Soul Man (1986) Script

♪ The gypsy woman told my mother ♪

♪ before I was born ♪

♪ you got a boychild's comin' ♪

♪ gonna be a son of a gun ♪

♪ he gonna make pretty womens ♪

♪ jump and shout ♪

♪ then the world want to know ♪

♪ what this all about ♪

♪ but you know I'm him ♪

♪ everybody knows I'm him ♪

♪ well, I'm the hoochie koochie man ♪

♪ everybody knows I'm him ♪

♪ I got a black cat bone ♪

♪ I got a mojo too ♪

♪ I got the Johnny conqueroo ♪

♪ well, that hoochie koochie man ♪

♪ don't you know I'm him ♪

♪ everybody know♪

Hi. Hi.

The mail came. They're here.

Both of 'em. Holy shit!

You open yours first. No, you.

I'll open yours. You open mine. Okay.

No, no. I'll open mine, you open yours. Okay.

You open yours first. We'll open 'em together.

Okay. All right. On three.

One, two wait a minute!

Gordon, before we do this, I just want to say...

You're my best buddy, and I love you.

And if you get accepted and I don't, I hope you rot in hell.

I feel the same way. Thanks.

You son of a bitch!

You got in, didn't you?

Well, so did I.

Yeah! Yea! Ooh!

Harvard law school!

Harvard fucking law school!

Go, go, go! Yeah!

Well, congratulations.

Thanks. Mark?

Don't you think an introduction might be in order? Absolutely.

Hi, I'm mark Watson. Oh!

Hello! Come on in! Alf, how you doin'?

Come on, Brad. It'll be fun.

And it's never too soon to start networking.

Howdy. Welcome.

Come on in. Hey, guys. Hi!

Hi. You guys.

Bradley and I just think it is absolutely unbelievable...

That you are both going to Harvard law!

Don't we, Bradley? Uh, yeah. Unbelievable.

Thanks, Brad. Where are you goin'?

Uh, looks like B.U. Oh!

Well, I tell you what. When you get out, have your girl call our girl...

And we'll see what we can do for ya.

Oh, you guys!

So, the way I figure it, we merge a few corporations, and when the antitrust suits come up, we handle the defense.

We make our first mil at 30.

Retire to the islands at 35.

I don't know.

Ii kinda wanted to run for senate.

Senate it is, then. Great party.

Hey, Seth. What's goin' on?

You finished your Ph.D. yet? Yeah, totally.

I'm doing biochem research for a suntan lotion company.

It's great!

You guys mind if I crash here for a few days?

No problem.


Suntan lotion. I never thought Seth...

Would wind up doing something that socially meaningful.

Hey. People change, Gordo.

Harvard law school. This is a big day for all of us, mark.

Yes, sir. You know, son?

The only thing I've ever wanted is to give you everything.

Good home, good education, nice car and I've worked very hard for all those things.

Very hard. You have, dad.

Very hard. Yes.

Some might say it was time I did something for myself for a change.

Your father's therapist says he needs to learn to express the child in him.

Oh, shut up, Dorothy. Son, you've had...

A pretty happy childhood, wouldn't you say?

It was great, dad. Yes, it was great, wasn't it?

And who gave you that great childhood, son?

You did. That's right.

I did. And now, I have one more thing that I want to give you.

It's the biggest and the best thing that a father could give to his son.

Do you know what that thing is, mark?

A Ferrari?

Oh, boy.

That thing is manhood.

Son, I want to give you your manhood.

What, uh what would that mean in practical terms?

Well, it means that I want you to go to Harvard.

And I want you to work hard. Very, very hard.

I also want you to feel good about yourself.

You want to feel good about yourself, don't you, son?

Sure, dad.

That's why I've decided to let you pay your own way.

Dad! That's that's... a sweet gesture, but it's really not necessary.

Oh, I think it is. What are you saying, dad?

Well, I'm saying that I've taken your money from your tuition account, and used it to buy timeshare in a condo in Barbados!

Vaya con dios, son.

Ten thousand, four hundred and ninety-three dollars.

Seven thousand, five hundred dollars.

Fifty-three thousand, nine hundred and seventy-nine dollars.

Okay, but don't you think you're overreacting?


Any last requests?

No? Good.

Right, here we go. "$5,000 to a young man...

"Of Ukrainian descent; to a young woman of demonstrated leadership ability" okay! Right. Here it is:

"Half of all costs to the most qualified applicant holding a Ph.D....

In classical or medieval jurisprudence."

This is ridiculous. There's nothing here I even remotely qualify for.

Whoa, whoa! Wait a second. Look at this.

"The Henry Q. Bouchard memorial fellowship.

"Full tuition plus $8,000 annual stipend...

To the most qualified applicant from Los Angeles, California."

Let me see that.

"The most qualified black applicant," you idiot.


Well, I realize my father makes a lot of money, but...

You see, he's not giving me any.

I see.

You have a nice day too, ma'am.

What did she say?

She said they had financial aid for people whose parents are poor.

Not people whose parents are assholes.

All right. Have you ever applied for a loan before?

No. How's your credit history?

I just told you I never applied for a loan before.

How could I have a credit history?

One unpaid July 1983 bill in the amount of 57.43...

From the department of water and power.

Oh! I can explain that.

One outstanding debt to pacific bell in the amount of 72.12.

Oh, but, but you see, that was their fault.

Sixteen bounced checks from this bank. Oh, but you see, that shouldn't affect my credit rating, because...

Those were just bookkeeping slip-ups.

What a relief. Well, I mean, it's not like I'm poor or something.

In all those cases, I had the money. It's not like I couldn't make the payments.

Mr. Watson, I'm gonna level with you. This bank is finicky, in that, when we make a loan, it is important...

Not only that the customer have the money to make the payments, but also that he or she give the money to us.

I just feel so frustrated!

I mean, Harvard law school.

It's the opportunity of a lifetime!

It's what I spent four years working for, and now, just just to see it all slip away like this so, if I'm hearing you correctly, what you're saying is...

That you believe your father misinterpreted my advice to him, to mean that he had no further obligation to anyone but himself.

Exactly! And if I could just explain myself to him...

More clearly, then he would...

Realize his mistake, and probably offer to pay your tuition.


Wouldn't it be great if we could have this all straightened out by father's day?

Yes! Yes.

Yes. First of all, let me try to explain myself to you.

You see, I have a son about your age.

And he has wants and needs...

Much like your own.

When he was 14, he wanted a dirt bike.

When he was 16, he wanted a car.

When he was 18, he wanted college, and now he wants a three-bedroom beach front Coop in rancho palos verdes!

He just wants, and wants, and wants!

I work my ass off to give him everything he wants.

He always wants more! He probably wants to sleep with my wife!

Uh, doctor, I don't think shut up!

Shut up! You're all alike.

You'll bleed us dry until we're nothing but bones, and when we finally crumble to dust, you'll dance on our ashes!

Go windsurfing!

Yes, Phyllis? Dr. Aronson, your group is here.

Go back to your father, mark.

Talk to him. Reason with him.


I'm sorry, Gordo, but I can't go crawling back there, like some pathetic wretch, and kiss that man's feet! Why not?

Because I did that yesterday.

Well, look, mark, there's a lot of good law schools around.

Five words, Gordo. For you, I have five words.

There is no substitute.


Mark! Gordon! Bradley.

How incredibly swell to see you.

Oh, mark, I can't tell you how sorry I was to hear...

You couldn't get the money to go to Harvard.

Uh, whiskey sour, please? What a shame.

But look, I think I can pull some strings and get you into B.U. At midterm.

Why don't you give me a call? I got the money, Brad.

Oh? How?

Where there's a will, there's a way.

Yeah? And what's your way?

It's a secret way.

A secret way?

Well, that's great, Marko.

But just in case your "secret way" falls through, feel free to look me up, huh?

Thanks for the cocktail, Gordon.

You don't believe me, do you?

You don't believe me? Well, the joke's on you, sucker, because I'm going to Harvard, and don't call me a liar!

That asshole thinks I'm lying! Mark, you are lying.

I don't believe you said that. For Christ's sake, be realistic. Look.

Your father's in Barbados. Your grandfather's in forest lawn.

And your credit rating's in the toilet.

Now, where the hell are you going to get $53,000?

Congratulations, Mr. Watson. And good luck at Harvard.

Thank you, sir. I'll do my best.

Hey, Gordo!

Wait up!

I don't believe this. This is unbelievable!

I don't believe this is really unbelievable.

So I went over to see Seth at his lab the other day, and he gave me these pills.

Never take anything Seth gives you.

It's a new product this suntan lotion company's developing.

They're tanning pills. They chemically tan your skin.

Mark, I don't know how to tell you this, but you're not tan.

You're black. Yeah.

I exceeded the recommended dosage.

Gordo, these babies are my ticket into Harvard law school!

I'm going on the Henry Q. Bouchard memorial scholarship...

For the best black applicant from Los Angeles, California.

Mark, this is crazy! You can't do this.

I already did it! Yeah, but mark you can't just take a scholarship away from some black person.

Gordo, gordo, gordo. How many people do you think...

From Los Angeles got accepted into Harvard this year?

About four. And out of that four, how many do you think were black?

One. Uno.

And that guy got a better deal from Stanford.

So, if you hadn't come along, the money would have just sat there? Exactly!

But mark, do you realize what this means? I mean...

You're gonna have to be a black person. No shit.

Yeah, but for three years, mark.

Three years! What's that gonna be like? Gordo, it's gonna be great!

These are the '80s, man. It's the Cosby decade.

America loves black people.

♪ I'm a soul man oh, lord ♪

♪ I'm a soul man ♪

♪ got what I got ♪

♪ the hard way ♪

♪ but I make you better ♪

♪ each and every day ♪

♪ be sure, honey ♪

♪ hey, don't you fret ♪

♪ 'cause you ain't seen nothin' yet ♪

♪ I'm a soul man ♪ this is it, gordo.

Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard university excuse me, but we are now official members of the upper crust.

Yeow! ♪ I'm a soul man ♪

♪ look ♪ ♪ I was brought up ♪

♪ on a side street ♪

♪ I learned to love ♪

♪ before I could eat ♪ ♪ hey, I was educated ♪

♪ from good, good stock ♪

♪ when I start lovin' oh, I can't stop ♪

♪ 'cause I'm a soul man ♪

♪ baby, I'm a soul man ♪

♪ I'm a soul man ♪

♪ yea ♪ ♪ I'm a soul man ♪

♪ I'm a soul man ♪ ♪ soul man ♪

Supposed to get the key from a guy named Roy McGrady.

Well, this is it!

All right! Home, sweet home.

Hang on. Whoop.

Is, uh, something wrong, Mr. McGrady?

Yeah, there may be. When your mother rented this place, she never told me that your roommate was, a, uh what? Uh, you know, a black.

What? A black negro!


A black negro? Right.

Wait a minute. Where'd you get this information?

He never told me he was a black negro. I'm shocked.

Ii don't know what to thank you for telling me this, Mr. McGrady.

Just when you think you get to know somebody.

I'm gonna go confront him with this right now. Oh, boy!

Mark, a black negro? I can't believe it!

Smart ass little rubberneck.

Boy, this guy McGrady is a real dog brain.

Who cares? Look at this place.

This is a great apartment.

And I love the view.

I think she likes me.

Well, it's your building, Mr. Dunbar.

Yeah. Well, there's nothing legally we can do right now.

You just keep your eyes open for anything that breaks the lease.

Pets, damage, drugs, loud music

♪ it ain't in the skin it ain't in the head ♪

♪ it ain't in the rhythm of you, no ♪

♪ it's all in the soul ♫ hey, we oughta get an ocelot!

So, Gord man, tell me: What do you think?

I think I'm in paradise. I mean, look these women! They're brilliant, ambitious, cultured each one with the intellectual capacity to she's not wearing a slip, is she?

Ten black guys and one white guy.

What do you call the white guy? I don't know.

Quarterback. You get a thousand black guys and one white guy, what do you call the white guy? I give up.



Look, no offense. Really, just a joke. Hey, no problem.

Yeah. Funny guys. I like them.

What are you gonna do?

So, what's the plan? I say, we divide and conquer.

Well, let's see. Why don't you take the ones with undergarments, and I'll take the ones without.

We gotta use some system. Indeed.

So, um

excuse me.

Hi. I'm Sarah Walker.

Mark Watson. Can I get you anything?

Cheese, punch, a new car no, thank you. I just want to let you know...

That the first B.L.S.A. Meeting is this Thursday, in Hastings hall.

Will you be there? It's a date.

No, it's not.

I love the law!

I love being black.

I love this woman oh, god, is she beautiful!

You gotta believe me. I believe you.

Oh, and she is incredibly attracted to me.

Right. I want to believe you.

If you have a yellow card, ensure that it's signed...

In the upper left hand corner.

Classes now full are hey, gordo.

I think I just changed my mind. I'm taking criminal law.

But, I thought we decided not to take that until next semester.

That's before I found out the prof was a brother.

Mr. Van Dusen?

Here. Miss Walker here. Mr. Watson right on.

Mr. Wizansky present, sir.

Miss Zendel? Here.

You know, the minute I saw you, I knew we were both "W's."

God, I just love sitting in alphabetical order, don't you?

More than life itself. God!

Before I discuss the contents of this course, I would like to make a few things clear.

Some of you may have had easy lives up until now.

Some of you may not.

Life this semester is not going to be easy for any of you.

Your grades in the first year of law school...

Can determine your entire future in the law.

To do well in this course, you must be fully prepared for each class meeting, and all written work must be on time.

No excuses. I repeat, no excuses...

Will be accepted for failure to complete all tasks assigned...

In the time allotted.

That's what he tells his wife when they go to bed.

Do you have something to say, Mr. Watson?

Well, sir, to be honest, I just couldn't help murmuring my approval of your opening remarks.

Very impressive, sir.

Try to contain your enthusiasm...

In the future, Mr. Watson.

Please. Call me mark.

You know, if you ever need any help with your homework, or...

If you want to talk personal problems, anything, anything at all I'm there for ya. I'll keep it in mind.

What an ass! What an asshole.

Hey, gordo? What's this "B.L.S.A."? Yeah?

B.L.S.A.? Well, that's the, uh, black law student's association.

I think it's like, you know, a real militant group.

Somebody here call a cab?

You're really unbelievable. You said they were a militant group.

Now I've blown it with Sarah.

Mark, mark, check it out.

I told you she liked me.

The lengths some women will go to get to me.

Sometimes, even I can hardly believe it. Hey.

Maybe she likes me.

Hi, there. Hi. Remember me?

Remember you? Are you kidding?

I had your face embroidered on my pillow.

What's your name?

Whitney, what's yours? Hi! Gordon Bloomfeld.

Of the Marina Del Rey Bloomfelds.

Can we help you move anything in? Uh, thank you.

Thank you, that won't be necessary, uh

hmm. Come on, Whitney.

I want you to stay away from him.

Why, because he's black? No, because I say so.

Put it up! All right.

Is this where we sign up? Mm hmm. Names?

Mark Watson. Okey dokey, why don't we just take mark on our team...

And you can have, uh Gordon Bloomfeld.

No, why don't you guys take Gordon, and we'll take Marcus. Oh, well, you know, look, I...

Wrote it down this way, and I know the way you hate a messy team list.

So, uh, come on. Ernie, you guys get Leon.

We get Marcus. Uh, that's mark.

Look, guys, I'm really not that good or anything.

Well, there you go. He's not really that good.

So, why don't we take him, 'cause in all fairness, we may have the stronger team here.

Listen, scumbag guys, guys.

Look, I'm not that good. Have you played before?

Well, on the playground.

Gimme that. Don't even think about it.

Don't start waiting for this right here, right now.

Okay. Fillmore, you can take Matthews.

We got Washington here on the coin toss.

So he can take Leonthat's Watson.

Right. Sorry, Marcus. Okay! Let's go!

♪ Coming to you ♪

♪ on a delta road ♪

♪ good loving I've got a truckload ♪

♪ and when you get it ♪

♪ you got somethin' ♪

♪ don't worry ♪

♪ 'cause I'm coming ♪

♪ I'm a soul man ♪

♪ I'm a soul man ♪

♪ I'm a soul man ♪

♪ oh, lord ♪ ♪ I'm a soul man ♪

♪ got what I got ♪

♪ the hard way ♪

♪ but I'll make it better each and every day ♪

♪ be sure, honey ♪

♪ hey, don't you fret ♪

♪ 'cause you ain't seen ♪

♪ nothin' yet ♪

♪ I'm a soul man ♪

♪ oh, lord ♪ ♪ I'm a soul man ♪

♪ I'm a soul man ♪

♪ oh, lord ♪ ♪ I'm a soul man ♪

♪ look ♪ ♪ I was brought up ♪

♪ on a side street ♪

♪ I learned to love before I could eat ♪

♪ hey, I was educated ♪

♪ from good, good stock ♪

♪ when I start lovin' oh, I can't stop ♪

♪ 'cause I'm a soul man ♪

♪ baby, I'm a soul man ♪

♪ I'm a soul man ♪

♪ yeah, I'm a soul man ♪

♪ grab the rope and I'll pull you in ♪

♪ give you hope ♪

♪ and be your funky boyfriend ♪

♪ yeah, yeah ♪ ♪ yeah, yeah ♪

♪ I'm a soul man ♪

♪ I'm a soul man ♪ ♪ soul man ♫

Miss Zendel!

Can you cite for us the precedent for that decision?

Uh... yes, sir.

I mean, uh I mean, uh well, actually, what I mean is that no, sir, I can't.

God! Mr. Wizansky?

Yes, sir. I believe I can.

It was the 1972 case of Oklahoma vs. Powell.

Very authoritatively stated, Mr. Wizansky, and very wrong.

Mr. Watson?

Can you name the precedent for us? Yes, sir.

The "precedent," sir, is is Ronald Reagan, sir.

Mr. Watson.

I am not a humorless man.

But if you're going to take up my class time making jokes, please see to it that they are funny!

Miss Walker?

Uh, Rhode Island vs. Calletano.

What year, miss Walker?

1969, sir.

Anyone else here agree with miss Walker's citation?

That's unfortunate. It happens to be correct.

Hey, Sarah?

That was really good in there. I was impressed. Thanks.

Listen, I was just wondering if, you know, maybe you'd like to get together sometime.

And do what? Storm the administration building?

Maybe take a few hostages? Sure!

Or, we could just stay at home and phone in a few bomb threats if you'd rather.

Listen, about that, uh, B.L.S.A. Thing.

I'm really sorry, you know. I wasn't trying to make fun of it or anything, I was just trying to make an impression. You did.

You know, there's something really strange about you, and I don't know what it is.

You see? You see? I knew you'd like me once you got to know me.

Come on. Why don't you let me buy you dinner sometime? You gotta eat, right?

Mark, this is Harvard. I don't have to eat. I don't have to sleep.

I just have to study. Okay, so let's study together. I could drill you.

Quiz you. Come on. I'm serious about this.

I know you don't need the help, but I could really use it.

What do you say? My place, tonight. I can't tonight.

Friday. In the library.

You want to study on a Friday night?

Okay. Friday night.

8:00, second floor lounge. It's a date.

No. It's an appointment.

Okay, it's an appointment!

I met her at the laundromat. I'm not saying it's serious or anything, but, uh, we did share a dryer.

Gentle cycle. Low heat.

We just sat together and watched our clothes rolling around on top of one another.

I think it stirred something in both of us.

You know, I got a study date with Sarah Friday night?

I'm Thinkin' about growing some 'dreads.

She let me put my hand inside her blouse.

It wasn't the one she was wearing, of course, but it's a start.

Isn't it great? Oh, it sure is.

Maybe I should get my car reuphol, Gordon?

Woohoo! Woohoo! Gordon Bloomfeld? Is that you?

It can't be! It is. Keep walkin'.

Shit! Don't say anything.

She might recognize your voice. Gordy?

Gordon? Gordon Bloomfeld! Gordon!

Oh, it is so good to see you!

Why haven't you called us?

Hi, Lisa. Hi.

Brad. How's it going, Gordon?

Hi, I'm Lisa Stimson, and this is Brad small. Say hi, Brad.

We're old friends of Gordy's. Do you go to Harvard, too?

It's a great school, isn't it? Just the best?

Is he blind? What?

Is he blind? No, no. He's just dumb.

Completely dumb. And a little deaf.

You're going to have to speak up. Hey! This is Brad...

And Lisa!

I'd like you to meet my good friend, uh, Karim.

Karim Abdul... Ali.

Nice to meet you, Karim!

Is he a Muslim, or no, he's Canadian. Oh, no kidding.

Does Karim go to Harvard, too? Uh, no.

Uh, he works. That is, he's looking for work.

He was a Mountie up in Canada, don't you know? So it's been an uphill battle.

There's so little for mounties in Boston.

If you hear of anything oh, yeah, absolutely.

We'll keep our eyes open.

So, Gordy, how's mark?

You know, Brad may be going here next year. We just checked in up at admissions.

And they told us that he is at the top of the transfer wait list!

Oh, that's great, Brad.

Yeah, just one person drops out of your class, or gets kicked out, and I'm in.

You know, he looks familiar. He's a common physical type!

Uh, look, it was really great to see the two of you like this, but, uh oh. We gotta go.

Come on, Karim. You don't want to be late!

He's got a, uh, meeting with the park police at 2:00.

He's interviewing with some of their top... horses.

Well, bye bye. Let's get together, real soon!

I think you handled that very well. Thank you.

Come on in. Hi.

Do you think you could help me change the washer on my shower?

I can't find Mr. McGrady anywhere.

So you go to Radcliffe?

Very impressive.

What's your major?

Political science. Honors.

Of course. But what does that really mean anyway?

It's all such a game.

I'm writing my senior thesis on the American civil rights movement.


No, it's this is just such an incredible coincidence.

I happen to love civil rights.

God. Really?

That was incredible, mark.

I mean, it was like...

I could really feel...

Four hundred years of oppression...

And anger in every pelvic thrust!


I hope you don't mind if I use bits of this interlude in a short story I'm working on.

Well wait. It's called "shades of gray."

Because, you know, I really don't feel like there's any black and white.

Only shades of gray.

Well, like the stereotypes about black men.

Some of them are true. Like the breast thing.

And, well, you really are very...

Dynamic, sexually.

But then, of course, some of the stereotypes are completely untrue.

Yeah? Like what? Like the one about penis size.

I'm having dinner with my parents tonight.

Why don't you come with me? I'd love for them to meet you. Uh, tonight, I don't wait!

Before you say no...

Let me tell you what's for dessert.

Thank you.

Raspberry tart, mark? Oh, no thank you.

I really couldn't eat another bite.

All my life,

white women!

And now, at last, I'm going to have one!

Bundy Dunbar, how many times have I asked you...

Not to watch that thing at the dinner table?

Daddy, did I tell you mark's going to Harvard law school? On scholarship?

Yes. Yeah. You did.

Go get my heroin and my hypodermic needle, bitch!

Get me some more watermelon while you're at it.

Yes, dear. White, fat-ass slut.

What yo' lookin' at?

Hi. Oh, Sarah called a couple hours ago.

Sounded sorta pissed. Oh, shit!

You will see on your syllabus...

That your first major written assignment is due...

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

I would suggest that you begin work on it...

As soon as possible.

Those of you whose performance so far...

Has been less than... outstanding...

Might try to do a particularly good job.

Sarah, I'm really sorry.

Something came up.

Can we study tonight?

No. I think you just better drill yourself.

Mark, I understand what you're feeling.

But honestly I think we just need to talk this thing through.

I mean, we don't have any problems sexually, right?

Excuse me, miss, but do you have any of that jello salad with the little marshmallows in it?

Uh, I'm so sorry. We're out of that right now.

How many black electricians does it take to screw in a light bulb?

I give up. Two! One to hold the light bulb, and the other one to drive the pink Cadillac in tight circles.

Hey, guy! Sorry. Really.

No offense, right? Just a little joke?

Don't worry about it.

Jesus Christ!

What the hell did I do? You changed lanes without signaling.

So let's see your license and registration.

If you haven't lost it. I haven't lost it.

All right, so I lost it! There's no law against that.

Look, I really don't have time for this.

I have a very important assignment due tomorrow, and okay. Okay, so I misplaced my license. What the hell are you gonna do, arrest me?

Hi, there.

Good game?

We lost gee, that's too bad.

To a bunch of niggers.

But this, of course, raises the question...

Of criminal intent.

I see he decided to come in native costume today.

If you've had some sort of accident...

Mr. Watson, perhaps you should have taken the entire day off.

Oh, I'm fine.

I just got in sort of a fight.

I mean I mean, it wasn't my fault!

You see, they threw me in this cell with these real ass some extremely unsportsmanlike fellows.

I dislike interruptions in my class, Mr. Watson.

Try to remember that if you can.

Yes, sir.

Please leave your assignments with me before you go.


I don't believe I have your paper.

Look, professor, with all due respect, sir, I just spent 18 hours in a jail cell...

On no formal charges, getting pulverized by drunken bigots.

And you expect memr. Watson, I said there would be no excuses for late work, and I meant no excuses.

A judge and jury won't give a damn if you've had a bad day before a trial.

I would think you...

Could understand.

You'll get no special treatment from me, Mr. Watson.

Do you hear me? No special treatment.

And if that means you've got to work twice as hard...

As these little white shits, then you damn well better work twice as hard.

I understand you are allowed one phone call from jail?

Yes, sir.

Next time you get arrested, use it to call me.

I'll bring you your books.

You can study in jail, if you have to.

You understand me?

Yes, sir. You have that paper on my desk by 9:00 tomorrow morning.

Yes, sir.

Oh, Mr. Watson?

Have a nice Thanksgiving.

♪ Cold, empty bed ♪

♪ Springs hard as lead ♪

♪ feel like old Ned ♪

♪ wished I was dead ♪

♪ what did I do ♪

♪ to be so black and blue ♪

♪ mm ♪

♪ even the mouse ran from my house ♪

♪ they'll laugh at you ♪

♪ and scorn you too ♪

♪ what did I do ♪

♪ to be so black and blue ♪

♪ mm, I'm white ♪

♪ inside ♪

♪ but that don't help my case ♪

♪ 'cause I ♪

♪ can't hide ♪

♪ what is in my face ♪

♪ how will it end ♪

♪ ain't got a friend ♪

♪ my only sin ♪

♪ is in my skin ♪

♪ what did I do ♪

♪ to be so black and blue ♪

♪ how will it end ♪

♪ ain't got a friend ♪

♪ my only sin ♪

♪ is in my skin ♪

♪ what did I do ♪

♪ to be so black ♪

♪ and blue ♪

♪ yeah ♫

So, you go to Harvard?

Nah, I go to Eleanor Roosevelt.

Eleanor Roosevelt? Good school.

My name's mark Watson. What's yours?

George Walker.

Sarah! Hi.

I didn't know you had a I mean yeah.

Come on, George. It's getting crowded. You've gotta go sit in the back.

Okay. Why did the negro wear a tux on his way to his vasectomy? Why?

"Because if I'm gonna be 'impotent, '

I might as well look 'impo'tant.'"

hey, no offense. Right, pal?

There are a number of cases exemplary of this phenomenon.

Miss Walker.

Could you cite one for us?

Uh uh uh, sir, I believe that was the 1979...

Case of new York Mr.. Watson.

If this were a court of law, you would be cited for contempt.

Uh, well I would never do that in court, sir.

Not that I don't have the same respect for you you may shut up now, Mr. Watson. Thank you, sir.

Miss Walker, perhaps you could complete the case citation...

That your irrepressible colleague...

So ably began.


no, sir. I can't.

Don't apologize to me. Just remember, the final is less than two weeks away, and you're going to need an "a"...

If you hope to bring your grade for the semester up to an acceptable level.

Yes, sir.

Sarah, wait a second.


Sarah, wait a second. Oh, just leave me alone.

Sorry. Listen, I just wanted to don't you think I've had enough humiliation for one day?

No! I mean ii mean I don't think you should feel humiliated.

Don't patronize me.

I'm not! Sarah Sarah, listen to me. You're the smartest person in that class.

You just have too much to do. You're working twice as hard as everybody else.

It looks like I'm not working hard enough.

Well, Jesus, you just don't have enough time! Exactly!

And the last thing I have time for is you.

Look. I don't want to be a pain in the ass here, but I just want to say that the offer still stands.

To study together.

You know, we both need this final to pull our grades up. And we still have ten days.

I'll be in the library at 7:00, if you're interested.

All right. New York versus Rottenburg, 1979.

What was the relevant passage of the judge's decision? Don't smile at me.

♪ I'm not afraid of letting go ♪ here you go.

♪ I've got to find what's right for me ♪

♪ what's right for me ♪

♪ I'm not afraid to stand alone ♪

♪ if that's the way it has to be ♪

♪ after all that I've been through ♪

♪ there's magic when I'm here with you ♪

♪ I feel so free ♪

♪ it's like a fantasy ♪

♪ having you next to me ♪

♪ suddenly it's magic ♪

♪ one look, one touch ♪

♪ words just don't say enough ♪

♪ when you fall in love ♪

♪ suddenly suddenly it's magic ♪

♪ we can dream our dreams forever ♪

♪ when I'm here with you baby ♪

♪ heaven's a heartbeat away ♪

♪ now that we're together ♪

♪ love could last forever ♪

♪ there's a magic in my life ♪

♪ with you, you ♪

♪ one look, one touch ♪

♪ words just don't say enough ♪

♪ when you fall in love ♪

♪ suddenly it's magic ♪

♪ suddenly it's magic ♪ I've gotta go.

George is running a fever and I want to see him before he goes to bed.

Let me drive you. No, it's okay. I can take a bus.

Sarah, don't be a martyr.

I'm not a martyr. I've just seen the way you drive.

♪ One look, one touch ♪

♪ words just don't say enough ♪

♪ when you fall in love ♪

♪ suddenly, suddenly ♪

♪ I feel so free ♪

♪ it's like a fantasy ♫ Grandma and grandpa Walker, this is my friend, mark Watson. Glad to know you, mark.

Sarah, here's a letter from your mom and your dad.

Come in this morning. Oh, grandpa, thank you.

Uh, I'll open it later.

Mark, you know that son of ours is just so proud of this girl here.

He writes to her every week just to let her know how smart she is.

I think it's just about gone to her head.

I'll bet mark's people are pretty proud of him too.

I bet they are. I bet they are too.

Me Quambo will destroy you.

My circuits are damaged.

What do you mean you wanna watch Johnny Carson?

Sandra Macclosky gets to.

Well, George Walker goes to bed at 8:30 and that's that.

Okay? Okay.

So are you warm enough? Yeah, I'm warm enough.

All right, precious.

Good night.

Joan rivers is hosting.

Joan rivers? What do you mean Joan rivers is hosting?

How do you know about Joan rivers? Where do you get these things?

Oh, Georgie. All right.

Okay. Good night.

Good night.

So George and I are at the checkout counter, and the girl goes, "if you have food stamps, I need to see them first."

And I look at her and I say, "oh. And what if I have an American express gold card?"

You have an American express gold card?

Yes, in the glove compartment of my Lamborghini.

So how long were you married?

Two years.

I don't know. I guess we got married too young.

But how can I regret it? I wouldn't have George.

He's a great kid.

He really keeps me going.

I would never have had the courage to apply to law school if it weren't for him.

I want to give him everything. You'll spoil him rotten.

Given half a chance.

So what about you?

Any great romances in your past?

Not really.

I guess I just haven't gotten serious about any of the girls I've had appointments with.


What about the girl by the jello salad? She sounded pretty serious to me.

Whitney? Oh, god.

No way. That's history.

Oh, look.

It's snowing.

It's so beautiful.

It's snowing.

Hey. Are you okay?


You'd think you'd never seen it snow before.

I haven't. I've seen it on mountaintops, but I'm from San Diego. Really? I'm from L.A.

You are? Yeah.

Then you're the one. Which one?

The one who stole my scholarship, the bouchard scholarship.

I was next in line for that.

But they told me there were no other applicants. From Los Angeles.

But if no one in L.A. qualified, they open it statewide.

I checked two days before the deadline and nobody had applied so I thought I had it.

And then you pop up and steal it right from under me.

I didn't know.

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you feel bad.

I'm glad it was you.

Look at you. You're turning white.

Come on, mark. Give yourself a break. You didn't know.

It doesn't matter. I still had no right to take that scholarship.

It's wrong.

It's immoral. Well, of course it is.

"Of course it is"?

Well, then why the hell didn't you stop me?

Golden rule. Certainly wouldn't want you interfering every time I did something immoral.

Hey, where you going? What? To turn myself in.

Mark, wait a minute. What are you talking about?

Wait a minute. Mark. Mark, what are you doing?

Mark, don't do this. Mark, come on. Listen to me.

Are you crazy?

Went off without his earmuffs again.

Ah, how fortuitous, Mr. Watson.

Do you have a moment? There is something I need to discuss with you.

Don't worry, Bradley. It's a long semester. Somebody will probably flunk out...

Or die or something.

Hey, look at this. What?

Mr. Watson, all ethical or disciplinary problems within the law school...

Are handled by a body known as the student faculty judiciary committee cheating, plagiarism, any sort of dishonest or inappropriate behavior.

Perhaps you were aware that I serve as chairman on that committee.

Uh, no, sir.

The judiciary committee is called upon to make some difficult decisions.

It can be an unpleasant responsibility.

Periodically, we're called upon to recommend punitive actions against a student.

Punitive actions, sir?

Suspension. In some cases, expulsion.

In fact, last year our judgment on a case actually led one student...

To file civil suit against a fellow student, a suit which proved financially devastating to the guilty party.


Yes. I see.

And in another instance, our findings obliged us...

To file criminal charges against a student.

He was convicted of felony fraud and sentenced to five years in the state penitentiary.

His reputation and future were of course utterly destroyed.

Of course, utterly.

Mr. Watson, an unfortunate situation has come to my attention, one that is of particular concern to the black students here at the law school.

Look, professor, I know what you're getting at.

I swear to god I was gonna come talk to you about this myself.


You will have my recommendation.

Your recommendation?

You need a faculty recommendation to apply for a seat on the committee.


We'd like to maintain the current level of black representation on the committee.

Naturally we were concerned when we learned that...

Our only black student member was taking a leave of absence.


I've been extremely impressed by the way your work has improved over the semester.

I think you will do a good job.

Thank you, sir.

There's something else you wish to discuss with me, Mr. Watson?

Uh, no, sir.

No, sir, that would be it.

Thank you.

Hi, Karim, how are

sorry, I guess you can't say "hi" to Gordon for us.

You know sign language. What did he say?

Well, I could be getting a little rusty, but I swear he said, "your nose is happy like the moon."

What happened? Did you tell banks?

No, I didn't. I chickened out.

You know, gordo, I could probably go to jail for this.

Of course you could go to jail for this.

What do you mean, "of course I could go" never mind.

Gordon, tell me what to do.

Go to your room. What?

Just go over there, open the door and look in your room.

Jesus Christ. What did you let her in here for?

Sarah's coming over here to study. She'll be here any minute.

Golden rule again. I certainly wouldn't want you interfering...

If there were a beautiful, half-naked girl curled up on my bed.

Oh, god. Oh, god.

Okay. What? Mark.

Promise me you wouldn't interfere if there were a half-naked girl curled up on my bed.

Hi. Hi, mark.

Whitney, what are you doing here?

Finding out if there's any hope for the world.

What? Seriously, mark. If two young, intelligent, sexually compatible people can't work out their differences, what hope is there for lasting world peace?

Who gives a shit. Whitney, you gotta get out of here. Mark, mark.

Please, please. At least give me a chance.

Believe me, I understand what your people have been through.

You have no idea what my people have been through.

What am I saying?

Okay, look. Stay here.

Don't go out of this room. Okay.

Don't open that! Why not?

It's Sarah. Wait a minute.

Let me think. What can I tell her?

Don't tell her anything. But I already told her.

What, that you're white? No, that I'm not seeing Whitney.

Does Whitney know you're white? No, I gotta get rid of her.

How are you gonna get rid of her? I'll tell her I'm white.

Don't tell her you're white! You're right.

I can't tell her I'm white. What am I gonna tell her?

Wait a minute. You need to think. Let me think.

Mark, why don't you let us in? It's your parents.

Oh, god. Mark?

Okay, okay, okay.

Okay. They can't see me like this. Stall them.


So, Mr. and Mrs. Watson, how do you find Boston?

A lot of people compare it to a European city, but that's so stupid.

I mean, all the signs are in English.

Would you please get dressed? Please get dressed.

Mark. Mark.

I've always said, and you can check my record on this, that if everyone learned to speak English, there would be a lot fewer wars and a lot more spelling bees.

Shut up, Gordon. Where the hell is mark? Yes, sir. You bet.

Well, I tell you, sir. I know a few marks. Can you give me a little more to go on?

Mom, dad, tell me, what brings you to this wintry part of the country?

We decided to stop over on our way back from Barbados.

Mark, what are you doing with that thing on your head?

This? Uh yes.

Germs. Filthy bacteria.

My mucous membranes are infested with them.

Scientists now believe that a simple ski mask can stop the senseless spread of disease.

Harvard scientists. I wanna see my baby's face.

No, mom. You say that, but believe me, you don't mean it.

We would like to talk to you, mark, openly, honestly, privately.

Your father's therapist thinks that he may have...

Moved out of his integrity life phase and into generativity.

Shut up, Dorothy. Mark, could we go somewhere why don't the three of us go out for a little drink?

On second thought, why don't we go in the kitchen?

Hi, Sarah. Hi hi, Sarah. Hi. Hi. Hi.

How are you? Mark's uh fine. Where's mark?

Uh, uh, what's the phrase I'm looking for? Not here. That's it. Mark's not here.

Hi, Sarah. You ready to go to the library?

The library? I thought we were gonna study here.

Uh, I changed my mind.

Studying here makes me so... sleepy.

Well, I gave grandma the number here and she's gonna call me if George's fever goes up.

How about if I make a pot of coffee? No!

I mean, hey, sit down, relax.

Let me do the work.

We're defrosting.

Mark, what I'm trying to say is what your father means to say is, dear, even though he seems like a real shithead sometimes, he loves you very much. Oh, shut up, Dorothy. Mark mark? Mark? Who was that?

Uh, neighbors.

Very thin walls.

Somebody yelled "mark." Excuse me.

Mark, I was just wondering

♪ east coast girls are hip ♪ Is that coming from your room? That? That.

Oh, that.

That's my stereo.

Automatic alarm timer. You see, I was taking a nap...

And I especially picked this music so I'd be forced to get out of bed and turn it off.

Pretty smart, huh?

This is shit. These guys really suck.

Then I'll just go turn it off. No!

What? It's too messy in there. Right, gordo?

Almost beyond human comprehension.

I think the water's boiling.

Get back, Dorothy. I'll handle this.

I'm warning you. I'm armed.

What's happening, brother? Get down, get down.

Looking good, mama. Looking good. I gots to be goin' now.

Did he have a knife? I think he had a knife.

♫ mark, what's going on?

Mark, I think she's on to you.

You better tell her the truth.

Okay. The truth.

Sarah, the truth is the truth is, Sarah, that mark just...

Bought your Christmas present and if you go into the room, you're gonna see what it is.

Tell you what. I'll go turn the music off.

I already know what I'm getting.

I feel terrible. I haven't gotten you anything.

Please, don't feel terrible. It's nothing.

Really, nothing at all.

but maybe I should go hide it.

Just in case.

Damn. You never have flash bulbs when you need them.

Could you just scoot over there by the window, sweetheart?

Oh, where are we going?

Holy chowder.

I'm gonna check on that coffee. Why don't you go check on that coffee?

I'm gonna go check on that coffee.

What was that?

What? Is there someone in the kitchen?

Is somebody in the kitchen?

No, nobody's in the kitchen.

It's okay, Dorothy. Then who are these people?

These people? I don't know who these people are.

How did you get in my kitchen? What's the meaning of this?

What are you talking about, dear?

Hi, we're mark's parents.

I'm Dorothy Watson and this is my husband, bill.


Sarah, the truth is these people are these people are obviously total lunatics.

I've heard about this sort of thing.

Older people are going insane with anxiety about their financial futures.

So they accost some promising young professional student and claim to be his parents.

Apparently, it's just another result of these Reagan budget cuts. Now, shoo, shoo.

I'm sorry, but while we agree with you philosophically, we can't help you here.

Try the mission. Mark, can I speak to you in your room for a moment?


Gordon. So, how were the islands?

Uh, yeah, Mr. Dunbar?

Mark, are you in trouble?

No, it's not that. You're obviously hiding more than a Christmas present here.

If you want me to leave, just tell me. No.

No, Sarah. Just tell me the truth.

Sarah, I really care about you a lot. That's why I can't tell you the truth.

What are you talking about?

How do you feel about interracial relationships?

Pardon me? Interracial relationships.

You know, relationships between persons of different races.

Why are you asking me this?

Mark, I'm coming back in now. It's freezing out there.

Sarah, wait a minute. There he is again. Stand back.

Shut up, dad. You don't owe me any explanation.

Yes, I do, Sarah. Listen to me.

There's nothing between Whitney and me. She likes me because I'm black.

I mean, because she thinks I'm black.

I mean, when I got involved with her, I was really white...

On the inside, although I was black on the outside.

But now a part of me is black on the inside even though I'm white on the outside.

I don't know. Maybe I'm sort of gray on the inside and the outside.

Sarah, what I'm trying to say to you is I'm actually white.

Oh, I see. And these people are actually your parents.

Right. What?

Oh, yeah. Mom, dad, there's something I have to tell you. I'm black.

No, you're crazy.


Sarah, wait a Se


Oh, Marky.

Broken bones? No.

Internal bleeding?

Hard to say. I guess that's why they call it internal bleeding.

Have a nice day, boys.

Please pick up your exam booklets at the door.

Sarah, listen.

I just wanna say

I just wanna say...

Good luck.

Please begin.

♪ The day the sun and moon don't rise ♪

♪ there is question in the skies ♪

♪ some of us are still gonna get by ♪

♪ everybody's got a dream ♪

♪ some grand design some crazy scheme ♪

♪ though impossible is all it seems ♪

♪ just the fear to overcome ♪

♪ give it away ♪

♪ it just might turn into ♪

♪ we want the material kind ♪

♪ you just have to go and get it ♪

♪ it's already in your mind ♪

♪ it's totally academic ♪

♪ you got your direction down ♪

♪ and everything's copacetic ♪ Time. ♪ you got your feet on the ground ♪

♪ it's totally academic ♫

Come on, you can still get on standby.

I can't. I gotta stay here and figure out what I'm gonna do.

So what are you gonna do?

Sorry, dumb question.

I don't know, Gordon.

I never thought all this would

I never thought I'd fall in love with her.

Shit, I never thought about anything.

You know what I mean? Yeah, I think I do...


Sort of I mean, I guess you've been through a lot of stuff.

Probably a lot of stuff I can't even imagine.

Do you really hate the beach boys now?

It's hard to say.

I guess I still like some of their funkier stuff.

You better get out of here. Your plane's gonna leave.


Merry Christmas.

You too.

What am I gonna do?

We're two brilliant young men. We've got energy, imagination, keen analytical minds.

We'll think of something.

The judiciary committee will convene in two minutes.

Hey, booey. Hey, barky.

How you been? How was your vacation? Excellent.

Terrific. You going to the special hearing?

You kidding? I wouldn't miss this for the world. I wonder what he did.

My guess is he falsified his transcripts or cheated on his l.S.A.T.'S.

No, believe me, my interest in him is purely sociological.

Oops, excuse me.

What are they gonna do to him? It's hard to say. Nobody knows what he's done.

I got Travis and Kelly down for expulsion at six to one.

You want some action or what?

Because, you know, I really don't feel like there's any red or white...

Only shades of pink.

All be seated please.

If Mr. Watson will come forward, we can begin.

It appears that Mr. Watson has reconsidered his decision.

I'd say this whole thing is an argument against these affirmative action scholarships.

Just a moment, your honor.

Young man, I am the chairman of a committee, not a judge.

Oh, right, your... chairiness.

I'm Gordon Bloomfeld, Mr. Watson's chief counsel in this matter.

Are we to understand that Mr. Watson himself was not inclined to attend today?


To what? Well.

Frankly, to your tone of voice.


Mr. Bloomfeld, these proceedings are highly irregular as it is.

If Mr. Watson will not come forward in person, we'll have to adjourn this hearing and conduct our own investigation.

My client is more than ready to come forward in person.

But first first he has asked that I make a few brief remarks on his behalf.

Mark feels that he has done a grave injustice...

In accepting the Henry Q. Bouchard memorial fellowship.

His sole desire is to set the record straight...

And to make the fullest possible reparations for the damage he has done.

First, to the individual who otherwise would have received those funds.

But also, to the institution whose trust he has forsaken.

And last, but by no means least, to the society whose laws he has transgressed.

In thus coming forward, my client throws himself upon the mercy of this committee.

But I ask you, before you pass judgment on him, I ask you to consider the mitigating circumstances surrounding his crime.

I hate this bleeding heart shit.

My client was in a position of dire financial need...

At the time he improperly accepted the bouchard fellowship.

In his efforts to come by the money honestly, he encountered nothing but hostility and rejection at every turn.

In fact, one could argue that it was the lack of understanding of my client's special needs, on the part of the governmental, financial...

And academic establishments that drove him to his crime.

But it goes way beyond that, ladies and gentlemen.

Yes, my client is a victim of society...

In a still deeper sense.

After all, who made him what he is?

Weak, greedy, unable to support himself by honest labor.

Can we blame him for the environment in which he was raised?

For the warped values which he learned from earliest childhood?

For the people with whom he was surrounded?

People who, as much as it pains me to say it, give daily evidence of underdeveloped intellect...

And deteriorating moral fiber.

In short, can we blame him, ladies and gentlemen, for the color of his skin?

I think not.

And I trust that this committee will find the heart nay, the soul to be lenient...

And to share with me my hope...

That despite his race and upbringing, my client may yet become...

A useful member of society.

Mark Watson, come on down!

No wonder. No wonder.

No wonder. No wonder.

I have important information for this committee. I have pictures. I have proof.

Mark Watson is actually... white.

All right. I'm listening.

First of all, I'd like to pay miss Walker the full amount of my Grant, plus interest.

And? I'd like to volunteer one day a week during my school year...

And all of my summer vacations...

To legal aid work in the black community. And?

And I'd like to have a contract drawn up...

Binding me to donate a fixed percentage of my annual income after law school...

Towards the establishment of a scholarship in the name of Sarah Jane Walker.



I would like to get a law degree, sir.

So I can do some work that might be of use to somebody.

You must have learned a great deal more than you bargained for through this experience.

Yes, sir.

Mr. Watson, a Harvard law graduate can do a great many things make a lot of money, teach, become a senator, a judge.

A Harvard law graduate...

Has power, Mr. Watson.

I hope that I teach my students...

To use that power responsibly, even generously.

But you've learned something that I can't teach them.

You've learned what it feels like to be black.

No, sir. I beg your pardon?

I don't really know what it feels like, sir.

If I didn't like it, I could always get out.

It's not the same, sir.

You have learned a great deal more than I thought.

We won't press charges. You can stay.

Thank you, sir.

What do you think, George?

Go ahead.



George, why don't you put something on the jukebox?

You look funny white.

Yeah? Well, green's my best color, but everybody stares.

Did you, uh did you get my check?

Yes, thank you.

That's everything. That's all the money I got last semester, plus interest.

What did you do, fake a seizure and get a Grant from the heart foundation?

I sold my car and stuff.

My father finally agreed to give me a loan.

Twenty-five percent interest.

But at least I can stay in school.

I'm happy for you, mark. If you'll excuse me. Sarah.

I know how bad you needed that "a" on banks' final. And I know how much it meant to you.

Fine, want to know? I'm sorry let's find out. Did she flunk or did she pass?

She got an "a," okay? She got an "a."

Are you happy? Are you happy with yourself?

I got an "a."

"A" minus. That's not bad.

I guess I could have used a study partner.


You never answered my question.

You know, how you feel about interracial relationships.

What? What were you gonna say?

I was going to say that I've never met a white man I was interested in.

And that and that I guess the experience is just too different.

We've gotta go now, honey.

Excuse me.

What do you call a black test-tube baby?

Janitor in a drum.

Hey, buddy. How you doing?

No offense.

But but what?

But but I guess it's all right, interracial relationships.

If two people really care about each other.

Right, George?




Come on, George and I will buy you dinner.

You gotta eat, right?

Sarah, this is Harvard. I don't have to eat.

I don't have to sleep. I just have to study.