What Goes Up

Synopsis: What makes a hero? January, 1986. Campbell Babbitt is a reporter for the New York World, writing a series on a woman who turned the grief of losing a son into civic acts. He falls in love with her, and when she commits suicide, he continues to write made-up stories about her. His editor sends him to New Hampshire to cover the Challenger flight from the town of teacher Christa McAuliffe. The launch is postponed for a few days, giving Campbell time to get to know a group of misfit students whose own teacher killed himself the day Campbell arrives in town. He pieces the story together that led to the suicide, finds himself attracted to a student, and has to sort out his own loss.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Jonathan Glatzer
Production: Three Kings
  1 win.
Rotten Tomatoes:
115 min

In my line of work

there are two cardinal rules.

Tell the truth,

and never, ever become

emotionally involved with

your subject.

The trouble is, you see, all

truths are in fact half true,

like when you

read the newspaper.

It's never just the facts.

There's always judgment.

It goes all the way

back to when Jesus died.

No one really knew

what to think of him,

not until someone put

it on paper and said,


here's the gospel truth."

Legends aren't born,

they're written.

And really, that's what we

all do one way or another,

when someone we love dies,


and not just anyone,

when it's someone extraordinary,

your own personal Jesus.

Why not? A hero.

When they up and die,

we're left with nothing.

Nothing but the task.

Make them immortal.


Only a magnificent epitaph

will grant eternal life,

and it's up to us,

the ones left behind,

to write it

however we see fit.

# Rockets away, my boys

Rockets away

# Into the air we soar

and in a blaze of glory ever #

This is 1986,

a few days before

the whole Challenger

Space Shuttle mishap.

...for soon-to-be teacher

in space, Christa McAuliffe.

This is her hometown.

Proud, overjoyed.

For a few more days,

at any rate.



And in the same town, this very

same week, another teacher died.

Their teacher.

They were the unteachable,

the outcasts, the freaks,

the future fuckups

of America,

but their teacher loved them

and they loved him back.

Well, most of them did.

Before their story

collided with mine,

there was another hero

who left this world,

my world, New York City,

three weeks earlier.

I was a newspaper reporter,

and like most, I was a cynic,

but I secretly yearned

to be proved wrong.


Hey, Babbitt, nice article.

Thank you.

To believe in something,


And once you're a believer,

well, what's to say?

It's very potent stuff.



She was witness to a murder, so

I couldn't use her real name.

I called her Angela,

because Angela saw the face

of the boy who killed her son.

She saw his shock and pain.

"The fullness of his action

coming down on his adolescent face,

"still just a child himself."

I painted her as a hero,

and she was.

I just don't know what she

thought about me saying so.

My baby.

I never got

the chance to ask.




No, no, no!



I didn't really lie.

All right, f*ck it. I lied.

I kept her alive doing the things

I thought she should have done.

I went a bit overboard, perhaps,

but this is what we do.

You want them to live on,

turn the life into a legend.

Your latest,

it's a little baroque.

I'm going to tone it down.

Don't fucking touch it.

It's gotta stop,

and that's that.

You're obsessing,

and frankly, you smell.

But in the workplace, personal

crusades tend to make others...

Stop that.


I'm sending you

to New Hampshire.

Local hero, your favorite.

Teacher in space, hometown

hoopla, blah, blah, blah.

You're going to break that.


I hope you

fucking die up there.



Shit. Shit!


# Hurrah for the flag

of the free!

# May it wave

as our standard forever

# The gem of the land

and the sea

# And the banner of the right

# Let despots remember the day

# When our fathers

with mighty endeavor


# Proclaimed as they marched

to the fray

# That by their might

and by their right

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Jonathan Glatzer

Jonathan Glatzer (born 21 October 1969) is an American writer, director, and producer. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "What Goes Up" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 21 Apr. 2021. <https://www.scripts.com/script/what_goes_up_23269>.

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