Life (1999) Poster

(I) (1999)

Obba Babatundé: Willie Long


  • Leon : [after Willie has told the story]  You really bummed me out. That's a terrible story.

    [to Jake] 

    Leon : Yo, nigga, you cryin'?

    Jake : No, I just got allergies and - I'm cool.

    [Leon walks off in disgust] 

    Willie Long : Hey, ain't nothin' wrong with a man cryin' every now and again.

    Leon : Listen, man, what was Claude's plan, anyway?

    Willie Long : See, Claude had figured he could steal a couple of bodies from the morgue, right? That way, when he set the infirmary on fire, in all the commotion, him and Ray could just slip right on into them fire engines, see, hide out, wait until the morning, and roll right out with 'em. That way, when they find the two bodies, they'd think it was them!

    Jake : Well, what makes you think that didn't work?

    Willie Long : I never said it didn't work.

    Leon : Wait, you mean to tell me that this is not Ray and Claude in these two boxes?

    [Willie chuckles inscrutably] 

    Jake : Well, is it, old man?

    [Willie chortles on and wheels away] 

    Leon : Hey, old timer, is it?

  • Radio : Hey, New York, you ever been to that there Cotton Club?

    Rayford Gibson : The Cotton Club in Manhattan? Many times, man, I damn near lived in the Cotton Club. I tell you, the Cotton Club is all right. But it ain't got nothin' on The Boom Boom Room. If you ever go to New York, go to Ray's Boom Boom Room

    Willie Long : Hey there, Ray! What's that you talkin' about, the Boom-Boom Room?

    Rayford Gibson : That's my spot, Ray's Boom-Boom Room, the most happening space in all of Manhattan.

    Cookie : Ha ha, so you got your own nightclub?

    Rayford Gibson : Well, right now it's kinda in the development stage, but I'm workin' on it, I'll get it.

    Goldmouth : So it don't exist.

    Rayford Gibson : It exists in my mind, Goldmouth; that's where it starts. It starts in your brain first. You know, it got to exist up here first. "As a man think it, so then shall he get", you know, some shit like that. You know you read the Bible.

  • Jake : [hearing the story told, they hear that Mr. Wilkins was about to offer Ray and Claude pardons]  So Ray and Claude get their pardons, right?

    Leon : No, they didn't get their pardons, man! If they got their pardons way back then, we wouldn't be burying them here today, would we?

    Jake : Oh, yeah, that's right.

    Willie Long : What happened is old man Wilkins never come out of the bathroom! Sit right there and died on the shitter!

  • Pokerface : [on a break; Ray and Claude have just come in]  Either one of you new fellas know how to read?

    Rayford Gibson : I know how to read, why?

    Pokerface : I've been carrying this letter for four months now

    Claude Banks : You mean to tell me none of y'all can read?

    Willie Long : Last fella what could read made parole about, what, Christmas.

    Pokerface : [about his letter]  I don't even know who this come from.

    Rayford Gibson : [takes the letter]  Gimme that shit.

    [turns to old inmate sitting next to him] 

    Rayford Gibson : You can't read?

    [old inmate replies "no"] 

    Rayford Gibson : Almost sixty years old; motherfucker can't read. Here: look, it's from, it's from your mama's neighbor, Mrs. Tadwell, you know who that is, Mrs. Tadwell; she thought you ought to know that your second cousin Bo died, Bo died, and your, and your other cousin Sally on your daddy's side, she died. Oh, and apparently your sister died, too.

    Pokerface : Jenny?

    Rayford Gibson : No, it said Marlene here, Marlene died

    [reads on] 

    Rayford Gibson : ... no no no, Marlene, Jen-Jenny, Jenny died, too, Jenny and Marlene both dead. Then it goes on for a while about how the crop didn't come in on account of the frost, she finished up, there's been a big tornado in which your mama and your daddy were both killed, but don't worry because she's gonna take care of the dog, that is if he gets over the worms; dog had worms.

    Pokerface : Appreciate it.

    Rayford Gibson : Yeah, well you know, any time I can help.

  • Willie Long : I didn't see nothing special the first time Ray and Claude walked into the cage. To me, they were just a couple of fools whose luck had run out. 'Course, I was wrong about that.

  • Willie Long : [narrating]  Round about 1972, I got transferred to the infirmary and those two fools were still at it. But no matter how tough a man is, he spends enough time on this farm, he'll find his breaking point. It could be triggered by any little thing: a face, a voice, even a smell.

    Claude Banks : White-only pies...

See also

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