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The Tic Code

The Tic Code
Directed by Gary Winick
Produced by Polly Draper
Sarah Pillsbury
Karen Tangorra
Written by Polly Draper
Starring Polly Draper
Christopher George Marquette
Gregory Hines
Music by Michael Wolff
Alex Foster
Cinematography Wolfgang Held
Editing by Bill Pankow
Kate Sanford
Henk Van Eeghen
Distributed by Avalanche Releasing
Release date(s) February 1999 (1999-02)
Running time 91 min
Country USA
Language English
All Movie Guide profile
IMDb profile

The Tic Code is a 1999 drama film starring Christopher George Marquette, Gregory Hines and Polly Draper. The Tic Code won awards at the Berlin International Film Festival, the Giffoni Film Festival and the Hamptons International Film Festival.[1]

The Tic Code was released direct to video.



The film tells the story of a young boy,[2] Miles Caraday (Marquette), a jazz piano prodigy who has Tourette syndrome; and his divorced mother Laura Caraday (Draper). Miles has a school friend, Todd (Desmond Robertson) who seems not to bothered by Miles' condition. Miles wants to become a jazz pianist against the wishes of his classical-oriented instructor Miss Gimpole (Carol Kane). To make matters worse, he gets bullied by a kid in his class, Denny Harley (Robert Iler).

Miles makes friends with a jazz saxophonist, Tyrone Pike (Hines) at a local nightspot, who also has Tourette's, but who has learned to cover it up.

Tyrone tells Denny (the bully) that the reason why he and Miles tic is:

Tyrone: Because we both know the code.
Denny: Code, what code?
Tyrone: The tic code.
Denny: So you and Miles made this whole thing up?
Tyrone: No, the C.I.A. did, a lot of people know about it now.

Tyrone doesn't like to talk about Tourette's which becomes a problem when Laura and Tyrone start dating.

An argument between Laura and Tyrone:

Laura: It's not odd that I want to talk to you about it every once in a while, my god I watched my son be humiliated by it for years and tomorrow is a very big day for him, father to son half the humiliating, so yes it's on my mind.
Tyrone: What are you going to do Laura, just find more people with tics then me, I heard there was a baseball player who's got them, why don't you take him to some ball game!
Laura: Cut it out.
Tyrone: Jazz clubs, baseball games, you'll sit through anything won't you, until you're going to eventually discuss your favorite topic!
Laura: My favorite topic!
Tyrone: If it wasn't for Miles and his tics, you would never leave this fucking apartment!
Laura: Stop yelling at me, stop insulting me, I'm sorry I brought it up, I'm sorry you don't like to talk about it, but I have a little boy coming home from school everyday calling himself a weirdo and I can't help it, but be sorriest about that!
Tyrone: Well let me pull your coat to something Laura, he is right people like me and Miles are weirdoes and the sooner he realizes it the better!
Laura: You know what Tyrone, you can call your self anything you like, but while you're in my house don't you ever talk that way about my son again.
Tyrone: Fine!


The film's screenplay was written by Polly Draper, and her husband—jazz musician Michael Wolff—contibuted the score; Wolff has Tourette's and the script was loosely based on his life.[3][4]


  • Christopher George Marquette as Miles Caraday
  • Polly Draper as Laura Caraday
  • Gregory Hines as Tyrone Pike
  • Desmond Robertson as Todd
  • Carol Kane as Miss Gimpole
  • Robert Iler as Denny Harley
  • Bill Nunn as Kingston
  • Tony Shalhoub as Phil
  • Camryn Manheim as Mrs. Lily Swensrut
  • Michael Wolff as Sound Engineer #2
  • James McCaffrey as Michael Caraday


  1. ^ Awards for The Tic Code (1999). Retrieved on 2006-06-10.
  2. ^ The age of the character Miles Caraday, played by Christopher Marquette is unclear. Variety, the New York Times and IMDb report the character age as 10, while the San Francisco Chronicle, Village Voice, Chicago Sun-Times and Rotten Tomatoes report it as 12. The confusion may be because Marquette was 12 at the time he played the role, according to the Associated Press and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
    Miles Caraday is a 10-year-old:
    • The Tic Code (1999). IMDb. Retrieved on 2007-11-17.
    • Eisner, Ken. "The Tic Code", Variety, March 22, 1999. Retrieved on 2007-11-11. 
    • Holden, Stephen. "Even Afflicted Children Have Tantrums", New York Times, August 4, 2000. Retrieved on 2007-11-11. 
    Miles Caraday is a 12-year-old:
    • The Tic Code. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on 2007-11-17.
    • Graham, Bob. "'The Tic Code' Is Full of Surprises: Jazz offers outlet for Tourette's", San Francisco Chronicle, September 1, 2000. Retrieved on 2007-11-11. 
    • Taubin, Amy. "Primal Screen. Raging Bull; The Tic Code", The Village Voice, August 2–8, 2000. Retrieved on 2007-11-11. 
    • Williams, Kevin M. "'Tic Code' gets all jazzed up with nowhere to go", Chicago Sun-Times,, September 1, 2000. Retrieved on 2007-11-11. 
    Marquette was 12 when he played the role of Miles Caraday:
    • Grygiel, Chris. "'Tic Code' plods like a metronome", Associated Press, Daily News, September 15, 2000. Retrieved on 2007-11-11. 
    • Nechak, Paula. "Acting and good intentions fail to crack uneven 'Tic Code'", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 4, 2000. Retrieved on 2007-11-11. 
  3. ^ Anderson, Brett. "Playing It Backward: Musician's Medical Disorder May Be a Grace Note", The Washington Post, June 8, 2001, p. C01. "Wolff's diagnosis might have remained a family secret had Draper not decided to write a screenplay loosely based on his life. [...] Bruce Lundvall, the president of Blue Note Records, has called "The Tic Code" the best jazz movie since "Round Midnight." The film even succeeds in linking its two subjects by exploring the idea that Tourette's isn't an entirely bad thing, particularly if you happen to be a jazz musician." 
  4. ^ TSA Family Portrait: Jazz Musician Michael Wolff (PDF). Tourette Syndrome Association (Fall 1998). Retrieved on 2007-11-11.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "The_Tic_Code". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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