The Best of Times

Synopsis: Jack Dundee is a meek banker living in Taft, California. He constantly thinks about the 1972 high school football game between Taft and powerhouse Bakersfield. Dundee drops a perfect pass from quarterback and friend Reno Hightower, and the game ended in a tie. He wants to replay the game, but has trouble convincing Reno and the town to replay the game. So Jack resorts to desperate measures to make the game reality.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Sport
Director(s): Roger Spottiswoode
Production: Sultan Entertainment
Rotten Tomatoes:
104 min

These are not the best of times.

And nothing comes easy anymore.

In fact, ever since the fall of man,

things have been tough everywhere,

especially in the San Joaquin valley.

In 1910, in the southwest corner

of Kern County,

god spoke in a gusher of black gold.

We had a chance for greatness,

And in 1911,

we changed our name.

That was also the first year

Taft Midway Union High School

played Bakersfield High in football.

We lost...

56 to 0.

We also lost 25,000 barrels

of oil a day

because nobody could figure out

how to cap the well.

But we got on the map.

You got to make trade-offs.

For instance...

We've got the worst god damn

weather in the world,

but it builds character.

That's a trade-off.

And in 1913, we had a chance

to test that character.

Taft's own Kid Lester,

the toughest bastard ever

to come out of the oil fields,

got to fight Sam Langford,

the number one heavyweight

contender in the world.

Rumor had it that

Langford was out of shape

and didn't take the fight seriously.

They say he didn't have

a right hand anymore.

Kid Lester predicted a

knockout in the fifth round,

and, unfortunately,

he got it.

The Kid slipped quietly out of town

and was never seen again,

though he vowed he would

someday return to redeem himself.

Bakersfield beat us

by four touchdowns that year.

And then plague was thrown

upon the people of Taft...

that even Jobe didn't

have to deal with... mice.

100 million mice came up out of

a dry lake and marched on Taft.

0nly when thousands of sea gulls

flew over from Ventura County

were they beaten back.

Well, eaten back, actually.

It rained all the next winter.

Bakersfield 82,

Taft 6.

It seems like every year

they beat us 82 to 6,

but in 1972, something happened.

A great athlete rose

up out of the Taft desert

to cast a shadow beyond

the boundaries of Kern County.

A greek god, a leader of men,

a quarterback.

A great quarterback.

We had Reno Hightower.

At last, a chance to beat Bakersfield.

November 15, 1972,

our moment in history,

only seconds left

in a scoreless game.

Reno goes back to pass.

A golden arm...

He lets it fly...

and as he does...

he's hit by half of the Bakersfield team.

His knee is smashed.

His career is over.

But what a pass.

Sixty-five yards in the air.

At least we still had a chance

to beat Bakersfield.

And somebody's open!

Some third-string wide receiver.

The ball's laid right in his hands,

but that son-of-a-b*tch dropped it!

I was that son-of-a-b*tch.

And as you can see,

my mistake was so horrible,

not only has it haunted me

ever since,

but it's forced the entire town to

slip quietly into oblivion forever.

Sort of like Kid Lester.

I'm sorry, sir.

Your wife is here.

Thank you, Marcy.

Go file something.

I should've caught the damn thing.

What can I do for you?

I'm sorry to disturb you at work.

I know you're a busy man.

Could the bank make a

$100 donation

to the Women's Club production

of "Fiddler on the Roof"?

- We're doing a modern version.

- "If I were that rich dude."

How about $200?

Jack, you're a doll.

Jaki's class is having a party.

Could you drop off

some potato chips?

Honey, I'm the Vice President

of a bank.

- I'm very busy...

- Ruffles.

You have it.


Are you happy?

I'm happy.

Don't just say that to make me happy.

- Are you happy?

- I'm happy!

Me, too.

0h, my god.

Daddy's here.


Look busy.

- Does this look busy?

- Looks busy to me.



Bring it in, boys.

0n the wall behind the desk.

What's that?

Me. I had ten painted.

0ne for each bank.

All in the tradition of Velazquez.

So, what do you think?

I like Velazquez.

He's damn good for a Mexican, huh?

What are you doing?

Trying to look busy?

Look busy, sir?

I am busy.

Don't get hurt.

Thank you very much for calling.

So, Jack...

What do you think?

Think it's a bit too much?

Tell me the truth.

Well, it's slightly ostentatious.

Damn right!

Grand statement on a grand theme!

No brush strokes.

Paid extra for that.

Well, butterfingers...

Daddy, I'm sorry

you can't stay longer.

Sorry I can't stay

longer, honey.

Got nine more of these to go.

- Is that all?

- Come on, boys.

I hope everything's 0K

in Bakersfield.

0K? Bakersfield High's got

one hell of a team this year!

Should beat Taft 84 to 0 again!





Bakersfield High has a great

football team this year!

Should beat Taft..."



God damn it!

Why did Reno Hightower

throw that ball to me?

0h, Jack.

You've only seen him once a week

for the last thirteen years.

You've had a thousand chances.

Why don't you ask him?

- What's the problem?

- What's the problem?

The problem is EI,

it's that time of year again

when the first leaf...

"of autumn falls forlornly

on the barren ground below."


- I'm happy, 0K?

- 0K.

Thanks for the donation.

Don't forget the chips.


Aw, Carlos, more sharks.

My client wants lots of sharks.

Lady Di's got to be in deep sh*t.

It's more emotional.

I thought that was Pia Zadora.

- Is this dry yet?

- Yeah, man. It's ready.

0K, take it down.

Easy, now.


What do you think?

- It's your best work, Reno.

- Thanks, man.

(sputtering and backfiring)

A little more shading on the bicep.

God needs more definition.

Hey, Jack. What's your problem?

It sounds like crap.

That's what the problem is.

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Ron Shelton

Ron Shelton (September 15, 1945 in Whittier, California) is an American Oscar-nominated film director and screenwriter. Shelton is known for the many films he has made about sports. more…

All Ron Shelton scripts | Ron Shelton Scripts

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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