Father Stu (2022) | Transcript

Follows the life of Father Stuart Long, a boxer-turned-priest who inspired countless people during his journey from self-destruction to redemption.
Father Stu (2022)

The true-life story of boxer-turned-priest, Father Stuart Long, whose journey from self-destruction to redemption inspired countless people along the way.

* * *

[CHUCK BERRY’S “TOO MUCH MONKEY BUSINESS” PLAYING]

♪ Runnin’ to-and-fro Hard workin’ at the mill ♪

♪ Never failed at the mail Yeah, come a rotten bill ♪

♪ Too much monkey business ♪

♪ Too much monkey business ♪

♪ Too much monkey business For me to be involved in ♪

♪ Salesman talkin’ to me Tryin’ to run me up a creek ♪

♪ Says you can buy it Go on try it ♪

♪ You can pay me next week Ah ♪

♪ Too much monkey business ♪

♪ Too much monkey business ♪

♪ Too much monkey business For me to be involved in ♪

Only thing you got in common with the King is a liking for peanut butter sandwiches.

Yeah.

That kind of combo clogs up the plumbing.

Can’t crap.

Shit backs up to your eyeballs, turns them brown.

And then you drown.

Now, there’s a song for you.

Eat your fucking vegetables.

[LINK WRAY’S “FIRE AND BRIMSTONE” PLAYING]

♪ I had a dream last night ♪

♪ While I was layin’ On my bed ♪

♪ And the whole world Was standing still ♪

♪ And the moon Was turning red ♪

♪ I saw a sign In the sky ♪

♪ “I have come To set you free” ♪

ANNOUNCER [OVER P.A.]: Holding a record of 14 wins and two losses, hailing from Helena, Montana, he is currently the number-two-ranked middleweight in our state.

Ladies and gentlemen, Stuart Long!

♪ Fire and brimstone Comin’ down ♪

♪ On my head ♪ [CHUCKLES]

You got a future, brother.

♪ Fire and brimstone ♪

♪ Comin’ down on my head ♪

You have to do better than that.

MAN: We love you, Stu.

Hey, baby. Hi.

You like blondes now, huh?

She’s sweet. She’s sweet. Yeah.

Enjoy it now, kid.

You’re almost past your prime. It happens.

You’re lucky I don’t punch you in the mouth.

That’s it. Take that, and give it to him.

I’m gonna punch you right in the fucking mouth.

All right, good.

Come on, come on.

♪ Fire and brimstone Comin’ down ♪

Will you come on?

BEECH: Keep your hands up.

BEECH: Keep your guard up.

I don’t care he’s the better boxer.

You gotta be the better actor.

I know.

I love this, man.

It’s what I do.

♪ I saw fire ♪

♪ Fire and brimstone ♪

♪ Comin’ down on my head ♪

♪ I saw fire ♪

♪ I saw fire ♪

♪ I saw fire ♪

Hey.

Well, that’s just great.

I won. I got some dough. What you want?

A toaster.

I’ll get you a toaster.

[EXHALES SLOWLY]

If you put half the effort into a regular job that you put into beating ass, you’d end up being a manager one day.

Why dress us as astronauts for Halloween if you didn’t want us to shoot for the moon?

That’s when I had two of you to bet on.

Where is this clown?

Hey, tell her it’s nothing.

DOCTOR: Not quite.

You have a serious infection of the bone in your jaw, as well as extremely high inflammation markers in your blood.

Same thing as last time.

Your colleague gave me antibiotics.

Did the trick, right?

After your last three fights, you’ve developed fevers and infections.

That’s not a normal response to injury.

What does that mean?

Medically speaking, we’d need further testing to determine the source of the problem, but metaphorically, seems like your body is telling you not to fight.

Meta– Fuck that. What?

[LAUGHS]

The decision is yours, but I must make you aware that the complications could be life-threatening.

You set this up, didn’t you?

She tell you to say that?

Could you give us a minute alone?

STU: We got the Keystone Kops here.

He ain’t gonna listen to this loser.

Shit, he trying to run up the bill on you, Mama.

Damn you for being so careless with your life.

Careless? I’m fighting for it. And yours too.

I’ve been puttin’ food on the table. Your deadbeat husband don’t.

Grief ain’t a disability, Mama. I looked it up.

What you think, you’re gonna get to be a pro?

Honey, you’re the age most guys are when they pack it in.

And you’re still scrapping for a sponsor.

You look me in the eyes and tell me that some plastic trophy is worth more than your life.

You only got yourself to blame.

Making a fuss over all them damn participation ribbons.

You set a real low bar. What you expect from your son?

That this one don’t fucking die.

I ain’t that lucky.

[♪♪♪]

I heard them oil rigs went up pay good.

I ain’t doing no blue-collar bullshit.

Well, honey, what else is there?

[♪♪♪]

YOUNG STU: Dad caught me playing in your room.

Got a heck of a hiding for it.

[SCOFFS]

Sometimes I thought I hated you for being so good.

Making me look bad.

Dad probably wonders why he gotta keep a piece of shit like me.

You want it?

Come get it.

[SNIFFLES]

[SIGHS]

What, you think I missed?

I never miss.

Oh!

[CAR APPROACHING]

[SIREN WHOOPS]

Oh, shit.

Evening, officers.

Everything all right here?

STU: Yeah, just paying my respects.

You Bill’s son?

Wow, all these years gone, he’s still making me look bad, huh?

[♪♪♪]

Chip off the old block, huh?

Good to see you, Stu.

Until we meet again, prick.

Hey, Mama.

[SIGHS]

Resisting arrest?

I challenged the officer’s judgment.

It was a stimulating exchange.

I made him a better cop. Get in the car.

If they told you why, you’d pat my back.

Ain’t that the story of your life?

Being out of context.

I got some good news for you.

I figured it out. Yeah?

Seventh time’s a charm?

No, I mean I figured out what I’m gonna do.

I’m gonna be an actor. Oh, God.

Think about it. Nothing ever made more sense.

I mean, I was born to perform.

It just took some time to find my stage.

Yeah? Where’s that at?

Hollywood.

You ain’t been west of Missoula.

You got a map, I’m gonna make it there.

[SCOFFS]

Baby, you don’t belong with those L.A. folks.

They’re a bunch of carpetbaggers.

Communist fucking fascist hippies.

I ain’t trying to belong, Mama. I’m trying to stand out.

All right, wait till you see me saving the world, shooting the bad guys, kissing them girls in pearls.

Shit. Probably all three at once.

Isn’t it a little late to, you know, try that?

They gonna say “late,” and they gonna say “great.”

And I ain’t even gonna be dead yet.

Mm. Well?

You gonna look your father up? Am I gonna look my father up?

Yeah. [SCOFFS] Fuck Bill.

Come on, let’s go.

[DOLLY PARTON’S “9 TO 5” PLAYING]

Mm-hm!

KATHLEEN: Yeah, fuck Bill.

♪ Tumble outta bed And stumble to the kitchen ♪

♪ Pour myself A cup of ambition ♪

♪ Yawnin’ and stretchin’ And try to come to life ♪

You throwback mother–

[HONKING HORN]

I’m trying to do a public service, asshole.

DRIVER: Learn how to drive, idiot.

WOMAN: Hello. Can I get the vehicle number?

Yeah, vehicle number, jerk-off-kilo-limp-dick-ten.

How’s his driving?

I’ll tell you how’s his fucking driving.

His parents must be cousins.

He’s driving like a fucking half-wit.

Be ahead hiring a crash test dummy–

If you are satisfied with your message, press one.

Son of a bitch.

Somebody gotta find a better way to rat these retards out, you know?

Make a decent driver crash just for trying to do the right thing.

[GRUMBLES SOFTLY]

♪ Two, three, four ♪

[STURGILL SIMPSON’S “LIFE OF SIN” PLAYING]

♪ Well, lately things have been A little complicated ♪

♪ Quality of life Has got me down ♪

♪ Well, sex is cheap And talk is overrated ♪

♪ And the boys and me are Still working on the sound ♪

STU: Let’s just start with a week.

That’s $182.

If you book a month out, you save 20 percent.

Oh, I don’t need a month to make it.

You and everybody else in this town.

You got some advice for me?

I’m still trying to be discovered.

I tell you what: I hit it big, I’ll take you with me.

All the way to the top.

Payment’s due Monday.

Don’t sell yourself short, sweetheart.

Oh, I won’t.

I’ll see you Monday.

Oh, shit.

Oh, yeah.

Hello? Yeah, this is Mr. Long. Hold all my calls.

Really?

I’ll have to think about that.

Hollywood, baby. Hollywood!

[LAUGHING] Hot damn, you in Hollywood, kid.

What the fuck did you say?

I made it!

Oh, shit.

See what channel I’m gonna be on every night.

Every night.

Oh, yeah.

The fuck?

Ain’t no antenna on here.

A hundred and eighty-two dollars for this shit.

It better be working.

Yeah, I got a problem. The TV ain’t working.

Tomorrow? I paid $182. I need a goddamn TV.

Shit. You gotta be kidding me.

Better get her big ass up here and fix this shit.

♪ Things have been A little complicated ♪

[SIGHS] I made it.

♪ Quality of life Has got me down ♪

♪ Well, the sex is cheap And the talk is overrated ♪

♪ And the boys and me are Still working on the sound ♪

“Gas station attendant. Christmas tree lot.”

I was voted Santa’s favorite elf.

Heh. Nice.

“Amateur boxer. Record 15-2.

1985 Gold Gloves Middleweight titleholder for the state.”

I won that one by knockout. Wow.

So… what brings you here?

Well, I hung up the gloves a few weeks back.

I thought I’d cash in on my face, instead of my fists.

Get more mileage out of that.

No better place to be discovered than the supermarket.

Even them Hollywood big shots got to buy beans, right?

Yeah. You wanna be an actor.

It’s not like anyone aspires to work at a supermarket.

Unless they do, and that’s cool, man.

They’re probably happier in the long run.

Hmm. Yeah.

What skills do you possess that would make you suited for this job?

I’m real charming. Ask my mama.

I’ll bet.

I might have something for you. Yeah.

[GLEN CAMPBELL’S “RHINESTONE COWBOY” PLAYING]

[SHUTTER CLICKING]

♪ I’ve been walkin’ These streets ♪

Here you go.

Hey, did I see you in a television series?

♪ Singin’ the same old song ♪

You got any family in the film industry?

No, I don’t.

You do movies? No.

You don’t work in the entertainment industry?

No, man.

Sir. Let me wrap it up for you.

Wanna get right to it, huh?

You got friends in the film industry? Nah.

♪ On the road To my horizon ♪

♪ But I’m gonna be where The lights are shining on me ♪

You’re not exactly what we’re looking for.

I’ve heard that before.

Trying to be a human billboard.

Sign spinner. You know the gig.

Gave the job to some other little punk.

I set up shop on the other side of the city.

I got ten times the customers he did.

[CHUCKLES]

All right, well…

If you’re willing to prove yourself,

I’m open to persuasion.

Yeah, man. What do I got to do?

[SIGHS]

How badly you want it?

[CHUCKLES]

Okay.

How about I put your lights out? Okay–

Then you tell me if you see a fucking star.

Okay, not necessary. Not necessary.

Okay.

I’m taking my picture. Yeah.

Could you send in the next person, please?

Jesus… [DOOR SLAMS]

Claire, we need a new camera.

[MUSIC PLAYING FAINTLY OVER SPEAKERS]

[BILLIARD BALLS CLACKING]

[LIGHT CHATTERING]

WOMAN: Best kind of date, huh?

Big bedroom eyes, keeps her mouth shut.

I like a woman who ain’t afraid to say who she is.

Who do you want me to be?

I want a menu, I go to the restaurant.

[CHUCKLES]

Sometimes I need help getting out of character.

Be right back.

Okay.

Hell, she’d fuck that elk if it had a dick and a dollar.

This town wants me to think that my job’s at the mercy of some shit-sucking scumbag, and my dick’s at the mercy of some slut’s low standards?

Nah…

A real man earns a win on his own damn merits.

Shit.

Shit.

All right.

Tell me about the pork. That pork’s on sale.

Why’s that now?

Why you think?

Pig was ugly, or the meat gone old.

They don’t tell me this shit, sir.

My job is to sell what’s on the sign.

I’ll take two racks of lamb.

Yeah.

[♪♪♪]

What can I get for you, miss?

Nothing, thank you.

I got beef.

I can see that.

I’ll have fish tonight.

Don’t let me change your mind. You didn’t.

You can find a fish in a can, or you can let me take you to dinner.

I don’t like being told my choices.

How about I take you fishing, we compromise?

Heh. No, thanks.

I didn’t catch your name.

Not much of a fisherman then, are you?

CUSTOMER: Hey.

Stuart, a word. I gotta go help a lady out.

People don’t run from help if they want it.

Stalking customers is a fireable offense.

They used to call it romance.

Our meat sales are down 20 percent.

And you come in here with your face fucked up.

It looks like you done battle with the cow trying to kill it.

They might prefer that to the truth.

Meat room. Till this shit clears up.

You ought to get a Fish Department in here.

Yeah? Yeah.

Shit. Life is short, Stu.

Too short to be a dick or deal with one.

What you trying to say?

I’m not trying, I’m saying.

If you watched the love of your life slip through your hands all because there ain’t a fucking Fish Department, you’d be in a dick mood too.

If she’s the dime piece I suspect you’re after, I saw her leave this here.

I bet my bonus she’ll be there.

You don’t get that bonus, you let me know.

I’ll take care of it, you hear?

Come here. Come here. Oh, no, no, no.

Come here.

Come here.

[♪♪♪]

[FAUCET RUNNING]

Oh, yeah. Shit.

Hola.

Hey. Hey.

Remember me?

Oh, fuck off, Father.

[SPEAKING SOFTLY IN SPANISH]

FATHER: Brethren.

Let us acknowledge our sins, and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.

I confess to Almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned.

In my thoughts and in my words.

In what I have done.

In what I have failed to do. …failed to do.

I don’t know about this one.

Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.

That’s a bit dramatic.

FATHER: Therefore… Ow! Jesus.

May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to everlasting life.

CONGREGATION: Amen.

[GROANS] Hey, you want some help?

You should’ve thought of that.

Son. You can’t fool God.

Maybe no one’s done it good enough.

FATHER: Let us pray.

STU: Cool to sit here?

MAN: Yeah.

Ham.

Oh, that’s beef. I’d know.

No, my name. My name’s Ham.

Like a pig?

Yeah, nigga, like a pig.

[CHUCKLES] That’s your real name?

Yeah.

That’s a biblical name. That’s Noah’s kid.

You’d think he’d have enough pork onboard that ship.

You must be new here.

Why, I look out of place? You look in the mirror lately?

I thought your people was the God-fearing folk, brother.

Well, ain’t a lot of them Catholic, but there’s just different denominations.

A brother was one of the greats. Augustine of Hippo.

Well, let me guess. He was onboard too.

I…

[CHUCKLES SOFTLY]

I need your help. Uh-huh.

I’m looking for the girl who left this thing. Know her?

Of course you are. Why you say that?

She real good at spreading the word.

Puts all us priest prospects to shame. Carmen’s her name.

She’s about as Catholic as the cross itself.

We’re taking sign-ups for volunteer positions.

No better way to assimilate.

God ain’t got time for me, I ain’t got time for him, especially between auditions.

Why don’t you put me down for hospital visits.

Shame we can’t all be as generous as Ham.

Hey.

Sudden change of heart, huh?

Hell, yeah.

We don’t need security here.

We don’t know what we need till it hits us in the face or steals our shit. Hey.

Hi, Ham. Jacob. Hey.

Stuart.

Hi.

You wanna do this with an audience?

So how’d you know my name? You look me up?

You wear a name tag at work. How did you find me?

I asked God to show me the way.

He took me down Santa Monica, left at the light and into this very lot. What do you know?

What are you hoping to accomplish here?

Well, hope ain’t a tactic.

I come to find the light. I’m looking at it.

Does this tactic usually work for you?

Stalking your prey and smothering them with cheese?

Most things taste good like that. You like nachos?

You say that because I’m Mexican?

Is that right? I wouldn’t know.

I can’t see shit, you’re so bright.

You like that one, huh?

I have to teach. Well, I got a lot to learn.

At Sunday School. For kids.

I’m an actor. I can be whatever you need.

You don’t take “no” for an answer, do you?

I don’t need a “yes” to know I’m right.

What do you think you’re right about?

You wanna let me take you fishing, but you’re scared.

I made a living reading fear in people’s eyes. I was a boxer.

What am I scared of? Getting knocked off your feet.

Might take 12 rounds to get them on their back, but I’m a patient guy.

Get me on my back?

I’m a Catholic. No sex before marriage.

Well, ain’t that what confession’s for?

I thought that’d be the case.

Let’s not waste either of our times.

I’d wait 40 years in the desert for you.

Well, you can start with an hour in church.

I’ll be there.

I’ll be there.

Hey, Mama. I got my break.

KATHLEEN [ON PHONE]: Oh, honey, I’m so proud of you.

Hey, watch your soap and you’ll see me.

I can’t wait to tell the girls. Heh.

Love you.

I’ll remember that.

Oh, Jack.

I will get you for this if it’s the last thing I ever do.

STU: Are you using paper towels?

No, no, no.

Yeah, I’m talking to you.

Stop throwing cash in the trash.

And get yourself a Marvelous Mop.

These things are so cool. They’re double-action.

Quick retracting.

Clean up the mess so fast, your missus will never know what happened.

Get yourself a Marvelous Mop.

[WAYLON JENNINGS’ “IF OLE HANK COULD ONLY SEE US NOW” PLAYING]

♪ If ole Hank Could only see us now ♪

♪ If he could see What we got goin’ down ♪

♪ We got Learjets and buses Chauffeured limousines ♪

♪ We done moved from the Ryman And Opry’s on TV ♪

♪ I’d give a hundred dollars If I could know somehow ♪

♪ What’d ya think ♪

♪ If ole Hank Could only see us now ♪

I miss you, little buddy.

Happy birthday.

Look at you now.

Look at me now.

Both amongst the stars, huh?

[SCOFFS]

[SNIFFLES]

♪ Singin’ through the smoke ♪

♪ And strobe lights On the stage ♪

♪ If ole Hank Could only see us now ♪

[SIREN WAILING]

OFFICER [OVER P.A.]: Pull over.

Oh, shit.

Pull over to the side of the road.

Step out of the vehicle, hands where I can see ’em.

That what it feels like to be God, knowing you hold all cards, it don’t matter if it’s fair how you decide to play them?

Step out of the vehicle with your hands where I can see them.

[SIGHS] I’d like to know what the fuck happens to a kid, make him wanna be a cop?

Hey, hands!

Hands!

I’m trying to…

Wallet, my ass.

Get out of the car.

♪ If he could see What we’ve got going down ♪

♪ We got Learjets and buses Chauffeured limousines ♪

Hi.

Good morning.

♪ I’d give a hundred dollars If I could know ♪

Oh, fuck.

You’re late.

STU: And you overstayed your welcome.

I bet you even God don’t like a kiss-ass.

[♪♪♪]

Excuse me, sir. Yeah?

Does Bill know you’re fussing with his truck?

I’m his son. Just borrowing it.

FOREMAN [OVER RADIO]: Bill, do you copy?

[TURNS OFF ENGINE]

Yeah. This is Bill.

There’s a guy in your truck with a knife.

STU: Think I need a knife to fuck you up?

Bill can’t find his crack in his ass, much less keep track of his shit.

I’m doing him a service, teaching him a lesson.

I’m sorry, John.

My son has issues with boundaries.

That’s the new way to say “handicapped.”

He means “retard.” Don’t feel sorry for him.

He’s playing with a full deck, just a bad one.

Bill knows his cards. He got the gambling bug.

I’ll take it from here.

He’s not out in five minutes, I’m calling the cops on both of you.

Hi, Stuart, how you been?

Give me the keys. I got an audition.

I’m gonna be late. Audition?

For what? A movie. None of your business.

Seeing as you’re trying to steal my truck to get there–

Once I get my check from the supermarket,

I’ll spring my ride and give yours back.

I reckon it’s a few months’ worth of cleanups on Aisle 4 to pay off a DUI impound.

That is the offense?

If you sent half of what you spend on whiskey to your wife, you might have a marriage.

I appreciate your concern, but this is not my moment, son.

You know, I could’ve got you in here.

Good pay, benefits, a little dignity.

They hire inbreds here. I could run this shit, I want to.

Who do you think you gonna be, the next John Wayne?

Damn right I am. You had a chance to make something of yourself out west.

All you got is a bigger gut, beard, and bald spot.

This is not the fucking gold rush, Stu.

Some of us just trying to survive.

Yeah, every man, woman, and child for themselves, right?

Absolutely right. End of the day, that’s all you got.

Everyone else is just a fucking disappointment.

FOREMAN: Wrap it up.

[SIGHS]

Well, I’m trying to be an exception.

Yeah, we need more of those here.

All right, call the boys.

Stuart here is gonna reinvent the “Jailhouse Rock.”

Good to see you, Bill.

You look like shit.

[♪♪♪]

CARMEN: That’s it for this Sunday. God bless.

Bye, Miss Carmen. [CHUCKLES] Bye.

Hey.

How’s the other guy?

Oh, he wasn’t working with as good a deck to start.

There’s no future for you here. Or us. I…

Oh, your boss would beg to differ.

You sniffing around my immigration status?

No. I mean, Jesus. He asked for the most fucked up, and you’re looking at it.

He asked for the tired and the poor.

I’m an out-of-work actor. Hello!

Cheap cologne cannot cleanse you from the ugliness of sin.

Look… I know I’m not what you’re used to.

And not what you deserve either.

I’m gonna be better than both.

I’m all my parents have to be proud of.

I can’t date someone who isn’t… baptized.

I thought you was gonna say Hispanic.

Where’s the water? I’ll do it now.

I’m serious. So am I.

I’ll do it right now.

[♪♪♪]

Today, the church joyfully welcomes those who will be received into the Order of Catechumens.

In the months to come, they will be preparing their initiation into Christian faith by baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist.

Stuart Long, what does this period of formation offer you?

Ah, well, it’s hard to say, Father.

If I had to guess, something beyond my wildest dreams.

Let us all pray that in due time, Stuart may be found worthy to receive the baptism of new birth, the renewal in the Holy Spirit, and to complete his initiation through the sacraments of confirmation and Eucharist.

Hallelujah.

I’d like to invite a friend here to sing with me tonight.

God gave you the talent. It’s a sin not to use it.

Give her a round of applause. Go.

Come on. Yeah.

Don’t worry, I ain’t gonna hurt you.

What song?

Damn, you smell good. Hey, Johnny Cash, “Jackson.”

Read the words off the television.

[JOHNNY CASH’S “JACKSON” PLAYING]

♪ We got married in a fever ♪

♪ Hotter than a pepper sprout ♪

♪ We’ve been talkin’ ‘Bout Jackson ♪

♪ Ever since The fire went out ♪

♪ Yeah, I’m going to Jackson ♪

♪ Going to mess around ♪

♪ Yeah, I’m going to Jackson ♪

♪ Look out Jackson town ♪

♪ We’ll go on down To Jackson ♪

♪ Go ahead And wreck your health ♪

♪ Go play your hand You big-talkin’ man ♪

♪ Make a big fool Of yourself ♪

♪ Yeah, go to Jackson ♪

MAN: Oh, yeah.

♪ Go comb your hair ♪

♪ Honey, I’m gonna Snowball Jackson ♪

♪ See if I care ♪

MAN: Yeah.

[AUDIENCE CHEERING, CLAPPING]

For example, I am gonna give up chocolate.

Hey, you guys should protest. She needs sweetening.

Yeah, pick something else.

Well, what are you gonna give up, Stu?

Me?

Uh…

I was thinking maybe you guys, so I can sleep in on Sundays.

KIDS: No.

All right, all right.

Alcohol.

KID: Hey, that’s not fair.

You pick something good that you’ll miss to make it count.

I like this kid.

Uh…

Like porn.

That’s what my dad gave up.

Well, you tell him, if he wants to make it count, tell your mama to give up sex.

[GASPS] He said S-E-X. That’s what porn is.

Stu. Well, he said “porn.”

Kids, do you wanna read from–?

It’s the same thing. No.

Get your Bibles out, please.

STU: God wants us to give things up, he ought to stop taking from us too.

He killed my little brother Stephen when he was 6.

Took a nap, never woke up.

How you square that one, huh?

We can’t understand why God does what he does.

That’s why I liked to box. How it went was up to me.

I can’t accept when I ain’t got no say in shit.

Our world teaches us that there’s comfort in knowledge and fear in the unknown.

What if the unknown was greater than we could possibly imagine?

Hmm. I bet it could be.

I believe in you.

TIM: Confession.

Acknowledging our sins in word, action, and omission, and resolving to not sin again.

For this, we do penance, and are granted forgiveness.

Like doing laundry. That’s a Sunday thing too.

[CHUCKLES] Here I thought it’d be all complicated.

Well… I’m afraid it’s not that simple.

The essential part of penance is a firm and true repentance, motivated by faith, and the love of God.

This is called perfect contrition.

Imperfect contrition arises from a less pure motive, such as common decency, or fear of hell.

Our whole lives, we’re taught to be good, avoid bad.

Eat your dinner, or you don’t get dessert.

Share your toys, or you get timeout.

You’re trying to undo years of wiring.

That’s a good observation, Stuart.

Take heart.

God is the ultimate programmer.

I leave you with this task:

Consider the changes you need to make in order to receive more abundant graces to sin no more.

Cool.

[PHONE RINGING]

KATHLEEN: Hello?

How come you ain’t teach me how to tie a tie?

Where’d you get a tie?

My court appearance.

Your dad never did like dressing up.

Always said he wanted me to shine.

Like a dirtbag on my arm was the only way to make me pretty.

Well, Dad is a fucking asshole.

What you putting on a tie for anyway?

Church.

What?

I’m getting baptized.

Why would you do that?

It means something to my girl.

[SCOFFS]

I remember feeling like that about your dad.

Why? You wanna be reborn, because you fucked up so bad marrying him?

Like I’d do anything to please him, when he could be pleased.

Gonna help me with this thing or what?

I keep tying the damn thing into a knot, and it’s–

Mama, I need your help.

[CONWAY TWITTY’S “YOU’VE NEVER BEEN THIS FAR BEFORE” PLAYING]

♪ I can almost hear The stillness ♪

♪ As it yields to the sound Of your heart beating ♪

♪ Bum-bum-bum ♪

♪ And I can almost hear The echo ♪

♪ Of the thoughts that I know You must be thinking ♪

♪ Bum-bum-bum ♪

♪ And I can feel Your body tremble ♪

♪ As you wonder what This moment holds in store ♪

♪ Bum-bum-bum ♪

♪ And as I put my arms Around you ♪

♪ I can tell you’ve never been This far before ♪

[CONGREGATION CLAPPING]

Hola. Bienvenidos.

Hey.

¿Cómo estás?

What’s everybody waiting for?

Let’s pray.

I’ll do it.

It’d be my pleasure.

[SOFTLY] I’ve been practicing.

[SIGHS]

[PRAYING IN SPANISH]

Amen.

You know, Stuart, in my country, men crawl on their hands and knees to the statue a la santísima Virgen María.

I expect no less devotion to my daughter.

Well, it’s a good thing I got a carpet, huh?

[LAUGHING]

You like that one?

You want cerveza?

[DAD SPEAKS IN SPANISH]

No, I don’t drink. I was just wondering–

If you drink, I can get it. But I don’t…

Gracias. I don’t drink.

I’ve never done this before.

I just rattle off the ways I fucked up?

That is correct.

It’d be easier to list the things I done right, take up less of your time.

Take as long as you need.

There’s a fucking line out there.

They’ll know how much I fucked up.

Unless you whisper, they’ll know regardless.

You know who you’re talking to?

I have an inkling, yes.

Does hearing other folks’ shit make you feel less shitty about your own shit?

Don’t pretend like you don’t got some.

[CHUCKLES]

It is for God alone to judge.

I am merely a vessel to assist man in unburdening himself of all that may separate him from the most direct path to Almighty Father.

I’m keeping God in a job.

He cuts you a check, your ass better thank me.

You know, the last thing I need is another father to fail for.

[FLAMIN’ GROOVIES’ “WHISKEY WOMAN” PLAYING]

♪ I’ve been hungry All day long ♪

[SIGHS]

♪ For that girl Who’s wastin’ time ♪

You’re getting into the fine print on this way of living, pal.

What you think you know?

I know you got a long, weary road ahead, with the headlights dim.

You have to learn the hard way how to live in light.

Why don’t you find someone else who wants to hear your shit?

No one wants to.

No shit.

Take a hint.

In my experience, the toughest fights are the only ones worth walking into.

You bring a tough guy to his knees, the first few times he feels shame.

Rage.

Eventually, relief.

Wanna have a big dick contest, bud?

I know how big your dick is, son.

I’d fuck you up if you weren’t fucked up already.

Yeah.

Someone beat you to it.

Life’s gonna give you a gutful of reasons to be angry, kid.

You only need one to be grateful.

Wow.

That’s the most fucked-up ratio since the number of marshmallows in Lucky Charms.

You ain’t owed nothing.

But you’re getting a chance.

[TAPS COUNTER]

Don’t go driving now.

What the fuck was he drinking?

Water.

♪ Oh, c-c-come on ♪

♪ I want you ♪

♪ I want you ♪

[HONKING] Oh, shit.

[EMERGENCY VEHICLE SIRENS WAILING]

[INAUDIBLE] Sir?

[INAUDIBLE] Sir, can you hear me?

VOICE [WHISPERS]: Can you hear me?

[♪♪♪]

Behold thy mother.

[COUGHS WEAKLY]

You must listen to me.

You will not die for nothing.

Oh, you tell your son…

He wants to show me hell, I ain’t afraid of a little fire.

He died for you.

For Stephen.

[MOUTHING WORDS]

[SIRENS WAILING]

[MONITORS BEEPING STEADILY]

There was significant trauma to the head, and vital organs.

He’s in a coma.

If there’s anyone you’d like to see him again, I suggest you arrange that now.

I… already lost one kid.

They say lightning don’t strike the same place twice.

The nurse can recommend a grief counselor.

[♪♪♪]

God bless. Bye, Miss Carmen.

Bye. See you next Sunday.

[CURTAIN OPENS]

You got some kind of spell in there gonna bring him back?

It’s just a prayer for Mary’s intercession.

She don’t give a good goddamn about a real mother’s son.

You should get some rest.

I could stay with him.

His eyes are moving.

What? Doctor!

Stuart, baby.

Can you hear me?

[GROANS]

[♪♪♪]

[GRUNTS]

Can you squeeze my hand?

He’s starting to come out of it.

Damn thing ate my dollar.

As if folks in here ain’t paid enough, you gotta bleed their pockets too.

Ain’t you brought your own beverage?

Son of a… Uh–

Where you going? What’s it to you?

Your mother told me you were dying. What the fuck?

You sound disappointed.

Well, I took off work to be here.

You seem all right.

Wait up, Stu.

I forgot to give you this.

St. Joseph. For the operation.

Who’s this?

CARMEN: Who’s asking?

BILL: Stu’s dad.

I’m Carmen, Stuart’s girlfriend.

She know you’re an atheist?

He’s baptized.

He ain’t dead. He can speak for himself.

Is that true?

Yeah.

You know St. Stephen?

CARMEN: Of course.

Patron saint of coffin makers.

There’s pictures of him with a big pile of rocks on his head.

Who’d have thought, you give your boy a nice Christian name, in a world full of fruits and nuts, you’d sentence him to live right on up to it?

Or down, as it were.

Into the ground.

That ain’t how names work.

Let me drive you home, Mr. Long.

Hey, you got yourself a worrier.

Well, God will put me where he wants me to be.

What’s it to you if I’m in hell or Hermosillo?

“Sillo.”

STU: Can we go?

[♪♪♪]

STU: You recall the guy who was drinking by me, last time I was here?

BARTENDER: I haven’t seen him before or since.

He was probably just passing through.

BARFLY: You ain’t owed nothing, but you’re getting a chance.

Don’t go driving now.

CARMEN: I thought I could help.

Answer your question, you know.

Yeah? What you think I’m wondering?

“Why me? Why did God make or allow this to happen?”

He doesn’t promise your stories will make sense, but he does promise they’ll find their greater purpose.

If we’re patient.

Patient?

You an expert on that.

What’s going on with you?

Most things get squished on a road, end up stuffed on a wall.

I’m doing pretty good, considering.

I know, but I’m concerned.

Look, I got a lot on my mind, all right?

Let me help you take it off.

Don’t do this.

I know what I’m doing.

STU: Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

It’s been six weeks since my last confession.

I can’t… I can’t give you details on account of there’s a conflict of interest.

The sacrament of confession is inviolable.

I cannot, under pain of excommunication, reveal or act on whatever it is you confess to me.

I did something I ain’t supposed to do.

Something I been thinking about, praying I could get to happen for months.

Something I wanted more than anything else in this world.

Then I had it, and all I could do was think about disappointing God.

This is good news.

It is in discovering the greatness of God’s love that our heart is shaken by the horror and weight of sin.

No, this ain’t about fucking up. It’s about being fucked with.

Another term for that is “grace.”

God’s grace.

It appears you are the recipient.

What’s he expecting me to do with his grace, huh?

You could start by… cleaning up your language.

Don’t be a wise-ass, Father. Answer the question.

He expects you to spread his word, advance his kingdom.

He ain’t making house calls asking that.

He must have made a mistake.

No. Heh.

God doesn’t make mistakes.

Father G thinks maybe I could serve God.

You believe that shit?

Like an altar boy?

I’ve been thinking that since the day I met you.

You have?

No.

But I’m sure he had good reason.

My whole life, I felt like I shouldn’t be here.

That my brother Stephen should instead.

But after that night, I felt different.

Like I might be good for something after all.

Perhaps the world needs another Rhinestone Cowboy.

I think God saw something in you worth saving.

But it’s up to you to decide what you’ve got to offer.

[♪♪♪]

I thought it’d make sense being back here to do this.

It’s the place you told me you believed in me.

I’m gonna be a priest.

[CHUCKLES] What do you mean?

It’s five words. I’ve practiced them a hundred times.

What part is unclear?

Every part.

You’re gonna be a priest?

Stop saying it like that.

Like what? Like it’s insane?

So was the idea of the man upstairs pulling strings, but you bought that like a pair of shoes.

God saved me and forgave me to show me that there’s a reason I’m here.

We need to have your head examined.

Trust me, Carmen. I tried every way I know to talk myself out of it, but the truth is…

I ain’t never been more clear.

Have you considered all this entails? Heh.

Abstaining from booze and beatings, not to mention sex?

You showed me I could do it.

No, I showed you, you could wait.

A vow of celibacy means never again. Then you die.

There’s more to life than sex. I can feel it.

Most people know that, Stu.

Only most people find that other meaning in a passion, or people, or a family.

You’re setting yourself up for failure.

No. I been testing myself.

If God’s willing to forgive me, I got to be willing to forgive others.

Whoever hit me, I wanted their dicks on a stick.

But with God’s help, I’ve forgiven them.

And you think the absence of the instinct to dismember someone qualifies you for priesthood?

You’re delusional.

Know what it takes to win a fight?

You gotta turn off the animal brain, use logic, humility, good judgment.

That’s the struggle of man. I can do it. I can help.

You got near death and found God.

That’s great, Stu, but… this is a little extreme.

No, I didn’t find him, Carmen.

I felt him.

I felt her. Mary. Well, that don’t sound…

Look, the feeling she gave me, I can’t even explain it.

For the first time in my life, I knew I could stop fighting.

I knew I was safe and loved.

I disgraced myself before God, so that you could have another flight of fancy.

I know you’re mad. You can hit me if you want.

It’ll make you feel better. I don’t wanna hit you.

I wanna marry you.

I thought that’s what you brought me here for.

I can’t do that.

I’m sorry.

Carmen… Car–

Damn.

Your son is about to make a huge mistake.

He don’t usually warn no one, so I guess that’s progress.

You talked him out of boxing, right?

[DOOR OPENS] Hey, Mama.

Is someone gonna tell me what’s going on?

I was gonna find a better time.

You’re doing a porno? No, God, no.

No, I’m gonna be a priest.

For Halloween?

No, not for fucking Halloween. For real.

Oh, Stu.

You can’t be serious.

This is your fault.

You’d think I said I wanted to be a serial killer.

My son don’t do half measures. He’s a dog with a goddamn bone.

If you’re so fucking enlightened, you should’ve seen that.

Had you been awake enough to dignify his place in this world, in spite of the loss of your other son, he wouldn’t be so desperate to find himself.

STU: Baby, don’t…

I’m doing this.

[♪♪♪]

“To whom it may concern, consider this application to the seminary. Enclosed you’ll find my résumé, and half the fee. God will provide the rest cause.”

Cause?

Oh, “’cause I’m praying for it.”

[CHUCKLES]

‘Cause.

Hey, Mama, I’m home.

Hey, Stuart. I just been admiring your artwork.

You invite him here? He came to check on you.

You look about as holy as a healthy deuce.

You had to tell him?

It’s a sin to lie.

You ain’t the Catholic here.

You’ve had some nutty ideas before, but this is like Hitler asking to join the ADL.

All these years, I was looking for the wrong father’s approval.

It turns out, I never needed yours.

I always loved you for the piece of shit you were.

That’s unconditional.

It’s obligation.

KATHLEEN: You’re punishing yourself.

You’ve both been, since Stephen died.

It’s not punishment, Mama, it’s purpose.

Let me do one last thing as your dad.

-[GUN CLICKS] -Give you something you always wanted.

KATHLEEN: What the fuck, Bill?

You gonna disgrace me and your brother like this, you might as well bury me too.

I’m turning my life around.

There ain’t shit you could do to stop me.

Unless you wanna shoot me. Huh? Dine out on two dead kids.

Oh, to hell with both of you!

I trust we’ll both find our way.

You both better be gone when I get back.

[KATHLEEN CRYING]

[MUTTERS] Handle the trash.

[DOOR OPENS, CLOSES]

♪ Unh ♪

[THE BLACK KEYS’ “SINISTER KID” PLAYING]

♪ Well, the crooks are out ♪

♪ And the streets are gray ♪

♪ You know I wouldn’t have it Any other way ♪

♪ Yeah ♪

Excuse me, sir?

Do you have an appointment?

Yes.

Take care, Jeff. All the best.

Go on.

[HANGS UP PHONE]

Hey.

You’re the IOU. You know something, Father?

There’s a sign on the wall of my gym back home.

“Hope is not a tactic.” I took that one to heart.

Fought for everything I earned. This ain’t no different.

I know what God’s doing here.

Seeing how I respond, I don’t get my way.

I got to be honest. I’d be red-assed about it.

But I ain’t giving up.

Not on him or me.

I want you to reconsider your rejection.

There’s nothing on your résumé or in your references that speaks to behavioral conformity with Catholic tradition.

You are a pugilist with a criminal record.

Look at St. Matthew, St. Augustine, St. Francis.

I mean, some of the most remarkable figures in the history of the Church are reformed men.

Yes, but I think what the Church needs now, more than ever, is to elevate the standard for a priest.

No, the Church needs somebody who’s gonna fight for God.

That’s me.

Besides, if the Church’s choices don’t celebrate a person’s capacity for change, then what else does it stand for?

This may sound contradictory, but sometimes the best path to serving God is to step out of the way.

With all due respect, monsignor, you’re getting in my way.

God wants me here.

Priests become the financial responsibility of the Church.

Now, by admitting you, we’d be agreeing to subsidize you as the face of Catholicism, something our board would be very reluctant to do.

First, it’s admitting you’re afraid I’ll succeed.

If you so sure I’ll flame out, Father, what you got to lose?

[♪♪♪]

HAM: My man. Hey.

Look at you. What?

The first of many inappropriate displays, I trust.

Outward sign of inward grace.

And a hug from the heart. Hugs are healing.

Jesus hugged a cripple, that mother-hugger would walk.

I need another one. [WHOOPS]

Entering these gates, you surrender any personal means of purchase.

We rely on our sponsors for money.

You do have one of those, don’t you?

Don’t worry about me, brother.

I been getting sponsorships since I could swing.

[CHUCKLES]

By the time I leave, I’ll have Jesus’ name on my trunks.

You can keep your driver’s license and insurance card.

They took my license, canceled my insurance.

You doubted me, and I’m a step ahead.

God bless you.

It is my great privilege to welcome you to the stewardship of theology.

You are here to learn that you will one day be a teacher.

An advisor.

A confessor.

Indeed, a Father.

Hey. Hey.

Hey, I guess we’re gonna be roommates.

[BOTH CHUCKLE]

Sixteen?

Sixteen.

[RINGING]

They must’ve given me a faulty one.

It’s user error. And it’s like 2 in the morning.

I ain’t going down till I get this right.

[SCOFFS] There is no MVP of Consecration.

Of course there is. Jesus.

Hey, you wanna sleep, help a brother out.

And be complicit in your ruse? Not over my dead body.

I’ll ring your bell, show you how that’s done.

You’re a fraud.

I found God.

I ain’t here for fellowship. I’m here for worship.

That’s a great bumper sticker.

[RINGING]

MONSIGNOR: “Take this, all of you, drink from it, for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant.”

STU: I been thinking.

Hmm?

Probably wise to keep a vice on hand.

Somebody too perfect, they a target for the devil.

“Better to be silent, be thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt.”

While we’re bandying idioms.

If Jesus wasn’t afraid to look a fool, why should I be?

[SCOFFS] If you seek to be Christlike, give us something worth repeating.

That is the duty of a priest.

One that you prove daily you’re incapable of performing.

HAM: Not just what he does that makes a man a priest.

It’s also what he doesn’t do.

He ain’t laid you out yet.

Oh, that’s charming.

Not yet.

Watch your man.

Oh, no, Stu.

Oh, no, Stu!

[LAUGHS]

HAM: You look tired. STU: Give me a second, man.

I’m out of shape. And you’re Black.

I thought you were an athlete.

I’m gonna take five.

Sub in for me. What?

Let me catch my breath, man.

Shit.

Hey.

You want in?

Does it look like I want in?

Trying to rise above here, man.

A priest is penitent, not playful.

How you think Moses lasted in the desert 40 years?

He must’ve been in shape.

Priest got to be prepared.

I don’t suppose Jesus appreciates your mockery.

God gave us a sense of humor so we’d use it.

I don’t know how to play, all right?

My father didn’t see the point in teaching me sports.

I was always gonna be a priest.

It ain’t never too late to learn.

Not everyone is as eager to humiliate themselves as you are.

Through his own son’s shame was God’s glory magnified.

Jesus set the bar, brother.

No one wants to hear the Gospel from the mouth of a gangster.

Maybe that’s exactly what they need.

I’m coming back.

GARCIA: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish, but might have eternal life.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

CONGREGATION: Praise to the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is a great pleasure to introduce a member of our parish family, now a seminarian, to deliver today’s reflection.

Hey.

“Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

That’s what Jesus said on the cross.

As a kid, I saw a dude in a diaper getting it worse than me with my daddy’s belt when he was drunk.

But I figured, I could never screw up as bad as Jesus.

Whatever he did to deserve that.

And as a man, I thought, “You know what? It serves him right. Trying to lie to the world, make us think we gotta kiss his bloody feet for a pat on the head.”

Look, now, we’ve all been wronged, and we’ve all done some wronging.

Some of us worse than others.

But with them words I said up top, Jesus asked his father, God, to forgive the folks tacking him up.

He ain’t come to condemn the world, make us cower in shame for our sins.

Uh-uh.

He came to forgive us.

Think about it.

We ask Jesus to forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

God’s forgiveness is contingent upon us forgiving others.

That’s the deal.

It ain’t easy to do.

Truth is, we ain’t got no power to do it ourselves.

None of us, not a one.

It’s all God’s grace.

That’s the man, right there.

You just gotta let him in.

He’ll do the heavy lifting.

CONGREGATION: Amen.

Hey.

Hey, wait up. Hey.

You’re out of shape.

I’m out of practice chasing after you.

You’re spiritually blackmailing me.

What? Reminding me that God forgives those who forgive others, chasing me down to demand it, all for you to make yourself feel better.

It’ll make you feel better too.

There’s nothing to forgive. We serve the same God.

You seeing someone?

You really are a glutton for punishment.

You asked to see me, Father? Oh. Yes, yes.

As a matter of fact, I did. Uh…

It’s come to my attention that there was a woman in your life, prior to you entering the seminary.

I was wondering, are you still in contact with her?

No, not really.

I mean, she don’t want much to do with a man she can’t marry.

You know how Catholic girls are. Or maybe you don’t.

You strike me as the kind of man for whom rejection only strengthens resolve.

Oh, don’t ask me where I got that notion.

Do you still think about her?

Of course I do.

Sexuality’s a gift from God.

And denying it is denying something he wanted us to have.

It’s what you do with it that matters.

Well, I appreciate your candor.

Anyway, I just want you to know, I’m always here, if you need to talk, or you’re struggling.

Too kind, too kind.

You know, it ain’t a giving up, it’s a giving for.

Like anything, Father, it’s the struggle that brings you closer to God.

I ain’t never shied away from no fight.

Teaching priests to rat on suffering men, they’re getting closer to Judas than Jesus.

We both know how that story ends.

Don’t we?

[ROBERT FINLEY’S “COUNTRY BOY” PLAYING]

♪ I just can’t get it right ♪

♪ I’m trying to make A brand new friend ♪

♪ And everybody Trying to fight ♪

♪ It ain’t easy ♪

♪ And it ain’t fair ♪

♪ Is the world so messed up ♪

♪ Am I the only one to care? ♪

♪ So much love That I’m willing to share ♪

♪ All right, yeah ♪

♪ I’ve got it right here ♪

STU: Hey.

Go, go, go. Right here, right here.

Hey. Come on, man, let’s go.

Shit.

Hey.

Yo, I got you, I got you. Hey.

Wait, wait. Hey, hey, hey.

Hey, you all right, man?

I ain’t playing possum, if that’s what you’re asking.

[♪♪♪]

Let me try again. Help me up.

Let’s go slow. Go slow.

All right, just take a sec.

Guys, hey.

[MUFFLED] Dude, you okay? You okay, man?

Yeah. Come on.

Come on. There you go.

[BED WHIRRING]

Oh, shit.

You there, ten-four?

KATHLEEN: Yes, Stu.

Still here.

Roger that.

Oh, shit.

Is that that nurse out there? You there?

Hello?

Anybody out there?

[GULPING]

Oh, my God.

Oh, Stuart, I apologize for the delay.

I had several specialists conferring over your lab reports.

No worries, Doc. I got the feeling back.

I think I’m good. Okay, look.

Uh, there’s no easy way to deliver this news, but um, you don’t strike me as somebody who needs sugar coating.

All right?

You have a progressive muscle disorder.

It’s called inclusion body myositis. It’s very rare.

Symptoms are like ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, where the muscles continue to weaken until they cease to function.

Yeah, and… unfortunately, there is no cure.

Well, you could’ve put some sugar on that shit.

I’m sorry. Listen, it’s very rare to see in somebody as young as you.

Then I got a better chance to beat it.

Yeah, well, like I said, th-there’s no cure.

All right, Stuart?

But the rate of progression, it varies from person to person.

How long?

The first things to atrophy will be the quadriceps, finger flexors, foot dorsiflexors.

Then, later on, the facial muscles, especially those that control eye closure, speech, and the muscles that facilitate your swallowing.

The good news is that you could have as long as a year before you’re going to need any assistance with basic daily activities.

Like what? Like taking a shit?

Patients find that preparing for a future with some home augmentations eases the transition.

Take this shit out of my dick.

I’m gonna send for a nurse, okay.

Can’t cure my disease, can’t take a tube out of my dick, what can you do, Doc?

I understand, Stuart, that you are angry.

Oh, God. Is there anything it doesn’t fuck with?

Yeah.

Erectile function.

Typically one of the last things to go.

I’m trying to be a priest, pal.

[SCOFFS]

Oh.

Let me know if you need anything.

[DOOR OPENS, CLOSES]

HAM: God is all about defying the odds.

You know, showing people what they didn’t think was possible is.

I defied every odd to get where I’m at.

You’d think he’d give a brother a break.

[SIGHS]

You know, m-maybe this is God giving you your break.

[SCOFFS] You know, Hollywood’s not got too many handsome handicapped.

You think Ali wanna be known as the best Black boxer?

Guys like us go for greatest of great.

Stu…

Only thing you and Ali got in common is a wheelchair in your future.

[CHUCKLING]

You all right, bro?

God don’t make mistakes, right?

You love me, but you don’t want me.

You’re testing me, huh?

You wanna test me to see how serious I am?

Why?

Why?

Why?

[SNIFFLES]

I wanna know why.

I wanna know why. I wanna know now.

Why?

Why have you forsaken me here now?

And I’m here, and I wanna do right, and I wanna be good.

I’m gonna be good.

I’m gonna do right, I’m wanna be good.

Please, Lord…

Goddamn.

No, I didn’t mean that. You know I didn’t mean that.

All right.

I need to know now. I need to know now.

Why?

What the fuck you got me doing here like this on my…

On my own?

Make sure you put Stephen with me.

[BREATHES DEEPLY]

I’ll be here, Lord.

For you.

STU: You all right?

KATHLEEN [OVER PHONE]: That’s a dumb question.

I’m sorry.

I don’t know what else to say.

That’s a first. You must be really sick.

That’s what they’re saying. I feel fine so far.

Baby.

You can beat this.

They ain’t seen it in a man so young.

Means they don’t know it’s possible to get it gone.

You gotta think that way. Can’t think nothing else.

Yeah.

But in case you don’t, you ought to move back home.

Spend what you got left doing things you enjoy.

Eat your favorite food, see your friends.

Hell, you might even box again.

Ma.

Sorry, baby.

I’m just scared. Well, look at Mary.

Watching her son getting whipped and nailed.

She probably looked good doing it.

That’s a fucking fairytale, Stu.

And if it ain’t? This God of yours, you’ve given up everything for him.

And what’s he do? He punishes you.

When God wounds us, he calls us closer to him.

You couldn’t get any closer.

You’re already in the goddamn bed with him.

Couldn’t you make some kind of deal?

He lets you stay around, you be his bitch?

Otherwise, take your business elsewhere.

I’m not gay, all right? And God’s not a gangster.

He don’t make deals, and he sure as hell don’t respond to no ultimatums.

You can’t talk me out of this one.

I don’t know why… [PHONE RINGING]

I come out here every show and I keep saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

I don’t know what I’m thanking you for.

You get in here for nothing.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

BILL [OVER MACHINE]: Bill’s doing more important shit right now. Leave word.

And believe me, that wasn’t my idea.

KATHLEEN [OVER MACHINE]: Bill, it’s me, Kathleen.

I need to talk to you about Stu.

It’s amazing, the things they have nowadays.

Shaving cream with diacetin in it.

What about him?

Shaving cream with lanolin in it.

Shaving cream with chlorophyll in it.

What’s that mean?

Had to chase all over town

to find shaving cream with soap in it.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHING]

There. A small shave…

Does he need a–? Can he even get on the crapper by himself?

Nothing like a nice smooth…

Hmm…

I forgot to put a blade in it.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHING]

A load of good you and me did, climbing into bed together.

Made two kids, own bodies don’t want ’em.

Hello.

[♪♪♪]

[SNORING]

[GRUNTS, GROANS]

Hang on.

Hold your horses.

You’re gonna wake the whole damn neighborhood.

This ain’t no neighborhood. This is a trailer park.

They ought to thank me for the wake-up call.

Get their asses up to find a job.

Early bird gets the worm! Ain’t you all heard?

Some of them got jobs. Get in here.

Thought you’d never ask.

[SIGHS]

This is nice.

You make Mama look like Martha Stew.

Yeah, I was thinking of hiring your girlfriend to come in and tidy up for me.

She’d appreciate the work, probably, seeing as the church mouse feeds on strangers’ scraps and people these days are just stingy assholes.

Hm.

You get back what you put out there, Bill.

Is that why God gave you an incurable disease?

You called it.

You always said I was a degenerate.

Drop in unannounced. Don’t give a man time to take a piss or get his shit together.

I beg your pardon, Padre.

What, are you casing the joint, gonna steal more of my shit?

I come to see you ain’t killed yourself.

Left Mama high and dry.

You think you’re the only one that can keep a vow?

Don’t get all high and mighty with me, son.

I’m still your fucking father. Don’t you forget that.

It’s lucky you ain’t bet one dime on me, huh?

[PICTURE CLATTERS]

I’m praying for you, Bill.

Don’t you dare!

[DOG BARKING IN DISTANCE]

You’re violating my rights as a man.

As an American.

[SIGHS]

[♪♪♪]

[MUMBLES]

MONSIGNOR: Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church.

And graciously grant her peace and unity in accordance with your will.

Who live and reign forever and ever.

Amen.

ALL: Amen.

MONSIGNOR: The peace of the Lord be with you always.

And now let us offer each other a sign of peace.

[SOFTLY] Peace be with you.

Peace be with you.

Peace be with you.

Peace be with you.

CARMEN: When were you gonna tell me?

STU: When I prayed away my pride.

I’ll marry you, you want me to.

[SCOFFS] Aren’t you gonna ask what kind of guy he is?

No.

I’d beat him up.

But I’m trying to be a priest.

[CHUCKLES]

Well, for…

For what it’s worth, you have my support.

In sickness and in health?

In case I get a miracle?

Until death do we part?

[♪♪♪]

[SOBBING]

[SNIFFLES]

If your mom asks, tell her I came to convince you to abandon priesthood.

[SOFTLY] She ain’t gonna believe that.

Not you.

It’s okay.

[SNIFFLES]

[LAUGHING]

[ODETTA’S “AIN’T NO GRAVE CAN HOLD MY BODY DOWN” PLAYING]

♪ Ain’t no grave Can hold my body down ♪

♪ Ain’t no grave Can hold my body down ♪

[DOOR LOCK BUZZES] ♪ My body down ♪

♪ When the first trumpet Sound ♪

♪ I’ll be gettin’ up Walkin’ ’round ♪

♪ Ain’t no grave Can hold my body down ♪

♪ Ain’t no grave ♪

Give me a hand here.

♪ Can hold my body down ♪

[CLEARS THROAT] Uh…

It’s our mission to enter the darkest places, and to be the light of Christ.

“Dark”?

[SCOFFS] Because we Black, bad, or both?

[INMATES SNICKER]

Uh… It…

It’s a-a metaphor.

INMATE: If you gonna use big words like that, you might as well pass out dictionaries, bro.

STU: You guys get one phone call a week in here?

If you kiss the right ass.

Who you gonna call, huh?

Your mama?

You gonna break her heart some more.

Your wife? Shit, let’s be real, she probably busy banging her new man.

And your kid?

He’s probably gonna get more pity in school if his daddy was dead.

You don’t need no phone to talk to God.

And don’t need a guard’s permission, neither.

When no one else gives a shit what you got to say, God does.

Because he made your ass.

You damn right he’s disappointed in it, but he wants to help.

No matter how hard you resist it, no matter how many times you say no.

He still wants to make you better.

He ain’t giving up on you.

Never.

Don’t you dare go giving up on yourself.

You wanna try again?

[BELL TOLLING]

Have a seat, Stuart.

You know what?

I’m trying to stay fit. I think I’ll have a stand.

[DOOR CLOSES]

There is concern amongst the diocese that the state of your infirmity will render you unable to properly perform the sacraments.

It may even cause you to disgrace them.

I spill the blood. Choke on the body.

Fall on my face trying to genuflect.

You think I haven’t thought of that?

We’re not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human one.

This body don’t mean nothing to God, therefore nor should it to you.

Unfortunately, it’s not up to me.

The Church will not endorse you for ordination.

At first the Church couldn’t afford to subsidize me as a face of Catholicism.

Now it can’t afford to subsidize a cripple.

This time it ain’t a matter of reputation, it’s a matter of the money.

Isn’t that right?

God don’t move the goalpost, Father. Man does.

It is my duty to defend the sanctity of our Church.

I’m sorry, Stuart.

[SIGHS]

[♪♪♪]

[BREATHING HEAVILY]

HAM: Hello, Mr. Long.

I’m sorry, my name is Ham.

Uh, I’m a friend of your son, Stuart.

Nearly done there or what?

She gonna help me up.

Oh, come on now.

This ain’t the hill to die on.

It’s the only one.

It’s a solid build.

I seen insects grope about for death with more dignity than what you’re displaying right now.

You here to help?

Play a hymn on the harp.

Makes pathetic shit look poetic.

I’m afraid the only hymn I know is Haggard.

Ain’t you got somewhere to be?

Yeah, probably.

I’m trying out this new thing they got now called self-employment.

All the kids are doing it.

I heard about that.

Identical twin sister to unemployment.

Except they swear she’s the better-looking one.

I seen a couple of boxing bouts on the TV.

Enough to know a man don’t lose when he gets knocked down, but when he won’t get up.

If there’s one thing I know about you, it’s… you ain’t afraid to get hit.

You gonna watch or what?

Yeah.

[♪♪♪]

[FAUCET SQUEAKS OFF]

Hey, Mama. Hi, baby.

STU: What you waiting on?

Well, you.

What you doing in there?

Praying for you to get some patience.

You ought to try praying for my prostate.

You all right?

Well, I ain’t trying to close my curtains in the shit box, if that’s what you’re asking.

Well, you always did wanna be like Elvis.

I didn’t think you noticed.

How could I not? You never did shut up.

Many hours of silence, gone.

They say it’s gold. We could’ve been rich.

Too late now. Ain’t gonna get that time back.

Yeah.

How do we tackle this?

Come on. Yeah.

[♪♪♪]

[INAUDIBLE]

[♪♪♪]

We’re gonna be late.

The news ain’t said hell froze over.

That the best you got?

I’d clap if I could. I might slap myself.

[CHUCKLES] That’s more like it.

I never did like wearing these things.

Ain’t done one of these since your brother’s funeral.

Still got your mother’s makeup on it.

You got another one coming up.

Shut the fuck up, will ya?

Meantime, you take Mama somewhere nice.

[THE RAGGED JUBILEE’S “COUNTRY ROADS” PLAYING]

♪ Bones crushing bones In my dreams ♪

Well, you can’t say I never gave you nothing.

Yeah, I skipped over thanking you.

Went straight to the source.

[TRUCK SQUEALING]

This thing purrs like a kitten, huh?

Mm-hm.

Oh, no.

[CLANKING]

You son of a… Son of a bitch. You piece of shit.

You couldn’t wait till tomorrow.

Maybe that’s God saying you ought to share your shit.

Or else.

Yeah, well, she’s all yours now.

We ain’t that far. I could walk.

Yeah, and I can fucking fly.

Where you going?

I gotta get your ass to church on time.

[GRUNTS]

[ENGINE HISSING]

BILL: There you go. Ooh.

STU: Breathing heavy already.

BILL [COUGHS]: It’s the bad air.

STU: You gonna have a heart attack.

BILL: Well, then it’ll all be right.

I’d die before you.

STU: Yeah, you ain’t that lucky.

BILL: Shut up.

KATHLEEN: Hi, baby. Hey, Mama.

Wanna tell me what’s going on here?

What you mean?

Dad is in a tie.

He looks nice.

Y’all think since I can’t be a priest, I’m gonna marry her now?

Y’all bless this? You’re in no state to protest.

You called her a housekeeper.

What’s wrong with housekeepers?

Yeah, that’s good for her. In three months, I’ll be in a diaper.

BILL: You’re gonna need someone to clean up your shit.

That’s your job. I’m gonna subcontract.

KATHLEEN: Oh, cut that shit out, you two.

Here. Let’s go.

Mind your back, Bill. Okay.

[♪♪♪]

Our parish petitioned the diocese to ordain you as a priest.

Monsignor made sure it was heard.

Turns out, I had one good fight left in me.

We all believe in you, brother.

That’s Father to you.

[ELVIS’S “WHERE COULD I GO BUT TO THE LORD” PLAYING]

♪ Living below ♪

♪ In this old sinful world ♪

♪ Hardly a comfort ♪

♪ Can afford ♪

♪ Striving alone ♪

♪ To face temptation so ♪

♪ Now won’t you tell me ♪

♪ Where could I go But to the Lord ♪

Someone once told me I was bad advertising.

Imagine that.

[ALL CHUCKLE]

He was a boss of mine at the supermarket.

I kept coming in with a face looked more like raw meat than what I was selling.

Of course at the time, I thought that man was wrong.

Whole world was wrong when it came to me.

Every brawl I had was beating back at a world I thought had done me wrong.

Yeah.

Every bruise on my face, every drop of blood I shed was proof of my war against God’s injustice.

I look worse now than I did then, that’s for sure.

Difference is… now I know my suffering’s a gift from God.

Now, I know it sounds like bull, but it’s coming from a man in a wheelchair, so you got to entertain it.

[ALL CHUCKLE]

Hear me out.

All our outer nature’s wasting away.

But our inner nature is being renewed every day.

This life, no matter how long it lasts, is a momentary affliction preparing us for eternal glory.

We shouldn’t pray for an easy life, but the strength to endure a difficult one.

Because the experience of suffering is the fullest expression of God’s love.

It is a chance to be closer to Christ.

Now, no one suffers perfectly.

For sure not me.

Even Christ had his moment of despair.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

He asked from the cross.

Christ felt betrayed.

You see, in that moment, he who was sinless…

took on all our sins, and got judged by God.

He took what we deserve, because he loves us.

And that love… it could make the baddest man a believer.

Because that love is a feeling like no other.

To lead you all to find and feel that love… is why God is giving me the scenic route to die.

And for that, I thank him every day.

Amen.

ALL: Amen.

[♪♪♪]

NURSE: Hi. How you doing, darling?

Great.

And who are you here to visit, sir?

Father Stu. [CHUCKLES]

You and everybody else in this town.

[PEOPLE CHATTERING INDISTINCTLY]

Good morning.

Good one to be in sin, I suppose.

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

It has been seven days since my last confession.

But no matter how many I make, these hands that touch the troubled are still themselves unclean.

You having doubts?

A doubt would imply that I ever wanted this responsibility.

My father did.

[SCOFFS]

It was expected of me.

I’m angry at God.

For failing to make me man enough to defy the expectations of me.

And I’m envious of you for having the balls to do just that.

All I ever prayed for was a way out of this life.

And to watch you given an out by God, and refuse it…

I-I can’t understand it.

But I do admire it.

For these and all my sins, I am sorry.

I wasn’t given no expectation, except to stay alive.

I ain’t coming too good on that.

Whether by offering his son, or for watching one die, a father’s just looking for love,

like the rest of us.

Imagine how it must’ve felt for Joseph… to be the less important father.

In his name, you pray for penance.

Goodbye, Stu.

BILL: Bill Long, alcoholic.

ALL: Hi, Bill.

[EXHALES SHARPLY]

I feel like I’m putting my dick in a woodchipper.

MAN: We’ve all been in your shoes.

Sometimes, too drunk to put ’em on.

You’ve made the first step, admitting you can’t do it alone.

ALL: Amen.

Yeah, well, I could’ve used God’s help for a lot of things, but never could find him.

My son said, that’s because God wasn’t lost.

Wise-ass.

[ALL CHUCKLE]

Anyway, I sure as hell ain’t got the road map.

Um… I’m here because my son asked me to get baptized.

[SIGHS]

I killed every hero that boy ever had, hoping one day that hero would be me.

Never gave him a single reason why it should be.

[♪♪♪]

[INAUDIBLE]

I guess we’re both late bloomers.

[CROWD CHEERING]

FATHER LONG: It’s a profound experience, suffering.

And the struggles of this disease helped me, and help others, to learn the way that we should have been living all along.

It’s taught me a little humility.

It’s taught me dignity, respect for others.

And sometimes people like me– there’s an extreme example– we need things like this to be able to make those changes, and decisions in our life that are gonna help us become better people, become the people that God has created us to be when he sent us to this planet.

♪ That’s all right ♪

♪ That’s all right That’s all right ♪

♪ That’s all right ♪

♪ Since my soul’s gotta seat Up in that kingdom ♪

♪ That’s all right ♪

[CLAPPING IN RHYTHM]

♪ My, my mother How you’re walkin’ on ♪

♪ Your feet might slip But you’re soul ain’t gone ♪

♪ Since my soul’s got a seat Up in that kingdom ♪

♪ That’s all right ♪

♪ Y’all help me ♪

ALL: ♪ That’s all right ♪

♪ That’s all right Yeah, that’s all right ♪

♪ That’s all right ♪

♪ Since my soul’s got a seat Up in that kingdom ♪

♪ That’s all right ♪

♪ Hush little baby Now, don’t you cry ♪

♪ You know your momma’s Been born to die ♪

♪ Since my soul’s got a seat Up in that kingdom ♪

♪ That’s all right ♪

♪ Now that’s all right Yeah, that’s all right ♪

♪ Yeah, that’s all right ♪

♪ It’ll be all right ♪

♪ Since my soul’s got a seat Up in that kingdom ♪

♪ That’s all right ♪

♪ Since my soul’s got a seat Up in that kingdom ♪

♪ That’s all right ♪

[BRETT YOUNG’S “LONG WAY HOME” PLAYING]

♪ Everybody’s got a story ♪

♪ Everybody’s been hurt ♪

♪ Everybody’s got scars And broken hearts ♪

♪ They don’t deserve ♪

♪ Everybody is a dreamer ♪

♪ Until they wake up ♪

♪ Everybody’s made of stone ♪

♪ Until their bones Return to dust ♪

♪ You’re never really lost If you never stop lookin’ ♪

♪ You gotta keep movin’ If your heart’s on fire ♪

♪ Love is gonna find a way To find you wherever you go ♪

♪ When the clouds get dark And you can’t see nothin’ ♪

♪ Sun still shines On the other side ♪

♪ Everybody gets to heaven On a broken road ♪

♪ Some of us Gotta take the long way home ♪

It’s all about deception.

All right, you make them think you’re going right, and then pow, hit them with that left.

Unpredictability. It makes the audience the actor’s bitch.

The director says we’re supposed to disappear.

No, honey, that’s why they call it stealing the show.

Nobody gives you permission to entertain.

I’m seven. I’m trying to help you, kid.

Impart some wisdom. God smiles on that shit.

DIRECTOR: Quiet all around.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re free to fuck this up.

Worst that happens, you don’t make the cut.

In the ring, you get one chance. You better make it count.

That’s the difference between movies and real life, sweetheart.

Your choice how you wanna live.

Rolling.

A mark.

Wanna be a big star? Follow me.

DIRECTOR: Background. And action.

Hey, you!

Maid! [SCREAMS]

[LAUGHS]

DIRECTOR: Cut! Cut! Oh, my…

Cut. Are you crazy? I’m making it real, man.

That was good. You’re background.

I’m trying to help. These guys ain’t doing it right.

Get him. Don’t talk to the king like that.

What’s wrong with you? You’re wrapped.

What? Congratulations.

[SINGER VOCALIZING]

♪ Take the long way home ♪

♪ Some gotta Take the long way home ♪

[♪♪♪]

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