In 1962, Tony “Tony Lip” Vallelonga, a tough bouncer, is looking for work when his nightclub is closed for renovations. The most promising offer turns out to be the driver for the African-American classical pianist Don Shirley for a concert tour into the Deep South states. Although hardly enthused at working for a black man, Tony accepts the job and they begin their trek armed with The Negro Motorist Green Book, a travel guide for safe travel through America’s racial segregation. Together, the snobbishly erudite pianist and the crudely practical bouncer can barely get along with their clashing attitudes to life and ideals. However, as the disparate pair witness and endure America’s appalling injustices on the road, they find a newfound respect for each other’s talents and start to face them together. In doing so, they would nurture a friendship and understanding that would change both their lives. Written
Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini
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Tony Lip: The world’s full of lonely people afraid to make the first move.
Dr. Don Shirley: You never win with violence. You only win when you maintain your dignity.
Tony Lip: You know, when you first hired me, my wife went out and bought one of your records. The one about the orphans?
Dr. Don Shirley: Orphans?
Tony Lip: Yeah. The cover had a bunch of kids sittin’ around a campfire?
Dr. Don Shirley: Orpheus.
Tony Lip: …Yeah.
Dr. Don Shirley: Orpheus in the Underworld. It’s based on a French opera. And those weren’t children on the cover, those were demons in the bowels of Hell.
Tony Lip: No shit! They must’ve been naughty kids!
Oleg: Being genius is not enough, it takes courage to change people’s hearts.
Dr. Don Shirley: So if I’m not *black* enough and if I’m not *white* enough, then tell me, Tony, what am I?
Tony Lip: You know, my father used to say, whatever you do, do it 100%. When you work, work. When you laugh, laugh. When you eat, eat like it’s your last meal.
Tony Lip: Kentucky Fried Chicken! In Kentucky! When’s that ever gonna happen!
Tony Lip: I dunno. Personally, I think if you stuck to the classic stuff it would’ve been a big mistake.
Dr. Don Shirley: A mistake? Performing the music I trained my entire life to play?
Tony Lip: Trained? What are you, a seal? People love what you do! Anyone can sound like Beethoven or Joe Pan or them other guys you said. But your music, what you do? Only you can do that!
Dr. Don Shirley: Thank you, Tony. But not everyone can play Chopin. Not like I can.
Dr. Don Shirley: You must be Dolores.
Dr. Don Shirley: Buon Natale. Thank you for sharing your husband with me.
Dolores: [Whispering as they hug ] Thank you for helping him with the letters.
Dr. Don Shirley: Tony! I’m sorry about last night.
Tony Lip: …Don’t worry ’bout it. I been working nightclubs in New York City my whole life. I know it’s a… complicated world.
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Tony Lip: You know, Doc, something’s been eatin’ at me this whole trip.
Dr. Don Shirley: Hmm?
Tony Lip: [Using a friend’s nickname for Pittsburgh, from the reputed large endowments of its female residents ] That Titsburgh was a major disappointment. I didn’t notice any difference at all. Did you?
Dr. Don Shirley: Good night, Tony.
Tony Lip: You know, if this got out, it would kill your career.
Dr. Don Shirley: OK Tony, I need you to stop it with the phony altruism and concern for my career.
Tony Lip: The hell’s that mean?
Dr. Don Shirley: You were only thinking about yourself back there because you know if I miss a show it’d come out of your pocketbook.
Tony Lip: Of course I don’t want you to miss a show, you ungrateful bastard! You think I’m doing this for my health? Tonight I saved your ass! So show a little appreciation, maybe! Besides, I told you never to go nowhere without me!
Dr. Don Shirley: …I assumed you’d want this to be the exception.
Tony Lip: Ain’t they supposed to be following us?
Dr. Don Shirley: They have the itinerary. As long as they get to the show on time, I’m not worried about it, and neither should you.
Tony Lip: I ain’t worried about nothin’… In fact, when you see me worried? You’ll know.
Dr. Don Shirley: Tony…
Tony Lip: You’ll know if I’m worried…
Dr. Don Shirley: How ’bout some quiet time? Hmm?
Tony Lip: [Shrugging] Sure.
Tony Lip: It’s amazing you said that. “How ’bout some quiet time?” Dolores, my wife, used to say that all the time… Well, not all the time but, y’know, she says it when, when I come home from work sometime, you know, she been with the kids all day and she’ll say, “Tony? How ’bout some quiet time?” Exactly like how you said it! I mean, it’s amazing…
Tony Lip: It’s like what your friend the President said, “Ask not… Your country, what you could do for it. Ask what you do for yourself.” Y’know?
Dr. Don Shirley: So where did this “Tony the Lip” moniker come from?
Tony Lip: [laughs] It’s not “Tony the Lip”, it’s “Tony Lip”. One word. I got it when I was a kid ’cause my friends said I was the best bullshit artist in the Bronx.
Dr. Don Shirley: [Horrified] Why are you smiling?
Tony Lip: What do you mean?
Dr. Don Shirley: It doesn’t bother you that your friends – the people closest to you – consider you a liar?
Tony Lip: Who said, liar? I said bullshit artist!
Dr. Don Shirley: And what’s the difference?
Tony Lip: ‘Cause I don’t lie! Ever! I’m just good at talkin’ people into… y’know, doin’ things they don’t wanna do… By bullshittin’ ’em.
Dr. Don Shirley: And you’re proud of that?
Tony Lip: Well, it got me this job.
Dr. Don Shirley: [clears throat] Could you put out the cigarette, please?
Tony Lip: Why?
Dr. Don Shirley: I can’t breathe back here.
Tony Lip: What are you talkin’ about? Smoke’s going down my lungs. I’m doin’ all the work here.
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Dr. Don Shirley: I am not a medical doctor. I’m a musician. I’m about to embark on a concert tour in the Deep South. What other experience do you have?
Tony Lip: [Thinking of how to best describe his job a bouncer ] Public relations.
Dr. Don Shirley: What on God’s green earth are you doing?
Tony Lip: A letter.
Dr. Don Shirley: Looks more like a piecemeal ransom note. May I? “Dear Dolores”… D-E-A-R.
Dr. Don Shirley: This is an animal. “I’m meeting all the highly leading citizens of the town. People that use big words, all of them. But you know me, I get by. I’m a good bullshitter.” Two Ts in bullshitter. “As I’m writing this letter, I’m eating potato chips, and I’m starting to get thirsty. I washed my socks and dried them on the TV. I should have… brung… the iron…” You know this is pathetic, right?
Tony Lip: What’s the big deal, Doc? Squirrels woulda ate it anyway!
Dr. Don Shirley: Pick it up, Tony.
Tony Lip: Nature takes care of the earth!
Dr. Don Shirley: Pick it up!
Tony Lip: [Eating KFC in Kentucky] Mmm. I think this is the best Kentucky Fried Chicken I ever had. But I guess it’s fresher down here, right?
Dr. Don Shirley: [Tony offers him a fried chicken] Come on.
Dr. Don Shirley: I told you not to get grease on my blanket.
Tony Lip: [mockingly] Oooh, I’m going to get grease on my blanket.
Louie Venere: I got to admit… Lip’s letters? They’re not bad.
Rudy Vallelonga: Well, it’s in the family. They say our great-great-great-grandfather helped Da Vinci with the Sixteen Chapel.
Johnny Venere: You mean Michaelangelo.
Rudy Vallelonga: …Right.
Johnny Venere: What does Michaelangelo have to do with writing letters?
Rudy Vallelonga: I’m just sayin’. We’re an arty family.
Johnny Venere: He had a great job at the Sanitation Department. You shouldn’t have punched out the foreman.
Tony Lip: He shouldn’t have woke me up!
Tony Lip: [Surveying the snow] This could get bad, Doc.
Dr. Don Shirley: Yes. It’s a shame we don’t have something to protect us on our journey. Oh, I know. Why don’t you put your lucky rock up on the dash, Tony? Come on, Tony, we need all the help we can get.
[Tony puts the stone on the dash]
Dr. Don Shirley: Thank you. I feel safer already.
Tony Lip: You’re a real prick, you know that?
Dr. Don Shirley: Tony, are you hungry?
Tony Lip: Does Betty like Butta? Er?
Dolores: You hungry?
Tony Lip: I’m starvin’!
Tony Lip: [to Dr. Shirley ] Come meet my family!
Dr. Don Shirley: [To Tony, dictating a letter for him to send to Dolores ] Falling in love with you was the easiest thing I’ve ever done.
Tony Lip: You speak German, huh?
Dr. Don Shirley: That was Russian.
Tony Lip: Yeah, I was stationed in Germany in the army. I could pick up a little bit of what you were saying there…