Eat a Bowl of Tea (1989) Movie Script

Haven't been too lucky, huh?
Years back...
...the Chinese came to America...
...leaving their women behind.
They thought they were
going to get rich.
And they'd go back to China
and be big shots.
But it seldom worked out that way.
Then, the U.S. Exclusion laws
came down on them.
They were treated differently
from the rest of the immigrants.
For 60 years, the Chinese
couldn't become citizens...
...and no Chinese woman
could come to America.
Not even a wife.
Not even a daughter.
Chinatown was dying.
The men just kept getting older.
Their sons couldn't
find women to marry.
And there were no families.
...the second world war
changed all that.
China became America's ally.
Congress passed new laws.
The old-timers
could become citizens...
...just like everybody else.
And the boys who fought
in the U.S. Armed Forces...
...could go back to China...
...take a bride...
...and bring her to America.
So one day we were dying off,
and the next thing you know...
...everybody's talking about
arranging marriages for their kids...
...and how many grandchildren
they were going to have.
You got a letter from your wife.
You're sending all this money
to your wife?
You sent some last week already.
No wonder I don't see you
around my club.
All this land your wife
is buying in China...
...the Communists
are gonna take it anyway.
Remember that.
"Dear husband:
All is well here.
But I think it's time...
...for our son to come home
to find a wife.
You promised you would talk
to your friend...
...who has a daughter back here
in our village..."
That's enough.
I know what she's gonna say.
He just came out of the Army,
my boy.
Two years ago.
Don't you start up on me.
Just write.
"Dear wife:"
"I'm fine."
"Very busy.
Business is..."
Very good?
- Excellent?
- No, no.
Otherwise, I gotta send her
more money.
Hello, Lee Gong.
Letter to my wife.
Me too.
Thank you.
You got time for a drink?
- Why not come to my laundry?
- Fine.
There's something
I want to talk to you about.
I have something to talk to you too.
Come on.
Last night,
at the Chinese Elk Club...
...this guy falls over dead
in the middle of a card game.
- Never got to see his grandchildren.
- What grandchildren?
You know, in a manner of speaking.
Same thing is gonna happen to me.
I only got one son and he acts
like there's no tomorrow.
Ben is a good boy.
Did I tell you
I saw him the other day?
I went to the place where he works.
In Hoboken? What were
you doing in Hoboken?
I had some business.
Ben Loy is very nice and very polite.
That worthless kid.
He seems very smart.
I hope that one day
your boy finds a nice young lady.
You know, Lee Gong...
...I always hoped he could
marry a girl from back home.
Like your daughter.
Yeah, time flies.
My daughter is already
a grown woman.
Let's have a drink.
- I'd like to get you...
- Really?
...on a slow boat to China.
All to myself, alone.
I wanna see that place again
where you was raked by gunfire.
You do? Hold on.
- It's way in the back there.
- Come on.
Good morning.
What's the matter
with the water at your place?
The water heater broke down.
Do I have a pimple behind my ear?
No. It's a bit red, though.
Where have you been?
I've been looking all over for you.
I was at a club.
It's a sort of youth group.
Youth group?
Youth group, my ass.
You're not a youth anymore.
...I want you to fix this place up.
This is my place now, Dad.
I wanna talk to you.
What about?
I have a ticket for you.
A ticket?
You're gonna take a trip.
And when you come back...'re gonna be a big man.
Come back from where?
You're so skinny!
Remember your...
I'm your Aunt Gim.
I'm going to be your
What's "Mui-Yan"?
I asked her to be your
It's just an old custom.
You wouldn't know
this kind of stuff.
Mr. Big Shot, did you bring
your Army uniform?
You'd look even better
in that.
Step aside! Step aside!
Who's this?
You'd better watch it.
She's their matchmaker.
What's up?
Nothing, but the girl's mother
is a little worried.
She's heard that these GI's
who come back to get married...
...are all either lepers or cripples...
...who have to wear fake
arms and legs.
Hey, he understands
what you're saying.
I told her this is just a rumor.
But she simply won't believe me.
Well, you tell that woman
my son is a healthy boy.
His four limbs are just fine.
We can't take your word
for that.
Take a good look.
Flesh and blood.
Of course, he has great legs.
She should have believed me.
How embarrassing!
Is this from you?
That's from Dad.
- It's a waffle iron.
- Waffle?
What the hell is a waffle?
It's something you eat.
Put it in that cupboard.
Tell him to send
the electricity next time.
He sends me this
fancy junk... he won't have
to come back himself.
He's turned into an old man.
It's been over twenty years.
You tell him...
...if he's so concerned
about me... come back and see me.
Over 20 years.
Twenty years.
You must have
a lot of boyfriends, then.
You are America, sex crazy.
I can't believe you and Dad
are putting me through this.
I think this may be
a big mistake.
You haven't even met
the girl.
If you don't like this girl
you can pick somebody else.
Right. I pick Rita Hayworth,
but I'll settle for Betty Grable.
We don't have to hurt their feelings.
You can say I've got a
wooden arm and I didn't tell you.
Seriously, Mom.
All this is just an excuse for me
to come home and visit you.
My goodness!
What are you doing here?
Come, have a cup of tea.
Mr. Wang,
I don't believe you two have met.
Mr. Wang, meet my niece, Mei Oi.
"Mei Oi" in Chinese
is "beautiful love."
I keep telling you
he knows Chinese.
Hi there, Miss Lee!
I am very happy to meet you,
Mr. Wang.
Your English is swell.
Okay, that's enough.
We have to go.
I hope we will meet again.
You bet. Absolutely.
What are you doing an hour
from now? Or tonight?
You want to get married?
I do.
Don't get too excited.
We haven't compared
your horoscopes yet.
Trust me.
If you really love
the girl... should consider taking her
with you to America.
When your father left,
I was here all by myself.
I've lived like a widow
for all these years.
The old way was no good,
believe me.
I guess I thought
you liked it this way.
In those days,
with the immigration laws...
...we didn't have a choice.
I wish I could give you
some advice about marriage.
But I don't know anything about it.
When I kiss you... darling...
...the whole world
belongs to us.
When you were on that plane,
I was fascinated... the way the shadow followed it.
That silly shadow... along over mountains
and valleys, covering 10 times...
Mrs. Wang,
their horoscopes match perfectly.
Now we have to pick a date.
I knew this was the girl
for you.
That's wonderful.
They are a perfect match.
Pick out a date for them
as soon as possible.
Make sure you pick out
a lucky date for them.
Once they are married,
you will enjoy a more peaceful life.
In that case, you'll have to drink
more at the wedding banquet.
Those bells you hear...
...are the bells of love.
Those doves you see...
...are the messengers of romance.
- He will return.
- Oh, no!
Do you know my father?
Yeah, I know him.
I have never met my father.
He left before I was born.
I want to see him very much.
I want to see America very much.
What about me?
I mean... do you feel about me?
The bride and groom are here.
Honored mother,
the bride and groom.
They're here to pay
their respects.
First they honor
heaven and earth...
...then they honor
the ancestors...
...then they honor each other.
Son, you're a grown man.
Time to start a family.
And, daughter-in-law,
bless us all with children.
I'm so excited.
Mei Oi, you know... look like your mama.
...I'm very happy to meet you.
So this is my daughter-in-law.
- What a baby doll!
- Yes, she is.
Mei Oi, this is my dad.
It's a pleasure.
We better get moving.
I'll drop you off at your place to change.
Here's your key.
You won't recognize your place.
I got it fixed so nice.
We better hurry.
The banquet is at 6:00.
I promised Mei Oi
I'd show her the city.
Cabs got windows.
We'll sit her on the outside.
Come on,
let's get a move on.
Thank you, Papa.
Lee Gong, they are here.
They are here!
This for you.
You lucky so-and-so.
- Congratulations.
- Thank you.
So can I kiss the bride now?
That's enough, you son of a bitch.
Our host, Wah Gay, says
his heart is too full to speak.
So he has asked
a distinguished visitor... speak instead.
President of North American branch...
...of Wang Family Association...
...Mr. Wang Kai Fouk. Henry Wang.
I'm privileged to be able to welcome
all you here on behalf of our host...
...cousin Wah Gay.
My friends, this is some occasion.
This is a historical occasion.
The bride, our lovely cousin,
Lee Mei Oi, was born in China.
And a few days ago, she came
to this country with her new husband.
As we all know, something like this...
...was not possible
until very, very recently.
Harsh laws kept families separated.
A man came here...
...and lived as an outsider
in this beautiful country.
He could not share it with his wife.
He could not watch his children grow.
That time has passed.
The law has changed...
...because of brave boys
like cousin Ben Loy...
...who served so valiantly in the
Armed Services of this country... prove what didn't need proving:
The loyalty of Chinese-Americans
to our adopted country!
We Chinese believe in the family.
Friends, cousins, we now have
a new generation...
...who can enjoy
all that a family means.
Many generations...
Next year, of course, we will celebrate
the birth of our host's first grandson.
But I'm too hungry to wait that long... let's drink.
Drink up! Empty your glasses.
Enjoy this feast!
Attention, everybody.
We have an announcement to make.
You know, I think a family man
is a responsible man...
...a dependable man
who can handle a big job... the manager of this restaurant.
I'm manager.
We're gonna go to the top
of the Empire State Building.
Then we'll go to Rockefeller Center.
You ever been ice skating?
Forget it. Eight in the morning
you have to get up, start your new job.
Dad, I'll come in for an hour or so.
This job will be a snap.
- Snap? You call it a snap?
- Anybody can do this job.
You just gotta tell the waiters
what to do.
Dad, let me tell you something.
I've got plans now.
I'm a married man.
We're gonna save some money.
And I'm gonna go back to school.
Excuse me, please.
I want to talk to you.
- You know what?
- What?
- You know what?
- What?
We got the big face tonight,
you and me.
And it's up to you to keep it
for both of us.
And that means you're gonna...
...act like a big man
and become a father.
And you're going to
take everything seriously.
And 20 years from now... could be the head
of the whole Wang Family Association.
Dad, I think I'm gonna throw up.
Hello, this is Mrs. Wang speaking.
Hello, this is Mrs. Wang speaking.
Sweetheart, listen, I'm sorry.
I said we'd go out today, but...
I said we'd go out today, but this job
is a lot more than I figured it would be.
These fish are expensive.
I'm on the phone.
- It's not expensive.
- Nobody wants to buy it.
Just pay the guy.
This son of a bitch
has been dogging my wife.
You think she's so gorgeous.
Forget it.
Mei Oi, I'm sorry.
Never mind.
I'm just homesick a little bit.
My new job's great.
Wait. Wait, wait, wait a minute.
Stop. Stop.
I don't think I'm gonna
be able to do this.
What's wrong?
I don't know.
I just feel like everyone's watching us.
There you are. So today is
the first of the month, rent day.
I have no money. Come back later.
You never pay on time.
Fuck off.
Hey, Ah Song, did you hear
about the fight yesterday...
...the one in the movie house?
What the fuck do you know?
I want the news, I buy a paper.
Hey, Wah Gay, everybody still talks
about the banquet you gave.
Old news.
Hey, Wah Gay, guess who we saw
last week in the marketplace?
- Your daughter-in-law.
- What do you mean?
She looked fine, just like always.
Skinny little thing.
Fuck you.
She's not like the girls here who have
big bellies before they're married.
You sound just like my old woman's
letters. "Where's the baby?"
I think they are trying.
Every time I go to work...
...Ben Loy looks really, really tired.
Maybe they don't know how to do it.
Back home, they watch the pigs.
They get the idea.
It's none of our business!
Hi, Dad.
You know what to do with this?
It's for making babies,
not just to have fun with.
Your mother cries every day.
Dad, I don't think
we should discuss this.
- I'm your father.
- I don't think it's any of your business.
I'm not pressuring you.
Just asking.
If you don't feel like having children
when you're young...
...when will you have them?
- When we feel like it.
Well, feel like it now!
Oh, shit.
I love you.
What are we gonna do?
I think you should see a doctor.
But first, you got to tell him
what's wrong.
Your checkup's fine.
- Everything's okay, huh?
- Everything's okay.
- Come see me next year.
- Thanks, doc.
Well, once in a while,
now and again...
...I have this little problem...
...when I'm with my wife.
Every guy has a little problem
once in a while.
Maybe more than once in a while.
- I've got just the thing for you.
- You do?
The name of a travel agent.
You're working too hard.
I had a real good time today.
Yeah, it's nice to get away
from New York.
It was okay in Washington.
- Why do you ask me that?
- Will you carry me off with you?
Stop tormenting me.
I'll take care of you.
I don't care where it is, Michael.
Just take me there.
Take me quick.
Take me.
Hold on!
Hey, long time no see, huh?
Oh, say, you fixed
this place up real nice.
- You must be ready, big boy.
- I'm a married man now.
- Are you kidding?
- No.
Hello. You must be his wife.
- Would you get out of here?
- Sure.
- Bye. Nice meeting you.
- Bye.
Jeez, can you believe this?
She probably got the wrong apartment
and comes barging in like that.
How dare you enter the Crystal Sea
Palace! You naughty monkey.
What are you doing here?
What's this?
These are two tickets
to Washington D. C...
...and this is the hotel reservation.
Is this some kind of joke?
The train leaves at 6:00.
Why don't you fix this?
I can't work with this shit.
You're the manager,
do something.
At 6:00, I have to feed 400 people,
and the show's not ready yet.
Come on.
Hey, I know you.
I didn't recognize you.
Remember me?
I'm your Uncle Ah Song.
I was at your wedding party.
Thank you.
You want me to call you a cab?
Hello, Mei Oi?
I shouldn't have yelled at you like that,
I guess...
And I'm sorry.
It's just you coming in like that
in front of everyone at work...
They're gonna think
we've got a problem.
We do have a problem.
We can talk about that later.
You don't want me anymore.
That's not true.
I do want you.
But I can't do a damn thing about it.
How do you think
that makes me feel?
Can I see you tomorrow?
If you agree,
put out the fishbowl.
Thank you.
I got a surprise for you.
What is it?
It's a television set.
King-size Old Golds, the taste
treat of all king-size cigarettes.
Now, regular Old Golds, the world
famous "Treat instead of a treat."
The pack on the left is better.
You can watch programs
during the day too.
You can catch all the ball games.
It must have cost a lot of money.
So what?
It's something for you to do when
you're here by yourself. Like company.
Hit him.
Put up your guard.
I gotta go back to work, but
you can watch boxing. Come on!
A machine is not the same thing
as a husband!
You're just like my mother.
I wish I was in China with her!
One! Two! Three!
Fight's over.
I'm gonna go to bed, Mei Oi.
You want to watch this?
- Potter. Professor Nicholas Potter.
- And wife, Susan.
- Good night.
- We were invited.
The ladies' cloakroom is the second
door to the left, madam.
You know what?
I think she's gained a little weight.
She looks the same to me.
Not everybody is in a hurry
to have a baby.
Not Chinese people.
The old ones want children,
the young ones produce them.
There must be something
wrong with the husband.
Your mother.
You got too many mouths.
Well, everybody's saying it.
Hey, hey.
I hear Ben Loy
has got a new name.
- Hey, what name?
- No Can Do.
"No Can Do." That's a good one.
"No Can Do."
- "No Can Do," just like you.
- Chong Loo, "No Can Do."
Not me.
I look like 16-year-old.
Sixteen, my ass!
What's the matter with you?
Hey, Old Lum?
Old Lum?
Your mother!
You were like a son to him.
He died of a broken heart.
He wanted to see Ben Loy's first son.
What are these things for?
It's a bridge into the next world.
It's a ritual.
You want to call her back?
The most wonderful thing happened.
I couldn't wait to tell you.
You won't believe this.
What is it?
What's the matter?
That was Mei Oi.
She just got home from the doctor.
She's pregnant.
She's going to be a mother?
You're going to be a father?
I'm going to be a grandfather.
We're going to be grandfathers!
We're going to have a grandson!
We're going to have a boy!
Thank you.
- Just a little.
- It's good for you.
Now, we have a toast.
Maybe we'll have a boy.
Maybe we'll have a girl.
But we have to start somewhere.
A toast!
When did we go to Washington?
Wasn't that a while ago?
Your father is excited.
So is my father.
Even if it's a girl, they'd be pleased.
Don't you think so?
How beautiful.
- I'd like to live there.
- Yeah, me too.
It'd be simpler.
Yeah, my dad's really happy.
And you? Are you happy too?
Didn't we keep the train ticket stubs?
They'd have the date on them
when we went to Washington.
Watch it, Loy Gaw!
Please go.
Let's go to Miami.
Just tell him you got
a sick cousin in Florida, okay?
No, I can't.
Come on.
No. Go on!
As the relentless march of the Red
Chinese army into Korea continued...
...President Truman took action...
- Bad news.
Nothing but bad news.
It's going to be World War III.
They will put us in their camps...
...just like they did the Japanese!
Chong Loo, what's new?
- What am I, a newspaper?
- Hey, you're louder than a newspaper.
It's not all bad news these days.
At least Wah Gay's daughter-in-law
has a big belly.
Well, there's more than one way
to get a big belly.
What are you talking about?
Now don't let this out of this room.
Let it disappear right here, okay?
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
The president has frozen all assets
of Red China and the U. S...
...and the government in Peking has
seized all American property there.
American citizens have been warned
to stay out of China...
...where their passports
are no longer valid.
In Hong Kong today,
British officials...
Come on, China hasn't been
our home for 30 years.
How about your wife?
She's giving the Commies hell,
God bless her.
You know...
...I was going to go back next year.
The truth is,
we were never meant to go back.
What counts is our grandchildren
are gonna grow up here, right?
You gonna come by the club?
Wah Gay's daughter-in-law!
- I don't believe it.
- Nowadays, women are no good.
He goes right up to her apartment
while the poor bastard's at work.
When a woman is horny,
she'll do anyone.
Mei Oi...
You tell me yourself...
...why people
are saying that you...
...that you...
It's not true!
Ben Loy! Ben Loy!
Are you possessed by demons?
I am going to beat the hell out of you!
What do you think you're doing,
you son of a bitch!
Let go of me!
I want to talk to you!
It's all over town!
And they don't say it's your wife
that's running around.
It's Wah Gay's daughter-in-law!
My daughter-in-law!
I got no face, thanks to you!
Guess I'm the last
to know about it, huh?
- That's him.
- Him?
Ben Loy.
Hi, Uncle.
I was just dropping off the books.
Come into my office.
Tell me how the job's going.
It's going fine.
Hours are kind of long.
- My wife...
- Wants you to be home more.
Yeah. It's kind of hard for her.
With the baby coming, I understand.
I was kind of hoping
that my wife and I could go away...
Your uncle is going to do you a favor.
I have an opening at my factory
out in Jersey.
It's a good job with a great future.
You know...'ll be doing a smart thing
if you accept this offer.
Let's go home.
We can't.
You go too slow. No good.
- You go too slow. You gotta move fast.
- Okay. All right.
What a klutz!
The guy's another loser.
Goddamn it!
You could've been
more discreet about it.
We wouldn't have had to come here.
- I thought we weren't gonna talk about...
- Since we're on the subject...
...I'm a little disappointed
in your taste.
- I told you, it's over.
- I mean, the guy is a bum!
For you to be taken in
by a heel like that...
I don't know, it's beyond me.
- What'd you do?
- I didn't do anything!
Yes, you did! Goddamn it!
- At least he pays attention to me!
- Where's the flashlight?
Something just ran over my foot.
You married me to please your father!
Well, maybe you just wanted
a ticket to the U.S. A!
That's what you thought...
You could have any woman
for the price of a ticket.
Wait! Calm down!
You really played me for a chump.
I can't stay with somebody
who despises me!
As mistakes go, this was a doozy.
You don't want a wife,
you want a slave!
You just wanna get back
to your boyfriend.
At least he's a man.
If you think he's going to marry you,
think again!
I'm married! I hate marriage!
I marry and look what it gets me.
How you doing, fellas?
You miss me?
Nobody gonna say,
"Welcome home"?
How was Florida?
Slow horses. Fast women.
I lost at the races...
...but I won at cards.
So I broke even.
Hey, I had a vacation!
Fuck you.
Play, don't talk.
What's the matter with you?
If you don't wanna play,
get the hell out of here.
I'm kidding.
I'm not kidding.
I want you to get
the hell out of this place.
You are not welcome here anymore.
Leave now,
or I won't be polite any further.
You know all the news.
What have they been saying about me?
Don't push your luck!
Hey, Wah Gay, how's your boy?
Still working at Grand China?
Hell of a job. Really long hours.
Screw you!
Your mother!
Let's play.
Lee Gong, take over.
I'm gonna take a walk.
Where are you going?
Coming back from Jersey
on the train...
...she just sat there.
And I just sat there.
Like a million miles apart.
Look, Ben...
...she's right down at the Y,
right down the street.
I really blew it.
Here's a nickel.
Call her.
Tell her to come home.
What home?
We lost that too.
My dad gave up our apartment.
I mean, I don't even have a place to stay.
Hi, sweetheart.
Is it busy tonight?
Forget it.
Go check it out.
Fine, I'll do it.
That's somebody's ear.
Where's the rest of him?
It's me.
Have you seen your father tonight?
Tonight, no. What's going on?
I think your father
is a little bit upset.
Where's my daughter?
We're gonna get a divorce.
I'm sorry to tell you about this.
She is my daughter,
but she is a fool.
No. If anyone's to blame, it's me.
Ben Loy, don't try to save my face.
She had no idea
what she was getting into.
If you're gonna stay,
I'm going to look for your father.
I must tell you.
Your father is a proud man.
Whatever he does,
he does for you. No?
Maybe this is just
between Mei Oi and me.
Doesn't anyone ever think of that?
Do you know
what happened out there?
- Someone got chopped into pieces.
- Chopped into pieces?
A guy just got killed.
Who got chopped into pieces?
Ah Song, the gambler.
His head was cut off.
His head was detached
from his body.
Who killed him?
Ben Loy, the manager
at Grand China.
And now, Crime Busters.
Presented in cooperation with police
departments throughout the U.S.
The only national program that brings
you authentic police case histories.
Your name Wang?
You're under arrest.
- What for?
- Attempted murder.
Ah Song is in the hospital.
He will be all right.
In fact...
...he was the one
who called the police.
We don't want the police
to handle this...
...but it's very serious.
Very serious.
We have to leave this town.
Everybody gonna laugh at us.
I'm not too old.
I can always find a job.
There's gamblers everywhere.
I'm looking into some business
opportunity in the Caribbean.
- Caribbean.
- Oh, yeah.
I'm sailing at midnight.
I guess this is goodbye.
I get you a taxi.
Who needs a taxi?
- I'm gonna take the bus.
- Bus?
This could be a while.
And at our age...
...who knows?
Wah Gay, you look like a boy.
I'll see you again, Grandpa.
See you again, Grandpapa.
Ben Loy. Pack up my things for me.
I'll send for them when I settle down.
Take care of yourself.
You're on your own now.
Ben Loy?
Pop should have killed
that son of a bitch while he was at it.
Dad's starting all over again in Havana.
Can you beat that?
My father went to Chicago.
Where have you been?
Do you want to get
a cup of coffee or something?
I'll do what I can to help out my father.
But I'm gonna get out of here.
Maybe you should do the same.
For the baby's sake, you know,
you can't stay around here.
- Where you gonna go?
- San Francisco.
- That's where we landed, wasn't it?
- Yeah.
I'm not gonna be a waiter, either.
An old Army buddy of mine
is getting me a job at a radio station.
Chinatown operation,
but I get to cover ball games and...
It's the kind of job that could
lead someplace, you know?
I can't wait to get started.
Good for you.
- Mei Oi.
- Let me go.
You've got a chance to start over again.
Take it. It's what you want.
No, I want you to come with me.
I need you.
I wanna see our baby.
I love you.
I love you, for crying out loud.
I wanna start over with you.
It's just, I don't know
how you feel about me.
I just don't want
to let you down again, that's all.
No problem.
This is very special tea,
all the way from China.
It's guaranteed.
Hey, we should do this
again next year.
Okay. One, two, three: