The United States of Leland
The United States of Leland is a 2003 film about a meek teenaged boy named Leland P. Fitzgerald who has inexplicably committed a shocking murder. In the wake of the killing, his teacher in prison tries to understand the senseless crime, while the families of the victim and the perpetrator struggle to cope with the aftermath.
- Written and directed by Matthew Ryan Hoge.
Leland P. Fitzgerald
- 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?
- You want a why. Well, maybe there isn't one. Maybe...maybe this is just something that happened.
- The worst part is knowing that there is goodness is 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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 each other in the eye. And I feel it. I feel all of their sadness. I feel it probably worse than that sad old couple or that corny kid will ever feel it.
- 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.
- Mrs. Calderon: You have to believe that life is more than the sum of its parts, kiddo.
- Lady on Airplane: Aren't you an actor?
- Albert Fitzgerald: Aren't we all, dear.