Wishin' and Hopin'

Synopsis: Based on the New York Times best-selling novel by award-winning author Wally Lamb. A vivid slice of 1960s life, Wishin' and Hopin' is a wise-and-witty holiday tale that celebrates where we've been-and how far we've come. In the small town of Three Rivers, Connecticut, we go straight into the halls of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School with Felix Funicello, a Catholic school fifth-grader in 1964, whose claim to fame is his cousin Annette Funicello, the famous Mouseketeer and teen movie queen. But grammar and arithmetic move to the back burner this holiday season with the sudden arrivals of substitute teacher Madame Frechette and feisty Russian student Zhenya Kabakova. While Felix learns the meaning of French kissing, cultural misunderstanding, and tableaux vivants, Wishin' and Hopin' barrels toward one outrageous Christmas!
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director(s): Colin Theys
Production: Synthetic Cinema International
  1 nomination.
87 min

Wishin' and hopin'

and thinkin' and praying

planning and dreaming

each night of his charms

that won't get you

When you're young,

Christmas is weld together

into a blur of jingle bells

And twinkling lights.

But the one of 1964,

The year I was

a fifth grade student

At st. Aloysius Gonzaga

parochial school,

Was when I learned

what was actually important.

I guess you could call it

the Christmas of surprises,

And I don't mean the kind

That are gift wrapped

under a tree.

It all started when I,

Felix Funicello,

Accidentally triggered

my teacher

Sister Dymphna's


Spit out the gum.

For this and all my past sins,

I'm heartily sorry.

"Mortal sinners:

in hell or headed there"

By Rosalie Twerski.

Lee Harvey Oswald

and jack ruby...


Sister Dymphna,

Who was named

after the patron saint

Of sleepwalking and insanity,

Seated us by academic rank.

My best friend Lonny

was in the last row.

Having stayed back twice,

He was the oldest kid

in class

As well as the dumbest.

I was seated in front,

Second in class

to Rosalie Twerski.

Marilyn Monroe...


We all know a Rosalie Twerski.

Sister Dymphna,

I think you forgot

To assign homework

for the night.

Can we have more difficult

math problems next time?

These ones were too easy.

Can we add illustrations

for extra credit?

My father, of Twerski's

impressions printing,

Would be happy

to donate the materials.

Rudi Gernreich invented

the topless bathing suit.


Sister Dymphna,

Felix Funicello

just rolled his eyes at me.

Sister Dymphna?


Show Ms. Twerski some respect!

Thanks a lot.

You're welcome, Dondi.

Ugh, Dondi...

A nickname I'd be stuck

with for years

Because of my undeniable


To that adorable Italian orphan

from the comic strips.

You're nothing but a dirty,

rotten rat fink, Twerski.

I know you are,

but what am I?

She had to be taught a lesson.

And during lunch,

Lonny and I devised our plan.

What name shall we give him,


Perhaps it would be all right

if we named him

After today's saint.

Very well.

It's St. Marcelino.

Psst, Felix.

You look very hungry.

I'll bring you something to eat.

Brother cookie, help me quick.

There's a scorpion out here.


Who did that?


I got some bread.

I couldn't find anything else.

I was in such a big hurry.

It touched me!

Satan, I rebuke thee!

Leave, I pray!

Save the children!


Holy crap,

she finally flipped her wig.

My sister Simone had

sworn on a stack of bibles

That the sisters were

as bald as Yul Brynner.

I couldn't wait to tell her

about this.

Duck and cover, children!

Is it gone?


Yes, it's gone.

- It was cross with me, sister.

- Oh, no, no.

- It was...

- It was a test.

Perhaps it was a test.

Are we okay?

- The children!

- Oh, very good.

The children all right?

You put the children first.


Thank you, gentlemen.

You may take your seats.

I don't like its mouth.

Yes, I think we're fine

to leave now.

The Kubiak twins,

Ronald and Roland,

Were raised on a dairy farm

And no strangers to taking care

of rogue bats.

We spent the rest of the day

Under the rule of St. Aloysius'

most nefarious penguin,

The enforcer,

Sister Agrippina.

This was clearly my penance

for that day's sins.

That night, Simone

and my other sister, Frances,

Had nothing but encouraging

words to calm my fears.

I heard Agrippina

once hurled a dictionary

At some kid's head for speaking

without raising his hand.

That's nothing.

I once saw her

rip Wayne walker's glasses

Off of his face

and snap them in two

Just because he had

sloppy penmanship.

Oh, yeah, and then there's

that mole on her bottom lip

That she tries to hide

by barely moving her mouth

When she talks.

Felix, whatever you do,

Don't let her catch you

looking at it.

Yeah, don't.

When you finish

your vocabulary,

I want you to take out

your library books

For silent reading.

There it was

staring right at me.

Yes, Rosalie?

Sister Agrippina,

I was just wondering

how sister Dymphna was doing.

Will she be back soon?

She's resting comfortably,

And she will be back

after the Christmas break.

Now, get out that book.

Yes, Rosalie.

What are we gonna do

about the Christmas pageant?

Last year,

the fifth graders performed

The seven joys of Mary.

And if we do it again this year,

I would gladly

represent the blessed virgin.

We'll have to see what

your permanent substitute

Has planned.

But who's gonna be our sub?

You do have a lay teacher

Who's coming next week

to take over.

Please, begin your reading,

miss Twerski.

Is something the matter,

Mr. Funicello?

It had grown to

at least ten times its size

In the past two minutes.

No, sister.

Silent reading, Rosalie!

My family

had one claim to fame:

We were cousins

with Annette Funicello.

Yes, the Annette Funicello.

Technically, she was

my father's cousin's kid,

But who was keeping track?

The picture was a Christmas

present from pop's cousin

A few years back.

We took pride in being related

to a famous movie star.

But the only one more so

than me...

what do you think?

Was Simone.

Identical, right?

I think you've inhaled

way too much hair spray.

But there was

another family member

On the brink of stardom.

I, Felix Funicello,

Would be making

my television debut

On the ranger Andy show

later that month

With my junior midshipmen group.

Your old man had to have been

in the navy

To join the midshipmen,

So I was the only one

in my class going.

Surely I'd be the envy

of everyone,

Especially Rosalie Twerski.

Felix Funicello.

Felix Anthony Funicello,

the first.

I was ready.

Hey, ma.

Hey, honey.

Oh, hey, listen,

Tomorrow your father is headed

into town to the wholesaler's,

And I'm gonna take your sister

shopping after school.

So chino will be watching you.


Yes, what's wrong

with chino?

He's a responsible adult figure.

You might as well hire oddjob

to babysit me.

Whatever was I thinking?

Dinner was always

an important part of the day.

Pop owned a diner down

by the bus station

And always filled us in

on the day's dirt.

Christ, our lord,


- Amen.

- Amen.

So the minister's wife

comes in,

And she sees I'm trying

to recruit another sailor

For his missionary work,

And she...

Felix, how was school today?

Next week, we're gonna have

a new teacher.

That's great.

Yeah, we're really excited.


Why's that?

Did you hear

what Agrippina said?

A lay teacher.

Yeah, I heard.

You know what that means, right?

'Cause all us guys

are gonna get laid.

Sal, maybe you can

take Felix outside

And finish the Christmas lights

after dinner.

Yeah, pop.

I was thinking of waiting

on that.

Sounds good.

So, uh...

Felix, what you said

about your teacher...

What about it?

Do you know what that word

you used means?

I clearly wouldn't

have said it if I did.



When you get to a certain age...

oh, man.

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John Doolan

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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