CARUSO AND THE SWORD
Teens. A bully. The sport of fencing.
CARUSO AND THE SWORD
This project is a feature film.
GENRE: family comedy (PG)
LOGLINE: A bullied teen, with low grades and lower self esteem, improves his self-confidence and grades when he discovers the sport of fencing.
Caruso is a scrawny, bullied high school student. He is intelligent and skipped a grade when he was younger, but this also makes him one of the smaller students in high school. He's unhappy and sleeps through most of his classes. His teachers are recommending demotion if his grades don't improve. His best friend Bobbi, a cherub-faced tomboy, tells him he is too smart for demotion to be an option.
The school bully, nicknamed Shaq, physically attacks Caruso every time he sees him. He also verbally berates him because of his name, and has nicknamed Caruso "Britney."
During one altercation, Caruso is rescued by Bobbi who is dressed in a fencing outfit and wields a mop as a sword. Caruso is discouraged but accepts "being rescued by a girl, again." Caruso trudges off to gym class.
Bobbi is dressed in a fencing outfit because the physical education program is offering fencing as an alternative to the usual bowling. Bobbi is an epee fencer and is attending the gym class to demonstrate fencing with Kyle, the instructor. During the class, Bobbie teaches Caruso some advanced techniques which he uses in his first bout with Shaq. Caruso scores the higher number of points and beats Shaq at fencing. Actually beating someone at something produces a sense of renewal and self-worth for Caruso.
Caruso wants to join Bobbi's fencing club. His parents won't allow it unless his grades improve. Caruso has found the motivation to study and his grades improve. Caruso takes an after school job doing yard work in order to pay the dues and buy fencing equipment.
Fencing is all he can think about and his parents are becoming concerned about his obsession. They encourage him to try other hobbies and sports with his friends Bobbi and Justin. Caruso's parents enroll him in classes. But, the more activities he participates in, the more he likes fencing. While at the club Caruso meets the top regional fencer known as "The Sword."
Although Carusoâ's grades improve he is still bullied. Bobbi encourages Caruso to do something about Shaq. She encourages him to test the school's "no bullying policy," but Caruso fears it will only bring retaliation. The only place Caruso feels comfortable against Shaq is in fencing. Shaq is becoming a better fencer himself. Shaq is a left-handed fencer. A left-handed fencer is harder for a right-handed fencer to beat and so Shaq is a worthy opponent for Caruso. While they are not friends, they fence without incident in class.
Caruso participates in his first competition. He doesn't win, but he learns about the Qualifiers for the Summer Nationals. Only twenty-percent of those participating in the Qualifiers qualify for Summer Nationals. Caruso has a new goal. He must at all costs participate. He counts the days until the Qualifiers, practicing constantly. But, while skateboarding with Bobbi and Justin, he breaks his fencing arm.
After Caruso breaks his arm he reverts to the quiet, depressed teen we saw at the beginning. He tries fencing with a cast, to no avail. His coach takes pity on him and teaches him to fence left-handed.
Caruso's cast comes off and Caruso tries to fence. His arm is so weak that he has difficulty holding the blade. He practices, lift weights, and does everything he can to strengthen his arm.
It is the day of the Qualifiers. Caruso has worked his way up, but his next opponent is The Sword. Caruso is losing against this formidable adversary. The Sword has watched Caruso and understands Caruso's style. Caruso's dream of qualifying for the Summer Nationals seems lost.
But, during the one-minute break, Caruso borrows Shaq's left-handed equipment and fences against The Sword left-handed. The Sword has not seen Caruso fence left-handed and by the time The Sword has picked up on Caruso's new style, Caruso has scored enough points to qualify.