Smart People

Synopsis: Lawrence Wetherhold is miserable and misanthropic: he's a widower, a pompous professor at Carnegie Mellon, an indifferent father to a college student and a high-school senior, and the reluctant brother of a ne'er-do-well who's come to town. A seizure and a fall send Lawrence to the emergency room where the physician, a former student of his, ends up going on a date with him. His daughter, Vanessa, lonely and friendless, who's been bonding with his brother, tries to sabotage dad and the doctor's relationship, but Lawrence is good at that without help. Is there any way these smart people can get a life? Can happiness be pursued beneath layers of irony?
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director(s): Noam Murro
Production: Miramax Films
  3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
95 min

Good morning.

Because it's important

that we all get to know one another,

I would like you to wear these.

I've taken two other courses

from you. This year.

And you still don't

know what my name is, do you?

I most certainly do.

What is it?

- Look, Miss Chin...

- You just looked.

The Price of Postmodernism:

Epistemology and the Literary Canon.

I've never had to wait this long

for a response from a publisher.

He said it's unpublishable.

- He said that?

- Yes.

Leave a message to call me.

Although we may think him

a curmudgeon

and see his Key to All Mythologies

as a monument to pedantry,

she sees him

as the embodiment of virtue.

For next time, read Maud. All of it.

What are you doing?

There was a paper jam

in the Xerox machine.

Aren't you happy to see

your brother, Lawrence?

Adopted brother.

How's the kitchen knife sales?

Or was it aluminum siding?

How's that going?

Calling cards. It's my new line.

It's all kinds of great deals,

domestic and foreign.

We just added the tiny

island nation of Haiti. It's a gold mine.

I'm glad to see

that you're doing meaningful work.

Lawrence, listen.

I wanted to ask a favor. But it's...

Not again, please.

I believe that I loaned you $ 1,200

the last time that you showed up,

two years ago.

And before that it was another $600.

And I'm going to...

I'm going to help you bloom.

Whatever it is that you're asking,

the answer is no.

I love you.

Hey, I'm sorry to bother you,

but do you have a moment

to discuss the character of Casaubon?

- Do you think that Eliot...

- My office hours are over.

The sign says they're till 5:00.

Okay, but my watch says it's 4:53.

That is official university time.

My watch, it's actually...

It gets information by satellite,

and it's accurate

to one millionth of a second.

Take it up with maintenance.

Their offices are across the campus,

behind the stadium.

Of course, they close at 5:00.

Good luck to you.

Good evening.

Hey, Dad.

We need to discuss something.

What is Gibraltar's?

I've underlined over $300

worth of items

you charged there last month.

It's an art bookstore.

I'm taking art history

and the books are expensive.

- I didn't know you wrote poetry.

- Well, there's a lot you don't know.


I need my car.

I need my car.

Well, I'm going to need to see

your receipt from campus security.

Davidson will take care of it

on Monday.

I have an arrangement with him.

I can't give you your car

without a receipt.

I said Davidson will take care of it.

You don't even remember me, do you?

I took your Victorian poetry class

last spring.


You gave me a D.

Yes, I remember.

- Ben Onufrey.

- Ben Onufrey.

No receipt, no vehicle.

I can see that you take your job

very seriously.

So how about that I offer you

$20 for your trouble?

According to rule 17-B

in the Carnegie Mellon University

Traffic Citation Manual...

Listen, you litigious little shit,

I need my briefcase.

Now stop your babbling,

open up that gate and let me in.

The only way you'll get in there

is if you pay the fine

and bring me the receipt.

At which point,

this "litigious little shit"...


Maybe you should spend less time

memorizing parking manuals

and more time being alert!

Mr. Wetherhold,

I need you to wake up.

Mr. Wetherhold,

I need you to wake up.

I was just resting my eyes.

Have you suffered seizures before?

Before what?

Before tonight.

You suffered a trauma-induced seizure

earlier this evening.

Do you know what day

of the week it is?



Well, what?

Are you always this contentious,

or is this the result of the head trauma?

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Mark Poirier

Mark Jude Poirier is an American novelist, short story writer and screenwriter who teaches creative writing at Harvard. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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