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Chicken Flavored Courage (10/12/2007)

released: Oct 12, 2007

description: A battlefield explodes with rockets, while men in foxholes fire at each other. This epic battle, however, rages only in the imagination of Johnny, who is bedridden with meningitis of the heart. Johnny's father comes into his room and laments Johnny's lack of opportunities he cannot go to school or ride his bike, he cannot make friends, he only has his toys and the livid stories he creates alone in his room.

Meanwhile, across the street, a "For Sale" sign is removed from the lawn of a house as Katie and her mother move in. Katie is pessimistic about their new life in Cleveland, but her mother is just happy to be free of her terrible marriage. She urges Katie to look at this as a fresh start for both of them.

That night, Katie sees Johnny in his window from across the street. They hesitantly wave at each other, and before he can stop her, Katie has climbed the trellis into his bedroom. Katie asks why he cannot leave, and he explains to her that he is dying of heart meningitis. Katie cannot understand why he is not taking advantage of what time he has. Johnny maintains his self-pitying attitude, even as Katie promises to come over immediately after school the next day.

At school, Katie is met with the typical scorn facing the new kid. At the end of the day, she gets into her mother's car, miserable and begging to go back to Minneapolis. Meanwhile, in the parking lot, a band of cool kids hang around smoking. Rex Lawson announces to them that he may have found the fresh meat needed to finish their work. As they plan, Mr. Holson, the school's principal, approaches and demands they stop smoking on school property. The kids respond only by setting Mr. Holson's car on fire.

Johnny and Katie take an imaginary trip to an elegant restaurant, where they picture the other as they could be. As the make-believe fades, Johnny is left only explaining to Katie that can only exist in his mind, because he is dying. Katie again urges him to stop feeling sorry for himself, and to make the time he has left worth it.

In the tree hut of the cool kids, Rex orders them to begin the final steps for their sacrificial ceremony to the winged cat god Asriel. Therefore, he demands that Sadie bring Katie to the tree hut within twenty-four hours. As Sadie and Sam watch in delight, Rex threatens and terrifies Sadie until she agrees.

The next day, Sadie invites Katie to be her lab partner, and later, Katie is asked to sit with them at lunch. Mr. Holson informs the kids that he knows they are up to no good, but the kids only set his new car on fire in retaliation. Katie, smitten with Rex, agrees to go to the tree hut to meet with all of them later.

Johnny sends Katie a series of instant messages, only to be ignored. Johnny wonders to his father why his only friend would abandon him so suddenly. Finally, Katie replies quickly to Johnny's IM only to say that she is sorry, but she has made some new friends. Johnny decides that perhaps now is the time to stop being a chicken. He uses the information she gives him to Google Maps her trail, and crawls into the basement to get his bicycle. He takes to the streets, bent on saving Katie.

At the tree hut, the kids make quick work of tying Katie up and preparing her for sacrifice. Just as her screams begin, Johnny climbs into the tree hut. He makes use of various toys to bring Rex down, as Mr. Holson enters and aids in the fight. When Rex is finally defeated, Katie catches Johnny as he falls. His heart cannot take the strain from the fight. She urges him to stay with them until help can arrive, but it is too late.

The congregation watches as Katie stands over Johnny's casket, telling him that he is the bravest person she knows. An American flag with a Transformers symbol where the stars should be is draped over the coffin as it is lowered into the ground. Meanwhile, on the battlefield, Johnny tells his troops that after this final battle, they can all go home to their families.

cast & crew:

Directed by . . . Jason Chin
Carl . . . Michael Johnson
Children's Toy #1 . . . Adal Rifai
Children's Toy #2 . . . Amy Verdon
Children's Toy #3 . . . Colleen Breen
Children's Toy #4 . . . Kristen Studard
Children's Toy #5 . . . Mel Evans
Children's Toy #6 . . . Michael Johnson
Children's Toy #7 . . . Roger Payton
General Flint . . . Roger Payton
Johnny . . . Sean Kelley
Johnny's Dad . . . Roger Payton
Katie . . . Mel Evans
Katie's Mom . . . Kristen Studard
Liono . . . Roger Payton
Mr. Holson . . . Roger Payton
Nigella Lawson . . . Amy Verdon
Rex Lawson . . . Michael Johnson
Sadie . . . Colleen Breen
Sam . . . Adal Rifai
Spiderman . . . Adal Rifai
Student #1 . . . Adal Rifai
Student #2 . . . Amy Verdon
Student #3 . . . Colleen Breen
Student #4 . . . Kristen Studard
Student #5 . . . Michael Johnson
Student #6 . . . Roger Payton


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