The People vs. Larry Flynt
(Drama) (1996)
© 1999 by Raymond Weschler
Major Characters Larry Flynt...............................................Woody Harrelson The famous (and infamous) publisher of Hustler, which is considered by many to be the most disgusting pornographic magazine in the United States. Althea Leasure........................................Courtney Love Flynt's drug-abusing wife, who he met when she began dancing as a stripper at one of his clubs. Colin Issacman..............................................Edward Norton Flynt's determined young lawyer, who defends his client in the name of Free Speech and the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Jimmy Flynt................................................Brett Harrelson Flynt's younger brother who helps Larry with all of his various business ventures, from strip clubs to Hustler. Ruth Carter Stapleton......................................Donna Hanover A Christian Evangelist and sister of President Jimmy Carter, who tries to turn Larry into a Christian. Jerry Falwell.............................................Richard Paul A very conservative Christian Minister and leader of "The Moral Majority," who sues Larry after seeing a parody of an ad that implies Falwell had sex with his mother. Charles Keating...........................................James Cromwell A conservative politcal activist who tries to get Hustler banned. Plot Summary This film is a true story based on the experiences of Hustler Magazine Publisher Larry Flynt. Flynt grew up poor in the state of Kentucky, but soon found some success running a bar and club in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio. The club was known for women who danced naked on stage, and for Flynt, it was a good way to make a living. In the mid 1970s, Flynt began to publish a newsletter for his business, and soon turned that into the first issue of Hustler, which quickly became known as one of the most sexually explicit and shocking magazines in the country. With help from his wife Althea, and brother Jimmy, Larry became the richest pornographer in America, and a symbol of filth, excess and "bad taste." As Hustler's success grew, Larry soon found himself in constant legal trouble. Communities around the country tried to prevent the sale of the magazine by claiming it was legally obscene, and that it violated "local community standards." Larry was a defiant man who was determined to defend his rights, and with the help of his lawyer, Colin Issacman, the various charges that Larry faced soon became matters of great Constitutional principle. Flynt paid a very high price for his controversial endeavors, and in many ways his personal life became filled with tragedy. But with the constant support of his lawyer, Flynt fought for the principles he believed in, and in one last great legal battle, he took his case all the way to the Supreme Court. The result was an important confirmation of the continuing importance of the First Amendment in American life. Background on the First Amendment to the US Constitution (1791): The relevant text reads as follows: Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech...or of the press. With the guarantee of these words, Americans are more free to express themselves in more ways than just about any other people. The right to criticize government officials or government policy is absolute, and over the years, the Supreme Court has said that even symbolic speech, such as the burning of the American flag in protest, is Constitutionally protected (However, the Court vote was 5-4!) Still, even in the United States, the limits of free speech are constantly being debated in society and litigated in court. And perhaps the most passionately fought issues have centered around obscenity, and more specifically, pornography. It is an emotional topic that never seems to go away, and in many ways, the fight over the right of "scumbags" like Larry Flynt to do what he does is at the heart of America's constant struggle to balance community sensitivities and individual liberties. Some Words and Expressions that You May not Know Larry rises from the poverty of rural Kentucky, to the strip clubs of Cincinnati, Ohio, and finds the love of his life in the process... Come get in the house---Supper's ready. "Supper" is a very old-fashioned way to say dinner. He was drinking my profits. A key word! The money a business makes after paying all its expenses. People think you're crazy :: I'm just trying to make an honest buck. A "buck" is a very common slang word for a dollar. They're all the way here from Paris and London, Kentucky. The State immediately to the South of Cincinnati, Ohio. It's bad. I mean were broke. An important word to describe a person with no money at all. These give-aways are killing us and the smorgasbord was a stupid idea. An "all-you-can-eat" meal for a fixed price, served cafeteria-style. You don't have to bring my friend into this. "To bring someone into something" is to get them involved. If we could let people know what great lays these ladies are... "To get laid" is common and crude slang meaning to have sex, but note here its used as a noun. That's why I need a newsletter. A regularly published paper on a particular topic or business. Nothing but nudie pictures? Slang (and stupid) for nude, or naked. I need something slick. When referring to paper, "slick" means smooth and of high quality. You need some kind of text, like Playboy does. A very famous "Men's Magazine," started in the 1950s. For the man on the go, for the man about town. Two ways to describe people who are busy doing fun and interesting things, often at night. She got the moves, don't she? :: She aien't legal either. "Moves" can refer to physical moves, such as the dancing in this case. "Aien't" is incorrect, but common among less educated people for "is not." Don't use it! My dog can get an I.D. Short and common for "identification" (such as a driver's license). We have a policy in this club. Here, meaning a set of principles that a business or person will follow. I have a sneaking suspicion you're not of age. A "sneaking suspicion" is an interesting expression meaning a strong feeling. If somebody is "not of age," they're usually under 18. I'd have to close my shop and fire a lot of people. "To close shop" is to shut down a business. "To fire" someone is to terminate or end that person's job. Moonshine....from potatoes. Slang for illegal, home-made liquor. Sorry, I made a mess. A critical word for disorder, or a dirty state or condition. It's sort of a prerequisite. A word often used in universities, meaning a requirement. Why haven't you taken a stab at me? "To take a stab" at something is simply to try it. Come one more time? Even Superman has his limits! When used in a sexual context, "to come" is to have an orgasm. Common (hopefully), at least in bedrooms. I do fuck women. "To fuck" is a very vulgar and common way of saying to have sex. You are not the only person in this club who has had every single women in this club. Note that "to have" a person can mean to have had sex with them! She had it rough....she grew up in an orphanage. A person who had a "rough childhood" had many difficulties as a child. An "orphan" is a child without parents, and an "orphanage" is often where such children live. How do I subscribe? "To subscribe" is to pay for regular delivery of a paper or magazine. It came in pretty handy! If something "comes in handy," it is useful or practical (but try to notice the play on words here!). Larry concludes that America needs a men's magazine that is a little more "working class" than Playboy. Nice tits, but they don't look real. "Tits" is crude word for breasts. In America, many women pay to have their breasts enlarged. Did you enjoy this month's article on how to hook up your quadraphonic stereo system? "To hook up"something is to attach it or put together, especially when dealing with electronic devices like stereos. A martini. A popular alcoholic drink made with gin and vermouth. It's like if you don't make $20,000 a year, you don't jack off! "To jack off" is the definitive colloquial phrasal verb for masturbate. Playboy is mocking you! "To mock" someone is to tease or make fun of them. It's got to be an even number 2,4,6,8, opposed to an "odd" number---1,3,5,7,9, etc. We'll get it figured out. "To figure out" something is to truly understand it. What the hell is he doing? A common addition in "WH questions" to show emotion such as anger or surprise. Props. A common term in the film industry that refers to anything that supports or physically holds up something else. Just shoot the girl! In a photography context, "to shoot" means to take a picture. Legally, you can't show genitalia. The medical term for sexual organs. God created 'wo-man,' then god created her vagina! The anatomical word for a female's external sexual organs. Who are you to defy god?! Just shoot her! "To defy" is a strong verb meaning to challenge someone's authority. Jesus Christ! An exclamation of emotional frustration, anger, or perhaps surprise. One of the common "religious expressions" in English. And what made you think you could pull this off, Larry? A truly great phrasal verb!: You can literally pull something off a wall, but "to pull off" can also mean to accomplish a difficult task. Because he has balls, Jimmy! A reference to testicles, which colloquially means courage. So one more issue and were wiped out. To be "wiped out" is to be destroyed. It is also an active phrasal verb. You think just because it's your birthday, you can be a bitch? A very insulting word for a woman who is considered mean or abusive or perhaps just obnoxious. Yeah, and I think I'm so fucking tall and you have a needle dick, OK? A "dick" is a common slang term for penis. A lucky break saves Hustler from failure and turns it into a national sensation, while Larry and Athelia become the first couple of porn. He claims he has naked pictures of Jackie O. A reference to Jacklyn Kennedy Onassis, the widow of President John Kennedy who later married Aristotle Onassis. This aien't no Mamie Eisenhower or Lady Bird. Lady Bird was Lady Bird Johnson, widow of President Johnson. Oh my god, "first pussy." A vulgar play on words. The wives of Presidents are called "First Ladies." /"Pussy" is a crude term for female sexual organs. It has sold an astonishing 2,000,000 copies. A powerful adjective which means amazing or extremely surprising. Ohio Governor Jim Rhodes himself was spotted buying a copy of the infamous Jackie O issue. "To spot" somebody is to see them. "Infamous" means famous, but only for having done bad or horrible things. I'm a historical buff about first ladies. "A buff" is a fan or expert on a particular subject. There's a new darker influence in Cincinnati. The Ohio city where Flynt started his clubs and magazine. Decent people are being corrupted. "Decent" can be another word for morally correct, or good. Citizens for Decent Literature. The name of the organization determined to stop Flynt. We cannot relent...we must prevent the destruction of the soul of our country! "To relent" is to become softer or gentler. The "soul" refers to the spiritual or non-physical part of a person. I've never fucked a millionaire before. Someone who is worth $1,000,000. A billionaire is richer! You know who else has 24 rooms? Hugh Hefner! Hefner is the publisher of Playboy Magazine. My folks are here, so move the girls into the jacuzzi! "Folks" is an old-fashioned word for parents. A "jacuzzi" is a large and fancy bathtub. What in the world is that?! A funny little question that shows amazement and surprise. She's mine...and she's frigid! A word to describe woman who don't desire or enjoy sex. Prior to that, it's friendly, you're kind to each other. "Prior to" is another way to say "before."/"Kind" is nice or gentle. Do you think I'm talking about monogamy?! "Monogamy" is the lifestyle of having one sexual partner at a time. You want a ceremony? A formal act or ritual, such as exchanging rings at a wedding. Pay the preacher on the way in. A Protestant Church official, such as a Minister. Would you marry me? :: You're not fucking with me?! To fuck with someone" generally means to tease or manipulate them. Crude and common. It's just like when people slow down at a car crash to take a peek. "A peek" is a quick look. Were breaking taboos. A powerful word referring to those topics or acts in society that are generally not allowed, and in fact are so sensitive that people usually don't even like to talk about them. The Wizard of Oz. The name of a very famous and loved children's movie about the characters Dorthy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion. And they're all gang banging her! A crude slang term referring to a situation where many people are having sex at the same time with just one person. Athelia, some things are sacred! A powerful religious word meaning holy, or deserving of profound respect. A tin penis? "Tin" is a type of metal. Refers to Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. Larry soon learns that freedom of speech is fragile, and that the law of obscenity is far from settled. You're under arrest for pandering obscenity and organized crime. "To pander" is a legal word meaning to sell illegal materials. "Obscenity" is the noun form of the great legal adjective "obscene," which means disgusting, or offensive to the community. "Organized crime" often refers to the Mafia. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law... In the United States, what every police officer must say to a suspected criminal as soon as they arrest them. I've gotten the bail all taken care of. "Bail" is the money you need to get out of jail before a trial. Who hired you? "To hire" someone is to engage them in a steady job. Harvard Law School and three year's in the public defender's office. "Public Defender's" are government lawyers who defend people accused of a crime who don't have money to pay for a lawyer. You're pretty far out there, even for the guys who do a lot of this stuff. Something that is "far out there" is usually considered extreme or very strange by most members of society. I don't specialize in porn, I specialize in civil liberties. "Porn" is short and very common for pornography, the type of sexually explicit material that Flynt publishes. "Civil liberties" refer to rights such as the right to free speech and religion. I don't understand why they singled me out. "To single out" someone is to choose that one person from many that are in the same situation. He's not in the mob! A common word that refers to the Mafia, or organized crime. This is a completely bullshit charge! As a noun, "bullshit" is very common and crude for nonsense or lies. Here, used as an interesting adjective. You could conceivably be looking at 7-25 years. "Conceivably" means possibly, and the years referred to here are references to the possible number of years in prison! Bobby shot a preacher! :: What denomination? :: Baptist. A religious division, in this case within the Christian Church. I must apologize for the unpleasantness of this task. "A task" is another word for job or assignment. Hustler magazine depicts men and women posed together in a lewd and shameful manner! "Lewd" is a great adjective meaning sexually vulgar or obscene. Your honor, with the court's permission, we'd like to submit into evidence the following magazines... Note that all judges are addressed as "your honor," and referred to as "the court." If a lawyer "submits something into evidence," she presents it for the judge or jury to consider. Objection! :: Sustained! Two legal terms used in a trial. An "objection" is a request by a lawyer to a judge, and if it is "sustained," the judge agrees. If the judge does not agree, the objection is then "overruled." No counselor, the jury is representative of community standards, not a pile of magazines! "Counselor" is how some people address lawyers. "Community Standards" is a legal term referring to what the local society in general feels about a certain issue, such as pornography. Santa holding a large erect penis! "Santa Claus" is the fictional happy fat old man who is a symbol of Christmas. An "erect" penis is a hard one. Would you say this is what the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the First Amendment to our great Constitution? The "founding fathers" refers to historical figures like Jefferson and Madison who helped create the US and its ideals in the 18th century. The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right to free speech and press, and in many ways, it is ultimately what this entire movie is all about. No, that's just a disguise for censorship. A "disguise" is a mask or other object that hides real identity. "Censorship" is the act of preventing certain literary, artistic or photographic materials from being read or seen. If a kid gets caught drinking beer in a tavern, we don't ban Budweiser across the nation! A "kid" is a very common word for child. A "tavern" is another word for bar, and Budweiser is a popular brand of beer. There is a price for that freedom, which is that we have to tolerate what we don't like. "To tolerate" is an important verb meaning to allow or accept. Madam Forman, have you reached a verdict? The "Forman" of a jury is the jury's leader. A "verdict" is a legal term for the jury's decision (guilty or not guilty). Do you have anything to say before I sentence you? A judge "sentences" people who are found guilty of a crime, often to a certain period of time in prison. NOTE: The judge in the move in this scene is the real Larry Flynt!! Bail denied! If "bail is denied," the accused person must return to prison (Here, Flynt was already found guilty, but wanted to appeal his conviction to a higher court). There was a stupid judge and an uptight prosecutor. "Uptight" is a very pejorative (negative) word meaning socially conservative, or tense and nervous. A "prosecutor" is the government lawyer who charges the accused with a crime. You got calluses on your hands. Hard layers of skin, such as the kind guitar players have on their fingers. I fantasize about you all the time. "To fantasize" is to daydream about something, often in a sexual manner. There is no way this is going to hold up. "To hold up" means to last or survive after more time, and in this case the reference is to further legal challenges. Direct from jail, cleared 100% by the appellate court... An "appellate" or "appeals" court reviews actions of the judge and jury in a trial to see if there were violations of trial procedures or Constitutionally guaranteed liberties. You idiot, the "Americans for a Free Press" is me! The most common insult noun in American English: A dummy, jerk or perhaps moron. They'll put you on the cover of Newsweek and you might even win a Pulitzer Prize. A very prestigious award given each year to journalists. Politicians and demagogues like to say that sexually explicit material corrupts the youth of our country. A "demagogue" is a political leader who exploits people's emotions and prejudices. "To corrupt" is to make unpure, or perhaps to make immoral. And yet it is heroic to go spill guts and blood in the most ghastly manner in the name of humanity! "Guts" is another word for intestines. "Ghastly" is a powerful adjective meaning terrifying, unpleasant or dreadful. What is more obscene? Sex or war? An interesting question which shows that obscenity can refer to more than just things that are sexual. Larry returns from jail to carry on the fight for porn and free speech, but then finds Christianity. A Georgia prosecutor has arrested a newsstand dealer for selling Hustler. A small boutique where newspapers and magazines are sold. Alert the Georgia media! Tell them the cavalry is on the way! "To alert" someone is to warn or notify them. The "cavalry" refers to soldiers who often travel on horses. Newsmen are being intimidated. "To intimidate" someone is to scare or possibly threaten them. "Asshole of the Month." A column in every issue of Hustler that chooses the biggest "asshole" in the news, which is who they think is the most disgusting or hypocritical person. A vulgar insult. Jerry Falwell. Famous Christian leader of "The Moral Majority," a very politically conservative group which opposed pornography, abortion, etc. You're right bro, I like that. A short way of saying "brother." Hallelujah! An old religious word expressing joy and love of god. He thought you and I would hit it off. If two people "hit it off," they get along well, or like each other. You're an evangelist and I am a smut peddler. An "evangelist" is a Protestant preacher or Minister. "Smut" is obscene material such as pornographic pictures, and a "peddler" is an old-fashioned word for a salesman. I have a hectic schedule. "Hectic" means very busy, frenzied or done in a hurry. It's only a ritual, and I believe in going straight to the teachings of Jesus. A "ritual" is an official ceremony or act, which is often religious. I don't mend bones, I mend troubled souls. "To mend" is an interesting little verb meaning to repair or fix. Wicked this, wicked that, damnation, hell fire---that kind of thing. "Wicked" is a strong word meaning vicious or evil. Both "damnation" and "hell-fire" are words used by some Christian preachers to describe the hell after death that awaits those who refuse to accept Jesus as their God. We're both trying to release people from sexual repression. "To release" a person is to set free or liberate them, and "repression" is another word for oppression, or perhaps rule by tyranny. The Playboy magazine...where he admitted he had lust in his heart? "Lust" is a great little word meaning sexual desire. I'm more ambivalent about what you do because sexuality is a god-given gift. "Ambivalent" is an excellent adjective that is used when a person has conflicted or confused opinions or thoughts on a subject. I had an epiphany! A sudden religious revelation, such as seeing God. Where did you learn that damn word? A crude but common adverb to show anger or other emotion. It was an acid flashback. "Acid" here refers to drugs, such as LSD, which make people see strange things that don't really exist. A drug "flashback" is experiencing the drug, weeks or longer after having taken it. I'm getting laid six times a day; Do you think I want God tapping me on the shoulder? "To get laid" is to have sex. "To tap" someone on the shoulder is to gently touch them. Crucifix. The symbol of Christianity: An image of Jesus on a cross. Come on! Just get behind me on this! The most versatile phrasal verb in English, here meaning "please." In the right context, it can also mean leave, hurry, come here, be serious, stop fooling around, etc.... "To get behind somebody" on something is to support them. Oh, now I'm baptized, too. Fuck you! "To baptize" someone is to dip them in water in a Christian religious ceremony in order to make them pure. Do you accept the lord Jesus as your savior and reject Satan? A Christian Minister's question: "Satan" is the devil. In the name of the father, son and holy ghost. Christian references to Jesus or God. You know, a genesis pictorial with Adam and Eve getting it on in the Garden of Eden. "Genesis" is the biblical word for the beginning of the earth and the story of Adam and Eve. "To get it on" is a funny and old-fashioned expression meaning to have sex. You're looking at me like I'm the one growing horns out of my head. "Horns" are hard projectiles that grow out of certain animals' heads, such as deer. They can also be a symbol of the devil. We're living in Roman times! Ancient Rome is famous for the wild sex and other decadence that led to its collapse, as well as the fact that Christians were fed to the lions as entertainment. You're just doing this to help our circulation. A magazine's "circulation" refers to the number of subscribers. They're going to newsstands and puking and vomiting! "To puke" is crude slang meaning to vomit, or throw up. Nobody wants their religion and porn mixed together. An interesting line in a movie about pornography and religion! Tell Ruth to buy 2,000,000 fucking copies of the magazine! Noted here to show that probably the most common use of "fuck" in English is as an adjective, to express anger, frustration or other emotions. Very crude. I can make that wall come tumbling down with sheer will power. "To tumble down" is to fall down. "Sheer" is an adjective meaning pure, and "will power" is simply determination. He's very impressed by your conversion and wants to cut us a plea bargain. A "conversion" is a fundamental change, in this case from no religion to Christianity. A "plea bargain" is a common action in law where an accused agrees to plead guilty to a less serious crime in exchange for the elimination of a more serious one. I pulled a lot of strings to make this happen. "To pull strings" is a great expression which means to talk with people who have power in order to receive various favors. Tell that miserable gray-haired old bastard to go fuck himself. "Miserable" is extremely unhappy, and "bastard" is the male equivalent of bitch. Note that you can tell someone "fuck you" directly, or you can send the same message via a third person! Praise the lord. A common saying for Christians, expressing thanks to God. Larry returns to Georgia to defend porn and free speech, and pays a very high price for what he does and believes. How can you, as a good Christian, defend this filth? "Filth" is anything dirty and unsanitary, including pictures! Abortion may be morally repugnant, but its not illegal. Another word for extremely offensive or disgusting. If it ever loses sight of its basic heritage, then we are no longer free. The traditions or values passed down from earlier generations. They say you're paralyzed from the waist down. If someone is "paralyzed," they generally cannot move or feel. Don't give in to the bitterness! "To give in" to something is to accept or surrender to it. The reign of Christian terror at this magazine is now over. "Reign" is another word for exercise of power, or rule. Were going back to our roots. Were smut peddlers again. "To return to one's roots" is to return to the place or values that were present at the beginning. The FBI aien't got nothing. That's what we know. The FBI is the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which deals with serious crimes that violate Federal (national) law, as opposed to state laws. "Aien't" is very incorrect for, in this case, "has not." Don't use it! The CIA? They're freaked about the $1,000,000 you offered JFK's killers. The CIA is the Central Intelligence Agency, which usually is busy spying on foreign countries. "To be freaked about" something is to be very scared, and JFK refers to President John Kennedy, who Flynt believed was killed by more than one man. The extreme religious right---they control all the fanatics. The religious right refers to groups like the Moral Majority (today, the Christian Coalition), who have very conservative political views on issues like abortion and pornography. A "fanatic" is someone obsessed with a cause, who is often unstable. You just named every American psycho, so let's try to narrow the field a bit. A "psycho" is a great slang word for someone who is mentally sick or unbalanced. Here, "to narrow the field" means to focus on the most logical possibilities and eliminate the rest. I ought to move where perverts are welcome. A "pervert" is a morally depraved or sick person. A word that socially conservative people love to use in matters of sexuality. Larry, I just gave you twice your dose. In reference to drugs, a "dose" is the amount prescribed by a doctor. I'm not going to overdose! I'm in pain! A person who "overdoses" on certain drugs could accidentally kill themselves (Many rock stars have done this). Larry, you're just doing this to get off. A fascinating and complex phrasal verb. If you "get off on" a drug or sexual act, you experience great pleasure from it. Well, If I don't take it, I'll go into seizures. A serious medical condition in which the person shakes violently or loses control of his normal bodily functions. We've been through a lot together, so we can make it through this. "To go through" something is to experience it, and to "make it through" something is to survive it. I'm going cold turkey, and so can you, OK? An interesting expression which refers to the act of immediately stopping the use of drugs completely, instead of gradually over time. We have models that look like $3 whores! A "whore" is a crude word for a prostitute. Get the fuck out of my building! Note the use of "fuck" as a noun preceded by the definite article! This is a crude but not uncommon way to say "Leave my building!" Jerk! Motherfucker! Feed him to the animals! "Jerk" is a good little insult similar to idiot, but "motherfucker" is very crude and not recommended. He's the VP. of Marketing! "VP" is short for Vice-President. "Marketing" deals with the generation of publicity or promotion for a product or service. Larry continues his fight for the First Amendment, this time defending the right of the press to keep sources secret. The establishment took my manhood, but they left my brain. A curious word that refers to those mysterious people who generally have all the power and control society. Is CBS interested in a tape showing the FBI seizing the DeLorean cocaine? CBS is a major television network. John DeLorean was a rich businessman who became involved in a drug scandal. That's the coke?! "Coke" is a colloquial term for cocaine (as well Coca Cola!) Amazing! Watch this! Weird! "Weird" is a great adjective meaning strange or bizarre. This leak will make a fair trial impossible. Note that a "leak" can mean dripping water, or as here, sensitive news that is secretly given to the new media. Here is the Campari ad campaign parody: "Jerry Falwell talks about his first time." A "parody" is an artistic or literary work that imitates another work in order to make fun of it. Here, the reference is to a famous parody of a series of ads for Campari liquor that featured interviews with famous people. In the Hustler ad, Reverend Falwell "discusses" various acts of sexual perversion he engaged in as a child. I have a subpoena here to reveal the source. A "subpoena" is a legal term referring to a hand-delivered court order demanding a person appear in court. The FBI got pissed off. "Pissed-off" is a great and common way to say very angry. He's heavily medicated. I believe him to be a manic-depressive. "Medicated" is a polite way to say under the influence of drugs. A "manic-depressive" is a psychologically unstable person who goes between extreme happiness and depression. I'm issuing a bench warrant for his arrest. A warrant is a legal order made by a judge which allows the police to do things like arrest people or search their homes. Holy Shit! A crude but semantically fascinating way to express surprise, anger or other emotion. Freeze! Federal Marshals! "Freeze!" is what the police tell you to do when they don't want you to move. "Federal Marshals" are police officers. I've turned the whole world into a tabloid! A "tabloid" is a type of cheap newspaper that specializes in sensational stories such as sex scandals. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? Words that every person must say before they testify in court. Your honor, I'm an atheist. An "atheist" is a person who does not believe in God. I need you to answer a question. :: Shoot. One way to say go ahead, or in this case, "ask your question." Althea introduced her to Reagan's cabinet buddies. The "cabinet" are those people who head various branches in the government, such as the Defense and State Departments. "Buddy" is another word for friend, though it is often used sarcastically. Vicki was a bit naive. She kept the videotape of the sexcapades. "Naive" means innocent, or possibly unsophisticated. "Sexcapades" is Flynt's version of "icecapades," which is a famous ice skating show. What has this to do with the DeLorean trial? :: Technically, nothing. A word that in most contexts means "in principle," though its often followed by the word "but," to show that in reality things are different. Stick to the subject; What was the source of the tape? The "source" is the origin of something, or in this case, the person who gave the tape to Flynt. That's it! You're in contempt of court and as of tomorrow, I'm fining you $10,000 a day until you reveal the source. "To be in contempt of court" is a legal term describing those who refuse to follow a judge's orders. "To fine" somebody is to order them to pay a certain amount of money for the illegal things that they have done. Desecration of the America Flag. "To desecrate" is to abuse the sacredness of something. Many Americans are very sensitive about how the flag is treated. I prefer a cashier's check. A check that is paid for in advance so that it is guaranteed. I'm going to keep him on a tight leash, and as a condition of his bond, he cannot leave the state of California. A "leash" is the rope that owners put around the neck of their dogs to control them. In this case, a "bond" is a type of bail to get out of jail. You don't see me trying to piss off everyone trying to help us. Again, a critical phrasal verb meaning to anger or upset someone. Well, I've got money, and that gives me the power to shake up this system. "To shake up" someone is to disturb or scare them, either emotionally or physically. I'm a dream client! I'm rich, and I'm always getting into trouble! "A dream client" is a perfect client, in this case for a lawyer. I want to fess up and reveal my source. "To fess up" is to speak truthfully, and "to reveal" is to disclose. A critical groin treatment. Refers to the area of the male body near the sexual organs. Well, opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one. A very crude and funny thing to say, especially to a judge! We won't have cursing in this courtroom! "To curse" is to use dirty words such as fuck and shit. Put a gag on him! A "gag" is a cloth put over one's mouth to prevent people from speaking. Note that it can be a noun or a verb. Fifteen months in a federal psychiatric prison. Where criminals are sent if they're considered mentally sick. Get him behind four padded walls! Now get him out! "Padded walls" are walls with soft material on them to prevent people from hurting themselves. Used in psychiatric prisons. Larry returns from prison yet again, and soon finds himself in battle with Jerry Falwell and the religious conservatives. It says the reverend fornicated with his mother in an outhouse. "To fornicate" is a legal term meaning to have sex outside of marriage. An "outhouse" is a toilet, often found in the yards of poor people who do not have indoor plumbing. You look like shit. A crude but common way to say "you look really bad." Code Pink! When somebody yells "code (something)," it is a signal to all to act in a certain way, based on a pervious understanding. It's my business, and I'll run it into the ground if I want to! "To run a business into the ground" is to destroy it. What the fuck was that? A crude but common addition to "Wh questions" that expresses emotions such as anger or surprise. He's in a nuthouse, OK? A "nut" can mean somebody who is crazy, so a "nuthouse" is a place such as a psychiatric prison where a lot of mentally unstable people are living. You got a problem with that? A common way to ask if someone is angry about a decision. So, what's up? A very common way to ask somebody what is new in their life, or perhaps, what is happening in general. It's intense; What are we going to do? A key adjective referring to great size, energy or emotion. I know the timing is lousy, but remember your Campari ad? A good adjective meaning bad, or possibly "shitty." He's suing you for libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress, for $40,000,000. "Libel" is a legal word which refers to the damaging of a person's reputation in print. The second expression is also a legal concept which basically means to hurt someone's feelings or to greatly upset them. This is Jerry Falwell in his home state, so if you're up to this, we ought to figure out how to deal with it. If you're "up to" something, this means you are prepared to meet the challenge. "To deal with " something is another way to say handle, or perhaps, work on it. Countersuing? On what grounds? "To countersue" is to sue the person who sues you, and if you ask "on what grounds?," you're asking to know the legal rationale. You didn't get his permission to copy that ad, and that is copyright infringement. "Copyright" is the legal protection that any writer or artist has to their own work, and "infringement" is a legal violation. They're going to put you on the stand. In court, to be put "on the stand" is to testify under an oath. Your testimony is going to make or break us on this one. "Testimony" is the answers one gives to questions asked by a lawyer, usually during a trial. If testimony can "make or break" the case, this means the success of the case may be dependent on that testimony. Downplay how much you hate Falwell! "To downplay" something means to minimize its importance. The Old Time Gospel Hour. The name of the religious show that Falwell hosted on radio. I have a number of honorary degrees. University degrees (such as a Ph.D.), that are given in honor of someone, but not for actually attending the school. In a recent poll of Good Housekeeping Magazine, I was voted the second most admired American. A "poll" is another word for survey, in which people are randomly chosen to answer questions. That is an absurd question! "Absurd" is a powerful adjective meaning completely ridiculous. She was a very Godly woman. A rare adjective meaning religious or pious. That is a totally outrageous suggestion. A good adjective meaning totally offensive or disgraceful. I am a lawyer, and I can't figure it out either. "To figure something out" is to understand it. A-K-A Jesus Christ, Esquire. "AKA"--->"also known as." An "Esquire" is a lawyer in British English. The most tasteless, sleaziest porn magazine on the face of the earth. "Sleazy" is a great adjective defined as "low quality or cheap" in a dictionary, but more likely to really mean dirty or vulgar. I have a photo of Falwell having fellatio with a sheep! Oral sex on a man. Your honor, my client is in a heavily medicated state, and we will stipulate that no such document exists. A legal word meaning to agree or accept. Jerry Fartwell! The correct name is Falwell. A "fart" is the passing of intestinal gas! Contempt, scorn. Two powerful nouns which refer to the general disgust or hatred that one person has for another God, my French is so rusty. When referring to foreign language skills, "rusty" refers to the state of reduced ability due to lack of practice [Note that in this scene, Flynt uses French to make fun of Falwell's lawyer]. Do you have an aversion to organized religion? An "aversion" is a strong dislike, and should not be confused with "a virgin," who is a person who hasn't had sex! Does that give you license to mock the leaders of great religions? "To mock" someone is to make fun of them. Hypocrite. An important word: A person who claims to believe something, but whose actions suggest this belief is not real or sincere. It was your intent to destroy that integrity and livelihood, if you could. "Integrity" refers to a moral way of behavior, and "livelihood" is the way by which people make money in order to survive. It's a weird decision. He's not guilty of libel, but he is guilty of intentional infliction of emotional distress. An excellent use of this wonderful adjective, which, again, means strange or bizarre. Flynt has to pay him 200 grand! A "grand' is a thousand dollars. This ruling shows that nobody can prostitute the First Amendment. As a verb, "to prostitute" something means to corrupt or dirty it. As Larry faces one more personal tragedy, he also decides to fight for one more Constitutional principle. Pornography has thrust its ugly head into our everyday lives. "To thrust" means to push forcefully forward. It often has a strong sexual connotation. Come here! Come on! Closer. Don't sweat it, bro. Another way to say "don't worry about it." Hop on. I'll give you a ride! "To give someone a ride" is the act of taking somebody from one place to another, usually by car, but here, by wheelchair. You're shivering, baby. "To shiver" is to shake uncontrollably, often because it's so cold. Detour. A way around something, or an indirect path from point A to point B. It's OK, they'll freeze us and then they'll thaw us out in 300 years. "To thaw something out" is to let it melt. You know, money is no object. The expression to use if you are determined to get something, no matter how expensive it is. It's easier for rich people to say! Jesus man comes to the father but by me. Christian belief that you must accept Jesus to know God. You cannot mock god! God almighty will judge you. Christian expression suggesting that God is all powerful. AIDS is a plague! These perverted lifestyles have to stop. A "plague" is an outbreak of great chaos or harm. A "lifestyle" refers to the actions and values people have, and now has a political connotation thanks to the controversy surrounding "the gay lifestyle." Colin, I want to appeal the Falwell case. In law, "to appeal" a case is to ask a higher court to review it to see if it was decided correctly. Thousands of people petition the Supreme Court every year. "To petition" an institution is to make a formal request. The US Supreme Court is the most important and highest court, and often determines if legal cases and laws are constitutional. You're missing my point. "You are not understanding what I am really trying to say." They will never pick you because you're a nightmare. "A nightmare" is a scary dream, but it's used more generally to refer to someone or something that people prefer to avoid. They're afraid that you'll wear a diaper or throw oranges at the Justices. A "diaper" is the underwear that babies wear, and a "Justice" is a judge who sits on the Supreme Court (there are 9 Supreme Court Justices). You've never demonstrated any respect for any of the laws' institutions or procedures. "Procedures" are the ways or manner in which things are done in a business, office or other institution. Every time I go into court, you fuck me with this bullshit circus act. Note that in this case, "to fuck" means simply to make life difficult. "Bullshit" is a critical and crude word meaning stupid nonsense, and used here as an adjective. A "circus act" refers to clowns, animal tricks and other acts often performed for kids. Your sentimental speeches and cornball patriotism don't work on me anymore because I don't believe you. "Sentimental" means romantic or emotional, and "cornball" as an adjective means ridiculous or perhaps overly emotional. I encourage you to use my archive. An "archive" is an organized collection of documents. It's God vs. the Devil: America's minister vs. America's pimp. A "pimp" is a person who promotes and manages prostitutes. He had unlikely supporters filing briefs on his behalf. This refers to "legal briefs," which are written opinions given to a judge. The Supreme Court sends a clear and unanimous message... All Rise. The Honorable Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. The "Chief Justice" is the leader of the Supreme Court, though he has no more real power than the other eight Justices. One of the most cherished ideas that we he hold in this country is of uninhibited debate and free speech. "Cherished" means loved and appreciated. If debate is "uninhibited," it is done without fear or hesitation. To begin with, this was a satire of a public figure. A "satire" is a work designed to make fun of someone or something (in this case, Jerry Falwell). A "public figure" is a legal term for someone who is well known in society. But what was the public interest? Is there a public interest in making him look ludicrous? The "public interest" is both a legal and political term that refers to the interests of society in general. "Ludicrous" is a powerful adjective that means ridiculous or absurd. It is the point of view that Jerry Falwell is full of B.S. Short for "bullshit." A bit crude, but very common. Sex out of wedlock is immoral. Another way to say "outside of marriage." It says "lets deflate this stuffed shirt and bring him down to our level." "To deflate" something is to let the air out of it, or perhaps, to humble it. A "stuffed shirt" is a conservative and snobby person. What about another value that says good people should enter public service? "Public service" is a general term referring to jobs in which people work for the government, or hold political office. If you become a public figure, you can't protect yourself against a parody of your committing incest with your mom in an outhouse? A "parody" is another word for a satire or a work that makes fun of something else by imitation. "Incest" is sex between members of the same family who are biologically related. Would George Washington have stood for public office if this had been the consequences? The "consequences" are the logical or predictable results of a situation, or of a series of actions. I can handle that, but that is a far cry from committing incest with your mother in an outhouse. In this case, "to handle" means to accept. If something is "a far cry from" something else, those two things are not at all alike. As you said in Poe vs. Illinois, its useless to argue about taste. Note that lawyers will often refer to other cases (here, Poe vs. Illinois) in order to make a legal argument. There is no libelous speech? This is the adjective for "libel," which means to lie about someone in print. It's an example of literary travesty, the way cartoonists say Reagan has no brain or Bush is a wimp. A "travesty" is yet another word that is similar to parody or perhaps satire. A "wimp" is a fragile or cowardly person, and in the 1980s, Vice President Bush was often called this. Imagine if you will, lawsuits against Gary Tradeau or Johnny Carson. Tradeau is a famous cartoonist who draws the comic strip "Doonsbury," and Carson was a famous talk show host. The country is founded on the firm belief that unpopular speech is vital to the health of our nation. "Vital" is a strong adjective meaning extremely important or critical. There is no chance that the Supreme Court will come down on the side of a sleaze merchant like Larry Flynt. A colorful way to say "a seller of filth." If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me...then it will protect all of you! "Scumbag" is an insult word meaning a dirty and disgusting person. This is perhaps the most important line in the movie. Do you have any regrets? Just one. "To regret" something is to feel bad about what happened in the past. More often a verb, but used here as a noun. It's a unanimous decision, and Rehnquist wrote it himself. A "unanimous decision" is one in which all parties agree (in the case of the Supreme Court, all 9 justices). Renhquist was and still is the Chief Justice of the Court [as of 1999]. Freedom to speak one's essential to the quest for truth and the vitality of a society as a whole A "quest" is a dramatic word for a search. The "vitality" of something refers to its ability to survive and do well. Strip for me, baby. "To strip" is to take off one's clothes. His assailant was never brought to justice. An "assailant" is the person who shoots or attacks another. "To bring someone to justice" is to try and sentence them for their crimes, but in this case, the person was never captured. The Lincoln Savings and Loan Scandal. The largest of the 1980s Savings and Loan scandals that cost taxpayers billions of dollars. Charles Keating was a central figure in the scandal.
________________ The People vs. Larry Flynt Possible Questions for ESL Class Discussion
1. Should pornography ever be banned? Why or why not? 2. Are "community standards" the same in Atlanta, Georgia as they are in Los Angeles? Should it matter? 3. In what way is this movie about the "culture wars" that have taken place in the United States for the last 30+ years? Are there culture wars in your own country? 4. What would you say to Larry Flynt if you had a chance to meet him? 5. If you were a lawyer, would you want to defend Flynt if he were accused of selling obscene material where you live? 6. How would Flynt's activities be tolerated in your own country? 7. Is the First Amendment a good thing for America? Is it abused? 8. Who is the more admirable person---Flynt or Jerry Falwell? 9. Who's the more dangerous person---Flynt or Falwell? 10. Did this movie change your opinion about the United States?