Monty (Brendan Fraser) is a Harvard student working on his thesis hoping to graduate with honors. One night, holding his only copy of his papers, he drops the papers into a library steam grate. When he goes to get it he sees a homeless man Simon (Joe Pesci), burning the pages one by one for heat. The two strike a deal. To get the thesis back, Monty should give Simon a day's food and board for every page. Monty takes Simon home to a house he shares with three roommates, Courtney, Everett, and Jeff, and gives him boarding in an old van parked in the yard. At first, Simon becomes an inconvenience in the house and causes friction between the housemates, but later on they warm up to him. As Monty and Simon spend each day together, they forge a friendship. One time, Monty and Simon have a disagreement and Simon leaves the house. When Monty tries to find him, he sees him very sick and in an alley. He brings him home and this time, rooms him upstairs. Simon is sick from asbestos exposure from working on ships before, very ill, he asks Monty to take him to see his estranged grownup son. Monty misses his thesis submittal, and the roommates travel to see the son. When the two come face to face, the son rejects Simon. Heartbroken, Simon is ready to die. But the housemates take him back to Cambridge to care for him until his last days. All this time, Monty has been working on a new thesis. Monty turns in the paper but because it is late, he cannot graduate with honors. The lessons he and his friends learned from Simon on the other hand, prove more honorable and valuable.
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Best part of story, including ending:
I like how life lessons can be found in the most unusual of places.
Best scene in story:
Simon collects a rock for every memorable experience that happens to him. When his son clearly doesn't forgive him and closes the door on him, Simon picks up a rock, and walks away.
Opinion about the main character:
I like Monty's ambition, but I like that he knows that change is in order to correct what's wrong.