Little Miss Sunshine


Michael Arndt


ECU - VIDEO PIXELS Five young women stand side by side, waiting to be judged -breathless, hopeful. A name is announced. Four hearts break.



The camera ZOOMS across the smiles of the losers to find a winner.* She bursts into tears, hugs the nearest runner up. * Begin CREDITS. MUSIC -- quiet and melancholy -- plays over all the opening scenes, leading to the Title card. The Contest Winner cries and hugs the Runners-up as she has the tiara pinned on her head. Then _- carrying her bouquet -- she strolls down the runway, waving and blowing kisses. INT. BASEMENT REC ROOM - DAY A six-year-old girl sits watching the show intently. This is OLIVE. She is big for her age and slightly plump. She

She has frizzy hair and wears black-rimmed glasses. studies the show very earnestly. Then, using a remote, she FREEZES the image.

Absently, she holds up one hand and mimics the waving style of Miss America. She REWINDS the tape and starts allover . . Again, Miss America hears her name announced, and once again breaks down in tears -- overwhelmed and triumphant. RICHARD (V.O.) There's two kinds of people in this world -- Winners ...and Losers. INT. CLASSROOM - DAY RICHARD (45) stands at the front of a generic community college classroom -- cinderblock walls, industrial carpeting. He wears pleated khaki shorts, a golf shirt, sneakers. He moves with the stocky, stiff-legged gait of a former athlete. His peppy, upbeat demeanor just barely masks a seething sense of insecurity and frustration. MUSIC continues underneath. RICHARD If there'S one thing you take away from the nine weeks we've spent, it should be this: Winners and Losers. What's the difference? Richard turns with a remote and clicks through a Power Point presentation, projected on the wall behind him.




The slides ffilm1.C Darwin's "Evolution of Man" chart, except that they show a lumpy, hunched-over, sad-sack "Loser" evolve into a smiling, triumphant, arms-over-his-head "Winner", RICHARD (cont'd) Winners see their dreams come true. Winners see what they want, they go out and they get it. They don't hesitate. They don't make eXCuseS. And they don't give up. Losers don't get what they want. They hesitate. They make excuses. And they give up. On themselves and their dreams. Richard puts down his remote for the big finale. half-light, it's a hushed, dramatic moment. RICHARD (cont' d) Inside each of you -- at the very core of your being -- is a Winner waiting to be awakened ...and unleashed upon the world. With my nine step "Unleash the Winner Inside" program, you now have the tools, the know-how, the insights you need to put your losing habits behind you and mgke your dreams come true. No hesitating! No excuses! I want you to go out into the world ...and be Winners! Big smile. REVERSE ANGLE -- There are twenty STUDENTS in a classroom that could seat two hundred. They CLAP half-heartedly. Then there's an awkward moment when everyone gathers their stuff. No one says anything. Chairs SCRAPE the floor. SHERYL (V.O.) ...Yeah, 11m on my way now.

In the dim


A woman, SHERYL, 40s, is smoking and talking on a cell phone as she weaves through a strip-mall landscape. She wears office attire and a name tag that reads, \\Shery1
11 •



... r don't know how long, .. I don't know ... ! Richard, he doesn't
have anywhere else to go! She takes a drag, listens with increasing exhales. A beat. irritation, then



SHERYL (cont;d) I'm not smoking... I'm not! Look, I'm at the hospital ...


Yeah, I'll pick up a bucket of chicken. Okay, bye. She beeps off her phone. EXT. HOSPITAL CORRIDOR - DAY

Sheryl strides anxiously down a hospital corridor, fingering a~small cross on her necklace, going from one room to another, checking room numbers. She finds the room she's looking for.

As she tries to enter, a DOCTOR emerges.
DOCTOR Ms. Harvey? (Sheryl nods) Your brother's fine ... Sheryl exhales, hugely relieved. INT. HOSPITAL ROOM DAY

They nearly collide.

In a wheelchair, parked against a wall, is Sheryl's brother, FRANK, also middle-aged. His wrists are wrapped in bandages. With empty eyes, he listens to the muted VOICE of the Doctor corning from the hallway. DOCTOR (O.S.) ...Keep him away from sharp objects: knives, scissors ... If you have medications -- depressants -- in your house keep them secured .. '.



Sheryl listens to the Doctor.
lId prefer

DOCTOR to keep him, but ...

SHERYL know, the insurance ...

She shakes her head and sighs. DOCTOR You want to see him ...?


INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY Sheryl and the Doctor enter. SHERYL Hey, Frank ...

Frank barely reacts.

Sheryl. Fighting tears, she goes and hugs him. SHERYL 11m so glad you're still here.


That's one of us.

* * *

INT. BATHROOM - DAY Two hands spill a brown powder onto a small mirror.
A razor blade cuts the powder

into lines. The lines are snorted.

A rolled-up dollar bill lowers.

The snorter lifts his head up. He is a short, chunky, balding old man -- a Roz Chast kind of grandfather. This is G~~PA, 80 years old.

He sits down on the toilet seat, rubs his nose, takes a breath and relaxes as the drugs flood his system. INT. DWAYNE/S BEDROOM - DAY


DWAYNE is a handsome, skinny fifteen year old with a mohawk. He lies on his back in his bedroom, bench-pressing a barbell. The bedroom is dominated by a huge portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche, painted on a bed sheet, hanging on one wall. JUMP CUTS: Dwayne does vertical sit--ups on a wall-mounted brace.

Dwayne does vertical push-ups Dwayne breathes heavily, He walks to a home-made roll of computer paper.

leaning against the wall.

having finished his work-out. calender on the wall made from a long It is marked, "Enlistment."

On the roll is a long grid of maybe a thousand squares. About half the squares have been filled in with magic marker.


Dwayne uncaps a magic marker and fills in one more square.

* *

Sheryl drives Frank home from the hospital. They say nothing. Sheryl sneaks glances at Frank. Hesitantly: SHERYL You want to talk? Or no? Frank stares at the road in front of them. No. Okay. She nods.



They keep driving. FADE TO BLACK



An empty kitchen. A phone and answering machine FOREGROUND. The message light is BLINKING.

sit in the

In the background, through a doorway, the front door opens. Sheryl and Frank enter carrying several bags and suitcases. SHERYL (calling out) Anyone ...?!


She leads Frank down a hallway.

He follows passively.

SHERYL Down here. We have you with Dwayne. She knocks and pushes open the door to Dwayne's is on the bed, reading THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA. Dwayne? Frank hesitates. SHERYL Hi, Uncle Frank's here. He gives Sheryl a look: "You're kidding." room. Dwayne He sits up.

SHERYL (cont.r d) He doesn't mind, Frank. We talked.

She gives him a kiss on the cheek. INT. I set up a cot. SHERYL (cont'd) We can't have you sleeping alone. I gotta start dinner. Come out when you/re settled? And leave the door open. Sheryl enters the bedroom. Sheryl walks by. SHERYL You'll get along fine. The doctors said . (beat) I'm glad you're here. Look. Can you get it and I'll make a salad? Dwayne silently gets up and departs. then averts his eyes. there's a bucket of chicken in the car. Frank glances at the sleeping bag. SHERYL Dwayne. and the chaotic ballet of dinner preparations in the Harvey household begins.DAY Sheryl goes and brushes off a cot. reading. Frank sits on the cot in his nephew's bedroom. This is pretty much the worst moment of his life..DAY Dwayne is at the dinner table.. (he hesitates) Please. pushing past them and avoiding eye contact. then departs. Sheryl opens the door to the downstairs rec room and shouts. Olive?! SHERYL (cont'd) . Frank? Please? Very unhappily. Frank remains outside. honey. DINING ROOM . He's really quiet. DWAYNE'S BEDROOM .Frank makes a half-gesture towards the rest of the house. Frank enters the room and just stands there. Dwayne gets up and exits the room. I have to insist. That's important. On it is a Muppet sleeping bag with the Cookie Monster eating a cookie. INT. (he looks at her) I'm sorry. Thank you. SHERYL (cont'd) .

He walks over and hits the answering machine. out stuff to make a salad. I'll get cups and napkins. hon.S. Hello. RICHARD Did Stan Grossman call? SHERYL Check the machine. . It rewinds. Hi.) KITCHEN . Dwayne nods and departs. opens the refridgerator. MACHINE You have one message. OLIVE (0. Hi. from the kitchen side door.7. And can you set the table? Weill do paper plates tonight.S. Sheryl exits in the other direction. Oh. Abruptly.) SHERYL Dinner in ten minutes! OLIVE (O. Dwayne enters holding a bucket of KFC.DAY and begins pulling Sheryl enters. OLIVE (O. SHERYL Just put it on the table. The phone message begins. ) SHERYL Yeah? ! Is Grandpa with you?! Yeah! What are you Rehearsing! Okay! Okay! INT.S. RICHARD SHERYL Frank's here.) SHERYL doing? guys OLIVE (O. Richard enters.S.

she was runner up in the regional Little Miss Sunshine. Can you reach him . I'd be very. Listen. She tries to listen to Jeffls message. so I said you'd call them . great news.) (filtered) . .? RICHARD (calling to Sheryl) It's from Jeff. (to himself) Fuck! He stalks off..C.C..?! Yeah.something about diet pills but anyway. he has my cellI if he could just call me anytime over the weekend and let me know we're on.. Okay. No. Richard reenters. I understand. Dwayne comes in and out. picks up the phone and dials. when Olive was down here last month. it's Jeff.. JEFF (O. Over the following. I don't know why -.11m waiting for the numbers.) (filtered) Sheryl..Well. Look. Sheryl re-enters. picking up stuff to set the table.. tell him I want to know this thing is done -.) (filtered) . sheryl. that means Olive won the regionals. hey. o. very grateful... RICHARD (into phone) Richard Harvey for Stan Grossman.JEFF (~. They want to make sure she can make it.. so now she has a place in the State contest in Boca. they just called me and said that the girl who won had to forfeit her crown. I understand that. not understanding. Thank you.. The machine cuts him off. BEEEEP. JEFF (cont'd) (O.The woman's name is Lauren Henderson and her nwnber .C. shakes her head and returns to making her salad. Bye. He hangs up. The MESSAGE plays to the empty kitchen. You know.

knocks. Olive?! Okay! SHERYL (cont'd) Dinner time! OLIVE (O. SHERYL So why hasn/t he called you? RICHARD Will you let me worry about this?! Sheryl exhales. FRANK (cont d) You just choose not to? I Dwayne nods. DWAYNE'S BEDROOM . FOOTSTEPS approach. Then he points to the bed-sheet painting of Nietzsche hanging on his wall.. SHERYL INT. (cont d) 1 SHERYL Richard . Dwayne. FRANK Dinner? (Dwayne nods) What? You don't talk anymore? (Dwayne shakes his head) Why not? Dwayne rolls his eyes and half-shrugs. and mimes eating. goes back to her salad.S. Dwayne nods and heads off. ! So what happened with Stan Grossman? RICHARD He's still in Atlanta.RICHARD Bitch. staring at a photo in his wallet (we can't see it). can you check on Frank? Tell him it's dinner time. Dwayne appears in the door. .. Frank puts the photo away.DAY Frank sits on the cot. Sheryl walks back to the door to the downstairs rec room and opens it again.) Dwayne comes in. Frank turns and looks. You can talk.

I know. FRANK (cant/d) Is that Nietzsche? You don't speak because of Friedrich Nietzsche? Dwayne nods. He puts it down. ) 0 Frank Coming!! ! OLIVE Sheryl disappears.scowling --waits for everyone else to arrive. Sheryl comes out and puts her salad on the table. Dwayne doesn't move. next to Dwayne. FRANK (cant/d) Kidding. (beat) So who do you hang out with? Kidding. Here's the salad.S.r d) INT. DINING ROOM . He seems to have met someone who is at least as unhappy as he is. She walks off.LV. Olive! SHERYL Come on! (cant'd) Dinner time! ( . then shakes his head. Dwayne scowls at the table in front of him. This intrigues him.DAY Dwayne sits in his chair. not knowing what to do. and -. turns and leaves. pausing to open the rec room door again. Frank looks at his place setting -. lIepicks up the cup and examines it dispassionately. Frank tentatively follows.. SHERYL Frank. FRANK (cont'd) . Boyfriend? Dwayne gives Frank a look.a paper plate and a Big Gulp cup with the Incredible Hulk on it. Frank glances at Dwayne. Frank considers this. leaving Dwayne and Frank alone. FRANK Far out. (cont. He ventures: FRANK Got a girlfriend? Dwayne looks at Frank. sits. you can sit here. folds his arms. I'm gonna run get Sprite for everyone.

S.) (shrieking) We're coming!! ! .. FRANK Richard . You must have one friend! I Dwayne reaches in his back pocket and pulls out a palm-sized pad of paper.r d) FRANK Everyone? What about your family? He shows it to Frank. ! (Dwayne shakes his head) You don't hang out with anyone? Oh come on. He shows it to Frank. I'm gonna get Olive. everyOI). I Dad! Olive! RICHARD (cont d) Come on! OLIVE (O. They go back to sitting in silence. It reads: "I hate everyone." (cont. Richard stands up. He scribbles a new note. Richard sits down. It now reads: "I hate He's underlined "everyone" three times.. (cant/d) Richard comes out. He flips it open and scribbles a note. Frank.. FRANK (cont'd) Frank looks at him. RICHARD Silence. They shake.e!!!" Dwayne scribbles again. No one? FRANK (cont d) There must be someone .11. Dwayne shakes his head.. He walks to the downstairs doorway and shouts. It reads: "Not yet." FRANK Fair enough. You hate me? Dwayne considers this. RICHARD Good to see you.

I FRANK (cont d) So.. vow of silence.12. Boy. He's not kidding. Richard returns to the table. He's taken a vow of silence until he reaches that goal.. The meal begins. (to Dwayne) You're kidding . . Olive. room. Sheryl . and starts opening containers of cole slaw and mashed potatoes. Sheryl enters with a big bottle of Diet Sprite.. SHERYL He's gonna join the Naval Academy and become a fighter pilot . and grabs a piece of chicken from the bucket. with Grandpa following. Sheryl. unprorr~tedf walks over and gives him a kiss on the cheek. OLIVE Hi.. as does Frank.. sits. go on and start. you're gettin' big! (to Sheryl) Is she big for her age? FRANK Olive enters the dining She~Jl nods. ! FRANK Dwayne stares at Frank. Frank. Dwayne follows suit. some Sprite? r want everyone to have at least a little salad. Uncle Frank! Olive. Three seconds of silence. SHERYL You guys. SHERYL Dwayne's taken a FRANK You've taken a vow of silence?! Dwayne nods. Oh! I'm sorry. Thanks. She sees the bandages on Frank's wrists. sits down. I couldn't help notice Dwayne has stopped speaking. FRANK She pours him a cup.

A couple of days. RICHARD How's the new routine coming? It/s good. " Richard tries to cut him off.... I had a little accident. ! . we could have something for dinner except the goddamn fucking chicken? ! Sheryl ignores him. at Sunset Village . OLIVE RICHARD When're you gonna let us see it? I dunno. RICHARD Dad. OLIVE It's up to Grandpa.. GRANDPA Y'know.. just one time. GRANDPA I'm just saying . ! RICHARD If you want to cook or buy your own food... RICHARD If you liked Sunset Village so much maybe you shouldn't have gotten yourself kicked out of there .OLIVE What happened to your arms? Olive . Christ.... I'm okay now. it's okay... you're more than welcome . Grandpa walks to the table. Dad!!! Dad. Dad.. Olive sits. SHERYL FRANK No. GRANDPA (cont'd) What is this?! Chicken?! Every day it's the chicken! Holy God almighty! Is it possible. GRANDPA It needs a polish..

for crying out loud . silence. He has a dream. Ahhhh .... Richard. SHERYL RICHARD I'm serious! I think we could all learn something from what Dwayne's doing! Dwayne has a goal.. and how Dwayne's utilizing at least seven of them in his journey to personal fulfillment.. It may not be my dream. RICHARD I'm just saying! I've come around! think Dwayne deserves our support.About the Nine Steps.I. Richard . Frank looks at Dwayne.. I was thinking about the Nine Steps . In fact. I Olive GRANDPA. FRANK A tense When did you start? Dwayne shrugs. RICHARD It's been nine months.. I think it shows tremendous discipline. with the vow? He doesn't care to comment.t. He r s pur suing that dream wi th focus and discipline. . or your dream. ! RICHARD (evenly) . Frank tries to get things going again. OLIVE How did it happen? How did what happen? FRANK . Dwayne rolls his eyes. addresses Frank.. (waves dismissively) ! GRANDPA He takes out a piece of chicken and starts eating.. Oh. He hasn't said a word. but sti 11...'7. SHERYL Please...

. I'm pro-honesty here. Be my SHERYL guest .. (to Olive) Let's leave Uncle Frank alone. Richard . It's up to you.. No.. honey. it's okay. .. you know .. I tried to kill myself because I was very unhappy... OLIVE Why did you want to kill yourself? Frank.. You did? I Why? OLIVE RICHARD don't think this is an appropriate conversation. OLIVE Your accident .. RICHARD Don't answer that question.. She shakes her head: SHERYL '\Don t go there. FRANK Frank stares at Richard. Richard. (overlapping) Don't listen. Olive has stopped eating. FRANK SHERYL Olive.." I No.15. He turns back to Olive. I just think..... Honey .. FRANK Unless you object . What happened was: he tried to kill himself. SHERYL Richard. RICHARD . Uncle Frank didn't really have an accident. A beat. he'S sick and he doesn't know what he's .

That's silly.and continues. silly. Who? OLIVE FRANK FRANK Go One of my grad students.. Mainly. FRANK Yes...... It was very.. OLIVE FRANK This is new to Olive. Dad . Well. OLIVE Him? It was a boy? You fell in love with a boy? . RICHARD OLIVE So . on.? . I was very much in love with him. though. That's when you tried to kill yourself . Frank.... very GRANDPA There's another word for it . Very much so. I did. I fell in love with someone who didn't love me back . there were a lot of reasons.RICHARD What?! I don't think it's appropriate for a six year old! SHERYL She's gonna find out anyway. OLIVE Why were you unhappy? Frank glances at Richard _. She thinks it over. You're right.deadpan victorious -.

no. GRANDPA ..? FRANK Well.. OLIVE So that's when . FRANK FRANK OLIVE That's when you tried . What happened was: two days ago the MacArthur Foundation decided to award a "genius" grant to Larry Sugarman. which is something that winners never do.. He made a series of foolish choices. . And I failed at that as well.S. What happened was: I was a bit upset. I did some things I shouldn't have done. no.You tried to check out early. SHERYL Who's Larry Sugarman? Larry Sugarman is perhaps the second most highly regarded Proust scholar in the U. I was fired... Yes. Oh. Actually. no. FRANK mel Rich. and then he gave up on himself.. ? FRANK (hesitates) Well. FRANK RICHARD Olive.Well. Larry Sugarman. What happened was: the boy I was in love with fell in love with another man... (deep breath) And that's when . all that was okay.. RICHARD Who's number one? That would be So . Subsequently. what's important to understand is that Uncle Frank gave up on himself.. forced to leave my apartment and move into a motel.

FRANK Olive. SHERYL Don't look at me! This is Jeff and the new step-Mom.. FRANK A-ha! (arch) Just as I sus~ected . It's big down in Florida. Richard addresses Olive. SHERYL So that's the story. tell Frank why you're doing your dance routine..ttL A beat. tell him what Little Miss Crab-Cakes is. Little Miss contest for you have to you have to OLIVE Crab-Cakes is a beauty everyone in Maryland. okay? Let's move on. vfuy are you doing a dance routine? OLIVE For Little Miss Crab-Cakes. RICHARD Honey. how's your new routine coming? Fine. Frank looks like he could leap across the table and strangle Richard. ! SHERYL Honey. OLIVE I told you. "I It reads: can't. Over the above.. Olive. regarding Richard: FRANK Is he always like this? (Dwayne nods) How can you stand it? Dwayne writes a note. But be six or seven years old and be a girl. Frank turns and asks. Sheryl intervenes. Frank looks skeptically at Sheryl." Frank nods. * * * * . shows it to Frank.

Luck is the name that losers give to their own failings. RICHARD Sher. Willing yourself to win. Dwayne shakes his head and keeps eating.l~. I do! OLIVE RICHARD Really? (a beat. Jeff had custody for two weeks. there's a message from Jeff on the machine. * OLIVE I think I can win.. SHERYL Richard . good luck. RICHARD Itts not about luck. You got to want it badder than anyone. FRANK (to Olive) So what do you think your chances are? Olive takes the question like a pro. It's about wanting to win. What?! RICHARD It's true! OLIVE I was runner up in Florida! FRANK When were you in Florida? SHERYL Spring break. y'know.. 'Cause a lot of the new girls -. OLIVE I was second place.they don't have the experience. FRANK Well. she nods) Then youtre gonna be a winner! Do you? She smiles. . Olive made it to the top of the Regionals down there.

hey. Olive reacts with involuntary spasms of shock.C. KITCHEN .::. JEFF (O.DAY Richard.) (filtered) . BEEEP. it's Jeff ... The INT. Over the above..Something about diet pills. OLIVE (O. disbelief. She waits -. DINING ROOM .to hear the whole message. JEFF (O. When it . it was something about Little Miss Sunshine. unadulterated euphoria.trembling -. so now she has a place in the State contest in Boca .v.. Sheryl hits it. but anyway that means that Olive won the regionals. Frank.DAY Olive and Sheryl listen. OLIVE Little Miss Sunshine? What?! Sheryl follows Olive into the kitchen...) (filtered) Sheryl. Yeah.) (cont'd) Little Miss Sunshine! Little Miss Sunshine! Little Miss Sunshine!!! Sheryl closes her eyes.C. and then pure. ! INT..DAY Sheryl and Olive approach the answering machine. eating silently. KITCHEN . What? She runs off. she puts her hands to her temples: OLIVE Aaahhhhhhh! !! Aaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! Little Miss Sunshine! Little Miss Sunshine! Little Miss Sunshine!!! She goes running out into the dining room. ends.S. INT. and Dwayne try to listen. "message" light is blinking. SHERYL Did you hear what it was? RICHARD Actually.

It's Sunday? take her? RICHARD Can Jeff and Cindy . I'll give this lady a call and weill figure it out. INT. the girl who won Regionals was disgualified.. ! Sheryl picks up the cordless phone. RICHARD Wait... the machine cut you off. she basically went crazy. OLIVE I won! I won! I get to go to the Championship! Oh. She grabs Dwayne's pen and pad. She hangs up. Yeah. This Sunday?! Can you take her? You canlt put it off? No. Jeff! Yeah.. In Boca Raton.) * * * What happened? SHERYL Apparently..21. God! Oh. We have to figure this out. it's just . No.S.. Right. She scribbles. No. "When are they? I'm * * * * * * * RICHARD * SHERYL calling Jeff right. I didn't get that.DAY Sheryl re-enters with the phone.. we just got it . So Olive has her place in the Finals. Olive. my God! (beat) I gotta pack! I gotta go pack! She rushes off to the downstairs doorway and disappears. finish your dinner! I'm finished! * OLIVE GRANDPA (O. Bye. SHERYL Fuck . Olive is rejoicing. DINING ROOM .. dials. I SHERYL (cont d) Vb-huh.

Sheryl throws the plates in the garbage. come back Monday. RICHARD GRANDPA Wait a minute. and used paper plates. ! RICHARD This is seed money! * .. Richard follows Sheryl. REC ROOM . SHERYL (shakes her head) They're going to Maui. the half-filled containers of potato salad and slaw.DAY We TRACK with Olive as she runs down a half-flight of stairs and races around.MOMENTS LATER Sheryl enters carrying the bucket of chicken.. I promised Olive I'd take her if she made the finals. KITCHEN . l RICHARD How're you gonna get around down there? SHERYL We'll rent a car. Dad . ! Sheryl. RICHARD And stay in a hotel? SHERYL We can afford it . You promised? I'm going. INT.. RICHARD SHERYL We'll fly down. Throughout the following she wraps the leftover chicken in Saran Wrap and puts the chicken and other leftovers in the fridge. They all look at each other. INT. * SHERYL I have to go.22. Grandpa follows Richard. picking up clothes and shoes that are scattered about. ...

. Frank and Dwayne are finishing up.. GRANDPA What . which is not . SHERYL Well. we'll start generating revenue. grits her teeth. Richard and Grandpa follow.. Sheryl tosses the popsicles on the table. Richard! I've tried. Sheryl enters. we'll get the advance. we'll drive down. Sheryl exhales. DINING ROOM . I will pay you back.. SHERYL Well. But in the meantime .. She slams the freezer door and heads for the dining INT.. In the Miata? Grandpa? RICHARD How're you gonna fit SHERYL Grandpa doesn't have to come. SHERYL (cont d) I RICHARD We can't afford it. Honey.CONTINUOUS room. and I can't do it! Having put away the leftovers.. maybe if I had help bringing it in. RICHARD Honey. SHERYL Okay. (patient) As soon as I hear from Stan.?! I coached her! I gave her the steps! I have to be there! RICHARD Why don't you take the VW? SHERYL I can't drive a shift. shakes her head.. we'll fly down. . Honey. that's what we're gonna do! Unless you have a better idea. y'knoW?! It all goes to your Nine Steps.. Sheryl opens the freezer and pulls out a Jumbo Pak of popsicles.23. . ..

Okay. Dwayne. She sits. All eyes turn to Frank and Dwayne. vigorously shaking his head "No". INT. SHERYL Richard. I guess we can't go then! I mean. Richard takes a deep breath.Here. DINING ROOM . FRANK RICHARD Well. Dwayne and Frank glance at each other. INT. Frank. then tentatively take popsicles for themselves. shoes. SHERYL What about Dwayne and Frank? RICHARD They can stay here. None taken.DAY Olive re-enters with dresses. rips open a popsicle and takes a bite. No! RICHARD I'll drive the bus. Silence. No offense. please. Everyone ignores Grandpa. SHERYL This is dessert. unless we take Frank and Dwayne with us! A pause. SHERYL For your sister? Dwayne begins * RICHARD Come on. She pulls a suitcase from under her bed. and her swimsuit. Dwayne and Frank look at each other. opens it.DAY Sheryl pleads with Dwayne. OLIVE'S BEDROOM . and begins stuffing her things in. GRANDPA 1/11 take her on a plane! Sheryl considers Richard's idea. I was told explicitly I could not leave Frank by himself. Dwayne! It'll be fun! .

going . but Richard raises his hand [ cutting her off. Olive re-enters. Frank reads it. Dwayne scribbles another note. do you think you can win Little Miss Sunshine? Sheryl starts to object. Sheryl turns to Dwayne.Everyone stares at him.. flushed with excitement.. fI Dwayne stops writing. Dwayne takes his pad out and writes.. Come on. me alone. folds his . . he offers his hand. Grandpa? Florida? OLIVE Is Grandpa coming to SHERYL We'. HEAR Olive packing. Frank reads over his shoulder as it comes out. come here.she is breathless. fun! ! ! II He puts his hand on Dwayne's shoulder.AIL .. Olive walks over and sits next to Richard. ask is that .. . RICHARD (cont'd) NOw there's no sense in entering a contest if you don't think you're gonna win. Have a seat. Sheryl. I'll give permission. Dwayne. You can go to the beach... Everyone is relieved. Sheryl shakes. .. I. lugging her suitcase ~. FRANK "This is unfair.. Now.. Olive doesn't seem so sure. we Dwayne looks at her. FOOTSTEPS start coming up the stairs... SHERYL Dwayne: Flight school. wait... In the background. Finally. "But have I'm any FRANK not . It'll be all coming. FRANK (cont'd) We're all with you on that one. RICHARD Olive.leave .

I couldn't do it. the rest of you .. Olive.. No one says anything. Yes! Then. Olive! I'll give you a million dollars if you turn around! Olive is oblivious. She does little half-dancing moves to the music. Grandpa's arms hang limply by his side. Okay. (to Dwayne) Can I give you some advice? (Dwayne shakes his head) (MORE) RICHARD She's listening to the music~~. but still. I'm tired~ I am so fucking tired. Olive wears a large set of headphones that completely cover her ears.. RICHARD We're goin' to Florida! INT.26. VW BUS .DAY Richard is driving.. Are you gonna win? Olive thinks it over. Sheryl rides shotgun.. the rest of us . (to Dwayne) You know how tired I am? If some girl came up to me. Dad! Your language. .! .. They've been driving a while.! GRANDPA RICHARD Please! (loud) Hey. uJesus Was Wrong". Frank and Olive sit in the second row. Dwayne is wearing a T-shirt that says.. with white-hot determination: OLIVE Richard smiles and slaps the table. GRANDPA Ahhh. That's how tired I am.begged me to fuck her .ON THE ROAD .. Dwayne and Grandpa sit in back. RICHARD (cont'd) Yes or no. . GRANDPA Jesus.

Not just one woman. Dad. You 're young .. Richard? (to Dwayne) Look: right now. Great. enough. you're jailbait. So pullover! You're not gonna shut me up! Fuck you! I lived 80 years! You're like those fuckers at Sunset Village . Okay. they're jailbait. RICHARD Dad.. A lot of women. Are you listening? (Dwayne nods) Kid: Fuck a lot of women. can't help but turn around to watch this conversation take place. There's nothing in the world better than the young stuff! RICHARD Okay..4 f • GRANDPA (cant'd) I'll do it anyway.Bam! You're lookin' at three to five. Stop it! GRANDPA Would you kindly not interrupt me. GRANDPA * (ignores him) You gettin' any right now? me.. ! FRANK What happened at Sunset Village? . I'm gonna pullover GRANDPA . The minute you turn eighteen -. RICHARD I can't wait to hear this.. I don't want you making the same mistakes I did when I was young. Dad? RICHARD I think that's enough... really. GRANDPA (cont'd) Jesus! You're. Tell Dwayne shakes his head. So it's fine. Frank. GRANDPA Dwayne? This is the voice of experience talking. amused. what? Fifteen? You should be gettin' that young stuff.

SHERYL We've tried believe me! He's worse than a two year old. I should be able to do what the fuck I want! SHERYL He started snorting heroin. you're crazy to do that shit. don't encourage him. that stuff'll kill you. they let me in.SHERYL Frank. Happy here.You're letting this happen? waves her hands. The intervention was a fiasco. Clean for you. t Sheryl * * * * Can we please else now? RICHARD talk about something FRANK So I take it you didn't like it at Sunset Village? GRANDPA Are you kidding? Fucking paradise there! They cook for you. Frank looks at Sheryl -. You got golf. Now I'm stuck with Mr. GRANDPA I'll tell you what happened! I pay my're crazy not to do it. an idiot? (to Dwayne) And don't you get ideas. GRANDPA What am I. A pool. FRANK You started snorting heroin?! I'm eighty! GRANDPA FRANK You know. FRANK What about you? GRANDPA Me?! I'm old! You get to be my age -. sleeping on a sofa! . When you're young. exasperated.

You go to one of these places? There's four women for every guy. A beat. but . DINER . What does that say to you? You must've been pretty busy. They were knockin' on my door day and night! It was almost too much! If I didn't have those little fuckin' blue pills . listen: I know you're a homo. Anything . Forget about it! Olive sees Frank grinning at Grandpa. INT.DAY Everyone sits in a round bootht looking at menus. OLIVE Mom. She takes off her OLIVE What are you guys talking about? Politics. GRANDPA OLIVE back on. man. Not just one woman. She puts her headphones GRANDPA (to Dwayne) Fuck a lot of women. under four. A lot of women.. Dh. I got no reason to lie to you. kid. (to Frank) Hey. how much can we spend? SHERYL I'd say four dollars. nwnber four. FRANK GRANDPA Oh..29.. FRANK Aren't there other places? SHERYL He keeps getting kicked out. Sunset was GRANDPA Motherfuckers. headphones and turns around..

. OLIVE Oh. Hi f A WAITRESS arrives.. RICHARD Extra SHERYL Richard.Olive nods. The Lumberjack. RICHARD Number five. oh! I want waffles.. And you have chamomile? With honey.. ! It's his life. WAITRESS And you? Garden salad? Um . grapefruit juice. FRANK Fruit plate. And . She shrugs. And SHERYL Number seven. Thanks.. don't start .. Dad . Frank rolls his eyes.. bacon. Olive.. Dwayne holds up his note pad. And coffee. Sorry! I'm sorry! OLIVE WAITRESS Take your time . over easy. RICHARD He's gonna kill himself . It's a Olive sees something... ! RICHARD Don't apologize. SHERYL GRANDPA Thank you. sign of weakness. Sheryl.. you ready? WAITRESS Yeah. what does "A la mod-ee" mean? . GRANDPA Coffee..

meaning due or proper measure. " RICHARD (cutting in) Frank .." Right? Find out what? OLIVE . Olive . SHERYL RICHARD What? "She's gonna find out anyway..... RICHARD Olive. "Four dollars Okay.. WAITRESS It means it comes with ice-cream. OLIVE A la mod-eel SHERYL For breakfast? ! OLIVE You said. Okay! Olive.... can I tell you something about ice-cream? (she nods) Ice cream is made from cream. Richard . Frank waves Sheryl off.31. Richard .. And cream has a lot of fat in it ... ! SHERYL Richard turns to Olive. which comes from cow's milk. don't bother.mode.? "A la mode" in French translates literally as "in the fashion".la . fine. ? Shut up. There's kind of a funny story about.. FRANK If SHERYL You're right. WAITRESS Be right back! Actually. Mode is derived from the Latin "modus ".. Okay! She departs. A .

Whatever you want -. the fat in the ice-cream becomes fat on your body .. RICHARD So if you eat lots of ice-cream. Nothing.. RICHARD Okay.32.. I just want you to understand: It's okay to be skinny. you're gonna become big and fat. 11m Richard rolls his eyes.. ! OLIVE What/s wrong? SHERYL Nothing's wrong. Olive let me ask you: the women in Miss America . RICHARD Okay! So they probably don't eat a lot of ice-cream. Olive. when you eat ice-cream. don't . but. What? I SHERYL swear to God . Sheryl puts her head in her hands.? Are they skinny. so upset? I GRANDPA OLIVE Mom! Why is everyone SHERYL not upset. RICHARD Well. honey. ... if that's how you want to be. OLIVE They're skinny. youlll probably stay nice and skinny.... Olive is confused.'s okay. I like a woman with meat on her bones. or are they fat? l Well . and it's okay to be fat. But if you don't.. Do they? Just then. the waitress arrives with a tray. I guess. Richard's an idiot. honey.

Wait. Olive stares at the ice-cream. A la mod-ee. gets in on the act. chamomile.WAITRESS Okay: Coffee. Richard . Dwayne and Frank quickly snap to... Itll have a bite. this is good ice-cream! I feel sorry for the people at this table who aren't enjoying delicious ice-cream early in the morning. grapefruit. Frank and Dwayne dig in. ferocious. FRANK You mind if I have a little? Even Sheryl Olive shakes ber bead. GRANDPA (loudly) Boy.. right? I'll have your waffles in a sec! She departs. Finally: OLIVE Does anyone want my ice-cream? Sheryl just closes her eyes. SHERYL Richard shuts up. ! RICHARD She takes a bite. Richard is not amused. Olive. You mind? Dwayne? Frank? Olive's giving away her ice-cream here. have a bite. . coffee. She glares at him. GRANDPA Yeah. And here's your icecream. fights them off. Olive . Grandpa jumps in. OLIVE Don't take it all! Stop! Olive picks up her spoon. you're not givin' away all your ice-cream? What about your waffles? You can't eat waffles without the ice-cream! You'll have lonely waffles in your stomach! e'mon..

I mean..anxious listens to a greeting on his cell phone. you're right. I'll drive a while. A small BEEP. and two hundred tomorrow. PARKING LOT .. They trudge across the parking lot to the VW van. RICHARD OLIVE I know. How hard can it be? INT. I know you're busy.. He clicks off as Sheryl.DAY Richard -. VW BUS - PARKED - DAY She's grinding gears.EXT. It's a lot of driving. you're doing No lit's RICHARD okay . SHERYL Honey. but . Sheryl is trying to back up the bus. Call when you can. RICHARD (into phone) Stan! Richard! Look. but we're dying to hear what kind of numbers you came up with in Atlanta.. long? RICHARD We're doing six hundred miles today. OLIVE How long 'til we get there? A long time. I gotta learn to do this. Olive and the others exit the diner. SHERYL No. You get him? SHERYL RICHARD I can't get a signal out. RICHARD Push the stick down hard! SHERYL I'm pushing hard! .

He speaks without looking at Dwayne.thirty yards away glances worriedly between Richard and the Mechanic. Olive and Grandpa are playing that game where you try to slap the other person's wrists. but growing up? (MORE) FRANK . across the lot. Dwayne and Frank sit on a cinderblock wall. Behind them. He keeps grinding gears as well. waiting for the situation to resolve itself. EXT. it's the weekend. RICHARD How long'd that take? MECHANIC Well. INT. clutch is shot. Dwayne watches bitterly this is just one more fiasco he's been dragged into. In the background..DAY Richard and Sheryl talk to a MECHANIC.Put the clutch in all the way! RICHARD SHERYL It's on the floor! JUMP CUT TO: Richard tries. he reacts with cries of pain -. so . SERVICE STATION GARAGE . RICHARD Can we get a new one? Well. horrible sound. MECHANIC Well. Maybe Thursday? Richard and Sheryl react.much to Olive's delight. SERVICE STATION . buses? I It's a Your MECHANIC tell you what: These old We'd have to order it. When Grandpa gets hit. you got a problem..DAY Frank and Dwayne sit silently. I don't know if you know this. Frank looks on wistfully as Sheryl -. Frank notices Dwayne's stare.

She could've done anything. MECHANIC (cont'd) What I'm sayin' is: as long as you keep parkin' on a hill. SERVICE STATION GARAGE . and you just start up in third. Silence. you 80uld call over to Clarksville. Dwayne re-enters. Dwayne looks at Frank -_ he can't quite believe this.FRANK {cont'd} Your Mom was the cool one. then at Dwayne. You just ease up on the gas.DAY Frank wanders in as Richard presses the Mechanic. RICHARD Yes. half-smirking. look: welve come two hundred miles . Dwayne. it's the weekend. Dwayne is left alone. I tell you what: these old buses? You don't need a clutch to shift from third to fourth. He pats Dwayne on the leg gets UPI and walks back towards Richard and Sheryl. MECHANIC Well. You only really need the clutch for first and second.. The Mechanic feels bad for them. but they're probably closed.. Richard doesn't understand what he's getting at. takes out his pad. we're all aware of that. RICHARD Okay. Is there a dealership around here? MECHANIC Well. Then you shift between third and fourth. . you get yourself goin' fifteen. FRANK (cant'd) She had you. and writes: "What happened?" Frank looks at the pad. She turned me on to Proust. Grandpa and Olive stop their game and join the conversation. l He INT. twenty miles an hour. taking this in. Y'know.

Just push it up to ten. Everybody jurrp inside. I know. you're fine. MECHANIC Well. yeah. Richard starts up the bus. How do we . ready?! Olive. The sliding door is just get behind there and push. is behind the bus. ? The Mechanic considers this. As long as you keep parkin' it on a hill.DAY Richard's at the wheel of the bus. is everyone ready? Yes! Let's go! SHERYL Frank turns to the others. He squints his eyes and runs his tongue back and forth across his teeth.j I• RICHARD And you can drive like that? MECHANIC Oh. There's no hill.. My brother and I once drove from here to Canada .. Dad: I want you in the car first. and you just go! They all stare at him. OLIVE We know. EXT. including the Mechanic. I tell you what: You get enough people -.. . it's sitting here right now. RICHARD Okay. RICHARD Okay. and you just go.. Everyone else. RICHARD What if you're not on a hill? What? I MECHANIC RICHARD mean. PARKING LOT . The problem's just getting up that speed up. fifteen miles an hour.

DAY . I'm puttin' it into gear! Get ready! He guns the engine and shifts from neutral to third. FRANK I just want everyone here to know I'm the pre-eminent Proust scholar in the United States. get in! Sheryl! r Olivet Grandpa. go! RICHARD Push! They all push. Is that it? RICHARD FRANK (to Dwayne) "No one gets left behind! No one gets left behind!" Outstanding. then faster and faster. Okay.DAY Everyone cheers. RICHARD (cont d) Olive. get in! Get in! (to Richard) Slow down! Youtre losing them! I can/t! RICHARD I can't slow down! He sees Frank is fading./EXT. they're all running behind it. Dad.38. Frank dives in. embarrassed. slow at first. INT. Dwayne dives after him. and Sheryl jump in the side door. He runs back to Frank. Finally. ON THE ROAD .DRIVING MONTAGE The VW drives down an on-ramp onto the Interstate. Frank and Dwayne keep pushing faster. RICHARD (cont'd) Okay. is REVVING low but is powering itself nonetheless. soldier! Outstanding! Frank salutes him. SHERYL Okay. INT. gets behind him. Frank is panting. and pushes him up alongside the bus. VW BUS . The bus Dwayne runs up to the door. \TW BUS. . The van starts rolling. Dwayne smiles. Are we in? Dwayne shuts the door.ON THE ROAD . The Mechanic fades.

VW BUS ..ON THE ROAD . but not as bored as he would be doing nothing.. He is slouched down. Inside the bus. building the buzz -. who is bored. Later.39..he's been hyping it up. ! FRANK RICHARD So now he's at the Expo in Atlanta -. Interesting . Grandpa is doing magic tricks for Olive.. Signs pass.DAY Richard is pitching his business to Frank.. everyone is playing rock. videos series. he stops mel says. ! FRANK RICHARD And I can detect that note of sarcasm... Frank . Scenery goes by. FRANK RICHARD This is the guy who broke Tony Robbins! He knows how to do it _.start with the book. direct buys on TV. INT. He produces a quarter from behind her ear and gives it to her. Still later." Wow. consulting.. everyone is back to doing nothing. howeverr is in full sell mode. everyone just stares out the windows. Later. scissors. How about that .. Richard.. then corporate events. "I can sell this. What sarcasm?! FRANK . There's a science in how you roll these things out..So I start pitching "The Winner Inside" to stan .. media tour. paper. Two minutes in. The vw cruises down I-95.he's gonna send it out. RICHARD . do a ticking clock auction. barely moving.

past the graveyard. Richard! You've really opened my eyes to what a loser I aml Say. Even Dwayne smiles. Then Richard's cell phone goes off: BEEEEP-BEEEEP. you guys. (pointing) "He started it!" Even Sheryl has to laugh a little at this. enough. FRANK You do? Good.I feel sorry for you.. go on and laugh. everyone in the back is giggling.But I just want you to know -. RICHARD Because sarcasm is the refuge of losers..RICHARD . That's one of the lessons of Step Four. . stop it. how much do lowe you for those pearls of wisdom? RICHARD It's on me. He checks the number. buddy. Richard maintains a steely composure. You are bad! I SHERYL You are so bad! FRANK know! You're whistling RICHARD Yeah. FRANK It is?! Really?! RICHARD Sarcasm is just the sour grapes of losers trying to pull winners down to their level. Pretty soon. FRANK Wow. SHERYL Okay. FRANK Frank. It's on me.

Sheryl. Dwayne and Grandpa turn back towards Richard. FRANK They both wander off. yeah. alright? Here. he takes the twenty and heads off. who is doing push-ups on the grass nearby.abruptly -. You need to go? OLIVE No. stoic..? ! (clicks the phone) Stan! Hello . Gradually..parked on a slight incline except Dwayne.DAY Richard is in a phone booth at a gas station / mini-mart. INT.. SHERYL Honey.. GRANDPA .41. want anything? You guys Dwayne shakes his head. Frank turns to Dwayne and Grandpa. please! Everyone . no problem! What'd we get? his face falls. I'm'genna use the ladies room. RICHARD Richard! Yeah. SHERYL Don't go too far. Okay. He listens. Grandpa.? Hello?! Hello?! EXT. Olive. PHONE BOOTH . Get a little treat for yourself too. Stan! So .DAY Richard waits tensely. Then. BY THE VW -. Frank stares at Grandpa. if they got any fag-rags in there. I'm gonna get a drink. CONVENIENCE STORE I PHONE BOOTH . Get me some porn.he is "up"... and Frank watch Richard on the phone. Dwayne wanders back to the van. Yeah. here's a twenty. I'm gonna practice my routine over here. but Grandpa pulls out his wallet. Then -. Something really nasty_ None of that airbrushed shit. Everyone hangs out by the bus -. RICHARD (cont'd) There! That's the call I've been waiting fer! Everybody.

INT.. I quit..on a trip. that one.With Larry? Yeah. What about .about two miles.I don't know -.? Frank turns.. you know? .. filled with bottles of Merlot. I Oh my God! Frank puts his arms behind his backt FRANK I'm .. We're having this big blowout tonight and he's all freaked we're not gonna have enough booze. YOUNG MAN (cont'd) What are you doing here?! hiding his bandages.. He nods to his grocery bag. You know.. That one. FRANK Larry's here . I quit. YOUNG MAN . Someone told me you got fired ? FRANK Yeah. YOUNG MAN Good.. And let's try that one.?! YOUNG MAN He's filling the tank.. Good. a good-looking newsstand.. I'm fine. CONVENIENCE STORE . And a small grape Slushee. Yeah...DAY Frank stands at the counter. No.. I heard . By the front window. I can't believe this! How've you been? FRANK Fine. cradling a grocery bag.. right down the road about -. the They are startled to see each other. FRANK That one. Enough's enough.? thought you were .. He's .. Larry bought a beach house. Frank . down . No. YOUNG MAN YOUNG MAN is perusing He stops and stares. pointing out behind-the-counter magazines to a middle-aged Indian-American PROPRIETOR. Wow.

The Young Man says something and points back at the store. YOUNG MAN Well. good. in the store. The Young Man glances at the magazines. Taking time off. y'know? Yah. PROPRIETOR $15.. Frank keeps his hands behind his back. FRANK. FRANK YOUNG MAN Take care of yourself. Well. .. know. Well. You too. The Young Man turns and exits. He watches the Young Man walk off while the Proprietor puts the magazines in a brown wrapper and hands Frank his change. FRANK YOUNG MAN So what're you up to now? FRANK I'm. Frank hands over a $20 bill. HIS POV -. 'Cause you always seemed so . YOUNG MAN That's great. YOUNG MAN Right. then at Frank. sir.. Frank. great.The Young Man gets into a Jaguar convertible driven by a distinguished-looking BEARDED MAN. . You The Proprietor puts three porn magazines and a grape Slushee on the counter and rings them up for Frank.43. then shrug and laugh. You too.94. Weighing my options. tense. ducks out of view. Good for you. An excruciating pause. please. Frank takes a few steps and peers out the window. great seeing you again. The Bearded Man turns and cranes his neck. The Young Man and the Bearded Man exchange a few words. Yeah.

talks with increasing desperation. .are you in Atlanta? 'Cause I'm coming right by you. wait. the Proprietor picks up the Slushee and waves it.. Maybe I can swing by and. Stan. He's not getting it. Sheryl walks back to the FRANK GRANDPA VW as Richard hangs up the phone. He walks to the driver's seat. Without looking. standing by the bus. RICHARD Let's get out of here. Richard.. SHERYL Wait a minute. Richard stays in the booth for a second. listen . Behind him. heartbroken. Then he exits the booth and walks back to the VW. I thought you said this was a done deal.DAY Grandpa. VW BUS . in the booth. Ay! PROPRIETOR Don't forget your Slushee! EXT.. lemme interrupt you . ! EXT. listen -. troubled..DAY Richard is grasping at straws. he hands the wrapper to Grandpa. Stan. No. SHERYL So what happened? Nothing. How's it going? Not so good. RICHARD He said it was a done deal.PARKED . Frank watches. Stan. Frank walks stiffly back to the bus with his Slushee and the wrapper. No. . RICHARD Okay. reads Richard's body language.. PHONE BOOTH . Then they drive off. GRANDPA * * Christ. Grandpa turns away. passing Sheryl.44. He and Dwayne share a look.

Frank glances around. PHONE BOOTH . the VW bus appears. Dwayne slides open the door. Olive dives in.DAY Olive stands next to the phone booth.. Finally. Richard INT. It drives up and swings around the road. He won't look at her.. SHERYL I can't believe I'm hearing this.SHERYL You didn't get anything? (beat) So where does that leave us? RICHARD It leaves US fucked. Where's Olive? EXT. I tried! I tried everything! What do you think . he turns and yells: Let's Furious. Pause. FRANK Finally. Did you try negotiating . She stares at him.ON THE ROAD . drift down the hill...DAY Silence. okay? Let's get out of here! He starts the car. Richard releases the brake and they shifts and GUNS the engine.? RICHARD Yes. They barely slow down. slamming the door. gQ! !! RICHARD (can t'd) she goes and gets in the bus. The van coasts dowrillill. Everyone avoids everyone else's eyes.?! Let's just go. Then Richard shifts into gear and GUNS the engine. In the distance. That's where it leaves us. Everyone else gets in. VW BUS . . As the van rolls away.

Everyone is tense except Olive..46.ON THE ROAD . GRANDPA RICHARD GRANDPA Listen. sits at a table eating. Grandpa gets up and walks up to the front of the bus. which is more than most people ever do. Mom? OLIVE Can I sleep with Grandpa? SHERYL That's up to him. RICHARD Thanks. Dad. Yeah . Frank.NIGHT With keys in their hands. but Grandpa just stands there. Finally.. okay? Okay. Thanks. Richard turns and makes eye contact. MOTEL . who listens to her headphones. whatever happens -. Finally. VW BUS . he offers 'his hand to Grandpa.7 OLIVE .. INT.. and I include myself in that category. MCDONALDS Everyone ..DAY Richard drives. SHERYL Here's eleven.. and I'm proud of you for taking the chance. INT. they walk along the motor court. He speaks quietly to Richard. RICHARD (cont'd) They shake. Awkwardly. EXT. It takes guts. He tries to be cool and dismissive. Dad. Grandpa . Richard .NIGHT No one says anything. you're twelve? And Grandpa's thirteen. looking for their least you tried to do something on your own.

) You said it was a done deal!!! RICHARD (0. ! RICHARD Everyone. SHERYL We need to talk now. Frank? SHERYL You guys'll be all right? FRANK We'll be fine. Through the walls we can HEAR Sheryl and Richard arguing very loudly. we're getting up at seven. MOTEL ROOM TWELVE . I know! OLIVE That's why I said . Sheryl closes the door.S.. No.. GRANDPA Okay.... I'll knock on your door. Everyone waves goodnight INT. not now... We want to be on the road by eight so we can be in Boca in time for registration..) Stan Grossman gave me his word! . SHERYL (O. to each other. RICHARD please. Let's just get through this and get home. INT.47. SHERYL Goodnight. ! Richard . Sheryl kisses Dwayne and Olive. You could still use some rehearsing . Dwayne nods. Sleep tight. Okay.S..NIGHT Dwayne lies on his bed staring at the ceiling. I got two beds. so we can't dawdle. MOTEL ROOM ELEVEN . SHERYL We have to talk. RICHARD What a fucking nightmare . It's two hundred miles. Richard.NIGHT Sheryl and Richard enter..

Dwayne. ) I can't. turns on the faucet. on. Come He turns on the TV. Don't listen to that. Again. it's too much! much.NIGHT The fight continues. prepares to brush his teeth. Richard. squirting Rogaine on his head and rubbing his scalp.) Fuck the Nine Steps. we can't see the photo. He sees himself in the mirror and stops. S. ) Jesus. .. hearing this. MOTEL ROOM TWELVE . Frank wanders out of the bathroom.S . He opens up his wallet. He tUrns and goes back to the bathroom. Frank looks at him. pulls out the photo he looked at earlier.) I'm not married to Stan Grossman! Richard. ) I trusted him. RICHARD (00 S.4~. (0. SHERYL (0.NIGHT Frar:tk enters.. let's watch the tube. FRANK I'm gonna brush my teeth. INT. He watches Dwayne. INT. S. Dwayne sits up and turns the TV off. MOTEL BATHROOM . He looks at himself in the mirror again. scowling. I can't take it! It's too Et cetera. SHERYL (0.S . what're we gonna do? RICHARD We just keep going . FRANK Hey. Richard! They're not working! It's over!!! Forget it!!! I never want to hear the Nine Steps again!!! A stunned silence. He lies down. Dwayne listens. just barely smiles. stares at the ceiling again. stares at it. okay?! Step Three is you have to trust people! SHERYL (0. A beat.

..? Yeah? She hesitates. She hesitates It's okay. ! Dad hates losers. .. GRANDPA You're not a loser.NIGHT It's quiet -.. That's what he said! GRANDPA But you're not a loser! And your Dad would never hate you. GRANDPA (cont r d) What's the matter? OLIVE I don't want to be a loser. you're gonna blow 'em out of the water. can't hear Sheryl and Richard fighting. INT. I guarantee it. GRANDPA Olive. Grandpa . He takes her hand.. GRANDPA There you go. She smiles.bothering her. Snug as a bug in a rug.? He turns back. Olive! you say that?! Why do OLIVE Because . MOTEL ROOM THIRTEEN .we Grandpa tucks Olive -. OLIVE GRANDPA OLIVE I'm kind of scared about tomorrow. ever! OLIVE But what if I lose tomorrow? She's on the verge of pajamas -. They won't know what hit 'em. He's about to leave her when .into bed.49. Something" s really Grandpa. OLIVE again.. . ..

or you don't win you've already won! See? You see? You-see-you-see-you-see? l He tickles her.NIGHT Frank re-enters from the bathroom wearing monogrammed silk pajamas. Dwayne is in bed reading TWJS SPOKE ZARATtiuSTRA. He stops. You know why? Because a real loser isn't someone who doesn't win. MOTEL BATHROOM . Dwayne leans over. turns out the light. FRANK What? Dwayne shows his pad of paper to Frank. It reads: "Please don't tonight" Frank shakes his head. I wouldn't do that to you. a sleeping mask on his head. turns off the lamp. looks at Frank.DAY Grandpa enters and locks the door. You can't lose. That's not you! You're in the contest! You're gonna dance! So even if you win. lies back.JV· GRANDPA Whoa. A real loser is someone who's so afraid of not winning they don't even try. Goodnight. relieved. kill yourself FRANK (cant'd) Not on your watch. INT. She squeals. GRANDPA I think we're gonna have fun tomorrow. MOTEL ROOM TWELVE . Frank pulls his sleeping mask over his eyes. INT. concerned. OLIVE Don't let the bedbugs bite! He gives her a kiss. You think? (she nods) Okay. Dwayne sits up. Sleep tight. back up a second. 1< . Frank climbs into bed. whoa. brushes her hair. I'm gonna get ready for bed. Dwayne nods.

Abruptly. A small crowd of TEENAGERS is hanging out. not facing each other. The v~v doesn't move.. turns and looks at the Teens and their mopeds. Just for a while. Richard closes his eyes. very determined. Don't worry.on a mission -. SHERYL RICHARD I'm gonna fix this. Richard takes his foot of the gas{ slumps back. behind. EXT. He REVS it very high and loud. This kills him..51. Richard smiles. tries to be friendly. warJ. It's quiet.. etc. He opens his shaving kit and takes out a small mirror and a tiny ziploc baggie filled with light brown powder. They are .NIGHT Richard strides to the VW bus.NIGHT Richard and Sheryl sit on opposite sides of the bed. jostling in his seat to try to get the bus going. smoking and drinking. Three Teen Boys are puttering around on mopeds. parked parallel on the street. wallet. JUMP TO: Richard walks up to the Teens on their mopeds. left Richard -. SHERYL Maybe we should try living apart.climbs in the VW's driver'S seat and starts it up.flops back on the bed. at the end of his rope. Richard. The Teens stop chatting and stare at him.. Sheryl. gathers his keys. MOTEL PARKING LOT . MOTEL ROOM ELEVEN . Richard . . SHERYL What're you doing? Richard . ? RICHARD I'm gonna fix this. He grabs his coat and exits. Richard stands. They've hit rock bottom. It stays still. He shifts into third and REVS the engine. INT.

TEEN BOY This amuses the other Teens. RICHARD CUT TO: EXT. HOTEL HALLWAY . RICHARD Hey! How would one of you guys like to make twenty dollars? The Teens look at each other. pushing 35mph." FADE TO BLACK * EXT. An empty children's playground motel! lit by a single streetlamp. eighteen wheelers.NIGHT It's quiet. SUVs. sits near the Sheryl lies on a platform swing. carpeted hallway. She looks at her wedding ring.. smoking a cigarette. Empty conference rooms line the rocking back and for~h.pulls out his wallet opens it up to see how much cash he has. fag. staring up at the stars. balanced precariously on a borrowed moped.undeterred -. Welcome!" INT. Puck off. He edges into the break-down lane and drives parallel to the SWOOSHING traffic. A . Into the frame and down the entrance ramp rides Richard. lit by streetlamps.LONG SHOT An empty highway entrance. jiggles it with her thumb. a look of grim determination on his face. HOTEL PARKING LOT .NIGHT . \\Life/Styles Expo.NIGHT Richard comes in a side exit and strides down a long. marquee out front reads. Interstate traffic flies by at 70mph -. MOTEL PLAYGROUND . FADE IN the WHINE of a moped. He passes a sign that reads I "Atlanta t 23 Miles. HIGHWAY ENTRANCE ..NIGHT Richard pulls into parking lot of a large chain hotel. t Okay. EXT. Richard -.52. look .

Then VOICE-MAIL. In the bar/lounge. HOTEL LOBBY . Thank you. it's Richard .windblown. drinking and laughing together. meticulously groomed women -. As the phone RINGS in his ear. Holding court is Stan Grossman. stan! RICHARD (cont'd) . puts the phone away. The Corporate Types stop laughing. He turns. Call me. a swarthy mid-30s go-getter wearing khakis loafers. VOICE MAIL (via phone) The hotel guest you're calling is not available. exasperated. Outside each conference room is an easel with a foam board mock-up of a self-help book cover. He walks to a courtesy phone. Please leave a message at the tone.walks over and stands behind Stan Grossman. He takes out his cell phone and in his ear -.. checks the caller IDr shakes his head. I'm at your hotel. RICHARD Stan. Richard -. Richard walks past face after face of aspiring self-help gurus.are seated around a booth. we hear RINGING. staring down at him. (at a loss) I don't know where the fuck you are. Hi.NIGHT Richard -. INT. I Richard watches as Stan pulls out his cell phone. It takes Richard a second to make the connection. He puts the phone to his ear..strides into a well-appointed lobby. and a cashmere V-neck. Through the receiver. RICHARD (cont/d) (into phone) Stan Grossman. He hangs up and looks around.5j. picks it up. Stan turns. Richard smiles. BEEP. still in shorts and sneakers -. A female CONCIERGE is on latenight duty. we hear the synchronized BLEATING of a cell phone from the hotel bar nearby. a boistrous group of CORPORATE TYPES prosperously attired men. please. looks up at Richard.

! Good! I'm glad.. okay? I rammed it down their fucking throats.I pushed this thing hard.NIGHT Richard and Stan argue next to a dumpster in the parking lot behind the hotel. all right? No one bought it. ! STAN GROSSMAN That's what I thought! At the time! RICHARD But it's a great program! You said yourself! I don't understand . absorbing this. We move on.. Richard. . * * * RICHARD You mean give up. You know why? This is what the Nine Steps are all about . gathers himself. ! STAN GROSSMAN It's not the program. Nobody cares. STAN GROSSMAN RICHARD One set back. You're not gonna win this one. Now.. I know the market. shakes his head. RICHARD Okay . It's time to move on. Richard . HOTEL PARKING LOT . Richard exhales...EXT. Richard stares at Stan. nodding and smiling. Richard's borrowed moped is parked nearby.. It didn't fly.. RICHARD So what's the next step? There is none.. okay? No one's heard of you.. Then he speaks with a strained nonchalance. STAN GROSSMAN Richard. it's you. RICHARD You said it would sell . STAN GROSSMAN We had our shot. you're ready to quit.. listen -.

MOTEL ROOM . Y'okay? SHERYL He nods.. shakes his head and re-enters the hotel.the worst moment of his life.! STAN GROSSMAN RICHARD You blew .. The door opens and Richard -. You're out. MOTEL . rides his borrowed moped along the breakdown lane as cars and trucks ROAR past him. climbs on and pedals furiously. Then there's a FLASH of lightning and a CLAP of thunder. Stan canlt believe it. The moped sputters to life. EXT..O. FADE TO BLACK OLIVE (V. Richard turns and walks off. rolls over..steps in. Stan.NIGHT A darkened motel room. Richard keeps riding. Richard strides to the moped..Richard! Jesus . We hear the WHINE of the moped as it pulls into the parking lot and up to the door. Olive is standing next to the bed.DAWN Richard opens his eyes.rn . looks both ways..t . hon . He watches Richard. Sheryl rubs his arm. walks over lies fully clothed -.NI~HT Richard. goes back to sleep. The blue light of dawn is coming through the windows. This is -.dazed. sleeping. OLIVE . grim.? Grandpa won't wake up. wakes up and sees Richard. He closes the door behino_ hi. I on the bed -= Sheryl. soaking wet -. starts to rain. It INT. Richard stares up at the ceiling.? INT.hands down -.i.and stares up at the ceiling. RICHARD What is it.) Dad . HIGHWAY .

. we have to be ready to accept that. * . So it looks like when we get home we might have to make some changes in the way we live. and I know he loves both of you very much. with Richard's venture and everything . We might have to move out of our house. He's had a long ..eventful life.. Dwayne? Family meeting.DAY We are behind the lights of an ambulance as it speeds down a commercial strip. .. We might have to declare bankruptcy.. I have to talk to a lawyer about all that. She turns to the kids. goes through a rack of medical takes one and approaches Dwayne. INT. AMBULANCE ROOF . ! She takes a breath. (searches for words) . waiting Olive. She flyers. The LIGHTS FLASH and SIREN BLARES. SHERYL (cont'd) First of all.. the doctors are doing everything they can to help Grandpa right now. I don't know. But if God wants to take him. OLIVE You want to take an eye test? (Dwayne shakes his head) Uncle Frank? You want to take an eye test? SHERYL Olive.Things haven't really gone the way we hoped.DAY Everyone sits silently in a waiting room. okay? (they nod) Now. HOSPITAL WAITING ROOM . Richard .Richard takes this in. come here.. Put that away. for news. What? Now? RICHARD SHERYL Let's just do it. EXT. bored.. We're gonna have a family meeting. I think you guys know we've been having money problems lately.

-' I • She looks at Richard. HOSPITAL ROOM . SHERYL (cont'd) But whatever happens -. go busily back and forth on a distant road. crying. DOCTOR Are you the family of Edwin Harvey? INT. "Go It reads: hug Mom!" Olive goes and hugs Sheryl. Linda .. He turns to face them. OUT THE WINDOW A second floor view. so much . goes across the waiting room and stares out the window. He was . so. Dwayne gets up. Is Grandpa dead? DOCTOR Silence. RICHARD Appreciate it. We did everything we could. He probably fell asleep and never woke up.. Frank puts his hand on her shoulder. Dwayne writes a note.. picks up Olive and holds her in her lap. starts to cry. Sheryl grasps it. What's important is that we love each other. a DOCTOR enters the waiting area. It was too much. OLTVE . It's a banal suburban landscape. Thank you. DOCTOR I'm sorry. him.DAY Everyone is gathered in a smaller room. shows it to Olive. then departs. I'll have someone come talk about handling the remains. ! He gestures... The Doctor closes the door behind him.. I love you guys so. Sheryl. Cars Behind The Doctor opens the door and calls down the hall. Dwayne just stares out the window with a blank face. Her voice becomes shaky. She turns away. hugging her.we're a family. the kids. Olive and Dwayne watch Sheryl.

These are the forms you need to fill out -. RICHARD Thank you. This is a brochure for our Grief Recovery Support Group that meets Tuesdays.58. Olive nods. She is overburdened and all business. SHERYL He's passed away. In Maryland . says nothing. Yeah. Linda. have been made with a home in Maryland. we're passing through. Y'see. LINDA (fast..E. A hospital administrator. but here's the thing -we're trying to get to Boca Raton by three o'clock this afternoon . we're trying to get to Boca Raton . comes in with a sheaf of papers. LINDA Okay -. actuallYI pre-arrangements RICHARD RICHARD Yeah. honey.. report of death and the M.? LINDA My Urn.. fine. indifferent) Okay.death certificate. consolations for your loss. I can refer you at this time to a funeral home so you can begin making arrangements. If you'd like. . Linda. Linda hands Richard her sheaf of paperwork. LINDA.. LINDA I'm your bereavement liaison... RICHARD Okay.if the body is crossing state lines? You're gonna need a Burial Transit Permit from the County Registrar . Richard and Sheryl glance at each other. Try and be as detailed as possible. pink slip...

? Sir!!! 1 LINDA LINDA RICHARD Is there I mean. . It may be important. Okay. Richard stares at the floor.. Could you . all right?! Now we have a wa~ of doing things around here. but you'·re not the only one who's had someone die here today. also restrained) I'll show you. I just want to go and come back.Otherwise the hospital becomes responsible .Three o'clock? Today? (checks her watch) That ain't gonna happen. We haven't had a chance to move him downstairs. HOSPITAL CORRIDOR . there's a way these things need to be done. * RICHARD Linda stops in front of an intensive care room. a way we can go and come back? can we do paperwork later? You can't abandon the body . This is really important.? Is there a way we could view the remains? LINDA (nods.. and I'm gonna ask you to respect our rules and procedures! Silence... She leads them out. RICHARD lim not gonna abandon the body.DAY A pause... seething.. but you still have to fill out this paperwork... I know this is unusual.. yes. We just need to get to Boca and then we'll come back! We'll come back! . Sir? Sir . Richard speaks with great restraint. Sir. RICHARD It's for my daughter.. this may surprise you.. INT. LINDA LINDA * * * * * * ~INDA (cont d) Sir.

LINDA He's in here. He doesn't want to lose control. !!! He shakes his head and takes a few sharp breaths. It's quiet. We've come seven hundred miles.. getting himself under control -. He starts hyperventilating -. (beat) Stupid.choking down the emotion. INT. He turns away and faces the wall. RICHARD LINDA When you're done with the paperwork I'll be in the nurse's station. and he's not comfortable showing his feelings. Goddamn it. but just tell them who you are. Finally. Richard turns * RICHARD No. honey? Next year. Great.still facing the wall. He is very determined. Olive is dry-eyed this is all new to her. stupid . Honey . Sheryl bends down and whispers: SHERYL We'll do Little Miss Sunshine next year. Okay. Now someone may come by in a few minutes to take him to the basement. RICHARD (under his breath) Goddamn it. Sheryl hugs Olive. Dad. Linda. Richard walks over and peers under it. stupid. INTENSIVE CARE ROOM . around.. No one says anything. I'll be damned if I'm not making that contest.. Olive nods.. stroking her hair. Okay. RICHARD Thank you. SHERYL We can't leave him! .DAY They enter. then puts it down. She departs. Thank you. There's a body under a sheet. They'll wait.60.

RICHAH.DAY Richard ducks back in.D We'll take him with us. That's not going RICHARD He's better off with us than with these people! (to Dwayne) Go under the window.. RICHARD Go around outside. INTENSIVE CARE ROOM . (cont d) I He goes to the window.. everyone. you go with him. RICHARD Fuck . He sees the window.DAY Richard peers out the window. Frank'il drive! RICHARD We'll be there in two hours! I'll have a funeral home meet us as soon as we arrive! (never say die:) Listen. He closes the door. seven or eight feet above a near-empty parking lot. ~ SHERYL are you thinking? Richard. RICHARD We're not going to leave him. . We'll take Olive.. glances into the hallway.61. to happen. Richard dumps the paperwork in a wastebasket. EXT. don't you dare! (to Richard) Look: you stay here. Frank. He opens the door. (MORE) . Richard. Dwayne. opens it up. ! He looks desperately around the room. HOSPITAL . No. SHERYL Dwayne. He tosses his car keys to Dwayne. INT. SHERYL No. He's at the back side of the building.

. I believe we'd be doing a grave disservice to his memory if we gave up now. Okay! FRANK Here we go! One... Frank. FRAl. An ELDERLY COUPLE walking fifty yards away observes them. trying to look inconspicuous. Across the lot. They glance around. Okay.b:G. FRANK Not yet . Not yet . go! I Richard disappears for a second. Dwayne. Dwayne. He edges the bundle off the window ledge.. So what are we here? Are we winners? Or losers? CUT TO: EXT.go. And what's the difference? Winners don't give up. go. He hoists it into the window. They arrive at the bus. Be cool. HOSPITAL . Frank gestures -.. it's to have Olive perform at the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. FRANK (cont d) Okay -. RICHARD (cont'd) If there's one thing Grandpa would've wanted.DAY Richard peeks out the window. Careful .. . then reappears with a big bundle wrapped in a sheet. There's two kinds of people in the world: winners and losers. RICHARD Careful . Sheryl and Olive lift the bundle together and scuttle across the parking lot to . Frank and Dwayne gently lower the bundle to the ground.. two NURSES stroll toward the hospital.. Sheryl and Olive stand under the window. Almost there. The Nurses pass out of sight.. ready? RICHARD Frank..'JK (con t'd) Be cool.the VW bus fifty feet away.Wait. two .

.. which helps. This time.DAY Dwayne slides the door shut. Frank slams the door closed.. RICHARD Okay. Frank and Dwayne run behind the bus. Dwayne whips open the VW's back door (a hatchback that hides your luggage) and they hoist the bundle in. VW BUS . what time is it? SHERYL (checks her watch) It's 11:30. Dwayne and Frank sprint along side. Finally. The bus begins picking up speed. They quickly sober up.7 FRANK the And when does registration end? Three o'clock.? I dunno. SHERYL .. They're giddy and breathless from the escape. RICHARD Okay. Dwayne jumps in after him.. Richard jumps behind the wheel.. They do the math. INT. gets out and helps them push. Richard comes sprinting into the parking lot.oj. ! Sheryl and Olive jump in the side door. RICHARD Two hundred miles . FRANK Did I mention I'm the pre-eminent Proust scholar in the US? Richard REVS the engine and puts it in third. I'm putting it into gear . They get the bus rolling. RICHARD Okay. How much further . pushing like crazy. Dwayne is prepared to push Frank up along-side bus. Rich! FRANK Richard starts up the bus. The lot is at a slight incline. Frank lunges in. let's roll! You ready? Any time.

DAY . Okay? Olive nods.the same quiet tune that began the film. farms. It seems a long way from God.DAY . HIGHWAY . Your Grandpa was smart and planned ahead. That's not really what she was asking about. RICHARD No. INT. She turns and looks out the window. VW BUS . billboards. Grandpa's soul is in Heaven now. each looking out the window. Richard drives . Sheryl sees this. He's with God. Ex'r.ON THE ROAD . I'm gonna call a funeral home in Maryland and they'll take care of everything. SHERYL Honey. FADE TO BLACK Begin MUSIC -. Dad? OLIVE What's gonna happen to Grandpa? RICHARD Honey. She sneaks glances at Richard.MONTAGE The VW cruises past fields. FRANK It's gonna be close. right? Olive is thinking.-. We just can't stop. .64.MONTAGE The dialogue below plays over the following shots. Sheryl is pensive. rest stops. determined. CLOSE ON OLIVE Thinking. Okay? Olive nods. The family drives in silence.stoic. as soon as we get to Florida. we'll make it. No one has to pee. OUT THE WINDOW The passing landscape of the road leading back to the Interstate.

Olive. S . keeps driving. From the back. Richard glances at her.) That's an excellent question. What about you? OLIVE I think everyone goes to Heaven. in the front.S. FRANK OLIVE FRANK Even me? Yes! You promise? Yes!! ! OLIVE FADE TO BLACK . stares out the window. He rubs Olive on the head. wbat do you believe? I OLIVE (O. Christians believe you only get one life -they don't believe in do-overs.Passing power lines undulate against the sky. watches Sheryl. Sheryl. Dwayne lies across the back seat. looks at Richard.Frank. Olive.S. staring up. subdued. Buddhists believe that you live many lives but at a certain point you reach Nirvana and cross the finish line. reaches over and rubs Richard's neck. we see the highway passing as each person is lost in a reverie. headphones around her neck. Actually. I haven't made my mind up. Uncle Frank? Does everyone get to go to Heaven? FRANK (O. ) * FRANK (0. the Hindus believe that you get as many lives as you want. DWAYNE'S POV . S • ) dunno.) OLIVE (0.

! Silence. He lets go.. though she's not bouncing anymore -. Sheryl points to a passing sign. INT. It stops. just leave it . ! Sheryl looks worriedly at Richard.00. Another silence.DAY They are cruising.. SHERYL Okay.. SHERYL You can stop now..J'"K. A car cuts in front of him." SHERYL Sixty one miles.. What time is it? Frank checks his watch. Then a HO:t-. HONK. Olive has her headphones back on. Okay.. (contrd) RICHARD Asshole! He HONKS the horn loudly at the guy.. he gets a long continuous HOOOONK. Richard steps on the gas. RICHARD This thing is stuck. HONK. We'll make it! RICHARD Don't worry! SHERYL We're cutting it close . FRANK What happened? He cut me off! RICHARD The horn keeps HONKING intermittently.61 Miles. "Boca Raton -. It/s not me! He tries to pull the horn button up. VW BUS ~ ON THE ROAD .. RICHARD It's not even close! We'll be . Instead. . FRANK Five of two . Look out! He brakes.just nodding her head.

Dwayne stares out the window. "623" Frank contemplates this. fine! SHERYL Dwayne Silence. gets out and approaches. She stops. INT. okay? Like everything is normal.. He shows it: FRANK FRANK.DAY Richard sees the lights in the rear-view mirror. Jesus! 1'm being pulled over! Everybody: act normal. cruises past a state Trooper hiding behind an evergreen. HOOONK! . He can't stand it. (cont'd) Maybe I can adopt you.67. RICHARD Oh. HIGHWAY ... The TROOPER hits the lights. He pulls onto the breakdown lane and stops. SHERYL (cont d) Maybe if you pull it from .ON THE ROAD . I She tries to lift up another part. How many days 'til you enlist? Dwayne pulls out his pad and writes. RICHARD Just leave it. HONK! HONK! Silence. The HORN continues HONKING intermittently. its horn BLARING. VW BUS .DAY The van. EXT. HOOOOONK. puts his head in his hands. Here we go . TROOPER How/re you folks doin' today? Fine! Sorry! RICHARD Doin' fine! (HONK) HONK! Silence.. a 50-ish good 01' boy. HONK! Silence. The Trooper. okay? We'll fix it when we get to Boca! Okay.

TROOPER You have something in your trunk? RICHARD No! Nothing! There's nothing. It/s .. Rich! of weakness! Richard ignores him. ! Donlt what? Richard shuts up. TROOPER Would you step out of your vehicle? EXT. RICHARD TROOPER RICHARD TROOPER The Trooper sees him glance at the trunk. Don't open it. ! What? Don't . TROOPER Having trouble with your horn? RICHARD Yeah. (HONK) Sorry! (HONK) Sorry! ! ! Frank leans forward gleefully: Donlt apologize. a little trouble. Richard gets out. the back of the van. just .DAY FRANK It's a sign Reluctantly.68.. HIGHWAY ... The Trooper gestures towards TROOPER Would you step this way? No . The Trooper is incredulous...

I ain't gonna bust you. He grins. smiles and waves at Sheryl and Olive. you realize you've just given me probable cause to search your trunk? Put your hands on top of your vehicle.DAY Richard watches the Trooper walk around the back of the bus and reach for the trunk. TROOPER Sir. He closes his eyes. He looks in the bus. VW BUS . The Trooper pulls his gun and hesitantly approaches the trunk. Richard sees the Trooper picking up Grandpa's porn magazines.DAY Everyone surreptitiously watches the Trooper. * * TROOPER Sir. He shakes his head and walks back towards the trunk. TROOPER Sir. The Trooper.this is the end.bY. Now don't move. what's he doing?! EXT. The Trooper bends down behind the bus. HIGHWAY . The bundled sheet sits in plain sight. Richard shuts up.. distracted. would you come here? Richard walks back. The Trooper opens the trunk. shakes his head -. which have spilled onto the road. I'd advise you to keep your mouth shut. INT. Whoa! TROOPER Goddamn!!! Richard opens his eyes. SHERYL (sotto) Oh no. gathers the magazines and stands. it's . . Please! RICHARD It's not illegal.. TROOPER (cont'd) Don't worry. Rounding the corner.

or sideways to correspond to the rotation of the "E". holding a hand over one eye and pointing his finger up. (starts the car) Frank. Richard The Trooper stops grinning. EXT. shuffles through them with a connoisseur's eye Swank. Dwayne has SHERYL bet he does. Dwayne. INT. A beefy. moustached stud gazes smolderingly from the cover. Everyone ignores it. Okay I OLIVE further back! Dwayne and Olive continue with the charts. What happened?! SHERYL RICHARD (steely) I'll tell you when I regain consciousness. climbs in. shrugs and laughs nervously.DAY They are cruising. Get out and push. slams the door. Olive plays with an eye chart she got at the hospital. Dwayne makes it through the chart. HIGHWAY .DAY Everyone in the bus -.ON THE ROAD .DAY The Trooper tidies the magazines and. He looks at Richard.waves back. Boca Raton! SHERYL Forty six! .70. down. Richard walks to the front. INT. The next magazine: Honcho.DAY As the Trooper's cruiser pulls back onto the highway. VW BUS . with Dwayne sitting further back. INT. 20/20 vision! 20/20 vision! I OLIVE Mom.minds blown -. She points at a diminishing set of "E"s. The horn HONKS in occasional spurts. Sheryl points to a passing sign. VW BUS . Dwayne is in the back seat. Black Tail. High Society. VW BUS . grinning.

is a bright red letter "Alf. Olive pulls out a new flyer. What letter is in the circle? She holds up a chart with a green circle. OLIVE (cont'd) It's an "A"! Can't you see it?! It/s red! See? Right there! Dwayne takes the chart and stares at it. She said it's just off the highway. ! They said three o'clock sharp! -They were very explicit. FRANK You know where it is? SHERYL The Holiday Inn. RICHARD She better be right. inside the circle! Right there! Dwayne shakes his head again. II OLIVE (cont'd) No. Inside the circle. FRANK It 's 2: 15PM . "There's nothing there. Trust me. now I'm gonua test if you're colorblind. Can you see the difference between the green and the red? Dwayne shakes his head helplessly... who steps on the gas. You can't miss it. Frank turns away. okay?! Maybe a few minutes late. Olive glances at Frank. Dwayne makes a gesture. SHERYL No. in a mosaic pattern.. In the back. . RICHARD We'll make it.• ! Sheryl looks at Richard.71. Frank checks his watch. FRANK You can't see the "A"? It's bright red. You don't want to fuck with these people. Richard . OLIVE Okay.

pullover! What?! FRANK (cont'd) RICHARD FRANK We have an emergency back here! What is it? Just pullover! RICHARD FRANK RICHARD What's the emergency? Sheryl. Rich. He points at the pad again.72. ! SHERYL FRAl. FRANK (cont d) I oh. curling up in a ball. Dwayne does nothing. okay?! pulling over! I'm . Quietly: Dwayne.. man. FRANK (cont'd) You can't fly jets in the Navy if you're colorblind. Dwayne points violently at the pad.. He pulls out his pad and writes: "What?" Frank doesn't say anything. Then he seems to implode in on himself.. Dwayne looks at him.\IK RICHARD Welre gonna be late if . Frank looks at him. will you make him pullover?! Richard . FRANK (cont'd) I think you're colorblind. Frank shouts towards the front.. Richard! ! ! SHERYL RICHARD I'm pulling over. Dwayne doesn't understand.

Thirty yards away Dwayne falls to his knees. SIDE OF THE INTERSTATE . SHERYl. and SHRIEKS like a wild animal. Oh SHERYL FRANK He can't fly. There's an out-of-control quality to his behavior that is scary and disturbing. In the background. we gotta go. I Richard glances at Sheryl.73. I'm not going. He points at his watch and shrugs. the VW keeps HONKING like some de~Dnic beast -.mocking Dwayne's helplessness. i SHERYL no. He walks off with his head in his hands. (cant d) Let's give him a second. The others don't know what to do. Finally. She sighs. SHERYL Come on. EXT. buries his hands and face in the grass.. DWAYNE Dwayne . Fuck!! ! Fuck!! ! DWAYNE (beat) The others get out of the car and watch him. What happened? Hefs colorblind. l He sits there crying. Sheryl approaches Dwayne. . He puts on the clicker. This is the first time we've heard his voice. The bus pulls into the break-down The door slides open and Dwayne gets out onto the grassy slope by the side of the road. Dwayne? He says nothing.DAY lane beside the highway.. Jesus. Finally. Honey? SHERYL (cont'd) I'm sorry. Oh. Dwayne rolls to a sitting position his hands covering his face.

He has a piece of straw and he's poking some ants in the grass. Then Olive walks over and sits do~m next to ~layne. we're not doing that. Mom. I SHERYL don't know what to do. leave me here. . Richard. DWAYNE You're not my family! I don't want to be your family! I hate you fucking people! I hate you! (he points at them) Divorce! Bankrupt! Suicide! You're losers! You're fucking losers! Everyone is stunned by this outburst.. over his eyes and sits down again. SHERYL No. RICHARD Dwayne's face is red and snot is dribbling from his nose. Can we leave somebody here with him? FRANK I'll stay.•.. DWAYNE I'm not! I don't care! I'm not getting in that bus again! SHERYL Dwayne . RICHARD We're gonna be late. SHERYL Dwayrie .. A beat.r d) Just leave me. There's nothing to say. Please? Just Sheryl gets up and walks back to the others. We just have to wait.. For better or worse: we're your family . you want to talk to him? SHERYL No. DWAYNE Dwayne puts his hands (cont. Dwayne stands up and screams at them. Olive.74.

They sit quietly.ON THE ROAD . I The He walks back to the others.. Let's just go. DWAYNE His voice is automatic. FRANK 2: 50 . Sheryl. ! RICHARD We're gonna make it! Olive. Frank checks his watch. She puts her arm on his shoulder and watches him poke. We know you did.75. Dwayne is slouched in the back. don't worry! We'll be on time! JUMP TO: The same. (mock-tender) Dwayne.. Olive. They all start pushing the bus. staring at 'nothing. I didn/t really mean them. ants climb busily over the grass. Frank . Richard.. and Frank are looking ahead intently. SHERYL FRANK * * (to Dwayne) It's okay. VW BUS . Okay.. let's go. The horn has tapered off to an occasional HONK. I was upset. . Then Dwayne stands up.DAY Richard is weaving through traffic -. Frank checks his watch..the engine's ~'ING VERY HIGH. 2:55! FRANK RICHARD Just look for the exit! coming uP! It's JUMP TO: . DWAYNE (cont d) I apologize for the things I said. INT.

76. "Little Miss Sunshine. Olive points. There's a maze of service roads and parking lots between him and the Holiday Inn. the sign in front of the Holiday Inn reads. Richard is baffled. SHERYL Will you slow down? I can't! (cont d) I I'm in third gear! FRANK RICHARD 2:59PM! RICHARD Does anyone see a turn-off? How the fuck do you get over there? They drive past the Holiday Dad! Inn -.a few hundred yards away. RICHARD How the fuck do you get over there? Turn here! SHERYL Turn here! Richard takes a right into a service road. Then Richard points. There! OLIVE Little Miss Sunshine! As they ride up the exit ramp. FRANK 2:58! No one says anything." Richard comes off the ramp onto a four lane commercial road. OLIVE You drove past it! RICHARD There's no place to turn in! Turn around! SHERYL You gotta turn around! . RICHARD There! That's it! Can anyone see a Holiday Inn? A beat. Frank checks his watch again. The same.

.. then cut across! Okay. go over there! SHERYL It's the same! RICHARD There's no way. The vw screeches around in a wide arc across four lanes of (luckily empty) traffic. RICHARD (cont'd) There's no way in! What the fuck?! Dad! There! OLIVE You're driving past it! SHERYL Into the parking lot! She points. Richard guns the under-revving engine. RICHARD (cont'd) Can anyone see a way in? SHERYL Go over there. Richard turns into an enormous empty parking lot. He drives towards the Holiday Ir~ in the distance. RICHARD Okay. ! Go back out! We tried that! FRANK OLIVE SHERYL RICHARD There's no way in! ... hold on. There's'still no clear path on how to get there. hold on! The RICHARD vw squeals around a left turn onto another service road.77.! He turns the wheel and they begin tracing a wide loop -bombing around the parking lot at 35mph in a holding pattern. Three o'clock! Dad . RICHARD It's a dead end! NO. everybody. They again drive past the distant Holiday Inn.

HORN BLARING. everyone! He guns it. They've made it into the Holiday Inn parking lot. We lost a tire. FRANK . He sprints across the lot towards a distant banner marked "Little Miss Sunshine. slams into the end of the track and derails. They're one median strip away from the Holiday Inn parking lot. One more! RICHARD Here we go! Hold on! They hit the median hard. As soon as he hits the first median. my God! SHERYL RICHARD Hold on. Frank looks out the rear window." All the others -.sprint after him. the HORN goes off and doesn't stop. They're in a new parking lot.except Dwayne -. Rich! RICHARD We'll get it later! Here we go! They come gliding into a parking space. Frank doesn't even look back. Finally: Olive. Look out! SHERYL Richard goes SCREECHING past several parked cars. Frank yanks open the sliding door. RICHARD Okay: Hold on. The whole van sags to the rear. A big bump. SHERYL So we just keep going in circles? Richard says nothing. on. A tire is wheeling off across the parking lot by itself. everybody! put your seat belt on.78. He comes out of a wide arc and heads straight for the median strips separating him from the Holiday Inn. The whole door falls off the side of the van and into the parking lot. It slides back.

INT. The girls are dressed. We just need to check in. Nearby. Richard stops her. have a heart! We're four minutes late! We just drove all the way from Maryland . REGISTRATION HALL . RICHARD Wait.. FRANK But we have an entrant. a CONTEST OFFICIAL is packing up her things behind a table with a "Registration" banner. Frank sprints up to her. OFFICIAL It's 3:04PM. coiffed and made-up to within an inch of their life. disshevelled. FRANK It's three now! No . be giving unfair advantage . wait. The place is crawling with tiny blond girls and their stressed mothers. we're closed. ! OFFICIAL Then you should have been here by three..desperate. we're here to register! OFFICIAL I'm sorry. Registration OFFICIAL ended at three. She points to a clock on the wall. The doors open and Frank comes in. looking on -. She tries to leave. breathing hard. Right here.. wait! How can we make this work? OFFICIAL Everyone else was here before three. He stops.. breathless.DAY A big carpeted hotel lobby.79. RICHARD Oh. FRANK Hi... I'd . The others catch up and stand.

and B: Kirby! My man! Currently the greatest human being on the planet! Applause. I'm sorry you're late.making the trains run on time. I have a hair check to do. (O. please! You don't know what we've been through . his knees.. She tries to leave but they block her way. you don't have to! No... l .. FRANK Hello! Everyone?i We've just witnessed a great act of compassion and human kindness! Exhibit A: we've got Eva Braun here .80. Oh. but I can't help you. Kirby smiles flips on the computer. sir. Now the show starts in twenty minutes. They crowd around. Kirby. it's okay. KIRBY It's five minutes. OFFICIAL 'Scuae me.. We've settled on the schedule of the show and we've turned off our computers. Frank leaps up. Jenkins . She pushes past them.7 They all turn..) a very portly young Richard gets on OFFICIAL RICHARD man with a high voice -. OfFICIAL Well . I didn't make you late. RICHARD We're not asking for an advantage! We just want to compete! Don't yell at me. It's your time. ! SOUND GUY Uh.S. please! He leads the others in applause. Ms. I There's a SOUND GUY -- can put SOUND GUY (cont'd) 'em in the system. Everyone else in the lobby ignores them.who's clearly just heard the story.

{to Olive} . and shakes his head. Quietly: KIRBY (cont'd) I ain't working for these people again. intimidated -. Olive smiles. signing photos for kids. She smiles. I Please. Hi . He glances in the direction of the Official.sizing up the competition.a half a dozen girls and their mothers.81. SHERYL (cont'd) Come on.. We'll just say hi. sitting behind a table. (to Richard) You got this? Richard nods -. KIRBY It's five minutes. what's your name? Olive. who has departed. These people are crazy. He starts tapping away at the computer. Olive glances away and freezes.. ! OLIVE The Girl quickly turns back around... not saying's like meeting a god. OLIVE (cont'd) Mom! It's Miss Florida! Look! It's really her! SHERYL You want to say hello? Olive shakes her head. Olive is in awe. The GIRL in front of them turns and stares at Olive -. Olive. Sheryl drags Olive to the back of the line -. .I'll take care of it. So. Across the room is Miss Florida. SHERYL Thank you so much! You don t know what this means . OLIVE KIRBY That's a nice name. she looks nice.

giggling. (Richard signs) . SHERYL Okay. ! OLIVE TWIN GIRL TWO Didn't think so! They dissolve into giggles and run away. Olive gives them a friendly half-smile. ACROSS THE ROOM Kirby finishes up with Richard -. Frank and Dwayne approach. set up a base camp.. Olive watches. Anything else? * * . Two TWIN GIRLS are chasing each other around. theY're all miniature Barbies with expensive clothes and hair. All of them are several inches shorter than Olive. carrying the family's luggage and a Sunday NY Times. Frank and Dwayne walk off.. Hey. KIRBY And sign . who is still dressed in her traveling clothes -. Again. TWIN GIRL ONE Are you on a diet? What? OLIVE TWIN GIRL ONE Are you on a diet? No . She stands out. then turns and looks at the other girls. Olive watches them go..82.denim cutoffs and black Converse high-tops. Finally. the Twins see Olive watching them.And you're done! Here's your receipt. Eventually.. Sheryl is steamed but doesn't know what to do.. we'll come find you. tickets. I'm getting a room. the Twin Girls approach Olive. tiara. Olive takes this in stride. sash.. Olive is disturbed.having him sign a release. FRANK We'll They whisper to each other and giggle.

looking very serious. facing the wall like that . . peers out the window. Dwayne immediately walks to a bed in the corner of the room and lies facing the wall. Frank surveys the room with a jaundiced eye. then shakes his head and opens up the Book Review section. It's eight floors down to the parking lot. No way! I could be out the window before you even turn around. looks at Dwayne lying on the bed. Frank turns. Hey. Sorry. Is there a funeral home around here? INT. Frank considers the drop. banner reads. HOLIDAY INN BALCONY . pulls out his NY Times.? There's no way you gonna stop me from killing myself. FRANK (cont d) I FRANK He looks at Dwayne for a few beats.. He walks over.83. RICHARD Yeah. empty room. Then he pulls out his wallet and takes out the photograph. Frank and Dwayne enter. A beat.DAY Frank opens a sliding door and steps on to the tiny balcony.. HOLIDAY INN ROOM . settles into a chair. "The Surprise Bestseller from America's #: 1 Prous t Scholar!" There s a photo of Larry Sugarman in a beard and glasses. He opens up a Sunday New York Times. you know. A I I Frank stares at the ad. He walks to the edge and looks over. He walks over. IN THE BOOK REVIEW is a full-page ad for Understanding Proust by Larry Sugarman. dropping the luggage on the floor.DAY A quiet. EXT.

smiling. You must be a good dancer! I am! OLIVE I'm really goodl . WORKER ONE.. Olive? I like dancing! OLIVE MISS FLORIDA Dancing? Dancing was too hard for me! I'm a singer.. LOBBY . 40s.84. .We're driving five. wearing tuxes. RICHARD . 20s. pops the trunk. ·. QuietlYI he puts the photo away and turns back to the room..DAY Richard approaches the VW bus with two funeral home WORKERS in jumpsuits who affect a bored. and opens it. He looks up and surveys his surroundings -. EXT. PARKING LOT . and drinking Champagne.DAY Olive finally makes it to the front of the line. Frank stares at the photo. is a freshfaced rookie. MISS FLORIDA What's your talent. INT. A FUNERAL HOME VAN is parked in the background. The Workers look in the trunk. THE PHOTO shows Frank and the Young Man from the convenience store at some chic party. MISS FLORIDA What's your name? OLIVE Olive . is an old pro. averts his eyes. Then look at Richard. WORKER ONE So where's the body? Richard turns. Hl. WORKER TWO. By the time we figured it out it was too late...Too late.a rather grim landscape of Burger Kings and Jiffy Lubes. seen-it-all demeanor. six hours -we thought he was napping.

thank you. Worker Two closes the rear doors of the van. Ummm . Mom! I heard! EXT..85. WORKER ONE . Bonnie! Bye! Bye! MISS FLORIDA (to the next girl) Hi. glasses. OLIVE She eats ice cream. a keychain. thanks for stopping by.DAY Richard signs an invoice. Although. Best of luck! But Olive is not quite ready to move on. climbs in the driver's seat and starts the engine. Richard hands the clipboard to Worker One. etc. You take care. PARKING LOT . I think that's a frozen yogurt.... MISS FLORIDA I bet you are! Well.. what's your name? Sheryl and Olive head off..? OLIVE Do you eat ice cream? MISS FLORIDA (perplexed) Yes! I love ice cream! My favorite flavor is Chocolate Cherry Garcia. Okay? OLIVE Okay. OLIVE (cont'd) Miss Florida? MISS FLORIDA You can call me Bonnie! Bonnie . The personal Oh. Olive. WORKER ONE (cont'd) effects . RICHARD SHERYL Thank you. technically. He hands Richard a cardboard box containing a wallet.

. Sheryl goes and starts opening luggage. The van pulls into the street and drives off. Let's put on your swimsuit. there's an idea! The beach! Come on. This is the first time she's ever done this. She turns sideways.DAY Sheryl and Olive enter. She steps back and looks at herself in the mirror. Whaddaya say? INT. The van pulls out. I know you hate all of us and want to kill yourself.86. disappearing into traffic. staring at nothing.? SHERYL Row/re you guys doing? Sheryl silently points at Dwayne. go surfing. HOLIDAY INN BATHROOM . HOLIDAY INN ROOM . SHERYL (cont'd) Dwayne. Dwayne is still on the bed facing the wall. INT. You too. Sheryl begins gathering up Olive's costumes. But since we're here anyway.. She sucks her stomach in. Frank is slumped in a chair. holding the box of Grandpa's stuff. RICHARD Thanks. SHERYL Okay. Worker One gets in the van and slams the door.. She stops. maybe meet some chicks . Richard watches. Here. why don't you guys go to the beach? FRANK Hey. You want to change in the bathroom? Olive takes the swim-suit and goes into the bathroom. drives to the edge of the parking lot and puts on its turn signal. length mirror on the back of the bathroom Olive turns around and reaches for the door knob. She pulls out a bathing suit. Frank shrugs. Richard is left alone..DAY There's a ful1door. we'll walk over. Olive finishes putting on her swim-suit. Olive. Frank . .

That's you and Dwayne.87.S.S. glasses l gum. the pre-pageant hubbub is at a fever pitch. She lets her stomach hang out.. He flips through Grandpa's stuff -~ keys. She's making up her mind about something. but no longer catatonic~ DWAYNE Let's get out of here.) Don't worry. Olive turns back frontal.DAY Olive comes out. nowt because we were late . HOLIDAY INN BATHROOM . HOLIDAY INN ROOM ~ DAY Sheryl finishes gathering up Olive·'s costumes. She's not happy with what she sees -. FRANK (O. Around him. INT. He looks at Frank~ They exit.finds a bench and sits down. He seems shaken. do your best! A beat.. You ready? SHERYL Let's go! (to Frank) Frank. . very determined.DAY Richard -. SHERYL (O. she walks out of the bathroom. here's your tickets.also the first time. Dwayne sits up. LOBBY . He's depressed.S. (Winner or Loser?) Then.) l Coming! INT. Olive SHERYL you ready? We gotta go! OLIVE (O. She's going on last. HOLIDAY INN ROOM . INT. Sheryl is there. INT. We'll be there.DAY Olive stares at herself in the mirror.holding the box of Grandpa's stuff -.) Frank.

we're late already . RICHARD Okay? She nods.mothers combing their daughters' hair. takes her hand. RICHARD (cont'd) Go knock 'ern dead! Good girl! Sheryl shakes her head and pulls Olive off towards the backstage area. Olive. But I think it'd all be worth it . come here.. Richard watches them go. I know how much it meant to him. little girls practicing ballet moves. Olive? Olive stares. SHERYL Richard. She goes to him... Hey. ! RICHARD This is important! Olive.. come here. He looks up and surveys the frenetic activity . the elevator doors open and Sheryl and Olive step off carrying garment bags and travel cases. Richard gets up and intercepts them.88. Richard! SHERYL Jesus! Olive. come on! She tries to pull Olive away but Richard holds on to her. girls laughing and chasing each other.. searching for words as if the very meaning of his life were at stake.? RICHARD Yeah/ I did. Okay. Then.. BACKSTAGE .if you won tonight. across the lobby. He hunches down. We've been through a lot. girls crying. I know you and Grandpa worked on this together. . Sheryl sees him coming.. She really wants to please him. INT. We drove nine hundred miles to get here. SHERYL D'you take care of . Wait a sec. Our car broke down. Time for a pep talk.DAY Sheryl and Olive wander past one little girl after another each being primped to perfection by her Mom or a Groomer.. RICHARD (cont'd) Olive .

! OLIVE Kirby pokes his head in the door.. KIRBY I need your music! Olive goes to her bag. then goes and whispers Kirby smiles.lE My Grandpa did.89.7 in Kirby's ear. to do hair or make-up? You want Olive thinks. DRESSING ROOM . you got it. . we have about one minute. Your Grandpa? Twelve. KIRBY What track? Oh. one thing . Kirby! OLIVE KIRBY I'll be looking for you.DAY Sheryl finds a tiny empty dressing room in back and hangs a garment bag of Olive's costumes on the door. SHERYL Okay. digs in. It's like the fate of the free world is at stake.. KIRBY Okay. INT. Hey. Thank you. Finally: Make-up . This? OLIVE KIRBY Did you choose this? OLI.. OLIVE She glances at Sheryl. Here.. He departs. hands him a disc.

Onstage. RICHARD (cant'd) You got a kid in the show? The Biker looks at least two inches taller than everyone else at the end of the line. Welcome to the 14th annual Little Miss Sunshine pageant! Let's welcome the contestants! MUSIC. The Biker glances at him and nods.Figures. They've been arranged from shortest to tallest. Big APPLAUSE. Ladies and gentlemen. is . They end up in a line running across the stage.Yeah! The Biker nods -. Richard is unnerved. and Frank. He puts the earplug back in his ear and resumes his impassive stare. The LIGHTS DIM. Hey. Richard tries to be friendly.DAY Richard finds his reserved seats . AUDITORIUM . Dwayne. The guy next to him is a grizzled BIKER sitting impassively with his arms folded. INT. VVbat? He takes an earplug out of his ear. First time? BIKER Richard nods -.some bleached.four seats on the aisle. Olive -. waving and smiling. saving them for Sheryl. A DRUMROLL. Twenty of them are blond -. He sits in the fourth seat and lays his jacket across the other three. Me Twenty-five little girls parade out on stage in swim-suits. The girls parade around in a loop. RICHARD Richard persists. BIKER RICHARD You got a kid in the show? The Biker stares at him. an MC steps up to a microphone.

EXT. Olive's on the end again. Richard.91.a little less heartily. AUDITORIUM . At the end of the evening. are at a surfboard rental shop on the beach. applauds -. How far are we? I dunno. sunny day. . in swim trunks. It's calm. claps enthusiastically. Another DRUMROLL. Frank is handing money to a DUDE at the shop. Dwayne looks out at the water. but the shore is a long way away. BEACH .AFTERNOON A glorious. in the audience. in the crowd. DWAYNE There's no waves. INT. one of these girls will be crowned Little Miss Sunshine! Richard. DWAYNE FRANK Me Quarter mile? DWAYNE Frank looks down into the water.DAY Frank and Dwayne paddle straight out into the precocious evening-wear -. claps without enthusiasm. ON THE WATER . The ocean's dead calm.DAY We'll just The MC is up on the stage. paddle out. MC (cont'd) We have twenty five contestants from allover the State of Florida. The ocean stretches out to infinity. You wa:nna stop? Frank shrugs. FRANK We don't need waves. EXT. Big APPLAUSE. They stop.come out in the same order and do the same little loop around the stage. The Biker Dwayne and Frank. " .Let's hear a big round of applause for the evening wear! MUSIC. Dwayne looks back. The same girls -. Frank.

Dwayne dives down in the water again. They dive down into the water. Come on! Y'ready? On your mark. EXT. AUDITORIUM . get set . looking up at the surface. Frank's legs. Dwayne swims all the way down to the bottom. twelve feet. ON THE WATER .DAY They resurface. without waiting.DAY . INT. They do flips. Frank swims down more slowly. the sunlight. victory! Yes! FRANK They rest on their surfboards.DAY It's about fifteen feet to the white sand on the bottom. .92. EXT. his empty board. It's beautiful. Then. He stays. Then he swims back up to the surface. UNDERWATER . He comically mimes that he's drowning. He finally makes it. The Me is up on stage. twists. Then he and Dwayne come back up. FRA.DAY Another DRl~OLL. EXT.MONTAGE Shots of Frank and Dwayne swimming in the blue water with white sand and shafts of sunlight.. Think you can touch bottom? DWAYNE FRANK How far is it? Must be ten.:NK Hey. UNDERWATER . breathing hard.. spins. Dwayne swims down to the bottom again.

(beat) But. who'll be singing a tune from the Broadway show Anni e . please welcome Amber Tiffany Harper." Amber . I wish I could tell you I felt bad. EXT.. but the ocean -.high school and everything. I was . FRANK Man. So . Frank . My version of God. ! I \\ Me A little girl walks out -. I He shrugs. He shakes his head. And now! The moment you've been waiting for! The talent competition! Ladies and gentleman... so .93.. and completely indifferent... ON THE WATER . Just skip all this crap -. . outside the world.. They sit on their boards and look out to sea. I'm feeling that way now too. it's beautiful out's always here for you: infinitely bigger than you are. y'know? It was very peaceful.DAY /I He's growing uneasy..? DWAYNE (Frank looks over) What'd it feel like when you cut your wrists? Frank takes a breath. (beat) I don't know if I believe in God.and begins to sing: AMBER "The sun 'll come out .... But I didn/t. Dwayne nods. Sometimes I wish I could just go to sleep until I was eighteen. He looks out to sea. Just skip it. Richard sits in the audience. FRANK You know...tomorrow .very stagy -... DWAYNE .

.Think of the suffering you'd miss! High school's your prime suffering years. Dwayne grins.94. and to feel very deeply. but that's a different story. Didn't learn anything. French writer. who tries to play it cool. Frank stares at Dwayne.. FRANK (cant d) So... he looks back and he decides that all the years he suffered -. Gav..? (Frank looks over) Fuck beauty contests. It's like life is one fucking beauty contest after another these days. School. then work. Unrequited love affairs. Dwayne gazes out to sea. Fuck the Naval Academy. A beat. Never had a real job. (scoffs} .. if you sleep til you're eighteen . Because they made him who he was.he was also probably the greatest writer since Shakespeare. But . FRANK Y'ever hear of Marcel Proust? D'V'lAYNE He's the guy you teach? FRANK Yeah. If I want to flYI I'll find a way to fly. Dwayne glances at Frank. he gets down to the end of his life.. Anyway. You don't get better suffering than that! Unless you go into academia. Spent twenty years writing a book almost no one reads. Total loser.. Fuck it. then college.. DWAYNE You know what .those were the best years of his life. I They share a smile. Fuck the MacArthur Foundation. And the years he was happy? Total waste. You do what you love and fuck the rest. impressed. They forced him to think and grow.

blowing kisses and twirling a parasol. hope they fit.Smiling like crazy -. FRANK I can't believe we found these. Richard's smile is fading. You're not nearly as stupid as you look. it says: "LOSER" Dwayne puts on his. INT. INT. flirting and batting her eyes. In big block letters. FRANK I'm glad youtre talking again. EXT. BOARDWALK . AUDITORIUM . . Come on. DWAYNE (cont'd) They begin paddling back to shore.DAY A tiny girl in a COWGIRL outfit -. Frank. We should go. Frank looks around. AUDITORIUM . FRANK (cont'd) So now what do we do? DWAYNE You got me.DAY Another TINY BLONDE GIRL sings while flouncing and prancing across the stage. They look at each other. I As they stride up the boardwalk. They head off. Frank looks at him. FRANK (conttd) You're every mother's dream. She's fantastic. Dwayne. Maybe we can stay out here forever.taps her way through a tap-dance routine. She skips around the Me. he strips off his shirt and puts on his new T-shirt. Dwayne.DAY He's really starting to worry.95. Dwayne smiles. A beat. It's the same. Frank exits a T-shirt shop and throws a shirt to Dwayne.

charmed -. he stands out. FRANK Frank and Dwayne stagger Dwayne heads off as Frank leans against a wall. As she finishes. or lolling about. Right. the audience rises as one in a standing ovation. PAGEANT OFFICER You authorized to be DWAYNE He continues walking. out.DAY Frank and Dwayne enter and stride towards the doors of the auditorium. He gets up and departs. FRANK GRANDMA They open the door and walk into a BLAST of syrupy singing. over-eoiffed.DAY Dwayne strides through the backstage. turns to a little PRINCESS slouched on a sofa. All the mothers are overdressed. DWAYNE I'm going backstage. Everywhere there are little blond girls crying. The door reopens. DWAYNE (cont'd) Where are the dressing rooms? . A PAGEANT OFFICER tries to stop him. Is it over? Not yet. It's depressing. Hey. INT. They look at each other. Richard is the only one to remain seated. The audience -. BACKSTAGE . whining. looking for Sheryl and Olive.starts clapping along. A pant-suited GRANDMA is sneaking a smoke. The door shuts. Excuse me? backstage? No. recovering. and over-stressed. LOBBY . INT. He stops.there's no way Olive will win. See ya. His face sinks as reality finally hits him -.96. With his wet Mohawk and LOSER t-shirt.

They wander a few steps out of Olivefs hearing range. Sheryl sees him. SHERYL (sotto voce) RICHARD You're gonna do great! I know it! (to Sheryl) Can I talk to you a sec? She nods. Olive is sitting in a make-up chair. given her girlish plumpness. moves on. .97. He spots Sheryl and Olive in a small dressing room in the back. wearing gold hot pants and a red top. PRINCESS Are you allowed to be here? DWAYNE Just tell me where the dressing rooms are. (to Olive) How're you doin'? (weak) OLIVE Good. What's up? SHERYL RICHARD (hesitates) I don't want Olive to go on. SHERYL What're you doing? * RICHARD I came to wish Olive good luck. INT. Hey. It's a slightly bizarre ensemble. troubled. PRINCESS (yelling off-screen) Securi ty! Security!!! Help!!! Dwayne rolls his eyes. Richard hesitates. He approaches.DAY Richard wanders through the backstage. BACKSTAGE [ DRESSING ROOMS . Richard is agitated. Nervous.

She takes his hand. They look at each other. Richard . SHERYL This is the first honest moment Unfortunately.. we've seen between them. SHERYL It doesn't matter . I don't want her to lose.? SHERYL RICHARD Sheryl . It's the first time he's admitted to any kind of vulnerability or weakness... It/s not good.. We can't let that happen... who enters a determined look on his face. ! She's not gonna win. I know what that feels like. SHERYL How're you feeling?! Where's Olive? What's up? Better. they are interrupted by Dwayne.?!!! We're not in Maryland an~nore. Sheryl sees him coming. So . DWAYNE SHERYL In the dressing room. SHERYL (can't believe it) Are you kidding .98. RICHARD... . There's no fucking way.. all Richard's emotions rush to the surface. all right? She's out of her league here. She stares at him.. Hey. ! It ~ matter! RICHARD RICHARD SHERYL It dQesn:t matter! It does!!! RICHARD suddenly.

NIGHT Olive stands near the doorway. ASSISTANT passes by and calls out.. DWAYNE (0. Olive Harvey! He walks on.. BACKSTAGE . Dwayne's VOICE is faint but clear. INT.. Dwayne. DWAYNE (hesitates. DWAYNE * * * It's not too late! You're the Mom! You're supposed to protect her! Sheryl stares at him.S . my God .99.She's just not. Dwayne and Sheryl face off.. DWAYNE * * She's not a beauty queen. SHERYL It's too late . ASSISTANT Two minutes.. This is what she's chosen to do . DRESSING ROOM . unnerved by his agreement. RICHARD DWAYNE look around! This place is fucked! I don't want these people judging Olive! Fuck them! RICHARD Fuck them! * Exactly! '* '* '* Dwayne glances at Richard. Mom . (teary-eyed) Olive is who she is. listening. Oh . .. A clipboard-wielding. No. INT... ! SHERYL See? ! MOffi. SHERYL Listen to me.. Her face betrays nothing. then sotto) I don't want Olive doing this.NIGHT Sheryl and Dwayne stare at each other.. head-set wearing * * * * * They watch him go.) * * .

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