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The United States of Leland (2003) Poster

Quotes

Pearl Madison: I'm only human, man.

Leland: It's funny how people only say that after they do something bad. I mean, you never hear someone say, "I'm only human" after they rescue a kid from a burning building.

Leland: It covers my eyes. It's all I can see. Say there's some kids playing baseball. All I see is the one kid they won't let play because he tells corny jokes. And no-one thinks they're funny. Or I see a boy and a girl in love and kissing, you know. I just see that they're gonna be one of those sad old couples one day who just cheats on each other and can't even look at each other in the eye. And I feel it. I feel all of their sadness. I feel it probably even worse than that sad old couple or that corny kid will ever feel it.

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Leland: And that's when I figured out that tears couldn't make somebody who was dead alive again. There's another thing to learn about tears, they can't make somebody who doesn't love you any more love you again. It's the same with prayers. I wonder how much of their lives people waste crying and praying to God. If you ask me, the devil makes more sense than God does. I can at least see why people would want him around. It's good to have somebody to blame for the bad stuff they do. Maybe God's there because people get scared of all the bad stuff they do. They figure that God and the Devil are always playing this game of tug-of-war game with them. And they never know which side they're gonna wind up on. I guess that tug-of-war idea explains how sometimes, even when people try to do something good, it still turns out bad.

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Leland: This one is something a friend of mine said to me. "You have to believe that life is more than the sum of its parts, kiddo." I remember it right now to the "kiddo" part. But when I think about what she said, the same thing always comes into my head. What if you can't put the pieces together in the first place?

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Leland: The worst part is knowing that there is goodness in people. Mostly it stays deep down and buried. Maybe we don't have God because we're scared of the bad stuff. Maybe we're really scared of the good stuff. Because if there's no God, well, that means it's inside of us and we could be good all the time if we wanted. So when we do bad things, it'd be because we want to or because we have to. Or maybe we just need the bad stuff to remind us what the good stuff is in the first place.

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Leland: I think there are two ways you can see the world. You either see the sadness that's behind everything or you choose to keep it all out.

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TV Reporter: Why did you do it, Leland?

Leland: Because of the sadness.

TV Reporter: What sadness? Whose sadness?

Leland: Your sadness.

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Mrs. Calderon: You have to believe that life is more than the sum of its parts, kiddo.

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Guillermo: What you in for, dawg?

Leland: [stares out the window in silence]

Guillermo: Hey, I'm not asking you because I'm gonna kick your ass if you did some fucked up shit, because I already know you did some fucked up shit. Hey, a guy like me. You know he's in SH 'cause he ratted out some bitch from State Street. Now half the pop wants to stick a fucking pencil through his eye. Hey, but white boys ain't about that gang shit though, huh? Especially not white boys like you who don't look like no Slim Shady. White boys like you the ones who did some fucked up shit, huh?

Leland: [cContinues staring out the window in silence]

Guillermo: That's cool dawg

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Bengel: You're the one who killed the retarded kid, huh? Was it some kind of devil worship thing?

[pauses]

Bengel: What did you do to your hand?

Leland: I stabbed myself

Bengel: If you're going for suicide, I'd say try for the stomach or somethin'

Leland: I just wanted to know what it felt like

Bengel: I bet it hurt. You should've just asked me devil boy. I would have saved you some trouble

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Leland: Maybe it makes sense now. Maybe somewhere in all of this there's a reason. Maybe somewhere in all of this there's a why. Maybe somewhere there's that thing that lets you tie it all up with a neat bow and bury it in the backyard. But nothing, not getting angry, not prayers, and not tears, nothing can make something that happened unhappen.

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Becky Pollard: I don't want to hurt you.

Leland: Then don't.

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Albert T. Fitzgerald: I recall when our lives were unusual and electric. When we burned with something close to fire. But now we sway to a different rhythm. Lives lived without meaning or even directed hope. The passage of time measured only by loss. Loss of a job, loss of a minivan... a son.

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Leland: You know what the funny thing about earthquakes is? After an earthquake you see people pulling other people out of broken down buildings and people hugging and junk because they saw a little girl's shoe in the middle of the road and no little girl around. Then a couple days later they forget all about it...

Pearl Madison: Well it still shows you that there's goodness in people.

Leland: During earthquakes at least...

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Becky Pollard: I'm serious, okay? I want you to say you're always gonna to be there.

Leland: Well, sometimes I'm somewhere else.

Becky Pollard: Just tell me that everything's gonna to be okay.

Leland: I can't really make sure everything's okay.

Becky Pollard: I know, but... Sometimes you say things that aren't all the way true, but you say them anyways because you want to be true. You know, maybe, maybe that's good enough. Just... just tell me everything's gonna be okay. Whisper it in my ear, that's all.

Leland: [In a full voice into her ear] Everything's gonna be okay.

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Leland: You want a why. Well, maybe there isn't one. Maybe... Maybe this is just something that happened.

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Leland: When I say I don't remember that day, I'm not lying. I wish I did, but I just don't. Sometimes the most important stuff goes away. Goes away so bad it's like it was never there to begin with.

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Airplane Woman: Aren't you an actor?

Albert T. Fitzgerald: Aren't we all, dear.

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Airplane Woman: Excuse me. I'm sorry if I'm bothering you, but aren't you an actor?

Albert T. Fitzgerald: Aren't we all dear

Airplane Woman: [laughs] No, no, no. I mean a famous actor. You know, a movie star actor? I know your face

Albert T. Fitzgerald: I was in Stanley Kubrick's musical, the one about the alcoholic pirates. I played Captain Morgan.

[smiles]

Albert T. Fitzgerald: Whenever you're done with the front page dear

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Guillermo: Hey Pearly, help me out here bro. I'm developing this theory, right, that the suicide rate of Venice is real low. 'Cause if you jump off a building, all your ass is gonna do is splash in a canal and shit, right?

Pearl Madison: [quietly laughs] OK, well, why don't we expand on that theory tomorrow?

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Pearl Madison: You'll have to forgive Mr. Madison today, he's moving kinda slow. His head's hurting like it's the end of the world.

Guillermo: You been drinking that cheap ass burgundy, ain't you?

Pearl Madison: No comment.

Bengel: That stuff's gonna make you go blind, Sir.

Pearl Madison: Hey, 3 bucks, 2 liters. I couldn't pass it up.

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Leland: [in back of police car talking to cop] Do you have a normal radio in here for music?

Leland: I was just thinking that when you're parked somewhere waiting for a guy to speed, you'd want some music to help pass the time.

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Pearl Madison: This is bullshit, Elden. This is just red-tape bullshit and you know it.

Elden: No, Madison, this is about you running your own program. You asked me about this kid, I told you no. Then you, in effect, say: "Fuck you, I do whatever I want. Elden Gilmore be damned."

Pearl Madison: Look, this is about a kid who was so screwed up...

Elden: No, this is about a book. And you wanna talk about red-tape bullshit? Let's talk about how fast I could have you fired for turning your classroom over to non-certified personnel while you went off to play your '20/20' bit with this kid. Man, I am pulling you from S.H.

Pearl Madison: Wait a minute...

Elden: No, after lunch, report to A wing. You're taking over Bellsey's class.

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Pearl Madison: Its all part of the trade off man. I mean, Love is only such a great thing because you know what it feels like to get your heart broken. What it feels like to be alone.

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[first lines]

Leland: When I say I don't remember that day, I'm not lying. Wish I did, but I just don't. Sometimes the most important stuff goes away. Goes away so bad, it's like it was never there to begin with. It's funny the stuff that sticks in your head. I could tell you forward and backward about one day when I was five, and my dad bought me a stupid ice cream cone. I could tell you the flavor of the ice cream. It was pick bubblegum. Even stuff about the girl who scooped it out. Her hair was fire red. All that stuff is there like it was happening right now, but I don't remember that day.

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Leland: I know what they want from me. They want a reason. Something to tie up with a little bow and bury in the backyard. Bury it down so deep it's like it never happened. They want me to say how I'm so sorry, and it was my mom's fault. Or maybe it was my dad's fault. Or it happened because of TV or movies or some junk like that. Or maybe I blame some girl.

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Bengel: You ever think the whole thing doesn't make sense? I mean, they take all this stuff away from you; freedom, girls and sunshine - because it's supposed to make it so when you get back on the outs you never wanna screw up again. All that really does is get you to thinking that you're... just so small. You know? Like you're this... this small thing that doesn't matter for anything. And by the time you do get out - you don't even feel like a human person anymore.

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