Confessions of a Hallway Hustler is a retelling of Brian De Palma’s Scarface (1983) in the style of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
The protagonist Tony Montana is a 12-year-old lovable scoundrel who gets kicked out of his elite boarding school in the imaginary European country of Luxland for breaking one too many rules.
In order to teach Tony a lesson in humility, his divorced mother banishes him to America where he is to lead an ordinary middle-class life in the imaginary American suburban town of Jerburbia with his sadsack dad and naive half-sister.
The story is Tony’s confession to the school administrators — with concerned parents listening in — about everything that has happened up to that moment, starting from when he arrived by commercial jet in Jerburbia.
Note: I’ll go back and change the character names at a later revision stage.
Tony — comic archetype: Lovable Scoundrel (think Bill Murray in Ghostbusters or Stripes), Fish-Out-Of-Water (he’s never been to America, doesn’t know how middle-class people live)
Manny — comic archetype: Lothario
Chi-Chi — comic archetype: Dummy
Angel — comic archetype: Kook
Lopez — eighth-grader, top dog at school — comic archetype: Showbiz type — has a crew of “soldiers” who sell illicit candy & soda for him at school
Elvira — comic archetype: Tacky Suburban Princess
Omar — Lopez’s lieutenant — comic archetype: Toady
Sosa — tenth-grader, Snappysap supplier — his family owns a mini-mart — comic archetype: Kingpin
the Shadow — kid henchman to Sosa, comic archetype: Psycho
the Skull — kid henchman to Sosa, comic archetype: Animal
Sheffield — kid who’s a wanna-be lawyer, comic archetype: Know-It-All/Robot
Vice Principal Bernstein — comic archetype: Corrupt Cop
Gina — Tony’s half-sister — comic archetype: Naif
Dad — comic archetype: Embarrassingly Understanding Parent
School Principal Reagan — comic archetype: Bumbling Authority
various teachers — all incompetent — comic archetypes: Gasbag, Pushover, Neurotic, Weirdo, Drunk, Bureaucrat
Siedelbaum — comic archetype: Snitch
Doc Matos — comic archetype: Goody-Good
Snappysap — Pop-Rocks-like candy
Jerburbia — typical American suburban town, where story takes place
Luxland — rich foreign country where Tony grew up
Tony describes how awful the coach flight to Jerburbia was. He describes where he’s from — the fictional foreign country of Luxland — and the luxurious lifestyle he was accustomed to. He admits that he got expelled from his elite boarding school, but insists it wasn’t his fault. He explains that his mom banished him to America to live with his dad in “abject squalor” in order to teach him a lesson in humility.
His dad picks him up at the airport. He describes how shabby his Dad’s car, clothes, job, and life seem (all solidly middle-class) to him. They drive directly to his new (public) school, Jerburbia Middle School, in the town of Jerburbia.
Vice Principal Bernstein enrolls Tony into the sixth grade. Tony asks him a lot of clueless questions about the amenities at the school. The vice principal cross-examines him to see if he’s a “trouble-maker.”
At his dad’s modest house, Tony takes in the living conditions, settles into his room, and meets his half-sister, Gina. Gina greets him warmly.
The next day, on the bus ride to school, Tony befriends Manny, who’s watching Cars on his phone — the scene where Lightning McQueen concedes the tie-breaker race to help The King finish.
The King: What are you doing, kid?
Lightning McQueen: I think The King should finish his last race. [begins to push the King along the track]
The King: You just gave up the Piston Cup, you know that?
Lightning McQueen: Aw, this grumpy old racecar I know once told me something. It’s just an empty cup.
Strutting down the middle of the bustling hall at school, Tony tells Manny that Lightning was a sucker for conceding the race. He declares that winning is everything and that he’s going to take over the school so he can recreate the lifestyle he’s accustomed to here in America.
Chi-Chi meets them in the hall, offers to sell them each a candy bar. Tony wants to buy one but has no money. Nonetheless, the three get caught by Vice Principal Bernstein and ordered to report for after-school detention. Manny says they should ditch. But Tony wants to go — to meet all other miscreants at the school.
Dad calls to ask how he’s doing. Tony lies.
At recess, Angel wonders how they can get out of detention. Tony has an idea. He sneaks out of the room and sets off the fire alarm. In the chaos, Tony goes to the Bernstein’s office and steals his computer password.
The next day, in the hall, Manny tries to flirt with a cute older girl. The girl maturely and diplomatically rejects him. Tony makes his famous speech to Manny.
“You have it all mixed up. In this country you first need to get money. A lot of it. Then you get status. When you get status, you get friends, especially girlfriends. Then the world is your oyster.”
Manny mentions a job opportunity.
In Tyvek jumpers, Tony and Manny pick up trash around the mall cineplex. They admire the cool kids who hang out at the food court.
Outside in the parking lot, Omar rolls up on his fancy electric bike. He offers them a job — selling lollipops for Lopez. Tony scoffs, demands a bigger job. Omar tasks them with buying a case of candy bars from some high school kids.
Tony and his crew bike to the high school. Angel is superstitious and worried.
Tony and Angel enter under the playing field stands. The high school kids hang Angel by his jacket collar, threaten to give him a wedgie unless they hand over the cash. Tony refuses. They start ruthlessly tickling & noogying Angel. Tony pulls out his smartphone, starts recording a livestream video. The high school kids run off, forgetting their backpacks. In it are the candy bars.
Tony returns the cash and the candy bars to Lopez at his cushy garage hangout. Lopez offers them a job on the spot as his “capos” (a term he learned from a gangster movie).
Then Lopez takes them all to Burger Palace. Lopez points out all the key “players” there. Lopez’s girlfriend Elvira arrives. Tony is smitten. Lopez counsels Tony: Lesson number one — don’t underestimate the other guy’s greed. Elvira adds: Lesson number two, don’t eat your own supply. Elvira is intrigued by Tony. Lopez introduces Tony to Sheffield, the “school rules ace” and to a “banker” named Jerry. Elvira plays her favorite song on her top-of-the-line smartphone, asks Lopez to dance, who refuses. She asks Tony. Lopez encourages him. When they start dancing, Tony overhears Omar telling Lopez that Tony is trouble. While dancing, Elvira and Tony spar.
On the bike ride home, Tony tells Manny that Elvira has a crush on him.
Tony invites Manny into his dad’s house. Tony greets his sister. He has brought dinner for them all from Burger Palace. His dad is mildly disapproving — he’s already made a tofu stir-fry for dinner. Manny crushes on Gina. They all eat the burgers. On the way out, Tony warns Manny not to ask Gina out.
Tony, impeccably dressed, gets frisked by Bernstein at the school entrance. Some unassuming fifth-graders with huge nerdy backpacks pass by.
In the bathroom, Tony has the fifth-graders disgorge from their backpacks piles of candy bars.
Tony plays mini-golf with Lopez and Jerry.
At a fast-fashion store, Tony buys Gina an entire wardrobe of new outfits.
Tony swings by Lopez’s garage in a vintage bicycle. She’s not impressed.
At the bike shop, Tony buys a tricked-out electric bike with banana-seat for two.
On the ride back to Lopez’s garage, they stop in a park and eat candy bars and drink cola together. Tony tells Elvira he likes her. She’s unmoved.
During school, Tony and Omar visit Sosa at his parents’ minimart across town. Sosa offers to sell them a shipping palette full of Snappysap. Omar defers to Lopez. The Skull interrupts with a private message. Sosa offers Omar a ride back to school with Skull and Shadow in his golf cart. They leave. Tony and Sosa chat about Luxland. Gabriella, Sosa’s girlfriend, arrives with her pony on a leash. Sosa tells Tony that Omar is a snitch. The Shadow and Skull drive Omar across the parking lot to his mom’s car, who’s been waiting there. His mom grounds him for not being at school. Tony declares he’s no snitch. Sosa offers to do business with Tony, but warns him not to double-cross him.
At Lopez’s garage hangout, Lopez orders Tony to delay the deal with Sosa.
Outside, Tony expresses to Manny his contempt for Lopez.
Tony, with Manny, meet with Sheffield, pay him his exorbitant retainer for his services.
Tony watches Lopez leave the garage. He enters, asks Elvira out, tells her Lopez won’t last.
At the Burger Palace, Tony and Manny roll up in flashy duds and kicks. Gina is there with a date, a ninth-grader. Tony orders Manny to watch her. Bernstein shows up. He confronts Tony about the fire alarm and the video of the high school kids. He demands a cut of the action. Tony sees Gina flirting with her date. Lopez and Elvira arrive. Tony flirts with Elvira. He clashes with Lopez. Manny intercedes.
Tony tells Manny Lopez sicced the VP on him. Manny suggests they lay low. Tony refuses.
Tony finds Gina with her date, about to kiss. He sprays a fire extinguisher into the bathroom. Tony threatens to tell on him, tells her to go home.
Manny rides with her home on their bikes, comforts her. She asks him out. He’s terrified.
At the Burger Palace, Lopez has hired a magician to entertain them all. The magician does a trick where he makes Lopez disappear just as some high school kids bust in and let off a bunch of firecrackers. In the chaos, they egg Tony.
Tony escapes outside and rides them down on his electric bike — then eggs them in the back.
At home, his dad helps him clean up. Tony texts Manny and Chi-Chi to meet him at Lopez’s hangout.
They sneak in, scatter Snappysap everywhere, then leave the sink running.
Tony fetches Elvira from her locker. He asks her out, takes her to his new clubhouse — an old storage shed on school grounds, which he’s decked out like a kid’s wildest dream of a recreation room. A box arrives — in it is a replica Piston Cup with the words “I love being me!” in neon wrapped around it. He places it on a pedestal in a place of honor in the clubhouse.
Tony brags about how much Snappysap they’re selling, how much money they’re making. They sell out the entire palette. In no time, two more palettes of Snappysap from Sosa arrive at the clubhouse.
Tony recounts with bemused indifference how kids at school are fighting over Snappysap, how they’re stealing from each other, how they’re breaking into lockers, mouthing off in class, not doing their homework, falling asleep, starting food fights in the cafeteria.
Tony recounts how his crew’s parents having started going through their phones, looking for incriminating evidence of their involvement in the illicit candy-selling operation. Tony describes a secret code he devised from them to communicate safely by text without getting caught.
The Principal announces busts of some of Tony’s low-ranking “soldiers,” the confiscation of contraband Snappysap.
At the school carnival, Tony helps Gina setup and run a fancy makeover booth. It’s a hit with girls and some boys too. Manny arrives at the booth in flashy clothes. He flirts with Gina when he thinks Tony doesn’t notice.
Late that night, Tony’s Dad texts him, then calls him. He’s wondering where they are and worried. Tony texts back a lame excuse why he hasn’t come home.
Elvira is popping Snappysap in her mouth by the handful.
Detention fills up.
Tony gives Elvira a locket necklace, asks to “go steady” with her.
Manny and Gina hold hands covertly at school.
At his clubhouse, Tony seethes as Jerry increases his fees for debit cards. Tony is mindlessly popping handfuls of Snappysap into his mouth. He obsessively watches all the security cameras he’s set up around the clubhouse. Tony watches a streaming video by Matos about the candy problem at school. Tony rants about the corruption at school, the hypocrisy of adults. Manny suggests a meeting with a different banker. Tony takes over the meeting.
Tony goes to meet the new banker with a duffels full of quarters, nickels, and pennies. Seidelbaum points to the cameras, calls the Principal.
Sheffield gets Tony out of suspension, but believes he’ll have to do 3 weeks of detention.
Sosa meets with Tony at the minimart, introduces him to his Snappysap sales rep, the soda sales rep, the delivery driver, his clerks. Sosa asks Tony to help him “take care” of Matos. The Shadow goes with him back to his school.
Matos uploads another damaging video. He announces that he’s running for school president and that his first order of business will be to eliminate candy and soda sales from the school.
At the Burger Palace, Tony and Elvira gobble Snappysap, don’t eat the food piled up on the table. He complains about Elvira. She breaks up with him, throws the necklace at him, storms out. He yells at the gawkers.
Tony discusses with his crew and the Shadow all the ways they’ve tried to compromise Matos, yet nothing has worked. Tony explains to Chi-Chi that everyone sees Matos as a good guy and that’s why they have to make him look bad.
They try to tempt him — with candy, soda, toys, gadgets. They sneak a vape pen in his pocket and get him caught. He leaves his house. They follow him — to a retirement home. He’s there to visit his dying grandmother. Tony backs out. The Shadow is infuriated. Tony gets the Shadow kicked out of the place.
At the clubhouse, his dad calls — he can’t find Gina. He’s tracked her phone to a house on Allegiant Street. Tony knows exactly where that is, rushes there. He finds Gina with Manny, slow dancing in her room. He sends a picture of Manny sitting on a pile of Snappysap to the Principal and his parents.
At the clubhouse, a bunch of kids with big backpacks ride up as Tony watches from his monitors. He’s guzzling Snappysap. They pull out spray paint, toilet paper, paint guns, water balloons, talcum powder — basically every prank weapon a kid could think of. Tony armors himself and arms himself with a paint gun. The kids converge on the clubhouse. All hell breaks loose.
Tony ends his confession by saying that none of this was his fault and that, still and always, I love being me!