Finding Forrester

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Finding Forrester is a 2000 film, about a teenager, Jamal Wallace, played by Rob Brown, who is accepted into a prestigious private high school. He also befriends a reclusive writer, William Forrester, played by Sean Connery.

Written by Mike Rich. Directed by Gus Van Sant.
In an ordinary place, he found the one person to make his life extraordinary.

William Forrester[edit]

  • [to Jamal] What you write in this apartment stays in this apartment. No exceptions.
  • The key to a woman's heart is an unexpected gift at an unexpected time.
  • No thinking — that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is... to write, not to think!
  • My name is...William Forrester. [put on glasses] Excuse me. [drinking a water; pointing to a 'writers's wall of fame picture] I'm that one.
  • Bolt the door, if you're coming in.
  • Why is it that the words that we write for ourselves are always so much better than the words we write for others?
  • Punch the keys, for God's sake!
  • Yes! YES! You're the man now, dawg!
  • [Jamal opens the letter] Dear Jamal, Someone I once knew wrote that we walk away from our dreams afraid that we may fail or worse yet, afraid we may succeed. You need to know that while I knew so very early that you would realize your dreams, I never imagined I would once again realize my own. Seasons change young man, and while I may have waited until the winter of my life, to see the things I've seen this past year, there is no doubt I would have waited too long, had it not been for you.

Jamal Wallace[edit]

  • I'll take poor assumptions for $800, Alex
  • Man, You William, You too scared man....

Terell Wallace[edit]

  • They always let you get but so far... before they take everything away from you.


Jamal: Women will sleep with you if you write a book?
Forrester: Women will sleep with you if you write a bad book.

Jamal: I ain't seen nothin' change.
Forrester: You 'ain't seen nothin'? What the hell kind of sentence is that?!

Jamal: You ever enter one of those?
Forrester: Writing contest?
Jamal: Yeah.
Forrester: Once, long time ago.
Jamal: Did you win?
Forrester: Well of course I won!
Jamal: Like money or somethin’?
Forrester: The Pulitzer.


Jamal: I came back to see, if you could help me out with my writing.
Forrester: Here's one: 5,000 words on why you'll stay the fuck out of my home!

Forrester: In some cultures it's good luck to be wearing something inside-out.
Jamal: And you believe that?
Forrester: No, but it's like praying: what do you risk?

Forrester: Paragraph three starts...with a conjunction, "and." You should never start a sentence with a conjunction.
Jamal: Sure you can.
Forrester: No, it's a firm rule.
Jamal: No, it was a firm rule. Sometimes using a conjunction at the start of a sentence makes it stand out. And that may be what the writer's trying to do.
Forrester: And what is the risk?
Jamal: Well the risk is doing it too much. It's a distraction. And it could give your piece a run-on feeling. But for the most part, the rule on using "and" or "but" at the start of a sentence is pretty shaky. Even though it's still taught by too many professors. Some of the best writers have ignored that rule for years, including you.

Forrester: No conventional greetings today?
Jamal: Why have me rewrite something you published?
Forrester: Be careful when you take this.
Jamal: Why didn't you tell me some magazine ran it?
Forrester: Why the hell should it matter?
Jamal: You should have told me.
Forrester: What did you do with it?
Jamal: I turned it in. I turned it in. I had to show them something.
Forrester: You promised me anything we wrote in here would stay in here.
Jamal: I know. I know. I know! I just thought...
Forrester: Shut up. What are they telling you?
Jamal: I go on probation unless I write a letter saying I was wrong.
Forrester: Then write the letter.
Jamal: Look, I already told you I'm not reading or writing anything.
Forrester: If you got him, he gets you. Write the letter.
Jamal: And then, you'd let him do that? Is this supposed to be some kind of another lesson? I'm getting tired of all of these lessons. Whenever every time I come here. And the title of your essay is right at the top of my paper. What's the lesson in that?
Forrester: I'm not the one who turned it in.
Jamal: Then you talked all that trash when all you had to say was: "Jamal, keep this one in here because it already got printed in the New Yorker." That's all you had to say. Maybe I could use a little help.
Forrester: No, that's not an option.
Jamal: You don't even have to go anywhere.
Forrester: I said, that's not an option.
Jamal: I'm sorry, man. I'm getting used to people not helping out with me.
Forrester: Oh, Christ. Not that self-pity father bullshit.
Jamal: What did you say? Man, fuck you, William! You wanna know what the real bullshit is? How letting me taking it on this one 'cause you're too damn scared to head out that door and do something for somebody else. You're too damn scared, man! That's the only damn reason.
Forrester: You don't know a goddamn thing about reasons. There are no reasons! Reasons why some of us live and why some of us don't! Well, fortunately for you, you have decades to figure that out.
Jamal: Yeah! And what's the reason in having a file cabinet full of writing and keeping the shit locked so nobody can ever read it, huh? What is that, man? I'm done with this shit.

Forrester: I have a homeland that I have not seen for too long.
Jamal: Oh, you mean Ireland?
Forrester: No! Scotland, for God's sakes!
Jamal: I'm messing with you, man! You should have been write.

[While Jamal is typing on Forrester's typewriter]
Forrester: Punch the keys, for God's sake!
[Jamal begins to hit the keys harder]
Forrester: Yes... Yes! You're the man now, dawg!

It should be noted that this particular line has become a popular internet meme, leading to the creation of sites such as YTMND.

Jamal: We've been talking about your book at school.
Forrester: People have been talking about it for years. They just haven't been saying anything.
Jamal: I think I got it down, though. I figure you were writing about how life never works out.
Forrester: Really? You had to read a book to figure that out?

Forrester: About those free-throws...Did you miss them? Or did you "miss" them?
Jamal: [Smirks] Not exactly a soup question, now is it?

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