One Trick Pony

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One-Trick Pony is a 1980 film written by and starring Paul Simon. Simon portrays Jonah, a once famous musician attempting to record a new album in the face of losing popularity.

Directed by Robert M. Young. Written by Paul Simon.
Rock 'n' roll will give you some laughs...but it won't do you any favors.

Jonah Levin

  • Well, what do you expect? "A grown man living in a kid's world." What do you think I'm doing out there? Cashing in my E tickets for a ride through the Magic Kingdom? You think I'm playing my gigs in The Haunted House?
  • See, it's not that we don't want to have our heart torn out, it's just that we're trying to make a ballsy record here.
  • [Reading Matty's song lyrics to Marion] "Hey, baby, don't be cruel. I'm gonna pick you up and we'll have a date at the pizza parlor. You can have a pizza, and I can have one, too. But you didn't want a pizza, so I said 'So long, babe.'" See that? And you were worried that he was going to be a songwriter.


Hare Krishna: [Offering Jonah a book] You said that your mind is troubled, why don't you check it out, brother?
Jonah: You know, this is such a minor point, I hate to even bring it up but... I have a brother.
Hare Krishna: We're all brothers.
Jonah: No, I mean I have a real brother.
Hare Krishna: We're all real brothers!
Jonah: Well, this real brother used to sleep in the other bed in my room.
Hare Krishna: Look, look, all I'm saying to you is if you want to purify your existence, get into your spiritual self, check it out.
[Jonah accepts the book]
Hare Krishna: Okay, okay, Hare Krishna!
Jonah: [Softly, as he walks away] Okay, okay, Harry Chapin.

Clarence Franklin: Hey, Jonah, what time’s the first set?
Jonah: Clarence, come right in! Taking a bath’s usually a private moment for me. But I don’t mind sharing this time with you.
Clarence Franklin: What time’s the first set?
Jonah: Nine o’clock. But we leave at about 8:15.
Clarence Franklin: [looking at Jonah’s genitals] That’s it, huh?
Jonah: I am, after all, a Caucasian.
Clarence Franklin: I understand, and I sympathize.

Jonah: Hey... Cal van Damp. What's the good word with you?
Cal van Damp: Well, you're the bright boy, I figured you'd know.
Jonah: Steatopygous.
Cal van Damp: What?
Jonah: Steatopygous. It means a large rump, a fat ass.
Cal van Damp: Why's that the good word?
Jonah: Well, it's like, see, what if I was to—if I was to say to you, "Cal, you have a very fat ass.", you could be offended. But if I say, "Hey! Good evening, Cal. You sure look steatopygous.", then you don't know what the fuck I'm talking about, do you?
Cal van Damp: Hope you don't have any plans for getting your records played on any radio stations.
Jonah: Not really, no.
Cal van Damp: Well you shouldn't, 'cause you won't get any.

Jonah: Well, what was I supposed to say? "Yes, Walter, I am sort of fucking your wife"?
Lonnie Fox: Is that what we're doing? Sort of fucking?

Marion: You don't always have to be sarcastic.
Jonah: Well, I'm not always sarcastic. Well, I was sarcastic in the late seventies, maybe '77, '78, but really, since... February '79 I have hardly been sarcastic.

Marion: It's the longest adolescence I have ever seen. Well, admit it, in six years, you'll be forty years old. Now, you've gone directly from adolescence to middle age.
Jonah: In six years I'll be forty years old. In sixteen years, I'll be fifty years old. In twenty-six years, I'll be sixty years old. In a mere sixty-six years, I'll be a hundred years old.

Jonah: The fern is doing very well.
Marion: Yes, the fern is doing well, it's doing very, very well.
Jonah: You spray it regularly, do ya?
Marion: I spray it every day, I talk to it, give it lots of encouragement.
Jonah: [whispering] You haven't told her about our separation?
Marion: No, absolutely not. I didn't think it would be wise at this time, it's just beginning to sprout new leaves.

Marion: What are you so afraid of? That young girls won't like you on the road?
Jonah: I'll tell you what I'm afraid of, I'm afraid of you boring me to tears. Yeah, you know, Marion, you know, you used to, you know—YOU'RE SO FUCKING BORING!
[Marion starts crying, Jonah hugs her]
Jonah: I-I'm sorry. I don't know what you want. You want me to drive a cab? You want me to give guitar lessons to 13-year-old kids? I'm a player, that's what I do.
Marion: No, I just want—I just wanted... I just wish that when you were here, you were really here. I mean, really with us. Not just sleeping here, or talking on the phone here, or trying to write songs here, but... here. A family. The road is the road. This was supposed to be home.

Clarence Franklin: What about our bread?
Jonah: What about our bread?
Clarence Franklin: Let me tell you something. We've been friends a long time. But I can't live on no $400 a week. It doesn't cover my alimony or my dope bills.
Danny Duggin: What dope bills? You haven't bought anything in years!
Clarence Franklin: Fuck you, years!
Jonah: You're not the only one with alimony and dope bills.

Jonah: You got any percodans?
Marion: No, but I got some aspirin in the bathroom. What's wrong?
Jonah: Pain, uh... I got a pain.
Marion: You really should watch it, you know, you just like to take pills.
Jonah: Who, me? That's the truth.
Marion: You sound like Matty.
Jonah: I am Matty, just older.
Marion: Here's your aspirin.
Jonah: It's not what I really need.
Marion: What do you need?
Jonah: A job.
Marion: A job?
Jonah: A hug?
Marion: Jonah, what are you talking about?
Jonah: I figure the band is broken up.
Marion: That's crazy, what about the album?
Jonah: Gone.
Marion: Well, I don't understand. I thought you said everything was going well.
[Jonah hugs Marion and starts crying]
Marion: You said everything was going well.

Jonah: We had some good times... Didn't we?
Marion: Yeah, lots.

[Last lines]
Jonah: I think I left my glasses in the studio this afternoon.
Studio attendant: Okay.


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