A Perfect Day for Caribou (2022) Movie Script

I'm saying all this stuff
I'm gonna say because
you didn't call me.
That's okay. That's...
I wrote that thinking--
knowing you wouldn't.
well, I can't even
say that I hoped.
I think I was grasping
at straws. You know?
I think that's a good thing
to do, to grasp at straws.
If there's straws to grasp at,
you should grasp at 'em.
I'm doing this because...
...you didn't call me
and I heard about your boy
being born from your aunt.
She seems to know things.
And that's why I wrote that,
and, uh,
you didn't say anything.
And that's okay, you know?
It took me a while
to do something about it,
about the news,
in the way of congratulations.
It took me a while,
I guess, because I figured
you didn't need congratulations
from me, but I did it.
You know, I got it to you.
And you didn't get back to me.
You didn't call me.
I put my number on the end
of that letter and you didn't
call me, and that's okay.
Like I said,
I don't hold it against you.
But I'm saying
all these things because...
you know,
even if you had gotten back
to me, I'm thinking maybe...
there might not have been time
for the good stuff to come out.
There might have been too many
other things in the way,
too much stuff intervening.
And the good stuff
brings up the bad stuff, too,
I've found, so...
I'm saying it now, just
things that I wanted to say.
And I hope that this does...
something in the way of--
I don't know what exactly,
but I just--
I want you to know
these things about me
because I want you to know me,
and I want you to know
these things about me
because up till now,
you've had no way
of knowing 'em, you know?
I got a list
of things in my mind.
There'll be some stuff
in the truck that
you can look at or have.
Quite the list of things.
Stories and stuff that, uh,
I never got a chance to tell you
and your mom didn't know 'em
or she wouldn't have told you.
If I were a betting man,
I bet that she didn't
say much about me
after I "jumped ship,"
as she called it.
But just some little ditties
and things that I thought
you might want to know.
So that I'm not just
your father that killed himself,
just your father
that came and went
and is a kind of
cardboard character,
but a guy that was flesh
and blood like other people.
And that did
this thing and that thing and...
felt this way.
It'll be good, it'll be...
I'll be your father that
you knew a thing or two about.
You know?
For better or worse,
it'll be like you knew me.
I wanna start...
by saying something
about your uncle.
Who you never met.
He died young.
I can remember with some great
detail the way he used to
quadruple-tie his shoes.
He was a delivery boy.
He did construction.
Different stuff.
He wanted to do something.
He hated Portland.
But he used to go down
there sometimes. You know?
Try and find a way
to do something or to not be
in Clatskanie or Estacada
or wherever we were.
He hated it there, but he went
down there one final time.
Jumped off one of those big
bridges they have down there.
I asked them for his shoes.
They told me
he wasn't wearing any.
I found that hard to believe.
I saw a therapist
a few years back.
They made me.
I had to go six times.
And my father was the thing
that she kept pointing to.
I told her some stories
but she kept asking about him
even though I wanted to
talk about other stuff.
And I remember the way
my dad smelled.
I didn't like it really,
the combination.
He smelled like mouth tobacco
and mint chocolate chip
ice cream.
And I remember...
...one time he came
back from bird hunting.
He didn't have a kill, and...
my mom had roasted a turkey,
and he made me
lug that bird outside.
I remember he took me hunting
when I was ten years old.
Just me and Dad.
Your uncle didn't like the
killing-animals part of hunting.
He told me to wait by the car.
He was gonna go back
and see if he could catch
a cutthroat trout for dinner.
He slipped, they said.
He fell into the river.
He drowned. And I just
sat there waiting for him,
just thinking
he was gone forever.
And I remember them telling me
they weren't doing it
to save him, just to
get him out of there.
Watched him get lifted up
by a helicopter.
And I remember thinking
as I watched him float
through the air that
that was the closest up I'd
ever seen a helicopter before.
I remember my first date
with your mom.
And please don't let
her listen to this,
and your aunt has
told me a little.
She invited me to come inside.
She was living in
her grandma's sunroom back then.
Neither of us were
drinking at the time.
Both on a break from it.
And we drank pop.
There's a niceness in the way
that we just sort of
stood around and did nothing.
Stood in the sunroom
for a while and...
she started to dance.
I remember that.
She showed me a few things.
Tried to.
Eventually I just sat down on
the floor and I watched her.
She was a good dancer, and
a good person back then, too.
I think of your mother
when I think of dancing,
or when I see somebody
dancing on TV.
We went on as long as we could.
She said some things too.
But that's not the point.
I don't think there are any
charms left for me in this life.
Your mother once told me
she wanted to set me
on fire for cheating.
I got heart problems.
Join a union if you can.
I wish I'd joined a union.
Took you buck hunting when
you were four years old.
Don't know if you remember that.
You didn't like
the killing-animals
part of hunting,
just like your uncle.
Don't ever do
anything with electrodes.
I did some
with electrodes a while back
to try and quit drinking.
I read Hemingway did it,
so I tried it.
I quit drinking, but it wasn't
because of the electrodes.
The electrodes shook me up.
That's all, so. Just...
promise me you'll never
do anything with electrodes.
I was watching this program on
Tuesday about animal migration,
about how animals just
know how to move, you know,
change their scenery.
How it's just in their blood
to follow this path.
There was one
about those swifts.
And-- Different kinds of birds.
Big cats.
And they were
talking about caribou
and how caribou travel farther
than any other land animal.
They go miles and miles.
Maybe thousands.
Only a few of them
left in North America.
Just a couple, maybe,
and they still know where to go.
What to do.
Where to walk.
I've been doing some painting
lately. Animals and places.
Tracy gave me 50 bucks so
I'll put that in here for you.
Caribou's a very
special creature.
I guess life has just been
what it's been for me.
Caribou's got big horns.
Antlers, I guess.
You can tell your boy that.
Hey, is this Herman?
Hi, Herman. This is Nate.
You busy today?
This is Ralph.
Hey, Ralph.
Ralph, this is Herman.
Time to sit?
How old is he?
Turns seven next week.
Where'd you get that car?
Sandy's uncle.
Sandy's my wife.
He was looking to get rid of it.
He was running a mail route
out in Burns.
Bought it from him.
Runs good?
Good enough.
Looks kinda beat up.
That's yours?
Belonged to Tracy,
but she sorta gave it to me.
How's Tracy?
We split up a month back.
She kicked me out.
Why's that?
Lots of reasons.
You guys been living
out in Clatskanie?
Where you living now?
In different places.
Sandy was supposed to
be home with Ralph.
She got called into work.
That's why he's here.
Where's Sandy work?
Over at the WinCo.
She like it there at WinCo?
It's all right.
She kinda gets the runaround.
She wants to be manager, or...
be in charge of produce
or something.
She likes produce?
She likes organizing things.
She's good at organizing things.
You shop at WinCo?
What kinda engine
you got in here?
One of the big ones.
Car goes really fast, actually.
You park this under a tree
or something?
Looks like you parked it
under a tree or something.
She calls into the radio
all the time.
Trying to win prizes.
Like a free pair
of concert tickets, or...
a pair of shoes,
stuff like that.
She your age?
She was a year ahead
of me in school.
You 23 now?
May 21st?
You're good though?
As far as what?
In an overall way. Kinda...
This was at Mom's.
Had your name on it.
What do you do for work?
I, uh...
work for the school.
On the night cleaning crew.
At the junior high.
That same one you went to?
Pays good?
I was a janitor once.
The fumes from the cleaners
made me emotional.
I asked my boss to get
transferred to the high school.
But he already moved me
from the day shift
to the night shift.
But at the high school,
they got this
wood basketball court and...
if you clean it and
the coach sees his reflection,
you make double.
He do good in school?
He only eats off
the right side of his plate.
We think he has some kinda...
What do you mean?
Like a mental issue.
Like inside his brain.
He only eats right-sided food?
We tried a bunch of tricks.
Now we just heap the food
onto one side. The right side.
Kinda looks like that
black and white bumper sticker
some hippies have.
I never heard of that.
You still like those donuts
from the grocery store?
Oh, uh... not really.
He doesn't like me.
I can sense it.
when we're fighting
and he's listening,
she'll tell him that
I'm not his real father.
Mom used to say the same
thing to me about you.
When you'd be gone for
a few days or something.
She did?
And then once you left,
she'd tell me that
every year on my birthday.
You ever think about Mom?
Your mother?
We just weren't
cosmically right is all.
When I loved her,
I really loved her.
Always tried to love her.
Got bad is all.
It's a cosmic thing.
You remember much?
Before you left?
I remember...
And sleeping.
I remember you yelling
and sleeping through dinner.
She says you hated Christmas.
She'd stay away from
the house in December.
She says you never liked it.
From the time she first met you.
I don't remember much.
Some things.
Certain pictures.
We were in the same boat,
your mom and me.
Going in the same direction.
Both had the fucking...
- Oars?
- Oars.
Hard to believe
we did and said all that
and we're both still alive.
I'm in so much pain
all the time.
Your mother could have
been nicer to me.
Patience is a big trait, man.
Your mother had...
more emotional capacity
than Tracy does.
Which could be good.
You know anyone here?
There's more
cemetery over there.
Do you still take
the same heart medication?
How do you know
I take heart medication?
I remember you taking those.
I remember asking my teacher
what Acebutolol was.
She didn't know,
so she had me go ask the nurse.
I haven't taken 'em
in a couple years.
Why's that?
Too expensive.
I got the same defect.
I don't have any friends.
You can say that...
I'm not perfect.
I've admitted as much.
But there are
truer things in life than
two people in the same boat
with the oars...
You'll understand
love at some point.
I understand love.
You don't understand it.
I've been doing
some painting recently.
I have some paintings
that I've painted.
If you'd like to see.
Tracy and me took a couple of
classes at the community center.
And I did some of those
paint by numbers things.
I like that one.
It's ducks.
This one's the desert.
And then...
this wasn't paint by numbers.
Just freehand. I did it.
Just imagined it.
Here's what they look like
without any paint.
That was gonna be
some nice roses.
And then...
I love her.
I am your dad.
Medically or whatever.
Your mom saying that...
You switched to all-bran cereal?
In your letter.
You said you switched
to all-bran cereal.
You like it?
Heard it's good for your heart.
I like that shirt.
Fuck, man! Jesus.
You say he's got
a problem with his head.
If he's got a hole in
his head or something...
I knew a kid in Clatskanie
with a hole in his head.
It's not a hole. He doesn't
have a hole in his head.
We found him one time...
on our neighbor's roof.
Playing with the satellite dish.
Sandy's threatened
to kill me before.
A couple times.
She ever tell you
she wanted to set you on fire?
She has, actually.
I've heard suffering
builds character.
A guy-- a guy I work with
says that.
What if
he eats out of a bowl?
If you give Ralph a bowl
instead of a plate,
does he do the same thing?
We've tried everything.
It's hard to even get
off the ground with him.
We could go back.
I got that mobile telephone.
That truck is--
that truck is Tracy's,
like I told you.
But I took it.
Drove off with it.
She didn't give it to me.
She called me up the next day
and yelled at me about it,
she said I could keep it if
I promised to be gone forever.
She said...
"If I'd have known all along
getting rid of you
was just the price
of that piece of shit truck,
I would have done the trade-in
a long time ago."
I told her I was
worth more than the car.
She was losing money
on the deal.
She couldn't stop laughing.
I could always make her laugh.
Your mother, too.
I don't think she thought
much of me, but...
I do think
she thought I was funny.
Yeah, she-- she does always
talk about dancing with you.
Trying to teach you
to dance, and...
hating you, and--
and Christmas.
She likes to talk about
the early-on things.
I thought you were
gonna be fatter.
More out of shape.
I switched to all-bran.
When'd you start smoking?
You left a few packs
behind in the kitchen.
You have a job?
And you can't make any money
unless you got some
to start with.
That's true.
he wanted us to have all
the same channels that they did.
When he was up on the roof.
Oh, man. My eyes are failing.
Very glad I did not shoot you.
It's a beautiful day.
Have you seen a young boy
running around here?
What kinda boy?
Blond hair. Seven.
Oh. No.
There are these
prison work crews
that work all
throughout these parts.
Those boys tend to run off.
Uh, try to catch 'em.
End up shooting 'em dead
most of the time. It's tragic.
I keep my eyes peeled for 'em,
No seven-year-old boy.
You have any water?
You guys from around here?
You seem like the type.
Can I have one?
That's a heart pill.
Yeah. Go ahead.
All right, um...
We should get going.
I spend a lot of time
in my own stupid company.
I'm sure you'll find Ralph.
Thanks for the water.
You said he's got
a problem with his head.
If he's got a hole in
his head or something--
He doesn't have
a hole in his head.
I understand love.
I do.
We've made each other smaller.
Sandy and me.
We're like...
bad versions of ourselves.
I don't know
what to do about it.
My guess is there is nothing
I really can do about it.
She just yells at me
all the time.
Makes me feel bad for
not making much money.
I tell her I'm doing my best,
I tell her I wanna
be a meteorologist,
or something creative,
and she just...
makes fun of me for it.
Tells me to get a life.
I tell her that she should stop
trying to call in to win prizes
and she just yells at me more.
Tells me that she's
trying to better herself.
I tell her I'm trying
to do the same thing.
I thought of you
a couple months ago because
I wanted to hit her.
I raised my hand up, and...
she screamed at me.
I left the house
for three days because
I didn't want to do anything
stupid and I wanted to be smart.
But, uh...
I couldn't believe it.
We used to be such
big, good people
with ideas about things.
Now I just...
feel sick half the time.
I remember once you were
yelling a lot, and you left,
and Mom dragged your chair
out to the street so
the trash would take it out,
and I just sat in it
and waited for you.
All night long.
I don't know why I did that.
And I remember when I was 13,
you came back
and you probably thought
I was asleep or I wasn't home.
I don't know, but...
you starting breaking things
and Mom started
yelling crazy stuff at you,
and you were yelling,
and then I remember
thinking how much I loved Mom
then, and then you left. And...
she stayed up cleaning.
And while she was cleaning,
she slipped. And...
I remember the sound
of her head hitting the floor.
When people would talk
to me about their dads,
I always wondered if I should
count that as the last time
I ever saw you
or if I should just make it
something... different.
I don't want Sandy to end up
in a nervous hospital.
In a bad kinda way.
I drive around
the neighborhood sometimes.
I get drunk and...
I think about other people.
I wish,
in my mind,
that she'd die somehow.
Laying next to me
in bed sleeping.
She doesn't feel any hurt.
Something... straightforward.
She could run into
a lumber truck or something.
Die while getting
her nails done.
Have Ralph with her.
I want him to feel
even less hurt than
I want her to feel hurt.
I don't want him
to feel hurt at all.
I want him to feel good,
in fact.
Feeling hurt is
a very bad feeling.
I don't know if these
type of people exist,
but, uh...
I want Ralph to feel
very limited hurt.
You know,
for him to be
one of those people.
If there's a God and he knows
what I'm thinking, then...
I'm in trouble.
I read in high school one time
that God is real,
and this book had scientific
evidence and everything.
I hope Sandy will
be happy one day.
I hope Ralph will be fine
and get to grow up.
You and me are different.
I wished
you were dead sometimes.
When you were little.
Ralph will be okay.
Nice day.
Yeah, it's really nice day.
What are you drinking?
Sloe Gin Rickey.
It's a nice drink.
What kinda stuff does Sandy win?
When she calls in
for the prizes.
What kinda stuff does she win?
She's never won anything.
Even though
she calls in every day.
Just sits by the phone.
Hangs up and calls again.
Switches from station after
station looking for a new prize.
"Am I the hundredth caller?"
Whatever it is. But...
she's never won anything, even
though she calls in every day.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Why are you saying thank you?
I think I won that round.
- You could mix vinegar
with some water.
That might buff out those spots
on your car that you got from
parking it under that tree.
Just wipe it with a rag
or something.
Ralph might like
the paintings of those
three ducks that's there.
You could give that to him.
There's a good steakhouse out
Maupin if you're ever there.
You could take
your family there.
They have a nice menu.
I don't remember the name.
I wonder why Sandy likes
the produce section so much.
You know, if I'd have met her
I'd have asked her that.
I would have said,
"Hey, Sandy. Why do you like
the produce section so much?"
And she'd go, "I don't know."
And I'd go,
"You just know somehow?"
And she'd go, "I guess so."
And I'd go,
"But the job is good?"
And she'd say, "Yeah, but
sometimes I get the runaround."
And I'd go, "Life in general
is kinda good, though? Right?"
I'd ask her that.
And then I'd tell her
I understand what it's like
to get the runaround.
We'd just have a conversation.
Just kinda talk.
And this--
Assuming, you know,
that she would want to
have a conversation with me,
but if she did have
a conversation with me,
I'm just kinda guessing
that this is how it would go.
And maybe we'd--
maybe we'd be in the kitchen.
And then you come in
and we'd just be talking,
getting to know each other.
And we'd all just
exchange a look, and...
we'd just be getting
to know each other.
Just for a while now.
That'd be nice.
But all right. See ya later.