Finding Forrester Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the Finding Forrester script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the movie directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Sean Connery, Rob Brown, Anna Paquin, Busta Rhymes, yadda yadda.  This script is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of Finding Forrester. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and I'll be eternally tweaking it, so if you have any corrections, feel free to drop me a line. You won't hurt my feelings. Honest.

Swing on back to Drew's Script-O-Rama afterwards for more free movie scripts!

Finding Forrester Script









Jamal, are you awake?



I know you can hear me.



I'm writing all this down.

I have that thing with your teacher...



...then I'm working late. So you'll have to

take care of yourself for dinner, okay?



- Okay?

- Okay.



I thought you wanted to get up by 7:30.



Hear the chains sing?



Check that up, man.



Hold on. What up, J? Where you been?



Asleep, yo.



I was up late

wondering how I'd save your ass out here.



What are you saving?



J, break him up, man.



You can't give him that.



- You can't give him that.

- I'm awake now.



You got something for me?



Soufflé, baby!



You got nothing for me.



A lot of good that's doing.



He's bringing something for the Window.



- You ever seen him?

- The Window?



No, but he see us, man.



Come on, man.



What's wrong with y'all?

Don't you want to play ball?



Wake up.



In     ...



...Poe wrote his most famous piece,

The Raven.



A poem he wrote while he was strung out

on coke and obsessed with death.



The Raven is like the football team.



They're obsessed with death,

always get their ass kicked.



Baltimore Ravens: only pro football team

named after a classic poem.



Anyone read it?



"Once upon a midnight dreary



"while I pondered weak and weary"



Jamal, how about it?



I never read it.



Okay, I need those essays by next Tuesday.



My dad saw the Window, man.

About    years ago.



Standing there like a ghost,

like the ones in our science books.



Just like that, man.



- He was white?

- Ain't milk white?



What ghost isn't white?



I'm just playing, man.



I heard he killed someone.

That's why he stays inside.



Listen, you got to kill an army

to have to hide here.



Y'all play too much. Remember Shurrita?

The one who lived below the Window?



She calls me up

this one night buggin', dog.



Saying how she heard a tapping sound

coming from the Window's place.






While she was on the phone,

she started screaming.



'Cause now the tapping has made its way

downstairs somehow.






And now it was on the other side

of her door.



She could tell he was tapping

with some kind of knife.



And then the phone disconnected.

That was the last time we seen Shurrita.



Shurrita who lived across the street?



That girl is a crack ho.



No, she was nice.



All I know is the Window's bad news.



Rules was...



...if you went outside, you stayed away

from the Window's place.



We need to stay away from your lying ass.



You believe me, right?



You full of shit, dog.






Let me guess. You'd go up in there, right?



It's an old man looking out a window.



You'd go up there, right?



- He won't go.

- Let them know, J.



- He won't go.

- This nigga's scared.



Yo, I got the next call.



- So?

- So...



...I dare you to go up there, right?






Whatever, man. I'll go up there. Yeah.



- He's going.

- Big shot.



Bring it on.



That's my dog.



D, I believe you, dog.



Shut up. Go to class or something.



Here, man. Sit over here.



- Stop playing with me.

- This is my birthday.



Go over there.



- Fine. I won't sit near you.

- Take your apple, too.



- Miss Joyce?

- Yeah.



- Good to see you.

- You, too. Come, sit down.



We got Jamal's test scores back.



- Test scores?

- Assessment tests.



All of the kids are required to take them.



He didn't tell you, did he?



Mrs. Wallace,

Jamal maintains a C average...



...which means he does enough to get by

and just enough not to stand out.



What makes Jamal's case unusual

are his test results.



Oh, my God.



I see him reading these books all the time.

Books I never read.



Some I've never even heard of.

And he's always writing in his notebooks.



Ever since his father left.

But that's what I see.



All he ever talks about is basketball.



Basketball is where he gets his acceptance.



The kids here don't care about

what he can write.



Let's go! Between the yellow lines!



Yo, T.



- How are you, Fly?

- Maintaining.



You looking for tickets, little bro?



Dead tonight. Sorry about that.



Come on. We know you got tickets.



I got four words for you:



Boss Tunn Red Sox.



The Yanks and Sox tickets

have been sold out for a month.



Okay, Mr. Fly? By the way...



...go tell Camry boy there

to back up his cheap-ass bumper...



...on that Mercedes over there.



Go handle that. Let's go, Fly!



What the hell, Jamal? Mom called.



- Told me about that test. What's up?

- Nothing.



What do you mean, "nothing"?



This getting in the way

of your plans or something?



It was your plan first, T.



Yeah, I know. A little college ball...



...then start signing checks for everyone,

solve their problems.



Look at me, though.



Hold a minute.



Hold onto these.



I guess this makes it our plan now.



One thing.



Don't tell nobody about them test scores.



Don't worry. I'm your brother, dog.



Whatever we discuss stays between us.



Love you, dog. All right?



Just remember one thing.



Mom will know when the game ends,

so you take your ass straight home.



Don't get into no trouble, man. Be careful.

Stay safe. Love, dog.



- Okay, T. Good lookin'.

- Be careful, man.



It stinks in here.



J, see that window?

He keeps that one cracked sometimes.



The light's been out for two hours.



You sure he asleep?



That Methuselah's a thousand years old.

That's all he ever do.



Yo, J, for the reals, I don't know about this.



I think I'm... Shit!



I think I'm pulling the call.



- No, I got this one.

- Rats.



- Yo, Fly.

- Keep it. You got to bring something out.



Man, you hear us, drop down, okay?






Don't stay in there too long.



I got you.



This is rickety.



Oh, shit! Yo, you got something?



- Shit!

- What happened?



You son of a bitch!



Dickheads, he wasn't asleep.



- Did you see him?

- Not for long.



Stop bouncing that damn ball in the house.



I got Michael Jordan's name

written in dirt all over my floor.



Don't worry, I'll clean it.



I got a better chance

of Michael Jordan cleaning it.



If you're thinking of a shower,

the hot water's a bit slow.



- I wasn't thinking of it.

- Where's your pack?



- I don't know.

- "Don't know"?



What do you mean, you don't know?



We wanted you to bring something,

not leave something.



Why don't you leave it alone?



What was in your bag?



I'm not talking about the damn bag.



I bet you ain't.



Let me teach you something.

Watch the eyes.



He's probably watching you now.



You don't know about that, man.

Here's how you do it.



I won't do anything to your car.






You look worried,

like I'll do something to your car.



I worry about this car everywhere.

Don't take it personally.



It's just a car, man.



No, it's not "just a car." It's a BMW.



Anyone who knows anything

about that company...



...knows that it's more than "just a car."



Anybody who knows about that company?



So I wouldn't know anything like that.



No, that's not what I meant.



Last thing I knew about BMW...



...was it made plane engines

when it first started.



A guy by the name of Franz Popp

started it all.



Franz Popp. I like that name.



Made this one engine before     .

It flew six miles up.



Popp and his boys

were just getting started.



They made this one engine, the    

World War II,    cylinders...



...     horsepower, seven miles up.



With more time, they'd have bombed

the shit out of England...



...maybe even won the war.



That's where this comes from.



White propeller zipping around a blue sky.



After the war, we told them

they couldn't make plane engines.



That's when BMW

gave some serious thought to making cars.



Kind of like this one.



You probably knew all that,

seeing as you lease one.



Thanks for the history lesson.



No problem, man.



Messin' with my stuff, man.



The other night was...



It was just this dare thing

me and my boys do.



I was wondering

if I could bring you more of my stuff...



...or maybe I could write something else.



How about      words on

why you'll stay the fuck out of my home?



Come on, man. I know you're in there.



Take your goddamn hand off my door.



I just came...


            drop off that thing you asked me for.



What thing?



The      words on why you wanted me

to stay out of your place.



That's kind of what you said.



Well, try remembering it

exactly as I said it.



Come on in, Jamal.



Hi, honey.



It's okay.



Sit down.



Mrs. Wallace, Jamal,

when we got your recent test scores...



...we thought the private schools

might show some interest.



Well, we were right.



- Mr. Bradley.

- My name is David Bradley.



I'm with the Mailor School in Manhattan.






That's right. You're familiar with us?






Mailor-Callow is not only

the best prep school in the city...


           's one of the finest private schools

on the East Coast.



Only the best go there.



We're a few weeks into our fall term...



...but every year we hold some openings

until the test scores come in.



Jamal, your test scores, to put it mildly...



...caught our attention.



I'm here to see if you'd be interested

in attending our school.



Leaving for another school,

especially a private one, won't be easy.



But this isn't the right place

for you anymore.



It's not a difficult choice.



Mr. Bradley...



...there is no way we could pay for this.



We're not asking you to.



When Dr. Simon said

only the best go to Mailor...



...he forgot to say our commitment

to excellence goes beyond the classroom.



- I figured that.

- We thought you might.



Mrs. Wallace,    of our students

have gone on to play college ball.



Three have made it to professional level.

We evaluated...



...your play last year

and while this is a strictly academic offer...



...we won't be disappointed if you play.



All we ask is you come out,

take a look, think it over.



- Okay.

- Mrs. Wallace.



- Thank you.

- Jamal.



- Good-bye.

- We'll be in touch.



I didn't knock this time.



- To whom were you speaking?

- I'll tell you if I get my      words back.



Bolt the door if you're coming in.



The man in the car?



He was from this private school.



They want me to go there.



We don't have to pay anything, though.



My mom and I live

a couple of blocks from here.



My brother was there a few years ago,

but he left after my dad left.



My mom got tired of waiting

for my dad to get clean.



And my dad got tired of trying.



That's when I started writing.



What's your name?



Jamal Wallace.



Sounds like some kind of marmalade.



How old are you?



I'm   .






And you're black.



- It's remarkable.

- "Remarkable"?



It's remarkable I'm black? What does me

being black have to do with anything?



You don't know what to do right now,

do you?



If you say what you really want to,

I may not read any more of this.



But if you let me run you down

with this racist bullshit...



...what does that make you?



I'm not playing this game, man.



I say you are playing it.



An expression is worth a thousand words.



Perhaps in your case, just two.






Bum-ass old man.



"One hand to give, one to receive,

as we eat together in unity.



"May our minds,

bodies and spirits grow strong.



"And congratulations to Jamal. Amen."



Did you see this?



- Let me see.

- Don't mess it up.






From the cover,

this looks like the funny-man school to me.



Terrell, eat your food.



You'll be fine.

Mommy don't make nothing but soldiers.



You could have done the same thing.



I work at a parking lot,

and I'm no regular lot attendant.



I am the supervisor

of all the parking lot attendants.



You never know how much you'll make

from week to week.



One week it's $   the next it's $   .



- That's not a real job.

- Ma, leave him alone.



I rap. You know I got my rap thing going.



Don't bring up the rap. Eat your food.



- Want to hear a song?

- Eat your food.



I'll sing it for you.



"When I come due

When I blow the spot



"Your son, the supervisor

Of the parking lot"



Tell it, Jamal, my voice is hot, right?



Jamal Wallace?



- Yeah?

- Hi. I'm Claire Spence.



Bradley asked me to show you around.



All right.



Come on.



Don't worry about answering any questions

until you decide what you're going to do.



Besides, the teachers here...



...aren't that into student participation.



They prefer to hear themselves talk.



- What do you mean?

- You'll see.



This morning, we begin

our third required reading of the semester.



The study of a novel

that offers everything...



...and an author

who could have offered much more.



That's Robert Crawford. He's been here

as long as most of the buildings.



When William Forrester was    in     ...



...he set out to write his first book.



Many aspiring authors talked about

writing the great   th century novel.



William Forrester did it...



...on his first try.



Have you read this?



Yeah. You?



Only about a dozen times.



This was the only book

he chose to publish.



For all we know,

it was the only one he chose to write.



Your job over the next week

is to read it and tell me why.






...will you be back tomorrow?



Yeah. They want me to spend some time

on the court.



I heard.



Graduation was a little rough

on last year's team.



But it's just like college, right?



You get an education

and they get what they want.



Maybe you both get what you want.






It was very nice meeting you, Jamal.



You, too, Claire.

Will you be around tomorrow?



Not where you'll be, but...


            might find me for lunch.



- I didn't say those two words yesterday.

- Why not?



I want you to read more of my stuff.



They talk a lot about you out there.



All this legend bullshit.



They got some stories.

People wonder if you killed someone.



That, and wondering why

you been in here so long.



I wouldn't move. It's quiet.

You don't hear nothing in here.



Our place has noisy neighbours.



Their kid is always yelling,

'cause he's a year old...



...or pops yells

'cause the kid is making noise.



Then mom, on top of that, is yelling.

But it's a different kind of yelling, 'cause...



...the old man's playing tunes for her and

she's banging her head against the wall...



...and she's screaming...



You better stir that soup.






Stir the soup before it firms up.



Why doesn't ours get anything on it?



Come on. Closer.






You got someone

doing that kind of yelling?



What I have is an adult male. Quite pretty.



Probably strayed from the park.



A Connecticut warbler.



You ever go outside to do any of this?



You should have stayed

with the soup question.



The object of a question is to obtain

information that matters only to us.



You were wondering

why your soup doesn't firm up?



Probably because your mother

was brought up in a house...



...that never wasted milk in soup.



That question was a good one,

in contrast to, "Do I ever go outside?"...



...which fails to meet the criteria of

obtaining information that matters to you.



All right. I guess I don't have

any more soup questions.






Why'd you say all that stuff

about me being black?



It had nothing to do with you being black.



I wanted to find out

how much bullshit you'd put up with.



- So you knew I'd come back?

- Yes.



Just like I know

you'll go to this new school.



How do you know?



Because there's a question in your writing

about what you wish to do with your life.



That is a question your present school

cannot answer for you.



Let's match up.

Wallace, you take Hartwell.



What's up? I'm Jamal.



Just check it, all right?



Check the ball.



Come on.



Ball's in.



Play him tough.



Way to go, gang.



D up. Let's go, garbage.



Come on.



Step up.



Why don't you leave

the trash-talking back home?



What? Get that goofy look off your face.



- I'm gonna make you my son right now.

- Right.



- You gonna be my son.

- Come on.



Let's go.



- Come on, man.

- What?



You're too small.



A little defence would be real nice.



Coach, you're right. A little defence.



- Try to get past the line.

- What?



I said, get past the line.






Too much.



I need some help!



Ten seconds. Let's go the other way.



- I'm taking your spot.

- What?



- I'm taking your spot.

- You take nothing.



Come on.



My court, babe. My court.



That's how we play it down here.



That's right.



John Hartwell's just a rich kid

who wants as much of the spotlight...


            he can get in his senior year.

That's all it is.



- They take things real serious around here.

- It's a serious place.



Serious enough that I end up here

getting lunch on my books most days.



What's that you're working on?



Forrester's book.



- You said you read it a dozen times.

- I know, but look at this.



My dad got it for me. It's an early printing.



- Listen, I got to go.

- But you just got here!



I know, but, I forgot something.

I got to check up on something.



I'll see you later.



"Born:     ...



" Scotland."



"Moved to New York

with his family in his late teens.



"Mr. Forrester was unavailable

for comment."



Yeah, I bet he was.



Are we now planning

to make these visits a habit?



You said you knew I'd come back.



Yes, but I thought you meant once.



I need some help with a thing at school.



Yes. This "thing" at school.



And what "thing"

are we talking about now?



You ever read that?



I'm trying. I just can't seem to get past

the first    pages.



As I recall...


            took awhile

to get past those pages myself.



Christ, you've dog-eared one of them.

Show a little respect for the author.



That's you, isn't it?



You're the author.



I read the whole thing. It's not bad.

Especially the part...



I know what it is.



The last thing I need is another person

telling me what they think it is.



I wasn't going to say that.



What were you going to say?

I should tell you everything about me?



I told you about me.



You could learn a little something

about holding back.



If I ask you not to say anything

to anybody...



...about here, us...


            that something I can trust you on?






I promise.






And if I ask you to keep helping me

with my writing?



There'll be no questions about me...



or why there was only one book.



Then I won't ask.






And good night.



What's it feel like?






Writing something the way you did.



Perhaps you'll find out.



Listen, you  -foot nothing...



That's what I'm saying, though.



Kenzo, how old are you?






Look at your face!

Your mom didn't do that to you?



She started you young.



Know where that comes from?

Eating too much cookie.



Teresa told me.



I like 'em big.

You got a problem with that?



- Nothing wrong with a big girl!

- That big?



It don't make a difference. It's like

when I'm with all three of your mothers.



- Not my mother.

- Yeah.



Hold on, Oscar Mayer wiener.



Stop playing, man. You got beat like Tina

in school one day. I seen Duke smack you.



Listen, throw it at your mama.

Every day, throw it towards your mama.



Your mama. Stop throwing your mama.



It's all in your tank, brother.



Why you laughing?



Man, your glasses are like Coke bottles.






- You ever met somebody famous?

- How famous?



Like, I don't know, like...



...somebody people would know.



Nobody like that comes around here, man.



Are you here for good now?



Yeah. I'm just trying to get started.



At least they look good, right?



You'll all be pleased to know this year's

writing competition has been scheduled.



For those choosing to take part,

all entries must be turned in...



...before spring break, which means you

have a few months of procrastination left.



Feel free to experiment

with a more proactive approach.



Mr. Wallace?






I had a chance to review the files

sent over by your former school.



Test scores, impressive.



Actual classroom work, not so impressive.



Is this the level of work

I should anticipate?



Because, if it is...


            will help me determine

whether to treat you as a student...



...or as someone who is here to pursue,

how should I put it...



...other endeavours?



Of course, your work will give you

ample opportunity to respond.



Good day, Mr. Wallace.



Just so you know,

you handled that the right way.



How is that?



You didn't say anything.

The ones who do run into trouble.



- John Coleridge.

- Jamal Wallace.



So, how many people do say something?



And actually stay in Crawford's class?

Not many.



I missed what you said.



I didn't say anything.



You read all these?



No, I just keep them

to impress all my visitors.



All your visitors.



We've been talking

about your book at school.



People have been talking about it for years.

They just haven't been saying anything.



I think I got it down, though.



I figure you were writing about

how life never works out.



Really? You had to read a book

to figure that out?



But Crawford's messed up on it anyhow.



He says the guy having trouble

after the war is really you.



Some symbolism shit for all the problems

you were having with everybody.



Robert Crawford?



Yeah. I think it's bullshit, though.

I think there really was somebody else.



Mr. Johannsen?






Mr. Massie.

Another trip to your favourite destination.



I've got four bags.

I can just leave them if you like.






Come right in.



How you doing, Mr. Johannsen?



It's at least a half hour before the sun sets.



Then you can begin

your panic-driven quest back to Manhattan.



This should last you till next week.



Your mail is in this one.



Mr. Johannsen?



- The essentials are in...

- Essentials?



I took care of your bills.

I put all the copies in this one.



The phone company wants to know

if you want to continue service...



...seeing as you haven't had a call

in about...



I got your socks for the next few weeks.

They're in this one.



I have your latest check from accounting.



They want to know if you cashed

the last one. It's showing up outstanding.



Not as outstanding as it once was.



I'm sorry.

I didn't realise you had company.



We were just having a discussion on...



...German automobile history.

Care to join us?



- No, I'm in the tow-away.

- Of course you are.



See you next week?



Not if I'm lucky.



Why don't you give that guy a break

and do your own shopping?



Why are your socks inside out?



Socks are badly designed.



The seams are on the inside.

They hurt the toes.



In some cultures, it's good luck

to wear something inside out.



You believe that?



No. But it's like praying.

What do you risk?



And I do go outside. How do you think

those windows get cleaned?



Now, about this professor of yours.



How did it feel having him tell you

what you can't do?



Like he knew he was better than me.



Then let's show him what you can do.



Why is it the words we write

for ourselves...



...are always so much better

than the words we write for others? Move.






Go ahead.



Go ahead and what?






What are you doing?



I'm writing. Like you'll be,

when you start punching those keys.



Is there a problem?



No. I'm just thinking.



No thinking. That comes later.



You write your first draft...



...with your heart.



You rewrite with your head.



The first key to writing is...





Not to think.






Is there a chance you might sit down?



"A Season of Faith's Perfection."

What's this?



Start typing that.



Sometimes the simple rhythm of typing

gets us from page one to page two.



When you begin to feel your own words,

start typing them.



Punch the keys for God's sake!






You're the man now, dog.






Whatever we write in this apartment...



...stays in this apartment.



No exceptions.



Okay, let's push it, guys.



- That's a foul.

- What do you mean? I had the spot.



I'll let you know when you got the spot.



Gentlemen, our season begins in one week.

If I see this kind of thing one more time...



...l'll have you shooting fouls

to see who runs.



Is that understood?






























Hold it.



One more.



That was one of the most

impressive things I've ever seen.



Why do I know it wasn't good enough

for either one of you?



Shower up and get out of here.



You may think we're the same. We're not.



Mr. Wallace?



Mr. Wallace.






The latest paper you turned in...



...displayed quite a bit of improvement

from your earlier work.



- Thank you.

- Yes.



How long did it take to write?



I wrote it last night.



Last night.



Well, I have some things to finish up here.



Good day, Mr. Wallace.



That's right. Select again.



- "Birds of a Feather" for $   .

- Answer:



"Vibrant in colour, its name borrows

from a Vivien Leigh character."



Scarlet tanager.



No, it's "What is the scarlet tanager?"



What is the scarlet tanager?



See, you have to know the rules

to play the game.



It was written by a writer

you've never heard of.



"Thy duty, winged flame of spring



"is but to love and fly



"and sing" He was writing about

the song of the tanager.



A song about new seasons, new life.



That's James Lowell, man.



I know who he is.



I'll stay with "Poor Assumptions"

for $    Alex.



Ever seen any scarlet tanagers

around here?



They don't stray that far from the park.



So, your professor wasn't exactly

full of praise this afternoon?



Not exactly.



There's something you should know

about Robert Crawford.



He wrote a book a few years after mine.



All the publishers rejected it,

which was the right decision.



Instead of writing another one...



...he took a job

teaching others how to write.



How do you know all that?



Just remember that bitterly

disappointed teachers...



...can be either very effective...



...or very dangerous.



Okay, this is the first step tonight, guys.

Mailor on three.



One, two, three, Mailor!



Gold. Black.



Straight and high, boys.



What up, J?



- You was in there tonight?

-    points.



  out of    from the floor,

   from    from the line.



I'm supposed to miss that?



It was hot.



You were putting some serious ink

on that stat page.



What's going on?



Brothers are going to Red Rose.

I said we'd catch up.



Friday night. Come on.



Jamal, you plan on doing that every night?



- Worked out, I guess.

- I'd say so.



This is Fly.



Hi. I'm Claire. You a friend of Jamal's?



Claire! Come on.



I'm coming.



Don't hold up the bus too long.

Nice meeting you, Fly.



What the hell you working there, man?



Shut up, man.



Yo, about Red Rose...



I got to go to this dude's house.

They do it every year.



Don't go off on this.



You big time. Go on.

I don't want to hold your bus up.



Will you be around this weekend?



Where do you think I'll be? The Hamptons?



Very nice talking with you.

Now, if you need anything...



...please give me a call. Okay?






Building up a collection of those things?



Yeah, a few.



Want to go outside for a while?



Yeah. You know this place?



I live in this place. Come on.



They'll be congratulating themselves

on your game till midnight.



Which means I'll have to cram tomorrow

for this test on Monday.



Test on what?



On the Sherlock Holmes books.



They have us tracking down

all this worthless stuff like:



Who introduced Watson to Holmes?



They give it to you

'cause it forces you to read everything.



Looks like it might be a while.



Maybe so.



So this friend, Fly,

how long have you known each other?



A while. He was born there

and I was born there, too.



- The Bronx?

- Yeah.



Must be hard.






New people, new school.



It's not?






What's hard is growing up in a place

cops don't even want to be in after dark.



What's hard is knowing you're safe there.



'Cause the people you need to worry about,

know you've got nothing to give them.



So it's a good thing you're here.



These people don't think

I got anything to give them, either.



Don't let me get by you.

Once I get by you, I'll score.



Ready? Now stay in front of me, all right?



All right?



I got by you.



You're bigger than I am.



It doesn't matter. You still got to defend.



How do I do that?



How do you play defence?

I'll show you one way, here.



Turn around.



Feel that?



I feel it.



Now I know where you'll go,

because I can feel you move.



Try and move left.



See, you can't get around me.

I feel you moving left.



Try and go right.



I'm still here.



I feel when you try to go right,

so you can't go there, neither.



Now try and get by me.



Hold on.



You have to dribble first.



Dribble. Okay. Like...



Like this?



- Sorry.

- Claire.






Some of our guests are leaving.



I'll see you on Monday, okay?









It was Stamford.



Excuse me?



At the bar in London.



He was the one

who introduced Watson to Holmes.



Might actually save you some time

after everyone's done in there.



You know how long

I've been working on that?



It ain't one season of faith's perfection.

Feels like I worked on it for two or three.



You're in that place

where you can't even hear me.



I could ask why you never left

this neighbourhood, and you wouldn't...



Paragraph three starts...



...with a conjunction, "and."



You should never start a sentence

with a conjunction.



- Sure you can.

- No.



It's a firm rule.






It was a firm rule. Sometimes using

a conjunction at the start of a sentence...



...makes it stand out. And that may be

what the writer's trying to do.



And what is the risk?



Doing it too much.



It's a distraction

and could give your piece a run-on feeling.



But the rule on using "and" or "but"

at the start of a sentence is pretty shaky.



Even though it's still taught

by too many professors.



Some of the best writers have ignored

that rule for years, including you.



Well, you've taken something

which was mine...



...and made it yours.

Quite an accomplishment.



Thank you.



The title's still mine, isn't it?



I guess.



It was the neighbourhood that changed,

not me.



I ain't seen nothin' changed.



You "ain't seen nothin"'?

What in the hell kind of sentence is that?



In here, don't talk like you do out there.



I was messin' with you, man.

It was a joke.



Tell me about the neighbourhood back

when people were still reading your book.



What did you say?






You said "back when people

were still reading my book."



Didn't you?



We have    copies...



...but I'm sorry, they are checked out.



Thank you, anyway.



Any luck?



Did you get on the waiting list?



Your book was checked out.



And, yes...



...I did pay for dinner.



It cost me $   so you made your point.



I tried to call to see what food you wanted,

but the phone kept ringing.



I took the bell out    years ago.



Let me ask you something.



Why does a guy like you...



...waste his time reading

National Enquirer?



What's wrong with it?



It's trash, man.



You should be reading

The Times or something.



I read The Times for dinner...



...but this is my dessert.



They got some writing contest at school.



- You ever enter one of those?

- A writing contest?



- Yeah.

- Once.



- A long time ago.

- Did you win?



Well, of course I won.



Like money or something?



The Pulitzer.



They make all the students

read in front of everyone.



What the hell's that got to do with writing?



Writers write so that readers can read.

Let someone else read it.



You ever read your own book?



In public? Hell, no.



I barely read it in private.



You know those things they do,

that coffee shop reading shit?



Do you know why they do it?



To sell books, I guess.



Because they want to get laid.



Really? Women will sleep with you

if you write a book?



They'll sleep with you

if you write a bad book.



- Did it ever happen to you?

- Sure.



Did you ever get married?



Not exactly a soup question, is it?



No, I never did.



But I learned a few things along the way...



...which might help with this young lady

you always talk about.



Like what?



The key to a woman's heart...


            an unexpected gift

at an unexpected time.



You're giving me advice on women?



Unexpected gift, unexpected time.



This is so unexpected.



It's not a first printing or anything.



Oh, my gosh.



- What?

- This is a signed copy.



I can't accept this.

It must have cost a fortune.



It didn't cost that much, really.



Maybe the bookstore missed it.



Bookstores don't usually miss this stuff.



How'd you end up going to Mailor?



Mailor was originally an all-boys' school...


           , my father did

what anyone in his position would do.



He got on the board and changed the rules.



And every kid there knows it.



They'd have done it anyway.



That doesn't change anything.

I'm still Dr. Spence's daughter.



That night at my home, after the game...



...when you were showing me

how to play basketball:



Was that all you were showing me?



That's not going to work.









Why not?



Ask your father.



I'm not asking for some kind

of prenuptial agreement.



It's just a question.



Why must everything be

so black and white with you?



I forgot the question.



You don't forget anything, Mr. Stamford.



You don't think he wrote it?

That's a serious accusation, Robert.



You come to the Faculty Board with this...



I'm aware of how serious it is.



It's remarkable work.



You recognize any of it?



It smacks of something.



But I don't know.



The boy does well in my class.

He had good scores coming in.



Maybe he just needed direction.



Carl, he's a basketball player

from the Bronx.



Who happens to have won    straight...



...for a school that likes winning.



Have you considered

he might just be that good?



Not this good.



Do you know

what the absolute best moment is?



When you've finished your first draft...



...and you read it by yourself.



Before these arseholes...



...take something

they couldn't do in a lifetime...



...and tear it down in a single day.



People love that book, man.



I didn't write it for them.



And when the critics

started all this bullshit about...



...what it was I was really trying to say...



...well, I decided then...


            book was enough.



William, that was    years ago, man.



I actually spent money on these tickets.

Come on.



Is it still light outside?



It's nighttime.






You look good. It's not the latest stuff...



I wasn't asking how I look.



- I was asking, are we ready to go?

- Yeah. Come on, man.



Let's go.



Come on.



We play here in two weeks.



I said, we play here in two weeks.

State tournament.



Hold on. Let me get a programme.






Let's get you out of here.



I got you.



You used to get out, right?



Yeah, a long time ago.



- What happened?

- How should I know?



I didn't keep track of the time.



Sorry for losing you back there.



No apology needed.



Good. I've got one more place.

It's quiet and on the way home.



You only got    minutes.



All right.



Take that.



Ground level.



"The house that Ruth built."



Why did you bring me here?



Because it's your birthday.



I looked it up in the almanac.



You're not in the dead people section yet.



I figure with all the games you watched...



...with whoever you watched them with...


            probably never got this close.



What are they doing on the dirt?



Who cares? You acting like

they're going to play a World Series game.






My brother and I,

we were here for every game.



Till he left for the war.



I thought it'd be the same

when he came back, but...



...he talked a little less...



...and drank a little more.



I promised my mother

I would help him get through it all.



I caught up with him this one night.



I was already half a dozen drinks behind.



So we had a few more...



...and after a while,

he tells me he wants to...


            me back to the apartment.



I said "No, thanks."



We were all still living there, then.



I just stood there and...



...watched him drive off.



He makes it through

the whole goddamn war...



...and I let him drive.



Later that night, the nurse was typing...



...whatever it is they type...



...and you know what she tells me?



She tells me how much

my book meant to her.



My brother is getting cold

in the next room...



...and all she can talk about is a book.



Everything changed from then on.



Within five months, I buried...



...him, my ma, my father.



All of them here in the Bronx.



We'd spend our summers here.



And if we were lucky, the fall.



A lot of falls with those teams.



Yeah, well...



...not enough.



"The rest of those

who have gone before us...



"...cannot steady the unrest of those...



" follow."



You wrote that in your book.



I realise that if I give you enough time

you'll find a way...


            amaze even me.



Does he know?



No, he doesn't know.



This was one of the best evenings I've had

in quite some time.



All of it?






All of it.



Well, I...



This guy...



How do you say you know this guy again?



- He's my teacher.

- Yeah?



Seemed like a different kind of dude.



Anyone in particular?



I sometimes come here in the morning.



Just me, the aspiring...



...and all of them.



There was a note downstairs

saying I should come to see you.



Mr. Wallace...



...I think it's time you and I had an honest

and open discussion about your writing.



I thought you liked it.



Your recent work?



I liked it very much.



No, the question concerning

your most recent work...



...isn't whether it's good...


           's whether it's too good.



The acceleration in your progress from

your old school to this one is unusual...


            the point that I must draw

one of two conclusions:



Either you've been blessed with

an uncommon gift, which has kicked in...





           're getting your inspiration

from elsewhere.



Given your previous education

and your background...



...l'm sure you'll forgive me

for coming to my own conclusions.



I wrote those papers.



Then you won't mind showing me.



The next assignment's due in two weeks.



I'll schedule some time for you

to come to my office.



I'd like to have you write it there.



In the meantime, if there's anything

you wish to talk about...



I'm not writing anything.



Which proves what?



If a two-comma kid wrote these papers,

he'd say, "Considering your background"?



- Two-comma kid?

- $       .



One comma, two commas.



No, I don't.



Do you know what

people are most afraid of?



- What?

- What they don't understand.



When we don't understand,

we turn to our assumptions.



Crawford cannot understand...


            a black kid from the Bronx

can write the way you do.



So he assumes you can't.



Just like I assume he's an asshole.



You knew him, didn't you?



Crawford? No.



But he thought he knew me.



So what was that about his book?



A lot of writers

know the rules about writing...



...but they don't know how to write.






So Crawford wrote a book

about four authors who did know.



I was the only one still alive.



He convinced a publisher to buy it.



I made a polite telephone call...


            this publisher, telling him and others...



...I was in the process

of writing a second book...



...and if they wanted to bid on it...

- So that's why Crawford's book went away.



But you knew

there wouldn't be a second book.



Yeah, but they didn't.



Interesting what happens

when the resources aren't close at hand.



The tradition of handing in composition

entries on the final day continues...



...for yet...



...another year.



Ladies and gentlemen...



...may I have your attention?



Please, if you don't mind.



"Ere sin could blight or sorrow fade



"Death came with friendly care



"The opening bud to heaven convey'd"



How nice of you to join us.



That's not part of the poem.



"And bade it blossom there" Anyone?



A little more early morning reticence

than usual.



Mr. Coleridge.






How many students

would you say are here today?



I'm not sure.



Perhaps you could humour us with a guess.






And of that    not one person knows

the author of that passage.



I find that remarkable, don't you?



Perhaps we should back into this.



In looking at this, what, if any conclusions,

might we be able to draw?



You mean about the author?



About anything.



Do any of the words strike you as unusual?



Feel free to view this

as the appropriate time for a response.






And why is that unusual?



Because it sounds old.



It does sound old, doesn't it?



Do you know why it sounds old?



Because it is old. More than     years old.



Written before your father was born,

before his father was born.






...that still does not excuse the fact

that you...



...don't know who wrote it, now, does it?



I'm sorry, sir, I don't...



You, of all people here,

should know who wrote that passage.



And do you know why, Mr. Coleridge?



I repeat, do you know why?



Just say your name, man.



Excuse me.

Did you have something to contribute?



I just said that he should say his name.



And why would it be helpful

for Mr. Coleridge to say his name?



Because that's who wrote it.



Very good, Mr. Wallace.



Perhaps your skills do extend

a bit farther than basketball.



If we can turn to page...

You may be seated, Mr. Coleridge.



Turn to page    

in the little blue book that...






I'm sorry?






You said my skills extend "farther"

than the basketball court.



"Farther" relates to distance.



"Further" is a definition of degree.



You should have said "further."



Are you challenging me?



No more than you challenged Coleridge.



Perhaps the challenge

should have been directed elsewhere.



"It is a melancholy truth that even...



"Great men have poor relations"






- "You will hear the beat of..."

- Kipling.



- "All great truths begin..."

- Shaw.



- "Man is the only animal...

- "That blushes



"or needs to"



Mark Twain.



- Come on, Professor...

- Get out!









Yeah. I'll get out.



- Leave it alone, Claire.

- Hold on, please.



So around here,

they kick you out if you know something?



You have no idea what Crawford could do.



You're right about that.



- Do you think you should apologise?

- No.



- Do you?

- No.



You did nothing wrong.

You just beat him at his own game.





            would be a good time to be careful.



Careful about what?



You have a gift that should allow you

to do remarkable things in life.



That is, if you don't screw it up...


            being a   -year-old right now.



You got a call from the office.



Mr. Wallace, please.



As you know...



...Professor Matthews is on Faculty Board.

Dr. Spence is chair of the Trustees Board.



We've been reviewing the writing

competition submissions.



We were hoping you might clarify

some points concerning your submission.



A Season of Faith's Perfection.



Your piece, correct?



Yeah, that's it.



It is standard policy to ask students

if they wish to credit any source material...



...or acknowledge any other writers

when turning in an assignment.



Do you wish to do that?






An essay titled Baseball's Best Year...



...with a subtitle that reads:



A Season of Faith's Perfection.



Published in the New Yorker

and written by...



...William Forrester.



Your version is quite original, but...



...there is the title

and first paragraph to consider.



Isn't there?



Either you happen to have

William Forrester's permission...






Have you some other explanation?






That's my paper.



Then your entry is now withdrawn and

this is a matter for the board to consider.



The board does have the authority

to place you on academic probation...



...which would prevent you

from playing basketball in the future.



Since the board doesn't meet

till next week...


            can play in this weekend's

state championship.



But the board has a history

of taking these matters...



...quite seriously.



So we would like to suggest

what we feel is a...



...solution that may satisfy these concerns.






What matters most is to ensure

this type of violation isn't repeated.





            will be required to write an apology

to the students you took advantage of...


            submitting this piece...



...and you will read it in front of my class.



I'm not reading anything.



The board will consider that when deciding

whether to renew your scholarship.



You haven't left us with too many options.



Excuse me.



Don't ever embarrass me

in front of my class.



Return the pen when you're finished.



No conventional greetings today?



Why have me rewrite something

you published?



Be careful.



Why didn't you tell me

some magazine ran it?



Why the hell should it matter?



You should have told me.



What did you do with it?



I turned it in.



I turned it in.

I had to show them something.



You promised me anything we wrote

in here would stay in here.



I know!



- I just thought...

- Shut up.



What are they telling you?



I go on probation unless I write a letter

saying I was wrong.



Then write the letter.



I'm not writing anything.



You got him, he gets you. Write the letter.



And you'd let him do that?



Is this supposed to be another lesson?



I'm tired of all these lessons.

Every time I come here.



The title of your essay is at the top

of my paper. What's the lesson in that?



I'm not the one who turned it in.



You talked all that trash

when all you had to say was:



"Keep this one here

'cause it got printed in the New Yorker."



That's all you had to say.



I could use a little help.



No, that's not an option.



- You don't even have to go...

- I said, that's not an option.



Sorry, man.



I'm used to people not helping me.



Oh, Christ.

Not that self-pity father bullshit.



What did you say?



Man, fuck you, William!



The real bullshit

is you letting me take it on this one...



...'cause you're scared to walk out the door

and do something for someone else.



That's the only damn reason.



You don't know a damn thing

about reasons.



There are no reasons!



Reasons why some of us live

and some of us don't.



Fortunately for you,

you've decades to figure that out.



What's the reason for having a locked

cabinet of writing no one can ever read?



What is that, man?



I'm done with this shit.



Look, Jamal is here to pay us a visit.



What's up?



What's up, y'all?



Come on.



How does your first game

in the Garden feel?



A little closer than I thought.



That's why I thought

it might be a good time for us to talk.



I know it's been hard handling classes with

the time you have to spend on the court.



I couldn't handle it, not at this school.



Maybe it was unfair of us

to ask you to do it.



I talked to the board members

and to Crawford...






...we don't want to pursue this

any more than you do.



So, I'm here to present you with an offer.

We forget the whole thing.



Next year, your academic schedule

will be less demanding.



Crawford wanted that?



Crawford wants what's best for you...



...and for the school.



What am I supposed to do?



You hold up a championship trophy

at the end of this tournament.



You make that happen,

I'll make the rest happen.



All right?



Now, go finish up what you came to do.



Let's go, Pilgrims!



Let's go! Throw to Jamal!



Damn, man. Come on.






Jamal, get the ball!



Good pass, man.



Pick it up.



Offensive foul! That way!



   Gold. Offensive! That way.



You got them now. Let's go.






This is still our game. We stop here,

they'll have to put us on the line.



When that happens, it's all over.

Don't lose your composure.



If they score, we don't call a time-out.

The ball goes to Hartwell or Wallace.



Okay? Hartwell or Wallace. Let's go.






What's the score?



It ain't looking good, Ma.



Foul.    Blue. Two shots.



Foul, Blue team,   .

Hit, two. Go line up, guys.



Two shots.



We're going to make these.



- I can't look.

- It's gonna be all right, Ma.



Do it.






One shot.



That's game.



Thank God.

He must have come in after we left.



Let him sleep.



- I'll turn the light off.

- Turn it off and come on.



You started cleaning up your room, Jamal.



He looks very happy with himself,

that coyote.



Jamal, he wrote that for you.






After the game.



He's going back to the school this morning.



It's funny, though.



They always let you get but so far...



...before taking everything away from you.



God, he's such a good kid, man.

Then he gets to come back to this shit.



Is that seat open?



I think so.



This isn't where I thought I'd find you.



It's still my school.



They want me out,

they'll have to do it themselves.



They will.






"The winter's darkness and cold is but

a momentary prelude to the new spring.



"And while its grip seems endless

our own perseverance proves equal.



"We renew ourselves once again...



"...seeking out the bright moments

that will serve...



"...that will serve therefore...



"Therefore serve

as the foundation of our future."



Thank you.



Professor Crawford.



May I read a few words?



What is he doing here?



Yes, of course, by all means.



Thank you, Professor.



My name is William Forrester.



Excuse me.



I'm that one.



Losing Family.



"Losing family obliges us

to find our family.



"Not always the family that is our blood...



"...but the family

that can become our blood.



"Should we have the wisdom

to open our door to this new family...



"...we will find that the wishes we had

for the father, who once guided us...



"...for the brother, who once inspired us...



"The only thing left to say will be:



"'I wish I had seen this,

or I wish I had done that, or I wish..."'



Most of you are too young...


            know what your wishes will be.



But when I read these words...



...words of hope, dreams...



...I realise that the one...



...wish that was granted to me,

so late in life...



...was the gift of friendship.



Mr. Forrester, I'm sure I speak on behalf

of everyone in thanking you for this visit.



The quality...



...of your words...


            something we should

all aspire to reach.



May I ask to what do we owe this honour?



Professor Crawford...



...I spoke here today

because a friend of mine wasn't allowed to.



A friend who had

the integrity to protect me...



...when I was unwilling to protect him.



His name is Jamal Wallace.



Jamal Wallace is a friend of yours?



Yes, he is.



I helped him find his own words

by starting with some of mine.



In return, he promised...



...never to say anything about me.



A promise which he kept.



While your visit seems heartfelt,

I'm sure you will appreciate...


            will not change or interfere...



...with this institution reaching a fair

and proper decision in this case.



There's one more issue here.



Those words that I read today...



...I didn't write them.



Jamal Wallace did.






Quiet, please.



Be still.



Quiet, please.



That has no bearing...



...on the decision concerning Mr...



As director of this competition,

I have final say in this matter.



Robert, sit down.



I have been a teacher

for more than    years.



That's long enough to know

that integrity counts for something.



I'd say that Mr. Forrester has cleared up...



...this matter...



...very nicely for us all.

As chairman of the Faculty Board, I have...



...the last word in that matter.



You are excused

from next week's board meeting.



Mr. Forrester...



...should you ever be interested

in a teaching position...






Jamal, these are your words?









I'm thinking you'll make

your own decisions from here on.



I thought you'd say something like,

"I always could."



No more lessons.

I have a question, though.



Those two foul shots

at the end of the game...



...did you miss them or did you miss them?



Not exactly a soup question, is it?



Let's go.



Do you think our vaudeville act today

will merit the National Enquirer?






Whatever happens, I'm off.



What's the word

you and your friends would use for that?






Oh, God.



Where are you off to?



I have a homeland

I haven't seen for too long.



You mean Ireland.



Scotland, for God's sake.



I'm messin' with you, man.



Be sure to write.



What's up, John?



You heard from William?



Yeah, but I don't know what he's doing.

He just checks up on the college recruiters.



I was just downstairs.

Looks like you got another one.






See you around.



- Steve Sanderson.

- How are you doing?



Thanks for coming down on short notice.



No problem.



What school are you from?



No. I'm a lawyer.

I work with Roberts & Carter.



- A lawyer.

- Yeah.



But congratulations on all that. It's great.



A bunch of guys in the office

are following you.



We're the legal representation

for William Forrester.



How is he?



Sit down.



We've received word

that William passed away.



I'm sorry.



He wanted you to have...



...these things right away.



What happened?



William had cancer.



They found it a couple of years ago.



Jamal, this is crazy.



Oh, my God.



Look at all these books.



Don't touch anything.



Dear Jamal:



Someone I once knew wrote

that we walk away from our dreams...



...afraid that we may fail, or worse yet,

afraid we may succeed.



While I knew so very early on

that you would realise your dreams...



...I never imagined

I would once again realise my own.



Seasons change, young man.



While I waited until the winter of my life

to see what I've seen this past year...



...there is no doubt I would have

waited too long, had it not been for you.



You gonna be here awhile, man?



Just can't watch the eyes this time.



You'll be okay, man. Come on.



Come on, man.



Get up.

Special help by SergeiK