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Episode 15 - "Loosiers"

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OPENING SEQUENCE
Int. Day - Bedroom

(Close shot of adult hands setting a covered shoebox on a bedspread and removing the lid. Music "You've Got A Friend" - James Taylor starts. The hands pick up a stack of photographs. The first is a color photo of Kevin and Paul kneeling next to another boy who holds a basketball, all wearing gym clothes. One hand sets that photo on the bedspread, revealing a B/W photo of Paul balancing himself on the handlebars of Kevin's bike.)

"When you're down and troubled"

(The hand sets that photo on the bedspread revealing a B/W photo turned sideways, of Kevin and Paul limply holding their tongues out. The hands turn the stack 90 degrees to put the photo face-up.)

It's hard to imagine being twelve years old...

(The hand puts the photo on the bedspread.)

"And you need a helpin' hand"

And going without certain things.

(The next photo is of Paul and Kevin, sitting outside at night.)

Like three months off in the summertime.

(That photo is set on the bed, revealing another photo of Kevin and Paul.)

Or a good bicycle to cruise the neighborhood on.

(That photo is set down, revealing a B/W photo turned sideways. The hands turn it face-up. It is a closer shot of Kevin and Paul frowning at the camera.)

"When nothin', oh nothin' is goin' right"

More than anything though, it's hard to imagine being twelve years old...

(That photo is set down, revealing a B/W of Paul smiling broadly, and wearing a sombrero.)

And not having a best-friend like Paul Pfeiffer.

(Wider shot of the hands as they set the stack on the bedspread.)

"Close your eyes and think of me"

(Close shot of the stack of photos next to the previous ones.)

Paul was the nicest kid I ever knew.

(Shot of the open shoebox as a hand reaches into it and extracts a set of baseball cards rubber-banded together, and holds them close to the camera.)

He would have done anything for me - I know it.

(The hands remove the rubber band.)

And I would have done anything for him.

(One hand sets down the stack of cards, as the other holds a folded card of Carl Yastrzemksi. The other hand unfolds it.)

"Even your darkest nights"

At least, I always thought I would.

(The hands turn the card over to the back side, which has all the statistics.)

"You just call..."

Fade to


(Slightly closer shot of a fresh Carl Yastrzemski baseball card as Kevin's hand holds it.)

KEVIN (V/O): How many homeruns did the Yaz hit in 'sixty-four?

(Close shot of Kevin on his bed, looking at Paul off-screen.)

(Shot past Kevin of Paul sitting on the bed. He looks down and rubs his forehead.)

PAUL: Oh, ummmmmm...fifteen.

(Shot past Paul of Kevin.)

KEVIN: Career batting average?

(Shot past Kevin of Paul. He frowns and looks off.)

PAUL: That would be...three-oh...no, wait - two-ninety-eight.

(Shot past Paul of Kevin looking at the card and putting a stick of gum in his mouth.)

KEVIN: Hobbies?

(Close shot of Paul frowning.)

PAUL: Kayaking...

(Close shot of Kevin looking from the card to Paul off-screen as he chews his gum.)

PAUL (V/O): And...

(Close shot of Paul rubbing his forehead.)

PAUL: Trout-fishing! (Smiles.)

(Close shot of Kevin smiling at Paul off-screen.)

What could ya say? The kid loved to talk sports.

PAUL: (V/O): OK...One more game.

Cut to
Ext. Day - Arnold Driveway

(Close shot of Paul in the driveway behind the house, smiling.)

PAUL: Check it.

The kid loved to play sports.

(Shot of Kevin holding the basketball.)

KEVIN: OK - now you're a dead man.

(He bounces it to Paul off-screen.)

(Shot of Paul dribbling the ball. Kevin passes the camera and guards him.)

PAUL: There's nothing stopping this kid!

(Shot up the driveway of Kevin and Paul as Paul continues to dribble.)

PAUL: He's like a machine out there!

More than anything, though...the kid loved to talk while playing sports.

(Closer shot of Kevin guarding Paul.)

PAUL (V/O): He dribbles right...

(Shot of Paul and Kevin as Paul dribbles.)

PAUL: He dribbles left...he's looking for his sweet-spot...he stops...

(Shot of Kevin and Paul as Paul shoots.)

PAUL: He pops.

(Shot of the backboard as the ball carems off it.)

PAUL (V/O): Ooh, just off the rim.

(Paul gets the rebound dribbles.)

PAUL: But he gets his own rebound - unbelievable!

The fact that Paul sank maybe two buckets per season...really didn't matter that much.

(Close shot of Paul dribbling.)

PAUL: And Pfeiffer's deliberately working with the ball now. Ever the faking player.

(Close shot of Kevin behind Paul.)

The title-winning shot was always right around the corner.

(Wider shot of Paul dribbling.)

PAUL: And the pressure's on...he looks for his sweet-spot...here comes his super-supreme fade-away hookshot!

(Wider shot of Kevin frowning as Paul crosses the camera and starts to shoot.)

KEVIN: No, Paul!

(Shot of Paul shooting.)

(Very close shot of Kevin tilting his head back, watching the off-screen ball.)

KEVIN: Don't!

(Shot of the backboard as the ball sails over the roof.)

(Close shot of Paul watching it off-screen and flinching. Sound of a dog barking in the distance.)

(Close shot of Kevin looking over his shoulder, then making a face and looking away.)

WALTER CRONKITE (V/O): Soviet tanks and bombers...

Cut to

Int. Day - Arnold Kitchen

(Black-and-white clip of tanks on the street, and people gathering.)

WALTER CRONKITE (On TV): Swept thought the Czech capital of Prague last night...under the dubious guise of restoring order...

(Shot of Jack seated at the kitchen table looking at the TV.)

WALTER CRONKITE (On TV): To the apparently peaceful citizens.

(Jack glances at Karen off-screen.)

(Wide shot past Karen at the table of Norma at the sink in the background as Kevin enters, walking backwards.)

KEVIN: You aren't palming, Paul.

(Paul follows Kevin as he holds the basketball in the palm of one hand, and keeps it in place with a fingertip of his other hand.)

PAUL: I am so! Look!

(Close shot of Jack looking at them off-screen, with the TV beyond him.)

JACK: Pipe down - we're watchin' the news. (Frowns.)

(Shot of Kevin closing the freezer.)

WALTER CRONKITE (V/O): Citizens of Prague who were shocked and stunned by the assault...

(Shot of Jack as he turns toward the TV.)

WALTER CRONKITE (On TV): Offered no military resistance...

(Wide shot past Jack looking at the TV off-screen, toward Kevin, Paul and Norma in the kitchen, also looking at the TV.)

WALTER CRONKITE (V/O): To the overwhelming forces.

(Close shot of Kevin looking at the TV off-screen.)

WALTER CRONKITE (V/O): By dawn, the city was under Soviet control.

(Close shot of Norma looking at the TV off-screen.)

WALTER CRONKITE (V/O): More, after this...

(Close shot of Jack looking at the TV as a commercial comes on.)

TV ANNOUNCER: Irregularity...

(Jack turns to Karen.)

JACK: So...(Nods and gestures.) You want to defend your Communists, now?

(Close shot of Karen frowning at Jack off-screen.)

KAREN: I happen to be a Socialist.

(Shot of Norma looking over her shoulder, frowning slightly.)

JACK (V/O): Oh, Socialist. I see...

NORMA: Honey, did you say you wanted iced-tea with dinner?

(Close shot of Karen frowning at Jack off-screen.)

KAREN: And for your information, that same oppression exists in your own backyard.

(Close shot of Jack looking at Karen off-screen.)

JACK: Do you see a tank in my backyard? (Taps his chest.) I don't see a tank in my backyard.

(Close shot of Kevin glancing from Jack to Norma off-screen.)

NORMA (V/O): Does anyone...

(Close shot of Norma looking toward Jack and Karen off-screen.)

NORMA: Not want Brussel sprouts with dinner?

(Close shot of Kevin frowning and looking at Norma off-screen.)

It was funny how those things would go.

(Kevin frowns and looks toward Jack off-screen.)

(Close shot of Jack frowning as he looks toward Karen off-scren.)

Dad would argue...

(Close shot of Karen frowning at Jack off-screen.)

Karen would argue...

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Norma off-screen.)

(Shot of Norma looking over her shoulder at Kevin off-screen.)

And Mom would get the ulcer.

NORMA: Oh, Kevin...(gestures)...please refill that ice-tray...

(Shot of Kevin and Paul as Kevin reaches for the ice-tray.)

NORMA (V/O): When you're finished with it.

(Close shot of Jack frowning as he glances toward Norma and Kevin off-screen.)

JACK: The news is on, folks...

(Close shot of Karen frowning at Jack off-screen.)

KAREN: Talk about Fascism...

(Close shot of Jack frowning at Karen off-screen, then turning toward the TV.)

WALTER CRONKITE (On TV): Once again, our top story...

(Shot of Kevin and Paul looking toward the TV off-screen.)

WALTER CRONKITE (V/O): There is no joy on the streets...

(Close shot of the TV showing tanks in the street.)

WALTER CRONKITE (On TV): Of Prague, tonight. Soviet forces patrol the city...

(Close shot of Kevin looking at the TV off-screen.)

WALTER CRONKITE (V/O): With one purpose in mind - to crush the spirit of the people.

(Close shot of the TV showing tank closely approaching the camera.)

MR. CUTLIP (V/O): People...

Cut to
Int. Day - Gym

(Close shot from a low angle of Mr. Cutlip approaching the camera, which rolls back with him, accompanied by sound of marching drums.)

Of course, we in the free world need not worry about a totalitarian military...

(Close shot of Kevin frowning slightly at Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

Because all our totalitarians are busy teaching junior high school.

(Shot past the seated boys of Mr. Cutlip holding a duffle-bag over his shoulder, as he approaches them slowly and pauses.)

MR. CUTLIP: When you look back on your lives...

(Closer shot of Mr. Cutlip frowning and glancing over the boys off-screen.)

MR. CUTLIP: I want you to remember today...as the day that we turned you little boys...

(Shot of Kevin and Paul seated in the front row of boys.)

MR. CUTLIP (V/O): Into young men.

(Shot of Mr. Cutlip as he sets the bag down.)

(Shot of Kevin turning to Paul off-screen.)

KEVIN: He's got a dufflebag. I think it's basketball. (Smiles.)

(Shot of Paul smiling and making a fist excitedly.)

(Wider shot of Kevin and Paul smiling and looking around at some other boys.)

Unfortunately for Mr. Cutlip, our spirits were not yet completely crushed.

MR. CUTLIP (V/O): If you boys ...

(The boys look toward Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip frowning.)

MR. CUTLIP: Want to keep talking, we can spend the rest of the morning running laps!

(Shot of Kevin and Paul and some other boys.)

(Shot of Mr. Cutlip as he palms a basketball and slowly moves it to his left.)

MR. CUTLIP: Would anyone like to tell me...

(Mr. Cutlip moves the ball to his right.)

MR. CUTLIP: What this is?

(Close shot of Paul making a little face.)

(Shot of a boy raising his hand.)

(Close shot of Kevin looking over his shoulder toward the boy off-screen.)

(Shot of the boy with his arm up.)

Cutlip's lap-dog, Joey Harris. The kid had no self-respect.

(He drops his arm and frowns.)

JOEY: A basketball, sir?

(The boys giggle.)

(Close shot of Kevin smiling.)

MR. CUTLIP (V/O): It's much more than a basketball...

(Shot of Mr. Cutlip holding the ball.)

MR. CUTLIP: Harris. People...

(Mr. Cutlip takes a step and bounces the ball once, then holds it out again.)

MR. CUTLIP: I've got the whole world in my hands.

(Shot of Kevin and Paul looking at each other.)

MR. CUTLIP (V/O): I don't care if you're black, white...

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip as he takes a few steps bouncing the ball, and turns toward the boys off-screen.)

MR. CUTLIP: Red, or yellow.

(Shot of Kevin and Paul looking at Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

MR. CUTLIP (V/O): I'm only interested in seeing one player...

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip looking at the boys off-screen.)

MR. CUTLIP: On the basketball court. And that player's name...is Charlie Hustle. Capiche?

(Close shot of Kevin glancing off.)

Capiche. At that stage we would have agreed to nuclear war...

(Wider shot of the boys as they fidget.)

To get on the court and play.

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip frowning.)

MR. CUTLIP: But I can talk and talk strategy. There's only one way...to learn basketball.

(He pauses and looks over the boys off-screen.)

MR. CUTLIP: Diagrams.

(Wider shot from behind the boys as Mr. Cutlip flips over a blackboard.)

(The kids moan.)

Once again...

(Shot of Kevin, Paul and other boys. Kevin looks at Paul as Paul frowns and rubs his forehead.)

Mr. Cutlip had fulfilled the sacred oath of the public educator...

(Shot of Mr. Cutlip indicating plays on the blackboard and glancing at the boys off-screen.)

To take an inherently fun activity, and sap it...of every ounce of pleasure.

Fade to

Later

(Mr. Cutlip turns around from the blackboard and looks at the boys off-screen.)

MR. CUTLIP: So - I want to see heads up offense...(gestures)...and I want to see hands up defense. (Gestures.) OK? Questions...

(Mr. Cutlip takes a few steps.)

(Shot of the bored boys. Kevin has his chin on both fists, and Paul leans back on his palms.)

(Shot of Mr. Cutlip as he stops pacing.)

MR. CUTLIP: Good.

(Mr. Cutlip picks up a clipboard and looks at it.)

MR. CUTLIP: OK...let's see, four captains...

(Close shot of Kevin glancing from one side to the other.)

MR. CUTLIP (V/O): Norklen, Simeonee, Rygot, O'Hara.

(Wide shot from behind the boys as two boys stand and approach Mr. Cutlip in the background.)

MR. CUTLIP: The rest of you boys...stand up on the line. (Gestures.)

(The rest of the boys start to stand up.)

But just in case there was a little fun left in basketball...

(Shot from in front of the boys as they stand up side by side.)

MR. CUTLIP (V/O): OK!

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Paul off-screen.)

(Shot of Mr. Cutlip looking at the boys off-screen.)

MR. CUTLIP: Let's pick teams.

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

We would now be turned loose - on each other.

(Wide shot of Mr. Cutlip and the captains.)

O'HARA: I got Jenkins. (Points.)

(Shot of the line of boys as Jenkins steps forward.)

(Close shot of Rygot pointing.)

RYGOT: I got Schneider.

(Shot of Kevin and Paul watching the others off-screen.)

Picking teams. It had to be one of the most grueling rituals of childhood.

(Close shot of Norklen pointing to a boy off-screen.)

NORKLEN: Chiapa.

(Close shot of Simeonee pointing to a boy off-screen.)

SIMEONEE: I'll take Vogel.

(Shot of the line of boys as Vogel steps forward.)

But I figured it wouldn't be long now.

(Close shot of Kevin glancing sideways, then forward again.)

I had myself pegged for a second, maybe a third-round draft-choice.

(Close shot of O'Hara pointing to a boy off-screen.)

O'HARA: Evans.

(Close shot of Rygot pointing to a boy off-screen.)

RYGOT: Wheeler.

(Shot of the line of boys as Wheeler trots forward.)

(Close shot of Norklen pointing to a boy off-screen.)

NORKLEN: Platt. I guess.

(Close shot of Kevin glancing off.)

Alright - anytime now. Yep - I'm ready to play.

(Close shot of Simeonee frowning.)

SIMEONEE: Gimme...uh, Coburn, I guess.

(Close shot of O'Hara holding his finger out, scanning the boys off-screen.)

(Close shot of Kevin looking at O'Hara off-screen expectantly.)

That's right - over here, O'Hara. Keep comin'!

(Close shot of O'Hara holding his finger out toward Kevin off-screen.)

O'HARA: Gimme...Arn-

(Close shot of Kevin smiling briefly and taking a step forward.)

That's it.

(Close shot of O'Hara frowning, and gesturing toward another boy off-screen.)

O'HARA: Nah, gimme Wilson.

(Close shot of Kevin looking forward, and sighing slightly.)

Ugh.

(Close shot of Rygot.)

Alright now, Rygot.

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Rygot off-screen expectantly.)

Come on, man! Don't forget those biology notes...

(Close shot of Rygot looking at Kevin off-screen.)

RYGOT: I'll take Arnold, I guess...

(Close shot of Kevin smiling briefly and taking a step forward.)

OK!

(Wider shot of Kevin approaching the captains and chosen boys.)

Alright.

(Kevin steps behind Rygot.)

Not too bad...

(Close shot of Rygot, and Kevin behind him.)

Top half of the class...

(Close shot of Kevin smiling slightly.)

There were more than a few poor losers who were worse off than old Kevin Ar -

(Shot of Paul looking off, then forward. Some music plays.)

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Paul off-screen.)

Uhhhh...did I say losers?

(Kevin smiles awkwardly and waves slightly toward Paul off-screen.)

That's harsh.

(Wide shot of the line of boys. In a series of cuts, fewer and fewer boys remain, until it is just Paul and Joey.)

(Shot of Kevin and Rygot. Kevin frowns slightly.)

Uh-oh. This was not good.

(Wide shot of Paul and Joey.)

It was down to Paul, and Joey Harris.

(Close shot of Joey looking forward expectantly.)

(Close shot of Paul looking forward.)

To be picked late was bad.

(Shot of Rygot and Kevin.)

RYGOT: Uh...

But to be picked last?

(Close shot of Paul looking down.)

(Shot of Rygot and Kevin.)

RYGOT: I guess I'll take Harris.

(Kevin grabs Rygot and whispers to him.)

RYGOT: OK, fine...(gestures)...I'll take Pfeiffer.

(Shot of Paul walking forward.)

Cut to

The Game

(Slow-motion shot of Paul gesturing with his arms up. Music "Blue Danube Waltz" Joahnn Strauss plays throughout.)

(Slow-motion shot of Kevin with the ball, as an opposing player guards him. The camera pans with the ball as Kevin bounces it to Paul, who dribbles foprward a few steps.)

As soon as we started to play, I knew something was wrong.

(Slow-motion shot of Kevin and an opposing player, as Kevin looks at Paul off-screen.)

(Slow-motion shot of Paul and an oppososing player as Paul jumps up for a hook-shot.)

Paul was like a man possessed.

(Slow-motion shot of the basket as the ball sails over it.)

Unfortunately...

(Close slow-motion shot of Kevin watching the ball off-screen.)

He was not like a man...

(Close slow-motion shot of another team-mate frowning slightly as he watches the ball off-screen.)

Possessed of a great deal of athletic ability.

(Slow-motion shot of Kevin patting Paul on the shoulder.)

(Wider slow-motion shot of Kevin dribbling and shooting a lay-up.)

(Closer slow-motion shot of Kevin turning around as another player retrieves the ball, and slaps Kevin's hand.)

(Wider slow-motion shot of Rygot bounce-passing the ball between a defenders legs to Kevin. The camera pans with the ball as Kevin throws it to Paul. Paul passes it toward the camera, and the ball is intercepted by an opponent, who dribbles in for a lay-up. The camera pans down to Paul who frowns and sighs. Kevin approaches and pats him on the shoulder.)

(Close slow-motion shot of Mr. Cutlip turning away and frowning, then looking back toward the game.)

(Wide slow-motion shot of a group of boys. Paul is waving both arms over his head.)

(Closer slow-motion shot of Paul waving his arms.)

(Wider slow-motion shot of the group of boys. One boy passes the ball to a team-mate, and they run off-screen. Paul waves both arms at them in disappointment, and walks slowly after them.)

(Slow motion shot of Kevin approaching with the ball, then slowing up and looking for someone to pass it to.)

(Slow-motion shot of Kevin in the background being guarded by two opponents, and Paul in the forground waving his arms. Kevin passes the ball to Paul, who turns and dribbles a few times. Two of his team-mates motion for the ball, and Paul holds on to it as they try to take it from him.)

(Very close slow-motion shot of Rygot frowning into the camera.)

(Slow-motion shot of Paul mouthing "no" to another player.)

(Very close slow-motion shot of another team-mate looking into the camera and saying something.)

(Slow-motion shot of Paul looking around and mouthing "no".)

(Slow-motion shot of Kevin looking at Paul off-screen.)

Cut to

Int. - Lockers

(Normal speed shot of Paul sitting on the bench, buttoning his shirt. The music finishes the crescendo.)

(Close shot of Paul looking down.)

KEVIN (V/O): Hey, Paul.

(Paul looks up at Kevin off-screen.)

(Kevin approaches past the camera and leans against the lockers.)

(Shot past Paul of Kevin looking at him.)

KEVIN: Sure beats cross-country, huh?

(Shot past Kevin of Paul looking at him.)

PAUL: You didn't even pass it to me.

(Shot past Paul of Kevin looking at him.)

KEVIN: Well, you weren't open.

(Shot past Kevin of Paul looking at him.)

PAUL: Oh, yeah, right. I wasn't even being covered. (Frowns.)

(Shot past Paul of Kevin who fiddles with the lock on a locker.)

PAUL: I'm not that bad, am I?

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Paul off-screen.)

Ouch. The question you hoped they'd never ask.

KEVIN: No, you're not...(shrugs)...that bad.

(Close shot of Paul looking at Kevin off-screen.)

PAUL: You think I stink, don't you?

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Paul off-screen.)

KEVIN: Paul, I didn't say that. I think you're...

(Kevin glances off briefly, and shrugs.)

KEVIN: Good.

(Close shot of Paul looking at Kevin off-screen.)

PAUL: No you don't.

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Paul off-screen.)

KEVIN: Yes, I do.

(Close shot of Paul looking off.)

PAUL: Shut up...

KEVIN: Look, Paul...I think you're good - how many times do you want me to say it?! You're good, you're good, you're good!

(Shot past Kevin of Paul looking at him, then gathering his books quickly.)

PAUL: Just forget it, alright?!

(Paul hurries past Kevin and the camera.)

(Shot of Kevin frowning as Paul walks away past him.)

(Close shot of Kevin turning around and sighing slightly.)

(Shot from Kevin's perspective of Paul forcefully tossing his towel in the hamper and walking off.)

(Close shot of Kevin looking after Paul off-screen, then leaning back against the locker. He purses his lips and blows out.)

Fade to

Gym

(Shot of Mr. Cutlip holding a basketball, next to all the boys lined up behind the captains.)

Things didn't get a lot better for Paul over the next couple of weeks.

(Wide shot of Harris and Paul standing side-by-side, alone. Paul is looking down.)

BOY: I'll definitely take Harris.

(Harris walks forward past the camera. Paul looks after him.)

In fact, I guess you could say...

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Paul off-screen.)

That in the only small way they could have...

(Shot of Paul standing alone.)

Things got worse.

(Paul looks from one side to the other.)

KEVIN & PAUL (V/O): One, two, three...

Cut to

Kevin's Bedroom

(Close shot of playing cards being laid on the bedcover.)

KEVIN & PAUL (V/O): War!

(Paul has the ace of diamonds, Kevin has the ace of spades.)

(Shot of Paul and Kevin facing each other on the bed.)

KEVIN: Oh, man - matching aces!

(Shot past Kevin of Paul looking at him.)

PAUL: Yeah, Kevin - I got eyes. (Frowns.)

(Shot of Paul and Kevin each laying down three cards in sequence.)

Before long, the situation at school began to affect our home-life.

KEVIN & PAUL: One, two, three - war!

(They flip one card down, face-up.)

(Shot past Paul of Kevin smiling at the cards.)

KEVIN: Yes!

(Shot past Kevin of Paul turning away and frowning.)

In retrospect...

(Shot past Paul of Kevin smiling at the cards, then looking at Paul and frowning slightly.)

I suppose I could have done more to bolster his self-esteem.

(Shot past Kevin of Paul tossing his cards down.)

PAUL: Congratulations - I quit.

(Paul frowns and sits on the edge of the bed.)

(Shot past Paul of Kevin.)

KEVIN: Well, what do you want to do now? You wanna go shoot some hoops?

PAUL: Nah - I don't feel like it.

KEVIN: Why not?

(Shot of Paul and Kevin.)

PAUL: I just don't feel like it.

KEVIN: I'll spot ya ten points...

PAUL: Oh, don't do me any favors.

(Shot past Paul of Kevin.)

KEVIN: Oh, come on, Paul - we haven't played in two weeks.

(Shot of Paul and Kevin.)

PAUL: I said I don't feel like it. And stop bending my cards.

KEVIN: Paul...(Frowns.)

PAUL: Stop bending my cards!

How do you help a friend without ruining his ego.

(Close shot past Paul of Kevin looking at him.)

There are so many things you aren't supposed to say.

(Kevin glances off briefly.)

KEVIN: Look, Paul...just because you aren't any good in gym doesn't mean we should stop playing.

(Close shot of Paul turning slowly toward Kevin off-screen.)

Like that, for example.

(Close shot of Kevin glancing down and frowning.)

(Close shot of Paul looking at Kevin off-screen.)

(Shot of both as Paul stands up, takes the cards from Kevin, and walks past the camera.)

(Kevin frowns and turns after Paul.)

KEVIN: Paul, where are you going?

(Shot of Paul at the open doorway with his hand on the knob, looking at Kevin off-screen.)

PAUL: Home!

(Paul exits, pulling the door closed behind him.)

KEVIN (V/O): I thought you didn't have to be home -

(Close shot of Kevin sighing and glancing off.)

MR. CUTLIP (V/O): What's on your mind, son?

Cut to

Int. Day - Mr. Cutlip's Office

(Shot of Kevin leaning on the front of Mr. Cutlips's desk. Mr. Cutlip is in the seat, holding up a coffee cup.)

Direct and to the point.

(Shot past Mr. Cutlip of Kevin.)

Just take the bull by the horns.

(Kevin frowns and looks off.)

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

KEVIN: I'm here to talk about gym class, sir.

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip looking at Kevin off-screen.)

MR. CUTLIP: Physical education, son. (Nods.)

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

KEVIN: Oh. Yeah, right. Physical education. I mean, you're a really great teacher and all, and...

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip looking at Kevin off-screen.)

KEVIN (V/O): But, anyways...

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

KEVIN: About basketball and everything. I mean, it's really great, and...the diagrams are really great, and...I'm really gonna try hard, and -

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip frowning at Kevin off-screen.)

MR. CUTLIP: That's the important thing. Never...be satisfied.

(Wider shot from behind Kevin as Mr. Cutlip holds out a small bag.)

MR. CUTLIP: Jellybean?

(Close shot of Kevin looking down toward the bag, then at Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

KEVIN: But...(frowns)...it's the way we pick teams, sir.

(Shot past Kevin of Mr. Cutlip looking at him.)

MR. CUTLIP: What about it?

(Mr. Cutlip chews a jellybean.)

(Close shot of Kevin frowning and glancing off.)

KEVIN: Well, uh...

Come on - just spit it out. You're right in here.

(Kevin glances at Mr. Cutlip.)

Just say it. Simply...

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip looking at Kevin off-screen as he chews a jellybean.)

Plainly, honestly...

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

KEVIN: I just don't think it's fair, sir.

(Shot past Kevin of Mr. Cutlip looking at him.)

MR. CUTLIP: What?

(Close shot of Kevin looking down uneasily, then at Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

KEVIN: I just don't think it's fair.

(Shot past Kevin of Mr. Cutlip looking at him.)

MR. CUTLIP: "Fair?"

(Close shot of Kevin nodding slightly.)

(Shot from behind Kevin as Mr. Cutlip looks toward the ceiling.)

It was an amazing thing to watch Mr. Cutlip's...

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Mr. Cutlip off-screen. Some background music plays.)

Reaction to that word. "Fair".

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip looking up.)

It was if that simple utterance was cutting through layers of dead wood.

(Mr. Cutlip squints slightly, then sneezes.)

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

Then again, maybe not.

(Kevin frowns.)

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip frowning at Kevin off-screen.)

MR. CUTLIP: Let me get this straight.

(Mr. Cutlip glances toward the desk drawer as he noisily closes it, then looks at Kevin off-screen.)

MR. CUTLIP: You're gonna sit there and tell me...that I'm being unfair?

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Mr. Cutlip off-screen, then looking off.)

KEVIN: No, I...I mean...

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip frowning at Kevin off-screen.)

MR. CUTLIP: Life ...is not fair, Arnold! The world...(frowns)...isn't fair!

(Close shot of Kevin frowning at Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

OK...

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip frowning at Kevin off-screen.)

He's getting dangerous...

MR. CUTLIP: I have a steel plate...

(He taps his head.)

MR. CUTLIP: In my head! (Frowns.)

(Shot from behind Kevin as Mr. Cutlip stands up quickly.)

MR. CUTLIP: Do you think that's fair?! (Frowns.)

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

KEVIN: No...no, I don't!

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip frowning at Kevin off-screen.)

MR. CUTLIP: I've been teaching this class since before you were toilet-trained. But if you don't think it's fair...(frowns)...I'll tell ya what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna make some changes. And mister...

(Shot past Mr. Cutlip of Kevin looking at him.)

MR. CUTLIP (V/O): You better like 'em!

(Twang of guitar.)

Cut to

Gym

(Shot from behind the seated boys as Mr. Cutlip paces slowly in front of them.)

(Shot of the boys looking at Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

(Close shot of Paul looking at Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip as he frowns and looks at the boys off-screen.)

Oh, God.

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

That was it. "The look".

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip frowning at Kevin off-screen as he paces.)

You remember that look.

(Mr. Cutlip reverses direction, tilting his head back while looking at Kevin off-screen.)

The one that made it perfectly clear, without a word being exchanged...

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

That your teacher...

(Wider shot of Mr. Cutlip loking at the boys off-screen, then down.)

Had it in for you.

MR. CUTLIP: It has been brought to my...attention...

(Mr. Cutlip glances off as he paces. He reverses direction, looking down.)

MR. CUTLIP: That certain inequities exist in my modus operandi.

(Mr. Cutlip looks off.)

MR. CUTLIP: So today, just to be...

(He turns toward the boys.)

MR. CUTLIP: Fair...(frowns)...

(Twang of guitar as Mr. Cutlip shrugs slightly.)

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip.)

MR. CUTLIP: I thought we might make a few adjustments.

(Close shot of Kevin glancing off.)

(Close shot of Paul looking at Mr. Cutlip off-screen, then frowning, slightly puzzled.)

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip.)

MR. CUTLIP: We're going to have four new captains. Stetson, Patkus, Grimly, and...

(He looks at his clipboard and frowns, then looks up.)

MR. CUTLIP: Arnold.

(Close shot of Kevin looking slightly surprised. Twang of guitar.)

MR. CUTLIP (V/O): OK, captains...

(Close shot of Paul looking at Mr. Cutlip off-screen, slightly puzzled.)

MR. CUTLIP (V/O): Front and center.

(Close shot of Kevin frowning as he and the other boys start to get up.)

(Shot of the captains approaching the camera as the others line up.)

Well, I had to hand it to the guy. He'd figured out how to take a situation...

(Close shot of Kevin.)

That had reached rock-bottom...

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip glancing up and smiling slightly.)

(Close shot of Kevin around.)

And make it far worse.

(Wide shot of Kevin and the other captains standing side-by-side.)

He'd made me a captain - the perfect torture.

(Close shot of Stetson as he points to Rygot off-screen.)

STETSON: I got Rygot.

(Close shot of Patkus as he points to Simeonee off-screen.)

PATKUS: I like Simeonee.

(Close shot of Kevin watching them off-screen.)

GRIMLY (V/O): Uh, I got Norklen.

As if it wasn't bad enough...

(Kevin looks toward Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

Watching the other kids pick Paul last...

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip smiling and nodding slightly.)

(Close shot of Kevin frowning slightly.)

Now...

(Close shot of Paul frowning slightly.)

(Close shot of Kevin looking toward Paul off-screen.)

I was gonna have to do it, myself.

(Wide shot of the line-up of boys. Some drum music plays.)

(Close shot of Kevin frowning toward the boys off-screen.)

KEVIN: I'll take...

(Kevin glances across the boys off-screen, then smiles slightly.)

KEVIN: Pfeiffer!

(Shot of Paul looking slightly surprised. Some background music plays.)

Like a flash, it hit me.

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip frowning, and glancing from Kevin to the boys off-screen.)

I'd buck the system.

(Shot of four boys looking surprised.)

Stand up for the little guy.

(Close shot of Kevin smiling slightly.)

Win back the best friend I ever had.

(Shot of the boys as Paul walks forward, and the class laughs. Music ends.)

Or, say...

(Shot of Kevin as Paul passes the camera and stands behind him.)

PAUL: Thanks, Kevin - thanks a lot!

(Closer shot of Kevin and Paul as Kevin turns forward.)

Completely humiliate the best friend I'd ever had.

(Kevin glances off as Mr. Cutlip blows his whistle.)

MR. CUTLIP (V/O): Alright, Stetson...

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip dropping his whistle and frowning.)

MR. CUTLIP: Come on - we don't have all day...

(Shot of Stetson.)

STETSON: Uh...(smiles)...I'll take Jenkins. (Points.)

(Shot of Patkus pointing.)

PATKUS: Uh...I'll take Snyder.

(Shot of Grimly pointing.)

GRIMLY: Chiapa.

(Shot of Kevin and Paul as Kevin glances at the boys off-screen.)

MR. CUTLIP (V/O): Come on, Arnold!

(Kevin looks toward Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

(Close shot of Mr. Cutlip.)

MR. CUTLIP: Time's wasting. (Frowns.)

(Close shot of Kevin glancing at the boys off-screen.)

Suddenly, the scope of what I was about to do came into focus.

(Kevin smiles slightly.)

KEVIN: I'll take...Harris! (Smiles.)

(Wide shot of the boys as Harris walks forward. Some boys groan.)

(Shot of Kevin and Paul. Kevin smiles and Paul rubs his forehead as Harris joins them.)

(Shot of Mr. Cutlip frowning and crossing his arms, looking at the boys off-screen.)

(Shot of Kevin, Paul and Harris as Kevin points toward another boy off-screen.)

And so, one-by-one...

(Shot of four boys as one wearing glasses approaches the camera. Background music plays again.)

I picked all the worst kids in the class.

(Shot of Kevin, Paul and team-mates as Kevin points toward another boy off-screen.)

(Shot of some boys as one approaches the camera.)

Yeah, it was crazy.

(Shot of Mr. Cutlip frowning at the boys off-screen.)

(Shot of Kevin pointing toward the boys off-screen.)

But sometimes, a guy just knows what a guy's gotta do.

(Shot of a tall boy looking toward Kevin off-screen.)

(Shot of Kevin shaking his head.)

(Wider shot of the tall boy, as a nerdy-looking boy steps from behind him and approaches the camera.)

And this was one of those times.

(Shot past Kevin's team of Kevin as he turns toward them slowly.)

And when I was done, I looked at them. I looked at my team...

(Kevin frowns slightly.)

And I thought...

(Shot from behind Kevin of Kevin and his team-mates. Music ends.)

"Good...God. What have I done?"

(Close shot past the boys of Kevin looking at them.)

KEVIN: Just...aim for the basket.

(Kevin smiles and shrugs slightly.)

Cut to

The Game

("Sweet Georgia Brown" (AKA "Harlem Globetrotter's Theme") - Benny Goodman plays throughout.)

(Slow-motion shot of one of Kevin's team-mates dribbling the ball, then tossing it up toward the basket. The other team gets the rebound. A boy falls down, then Joey falls down, tripping another team-mate.)

(Close slow-motion shot of Kevin rubbing his forehead and frowning.)

(Slow-motion shot of Joey dribbling the ball very high, and approaching the camera. An opponent strips the ball from him and shoots a lay-up.)

(Slow-motion close shot of Kevin frowning as he looks over his shoulder, then rubs his forehead.)

(Slow-motion close shot of Mr. Cutlip looking at them off-screen, then smiling slightly as he looks down at his clipboard.)

(Slow-motion shot of Paul as an opponent approaches him with the ball.)

(Slow-motion closer shot of Paul dodging one way as the opponent passes him.)

(Wider slow-motion shot of Paul looking over his shoulder as the opponent drives to the basket and shoots a lay-up.)

(Slow-motion shot of Kevin and some others as a team-mate approaches with the ball. He shoots, but the ball is blocked by an opponent. Joey gets the ball, which is then stolen from him.)

(Wider slow-motion shot of Joey looking after the opponent with the ball, as they approach and pass the camera.)

(Slow-motion close shot of Kevin frowning and blinking.)

(Slow-motion close shot of Mr. Cutlip smiling.)

(Slow-motion shot of Joey passing the ball.)

(Wider slow-motion shot of a group of boys jumping up for the ball. An opponent gets it and shoots a jump-shot.)

(Slow-motion close shot of Kevin frowning and rubbing his forehead.)

(Slow-motion close shot of Mr. Cutlip smiling slightly as he glances up from his clipboard.)

(Wide slow-motion shot of an opponent shooting a lay-up.)

(Slow-motion close shot of Kevin as an opponent runs past him.)

(Wide slow-motion shot of an opponent shooting a short jump-shot.)

(Slow-motion close shot of Kevin frowning as he looks over his shoulder.)

(Wide slow-motion shot of an opponent shooting a short jump-shot.)

(Slow-motion close shot of Kevin looking off.)

(Slow-motion shot of an opponent shooting a short jump-shot.)

(Slow-motion close shot of Kevin rubbing his forehead.)

(Five slow-motion shots of five different opponents shooting a short jump-shot.)

(Four slow-motion shots of the ball going in the basket.)

(Wide slow-motion shot of Kevin as he passes the ball. The camera pans to Paul as he catches the ball, and bounce-passes it toward the camera. The camera pans with the ball as an opponent intercepts it, then passes it to a team-mate.)

(Slow-motion shot of the opponent shooting the basket. The camera pans with the ball as it goes in the basket.)

(Normal speed shot of Kevin as he makes a time-out signal. The music ends.)

KEVIN: Time!

(Shot of Mr. Cutlip looking up from his clipboard and smirking.)

(Shot of Kevin taking a few steps and turning toward the camera as his team-mates huddle around him.)

KEVIN: What's the matter with you guys?! (Frowns.)

(Close shot of Paul frowning at Kevin off-screen.)

KEVIN (V/O): You're not even getting back on defense.

(Shot of Kevin and his team-mates.)

(Closer shot of one boy.)

(Shot of Kevin and the guys.)

KEVIN: Harold. You gotta box your man in a little bit. If he gives you the inside lane, go for it. What we've gotta do is pass the ball. We gotta have teamwork.

(Kevin looks at each of his team-mates.)

It was like watching sea-monkeys come to life.

(Close shot of Kevin looking at them off-screen.)

Not as impressive as you'd hoped...

(Close shot of Joey looking down.)

But at least they were wiggling.

(Close shot of Kevin looking around the guys.)

KEVIN: Alright, gather 'round here.

(Kevin kneels.)

Maybe, just maybe...

(Close shot of Paul as he shrugs slightly and kneels.)

This could work.

(Shot past Paul of Kevin.)

Sure, we were out-manned.

(Shot past Kevin of Paul.)

But we had the brains.

(Kevin glances toward another boy off-screen.)

(Shot of a team-mate nodding.)

If we worked together as a team...

(Close shot of Joey looking down.)

If we used our heads and our hearts...

(Shot past Paul of Kevin.)

And our souls...

(Close shot of another team-mate nodding slightly.)

We could beat these guys.

(Shot of Kevin smiling as he stands up.)

KEVIN: OK - we can do this.

(Music starts again.)

(Slow-motion shot of one of Kevin's team-mates passing the ball to another team-mate, who tosses it to a third team-mate, who passes it to Kevin. Kevin tosses the ball.)

(Slow-motion shot of Joey and two opponents as he catches the ball. Joey throws it - out of bounds.)

(Slow-motion shot of Kevin frowning as he turns toward the camera and rubs his forehead.)

Unfortunately, we were not only very unathletic, we were also...very stupid.

(Close slow-motion shot of Kevin with the ball, being defended.)

(Slow-motion shot of Paul standing with his hand on his hip.)

(Wider slow-motion shot of Kevin passing the ball to Paul.)

(Closer slow-motion shot of Paul holding the ball as a defender runs past him and steals the ball.)

(Wider slow-motion shot of the guys as the one boy shots a lay-up.)

(Close shot motion shot of Kevin frowning.)

(Slow-motion shot of Paul turning, and walking up the court.)

And we had a very bad attitude.

(Normal-speed shot of Kevin bouncing the ball angrily. The music stops. Paul passes the camera.)

KEVIN: What are you doing?!

(Shot past Kevin of Paul looking at him.)

PAUL: I'm playing basketball. Maybe you've heard of it?

(Shot past Paul of Kevin looking at him.)

KEVIN: You're not even trying!

(Shot past Kevin of Paul looking at him.)

PAUL: So what? Just leave me alone. (Frowns.)

(Shot past Paul of Kevin looking at him.)

KEVIN: No, I won't! That play was pathetic!

(Closer shot past Kevin of Paul shaking his head.)

PAUL: Who cares...(Frowns.)

(Closer shot past Paul of Kevin looking at him.)

KEVIN: Look - I know you're not this bad.

(Close shot of Paul looking at Kevin off-screen.)

PAUL: Well, maybe I am.

(Close shot past Paul of Kevin looking at him.)

KEVIN: Well maybe if you got off your butt a little bit, you might be doin' better!

(Shot of Paul glancing around as kids laugh.)

PAUL: Gimme the ball.

KEVIN: Nope. Forget it.

(Kevin holds the ball up, slightly behind him.)

KEVIN: Not if you're not gonna try.

(Close shot past Kevin of Paul looking at him.)

PAUL: I said - give me the ball.

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Paul off-screen a moment, then tossing the ball to him.)

(Wider shot of Paul, Kevin and an opponent as Paul catches the ball. Paul turns and starts to dribble as Kevin runs up court past the camera.)

And then it happened.

(Close slow-motion shot of Kevin looking at Paul off-screen. Some dramatic music plays.)

It was the miracle.

(Slow-motion shot of Paul dribbling past an opponent.)

(Slow-motion shot of Kevin and another boy looking at Paul off-screen.)

It was the impossible.

(Slow-motion shot of Paul as he leaps up for a hook-shot.)

(A successions of two closer slow-motion shots and one wider slow-motion shot of Paul shooting the ball.)

It was the dream come true.

(Close slow-motion shot of Kevin looking up at the ball off-screen.)

(Slow-motion shot of the ball in mid-air.)

(Slow-motion shot of Joey and an opponent watching the ball off-screen.)

(Close slow-motion shot of an opponent watching the ball off-screen.)

(Close slow-motion shot of another opponent watching the ball off-screen.)

(Closer slow-motion shot of the ball in mid-air.)

(Close slow-motion shot of Paul looking after the ball off-screen.)

(Slow-motion shot of Mr. Cutlip on the sideline, looking forward, as the ball hits him on the top of his head.)

(Closer slow-motion shot of Mr. Cutlip as the ball bounces away, and he stumbles backward as he makes a face.)

(Close shot of Paul looking surprised.)

(Close shot of Kevin looking toward Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

(Slow-motion shot of Mr. Cutlip as he squeezes his arms across his chest and spits out a red jellybean.)

(Close normal speed shot of the jellybean as it bounces onto the floor. Music ends.)

(Close shot of Paul looking toward Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

(Close shot of Kevin looking toward Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

(Shot of Mr. Cutlip bent over holding his throat as he coughs and walks away.)

(Close shot of Kevin looking toward Mr. Cutlip off-screen.)

(Shot of Mr. Cutlip coughing and walking toward the door. He reaches for the handle, and bumps his head on the door. He adjusts his hat and exits through the door.)

(Close shot of Paul laughing.)

(Shot of two other boys laughing.)

(Close shot of Kevin laughing.)

In that instant...

(Shot of Joey and another boy laughing.)

(Close shot of Paul laughing.)

That brief ping of rubber against steel...

(Close shot of Kevin laughing.)

Basketball...became fun again.

Cut to

The Game

("Sweet Georgia Brown" (AKA "Harlem Globetrotter's Theme") - Benny Goodman plays throughout.)

(Slow-motion shot of Paul guarding an opponent who passes the ball past Paul to a team-mate.)

(Closer slow-motion shot of Paul as he tips the ball as it is passed by him again.)

(Wider slow-motion shot of an opponent diving after the ball, and getting tackled by other players.)

(Different slow-motion shot of Kevin rising with the ball and smiling.)

Fade to

Later

(Slow-motion shot of Kevin, Paul and some opposing players as an opponent approaches them with the ball. Paul jumps up and catches the ball as the boy passes it. Paul looks mildly surprised.)

(Closer slow-motion shot of Paul holding the ball, then smiling and dribbling past the camera as the boys follow.)

(Slow-motion shot of Paul dribbling the ball under one leg, then the other, as an opponent tries to defend him.)

(Slow-motion shot of an opponent being defended by Joey. Another opponent approaches behind Joey and pulls his gym shorts down.)

(Close slow-motion shot of Paul laughing.)

(Close slow-motion shot of Kevin laughing.)

Fade to

Later

(Slow-motion shot of an opponent driving the lane and shooting a lay-up. Paul stumbles and falls down.)

Well, we still got slaughtered.

(Slow-motion close shot of Paul smiling as an opponent offers his hand and helps him up.)

But for the first time in a long time, it just didn't seem to matter.

(Kevin has the ball over his head in the background, and passes it it in.)

Fade to

Later

(Slow-motion shot of Paul dribbling, and Kevin next to him. Paul pauses, then tosses the ball away.)

(Slow-motion shot of Joey catching the ball, then travelling, and shooting.)

(Low slow-motion shot of the basket as the ball bounces in.)

MALE (V/O): Yes, that was that cat, alright.

(Slow-motion shot of Joey smiling and turning around, then shaking his arms. Other boys congratulate him and pat him on the shoulder.)

And Paul and I got back to the way things used to be.

(Slow-motion shot as Paul turns toward Kevin and they do a double high-five.)

(Music "You've Got A Friend" - James Taylor starts and plays throughout.)

(Kevin pats Paul on the shoulder and moves away, smiling.)

Cut to

Ext. Day - Arnold Driveway

(Normal speed shot from the curb up the driveway of Kevin and Paul playing basketball. Paul is narrating his play.)

(Paul shoots, and gets the rebound.)

(Paul dribbles, with his back to the basket, as Kevin defends him.)

"When you're down and troubled"

Fade to

Ext. Sunset - Basketball Court

(Slow-motion shot of two adults playing basketball, silhouetted against the low sun.)

"And you need a helpin' hand"

The way they would stay...

(One player shoots the ball.)

For many years to come.

"When nothin' is goin' right"

(The other player gets the rebound.)

"Close your eyes and think of me"

(He misses a shot and they both jump for the ball. The first player runs after it.)

"And soon I will be there"

(The first player dribbles to the top of the key.)

"To lighten up even your darkest night"

(He drives in, then out again.)

"You just call out my name"

(He shoots a hook-shot, which sails over the backboard.)

"And you know wherever I am"

(The second player trots after the ball and retrieves it. The first player spread his arms out.)

Fade to

CLOSING CREDITS

"I'll come runnin', oh yeah, baby"
"To see you again"

Supporting Cast
Mr. Cutlip - Robert Picardo

Music
"You've Got A Friend" - James Taylor
"Blue Danube Waltz" - Johann Strauss
"Sweet Georgia Brown" - Benny Goodman

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12/25/04 22:43