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A group of young recruits go through boot camp during the Second World War in Biloxi Mississippi. From the play by Neil Simon.
Eugene Morris Jerome: Man it's hot. It's like Africa hot. Tarzan couldn't take this kind of hot.
Sergeant Toomey: What would you do if the entire Japanese Army were behind you? Eugene Morris Jerome: Surrender and get some sleep.
Sergeant Toomey: You would need three promotions to get to be an asshole.
[the boys are waiting their turn to see a prostitute] Eugene Morris Jerome: Hey, what if she's ugly. I mean, really ugly. Selridge: Then you close your eyes and you think of some cheerleader. Eugene Morris Jerome: I don't want to close my eyes, that's the same as doing it to yourself. Selridge: Not if you're feeling someone underneath you, or on top of you. Eugene Morris Jerome: On top of me? Who would be on top of me? Selridge: She would. She could be anywhere. Under a table, on a chair, or an ironing board. Eugene Morris Jerome: On an ironing board? What kind of girl is this? I thought we were going to a regular place. Selridge: Don't you know anything? Eugene Morris Jerome: Maybe not in actual experience, but I have all the information I need. Selridge: You don't know shit, Jerome. Do you know how many positions there are? Eugene Morris Jerome: American or worldwide? Carney: (laughs) This guy is a riot. Selridge: For five bucks, how many positions are there? Eugene Morris Jerome: Let me think. Selridge: Do you want me to tell you? Eugene Morris Jerome: No. Selridge: I'm gonna tell you. There are seventeen acceptable positions. Eugene Morris Jerome: Acceptable? What is there, an Olympic committee that votes on positions. Carney: I can't believe this guy is from New York. Eugene Morris Jerome: Besides, you're wrong. There's fifty-two positions. Selridge: Fifty-two? You're crazy. Where did you ever get that from? Eugene Morris Jerome: I saw a dirty deck of cards once. Selridge: This jerk is worse than Epstein. Eugene Morris Jerome: You owe me five bucks. Selridge: Hey, listen, twerp. You're lucky if you do one position. Eugene Morris Jerome: I'm not doing anything if it's on an ironing board. Carney: Why not? You'll get your shirt pressed for free.
Sergeant Toomey: Hey, Fred Astaire, you tryin' to tell me something? Arnold Epstein: I have to go to the bathroom, sergeant. Sergeant Toomey: You can't do that. We don't have "bathrooms" in the Army. Arnold Epstein: They had them at Fort Dix. Sergeant Toomey: Not bathrooms, they didn't Arnold Epstein: Yes, they did. I went in them a lot. Sergeant Toomey: I'm tellin' you, we don't have any "bathrooms" on this base. Do you doubt my veracity? Arnold Epstein: No, sergeant. Sergeant Toomey: Then you've got a problem, don't you Epstein? Arnold Epstein: Ho ho. Sergeant Toomey: You bet your ass ho ho. You know why you've got a problem? Arnold Epstein: Because I've got to go real bad. Sergeant Toomey: No, son. You've got a problem because you don't know Army terminology. The place where a U.S. soldier goes to defecate, relieve himself, open his bowel, shit, fart, dump, crap, and unload, is called the latrine. The la-trine, from the French.
Eugene Morris Jerome: Carney, you're first. You're gonna be dead. Killed in action. What do you want to do with the last few days of your life? Carney: I'd sing at Radio City Music Hall. Five shows a day, my own spot. In the audience are five thousand screaming, gorgeous girls and every one of them wants me. And there's one man, the president of Decca Records, and he wants to give me a big contract, and I have to make a choice. Selridge: [whispering] Take the record contract. I would take the record contract. Carney: Right. Right, I'd take the record contract. Selridge: Ha! Moron! He coulda humped five thousand girls and now he's got a record contract that ain't worth shit! Carney: Wrong. 'Cause now I'm a big star and everyone knows that stars get all the girls they want. Selridge: Oh, yeah? How? You're dead! Girls don't go out with dead record stars!
Sergeant Toomey: Tell me, Jerome, if a piss drunk sergeant has a loaded .45 pointed at the head of a piece of dung that the piss drunk sergeant hates and despises, how would you describe the situation? Eugene Morris Jerome: Delicate. Extremely delicate. Sergeant Toomey: Right. I'll be honest with you, Jerome. It was my intention of getting Epstein in here, and putting this pistol to his ear, and blowing a tunnel through his head. But you'll do just as well. Eugene Morris Jerome: I'm sorry to hear that. Sergeant Toomey: There's something about you New York boys that riles my ass. You don't appreciate the Army, do you? Eugene Morris Jerome: There are some things I like. Sergeant Toomey: Such as? Eugene Morris Jerome: Mail. I like getting my mail. Sergeant Toomey: You shittin' me, Jerome? Eugene Morris Jerome: A piece of dung would never shit a piss drunk sergeant with a loaded .45.
Arnold Epstein: Why do you think I'm a homosexual? Eugene Morris Jerome: I guess it's because you never talk about girls. Arnold Epstein: I never talk about dogs either. Does that make me a cocker spaniel?
Joseph Wykowski: [at chow] I suppose you think you're funny, Jerome? Jerome: No, I think you're funny, Wykowski; you forgot to eat your aluminum tray!
Arnold Epstein: You're a witness. You're always standing around watching what's happening, scribbling in your book what other people do. You have to get in the middle of it. You have to take sides. Make a contribution to the fight. Any fight. The one you believe in.
Arnold Epstein: Once you start compromising your thoughts, you're a candidate for mediocrity.
Rowena: What's your name, honey? Eugene Morris Jerome: It's Eug... Rowena: Huge? Eugene Morris Jerome: It's a HUGE name. It's Jack Bobby Lou Mulgreevey. Rowena: Where you from, Bobby Lou? Eugene Morris Jerome: [affecting a Southern accent] "Texarkana..." Rowena: Is that Arkansas or Texas? Eugene Morris Jerome: Arkansas, I think... Rowena: You think? Eugene Morris Jerome: Well, I was just born there. When I was two we moved to Georgia. Rowena: You a cracker? Eugene Morris Jerome: What's a cracka? Rowena: Someone from Georgia. Eugene Morris Jerome: Oh. Yeah, I'm a cracka...
Joseph Wykowski: I've got three enemies now, Jerome. The Japs, the Germans, and you! Eugene Morris Jerome: I wasn't in on that Pearl Harbor thing. [Epstein, who has a problem with flatulence, selects the bunk next to Selridge] Arnold Epstein: Is this bunk taken? Selridge: Oh, no! I don't mind dyin', but I don't wanna get my nose blown off...
Joseph Wykowski: [reading from Eugene's journal] One night, a sudden scream from Selridge calling out the name Louise. Is Louise his girlfriend or his mother?
Toomey: Epstein, Arnold B. Arnold Epstein: Ho, ho! Toomey: Are there two Arnold Epsteins in this company? Arnold Epstein: No, sergeant. Toomey: But I heard more than one Ho. Arnold Epstein: Yes, sergeant. Toomey: Epstein, Arnold B. Arnold Epstein: Ho! Toomey: One more time. Arnold Epstein: Ho! Toomey: Do I make myself clear, Epstein? Arnold Epstein: Ho! Toomey: Do I make myself clear, Jerome? Jerome: Ho, yes! Toomey: Ho what? Jerome: Ho nothing! Toomey: Are you having trouble understanding me, Jerome? Jerome: Ho no. I mean, no ho, sergent. Just plain ho.
[Eugene is trying to make "small talk" with Rowena] Eugene Morris Jerome: Are you from Biloxi? Rowena: No, Gulfport. My husband, too. Eugene Morris Jerome: Your husband? You're married? My God, he'll KILL me if he finds me here! Rowena: No he won't. Eugene Morris Jerome: Yes he will! Rowena: He won't. He's in the service. He knew about me before we were married. He's my best customer... Eugene Morris Jerome: Customer? You charge your own husband? Rowena: I mean he's my best lover.
Sergeant Toomey: In the past twenty-one days, you boys have made some fine progress. You're not fighting soldiers yet, but I'd match you up against some Nazi cocktail waitress anytime.
Sergeant Toomey: Epstein, Arnold B. Arnold Epstein: Ho, ho! Sergeant Toomey: Are there two Arnold Epsteins in this company? Arnold Epstein: No, Sergeant. Sergeant Toomey: Then just give me one Goddamn ho! Arnold Epstein: Yes, Sergeant. Sergeant Toomey: Epstein, Arnold B. Arnold Epstein: Ho!
Eugene Morris Jerome: Why is it that we come from the same place but I can't understand you? Arnold Epstein: You're a witness. You're always standing around watching what's happening, scribbling in your book what other people do. You have to get in the middle of it. You have to take sides. Make a contribution to the fight. Eugene Morris Jerome: What fight? Arnold Epstein: Any fight. One you believe in. Until you do you'll never be a writer Eugene.
Arnold Epstein: I would like to make Sergeant Merwyn J. Toomey do 200 push-ups in front of this platoon.
Sergeant Toomey: [to Epstein] I'm out there trying to save those boys' lives, you crawling bookworm. Stand in my way - and I'll PULVERIZE YA! Into chicken droppings!
Sergeant Toomey: I never had men do push ups in bed before but I could start tonight.
Eugene Morris Jerome: [narrating] We were headed for The Battle of the Pacific, and there wasn't one of us who wasn't really scared. But a week later they dropped The Bomb on Japan, and we never did see any action, outside of Rowena's place. We were glad our lives were spared, but the thought of those who went before us, especially those who didn't come back, haunts me to this day.
Daisy: Eugene, you didn't say one wrong thing in that whole conversation.
Eugene Morris Jerome: Oh well, Biloxi was beautiful.
[Rowena has divested herself of most of her clothing and is on the bed; beckons to Eugene] Rowena: All right, now... come to mama. Eugene Morris Jerome: [petrified] Please, don't say..."come to mama."
Eugene Morris Jerome: [mocking Sgt. Toomey in the mess hall] You have a good meal now, you hear. [to the guys at the table] Eugene Morris Jerome: . I've got to make you men strong. Because tonight, we're going to march the platoon off a 3,000 foot cliff. Dying makes a man out of you. I died in the war, they cremated me. And they buried the ashes, right here in my skull.
Toomey: [Wykowski and Epstein have a near-altercation after lights out. Toomey confronts them] What the hell is going on here? James J. Hennesey: Nothing Sarge. Toomey: What do you mean "nothing" Hennesey? I heard threats. Challenges. Invitations to bust the noses of minority races. You're still going to tell me that nothing is going on? James J. Hennesey: Yes, sir. Toomey: I see. [Hands out punishment in the form of push-ups to randomly selected recruits]
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