Thursday, April 5, 2012

Every Single Time

Every single time I watch A Few Good Men I cry.

I'm not sure if it's the writing or the acting or both. It is unreal. I can barely watch the whole movie from beginning to end. And I sure as hell can't watch it if it has commercials. But that final big scene. Ugg every single time. I need to watch it. I want to write like that. I want to impact others so profoundly that every time they read or hear my words they cry. (I want to feel how I felt watching the first season of Glee.:) And I just wanted to share that.

Here is the scene that drives me to tears every time (screenplay by the great Aaron Sorkin):

KAFFEE
Crystal.

KAFFEE speaks with the quiet confidence that comes from
knowing you're about to drop your opponents

KAFFEE
(continuing; beat)
Colonel, I have just one more question
before I call Airman O'Malley and Airman
Perez: If you gave an order that Santiago
wasn't to be touched, and your orders are
always followed, then why would he be in
danger, why would it be necessary to
transfer him off the base?

And JESSEP has no answer.

Nothing.

He sits there, and for the first time, seems to be lost.

JESSEP
Private Santiago was a sub-standard
marine.  He was being transferred off the
base because--

KAFFEE
But that's not what you said.  You said he
was being transferred because he was in
grave danger.

JESSEP
(pause)
Yes.  That's correct, but--

KAFFEE
You said, "He was in danger".  I said,
"Grave danger". You said--

JESSEP
Yes, I recall what--

KAFFEE
I can have the Court Reporter read back
your--

JESSEP
I know what I said.  I don't need it read
back to me like I'm a damn--

KAFFEE
Then why the two orders?
(beat)
Colonel?
(beat)
Why did you--


      JESSEP
Sometimes men take matters into their own
hands.

KAFFEE
No sir.  You made it clear just a moment
ago that your men never take matters into
their own hands.  Your men follow orders
or people die.  So Santiago shouldn't have
been in any dangor at all, should he have,
Colonel?

Everyone's sweating now.  Everyone but KAFFEE.

JESSEP
You little bastard.

ROSS
Your Honor, I have to ask for a recess to--

KAFFEE
I'd like an answer to the question, Judge.

RANDOLPH
The Court'll wait for answer.

KAFFEE
If Kendrick told his men that Santiago
wasn't to be touched, then why did he have
to be transferred?

Jessep is looking at O'KALLEY and PEREZ.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Colonel?

JESSEP says nothing.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Kendrick ordered the code red, didn't he?
Because that's what you told Kendrick to
do.

ROSS
Object!

RANDOLPH
Counsel.

KAFFEE will plow through the objections of ROSS and the
admonishments of RANDOLPH.

KAFFEE
And when it went bad, you cut these guys
loose.

     ROSS
Your Honor--

RANDOLPH
That'll be all, counsel.

KAFFEE
You had Markinson sign a phony transfer
order--

ROSS
Judge--

KAFFEE
You doctored the log books.

ROSS
Damnit Kaffee!!

KAFFEE
I'll ask for the forth time. You ordered--

JESSEP
You want answers?

KAFFEE
I think I'm entitled to them.

JESSEP
You want answers?!

KAFFEE
I want the truth.

JESSEP
You can't handle the truth!

And nobody moves.

JESSEP
(continuing)
Son, we live in a world that has walls.
And those walls have to be guarded by men
with guns.  Who's gonna do it? You?  You,
Lt.  Weinberg?  I have a greater
responsibility than you can possibly
fathom.  You weep for Santiago and you
curse the marines.  You have that luxury.
You have the luxury of not knowing what I
know: That Santiago's death, while tragic,
probably saved lives.  And my existence,
while grotesque and incomprehensible to
you, saves lives.










(beat)
You don't want the truth.  Because deep
down, in places you don't talk about at
parties, you want me on that wall.  You want
me there
(boasting)
We use words like honor, code,
loyalty...we use these words as the
backbone to a life spent defending
something.  You use 'em as a punchline.
(beat)
I have neither the time nor the
inclination to explain myself to a man who
rises and sleeps under the blanket of the
very freedom I provide, then questions the
manner in which I provide it. I'd prefer
you just said thank you and went on your
way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a
weapon and stand a post.  Either way, I
don't give a damn what you think you're
entitled to.

KAFFEE
(quietly)
Did you order the code red?

JESSEP
(beat)
I did the job you sent me to do.

KAFFEE
Did you order the code red?

JESSEP
(pause)
You're goddamn right I did.