Crossing Delancey (1988) - full transcript

Isabelle's life revolves around the New York bookshop she works in and the intellectual friends of both sexes she meets there. Her grandmother remains less than impressed and decides to hire a good old-fashioned Jewish matchmaker to help Isabelle's love-life along. Enter pickle-maker Sam who immediately takes to Isabelle. She however is irritated by the whole business, at least to start with.

-Oh, hi.

-Do you know them?
-I do, yeah.



-Is everything all right?

Hi, Anton.

-Oh, hi.
-How are you?

-Great. Good to see you.
-You've finished your book.

-How are you?
-You're back.

-I thought you'd still be on tour.
-Well, no. Who are all these people?

This is a marvelous party
you're having here.

-Does Lionel know you're here?
-No, I haven't seen him.


Lionel, how are you?

-Thank you.
-Thank you.

See you later.

So you won't be out of a job.


Well, it's quite an aesthetic shock... have gathered you all up
for this event.

This diverse group of talent:

The writers and the editors
and publishers, huh?

The printed word has survived.

New Day Books has survived!

No, they want us.

They wanna get us very badly.

They want to pull us down
and make something clean and ugly...

...and obscenely tall and profitable, huh?

Arise out of our ashes.

-But we are here.

Thanks to all of your creative effort...

...New York's last real bookstore...

...will be around
for a good long time to come.

Bless us, everyone!

-All right!
-All right!


Oh, no, no, no. We've hired all these
sweet unemployed actors to do that.

Thank you.

So, what do you think?
Did we pull it off?

-You're a wonder.
-We pulled it off, didn't we?

Where would you have gone
if the store had folded?

I don't know. It's unthinkable, isn't it?

Hang on to this woman, Lionel.

Loyalty like this
doesn't walk through the door every day.

I guess you've noticed that Izzy has featured
you in our window for the past three weeks.

When is this much-publicized reading
to take place?

On the 20th.

I'm very loyal to neighborhood authors.

I'm very loyal to powerful women.

Excuse me. Hi.

Look, you don't have to hang around.
I'll close up.

-I don't mind.
-No, no, no. Go ahead. Go on. Go ahead.

Oh, here. Izzy, come here.
Here, take this.

-Come on. Come on.

Always handy to have
around the house. Come on.

-What a wonderful party.
-isn't it?

-Good night.
-Good night.


I didn't mean to be so glib back there.

Here. You can bill this to me.

All these years I've been coming here,
you've always been....

You probably have it already,
but what the hell.

Thank you.

Good night.

Good night.

" Izzy, dear, it's women like you
who make the world liquid and even...

...still in beauty born."


I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

I was gonna say something
but I just felt like watching you.

-What's so funny?


I got this deal on this editing room.

The catch is,
I gotta do it all in three days.

Four weeks of work in three days.

Talk about your high-wire act.

You need something to get down?

No, I just thought a little wine,
a little talk.

I could spend the night
if you want me to.

Where's Katrina?



Oh, that's the first edition.

-ls he an obsession?

-See you.

Just hold still. One more.

-Hold still.
-You're killing me.

-You want me to do it?
-You don't have to kill me.

Now, hold still. One more.

-That's it?

-I think so. Yeah.
-You sure?

You be sure.

You don't want me to run around
like an old lady with a beard.

Well, I do see a few more little ones.

-You want me to do them?

-What else? Pull. Pull.
-Okay, just two more.

Okay, okay, that's enough.

-How do I look?

Listen to this one.

I'm in the ocean
and the water is a funny color...

...maybe pink or something.

Maybe like something's
bled there recently.

And I'm standing, I'm not floating,
I'm not swimming, I'm standing...

...and the water level's up to here on me.

And then the next thing I know,
it drops way down to here.

It's good luck. Water is good luck.

You're gonna find something good.
It's good. It's good.

Gonna find some money.
Something good.

Oh, such a lousy bundle
of old paper I'm carrying. Here.

-It's too heavy.

Give me a break. Help me out.
Take a load off my back.

Bubbie, this is $500.

-Oh, yeah? That's all?
-Where did you get it?

You saw.

You're carrying this around?
What's wrong with a bank?

I like this. This I like.

This is my bank. This I trust.

You gave me $500.

-For what?

Do I need a reason to give
my grandchild a little something?

You did a good job, you got paid for it.

A hundred dollars
for each whisker you pulled.

Good price?

A good price.

-Pull your dress down.
-lt is down.

Naked legs. What can I do?

I brought you the oranges.
I'll bring you over a bag later.

-Don't scream.
-How are you feeling?

-Why should I scream?
-Hannah's coming.

-Hannah. She's coming over.

Why should I scream?

It's Hannah. Hannah the shadchan.

You made an appointment
with a marriage broker?

Ida. Idela.

This is it. This is my granddaughter.

-Yes, she's a beauty.
-Ain't she a beauty?

Excuse me. But I don't know
what you think you're doing.

First, you'll listen, then you'll talk.

Very nice. Very nice girl.

She lives by her parents?

No, they live in Florida with Red Buttons.

All the social security checks
under one roof.

You can have it.

So, Isabelle,
you got your own apartment?

No, she lives alone in a room like a dog.

A dog should live alone, not people.
A dog.

It is not a room, it's an apartment.
A very nice apartment.

You know, you've been there.
There's a bedroom, a bathroom--

Sure, with bars on the windows
like a prison.

Someone should crawl in at night,
I'm always thinking.

-Stop thinking.
-Why not?

-Excuse me, darling.
-I got to think.

If I'll wait for you, you'll never do it.

-What are you talking about?
-You, I'm talking about. You.

Bubbie, this is not the way I live.
This is a hundred years ago.

A girl your age already. How old are you?

-None of your business.

I got some nice boys.
Fine, respectable boys.

-Not like Nate the butcher.

His mother's a spider.

-He's got some big eye out for her.
-Well, she's lovely girl.

She opens her eyes, she looks around,
she meets a fella with a little help, huh?

Bubbie, I don't need that.

You'll heat it up.
Five minutes in the broiler.

Please, sit down a minute.

-You'll turn it once. That's all.
-Listen to me. Sit down.

Okay, okay.

I am a happy person.

I have everything. I have a rent-controlled
apartment people would kill for.

Any idea how much that apartment
would go for on the open market?

Maybe $ 1 500 a month.

I have a wonderful, wonderful job.
Guess who I called the other day?

Picked up the phone
and called on his private number?

Isaac Singer.
You know Isaac Bashevis Singer?

He won the Nobel Prize.

I called him on his unlisted number.

He knows me.

I know lots of famous writers
and publishers and editors.

I organize the most prestigious
reading series in New York.

Me. I do it.

And I have plenty of friends.

Lots of women who are doing
tremendous things with their lives...

...and don't need a man to feel complete.

It's not like I'm gonna say no
if someone walks into my life tomorrow.

I'm not canceling out that possibility
but, Bubbie, please, listen to me.

I am not, I repeat, not holding my breath!

A professor once said,
a college professor:

" No matter how much money you got,
if you're alone, you're sick."

You listen to me.

Loneliness is a very lousy case.

-I know, I know, I gave in.

But I'm less threatening
to the senior women this way.

And then he gives me a copy of his book
and I open it up and he's written:

" Izzy, dear, it's women like you
who make the world liquid and even...

...still in beauty born."

Oh, I like that.

What I don't now is,
is it my move or what?

-ls he married?

Very separated.

Is that like very divorced
without all the messy paperwork?


Are you forgetting
what I just went through?

Will you let me?

I'm taking off his pants.

I'm kissing him. I'm licking him.

He's moaning.

He's saying, "Nice, baby.

Nice, baby. Nice."

And then all of a sudden,
I'm pulling this long, long...

...I mean, long hair out of my mouth.

It's blonde.

It's white.

It's white-blonde.

"l must have picked it up
somewhere," he says.

"Everything's always floating around
in the air," he says.

Suffer, fool.

"Everything always flying around
in the air."

Maybe I'll just call him.

What's the matter?

I can't find Anton Maes's number.
I need to firm things up for the reading.

Well, it's not in there.

He's a bit nutty about privacy.

He makes you promise
to keep it under lock and key.

" 555-4762."


Be sure and eat that
when you're through.

You're insane.

You are in--
I'm hanging up, Marguerite!


Not one word.
I don't do this on the phone.

Meet me at the Provence in an hour.

Anton Maes' table, please.

Is he expecting you?

Well, sort of.

This way, please.

Oh, hi.

-I'm sorry, I'm expecting someone.
-I know.

I tried calling back,
but your line was busy.

That was you?

Well, sit down.

-Oh, no.
-No, no, no. Sit down.

She does this to me, my wife.

We've taken to meeting
only in public places...

...where we're less likely to take
bloody bite-sized pieces out of each other.

-Have you ever been there? Married?

-Living with someone?
-Not at the moment.

In the middle of something?


It's been a while.

Ripe plums are falling

Now There are only seven

May a fine lover come for me
Now while There's still Time

Ripe plums are falling

Now There are only Three

May a fine lover come for me
While There 's still Time

Ripe plums are falling

I lay Them in a shallow basket

May a fine lover come for me

Tell me his name

What's that?

Confucius. Book of Songs.
Don't you know that?

It' s wonderful poems. Essential poems.

It's poetry stripped to the skin,
not to the bone.

Do you know who publishes that?


No, sorry.

No, I'll lend you my copy.

I'm trying to decide what section of
The Cave Dweller I should use for the reading.

I thought the chapter in the motel.

-ls something wrong with that?
-No, that's a good choice.

Very vivid, that whole section.

He's so hungry for her, it's unsettling.


What I love most about your writing....

Yes, yes, yes?

Is its deceptive accessibility.

It reads like pulp fiction
and then you hear music.

Will you tell me that when I call you
with an anxiety attack at 4 in the morning?

You have anxiety attacks?


How about some dessert?

-No, not for me.
-Yeah, take some.

Here, have some hazelnut.

Anything special
you'll need for the reading?

Oh, all the exotic extras.

A glass of water,
some good reading light.

Well, sometimes people
do have odd requests.

-Last year, Porter Lovett had us--
-Can I try some of these?


Had us build this enormous cradle,
and then he actually climbed into it...

...and stayed there for the whole reading.

I'll save your dear Lionel
that one expense.

What's he like to work for?

I mean, he's a sweet guy,
but does he pay you anything?

Yes, but he does not give me
two-hour lunch breaks.


Lots of plums Left on your Tree?

I'll see you at the reading.

The important thing
is you shouldn't go naked.

-I'm not going at all.
-You're going, you're going.

But not like this.

You'll put on a nice dress,
you'll put on stockings.

-No naked legs.
-Forget it.

Oh, yeah? You didn't know
your bubbie speaks Korean.

You look like a million bucks, Mr. Kim.

-How's business?
-It's so-so.

Yeah, huh?

Now, you listen to me, my girl.

Friends is friends
and you can do this with them.

-A husband is a husband for life.
-Maybe I don't want a husband.

Don't talk crazy.

If I did, he wouldn't be a pickle man.

Get off your high horse, Miss Universe.

This man's just looking.
He ain't asking to buy.

-Hello, come in. Come in.

Mrs. Mandelbaum.

His father just died last year.

There's a younger brother, Mickey.

Not much there,
so it's Sam's business, naturally.

What are you waiting for?
Sit down. Sit down.

-These are for you.
-Thank you.

You made a little spread, lda?

That's me.

Twenty-one years old.

Cheeks like apples.

They fought like cats and dogs for me.

I got the rings.

Big chocolate cakes
from the fanciest bakeries...

...they brought to my mother.

I just looked. I listened.

They all had the same song and dance.

They all wanted sweet ldela.

They all wanted me.

So, Sam, talk to us.

Give us the picture. Yes?

Well, Mrs. Mandelbaum, I don't know.
What do you wanna know?

Your future, your plans...

...what you dream about, your thoughts,
what you do with yourself, anything.

Well, I'm pretty happy fella, you know.

I like to get up in the morning
and hear the birds tweet-tweet.

I put on a clean shirt, walk to shul,
make the morning prayers...

...have a cup of coffee
at my friend Schlomo's.

Nine o'clock my door's open. It begins.

Isn't he something?

Fresh, new, likes the modern way.

But he understands what's good.

I got to tell you something, Sam.

I've been buying pickles
from Hiam for 30 years, maybe.

So please, don't hold it against me.

I look at this way, Mrs. Kantor,
whatever happens between us...

...I'm doing you a favor
giving you my pickles.

-You've been missing the best.
-He knows what's what. This is confidence.

So, what have you got to say for yourself,

Excuse me?


...I wanna take a peek at the curtains
in the living room.



You gonna show me
how you make them so nice.

I can walk for myself very nicely,
thank you.


I didn't have anything to do with this.
It wasn't my idea.

You feel funny, huh?

This isn't the way I live.
This isn't the way I do things.

How do you live?

Well, for one thing,
I don't live down here.

-I live uptown.
-ls that right?

A million miles from here.

This isn't your style.

This isn't my style.

Sometimes you can change your style.

Look, I'm sorry you had to go through this
but my bubbie's impossible.

I have this friend, Harry Shipman,
Shipman imports.

Lox, caviar, fancy stuff.

For years he used to wear this
little brown cap, the brim pulled down.

You wondered how he could see.

One day, he's crossing Delancey,
this big wind comes:

It's gone.

He runs after it,
but a truck gets there before he does.

He comes in to me crying,
he feels so bad.

" Harry," I said, " Here.

Take $5, go across to Finkle
and buy yourself a new one.

But do me a favor,
forget the brown cap."

He goes, he comes back an hour later.

He's new man.
A gray felt Stetson. A beauty.

The next day he makes an engagement.

Between you and me...

...he must have given Finkle
some Nova on the side.

That was no $5 hat.

A man trades some lox for a Stetson
and gets a bride in the bargain.

Very romantic.

He had his eye on her for a long time
but she couldn't see him.

That little brown cap.

She couldn't see his eyes.

Sam, so, what's the plan?

-You forget, lda, why I'm here.
-I don't forget.

So maybe you'll let me do my job.

-You got some more hot water over there?
-Henka, give your mouth a rest.

It'll thank you.

Sam? What's the plan?

Well, I thought Saturday night,
if you're free...

...I could take Isabelle to dinner.

My cousin, Mishka, the Romanian Palace.

He'll take good care of you.

Thank you, but I don't think so.

What's this?

It's been lovely meeting you, Sam,
and I appreciate your kind invitation...

...but I don't think I wanna go.

Thank you very much.

Well, she spoke.

You look, you meet, you try, you see.

Sometimes it fits, sometimes it don't.

You should try a new hat
sometime, Isabelle.

It might look good on you.

" It had been a very long time since Annie
had seen him in his underwear...

...and she was almost saddened
by the sight of him... those plain white jockey shorts.

He had always worn
some kind of patterned fabric.

Some kind of European

-He's running way over.
-What can I do?

" His body had been very nice.

She was spreading moisture cream
up and down her legs...

...when he came out of the shower.

He moved up behind her
and bumped against her playfully."

-Go on.
-I can't.

-"She tried to sound excited."
-Lionel, I can't.

"He pulled the damp towel from the rack.
This place is very country."

I'm sorry, I'm afraid
we're gonna have to stop there...

...or we won't have time
to sell any of your books.

Audible sigh.

Thank you, Anton Maes.

Mr. Maes will be signing copies
of The Cave Dweller...

...downstairs in the front of the store.

-There you go. There.
-You'll like this one even better.

-Hi, I'm Marie.
-I'm Jane.

Arm falling off?

-They seem to like it. Next one.
-Here. Keep it up.

-You're welcome.

-Thank you.
-Thank you.

Thank you.

There you go.

-That it?
-I think so.

I hope it didn't disappoint you.

-You enjoy doing this, don't you?
-Beats writing.

Give me a minute to finish up,
I'll be ready.

-Where are we going?
-My turn to take you to lunch.

-Aren't you hungry after all that?
-I'm starving.

This is Myla Bondy, my assistant.



She can afford to be snotty.
She just won a full ride to Oxford.

Izzy invited me to lunch.

Well, I bet she didn't bargain
on your entourage.

It's Myla's big send-off today.
You don't mind, do you?

-What's that?
-lf she joins us.

-Oh, no.

Yes, absolutely. Of course not.

Oh, that was just sensational, Izzy.

-One more.

-One more.

-Are you all right?

Michael Framingham.

-Well, let me get this.
-Hamstead Heath, London.

How about Malcolm Bright?

-Malcolm Bright.
-No, thanks.

Let him reciprocate all over you.

-You won't be lonely.
-Yeah, you've seen to that.

Come on.

Why didn't you drink any wine?

I have to go back to work.

This was on Lionel.
You didn't pay for this?


Well, thanks again. Really.

This is me.

Bye. You're welcome.

You were very helpful this morning.
Thank you.

It was a great reading.

Thanks to you.


Ladies and gentlemen,
I'd like to take few moments... explain to you exactly
what we're going to be doing here.

Firstly, we're going
to be circumcising this baby... accordance with the covenant
signed by Abraham and God...

...where God promised
to make a great nation...

...of the seed of Abraham.

-For the numerical value of the word--
-Hi, girls.

--is eight. Today....

Our first baby.

-Where's Ricki?
-ln the bedroom. She couldn't take it.

The baby has just stopped crying...

...but he may very well start to cry...

...and everybody automatically thinks
that he is perceiving pain.

The truth of the matter
is that the foreskin of an infant... relatively insensitive to pain.

Why then, is he crying?

A, he will be cold.

B, babies cry.

He looks like Ricki, don't he?

He certainly got her balls.

Now, if the ladies care to look
at the gentlemen...

...they'll see that they start
with their hands at their sides...

...and as it progresses, they go like this.

Is the father here?

-The Holy One is believed--
-He's over there.

--to have said Abraham, our forefather:

"Walk before me and be perfect--"

-Are they living together?
-Not yet.

She's doing the baby by herself.

That the Creator, blessed is he,
has commanded us to circumcise.

Karen, are you all right?

Just tell me when it's over.

Oh, look at that little doll.

Bart's beloved Aunt Miriam,
who is filling in for his grandparents--

Oh, wasn't that beautiful?

--who could not be with us today,
will return Bart to his crib.

Come on, now, darling.
Come. Look, look, look.

There's Mommy.

Isn't that the sweetest little boy chick?
My brave little boy.

"--of the study of the Torah."


-"The doing of good deeds..."
-"The doing of good deeds."

-"...and marital happiness."
-"And marital happiness."


-Nice work, Rabbi.
-Thank you.

Did you see this coming?

I'm sure she's wanted
to have a baby for a long time.

Yeah, but....

Her own mother, my own sister,
didn't have the guts to show up.

It's terrible.

Terrible, isn't it?

And when I was your age, I was married,
I had a life. Everything in place.

-Aunt Miriam?

-Would you do this?
-Huh? Sure? What?

-Take our picture.
-Oh, yeah. Where?

-Izzy, come over here.
-Okay, let me see.

Sure, it's easy.

-Line up.
-What are we doing?

I haven't seen you girls together
like this since high school.

Say, "Cheesecake."


-What was that?
-That was, as they say, intense.

-You think she's gonna be all right?
-Oh, absolutely. She's a survivor.

-I can't go back to work.
-I don't remember where I live.

I need a cup of coffee.

And I'm sitting there
and my face is starting to hurt.

And I'm thinking,
"Christ, I've got 45 minutes... show this guy how loving,
smart, supportive...

...funny, independent and sexy I am."

And all I can really think about
is how I'd rather be sitting home...

...watching the baseball game.

Now, I have a friend
who thinks it's all myth.


The appalling lack of desirable,
single, available men.

Oh, yeah?

Tell your friend to give me a call.

No, I'm swimming. Thank you.

Well, I wish I knew someone
to fix you up with.

All David and I know
are old, married couples.

Actually, I am seeing someone.

You know Anton Maes?

The writer?

-Morning, glory.

You know what national holiday This is?

Hi, pussela. Got a little surprise for you.

Daddy's been organizing this all week.

Happy birthday.

Do you have anything special
planned for tonight?

-Dinner at Lutece.

-Have two specials with everything, please.
-You got it.

A little extra sauerkraut on hers.
It's her birthday.

-Here you go.
-Please, put that away.

Some enchanted evening

You will see a stranger

You will see a stranger

Across a crowded room

And somehow you'll know

You'll know even Then

You'll know you will see him again
And again

Some enchanted evening

You will hear him laughing

You will hear him laughing

Across a crowded room

Then fly To his side

And make him your own

Or all Through your life
You will dream all alone

Once you have found him
Never let him go

Once you have found him

Never let him go

I passed the pickle man yesterday.

You mixed him up plenty, you murderer.

Bubbie, please!

You don't know a good boy
when you see one.

Bubbie, there's gotta be something
happening between two people.

There's got to be, you know, like, heat.

Heat? I'll give you heat.

-Aren't you gonna answer it?
-No, it's those kids. Those animals.

They should only break their arms off.

They pull the buttons off the elevators,
they mark up the walls like--

Isabelle, don't, don't.
Isabelle, don't open.

Isabelle, don't op--



I'm gonna need your signature.

-Got it. Thank you.
-Yeah, thank you.

-There you go.
-Thank you.

-Got it?

They made a mistake.
It's the wrong person.

Give me that. Give me that.

You don't know
how to open up a package.

It's good string you're wasting.

Such nice heavy paper.

Something to save, Miss Fancy.

Bubbie, look.

Who's this?

Bubbie, I'm being wooed.

"Wooed"? What is "wooed"?

All right, I'm backing it up. Watch out.

Okay, I'm watching you.
Come on back, Come on back.

-What else?
-You got sauerkraut?

A quart of sauerkraut.

-That it?
-And my pickles.

Were you ever in the Bellevue Hospital?

The nurses there with the washcloths
they got there...

...they couldn't stop washing me.


It fits.

-Almost as if I were in the store with you.
-You were.

Well, I just wanted to stop by...

...and tell how much
I appreciated the gesture.

You sure it fits? Finkle said
you could take it back, no problem.

It was a lovely thing to do.

I can go with you
or you can go by yourself.

-423 Delancey.
-lt fits.

-You don't need a receipt, he said.
-lt fits.

Good. Looks great.

-ls this the one?

-Look, I don't wanna keep you.

-Are you a nurse?

Why don't we go across the street
for some coffee?

Sam, I don't wanna do this.

I just came by to thank you, that's all.

I'm really very, very flattered.

You know, you ought to take all that
good romantic energy that you have--

And it is good.

It's creative and refreshing...

...and it won't go unappreciated
on the right woman....

I wish there was a way
that I could say this.

You did fine.

Oh, my God. The return of Annie Hall.

-Good morning.
-Great hat.

Then on Tuesday we switch
and Mark picks up for Cecilia.

-Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

So this is becoming, like, a regular thing?

-lt is a regular thing.
-Not as far as I'm concerned.

Well, what's the problem?

Cecilia's show tapes every Tuesday
and we all have to adjust, right?

What is that on your head?

Please, we're talking public access.

We're talking dial-a-psychic,
we're talking naked talk shows...

...we're talking deeply unimportant
and they want me to adjust.

Okay, listen. I didn't wanna flaunt this...

...but for a little taste of reality here....

"Arts Peek. Hosted by Cecilia Monk,
Mondays on Channel T. Worth catching."

-It's nice, huh?

Get your hands off her
Get your hands off her

Now on The stand
A show of hands

Get your hands off her
Get your hands off her

Hands in glove
Looking To be loved

Get your hands off her

Our guest has been Pat Oleszko...

...performing This weekend
At Sidewinder... a benefit for The Guerilla
Women 's Artist Collective.

Don 'T miss it.

Okay, This is Cecilia Monk for Arts Peek.

See you next week.

Get your hands off her
Get your hands off her

-Marilyn, it's Izzy.

Oh, hi, lzz. Just a second.

- Yeah?
-I got a guy I want you to meet.

-Oh, really?

Mickey, right?

-ls Sam around?

Yeah, he's over there.


-Here it comes!

Got it!

-I'm going!

Hey, Sam, you got a fan club.

I'm in the middle of a game here.

I can wait.


Okay, let's go.

Hit it, baby.

What, are you showing off?

Hey, check it out.

Let's go.

I said some really stupid things
the other day...

...and I'd like to make it up to you.


-You look great.
-I do?


Okay, here's how it's gonna go.

When we pass, look the other way. We're
not supposed to know each other's here.

This is gonna look
very spontaneous, okay?

So when I futz with my earring like this,
you come over to the table.

-That's the signal, got it?
-Then what do I do?

You just stop by, say hi.
I'll introduce you, invite you to sit down.

-I'll excuse myself.

If the chemistry's good,
do something about it.

If not, nothing risked.

Yeah, okay.


Two Amstel Lights, please.
You haven't seen Karen, have you?


I think you're gonna like this.

-What does that mean?

More sprouts, less grease.

Two more?

Thanks so much for coming tonight.

I felt so clumsy the other day.

It was an awkward situation,
Mrs. Mandelbaum setting it up like that.

I should have spoken to you on my own
the first time I saw you.

-When was that?
-The first time?

-About three and a half years ago, I think.

In the neighborhood.
On the benches with your bubbie.


Then one day,
Mrs. Mandelbaum comes by the store...

...does her usual spiel.

Shows me her pictures, tells her lies.

"This one's 1 8, a scholar.
This one's 22, a beauty."

Some of these pictures were taken
before the flashbulb was invented.

But it's like this little ritual we have.
She has a business and I respect that.

I'm a bachelor. She can't help herself.

Wait a minute.
You mean, you didn't hire her?


But on this particular day...

...she pulled this from her bag.

Oh, no.

And I said, "Yes, Mrs. Mandelbaum...

...this one I'll meet."

Would you excuse me a minute?
I'll be right back.

-What am I doing here?
-I've gotta warm things up a little.

I'll work you in during dessert, okay?

-Be patient.
-This doesn't feel good.

-I want to do this tactfully.
-I don't think you wanna do this at all.

Of course I do.

Then why am I sitting
halfway across the room by myself...

...watching you have this great time
with the man--?

I'm not having this great time.

I mean, he's a perfectly charming guy.
That's why I'm introducing you to him.

So introduce me.



I just ran into an old friend of mine.

Marilyn Cohen, Sam Posner.


Marilyn and l
went to high school together.

Isn't this salsa the best?

So Izzy tells me
you have your own business.


That's a lot of personal freedom, huh?

Marilyn works
for the Welfare Department.

-It's a tense, tense place.
-I'll bet.

Well, that's why I started with the tanks.
Have you ever been in an isolation tank?

-Where do you live?

Lower East Side.

The closest one to you is on 1st Avenue.
Serenity, I think it's called.

Good tanks, very clean.

The most important thing I look for.

Forget the lighting,
the fancy locker rooms...

...forget the hair dryers.

Just give me scrupulous clean.

With all the disease going around today,
how could I relax...

...if I'm imagining all sorts of sick amoebas
swimming into my ears?

Weren't you sitting at the bar
when we came in?


Did you have any dinner?

To tell you the truth, I went way over
my calorie limit on the margaritas.

-Don't you need to make a phone call?

What's going on?

Izzy's embarrassed.
She doesn't know how to do this.

She thought I might like to meet you...

...and she figured this would be
a pretty painless setting.

And indeed, I'm feeling no pain.

But I am getting kind of sleepy, so....

Here's my phone number.

You look like a nice guy.
You wanna call me, call me.

You don't, fine. I'm a good person.

I don't smoke,
I don't have any health problems.

I'm very easy to get along with.

And underneath all that information,
you will also find a deeply romantic woman.

It seemed like a good idea 48 hours ago.

-I'm sorry.
-What are you sorry about? She's great.

She's funny, honest, direct.


-Give us a smile. That's it, that's it.
-Smile for Mama.

-Beautiful, beautiful.
-That's a little Gerber baby.

-Beautiful, beautiful.
-That's a little Pampers.

-Look at the camera.
-Give him the rattle. The rattle.

Right, yes, yes, yes.

-That's great, yes, yes.
-That's a little Johnson & Johnson.

-Look over here.

-Oh, great.
-I've gotta reload.

Give him a rest
from the lights for a minute.

Good idea.

Come on, Bart, let's take a little rest.
You've been a good boy.

Yes, you have. Oh, yes, you have.

Oh, I know. You liked those hot lights.
You liked the action.

You wanna be a little
moneymaker, don't you?

He's cuter than that, isn't he?

-I think we got some good ones today.

Oh, boy, it cost enough.

They have to be updated
or the agents won't take them... we'll have to do these sessions
every couple of months.

You're gonna have to start
putting some back into the pot, little man.

-Oh, thanks.

You heard from Marilyn lately?

Yeah, she was over last night.

She brought me that little snowsuit.

-Little down booties, everything.
-How's she doing?

She's real excited about that guy
you fixed her up with.

Yeah? What'd she say?

That he was great.
Definitely not one of the walking wounded.

What else?

Well, you know the guy.
Why do I have to tell you?

She tell you he sells pickles?

So? Somebody has got to.

-Have they gone out yet?
-Why don't you just call her and ask her?

-Have they?

-Where'd he take her?
-To see a play.

Really? Dinner first?

I thought you wanted
to get rid of this guy.

I do. I'm just interested. I care.

Look, relax. You did a nice thing.

For both of them.

Don't give me no trouble.
Let me have your bag.

You look like
you could use a little trouble.

Very good.

You don't wanna waste your batteries.
Pearl, Pearl, the class isn't over yet.

-The class isn't over.
-I need this?

Get your hands out of my face.

Take that, you mugger.

Don't pull that one on me.

-I'm supposed to take your bag.
-Oh, yeah?

Look, this was what the teacher said.

You'll take my bag
and I'll knock your teeth down your throat.

Good, good.
You've got your attacker on the defensive.

You showed him you wouldn't
give in easily. You're no pushover.

You ain't kidding.

-Okay, ladies.
-Watch my bunions.

That's it for today.

Let's leave the classroom
in our best defended walk.

Ida, lead us around the room once,
will you?


Good, you're all walking
like winners here. No victims.


See you next week, ladies.

-Was it fun?
-Fun? It's a jungle.

Isabella, I got something for you.

He's a little bit older
than the pickle man...

...but a man with a heart.

Such a heart, I'm telling you.
Listen to me, my dear girl.

Take some advice
from someone who knows.

Love comes and goes very quickly...

...but a good business, a nice home,
a man with a job who's good and kind...

...this is what counts.

Listen, I know what I'm talking about.
I know about life from inside out.

This is where it gets me,
in the shoulders.

My arthritis don't know
from self-defense.

That's good.

-That's good.
-lt hurt?

No, no, your hand's like an angel's.
It's very good.

This is a killer.

This is where it gets me. In the knees.

The knees too.

That's good.


If you ever see Sam around,
tell him I said hello.

Sam? What am l, a messenger?
I work for Western Union?

No, no, I just meant-- Forget it.

-What do you want from him?
-I was just curious.

I fixed him up with a friend of mine,
Marilyn. You ever meet Marilyn?

-The one with the long red hair?

-With the big teeth?

They all look the same to me.

Anyway, I hope it works out for them.

Oh, yeah? Good.

-Don't yell at me.
-Who's yelling?

Is that something to kill?

Is that something to kill over there?

Throw me your shoe.

I know just how you feel, little guy.

Nick, I met someone.

It was an arranged meeting
with a marriage broker.

-My grandmother set it up.
-You're joking.


He makes pickles.

You are joking.


In the corner.

In the corner.


In the corner, a little bit dirty.

Just a touch.


Sam, I'm gonna give you something else
you should chew on.

You want to catch the wild monkey,
you got to climb the tree.



-What are you doing here?
-I was invited.

-He came to clean the windows.
-By invitation.

He did a nice job. You did a nice job.

Well, thanks for lunch.

I did not set that up.
You gotta believe me.

-Why? You've done it before.
-I know.

For someone who doesn't wanna see
someone, you're seeing a lot of me.

Look, I'm sorry if I've seemed
ambivalent, confused.

I know what "ambivalent" means.

-Stop being so sorry.

Bubbie, close the door.

-I heard you and Marilyn had a good time.

There's a reception Saturday night
at the bookstore.

-I thought maybe you two would like--
-We're going to a baseball game Saturday.

-Maybe I could be handling this better--
-Handling what?

-What are you handling, me?
-I don't blame you for being annoyed--

You come to my stand,
you invite me to dinner... set me up, you get
your bubbie to drag me here.

A guy could get a little tired
of this routine.

What's the problem?
It's so small, my world?

You think it's so provincial?
You think it defines me?

No, no, I don't.

I feel like I keep apologizing to you,
like I can't get it right.


...I want to get it right.

See, I am watching you
Hold The egg, Tap its crown

And pick gently at its shell

"So This is The way he eats an egg, "
I am Thinking

Not that your hands are delicate
Or your Training complete, just--

So This is what he does To an egg

Tap, Tap and pluck
Dunking in with The spoon

And emptying out The soft White
And liquid yellow heart

" Liquid yellow heart."

And that, I think,
is the youngest poem I ever wrote.

I resurrect it here
on the occasion of this treachery.

-What treachery?
-You lure me here for a quiet little evening.

And suddenly, I feel as if I'm on one
of those sadistic TV shows...

...where they parade skeletons
in front of apoplectic guests.

Well, as soon as word got out
that you had actually left your house...

...people came out of the woodwork.
I couldn't stop them.

Oh, well. Let me babble on fearlessly.

Where did you find all these lovely people?
I thought everyone had moved to Vermont.

I have.

Oh, good for you.

I heard a story when
I was at the MacDowell last summer.

-About me?
-About you.

-Did it involve four men and a cabbage?

Absolutely true.

Oh, my dear. Oh, your hair.

It's going to take over the planet.

-I don't think we've met. I'm Cecilia Monk.
-Cecilia, oh, really?

Madeline just asked
why you didn't send the manuscript.

What made you get on that plane?

Oh, well, I was sitting in the orchard
thinking about Franklin, actually...

...and remembering
how painless it was with him.

-Don't tell me I missed everything.
-Your timing is impeccable.


Get up.

Well, one of these days
I will tell you the real story.

-Anton, you made it.
-Excuse me, Lionel.

-That's all right. Here.

-You've met Pauline Swift?
-I haven't had the honor.

-Pauline, Anton Maes.
-Yes, I know your book.


-Who is she, this new editor?
-Oh, Mo--

-She's quite good.
-Lionel, I thought you were a friend of mine.

I was speak--

-The game got rained out.
-Hi, come in.

-Why didn't you bring Marilyn?
-Did you want me to?

-Recognize anyone?

This is unquestionably
my favorite part of the job.

-Are you Miss Swift's driver?

-I'm sorry, Lionel Colley.
-Sam Posner.

-The poetry.

-Can I get you a drink?
-No, no, thank you.

My boss.

This is what he lives for,
these little soirees.

-Wanna sit down?

It must be very difficult
writing in English.

I mean, how can you abandon
your mother tongue so completely?

It might be a good idea
for you to look back.

To write something in Dutch.

I understand your book
was written as an exercise.

-You know Pauline Swift?
-I don't know her, but, yeah, sure.

I had to memorize "The Marble Coffin"
for Oral lnterp.

-Didn't you?

Go home, listen to the language
you grew up with.

Obey your instincts.

I live in New York. Right here.

This is my home.

-I'm sorry.
-Are you all right?

Well, it's just a consideration, after all.
I wasn't asking to see your green card.

This is very thrilling
but not too comfortable.

I'll be back in about an hour.
I'm gonna take a little walk.

I need to talk.



I think you wanna stay.

No. No, I don't.

This is it.

Wanna come in?

Do it for my friends.

-ls Don gonna pick you up?
-ln a little while. You wanna wait?

I haven't been home much lately.
I just change clothes and run.

-Sounds like an exciting life.
-Yeah, well....



Excuse me.

-Katrina threw me out.
-Nick, this is not a good time.

-Izzy, please, I have no place else to go.
-Please, Nick, I'll call you tomorrow.

-Everything okay?

It's okay, it's just a friend.
He had a fight with his wife.

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, okay? I'm very sorry.

But she changed the lock.
She changed the damn lock.

And where am I gonna go, huh, Izzy?

I know it's a lousy timing.
Really, I apologize, but-- Jesus Christ.



-So you make pickles, huh?
-That's right.

-Where's your place?
-Essex below Delancey.

That place where that guy
used to do Milton Berle imitations?

Yeah, that was my father.

-With the dress?

-Yeah, the cigar, the whole thing.
-I love that place.

He was a wild man.


Well, look, I have to get up early
in the morning, so....

If you want, you can stay with us.
It's just me and my brother at home.


I just gotta make a couple of phone calls
in the other room, okay?

Well, that was a very nice thing to do.

Not really.

-Do you wanna see me again?



-What's in the bag?
-My lunch.

For the next three months.

Listen to me, Sam.

The well-dressed man
always has the big advantage.

Look at history, Sam.

Fred Astaire, Clark Gable, Alistair Cook.

These are not handsome men.
Clothes make them sexy.

" Max Schoenbaum's Designer Discount.

Why should it cost you? "

Herbie, may he rest in peace,
did he ever sit down to eat with you?

What else? He was my husband.

All the yentas made blah-blah
when he jumped off the 1 6th floor:

"Such a nice new apartment.
Why should he want to fly away? "

He never got a chance to tell me.

Something's bothering me.

Why are they set
to meet by you tonight, huh?

Isabelle, is she so ashamed to show him
where she lives, it's so lousy?

You stinker, you.

She gives me a little pleasure.
Is it such a crime?

-So why'd you bring your cello?
-Oh, you know, quartet practice as usual.

Night, lzz.

-See you Monday, Izzy.
-Bye, you guys.

Lionel, you want me to lock up?

What does this mean?


I don't suppose anyone wants to....

-No, good night.
-Good night.

Good night, Lionel.

You should thank me.

What for?

For not calling you
in the middle of the night.

I've been at this new work now
for a while...

...and I haven't shown it to anyone.

It would be utterly self-destructive to give
it to my editor at this point, but it feels....

I don't know, but it might be very...


So there I was at 3 in the morning,
wishing very hard for a gentle reader...

...and I thought of you.

I don't know what to say.



-I'm flattered.
-You're intrigued.

I'm intrigued.

And you'll come over now
and I'll show you this damn thing... I can find out
if there's anything there.

-I can't tonight.
-Let him wait.

They love to be kept waiting.

Izzy, please.

I'm expected downtown in 1 5 minutes.

I really shouldn't be here.

Come on in.

I've been seriously thinking
about not furnishing it at all.

There's something very restful
about a bare room.

-No history, no baggage.

You know,
you're one of the people I count on.

-Grace, generosity...


Can you see?

-It's a match.
-No, not so fast.

It's a match.

You know, I got to admit, sometimes
I know what I'm doing in this life.

Wait, I'm coming.

Was I right, Sam?

You do have an exquisite stillness, Izzy.

I've always admired that.

I measure my own
jangly motion against it.

You do?

Whenever I see you.

Who really comforts us, after all?

Sometimes it seems that people
who are served up gracefully in our lives...

...consistently, matter-of-factly,
almost incidentally...

...Iike a good, simple pudding...

...mean more than our closest friends.

Who comforts you, Izzy?


May I use the phone?

I gotta hand it to you, Henka.
You got them coming and going.

You think I get something for this?
Not a penny.

Not a dime.

It's part of my job to know fashion.
Right, Sam?

-Bubbie, I'm running a little late.

You're such a criminal.


I'm a sucker for romance.
This is my fate.

-Hello, Isabelle?
-All right, don't give me the bum's rush.

I have to finish up a few things.
Can you hang in there a little while?




Sammy? A little schnapps?

Go to it...

...gentle reader.


Thank you.

"Straight up" means no ice.

A little extra flavor.


What do you think?

Good two pages.


I wanna stay with it.

You want more?


Do you?


Do you?


I better go.

Please, sit down, Sam.

Listen to this, Sammy.

When I was a girl...

...such a thing to look at.

A fella named Shia,
a tailor's son, comes to me.

" lda," he says,
"look at me, I'm falling into pieces.

My life is over if you won't take me.

I'll walk into the East River
and this will be my grave."

He was a clean little fellow
with spectacles and a good family.

But he didn't mean nothing to me.

Another boy coming around
to look at the beautiful flower, that's all.

So he sits himself down
in Aunt Bessie's kitchen.

And he says, " lda, I won't move.

I won't crawl an inch until you say yes.

I'm stuck here like a piece of furniture."

So, what did you do?

I married him. What else?

I didn't want to bother poor Bessela.

She had enough trouble
with her lousy teeth and everything.

And in the end, it was good.

If somebody wanted me so much...

...that he was ready
to make a fool of himself... was easy to see
that he'd be good to me.

-Did you hurt yourself?
-I really banged my knee.

That couch is ridiculous.

When you start to work with me,
I'll let you go out and buy a proper bed.

King-size, queen-size,
the whole royal family.

-What did you say?
-Whatever else seems essential.

Some little chairs,
some tables, you know.

My sense of domestic order
is not quite in balance.

You can be the judge.

Work with you?

I want you to know
I did get Lionel's blessings.

His conditions are part-time, on loan.

I'm Myla's replacement.

He said, and I'm quoting:

" It might be good for her,
a little change of scene."

I don't know,
maybe it's his way of avoiding a raise.

-We both know he adores you.
-You aren't serious.

Well, it's not secretarial.
It's much, much more.

It's research, correspondence.
All sorts of good people flying through here.

-How could I have been so stupid?


Hey, Izzy!

-Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Izzy, I felt a kinship.

You felt an administrative need.

Be there, Sam, please be there.

Come on, hurry up.

Let's be honest about this.

-lf anyone's been manipulated, it's me.

" Before you leave a parking space,
which is parallel to the curb... should, A:

Look for traffic
by using your inside rearview mirror.

B, turn on your four-way flasher."

Four-way flasher?

"C, look for traffic by turning your head.

D, sound the horn."

D, sound the horn.

Turn here.

Turn here!

Stop here.

I hope that I'll be picking you up
again some time.

-You rotten--
-I'm getting the hang of this, huh?

An eight-sided sign with white letters.

Go ahead, say it.

what are you still doing here? "

She was very worried about you.
I didn't mean to get her drunk...

...but I had to distract her
and she kept pouring.

How much did she drink?

Well, we finished
the bottle of schnapps I brought her.

The flowers were for you.


Thank you.

-That's some outfit.
-I like to make strong fashion statements.

Do you smell something?

Like what?

Kind of like vanilla, I think.

It is vanilla.

I soak them in vanilla and milk
to take away the smell of pickles.

It's something my father taught me.
Does it bother you?


It's nice.

She was telling me
some great stories tonight.

You ever write them down?

These are diamonds. You should
write them down, you really should.

I do.

I carry a little book for this purpose.
I put down questions too.

When they're clearly in my mind,
I write them on the page.

And I leave space for the answers.

Here's one I've been looking at.

" How do I talk to Isabelle? "

We can't seem to go out
of this kitchen, can we?

We can still do something tonight.

My Aunt Mildred
sent Mickey and me to dancing school.

Family fiction has it... was my mother's dying wish
we be great dancers.

-What do you think?
-You're very good.

We could go to Roseland.
I hear that's tres hip.

I'm really exhausted.
It's been a long week.

Does this happen to you a lot?

This guy is taking
tremendous advantage of you.

What you need to do
is make rules and don't waver.

Say, " I'm out of here by 7,"
and disappear.

-You know, don't be a softie.

I wasn't working late.

Where were you?

You don't want to know.

I thought I did.


I don't know what to do with you.

You're a nice guy.

Oh, what a thing to say.
I'm wounded, I'm bleeding.

It's true.

Maybe I just--

Maybe I just can't handle that.

Maybe if I abused you, knocked you around
a little, I'd have a better chance, huh?

Maybe if I were married....

That's what I'll do.
I'll marry your friend Marilyn.

Then everybody will be happy.

Maybe if I were a mediocre writer, listening
to praise from other mediocre writers--

-All right.
-I really bought this.

I thought,
"Well, this is really gonna be great.

This is what I'm waiting for."

You don't know how nuts
I was about tonight.

I was off the ground.
Nobody could talk to me.

I made wrong change all day.

I was so happy
I was gonna see you tonight...

...I made a special broche
for the occasion.

I said the prayer
for the planting of new trees.

Don't ask me why.

How should I talk to Isabelle?

What time is it?

You let me sleep so long on the couch,
I don't even know where I am.

Who is this man?
What is he doing in my house?

Don't yell.

You were sleeping so peacefully,
we didn't wanna wake you.

This is Sam. You remember Sam.

-He's a friend of mine.

Mrs. Mandelbaum introduced us.
You remember.

-Okay, okay.

-Go get the bed ready.
-Okay, okay, relax.

Maybe the drink...?


You're some big-time operator, Sammy.
You'll dance with me at the wedding.

I'll make some nice cakes
and you'll buy the schnapps.

-And we'll have such a good time.
-We'll see, Bubbie, we'll see.

Like a piece of furniture, do you hear me?
Like a piece of--

-Ready, Bubbie?
-Not so fast.

-Now, I gotta go slow.

The pain. The pain
only my enemies should know.

-Where, Bubbie?
-ln my legs, the knees.

Do you know this fellow?
Who's this man?

This is Sam, Bubbie.

He's keeping company with you?

-Could be.
-Oh, yeah?

He looks okay.

You like him?

Yes, Bubbie.

He's a Jew?

I think so.

You'll bring him with you
next time you come?

I'll bring him with me next time I come.

You'll buy me Cherry Herring?
I love Cherry Herring.

It would be my pleasure, Mrs. Kantor.

Take my arm, son.
It's okay, you can touch me.

A hundred and twenty pounds
of pure gold, that's me.

Come, children, come.
Let's put the bubbie to bed.