Dangerous Minds (1995) Script

♪ As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

♪ I take a look at my life

♪ And realize there's none left

♪ 'Cause I been blasting and laughing so long

♪ That even my mama thinks that my mind is gone

♪ I really hate the trip, but I gotta lope

♪ As they croak, I see myself in the pistol smoke, fool

♪ I'm the kind of G the little homeys wanna be like

♪ On my knees in the night

♪ Saying prayers in the street light

♪ They been spending most their lives

♪ Living in the gangsta's paradise (INDISTINCT CHATTERING)

♪ They been spending most their lives

♪ Living in the gangsta's paradise

♪ We keep spending most our lives

♪ Living in the gangsta's paradise

♪ We keep spending most our lives

♪ Living in the gangsta's paradise

♪ Look at the situation, they got me facing...

Open up the door!

♪ So I gotta be down with the hood team

♪ Too much television watching got me chasing dreams

♪ I'm a educated fool with money on my mind

♪ Got my 10 in my hand and a gleam in my eye

♪ I'm a loped-out gangsta set trippin' banger

♪ And my homeys is down, so don't arouse my anger, fool

(YELLING) ♪ Death ain't nothing but a heartbeat away

♪ I'm living life do or die, what can I say?

♪ I'm 23 now, but will I live to see 24?

♪ The way things is going, I don't know

♪ Tell me why are we so blind to see

♪ That the ones we hurt are you and me?

♪ They been spending most their lives

♪ Living in the gangsta's paradise

♪ They been spending most their lives

♪ Living in the gangsta's paradise

♪ We keep spending most our lives

♪ Living in the gangsta's paradise

♪ We keep spending most our lives

♪ Living in the gangsta's paradise

♪ Power and the money, money and the power

♪ Minute after minute, hour after hour

♪ Everybody's running but Half of them ain't looking

♪ What's going on in the kitchen

♪ But I don't know what's cooking

♪ They say I've got to learn

♪ But nobody's here to teach me

♪ If they can't understand it

♪ How can they reach me?

♪ I guess they can't, I guess they won't

♪ I guess they frontin' that's why I know

♪ My life is out of luck, fool

♪ They been spending most their lives

♪ Living in the gangsta's paradise

♪ They been spending most their lives

♪ Living in the gangsta's paradise

♪ We keep spending most our lives... ♪

(BELL RINGS)

I'm just going to have to check the schedule.

Thank you. Mmm-hmm.

Okay. Let me write that down.

(KNOCKING) Carla?

My friend Louanne Johnson's here to see you.

Oh, God, is that today? Hal, it's not a good time.

Well, she came in.

All right.

I'm gonna have to call you back. Thank you.

Louanne? I'd like you to meet Carla Nichols, our assistant principal. Hello.

Carla, Louanne Johnson. I'll wait outside.

Please, Have a seat.

(SIGHS) Thank you for seeing me.

Oh, well...

Mr. Griffith, Hal, has told me so much about you.

I hope not everything. (CHUCKLES)

(CHUCKLING) Oh, no, only good.

And I must say, it isn't often that we have an applicant of your maturity and...

Varied experience.

BA in English lit.

Public relations, telemarketing...

Marine.

You don't look like a marine.

Well... Long sleeves hide the tattoos.

(LAUGHS)

And fully accredited, except for one term of supervised student teaching.

Why did you stop so close to being certified?

Well, I met my husband and started working for his company.

We're divorcing.

(CLEARS THROAT) Well... It would be no problem to get you emergency certification.

When could you start?

Start?

Teaching.

Ms. Johnson, I'll cut to the chase. (CLEARS THROAT)

One of our academy teachers, Mrs. Shepherd, left, and since then we've had three substitute teachers.

The last one, Mrs. Gingrich fell ill just this morning, so we have a full-time position and we need to fill it now.

Um...

Full-time? I'm sorry.

I thought this was an interview to student teach.

Well... (STUTTERING)

Well, what is an academy teacher?

Well, the academy is...

It's sort of a school within a school, special kids, passionate, energetic, challenging...

(LAUGHS NERVOUSLY)

The salary is 24,700 a year.

Are you interested?

Yes, I... Yes, I'm interested. (CHUCKLES)

Oh, that's wonderful. (CHUCKLES)

Great, great. Okay, so...

Oh, well, so, these are for you.

Curriculum, schedule, and whatnot, and if you would just follow me.

We have a new teacher. (LAUGHS)

Great!

Congratulations.

Full-time. What?

Yeah. Yes, starting tomorrow, Ms. Johnson is going to be teaching one of our academy classes.

I'm afraid Mrs. Gingrich is no longer with us.

Carla, the...

Mr. Griffith's classroom is right next to yours, so would you meet her outside tomorrow and show her 107?

Right. Thank you.

I just know this is going to work out. Thank you so much.

Thank you.

Full-time.

Louanne. Louanne. Did she tell you about the academy program?

Yeah, yeah, no, she told me all about it.

She said, you know, bright, special kids.

Look, Louanne... I want to teach, Hal.

If I have any questions, I'll know who to ask, right?

Yeah, I'll be counting on it.

♪ Hoes and chains and swingin' thangs

♪ Same as me

♪ Just another young nigga havin' thangs

♪ I gots to have it

♪ Hoes and chains and swingin' thangs

(BELL RINGS)

♪ Just another young nigga havin' thangs ♪

(COUGHS)

It's to your right.

I guess Miss Shepherd's lesson plans will be in her desk?

(LAUGHING) Very possibly.

(COUGHING)

(RAPPING INDISTINCTLY) (TAPPING RHYTHMICALLY)

HAL: This is your classroom.

(BOY CONTINUES RAPPING) (TAPPING CONTINUES)

Noisy bunch, aren't they?

Yes, but if you stand there long enough, they'll usually quiet down.

Don't try and shout over them.

Right. Thanks. (GIRL RAPPING INDISTINCTLY)

(BELL RINGS)

HAL: Louanne.

I'm right next door.

Thanks.

No, no, no. Not yours.

White bread.

(RAPPING CONTINUES)

♪ And I pass the microphone to my homegirl

♪ I see you rhyming, I pump it

(CONTINUES RAPPING)

May I have your attention, please? (RAPPING CONTINUES)

How long y'all been together? (LAUGHS)

GIRL: ♪ Your life is a joke ♪

(RAPPING CONTINUES)

What happened to Miss Shepherd?

What? What happened to Miss Shepherd?

Ooh, no, she ain't asking about Miss trifling-ass Shepherd.

You playing yourself. Playing yourself.

Yo, yo, yo, yo, yo! Listen up!

Yo, listen up!

White bread wanna know what happened to Miss Shepherd!

(ALL LAUGHING)

We killed the bitch.

Kick it, kick it, kick it! Hey!

I was beginning to like the puta!

(ALL JEERING)

Everybody, everybody.

Emilio ate her.

(STUDENTS EXCLAIMING)

EMILIO: Bullshit!

(STUDENTS YELLING)

That bitch was too ugly to eat. STUDENTS: Yeah.

Fed her to my dogs.

(LAUGHS) (STUDENTS WHOOPING)

But I'll eat you.

(STUDENTS EXCLAIMING)

What is your name?

Emilio.

Ramirez.

(STUDENTS JEERING AND LAUGHING)

STUDENTS: (CHANTING) Emilio! Emilio! Emilio! Emilio! Emilio!

(MUFFLED CHANTING) GIRL: Is that a fight?

Come on, come on, come on, you know what they're like. Come on.

ALL: (CHANTING LOUDER) Emilio! Emilio! Emilio! Emilio!

HAL: Madison surrendered to the nationalists...

Hamilton himself could hardly have composed a message that embraced...

Donna. Donna, take over the class.

(ALL PROTESTING)

Shut up!

What happened to Miss Shepherd?

She quit.

Why?

She was a very high-strung individual.

What, did she have a breakdown?

No. She quit before that.

One of the substitutes, she had a breakdown.

That's how they weed them out.

Who are these kids, rejects from hell?

No. They're bright kids with little or no educational skills and what we politely call a lot of social problems.

Damn it, Griffith, you could have warned me!

Hey, Louanne, you said you wanted to teach.

Now, is that a load of bull or what? No!

So teach! I can't...

What? I can't teach them!

Yes, you can.

All you got to do is get their attention.

Or quit.

(HAL WHISTLING TUNE)

(DOOR OPENS) I'm back!

(DOOR CLOSES)

(SIGHS)

"She decided that if Brian broke a rule, "she would utilize these consequences.

"The first time he broke a rule, "his name would be put on the board."

(CHUCKLES)

♪ This is the life

♪ This is the life

♪ This is the life ♪

Okay, you little bastards.

♪ Come on! ♪ Put your back into it

♪ Come on! ♪ Put your back into it

(BELL RINGS)

♪ Put your back into it ♪ Come on!

♪ Put your back into the beat

♪ Achieve the goals in which you seek

♪ Don't let nobody steer you wrong

♪ Or you'll be singing that same old song ♪ GIRL: Forget that shit.

(LAUGHING) Yo, you didn't get enough yesterday?

(LAUGHTER) (INDISTINCT CHATTERING)

How you doin'? Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

GIRL: Hey, everybody, everybody, look!

A cowboy.

GIRL: Does anyone know...

What's ka-rate?

Karate, you stupid asshole.

(ALL LAUGH)

You're a marine? A for real marine?

Discharged, but yes.

I'll try some karate with you, Ms. Johnson.

I'm sorry, but I'm not allowed to touch a student.

But if you really think you know what you're doing, come on up here.

BOY: Hey, it sound like a challenge to me, ese. You better get up there.

Oh, I know what I'm doing.

No sense doing it, though, if you can't touch me.

Okay, anybody else know any karate?

What about you?

Yeah, I know some motherfucking karate.

Whoo!

(STUDENTS CHEERING AND LAUGHING)

GIRL: Durrell... Shit.

What about you, you know any karate?

Raul. Yeah, I know enough.

Okay, Raul. Come on up here.

(INDISTINCT CHATTERING)

All right. Shit. Come on, nachos.

Shit. All right. Let's go, ese. Let's go!

(EXCLAIMING) (LAUGHING)

(ALL LAUGHING)

Shit.

You guys...

Wait, wait, wait. You guys don't know shit.

(STUDENTS JEERING)

LOUANNE: You don't even know any throws.

BOY: Now, I heard that a marine can kill a man with his bare hands. That true?

Absolutely.

(ALL EXCLAIMING) Oh, shit.

(LAUGHING)

Okay. Here's how it starts.

Um, okay, first, can you two move that desk down there a little bit?

Okay, everything is slow motion at first.

Um, Durrell.

Yeah. Okay, you move into Raul like you're gonna hit him.

Yeah, I can do that.

LOUANNE: Okay. Now...

Raul, you're gonna step into Durrell.

And you're gonna grab his wrist, okay?

You're gonna turn your body away from him so that your butt is in his stomach, okay?

Get the fuck off me, man!

(CHATTERING AND LAUGHTER)

You fucking punk.

You wish, man! You wish, homes. Bring it on, homes.

You wish, man. Fuck you!

Get your hands off me! You wish, man!

LOUANNE: No. It's a hip throw. It's a hip throw.

Okay, take your fighting stance again. Okay?

Okay, grab his wrist. Okay.

LOUANNE: Okay, now... Now this time, as you move in, you're gonna take this hand, you're gonna grab on to this shoulder.

Okay. Ready?

Ha!

(ALL EXCLAIMING)

Thank you! Hey! Hey!

I'll kick your motherfucking ass, ese!

(CHUCKLES)

(SIGHS)

LOUANNE: Well, that was A work.

You'd make good marines.

In fact, from this moment, each one of you is like an inductee.

BOY 1: Who's a dyke?

(BOY 2 IMITATING DUCK QUACKING) With a clean record.

So, if you want to pass, (QUACKING CONTINUES) all you have to do is try.

Because at this point, everyone has an A.

(EXCITED CHATTERING)

But it's up to you to keep it.

Bullshit!

Yo, why don't you shut up, man?

What if it ain't bullshit?

Ain't never had no fuckin' A before.

(ALL CHATTERING)

♪ I once knew a man who couldn't read

♪ He said, "It ain't no thing

♪ "'Cause I've graduated twice with the game I possess"

♪ Bulletproof vest to the chest

♪ But when his kids needed help to prepare for a test

♪ It was stress 'cause Pops ain't achieving in academics

♪ It's true indeed, his problem is an epidemic

♪ Who wanna work five long hard days through it?

♪ And get tax, I guess that's a message for your mind

♪ Tried the dope about a thousand times

♪ So here's a message for your mind (GIGGLING)

♪ About a thousand times, about a thousand times

♪ So here's a message for your mind

♪ About a thousand times ♪

(STUDENTS YELLING)

Morning!

Okay, today we are going to conjugate some verbs.

Hey, what about karate?

I can't just teach you karate.

I'll show you another hold next week.

(ALL JEERING)

(INDISTINCT CHATTERING)

(GUITAR STRUMMING)

No, he doesn't eat green beans for dinner. What you do with them?

Okay.

Hey, Pam. Pam!

(CAMERA CLICKS)

BOY: Shut your neck hole.

BOY: Hey, man. It's not a big deal

(MOUTHING SILENTLY)

Is that true?

If we want to die? Shit no.

We want you to die.

Is that true?

GIRL: Well if it was between you and us, hell, yeah. Okay.

BOY: Hey, hey, I don't give a fuck, live or die.

What about that?

What's all this bullshit with dying? You want us dead?

No, darling, but I do want you to keep your A.

So, no, I'm gonna make it real easy on you, okay?

All you have to do is tell me the verb...

That makes this sentence true.

We choose to do some karate.

Okay, give me a verb instead of choose.

GIRL 1: We going to die? GIRL 2: We must die, okay?

Okay, "We must die." Is "must" a verb?

Can you... Can you "must" something?

Yeah, I must piss right now, you best to believe it.

(LAUGHTER)

(DOOR CLOSES)

Okay, what verb that we used today is the most powerful?

Die. Piss!

Oh, you so stupid!

Choose.

Choose.

What's your name?

Callie. Callie, why?

Because that's the difference between owning your life and being afraid, saying "I choose" no matter what.

You mean, like, a guy's got a gun to your head, and he's pulling the trigger, and you say, "I choose to die"?

CALLIE: No, you ain't choosing to die, but you can choose to die without screaming, right?

I mean, you could always choose something.

Not where I live. Shit.

Did you read that somewhere in this class?

(ALL LAUGH)

No. In our class, we're reading this book called, My Darling, My Hamburger.

My what?

My Darling, My Hamburger.

CALLIE: Possessive pronoun, pronoun, possessive pronoun. (FINGERS FLICKING)

(ALL CHATTERING)

Excuse me?

Excuse me, Ms. Johnson?

Oh, yes? Would you stop by the principal's office before your next class, please?

Mr. Grandey would like to speak to you.

(STUDENTS EXCLAIMING)

Ooh, white bread in trouble!


GRANDEY: Yes. I'll talk to you later.

Bye-bye.

Ms. Johnson, this is an office.

We knock before we enter.

Oh, I'm sorry.

Please.

Now... Ms. Johnson, I'm taking into consideration the fact that you're new and therefore don't know that teaching karate is against school policy.

And can lead to a lawsuit in case of an injury.

But you can avoid this kind of error if you simply follow the curriculum dictated by the Board of Education.

Well...

Sir, that's almost impossible.

Most of my students don't even know what a verb is.

If you're going to teach them, I'm sure there's a better sentence than, "We choose to die."

(BOTH CHUCKLING) I'm sure there are, but I needed a sentence that would get their attention, and, well...

It had to be better than this.

(LOUANNE CHUCKLES)

Ms. Johnson, that is the approved curriculum for second period...

Your class. Now...

I know the newer the teacher, the smarter she is, but I'm afraid you're just going to have to go along with our policies.

Even if you don't agree with them.

All right? Mmm-hmm.

What a fucking idiot.

(SIGHING)

Griffith! Don't let them get to you.

I'm not. In fact, I'm about to challenge the entire curriculum.

If I could just find the paper and the Xerox room.

You can't. There isn't any.

What do you mean?

I mean there isn't any.

We're out of Xerox paper and art paper, and we're short on pencils, but we do have plenty of students.

I guess that balances things out.

Thanks.

(DOOR CLOSES)

(COUGHING)

Another fucking idiot.

♪ No, I can't run, I can't hide from all of this pressure

♪ If I sell out, that means I'm copping to a lesser charge

♪ And whenever there's a will, baby, there's a way

♪ Each one, teach one I always say

♪ The murder rate is rising

♪ Society can't scare me life is like a puzzle

♪ Ain't no telling when they'll bury me

♪ Problems, problems ♪ So, what's on today's lesson plan?

A little kickboxing, some target practice, huh?

No. My own little secret weapon.

(LAUGHING)

Okay. So, "never" is...

Adverb! An adverb!

Adverb. Fantastic. Woo!

You guys will be reading poetry soon.

You guys are sharp.

Okay...

Homeboy! (YELLING INDISTINCTLY)

Sit down, sit down, sit down.

Honorable sensei, (GRUNTS)

It's obvious that "homeboy" is a noun.

(CHUCKLES) (LAUGHTER)

Noun is correct.

Well, give me my damn candy bar.

Thank you.

Boy, poetry will be a piece of cake for this crowd.

DURRELL: Yo, how come you keep saying poetry?

What's poetry got to do with this shit?

Poetry? Well...

Because if you can read poetry, you can read just about anything, hon.

When you're ready for poetry, you're ready for bear.

(STUDENTS YELLING)

RAUL: I'm always ready for bear and shit.

I'm always ready to see you bare.

Oh, shut up, you stupid...

Oh, yeah? Oh! Oh!

Well, okay, here's the bear.

(STUDENTS GROAN)

What the fuck is that?

I just happened to have copies of a poem written by the greatest poet.

BOY: My Darling, My Hamburger.

LOUANNE: Okay, here's the deal.

When we finish this assignment, I am gonna take all of you to a place that has the highest parachute jumps, the biggest roller coaster, the best rides, the most delicious hot dogs, the hardest games, and the best prizes in the world.

GIRL: For real?

DURRELL: And we don't got to pay for it?

Huh?

And we don't got to pay for it?

LOUANNE: Not a penny.

So then who pays?

The Board of Education.

(ALL WHOOPING) The board? Did you hear that?

I don't believe it.

Sound good?

Hey!

That's bullshit, man!

I'm sorry?

Since when have the Board of Education done anything for us, huh?

GIRL: Yeah, man, we fucking barely get lunch.

Well, I'm sorry you feel that way, Emilio.

Good.

Durrell, you want to read the first four lines?

Aw, man, you trippin', man.

I ain't reading. You trippin'.

Okay, how about... How about the first line?

Take that. All right, it's all good.

(BELL RINGS) (STUDENTS EXCLAIMING)

Ms. Johnson?

You better be for real.

Ms. Johnson?

Yes, Callie?

If you want to get the class to listen, get Emilio.

♪ It's alright Yeah

♪ To smoke the fat one and let the thunder burn

♪ It's okay to play this loud

♪ Mr. DJ, don't mean to sweat you down ♪ I'll get you, you little fucker.

Poetry? Poetry, yeah.

These kids?

Why not these kids?

Well, hey, go for it.

But I got to find a gimmick first, you know?

Something that'll grab their attention.

Who's your favorite poet, Griffith?

My favorite? There's so many. How do I choose?

I'm serious. Hmm, serious.

Okay. Big D. Dylan.

Get out!

Why not?

Well, I...

He's not for everybody.

He's a little long-winded, don't you think?

(SIGHS) I suppose that's because he wrote drunk.

He had a drinking problem?

Well, the guy's Welsh. You know, there ain't a lot to do there.

I thought he was from Minnesota.

You know, if the guy's your favorite poet, you might want to read up on him a little bit.

He was Welsh, and he drank himself to death.

Dead? He's not dead. I saw him yesterday on MTV.

You saw Dylan Thomas on MTV?

(LAUGHING)

No. Bob Dylan.

Bob Dylan! Oh!

He looked dead. He looked dead.

Oh!

(IMITATING BOB DYLAN) ♪ Hey, Mr. Tambourine man

♪ Play a song for me ♪

"Hey...

"Mr. Tambo-rine man..."

STUDENTS: Tambourine.

"Tambourine man, "play a song for me.

"I'm not sleepy, "and there's no place I'm going to."

Thank you. Taiwana?

The next three lines, Taiwana?

"Hey, Mr. Tambourine man, "play a song for me.

"In the jingle-jangle morning, "I'll come following you."

Good. (INDISTINCT CHATTERING)

Yes? What does that mean?

What do you think it means?

What, some guy's got a tambourine, and this other guy wants him to play it 'cause he can't sleep?

LOUANNE: Okay.

Yeah, but how come he want to play the tambourine?

Don't he got a radio or something?

You know what I'm saying?

Well, you know, that's a good point.

I mean, it's a weird choice.

So what if I told you that Mr. Tambourine man is a code name?

A code name for what?

A drug dealer.

BOY: Is it?

LOUANNE: Well, a lot of people think so.

You know, this song is from the '60s, when you couldn't sing about drugs, so they had to make up codes.

So, why was the code?

What does "Hey, Mr. Tambourine man, "play a song for me" mean?

Well... RAUL: "Play a song for me" means give me the stuff.

Yeah, it's like that guy been up drinking all night and smoking some shit and everybody broke out on his ass.

And he's high, he's still high, but he's kind of low and shaky, you know, "jingle-jangle."

Yeah, he needs something like a big hit of crack or cocaine!

(INDISTINCT CHATTERING)

So, what do you think, Emilio?

Do you think that Raul is right?

It's too personal to discuss.

You mean you choose not to participate in the discussion?

Not about something so personal.

Want to draw for it?

What?

High card.

You don't have to discuss anything.

Why do I got to draw for it?

That's the way it is now.

(STUDENTS LAUGHING)

(BELL RINGS)

(LAUGHING)

Now, listen to this.

Name one of the most influential presidents of the 20th century.

Roosevelt.

Simple, right?

Wrong.

A history teacher's nightmare.

How about "Snoop Doggy Dogg" for an answer?

"Joe Montana."

"Winston Churchill."

But this... This is the best.

"I will not answer this question

"on the grounds that it is culturally biased

"against individuals such as myself."

Actually, for this answer, I'm going to give him partial credit.

Louanne, you lose your sense of humor, it's over.

Oh, here.

New pictures of the rugrats.

Oh, God, people are supposed to ask first, Griffith.

Shut up.

Ah, they look like Maggie. Thank God.

Well, I don't know.

Harry with his thumb in his mouth?

He kind of looks like me.

Is that his thumb? I thought that was a cigarette.

How is Maggie?

Good. She wants you to come over for dinner.

We had some fun times, you and Maggie, me and...

What's his name?

I remember.

I remember too.

That's why it's hard for me to come to dinner.

Seeing anybody?

No.

How do you do that? Do you walk around with a bag over your head?

Louanne, it's over six months.

I'm not ready, Hal.

You know... I thought you guys always stuck together.

What are you sitting here with me for?

You know, he was my best friend, Louanne.

Was is the operative word.

He isn't worth your spit.

What was that for?

Just tell Maggie she's a lucky lady, Griffith.

(CHUCKLES) You know, when they made me they broke the mold.

Both of them.

(LAUGHING)

Morning, ladies.

♪ Do you right

♪ And you can roll with me for the rest of the night ♪

HAL: We gotta stop meeting like this.

(COUGHING)

You sound awful.

HAL: I refuse to take medical advice from somebody who eats Cheetos at 8:00 in the morning.

Yeah, well, you shouldn't smoke.

Listen to that cough!

You know...

I'll see you inside.

Gonna finish the cigarette, aren't you?

No, I'm not. Really. Honest.

I swear.

(YELLING INDISTINCTLY) (BASKET THUDS)

Yeah!

RAUL: I gave you the money.

What are you talking about, homes?

Are you calling me a liar?

What do you think, I'm fucking stupid?

Yo, man, no. Don't get loud, motherfucker!

(YELLING)

EMILIO: Fuck you, man.

Fight, fight!

Move back, move back!

Okay, okay! Back up!

Hey, hey, hey, hey!

Hey! Hey, if either of you makes a move, I will call security!

Aw, bullshit!

Okay, get to your classes. It's all over.

Move!

(ALL GROANING)

You are stronger than these two put together!

Bullshit, man, he wishes, man.

You could all be expelled if I report this to the office, and you know that.

If you give me your word that it ends here, I'll forget it.

Is it over?

Yeah.

LOUANNE: How about you?

Yeah, Simon?

Absolutely.

Okay. I trust you. Now get to your classes.

See you later, puto.

(SPEAKS SPANISH)

(IN ENGLISH) Catch you later, ese.

If you hit those kids, you'll pay for it, I swear.

(BELL RINGS)

Get to your class and behave yourself.

You shouldn't have done that.

Oh, why not?

'Cause you just shouldn't mess with Emilio.

Raul knows that if you make a deal with Emilio and you fuck up on him, you get your locker smashed in with your head.

Everybody knows that.

Well, maybe now they'll all have time to think about it before they get to the locker-smashing stage.

They're gonna fight, no matter what they tell you.

What do you mean?

When?

Now?

Where? Angela! Where?

(BOTH GRUNTING) (ALL YELLING)

BOY: Come on, motherfucker, come on.

BOY: Shit. Watch it!

(CONTINUES GRUNTING)

BOY: Come on! Fuck that.

Break it up! Break it up!

(YELLING INDISTINCTLY)

Get back! Get back! Get back!

(ALL YELLING)

Watch your head.

Wait a minute! No! Give me...

Just give me a minute!

You promised! Yeah, but we had to, or we couldn't walk around with our heads up no more.

We got a reputation to protect.

You were a marine. You understand.

Like, if America didn't stand up, everyone would attack it. Well, in our neighborhood, if you don't stand up, you can't walk down the street, 'cause everyone will attack you, you know?

(BOY SHOUTS IN SPANISH)

Man, I cracked that motherfucker's head, ese.

See you in the fuckin' neighborhood, ese.

I see.

And I made it worse, and I made you and Gusmaro look bad in front of everyone by saying that Emilio was stronger than the both of you.

Yeah, well, you thought you was helping.

OFFICER: Ma'am, I'm sorry, we really have to go.

I got to get them home.


Nasty cut.

You mind telling me what the fight was about in the first place?

Yeah.

I really would like to know what happened.

I'm not going to make any trouble for you.

I just want to know. Was it worth it?

Yeah, it was worth it. Why?

Because it felt good hitting them in the face. I got them good, man.

Oh, yeah? You like to hit people?

Yeah, I like to hit people.

Why?

You feel angry a lot of the time?

So now you're gonna try and psychologize me?

You gonna try and figure me out?

I'll help you.

I come from a broken home, and we're poor, okay?

I see the same fucking movies you do, man.

I would like to help you, Emilio. (SCOFFS)

Thank you very much.

And how would you like to do that?

You gonna give me some good advice?

Just say no? You gonna get me off the streets?

Well, forget it!

How the fuck you gonna save me from my life, huh?

LOUANNE: Karen?

I have three student files here, and I can't find a phone number in any of them.

Well, sometimes they don't give a number, and sometimes they don't have a phone.

♪ It's alright ♪ It's alright

♪ As you may have heard ♪ Yeah

♪ To smoke the fat one ♪ And let the thunder burn

♪ Oh, thunder burn

♪ It's okay ♪ It's okay

♪ It's alright

(DOG BARKING) (SIREN WAILING)

♪ As you may have heard ♪ Yeah

♪ To smoke the fat one and let the thunder burn ♪

(SPEAKING SPANISH)

(WOMAN SPEAKING SPANISH)

Gracias.

(GIRL SPEAKING SPANISH)

Gracias.

(CHUCKLING)

(SPEAKING SPANISH) Do your homework.

(SPEAKING SPANISH)

(THUD)

(CLATTERING)

(DOOR CLOSES)

(IN ENGLISH) You have a lovely family, Mrs. Sanchero.

Thank you.

We know why you're here, Ms. Johnson.

I warned Raul to stay out of trouble.

He's first in our family to maybe graduate high school.

So, he gonna get punished big for what he done.

(CLEARS THROAT)

Don't you worry about that.

But he didn't do anything wrong.

But he expelled for three days. I know, I know...

But he didn't start the fight.

He was defending himself from a bigger boy.

He was protecting himself.

Why they send him home?

It's just school policy. It gives the other boy time to cool down.

Actually, I'm here, because I just wanted to tell you both personally what a pleasure it's been having Raul in my class this semester.

You must be very proud.

Yes.

He's... Well, he's very bright, funny, articulate.

The truth is... He's one of my favorites.

(CHUCKLES)

(SPEAKING SPANISH)

(CHUCKLES)

(OVER STEREO) ♪ I'm no damn fool can't walk out my house

♪ Because they always in my face

♪ And if I step out of place

♪ They're gonna give me a case

(DOG BARKS)

♪ Everybody's locked up and trying to get the hell out (HELICOPTER BLADES WHIRRING)

♪ Just 'cause you ain't locked up

♪ You think you got it good

♪ But you better think again

♪ 'Cause society is just like the pen ♪

(MAN SPEAKING SPANISH)

(SPEAKING SPANISH)

Eh?

(SPEAKING SPANISH)

Oh.

LOUANNE: "I will not go down underground

"'cause somebody tells me that death's coming round."

Okay, this is another Dylan poem.

Now, is that a code, or does that just mean what it says?

"And I will not carry myself down to die, "when I go to my grave, my head will be high."

"My head will be high." What does that mean?

Anybody?

Nobody.

Is there something I should know?

GIRL: Yeah. I'll tell you.

You ratted on Raul, Gusmaro, and Emilio.

Yeah, you got Emilio put into detention.

It wasn't none of your business, chismosa.

And you got Raul and Gusmaro suspended.

BOY 1: Yeah, now they're going to their fucking ass kicked.

Hey. I didn't rat on anybody.

BOY: Ain't your business anyway, you chismosa.

BOY: Snitches get stitches.

Do you want to talk about this?

BOY 3: Not to you.

BOY 4: Whatever floats your boat, teach.

GIRL: We don't have no choices, lady.

Well, if you all feel that strongly about it, leave the room.

BOY: What? LOUANNE: Hey, listen...

Nobody's forcing you to be here. You have a choice.

You can stay... Or you can leave.

Lady, why are you playing this game? We don't have a choice.

You don't have a choice?

You don't have a choice on whether or not you're here?

No. If we leave, we don't get to graduate.

If we stay, we got to put up with you.

Well, that's a choice, isn't it?

You have a choice.

You either don't graduate, or you have to put up with me.

It may not be a choice you like, but it is a choice.

Man, you don't understand nothing.

I mean, you don't come from where we live.

You're not bussed here.

LOUANNE: Do you have a choice to get on that bus?

You come and live in my neighborhood for one week, and then you tell me if you got a choice.

There are a lot of people who live in your neighborhood who choose not to get on that bus.

What do they choose to do?

They choose to go out and sell drugs.

They choose to go out and kill people.

They choose to do a lot of other things, but they choose not to get on that bus.

The people who choose to get on that bus, which are you, are the people who are saying, "I will not carry myself down to die.

"When I go to my grave, my head will be high."

That is a choice.

There are no victims in this classroom!

Why do you care anyway? You just here for the money.

Because I make a choice to care, and, honey, the money ain't that good. GIRL: Whatever.

EMILIO: Read it again, Ms. Johnson. What?

Read those lines you just read again.

"I will not go down underground

"'cause somebody tells me that death's coming round."

Does that mean just what it says?

No, it don't mean just what it says.

'Cause you wouldn't go under the ground if someone told you death was coming.

But you would go into the ground if you were already dead.

The rest of you agree with that?

Well, I kind of agree with it.

But I think it just means that he ain't gonna help death out.

It's not like he's just gonna lay down and wait for it.

I think he's gonna choose, no, I think he's gonna make the choice to die hard.

Mmm-hmm.

Yeah, I agree with that.

BOY: Yeah, me, too. GIRL: That's what it sounds like to me.

Okay, well, what about the rest of it?

Um...

"When I go to my grave, my head will be high."

"Head will be high." What does that mean?

Gonna die with pride.

(ALL MURMURING) Yeah, probably.

(BELL RINGS)

LOUANNE: See you tomorrow.


You went to Raul's house last night and Gusmaro's, too, right?

Mmm-hmm.

Yeah, that's what they told me.

That's cool.

♪ Oh, no, wait a minute

♪ Don't go there 'cause I ain't with it

♪ Oh, no, wait a minute

♪ Don't go there 'cause I ain't with it

(SCREAMING)

♪ What? ♪ What you want?

(WHIMPERING) (CACKLING)

Woo!

Woo!

(BOTH EXCLAIMING)

(CONTINUES SCREAMING)

Yo, kick it, homes. What you waiting for, man?

Are you trying to steal my...

Go, go, man! Go faster, man! Go faster, man!

Ahhh!

Go faster, man! Faster!

♪ You got to give me, give me

♪ R-e-s-p-e-c-t (ALL SCREAMING)

♪ I got to get it, get it

♪ R-e-s-p-e-c-t

(SHRIEKS)

♪ R-e-s-p-e-c-t

♪ I got to get it, get it Come on, get back.

You all right, man? You looked like a bitch right there.

Man, get the fuck out of there.

Look at you, you look like my grandma, man!

♪ Who's a hoe? ♪ Your mama, mama

♪ Who's a hoe? ♪ Your bay, bay

♪ R-e-s-p-e-c-t! ♪ Ms. Johnson...

The school board would have every right to insist on your dismissal.

You informed no one, you got no permission slips...

But there was no one to inform.

All the kids just decided to go to the amusement park at the last minute and then they let me come along.

Did they pay for you?

No, I paid for them.

I was just so moved by the invitation.

This wasn't, by any chance their reward for reading poetry, was it, Ms. Johnson?

In my class, Mr. Grandey, poetry is its own reward.

Hmm.

LOUANNE: Angela, would you read the first line?

Appetizers.

Freshly caught bay shrimp grilled to perfection.

This is a Xerox of a menu.

That is correct.

It's from the Flowering Peach, the best restaurant in town.

Ever hear of it?

Yeah, we heard of it.

It's supposed to be, like, some special restaurant or something.

LOUANNE: Mmm-hmm. So, does it sound good?

Because whoever wins the, Dylan-Dylan contest goes there for dinner with me.

RAUL: What's the Dylan-Dylan contest about?

Well...

There's Bob Dylan, who we've been reading.

And then, there's Dylan Thomas, who also wrote poems.

If you can find the poem written by Dylan Thomas that is like a poem written by Bob Dylan, you win the Dylan-Dylan contest.

♪ Hey, Mr. Tambourine man, play a song for me

♪ I'm not sleepy

♪ And there is no place I'm going to

♪ Hey, Mr. Tambourine man, play a song for me

♪ In the jingle-jangle morning, ♪ I come following you ♪

Yo, every fucking poem Dylan Thomas wrote is about death, man.

Now, how we supposed to know which one's right?

"The sniper laid him low, "and strewed his brains, "one would not think the greenness of this valley

"could in a day be sick with so much blood."

Man that's some Rambo-Schwarzenegger bullshit.

That's how it's supposed to be, right? No.

But it don't even mean the same as, "I will not go under the ground."

Now you some sort of poetic critic, right? (SCOFFS)

Thank you.

Oh, okay. Listen to this.

"Do not go gentle into that good night.

"Old age should burn and rave at close of day.

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Where's the code? Where's the death?

Night. All that stuff about night, that's death.

So, it's "Don't go gentle into that good death."

Yeah, but I think good is sarcastic.

When they say, "Do not go gentle," that's like saying, "Don't go easy."

So, it's the same as "I will not go down."

We just won us some motherfucking chicken. (RAUL EXCLAIMS)

Shh!

♪ This is the life

♪ Everyone has to be somewhere

♪ Oh

♪ I'm here

♪ This is the life

♪ This is the life

♪ This is my life ♪ LOUANNE: Well, the results of the Dylan-Dylan contest are in.

The winners are...

(ALL YELLING) BOY 1: That's me right here.

Yo! Shh!

Sorry, Ms. Johnson.

(GIRL SHUSHING)

Raul, Durrell, and Callie!

Congratulations!

Thanks. Here's your certificate.

Congratulations!

Congratulations, Callie.

Okay.

But there are no losers in this class.

You guys did great. You all get to pick a prize from the box.

How come they get a prize when they got the wrong answer?

Well, because sometimes it takes a lot of wrong answers to get to the right one.

Hey, everyone can't be right, except for us! Ha!

(EXCITED CHATTERING)

Come on up!

(INDISTINCT CONVERSATIONS)

(LAUGHS)

Ms. Johnson? Hey, Callie.

I wanted to talk to you about the restaurant.

Uh-huh. I can't go.

Why? Because I have to work at the supermarket every night until June...

Oh, isn't there any way to get out of it?

No. Because of the schedule and everything, I have to do it.

(SIGHS) But thank you, anyway.

Well, oh, okay. Well... Shoot!

Well, no, it's okay. If you can't come to dinner, then, well, we'll bring dinner to you.

Really? Mmm-hmm.

Thank you. I'm taking orders, Ms. Roberts.

LOUANNE: I couldn't find a parking space.

It's okay. I just got here myself.

Well, you look very handsome.

How about this jacket?

Fantastic.

Go ahead, touch it. It's real leather.

Ooh.

Hey, where's Callie?

Oh, she had to work. Where's Durrell?

Oh, he had to work, too.

Oh, well, I guess it's just you and me, handsome.

I guess so.

Oh.

Ladies first. Thank you.

(MELODIC MUSIC PLAYING ON SPEAKERS)

(INDISTINCT CONVERSATIONS)

Are you sure they got chicken?

Mmm-hmm.

Can I tell you a little about this evening's specials?

The chef is featuring foie gras with smoked duck and figs on a hill of bulgur.

Salmon tartar in potato gaufrette over wild mushrooms and fennel salad.

For the entree, we're featuring a complex shellfish pan roast with orzo, a touch of confit, and broth thickened with lobster shell oil.

All very, very good.

Could we have a few minutes, please?

Ah, yes. LOUANNE: Thank you.

Are you sure they got chicken?

Yes. Here, see, it's right there, sweetie.

You see? Poulet.

And when the waiter comes back, you may as well talk to him.

It will be good practice for your summer job interviews.

I can't talk to that guy. He probably thinks I'm weird or something.

He does not.

He can't help but notice your natural charm.

You just look him straight in the eye, and you talk to him like you would anyone else.

Now, go ahead and call him over.

Go ahead.

Just give him a little nod.

WAITER: Are we ready?

Okay, I'll have the chicken.

A whole one.

And I'll have the same.

And one to go, please.

One to go.

Thank you.

(MOUTHING SILENTLY)

(PEOPLE CHATTERING, LAUGHING)

Hey, Ms. J, I was wondering maybe, like, in the next couple of days if I...

Is everything all right?

Everything's fine, thank you.

Right.

Now, don't be mad or nothing, but I got to be absent for a couple of days without your coming to my house.

It's important.

You'll have to tell me why.

I got some shit to do.

I got to make some money to pay back this guy.

This doesn't sound important enough to cut school.

It is. I got to pay for this jacket.

See, I got it off the street from this guy for $200, and he said he'd trust me for it until Friday.

Why did you buy it on the street instead of in a store?

Are you crazy? You know how much this would cost in a store?

I needed a nice jacket and fast, and I got it from this guy 'cause he cut me a deal...

'Cause he stole it... Probably.

So are you going to go out and get a job, or are you going to go out and steal, too, to pay him back?

Ms. J, I got to pay him back.

He'll kill me.

I didn't have nothing to wear.

Fine. I'll lend it to you.

(SCOFFS)

I can't take your money.

Teachers are poor. Everyone knows that.

Well, you don't really have a choice, do you?

If you don't pay the guy back, he'll kill you.

If you cut school, I'll tell your father, and he'll kill you.

So I'm your only way out.

(SCOFFS) Oh, man.

But I do have one condition.

Big?

Huge. What do you want? Interest?

Mmm-mmm. Bigger. Jesus Christ, what is it?

Well...

Would you like dessert?

No. Another glass of wine?

Oh, no, I'm fine. Thank you.

Coffee, perhaps?

Hey, man, we're talking.

So, what's the condition?

You have to pay me back on the day you graduate.

But what if I don't graduate?

Well, then, you'll never pay me back the money.

But I know that if you say you will, you'll kill yourself keeping your word.

Well, what do you say?

I don't get it. Why do you care so much if I graduate?

Weird, isn't it?

All right, I'll pay you back.

(MOUTHING SILENTLY)

You have my word.

Hey.

It is a very nice jacket.

Thank you.

(CAR STARTS)

Hey. Oh, hi. How you doing?

Oh, good. I think this is the first time I ever brought food into a supermarket. (LAUGHS)

It smells unbelievable. Good. Thanks.

Well, Raul says if you don't like it, he'll take it off your hands.

Please, like hell he will. (LAUGHS)

MAN: (ON P.A.) Callie, could you help out in aisle three, please?

Be right there.

This place would fall to pieces if it wasn't for me.

You know, Callie, just between you and me, with your scores, I think you should consider going into Advanced English.

Oh, well, I'm going to be at Clearview.

You didn't know? No!

You didn't see my record?

No, I didn't... I didn't know.

In the middle of a semester? Are you moving?

No. I'm pregnant.

And since I'm starting to show, they thought it was time, you know?

Who thought it was time?

The school.

They don't let you stay there if you're pregnant.

But they told me they had this really good program at Clearview for, like, teenage mothers, and they teach you stuff like parenting and nutrition, all kinds of stuff, so I thought it would be good for me, you know?

Yeah. MAN: (ON P.A.) Aisle three.

BOY: "Degrade first the arts if you'd mankind degrade..."

Hey, that's the spray can poem.

(ALL TALKING INDISTINCTLY)

GIRL: Hey, hey, what's the code word?

BOY: The code word is great rising, great prizes.

♪ I'm keeping it under cover, becoming soon, I surmises ♪

(ALL TALKING INDISTINCTLY)

Does anybody know where Durrell and Lionel are today?

Durrell and Lionel.

GIRL: Nope. They around.

Yeah, so, what's the prize we're going to get for learning this poem?

Learning...

(ALL TALKING INDISTINCTLY) Is the prize.

Yeah. Knowing how to read something and understand it is the prize.

Okay, knowing how to think is the prize.

I know how to think right now.

Okay, well, yeah, you know how to run, too, but not the way you could run if you trained.

You know, the mind is like a muscle.

Okay, and if you want it to be really powerful, you got to work it out, okay?

Each new fact gives you another choice.

Each new idea builds another muscle.

Okay? And it's those muscles that are going to make you really strong.

Those are your weapons.

And in this unsafe world, I want to arm you.

And that's what these poems are supposed to do?

Yeah! Hey, try it. You're just sitting here anyway.

Look, okay, if at the end of the term, you're not faster, stronger, and smarter, you will have lost nothing.

But if you are, you'll be that much tougher...

To knock down.

So what's "Hire idiots to paint with cold light and hot shade"?

CALLIE: They're being sarcastic, Raul.

I mean, 'cause you know that light is supposed to be warm, right?

And shade is supposed to be what?

GIRL: Cold? Exactly. But if you go and hire an idiot to do the job, he's going to do it backwards.

(SIGHS) Don't make a big fuss about this, Louanne.

You have to help me. You have no idea how bright this girl is.

Yes, I do. And there's nothing I can do about it.

Ugh. This makes me crazy.

What right do these miserable self-righteous sons of bitches from the Board of Education have to make a moral judgment on Callie Roberts?

Louanne, there are parents in the next room.

Look, I don't... I am going to fight this ruling!

I am going to write an open letter to every newspaper condemning the entire school board!

(SCOFFS) You can't do that. Why not?

Well, first of all, the board has nothing to do with it.

(PHONE RINGING IN DISTANCE)

We prefer that these girls go to the mother-to-be program at Clearview.

Oh. Wait a minute.

You mean this isn't a rule?

You mean this is your preference?

Well, yes.

You mean Callie Roberts is free to go to any school she wants?

Including this one?

Unless she's absent for more than 30 days, and then she has to wait until the baby's born before she can come back here.

But, Louanne, once these girls have babies, very few of them come back to school anyway.

I see.

So you make them think they have to leave.

You just push them out a little earlier, make it a little harder, make it a little more hopeless.

I do what I have to do, because it is dangerous to have a pregnant girl in a classroom.

It is not a warning, Louanne. It's prestige, it's stardom.

It's attention. You know, not all these girls become pregnant by accident.

Pregnancy is contagious.

(INDISTINCT CONVERSATIONS)

(R&B MUSIC PLAYING)

WOMAN: Who is it?

It's Louanne Johnson, Callie's second period teacher.

Hey. (TV PLAYING INDISTINCTLY)

Um, Callie's getting ready to go to work.

Come on in. Thank you.

(SINGING ON TV)

Oh. GIRL: Hey.

Hi there. What you doing?

Watching TV.

What's your name?

Tyeisha.

That's a pretty name.

WOMAN: Just love her TV.

(LOUANNE CHUCKLES) Why ain't you in bed? Come here, baby.

Callie, honey, your teacher's here.

(SIRENS WAILING IN DISTANCE) (TRUCK HORN BLOWS)

Hi.

Hi.

I'm sorry to just bust in on you like this, but I have the most wonderful news, and I wanted to come tell you personally.

You do not have to go to Clearview.

There is nothing in the rules that says you can't stay exactly where you are.

But she already enrolled in Clearview.

Well, that's all right, but she doesn't have to go there.

Yeah, but Kembele wants me to take the mother-to-be program at Clearview.

You know, he thought it would be good idea if I learned how to take care of the baby and stuff.

I don't understand.

Do you not want to stay at Parkmont?

Well, yeah, but I got to learn how to take care of us.

You know, we'll be getting our own place and everything. So...

Callie, just don't throw away all you can become.

Kembele was so right. He was so right.

He told me that you'd probably try to talk me out of this.

You want to know what else he said?

He said that you probably don't even like men, and that you're probably not married, and you don't want anybody else to be.

That's why you're always in everybody else's life.

Look, I'm not saying that I agree with him, okay?

Well, Kembele's wrong.

I was married...

And I was pregnant.

So what happened?

We got divorced...

And I had an abortion.

He beat me.

(SIGHS) Well, sometimes you start out wrong and just keep going.

(INDISTINCT CHATTERING)

(BELL RINGS)

(HIP-HOP MUSIC PLAYING)

ANGELA: Don't touch me. Oh, get out of here!

Took something that fucking belonged to me, ese.

Man, she came to me with open arms.

Besides you got to have one of these.

You're dead.

♪ As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

♪ I take a look at my life and realize there's nothing left

♪ 'Cause I've been blasting and laughing so long

♪ That even my mama thinks that my mind is gone

♪ I really hate to trip, but I got to lope

♪ As they croak, I see myself in the pistol smoke

♪ Fool, I'm the kinda G that little homies want to be like

♪ On my knees in the night

♪ Saying prayers in the street light

♪ Been spending most their lives

♪ Living in the gangsta's paradise... ♪ Hey, Ms. Johnson. Hey!

Haven't seen you guys in a week.

Thought maybe you got lost on your way to class.

I wanted to help you find your way back.

Get on inside.

Clean up that pigsty of a room.

Hi. I'm Louanne Johnson. I'm the boys' teacher.

I know who you are.

You're that white bread bitch messing with my babies' minds.

I beg your pardon?

My boys don't go to your school no more, and that's going to be it.

You took them out of school?

You're damn right I did. I saw what they were bringing home.

Poetry and shit. A waste of time.

They got more important things to worry about.

Don't you think that finishing high school would be valuable to their future?

That's not in their future.

I ain't raising no doctors and lawyers here.

They got bills to pay.

Why don't you just get on out of here?

Go find yourself some other poor boys to save.


RAUL: "It is easier to forgive an enemy

"than to forgive a friend.

"The man who permits you to injure him

"deserves your vengeance.

"He also will receive it."

Wow! Who wrote that? Some mafia guy?

(ALL LAUGH)

Let's go on with this poem tomorrow.

Why don't you take out your worksheets and do the vocabulary?

BOY 1: Say what? (ALL GRUMBLING)

BOY 2: Man, I don't want to do no vocabulary.

BOY 3: I don't want to do no damn vocabulary.

Then don't.

What do you mean?

You mean I have a choice?

You're not going to let me get away with not learning my vocabulary.

Right?

That's right. You have to do your vocabulary.

Words are thoughts, and we can't think without them.

So, please?

So let's just do it, man. She's going to be down our back in a minute.

(INDISTINCT CHATTERING)

BOY: Thanks, Louanne.

Who? A teacher?

Think I'm going to fucking talk to a teacher?

Like they're going to really help. Huh?

Teachers aren't going to help, man.

Ms. Johnson!

Ms. Johnson! We got to talk to you.

EMILIO: There's nothing to talk about, Angela.

ANGELA: What, are you Superman?

Is your ass bulletproof?

Is that what you think? Tell her!

Tell her what you're going to do.

What is it? He's strapped.

Shut the fuck up! She don't need to know my business.

Is your business dying? No!

There's this crackhead named Shorty.

He just came out of jail. He says that I'm his girl and that Emilio took me from him, and now he wants to kill Emilio.

Emilio, if this boy is threatening you, we can go to the police.

This is nothing you can do anything about.

This guy's looking for me to kill me, and the only way for me to stop him is for me to kill him first.

It's just the way it is, all right?

Emilio, wait, wait! Can we talk about this?

Come to my house. Yeah, right.

Oh, what, you're too proud to hide?

It's better to wander the streets all night?

Come on.

Please? Please just go.

Go.

Go.

Can we drop you? Just go.

LOUANNE: Is this boy your age?

Yeah.

Does he go to Parkmont?

I won't tell you who it is.

No, don't.

But if you tell Mr. Grandey about him...

Not about his threatening you, but about his being on crack...

He'll be turned over to the juvenile court for drug abuse in school.

He won't serve hard time.

But by the time he gets out and he's detoxed, he will have gotten over trying to kill you.

No. I can't rat on him.

Right. Kill him. That's better.

Man, you don't understand.

You asked me once how I was going to save you from your life.

This is how. This moment.

Right now.

This will make the difference in your life forever.


(SNIFFLES)

Emilio?

Emilio?

Mr. Grandey.

Is there a problem, Ms. Johnson?

Shouldn't you be in class?

Yes, I'm late. I just wanted to ask, did Emilio Ramirez come to your office this morning?

Yes.

Oh, God. Thank God. Did you talk to him?

No, I sent him away.

You... What do you mean?

I mean I sent him away.

Why?

Because he didn't knock.

Because he didn't knock?

Yes, Ms. Johnson.

I'm trying to teach these children how to live in the world.

And in the world, you just don't burst into someone's office.

Because he didn't knock?

Damn it!

(DOOR SLAMS SHUT)

(BOY COUGHS)


Louanne... (SIGHS)

(CLEARS THROAT) Mr. Grandey is with the police.

Yes. Um...

They've just found Emilio Ramirez three blocks from the school.

He was shot this morning.

Is he dead?

He's dead.

I'm very sorry.

(EXHALES SHAKILY)

Are you going to tell them now?

Do you think that's wise?

Yeah.

Well, perhaps, if you'd talk to them a little bit about death...

(STAMMERS) And what it means.

(SNIFFLES)

What would you like me to say?

That if you don't want to die, remember to knock?

That's not fair.

What is?

(DOOR CLOSES)

Bad news.

(VOICE BREAKING) Emilio was shot this morning.

(SOBBING)

BOY: Is he dead?

Yes, baby, he's dead.

(SOBBING) No, no.


(INDISTINCT CHATTERING)

GIRL: Yo, listen up. Ms. Johnson got something to say.

Shh!

LOUANNE: Thank you.

I just want to say...

(STAMMERS) I won't...

I will not be here next year.

I'm not coming back.

RAUL: How come? Is it something we did?

Oh, no, no, no.

Um...

I never intended to stay. This was an unexpected job.

So if you knew you wasn't going to stay, how come you made me promise what I promised?

I...

At that time, I thought I would stay.

So how come you're leaving?

I just have my reasons.

Certain reasons.

Is it because it's too sad for you, what happened to Emilio?

(SIGHS)

Maybe.

And Durrell and Lionel and Callie, and I just... I just think that...

So if you love us so much and you so interested in our graduating, how come you choose to leave? Yeah.

You sad about Durrell and Callie and Emilio and Lioney, but we're here.

What about us, huh? None of us make you feel happy?

We been working hard, and we stayed in school, man. What about us?

(MURMURED AGREEMENT)

(SIGHS)

(INDISTINCT CHATTERING)

RAUL: Why are you packing up today when tomorrow's your last day?

LOUANNE: I'm just getting a head start.

Oh, I see.

What you did when you give me the $200...

That was the nicest thing anybody ever did for me.

I don't know anybody else who would give $200 to a Mexican kid on his word of honor.

So you've got to let me pay you back.

Even if I don't graduate, all right?

Why wouldn't you graduate?

(SCOFFS)

Ain't no other teacher going to give me no A.

Yes, they will, if you worked for them the way you worked for me.

No, but it was different with you. You gave me an A to start with.

I didn't have to earn it. I just had to keep it.

Are you kidding?

Keeping an A is harder than getting an A.

Almost anyone can get an A once.

But keeping it... That's an accomplishment.

Think so? Oh, I know so.

Do you realize the work you did this term...

Do you realize that the poetry that we read is given to people in college?

In college.

These same poems?

Yes!

But they weren't even so hard.

No. You see?

You keep working.

You'll graduate.

I might even see you in college.

What do you think?

(CHUCKLES)

I feel so bad about leaving, I can hardly breathe.

I know. But, what the hell. You're right.

You gotta be crazy to stay here and teach these programmed classes.

There's no money. Killer work.

Why do you stay?

Why do I smoke? I'm crazy.

You need any more help?

No. Thanks. I'll see you tomorrow.

Yeah. Bye.

♪ This is the life

♪ Everyone has to be somewhere

♪ Oh, I'm here

♪ This is the life

♪ This is the life

♪ 'Cause this is my life

♪ This is my life ♪ Hi.

(DOOR CLOSES) Well.

Welcome back.

It's the 29th day. The last day I have to come back.

So, am I still okay for next term?

Yeah.

Did...

Did you come back because it was your last day, or did somebody ask you to come today to talk me into staying?

Well, it was both, really.

See, 'cause I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do...

Till I heard that you were leaving and...

'Cause up until then, I don't know, I thought that you'd always be here for me.

You know?

You know, whenever I came back.

But then Raul tells me that you're leaving.

Just like that.

(SCOFFS)

And I realized that this is my last chance.

And I decided...

We decided...

That we're not going to just let you leave like that.

RAUL: Yeah, we realized like the poem said, you can't give in.

You can't go gentle.

You got to rage against the dying of the light.

Yeah, you got to go for yours. You know that, right?

(INDISTINCT CHATTERING)

Wait a minute, wait a minute...

No, no, wait, wait. I'm not giving in.

Um... This is my choice.

I have no reason "To rage against the dying of the light."

'Cause you're not the one who's raging. We're the ones who are raging.

See, 'cause we see you as being our light.

What?

You're our tambourine man.

(ALL LAUGH) Oh, I'm your drug dealer?

(EXCITED CHATTERING)

You our teacher. You got what we need. It's the same thing.

RAUL: Come on, Ms. J, all the poems you taught us say you can't give in.

You can't give up.

Well, we ain't giving you up.

No way.

Now, listen, baby, we going to have to tie you down to the chair and gag you, 'cause you know we want you to stay.

(ALL LAUGHING)

Tina, what you need to stay, girl...

You want a candy bar?

Ahhh! (ALL LAUGH)

Okay, on the left and on the right, Louanne, Louanne, here we go. Louanne! Louanne!

ALL: Louanne! Louanne!

Louanne! Louanne!

Louanne! Louanne!

Louanne! Louanne!

Louanne! Louanne!

(LAUGHS)

(EXCITED CHATTERING)

I don't want to! (INDISTINCT CONVERSATIONS)

This is how you do it!

(SHOUTING EXCITEDLY)

ALL: (CHANTING) Go, Louanne! Go, Louanne!

Let me see.

(LAUGHS)

(INDISTINCT CONVERSATIONS)

You want to sign my book?

Yeah, I'll sign your book.


How'd they get you to come back?

They gave me candy and called me the light.

(CHUCKLING) That'll do it.


♪ I won't be wrong

♪ Do you right

♪ You can roll with me for the rest of the night

♪ No need to fuss 'cause I don't wanna choke

♪ Baby sit back here and let the chronic smoke

♪ So hang around and give it up

♪ 'Cause all the real G's know what I'm thinking of

♪ 'Cause you gotta be down so give it up

♪ There's a party over here so baby show me love

♪ 'Cause I got the gin and juice

♪ Yeah, you know that

♪ I got the gin and juice

♪ Yeah

♪ 'Cause I got the gin and juice

♪ Yeah, I got I got the gin and juice

♪ 'Cause I got the gin and juice

♪ Gin and juice ♪

♪ As I walk through

♪ The valley of the shadow of death

♪ I take a look at my life

♪ And realize there's none left

♪ 'Cause I been blasting and laughing so long

♪ That even my mama thinks that my mind is gone

♪ I really hate to trip, but I gotta lope

♪ As they croak, I see myself in the pistol smoke, fool

♪ I'm the kind of G

♪ The little homies wanna be like

♪ On my knees in the night

♪ Saying prayers in the street light

♪ They been spending most their lives

♪ Living in the gangsta's paradise

♪ They been spending most their lives

♪ Living in the gangsta's paradise

♪ We keep spending most our lives

♪ Living in the gangsta's paradise ♪

♪ You spend so many nights in heat and out of control

♪ Waiting impatiently to see what's under my clothes

♪ I just want to take time to get right into the point

♪ Now you got your skirt

♪ To come and rock this funky joint

♪ Oh, take this suit off

♪ Baby, I'll be waiting there

♪ Oh, yeah, baby, baby

♪ Here's a gift to you from me

♪ Just you wait and see

♪ It's the curiosity

♪ It's the curiosity ♪ Curiosity

♪ Do you wanna feel my body?

♪ All night long, yeah

♪ It's the curiosity

♪ Oh, yeah

♪ Oh, yeah

♪ It's the curiosity

♪ It's the curiosity ♪