Blue in the Face

Synopsis: Wayne Wang's follow-up movie to Smoke presents a series of improvisational situations strung together to form a pastiche of Brooklyn's diverse ethnicity, offbeat humor, and essential humanity. Many of the same characters inhabiting Auggie Wren's Brooklyn Cigar Store in Smoke return here to expound on their philosophy of smoking, relationships, baseball, New York, and Belgian Waffles. Most of all, this is a movie about living life, off-the-cuff.
Genre: Comedy
Production: Miramax
  2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
83 min

Hey, hey, hey

Who caused this child

to walk on her own

Hey, hey, hey, hey

Who leads her down

this treacherous road

Hey, hey, hey, hey

She's dancing to

a song we can't hear

Hey, hey, hey, hey

I think one of the reasons

I live in New York is 'cause..

I know my way

around New York.

I don't know

my way around Paris.

I, uh...

don't know

my way around Denver.

I don't know

my way around Maui.

I don't know my way

around Toronto, etcetera.

So, it's almost by default.

I don't know very many people

who live in New York...

who don't also say,

"But I'm leaving."

And I've been thinking

of leaving...

for, uh, 35 years now.

I'm almost ready.

Last summer there

was a stretch of a couple of weeks...

where everywhere I turned

everyone seemed to be going nuts.

I mean, it's crazy enough

living in Brooklyn in the first place.

But, so many weird little things

kept popping up at once.

They all kinda got scrambled

together in my head.

I doubt that any of it

makes sense anymore...

but... this is how I remember it.

- You got it?

- I got it.

Remember, okay?

Saturday the sixteenth.

- Saturday the sixteenth?

- Yes.

- Saturday the sixteenth?

- Saturday the sixteenth.

It has to be that night.

It's got to be because it's the only night...

that Ramon and his band

are playing in Brooklyn. Okay?

Auggie, he's my brother.

Trust me, okay?

- Don't worry, sweetheart. It's a date.

- Trust me.

Thank you. Listen. Listen.

You're going to be so special.

Just remember the steps

I teach you. Okay?

And you're going to be

like Fred "F***ing" Astaire.

- Okay, Ginger. Whatever you say.

- Hey! Thief!

He took my bag! Hey!

He got your purse.

- Thank you very much, sir.

- You okay?

- I really appreciate that. Yeah. Thank you.

- All right. Good.

- That was great.

- All right.

Let's go call the cops,

have this little kid arrested.

- Come on.

- Wait a second.

We'll call from inside the store.

You're gonna

have him arrested?


- No. No. No! Don't!

- How old are you?

I see it in your eyes.

Me? I'm only... 12.

- Come on, he's...

- Is that what you're gonna give me now, lady?

No. He's scared

to death. Come on.

I'm scared to death of him.

- You caught him in about five seconds flat.

- I'm only 12 years old...

and I only shoot people

who can't catch me, who are too old...

- Come on. Come on.

- Lady. Lady!

Mister, come on. I thank you for getting

it back, but let him go. He's too little.

- You're not gonna press charges against him?

- No.

- You're not gonna press charges against him?

- No. Look at him.

- Look at him? What about him?

- He's a baby. He looks like my little brother.

Sweetheart, babies are shooting people

in New York today.

- Do you see a gun on him? Come on.

- Do you read the papers?

- You got a gun on you?

- You're kidding me. Let him go, all right?

- Bye, bye. That's it.

- This is a joke already. Let him go.

- Stop it. Leave him alone, please!

- That's enough.

- Let's call the cops.

- Just let him go. All right?

I don't care. I don't want to

press charges. Thank you.

I do appreciate getting my purse back,

but please let him go.

- He's gonna be good. Look at him.

- Uh-huh.

You're not gonna do

anything anymore.

- Here, it's yours. It's yours.

- You're looking for trouble.

- You're looking for trouble.

- Go! Go!

- What are you doing?

- Why'd you do that?

You sh*t! Look at the poor girl.

Why you do that, you f***?

Why you stand there?

Do something! You think it's funny.

- It's not funny. I'm not laughing.

- How dare you do that!

How dare you take my thing

and give it away like that.

- Do you know what is in there?

- Lady...

- Shut up!

- Lady?

- What are you doing? Are you some kind of vigilante?

- If that bag is important to you...

then hang onto it.

- I put my life at risk to catch that kid.

- Thank you, but I have a right...

- to forgive somebody and not be punished for it.

- No. You've got a respon...

- Excuse me, sweetheart. Give me a minute.

- Don't talk to me like that, Auggie.

- You've got a responsibility to teach that kid...

- Don't stick that in my face!

- You have no right.

- Oh, lady.

- Lady! Lady! What is this?

- You've got a responsibility to teach this kid right from wrong.

You just taught him right from wrong?

That was right from wrong?

- You just rewarded him!

- You know what you taught him?

- I rewarded him? Mama!

- You gave it back to him.

- Oh, God! Please!

- Come on, stop it!

- I rewarded him?

- You just gave it back. What a lesson was that?

- It was encouragement. Mine was a lesson of clemency.

- Clemency? Lady!

- I showed him a little bit of kindness.

- This is New York!

I'm scared in my own apartment.

I'm, I'm... You know.

I'm scared 24 hours a day,

but not necessarily in New York.

I actually feel

pretty comfortable in New York.

I get scared

like in Sweden.

You know, it's kind of empty.

They're all drunk.

Everything works.

If you, you know... If you stop at a stop

light and don't turn your engine off...

people come over

and talk to you about it.

You open the medicine cabinet

and there'll be a poster saying...

"In case of suicide, call..."

You turn on the TV,

there's an ear operation.

These things scare me.

New York, no.

There are 2.3 million people

living in Brooklyn.

There are 90 different

ethnic groups...

32,000 businesses...

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Paul Auster

Paul Benjamin Auster (born February 3, 1947) is an American author and director whose writing blends absurdism, existentialism, crime fiction, and the search for identity and personal meaning in works such as The New York Trilogy (1987), Moon Palace (1989), The Music of Chance (1990), The Book of Illusions (2002), and The Brooklyn Follies (2005). His books have been translated into more than forty languages. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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