"And the moral of this poem is: When in doubt, go for the dick joke."


"And the moral of this poem is: When in doubt, go for the dick joke."

DEAD POETS SOCIETY

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. THE 50S

HEADMASTER NORMAN LLOYD greets this year's cohort of FUTURE ALCOHOLICS.

HEADMASTER NORMAN LLOYD

Gentlemen, welcome to Preppinstuff Academy. At this institution, we take pride in our long tradition of excellence in the destruction of souls. I therefore ask any young man who still has a soul to place it carefully in this industrial-strength shredder.

YOUNG ETHAN HAWKE shits HIMSELF.

ROBERT SEAN LEONARD

‘Sup, nerd? We’re gonna be roomies, you and me! Join us, we’re having a little school-mocking session.

GALE HANSEN

Better jump in, kid, this is your last chance to smile until Christmas.

ETHAN HAWKE

Golly, you guys, I hear this school is super-hard.

ROBERT SEAN LEONARD

Hey, it’s not so bad. We have a yearbook committee.

His father, KURTWOOD SMITH, bursts in.

KURTWOOD SMITH

NO YOU FUCKING DON’T.

(leaves)

ETHAN HAWKE

Wowee, Robert, your father sure is an irredeemable dickhorse.

ROBERT SEAN LEONARD

(through gritted teeth)

No, it’s cool. Colleges don’t care about extracurriculars. What was I thinking?

INT. MONTAGE OF EDUMACATION

The STUDENTS sit through LECTURES.

CHEMISTRY TEACHER

Imbalance! Does not exist! In this classroom! Does it?

STUDENTS

NO, TEACHER!

LATIN TEACHER

Misconjugation! Does not exist! In this classroom! Does it?

STUDENTS

NO, TEACHER!

MATH TEACHER

Tardy homework submission! Does not exist! In this classroom! Does it?

STUDENTS

NO, TEACHER!

TEACHERS

What do we study here?

STUDENTS

THE WAY OF THE BUTTPOLE, SIR!

TEACHERS

And what is that way?

STUDENTS

LEARN FIRST, LEARN HARD, NO QUESTIONS, SIR!

INT. ENGLISH CLASSROOM

ROBIN WILLIAMS begins his MOST UNORTHODOX POETRY LESSON.

ROBIN WILLIAMS

GOOOOOD MORNING, PREPPINSTUUUUUFF! Who's ready to carpe some diem?!

The STUDENTS stare blankly.

ROBIN WILLIAMS

You DO know what that means, right?

ETHAN HAWKE

I think my father said it once while shopping for ties, sir.

ROBIN WILLIAMS

I see I have my work cut out for me. Gentlemen, open your texts and rip out page 21.

The STUDENTS gasp in unison.

ROBIN WILLIAMS

Yes, the one with the algebraic poetry formula. That is seriously the biggest load of bullshit in the history of bullshit. And I've read the complete works of William McGonagall.

EXT. PREPPINSTUFF ACADEMY

ROBERT walks up to ROBIN.

ROBERT SEAN LEONARD

Um, Mr. Williams, sir? Is it true that you ran a secret poetry club when you were a student here?

ROBIN WILLIAMS

Indeed I did, Mr. Leonard, for bitches love poems.

ROBERT runs up to his FRIENDS.

ROBERT SEAN LEONARD

You guys, we HAVE to spend the night reading poetry to each other in a cave near a waterfall. So we can get girls.

JOSH CHARLES

I’m in. Alexandra Powers will totally dump her stupid football player boyfriend once I read poetry to her.

DYLAN KUSSMAN

Are you crazy? We can’t do anything the school doesn’t explicitly tell us we can do! Why, I haven’t taken a shit in days!

ETHAN HAWKE

Gee whiz, you guys, I'm too shy to read poetry.

GALE HANSEN

Come on, squirt, we'll bring Green Eggs & Ham.

INT. CAVE

GALE reads a POEM.

GALE HANSEN

"Thine eyes, so bright, to put to shame the moon/Mine words shall make thee giveth me some poon."

The GUYS applaud.

ROBERT SEAN LEONARD

I love this stuff! I'm gonna audition for the role of the servant to the king of the fairies in the school play!

NOBODY says a FUCKING WORD.

INT. ENGLISH CLASSROOM

JOSH reads a POEM.

JOSH CHARLES

"Sweetest Alexandra: Dump that jock/For I possess a most impressive cock."

The STUDENTS applaud.

ROBIN WILLIAMS

Very nice, Mr. Charles, she'll be putty in your pants. Mr. Hawke!

ETHAN HAWKE

Shucks, Mr. Williams, I don't know...

ROBIN WILLIAMS

Ethan, this is a place to express yourself freely, and BY GOD YOU WILL EXPRESS YOURSELF FREELY DAMMIT. Now look at this photo of Walt Whitman and blurt out the first thing that pops into your mind!

ETHAN HAWKE

“Leaves of grass/My ass!”

ROBIN WILLIAMS

TODAY YOU ARE A POET, MY SON!

INT. CAVE

GALE arrives with TWO GIRLS.

GALE HANSEN

Hey, guys, I brought some girls! They might have names, I dunno.

GIRLS

Tee-hee!

GALE HANSEN

Their tits have inspired me to write an editorial in the school paper demanding that girls be admitted to Preppinstuff. I wrote it in the name of heterosexual poetry-reading cave dwellers everywhere. But mostly us.

DYLAN KUSSMAN

Oh, you've REALLY done it now. We are SO DEAD.

GALE HANSEN

Come on, Dylan, what are they gonna say about teenagers who disagree with authority? "At these boys' ages? Not on your life!"

INT. ENGLISH CLASSROOM

HEADMASTER NORMAN LLOYD confronts ROBIN.

HEADMASTER NORMAN LLOYD

(actual line)

At these boys' ages? Not on your life!

ROBIN WILLIAMS

Norman, what’s with your insistence that new perspectives and ideas are cancer? What do you think they’ll do? Run out of the classroom screaming and demand a safe space?

HEADMASTER NORMAN LLOYD

Robin, the traditional lectures work. There's no reason to change them. In fact, the lecture I'm giving you now is due to appear in a charming medical school movie currently in production.

INT. ALEXANDRA'S SCHOOL

JOSH follows ALEXANDRA into a full classroom.

JOSH CHARLES

Alexandra, I have something very important to say to you in front of all these complete strangers. Ahem: "I am reading/a poem/that was in/my notebook/and which/you were probably/hoping/never to hear/Forgive me/you are delicious/so blond/and so... well, that’s all I really know about you."

ALEXANDRA POWERS

OH MY GOD LEAVE.

JOSH CHARLES

But... bitches love poems?

ALEXANDRA POWERS

Not as much as we love football dick. GET OUT.

INT. THEATER

ROBERT is onstage.

ROBERT SEAN LEONARD

"Activities in school are not so bad/I'm acting really well, so suck it, Dad."

The AUDIENCE applauds rapturously, except for KURTWOOD.

KURTWOOD SMITH

Your talent and passion disgust me. I'm sending you to military school, where you will pursue the career I chose for you when you were a spermatozoon.

ROBERT SEAN LEONARD

But, Dad, I have a mind of my own!

KURTWOOD SMITH

Is that what Williams has been telling you? Get out of my sight, you pansy! I'll emotionally abuse you further in the morning!

ROBERT proves he has a MIND OF HIS OWN by putting a BULLET in it.

KURTWOOD SMITH

NOOOOOOOO! MY EXTENSION OF MYSELF! MY EXTENSION OF MY CARTOONISHLY AUTHORITARIAN SELF!

INT. PREPPINSTUFF ACADEMY

The GUYS mourn ROBERT.

ETHAN HAWKE

Darn it, you guys, I bet Robert's dad made him kill himself!

DYLAN KUSSMAN

No, it was Mr. Williams. He made Robert think too much. Us too.

GALE HANSEN

That's what you told Headmaster Lloyd, didn't you, you little shit?

DYLAN KUSSMAN

You're fucking right I did! You think I want to risk my entire future for the sake of an English teacher we’ll only have for a year or two? I sold him out, I sold you guys out, and I'd sell you out again!

GALE punches DYLAN, which gets him expelled. He leaves reciting some REAL POETRY.

GALE HANSEN

“Cuz I’m as free-ee as a biiird nooow/And this bird you cannot CHA-A-ANGE!”

INT. HEADMASTER'S OFFICE

HEADMASTER NORMAN LLOYD hands a LETTER to ETHAN.

HEADMASTER NORMAN LLOYD

Mr. Hawke, your friends have been successfully cured of their creativity. They’ve signed this letter blaming Mr. Williams for Robert’s suicide, which will be much harder to stomach 27 years from now. If it’s true, add your signature.

ETHAN HAWKE

Um, sir, did you always have that pitchfork and goat horns?

HEADMASTER NORMAN LLOYD

Just sign.

INT. ENGLISH CLASSROOM

HEADMASTER LLOYD lectures the class.

HEADMASTER NORMAN LLOYD

I'll be teaching English until we find a proper cyborg to replace Mr. Williams. We shall now discuss poetry from a mathematical perspective, swear to God. Mr. Kussman,

(actual line)

read aloud the excellent essay.

ROBIN enters.

ROBIN WILLIAMS

Pardon me, sir, I believe I left my clown nose and slinky eyes in the file cabinet.

HEADMASTER NORMAN LLOYD

Make it quick, Williams, and none of that wacky personality. Mr. Kussman, please continue.

DYLAN KUSSMAN

"To fully understand poetry, you must approach it as something that can be plotted on a graph. Seriously, someone peer-reviewed this shit and charged $100 for it. Get used to this, kids, you'll be dealing with a lot of it in college."

ROBIN prepares to make his DESPONDENT EXIT. ETHAN stands up.

ETHAN HAWKE

Mr. Williams, don't leave! You didn't kill Robert! You put a smile on his face for the first time since preschool!

HEADMASTER NORMAN LLOYD

Mr. Hawke, take your seat!

JOSH CHARLES

Ethan's right, Mr. Williams! You didn't get me laid, but you got me inspired! Please stay!

HEADMASTER NORMAN LLOYD

Ass in chair NOW, Mr. Charles!

ETHAN HAWKE

Don't leave us, Mr. Williams! We ain’t never had a friend like you!

HEADMASTER NORMAN LLOYD

This thinking out of turn will not stand, gentlemen!

STUDENTS

Don't leave us, Mr. Williams!

ROBIN departs, hopefully secure in the KNOWLEDGE that he has provided his STUDENTS with so much JOY, the likes of which they may never – scratch that, WILL never see again.

END

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