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Smoke Signals (1998) Poster

(1998)

Quotes

Thomas Builds-the-Fire: How do we forgive our fathers? Maybe in a dream. Do we forgive our fathers for leaving us too often, or forever, when we were little? Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage, or making us nervous because there never seemed to be any rage there at all? Do we forgive our fathers for marrying, or not marrying, our mothers? Or divorcing, or not divorcing, our mothers? And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness? Shall we forgive them for pushing, or leaning? For shutting doors or speaking through walls? For never speaking, or never being silent? Do we forgive our fathers in our age, or in theirs? Or in their deaths, saying it to them or not saying it. If we forgive our fathers, what is left?

Thomas Builds-the-Fire: Hey Victor! I'm sorry 'bout your dad.

Victor Joseph: How'd you hear about it?

Thomas Builds-the-Fire: I heard it on the wind. I heard it from the birds. I felt it in the sunlight. And your mom was just in here cryin'.

Thomas Builds-the-Fire: Sometimes it's a good day to die, and sometimes it's a good day to have breakfast.

[Velma and Lucy drop Thomas and Victor at the bus station]

Velma: You guys got your passports?

Thomas Builds-the-Fire: Passports?

Velma: Yeah, you're leavin' the rez and goin' into a whole different country, cousin.

Thomas Builds-the-Fire: But... but, it's the United States.

Lucy: Damn right it is! That's as foreign as it gets. Hope you two have your vaccinations.

[All laugh]

Thomas Builds-the-Fire: Your father saved my life

Victor Joseph: Thomas you don't even know my father. Did you know that my father was the one that set your parent's house on fire? Did you know that my father beat my mother? Did you know that my father beat me too?

Thomas Builds-the-Fire: All I know is that when your father left your mother lost you too.

Victor Joseph: Thomas I wish that fire had killed you.

Thomas Builds-the-Fire: Victor LOOK OUT!

Police Chief: This man apparently wants to press charges against you. He said and I "you assaulted him and pushed him to the ground".

Victor Joseph: That's bullshit.

Police Chief: Mr. Joseph there's no need for that type of language. Mr. Johnson's wife Holly says he's, and I quote, "a complete asshole".

Thomas Builds-the-Fire: You know there are some children who aren't really children at all, they're just pillars of flame that burn everything they touch. And there are some children who are just pillars of ash, that fall apart when you touch them... Victor and me, we were children of flame and ash.

Victor JosephThomas Builds-the-Fire: [singing] John Wayne's teeth, hey-a, hey-a! Are they false, are they real, are they plastic, are they steel?

Grandma Builds-the-Fire: You saved Thomas. You did a good thing.

Arnold Joseph: I didn't mean to.

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Thomas Builds-the-Fire: Hey Victor! I remember the time your father took me to Denny's, and I had the Grand Slam Breakfast. Two eggs, two pancakes, a glass of milk, and of course my favorite, the bacon. Some days, it's a good day to die. And some days, it's a good day to have breakfast.

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[Thomas concludes his story he is trading for a ride]

Thomas Builds-the-Fire: Arnold got arrested, you know. But he got lucky. They charged him with attempted murder. Then they plea-bargained that down to assault with a deadly weapon. Then they plea-bargained that down to being an Indian in the Twentieth Century. Then he got two years in Walla Walla.

Lucy: [to Velma] What do you think?

Velma: I think it's a fine example of the oral tradition.

[laughs]

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[Victor, Thomas and Suzy watch an old western]

Thomas Builds-the-Fire: The only thing more pathetic than Indians on TV is Indians watching Indians on TV.

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Victor Joseph: Thomas, you are so full of shit.

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Thomas Builds-the-Fire: Geez, Victor... I guess the warrior look doesn't work every time.

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Randy Peone: It's a good day to be indigenous!

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[Thomas and Victor try to hitch a ride with Velma and Lucy]

Velma: Hey Thomas, need a ride?

Thomas Builds-the-Fire: Yeah!

Velma: What are goin' to trade for it. We're Indians, remember. We barter!

Thomas Builds-the-Fire: A story?

Lucy: Better be good.

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Randy Peone: Good morning, this is Randy Peone on KREZ radio, the voice of the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation. And it's time for the morning traffic report on this rainy Bicentennial Fourth of July. Let's go out to Lester Fallsapart in the KREZ traffic van broken down at the crossroads.

Lester Fallsapart: Big truck just went by... now it's gone.

Randy Peone: Well, there you go folks. Looks like another busy morning.

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Victor Joseph: Thomas, don't you even know how to be a real Indian? How many times have you seen "Dances with Wolves" anyways? 100... 200 times? Oh jesus Thomas, you have seen it that many times?

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Arlene Joseph: If you leave here don't you ever come back. You hear me?

Victor Joseph: Dad don't go.

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Police Chief: This man apparantly wants to press charges against you. He said and I quote "you assaulted him and pushed him to the ground".

Victor Joseph: That's bullshit.

Police Chief: Mr Joseph there's no need for that type of language. Mr Johnson's daughter Holly says he's, and I quote, "a complete asshole". So you two are free to go.

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Victor Joseph: You gotta look mean or people won't respect you. White people will run all over you if you don't look mean. You gotta look like a warrior! You gotta look like you just came back from killing a buffalo!

Thomas Builds-the-Fire: But our tribe never hunted buffalo - we were fishermen.

Victor Joseph: What! You want to look like you just came back from catching a fish? This ain't "Dances With Salmon" you know!

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