990).
Total Recall is a 1990 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, and Michael Ironside. The film is loosely based on the Philip K. Dick short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale". The film tells the story of a construction worker who suddenly finds himself embroiled in espionage on Mars and unable to determine if the experiences are real or the result of memory implants. It was written by Ronald Shusett, Dan O'Bannon, Jon Povill, and Gary Goldman, and won a Special Achievement Academy Award for its visual effects. The original score, composed by Jerry Goldsmith, won the BMI Film Music Award. With a budget of $50–65 million, Total Recall was one of the most expensive films made at the time of its release, although estimates of its production budget vary and whether it ever actually held the record is not certain.
Wags: The guy's as mercurial as Sinatra with a cold. Sooner than later, he's gonna pull his money from Taylor, you know. Then he won't care.
Frank Sinatra, obviously. Thanks to those of you who pointed out that this is a reference to the celebrated magazine piece by Gay Talese, published in Esquire in 1966. As is pointed out here: "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold," ran in April 1966 and became one of the most celebrated magazine stories ever published, a pioneering example of what came to be called New Journalism—a work of rigorously faithful fact enlivened with the kind of vivid storytelling that had previously been reserved for fiction. The piece conjures a deeply rich portrait of one of the era's most guarded figures and tells a larger story about entertainment, celebrity, and America itself.
Chuck: Oh shit, I just realized where we are. You remember that night?
Richie Sansome: Sure. The night Gotti hit Castellano. They got his driver Tommy Bilotti too.
Richie Sansome: Boom, boom, boom.
They’re at Sparks Steak House.
John Joseph Gotti Jr. (October 27, 1940 – June 10, 2002) was an Italian-American gangster who became boss of the Gambino crime family in New York City. Gotti and his brothers grew up in poverty and turned to a life of crime at an early age. Gotti quickly rose to prominence, becoming one of the crime family's biggest earners and a protégé of Gambino family underboss Aniello Dellacroce, operating out of the Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens.
Constantino Paul "Big Paul" Castellano (June 26, 1915 – December 16, 1985), also known as "The Howard Hughes of the Mob" and "Big Paulie" (or "PC" to his family), was an American mafia boss who succeeded Carlo Gambino as head of the Gambino crime family in New York, the nation's largest Cosa Nostra family at the time. Noted for his business abilities, the unsanctioned assassination of Castellano in 1985 by John Gotti sparked years of instability and decline for the Gambino family.
CEO: But check out this badass our company built. Brains like Will Hunting, strength like Artis Gilmore in the ABA days.
Good Will Hunting is a 1997 American drama film, directed by Gus Van Sant, and starring Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver, and Stellan Skarsgård. Written by Affleck and Damon, the film follows 20-year-old South Boston janitor Will Hunting, an unrecognized genius who, as part of a deferred prosecution agreement after assaulting a police officer, becomes a client of a therapist and studies advanced mathematics with a renowned professor. Through his therapy sessions, Will re-evaluates his relationships with his best friend, his girlfriend, and himself, facing the significant task of confronting his past and thinking about his future. The film grossed over $225 million during its theatrical run, from a $10 million budget. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture, and won two: Best Supporting Actor for Williams and Best Original Screenplay for Affleck and Damon. In 2014, it was ranked at number 53 in The Hollywood Reporter's "100 Favorite Films" list.
Artis Gilmore (born September 21, 1949) is an American retired basketball player who played in the American Basketball Association (ABA) and National Basketball Association (NBA). Gilmore was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on August 12, 2011. A star center during his two collegiate years at Jacksonville University, Gilmore led the Dolphins to the NCAA Division I championship game in 1970, where his team was beaten 80-69 by the UCLA Bruins. Gilmore remains the top player in rebounds per game in the history of NCAA Division I basketball. Gilmore followed five All-Star seasons with the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA by becoming the first overall pick of the 1976 ABA Dispersal draft, which dispersed the players in the ABA clubs, such as the Colonels, that did not join the NBA. In Gilmore's complete pro basketball career, he was an eleven-time All-Star, the ABA Rookie of the Year, and an ABA MVP. Nicknamed "The A-Train", the 7'2" (2.18 m) Gilmore once played in 670 consecutive games.
Rebecca Cantu: I grew up with a mechanic for a father. So, uh, forgive me. That's definitely a combustion engine. [Rebecca] And that won't work for the military. So you'll have to improve the battery technology, but the, uh, the margins on this thing are already thin as Kate Moss on a juice fast.
Katherine Ann Moss (born 16 January 1974) is an English model and businesswoman. Born in Croydon, Greater London, she was discovered in 1988 at age 14 by Sarah Doukas, founder of Storm Model Management, at JFK Airport in New York City. Arriving at the end of the "supermodel era", Moss rose to fame in the mid 1990s as part of the heroin chic fashion trend. Her collaborations with Calvin Klein brought her to fashion icon status. She is known for her waifish figure, and role in size zero fashion. She received an award at the 2013 British Fashion Awards to acknowledge her contribution to fashion over 25 years. Moss is also a contributing fashion editor for British Vogue. Moss has had her own clothing range and has been involved in musical projects. She has won accolades for modelling. In 2007, Time named her one of the world's 100 most influential people. She has inspired cultural depictions including a £1.5m ($2.8m) 18 carat gold statue of her, sculpted in 2008 for a British Museum exhibition. She received media scrutiny for her party lifestyle and drug use. Drug allegations beginning in late 2005 led to her being dropped from fashion campaigns. She was cleared of charges and resumed modelling. In 2012, she came second on the Forbes top-earning models list, with estimated earnings of $9.2 million in one year.
Theo: Axe, look, I know this may still seem a little bleeding edge…
Bobby: It's the Mechanical Turk. But at least that beat people at chess before the con was revealed.
The Turk, also known as the Mechanical Turk or Automaton Chess Player, was a fake chess-playing machine constructed in the late 18th century. From 1770 until its destruction by fire in 1854 it was exhibited by various owners as an automaton, though it was eventually revealed to be an elaborate hoax. Constructed and unveiled in 1770 by Wolfgang von Kempelen (Hungarian: Kempelen Farkas; 1734–1804) to impress the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, the mechanism appeared to be able to play a strong game of chess against a human opponent, as well as perform the knight's tour, a puzzle that requires the player to move a knight to occupy every square of a chessboard exactly once.
The Turk was in fact a mechanical illusion that allowed a human chess master hiding inside to operate the machine. With a skilled operator, the Turk won most of the games played during its demonstrations around Europe and the Americas for nearly 84 years, playing and defeating many challengers including statesmen such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin. The device was later purchased in 1804 and exhibited by Johann Nepomuk Mälzel. The chess masters who secretly operated it included Johann Allgaier, Boncourt, Aaron Alexandre, William Lewis, Jacques Mouret, and William Schlumberger, but the operators within the mechanism during Kempelen's original tour remain a mystery.
Sara: I can set you more meetings.
Taylor: No. I've seen more eyes go cold on me than Agent Bill Tench did in a whole season. Axe got to all of the bankers. I'm done.
The series to which Taylor is referring is Mindhunter, an American crime drama web television series created by Joe Penhall, based on the true crime book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit written by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker. The series is executive produced by Penhall, David Fincher, and Charlize Theron among others, and debuted worldwide on Netflix on October 13, 2017. In November 2017, Mindhunter was renewed for a second season. Set in 1977 – in the early days of criminal psychology and criminal profiling at the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Mindhunter revolves around FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), along with psychologist Wendy Carr (Anna Torv), who originate the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit within the Training Division at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. They interview imprisoned serial killers in order to understand how they think, with the hope of applying this knowledge to solving ongoing cases.