Ken Kessler
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Quotes for
Ken Kessler (Character)
from Ruthless People (1986)

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Ruthless People (1986)
Ken Kessler: I mean, what the hell's the point of being a decent person when no-one is? Let's be assholes and get rich!

Ken Kessler: [watching TV] It's on every goddamn channel! What did he do? Hire a publicist?

Ken Kessler: [Barbara has just thrown a lamp at Ken making him drop a serving tray with food on it] Hey... no dinner for you then.
Barbara: [sarcastic] Aw gee whiz, that really sucks. I'm a real aficionado of death camp cuisine!

Sandy: I don't think he loves her.
Ken Kessler: Well, let's face it, she's not Mother Teresa. Gandhi would have strangled her.

Ken Kessler: Sandy, it's over. Sam isn't going to pay the ransom, he couldn't care less. I'm no criminal. I can't even sell retail, and that's legal!

Sam Stone: What's this phone call about?
Ken Kessler: We call to make you an offer. An offer you can't refuse.
Sam Stone: Low?
Ken Kessler: Yeah, $10,000.
Sam Stone: Fat chance!
Ken Kessler: Mr. Stone, this is no joke! We're desperate people! We...
Sam Stone: Time out! I believe this is a joke pal and you're it! The last time we spoke you said my wife would be in the morgue if I didn't pay. Well, I didn't pay and just today I was at the morgue and she wasn't there. You lied to me! You know what I think?
Ken Kessler: [beat] No.
Sam Stone: You got no nuts! What do I have to do? Put a gun in your hand, aim and pull your finger down you spineless wimp! I dare you to kill her!
[Sam hangs up]
Sam Stone: Now that oughta do it!

Sam Stone: A bad salesman will automatically drop his price. Bad salesmen make me sick.
[Later, Ken calls Sam, who says he doesn't have enough money for the ransom]
Ken Kessler: Well, what about... less?
Sam Stone: [covers the phone] You make me sick.

Ken Kessler: Wouldn't it be better if we were to strike at the core of Sam's being? His reason for living?
Sandy: Well, what would that be?
Barbara: HIS TESTICLES!

Earl Mott: Did you just shoot at me?
Ken Kessler: No, you moron! There's police all over the place! Hundreds of them!
Earl Mott: Do I look that stupid?
Ken Kessler: Yes, you do!

[trying to sell a new stereo system to a teenage couple... before he realizes they're expecting a baby]
Ken Kessler: Check it out, my man! This is the Dominator X-10. Thirty inches of thigh-slapping, blood-pumping, nuclear brain damage!
Heavy Metal Kid: Bitchin'! Hey, what's it fucking cost?
Ken Kessler: That's the bitchin' part about it! It don't matter! If you can't afford it, FUCKING FINANCE IT!
[turns it on]
Ken Kessler: So what if it's as big as a Subaru and costs as much? You'll never have to trade this in! This is gonna be with you for the rest of your life! And when you die, they can BURY you in it!

Ken Kessler: She's in bad shape, Sam. We've been torturing her.
[He holds the phone to the stove, Sandy presses a tofu-burger, making a sizzling sound]
Barbara: AAAAAH!
[presses again]
Sam Stone: Don't kill her! Don't kill her! I'll pay the ransom!
Ken Kessler: Good, because not only we heard about your legal troubles, we also just found out your wife is worth quite a bit more than ten thousand.
Sam Stone: What do you mean?
Ken Kessler: We just changed our minds since you really now want your wife back, so we've upped the ransom.
Sam Stone: To what?
Ken Kessler: We're up to two million dollars.
Sam Stone: TWO MILLION DOLLARS? Are you out of your fucking mind? Where'd you get an incredible figure like that?
Ken Kessler: Oh, you'd be surprised at the quality and quantity of information a lit cigarette can provide.
[Sandy presses again]
Barbara: AAAAAH!
Ken Kessler: WHAT ELSE?
Sam Stone: [into phone] Shh! Shh! Shh!
Barbara: Gems! He's got rare gems in a safe...
[choking]
Barbara: Oh Sam, forgive me!
Ken Kessler: WHAT KIND OF GEMS? HOW MANY?
Barbara: I don't know!
[Sam raises a fist as the sizzling comes again]
Barbara: AAAAH! AAAAH! AAAAAAAAAHHH!
Barbara: [stops Sandy] Four flawless one-carat diamonds!
Sam Stone: [puts phone to shoulder] The bitch blabbed!

[on finding out that Sam has a mistress and was glad she was kidnapped]
Barbara: I've got it, I tell you, I've got it! Okay, Sam arrives at noon on a motorcycle, wearing shorts! No shoes, no shirt, nothing... maybe we'll just put him in a jock strap! Then he has to drive all over town. Sam burns really easily, he'll be bright red in no time!
Ken Kessler: I can't believe this is happening...
Barbara: Then he has to cover himself with honey, and go to a bee farm! We'll make him dance around, so the bees go absolutely nuts!
Ken Kessler: [to Sandy, who looks disturbed] I don't think she really means it...
Barbara: Then we all watch, while they sting him to death! YEAH!
[she makes kicking and punching motions]
Ken Kessler: Barbara, don't we want something that'll last, something that'll keep stinging him for the rest of his life?
Sandy: My God, he must have been seeing this woman for years...
Barbara: CASTRATE HIM! I want to castrate him!
[she mimes cutting something off with scissors, then tossing it over her shoulder]

Sam Stone: [answers phone] Hello?
Ken Kessler: [voice] Mr. Stone, listen very carefully. We have kidnapped your wife. We have no qualms about killing her and we'll do so at the slightest provocation. Do you understand?
Sam Stone: Who the hell is this? Is this some kind of a joke?
Ken Kessler: [voice] I have no patience for stupid questions, Mr. Stone, and I don't like repeating myself! Do you understand?
Sam Stone: [face lights up] All right. I'm sorry, please continue.
Ken Kessler: [voice] You are to obtain a new, black, American Tourister briefcase, Model Number 8-1-0-4. Do you understand?
Sam Stone: Yes.
Ken Kessler: [voice] In it, you will place $500,000 in unmarked, non-sequentially numbered $100 bills. Do you understand?
Sam Stone: Sure.
[as the conversation goes on, a smile appears on Sam's face, and gets wider and wider... ]
Ken Kessler: [voice] Monday morning at 11:00 a.m., you will proceed with case in hand to Hope Street Plaza, and wait for a phone to ring. You will receive further instructions then. Do you understand?
Sam Stone: Yes, I do.
Ken Kessler: [voice] You will be watched at all phases of execution. If you fail to appear at the designated time, or if any phase is not carried out to our complete satisfaction, it will be considered an infraction of the rules, and your wife will be killed. Do you understand?
Sam Stone: I believe so.
Ken Kessler: [voice] If you notify the police, your wife will be killed. If you notify the media, she will be killed. If you deviate from our instructions in any way whatsoever, she will be killed. Do you understand?
[Sam's grin is about to split his face open]
Sam Stone: Perfectly.
[Cut to later, outside the Stone mansion, as fleets of police cars and news vans pull up!]

Sandy: No matter what I do, there's nothing I can say... she just tears into me! She hates me.
Ken Kessler: Sandy, you're her kidnapper. She's *supposed* to hate you.

Ken Kessler: We've got to be ruthless. Think ruthless.
Sandy: What if I can't think ruthless?
Ken Kessler: You've got to. It's good for you. It makes you strong. I mean, what the hell's the sense of being a decent person when nobody else is?

Sam Stone: Hello?
Ken Kessler: All right, Mr. Stone. We came very close to killing your wife. But she begged us, repeatedly, for just one more chance. So in the spirit of compassion and mercy, we decided not to kill her just yet.
Sam Stone: "Compassion and mercy?" What the hell's going on over there? I thought you people were ruthless!
Ken Kessler: We are, Mr. Stone!

Barbara: [whistles] Nice butt. That's what they'll say.
Ken Kessler: I beg your pardon?
Barbara: Nice butt. That's what they'll say on your first day, in the men's club.
Ken Kessler: The men's club?
Barbara: Mmm. The San Quentin Country Club. With a cute little rear end like that, you'll be the belle of the ball. Your dance card'll be filled every day. You'll be so popular, making all kinds of new, close friends. Big, ugly, hairy friends! Not that you'll ever see what they look like, 'cause you'll be facing the other way.
Ken Kessler: You're very good at this. You should write children's books.

Sandy: [about the kidnapping of Barbara] I feel terrible about this. Do you feel as guilty as I do?
Ken Kessler: Guilty? Are you kidding me? He takes our money, steals your idea, goes out and makes a million dollars and you feel guilty? I can't believe this! How many times have we been over this?
Sandy: Honey, not again...
Ken Kessler: [pulls out a People magazine with Sam Stone on the cover] Let me remind you of something. YOU are the spandex mini-skirt king. Not him! He is the spandex mini-skirt thief. He's the one that should feel guilty!
[turns to a page]
Ken Kessler: Look at this! Do you remember this? You cried for a week when you saw this. Look at the smile on that asshole!
Sandy: I know he stole it! But she didn't do anything.
Ken Kessler: She was his partner! Damn it, Sandy! Do you enjoy being stepped on? Do you? Because I don't, and I don't feel guilty.
[after a pause]
Ken Kessler: I take it back. I do feel guilty. I feel very guilty because I trusted a sleazeball named Sam Stone with our life savings on a handshake deal, and then just sat there and watched him take it all away from us!

[Ken is horrified to hear that Sandy has let Barbara go]
Sandy: Kenny, she really, truly loves us now! She can be trusted, she's changed!
Ken Kessler: Changed? What did you do, perform an exorcism?
Sandy: Kenny, she lost nearly twenty pounds!
[He stares at her, uncomprehending]
Sandy: Well, you should have been here. It was a very special moment.
[Suddenly someone pounds on the front door. Both Ken and Sandy look at each other with dread]
Ken Kessler: I'm surprised they knocked.
[while Sandy bolts for the back door, Ken opens the front door to a police officer with a "Wanted" flyer]
Cop with Killer Picture: Good afternoon. I was wondering if you've seen this man. He was sighted in the area a few weeks ago, and again earlier today. He's psychotic, extremely dangerous, and extremely violent. He's killed half a dozen people...
Sandy: [off-screen, panicked after seeing the cop at the door] Oh no, oh no... I've gotta get out of here!
Ken Kessler: [forcing a smile] My wife... she's late for work.

[Sam, seeing the police will let Ken go, grabs the briefcase with the ransom money in it]
Sam Stone: [struggling with Ken] Gimme back my money!
Ken Kessler: What are you doing? Let go!
[to the police]
Ken Kessler: Tell him to let go! If he doesn't let go I give the order to kill Mrs. Stone!
Sam Stone: Go ahead! Give the order!
Ken Kessler: She's a dead woman if he doesn't!
Sam Stone: [pulls out a gun and points it at Ken's chin] All right... drop it! Punk!
[Ken lets go of the briefcase when a nearby payphone rings. Sam takes the briefcase and goes to answer the phone]
Sam Stone: [into the phone] Hello?
Lt. Bender: [into the phone] This is Lieutenant Bender. What are you doing?
Sam Stone: What does it look like? I'm taking back my money! You've got your man. The rest is your problem!
Lt. Bender: Mr. Stone, you may be guilty of obstruction of justice, aiding and abetting a known felon, accomplished a kidnapping and possibly murder. If you really want to clear yourself, my advice to you is to drop your gun and give him back the bag. We have 140 police officers, 75 police cars and two helicopters. I promise you, he WON'T get away!