Saturday, December 15, 2012

Dialogue between Teacher and Student from Lions For Lambs

I simply liked the movie Lions For Lambs for its simplicity and the way it touches the aspects of politics from grass roots to top brass. However the dialogue between Dr. Malley and his student Todd is something which sets the perspective for events in the movie.

Though focused on issues of society and country it makes a good lesson for other aspects of life too.

Here is the listing:

Malley: They went to these high schools in the area where they grew up, godforsaken places that bear no resemblance to the schools you went to.

The first guys to sign up to fight are the ones this country doesn't treat well.

Malley: On the flip side, you got kids that can take advantage of every gift this country has.

Todd: Like me?

Malley: Usually they're the first ones to take a big step back when it comes time for volunteers.

Todd: Are you recruiting me?

Malley: Recruiting you?

Todd: You sold the army to Ernest and Arian and now you're... you're trying to sell it to me.

Malley: Three guys in that photo never came home.

Malley: So I'm supposed to go implement Arian and Ernie's junior-year project, even though that thing sounds like a fairy tale to me?

Todd: You gave them an A for that?

Malley: I gave them a B plus.

Todd: What?

B plus. They were loose on stats.

Todd: I heard. Why don't you tell me about students who got an A?

Malley: Cos I don't remember them right now.

Todd: So attendance is a prerequisite for you, but grades aren't?

Malley: You're onto the secret now, Todd. It's called potential. That's a far better signal of what you might do than getting an A in some class you might forget about in two years.                
Malley: Todd, what good is a $90,000 Benz if there's not only not enough gas in the tank but the streets and highways are decaying to the point of becoming Third World?                            
If all your rants about Congress and politics are true, Todd, if things are really bad, as bad as you say they are, when thousands of American troops are dead and more are dying as we speak, you tell me, how can you enjoy the good life?

Rome is burning, son, and the problem is not with the people that started this. They're past irredeemable. The problem's with us - all of us - who do nothing, who just fiddle, who try to manoeuvre around the edges of the flame.

And I'll tell you something, there are people out there fighting to make things better. You think it's better to try and fail than fail to try?

Todd: But what if you end up in the same place?

Malley: At least you did something.

Malley: Here's my last bit, so bear with me.

The decisions you make now, bud, can't be changed but with years and years of hard work to redo it. And in those years you become something different. Everybody does as time passes. You get married, you get into debt. But you're never gonna be the same person you are right now.

And promise and potential...

It's very fickle.

And it just might not be there any more.

Todd: Are you assuming I already made a decision? And also that I'll live to regret it?

Malley: All I'm saying is that you're an adult now. And the tough thing about adulthood is that it it starts before you even know it starts, when you're already a dozen decisions into it.

But what you need to know, Todd, no lifeguard's watching any more. You're on your own. You're your own man, and the decisions you make now are yours and yours alone from here until the end.

Todd: So, what, you don't want my decision?

Malley: Class meets again Tuesday at nine.