Rocket Science

Synopsis: Coming of age in Plainsboro, New Jersey. High school student Hal Hefner stutters. On the evening his parents stop arguing and separate, 43 miles away at the state tournament, his school's legendary debater, Ben Wekselbaum, goes blank mid-sentence, Ben's teammate Ginny Ryerson doesn't get a first-place trophy, and the world changes. That fall, to Hal's amazement, Ginny recruits him for the debate team, mentors him, and will be his partner. He still has his stutter, but he works hard and he falls in love with Ginny. On the day of the first debate of the season, the world changes again. From then until the day of the state tournament, Hal has a lot to sort out. Is love rocket science?
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director(s): Jeffrey Blitz
Production: Picturehouse
  2 wins & 7 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
101 min

Testing, testing.

Significance, harms,

inherency, topicality, solvency.

Quiet, please.

Cell phones off, please.

Judges ready?

Timer ready?

The Affirmative

will please begin.

It will come as no

surprise to the judges,

our esteemed opponents from

Townsend Prep,

nor really to anyone at all

in the audience that we,

the Affirmative from Plainsboro High,

do hereby support this year's

National Policy Debate Resolution,

which I am supposed to recite now,

as if after an entire school year

it could still somehow

be unknown to any of us.

That is ridiculous. Therefore,

instead of senselessly repeating it,

I will offer up a moment of silence

during which I'd like every one of you

to say the resolution aloud. It will be

a final communal act for all of us,

the High School Policy Debaters

of New Jersey. Ready, set, go.


For those of you who aren't

done, I apologize,

but there's a reason why

I'm up here and you're down there,

and if you please, right now,

we're going to go at my pace.

Hang on if you can.

Our plan today is succinct.

Only by becoming a

fully socialist regime,

will the United States government

ever emerge as the true moral leader

of the free world, and thus

create a lasting peace.

Therefore we support an amendment

to the Constitution of the United States

to outlaw all political parties

that do not embrace socialism

as their core philosophy.

On the stage of

the New Jersey State

High School Policy

Debate Championships

that spring night

stood Ben Wekselbaum

of Plainsboro High.

To anyone

who ever heard Ben debate

there was one thing

that was undeniable:

He had a voice.

Even then,

on that May night,

a real voice.

You're all wondering,

"When on earth

is he going to get to

farming subsidies?"

At long last the link to farming,

which is no doubt obvious by now,

agricultural societies collapse under

capitalism and thrive under socialism.

And agriculture has always

been a necessary industry.

- Without agriculture...

- As Ben Wekselbaum

set out the complexities

of their plan,

his partner

was biding her time,

picturing how

it would look up there...

the only trophy missing from her

crowded, gleaming shelf.

One team on the Affirmative,

arguing for the resolution.

The other on the Negative,

tearing it down.

This year's national resolution

is specifically about farming

subsidies, not socialism.

By overstepping the resolution,

they haven't met their

prima fascie burden

to defend said resolution and

should be considered untopical.

Subsidies are at their heart an

extension of socialism...

that's from Gutierrez, '03.

That the negative team

has no legitimate arguments

against socialism isn't our fault.

They didn't penetrate the subject

as deeply as they should have.

To suggest that we haven't

refuted the very basis of socialism

is fallacious and specious.

I refer you again to the quotes

my partner read regarding...

And so it goes.

The high school debate,

like the war that rips

through your city

and ravages everything in its path;

Kids wielding words like weapons

and brandishing ideas like axes.

Nothing else mattered

in that final round.

There was no world

beyond it.

Except that 46 miles away

Hal Hefner was at home...

just sitting at home

like nothing

or none of New Jersey

was burning around him.

We're gonna have to

break up the set.

What am I gonna do?

Put it all in a garbage bag?

My stuff's not gonna

fit in a garbage bag.

- Yeah, put it in a garbage bag!

- Here, keep the deodorant.

Why don't you go down to the basement?

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Jeffrey Blitz

Jeffrey Blitz is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter from Ridgewood, New Jersey. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his 2002 documentary, Spellbound, and won the Dramatic Directing Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for his 2007 film, Rocket Science. Blitz won the 2009 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, for The Office episode "Stress Relief". more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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