Best Sellers (2021) Movie Script

[clock ticking]
[typewriter clacks]
[phone rings]
[man coughs]
[phone ringing]
[picks up and slams
phone receiver]
[typing resumes]
[cat meows]
[phone rings]
[phone ringing]
He's dead. Bugger off!
[rock music]
[typewriter dings]
[phone ringing]
[glass shatters]
[cat meows]
Oh, fuck.
[classical music]
All right,
let's hear it.
Okay, um...
"'Dragons of Orion'
is boring, absurd,
"and, frankly, it may only
be fit for a prison library
"as an added form of punishment.
"This is the third subpar
release in a row
"from the once renowned
publishing house
"of J.F. Stanbridge.
"It's difficult to tell
if Lucy Stanbridge
"is trying to distance herself
from the series literary fare
"that made the house relevant,
"or if she's simply
not up to the task.
"Perhaps it's time
to give it up, Lucy.
"You clearly didn't inherit
your father's golden touch
for nurturing series material."
- [scoffs]
- What does he know? Nothing.
Young adults don't read
"The Times."
I mean...
Young adults do not
read "The Times."
No, not "The Times."
"Dragons of Orion" is dumb.
All caps, "dumb."
It's trying to be Harry
but it's not even
a bad "Twilight."
- Who is that?
- Tracy's book club.
She has over
four million followers.
But seriously,
who would write this?
[vibrating and chiming]
I'd rather just starve
than read another page
of this
- brain-sucking...
- Oh, shit.
...mind torture of a book.
I have to get out of here.
[classical music playing]
You're the best.
You're the best, kiddo.
You're the best.
[cell phone chiming]
[classical music]
Rachel, we need our own
Drew Davis.
We need to look within.
This is not
brain-sucking mind torture.
Burn it.
We need relevant writers
that can make us relevant again,
Who do we have in the pipeline?
Lily Dahl, next spring.
Libraries love her.
Bookstores, not so much.
- Mario Actavio.
- Mario Actavio. Yeah.
We need books that sell outside
of Latin America, please.
Henry Dudston.
Yeah, you know,
I got his first three chapters.
It's incomprehensible.
I think he's using again.
- That's the pipeline.
- That's the pipeline?
Everyone else is dead
or unaffordable.
Really? Ahem...
Is there anyone, um...
I don't know, is there anyone
dead we can revive?
Maybe a manuscript
in the basement or something?
- [sighs]
- Maybe, but pointless.
- And he's not dead.
- Who?
Harris Shaw.
Really? I thought he was dead.
Well, no one has heard of him
since your dad published him.
What's his advance?
It was likely negotiated
in the '70s,
so I'd imagine
it's relatively small.
Let's look up his contract.
Wait, still, Lucy...
- What?
- [laughs]
He hasn't written anything
since "Atomic Autumn."
Actually, it's all
he's ever written,
and that was almost
50 years ago.
Great. That means
that he's had a lot of time
to come up with something new,
Let's do it.
I mean, he could be dead,
Okay, am I crazy?
Tell me I'm reading that right.
a $25,000 advance,
and it looks like
it was already paid.
That means he owes us a book,
- No.
- He owes us...
- I mean...
- Oh, my God.
I wouldn't...
Harris Shaw owes us
a goddamn book.
- Whoa, whoa, whoa.
- Oh, yes.
This is exactly what we need.
This... This could...
This could save the house.
Hold on.
Hold on, there's more.
- There's more. There's more.
- What? I knew it.
- Two books.
- Ha.
The legendary Harris Shaw
owes us a book.
- [murmuring]
- Okay, stop mumbling.
- Say it out loud. Out, out.
- There will be no edits.
There will be no edits
or revisions to the draft
submitted by the author.
- Uh...
- What?
Yeah. In exchange,
the author must promote the book
in accordance with
the publisher's request.
Let me see that. Why would
my father agree to this?
Let's just forget about it
and move on to something
more realistic, okay?
Well, doesn't matter.
Harris Shaw is a legend...
- He's a drunk, he's a recluse.
- He is someone that captures...
He's a madman, okay?
You know that story about he
shot his assistant once...?
[phone line trilling]
[line disconnects]
Let's try again.
Really? I mean,
he's probably...
- What was it?
- Okay.
I'm sorry, darling.
You know?
I knew it was stupid
and foolish and rubbishy.
You know bloody telephones.
Telephones are bullshite,
aren't they?
- Hey.
- [cat mewls]
This is crazy.
We don't even know if he lives
in Westchester anymore.
Well, I don't know.
I guess we'll find out.
Did you know he left Britain
to evade taxes?
Yeah, a lot of famous people
do that.
And he was thrown out of
Ireland for disorderly behavior.
So? He's opinionated.
Ireland, Lucy.
They invented
disorderly behavior.
And here we go again.
He shot his last
because he mistook him
for a bear.
- Oh, I don't believe that.
- How is that even possible?
I don't believe...
You can't believe everything
they put on those websites,
Anyone can write that stuff.
It's fiction.
- They went to court for it.
- I don't believe it.
No way. He didn't shoot anyone.
We're screwed.
Okay, this is it.
Holy parking tickets.
"Piss off."
- Yeah.
- Hmm.
Well, it was a lovely drive.
Let's go.
Oh, come on.
That's probably a joke.
looks pretty serious.
Let's go around back.
Come on. Come on.
See, I think "piss off"
pertains to the whole property.
We're just checking on him,
- Maybe he needs our help.
- [sighs]
You don't know.
A lot of neighbors here.
You're officially
Rachel, I don't care, okay?
We need this,
all right?
Fine. Fine.
Probably dead.
Mummified in some
rocking chair.
- Lucy!
- It's an adventure, right?
"Piss off." It says, "piss off."
[jiggles doorknob]
Mr. Shaw?
Okay, we're officially,
officially trespassing.
It's fine.
Look at all these books.
- [mewls]
- Oh! Oh!
[gun cocks]
Uh-oh! We're not bears!
We're not bears!
Didn't you see
the signs?
I can't stand people
who can't read.
I'm Lucy Stanbridge,
from Stanbridge Publishing.
Thank you.
This is Rachel.
We're so sorry
to disturb you.
Love what you've done
with the place.
It's nice.
That's a beautiful cane.
What kind of wood
is that?
Blue whale's dick.
You're Joe's daughter.
Yes. I'm Lucy.
How is that venal,
toughy-nosed old git?
Um, he's...
not, um...
Not what?
He left the company to me.
He left the company to you?
Yeah, that's what I said.
Joe spoke very highly of you,
and can I just say,
"Atomic Autumn," wow,
that novel is...
I heard your mother
hung herself.
She suffered
from depression.
Where's my check?
What check?
The piece of paper that
you change for a sum of money,
the price of the reprint
of "Atomic Autumn."
Yeah, no, that's not why
we're here, Mr. Shaw.
Then why the bloody hell
are you?
Good question.
We at Stanbridge Publishing
were wondering
if you're working
on anything new.
The world doesn't need
anything new from me.
It's been a real pleasure,
Mr. Shaw.
No, we're not done yet.
On the contrary.
I think the world is ready
for new words by you.
Specifically Stanbridge
Rachel, contract.
Now, I know this is from
a long time ago.
If you look here...
I believe that
is your signature.
- Yeah.
- Yes.
So as you can see,
you owe us a book.
Got any manuscripts
collecting dust
on any of these shelves?
Come on.
Anything you want
to show me?
I know my dad is the only editor
you've ever worked with, but...
I mean, if I could do a tenth
of what my dad did for you
and "Atomic Autumn,"
then I would have gotten you
a tenth of the way
to a Pulitzer, right?
From the root
to the fruit.
- You think that gun was loaded?
- Think that cane was really...
[lighter snaps and lights]
[dramatic music]
I live my life
exactly as I want to
by my own rules
and own standards.
Yeah, I've always been
very interested in writing.
And I remember
when I was a boy,
I always read books about
great families and houses.
But is that... I mean,
that's really your sheet
angle, isn't it?
My wife Elizabeth
is a tremendous anchor for me,
is my whole life.
Well, the one thing
you've both got in common
is extraordinary amounts
of money that both of you...
I mean, do you think
that you're worth it?
I remember
when I left school,
everybody went into
a regular job,
and I knew they were gonna get
a good living all their lives.
Whereas I could have been
penniless my entire life.
And I was paid on a gamble.
[strikes keyboard]
Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you.
Fuck you. Fuck you."
[punching keys]
I'm really happy for you,
I am. It's a great deal
for both of us.
Jack's right.
We got a good deal here.
Sorry, the name
of the publishing house
still stays intact.
Of course.
Of course.
- Bottom of six.
- Absolutely. Yeah.
[car horn honking distantly]
[tires screech]
[loud crash]
- [car horns honking]
- [angry shouting]
- What are you doing?
- Sod off.
- [indistinct shouting]
- You cut me off, man.
Move your car!
You're in the fucking way.
- Get the fuck out of the way.
- Oh, my God.
Lucy, I'm really not out
to get you here.
Believe it or not,
I'm actually trying to help.
I am selling you my catalogue,
and you're trying to help me,
Jack? How is that?
I'm offering to keep
your father's legacy intact.
His legacy is intact.
Of course it is.
Of course.
[elevator dings]
You think he should have
given the company to you?
I... Did I say that?
I never said that.
- You don't have to say it.
- He, on the other hand,
always called me the son
he never had, so...
- You weren't family.
- No, that's true.
But I came pretty close, though,
didn't I?
[elevator dings]
Don't bother.
I know the way.
[upbeat music]
Holy shit.
[clears throat]
Your pound of flesh,
silver spoon.
You trying to drive up
the price, is that what this is?
Well, a new Shaw book
does add value to the catalogue.
Shoot me a number.
- There's no longer a number.
- No, no, no, no.
There's publishing,
there's marketing costs.
You're not equipped
to handle this.
That's none of your business,
is it?
He's got a cult following
at best.
Hemingway had a cult
Yeah, Hemingway
had Max Perkins to edit him.
What the hell is that
supposed to mean?
Lucy, be realistic.
Your father shaped
"Atomic Autumn"
into a best seller.
Who's going to edit this one?
"The Future Is X-Rated."
It sounds like something
from the '80s.
How do you know
if it's any good?
If my dad believed in him,
I believe in him.
Nice weather
we're having, huh?
Very much the same
every day, so...
Every day, same...
Same weather.
You are in over your head.
- What are you talking about?
- Kid...
get me a Johnnie Walker
Black Label.
Uh, okay.
It's not some
silly YA novel.
It's out of your league.
You know it and I know it.
Do we have
any Black Label?
Get out.
It's fitting
that the writer
who put this place
on the map
is the man who's going
to wipe it clear off.
Phil, we are publishing
this manuscript, okay?
Well, he's right.
You can't afford
the publishing costs,
let alone the advances
on the books already coming in.
Well, then we will
borrow it.
The banks aren't going
to lend you any more,
not even with this.
Then transfer it
from my trust.
Lucy, that trust was meant
to look after you.
And I was meant to look after
the publishing house.
[door opens]
Times have changed.
So how a book
is released today
has become just as meaningful
as its content.
I won't do
the bloody tour.
Mr. Shaw, um...
Give me a call
when the check comes in.
You are aware of the contract
that you signed with my father.
The one that states
that you do the tour,
or I edit the book.
So those are your choices.
I'll be damned if I let
the incompetent hand
of nepotism molest my words...
silver spoon.
I'm just thinking about
what's best for the book.
And you think that's you.
You snarky dilettante.
Those are your choices.
All right.
But just the tour.
And you got to take care
of Hemmy.
- Hemmy?
- Hemmy's my cat.
He needs medical attention
three times a day.
Great. Rachel's great
with cats.
Jeez, my roommate,
she's allergic to cats.
That's okay.
You can stay at my place.
- Not a problem.
- Okay.
Oh, yeah, and I'll need
plenty of
Johnnie Walker Black Label,
White Wolf cigars,
and shelled peanuts.
The salted kind.
Of course.
Also, I don't want
to get up before noon.
Um, I don't do interviews.
And I like my...
[operatic music]
And now, it is my great pleasure
to introduce a lion
of American literature.
One of the most controversial
writers of our time...
a national treasure...
You know what? Make that
an international treasure.
An iconoclast.
"An iconoclast."
The author
of "The Future Is X-Rated"...
...Mr. Harris Shaw.
You would have loved that
word, wouldn't you, darling?
Who the bloody hell
are you staring at?
At least I wrote
my own books.
His life's work
has touched all of us.
Harris Shaw?
There he is.
Thank you. Thank you.
There he is.
Thank you.
Good evening.
[camera shutters click]
I came here tonight
to read to you
from my book.
But I have found...
a piece of literature
more compelling
and more honest
than anything
I could write.
And I want to share it
with you tonight.
September 1977.
"Lindsay had the ass
of a 12-year-old boy.
"And the kind of tits
"that hung off her
like drops of fresh
morning dew."
Dew. Dew.
[indistinct chatter]
So, the profile I made him
is blowing up.
- It's off the charts.
- Thank you for doing that.
Okay, I'll talk to you after.
Oh, my God, you really have
the tiger by the tail here.
He's outrageous.
That's Harris Shaw.
That was absolutely horrifying.
But somehow you have over 20,000
followers already.
Christ had followers.
It didn't end well for him.
The Bible was a best seller,
wasn't it?
Lucy Stanbridge.
There you are.
Fuck. Shit, shit.
Okay, this man
that is coming towards us
is an absolute nightmare.
He thinks he's Truman Capote.
He has an insane ego.
You have to be nice to him.
And the great Harris Shaw.
Penthouse letters
at a book launch.
Harris, this is Halpern Nolan,
the book reviewer
for "The Times."
I don't like book critics.
Well, I can't help you there.
Did you have a look
at my book, Halprick?
- It's Halpern.
- It's Halpern.
I did.
And I found it frankly
totally pessimistic.
- Well, it has a happy ending.
- Please.
The last woman on earth
is left barren,
and the last man is impotent.
And when they finally
do conceive,
mother and baby die
in childbirth.
How the hell
is that a happy en...?
- [choking]
- Harris.
You still are fucking up
the best, Halprick.
- Harris, let him go.
- You're bullshite.
You're all bullshite!
Harris, get off of him.
What the hell
is the matter with you?
You will be hearing
from my attorney.
You, stay.
Halpern. Halpern.
Rachel? Call Phil.
Who are you looking at?
[indistinct chattering]
Fuck off.
- Halpern!
- He tried to kill me.
I'm calling the police.
[camera shutters click]
You can't cancel the reading.
The book is brilliant
and Shaw is trending, okay?
You know what that means?
[phone ringing]
He's trending online, you know?
Right up there with, uh...
Just hold on
for a second. warming
and obese cats.
He is not homophobic, okay?
He hates everybody.
He hates children.
He hates families. He hates me.
Line two.
And, in fact,
"it's all bullshite"
is now the number two...
uh, most popular hashtag.
"Bullshite" is not
a bad word.
It just means "bullshit"
in British.
You know, British people
are crazy.
And, by the way,
social media does not represent
the real world, okay?
No one has a problem
with Harris Shaw.
He's a very kind old man
who is a...
is a... is a legend.
You publish him first, okay?
So don't look at me like that.
- Yeah?
- Hi.
How's it going?
Everyone's canceling.
The Lizard Lounge has it.
Mm-hmm. What?
The bar in Boston?
They just tweeted an invitation
for Harris to do a reading.
Yeah, it's a bar.
Forget it.
Not just any bar.
It's where Harris performed his
spoken word back in the day.
It's where he read
his unpublished stories.
- It's where your father...
- Discovered him.
It's kind of perfect.
Book him.
And I'll go bail him out.
He's already booked.
Book any damn barn,
any city that canceled us.
We are doing this tour.
[car door closes]
I am not riding
in that crotch rocket.
Wee! Whoo!
Sorry. I am a good driver.
I just...
This is backwards for me.
This is exciting.
Man, I used to beg my dad
to take me on book tours
when I was little.
But he never would.
He always told me
that the road
was no place for a young girl.
do you remember that cartoon
with the coyote
and the roadrunner?
Do you remember that?
We used to watch it
on television,
and my dad, he would point
to the screen and say,
"You can come on tour with me
when you're as quick
and crafty
as that roadrunner."
And I never knew
what that meant.
You don't want to talk?
I don't want to talk to you.
[power window whirs open]
[rock music]
[indistinct chatter]
The roadrunner's top speed
is about 20 miles an hour.
And the coyote is 43-plus.
So this cartoon
is bullshite.
Truth is always
the first casualty.
It's all bullshite.
This is a book tour,
you see?
So why don't I
read something?
- Whoo!
- Come on, dude.
"Bullshite. Bullshite.
- [laughter]
- "Bullshite. Bullshite.
"Bullshite. Bullshite.
- Bullshite.
- Bullshite!
- Bullshite. Bullshite.
- [excited chatter]
[all, chanting]
Bullshite! Bullshite! Bullshite!
Yeah. Bullshite.
[all, chanting]
Bullshite! Bullshite! Bullshite!
Bullshite! Bullshite!
[crowd cheers]
- [urinating]
- [crowd cheering]
[all, chanting]
Bullshite! Bullshite! Bullshite!
He's great.
[indistinct chatter]
[woman laughs]
Just a reminder
to everybody
that this man wrote a book.
That it's for sale right now.
I got it live.
Yeah, come on.
Another pour,
will you?
Yes, finally,
someone that reads.
So, got T-shirts?
I have books.
yeah, you should sell T-shirts.
I'll keep that in mind.
[funky music]
I thought that went
rather well.
You know, Harris,
it would be helpful
if at the next reading
you would actually read
from the book.
If you won't let me edit it,
at least let me sell it,
okay, Harris?
Don't forget the books.
[indistinct TV chatter]
[turns tap water off]
What the fuck?
Bloody hell.
["Last of the Steam Powered
Trains" by the Kinks plays]
Like the last of the good old
Choo-choo trains
I huff and puff
Till I blow this world away
I'm going to read
from the book.
[crowd cheers]
"Bullshite. Bullshite.
[engine starts]
I'm the last
Of the good old-fashioned
Steam-powered trains
[crowd cheers]
[all, chanting]
Bullshite! Bullshite! Bullshite!
Bullshite! Bullshite!
Bullshite! Bullshite!
[engine starts]
Bullshite. Bullshite.
[crowd whooping]
Bullshite. Bullshite.
Bullshite. Bullshite.
[all, chanting]
Bullshite! Bullshite!
Bullshite! Bullshite!
I don't get it.
Hipsters are supposed to love
old things, aren't they?
Thrift stores and vinyl.
Why isn't the book selling?
We just haven't hit
critical mass.
I may be in critical condition
before that happens.
Can I take your order?
Hold on.
Oh... hi.
- I would like an...
- Okay.
- Hi, can you hear me?
- May I take your order?
Can you speak up?
Damn it.
Hold on.
Trust funds, am I right?
Trust what?
Trust... and have fun,
and everything
will be all right.
- That's my motto.
- What are you talking about?
I don't need your stupid
mottos, Rachel,
I need book sales.
- Excuse me?
- Hi.
You can take my order.
All right, you know what?
Forget it.
Can I ask you a question?
- Hello?
- Have you heard of Harris Shaw?
That old crazy dude
from the Internet?
Yes, yes, him.
Have you read his book?
He wrote a book?
He pissed on a book.
I didn't know he wrote one.
Odd. This is what
I'm talking about.
Something must be wrong.
Why don't you check
with the vendors,
see if the book is placed
Of course, I'm on it.
See if something got lost
in the system.
Are you going
to order something?
What do you want?
Hi, I'm with
Stanbridge Publishing.
This needs to be
in the window.
Uh, we're actually focused
on female empowerment
books this month.
Have you met
Lucy Stanbridge?
She's the living embodiment
of female empowerment, okay?
You know, if she were here
right now,
she might even tell you
to get your shit together.
So get your shit together.
Thank you.
What about talk shows?
He's too unpredictable
for network TV.
But the booker at Fallon
said maybe,
if there's a cancelation.
Yes, wake up!
Then cancel someone.
What do you mean,
cancel someone?
I don't know,
put out a hit.
Put some ether on a rag
or something.
I don't care how you do it,
just do it!
Oh, no, no, no.
He's sleeping.
He's alive.
He's sleeping.
He's an old man.
He's Harris Shaw,
the famous author.
Let's go.
Do you want to buy a book?
I have...
- Wake up!
- Lucy?
Harris, come on!
Why doesn't anyone
want to buy your fucking book?
- Has Jack called?
- Repeatedly. He won't stop.
you told me not to answer.
Okay, well, maybe next time
you should.
Look, Harris is already
a legend.
But he's also
a brilliant writer.
Now, get him to read
from the book.
God, you're funny, Rachel.
- I'm being serious.
- I'm serious.
I'm nothing to Harris.
I can't get him to do anything.
All I am to him
is is fucking driver
and his scotch Sherpa, okay?
You're Lucy Stanbridge.
You're also his editor
and his publisher.
Right, two things he does not
want me to be, believe me.
It's not happening.
- [phone chimes]
- Did you order something
from Logo & Go apparel?
I think they're T-shirts
or something.
What? I can't hear you.
You're breaking up.
[pounding on door]
Bugger off.
It's your alcohol!
They're 20 each.
Two for 35.
I'll throw in the book.
I'll throw in
two books.
Give you a little discount.
You don't even have to buy it
if you just wear it.
Dive bars and T-shirts.
It's impressive.
It's... It's...
It's part of the new
Harris Shaw lifestyle
brand approach.
What's that, the Martha
Stewart of hard living?
Kale is out.
Scotch is in.
What are you doing here?
Well, I've been
following your tour
and, you know, I wanted
to come check in on you.
You got time for a drink?
I'm buying.
Okay, I just...
I just want to say,
just because I'm giving up
does not mean that I'm going
to let you fuck me on this deal.
I don't...
I don't want
to play any games.
No more games.
I don't want to play games.
No more games.
I just feel like I have
something that you want.
- Yeah.
- And so,
I'm going to take
full advantage of it.
- Okay.
- So we'll just...
We'll just call Phil
in the morning, right?
- It's already taken care of.
- Okay.
- Wait.
- What?
- What did you say?
- It's already taken care of.
- It's done, it's good.
- Wait, wait a minute.
How could you...
How could you two
negotiate without me?
- It's my company.
- Don't worry.
It's a fair number.
It's a lower number,
isn't it?
Isn't it?
Oh, Jesus.
Of course it's a lower number.
- You're further in the hole now.
- Oh, my God.
The book still adds value.
No one's interested
in the book.
They're interested
in this freak show...
We haven't hit
critical mass, okay?
We're not there yet.
But we will be.
You're dragging the man's
legacy through the mud.
Oh, whatever.
Harris's legacy
is on him, okay?
I'm talking about
your father's.
Get out.
Oh, and when you talk
to Phil in the morning,
please tell him
that he's fucking fired.
[car engine starts]
The book needed a more
cohesive shape.
A greater unifying thing.
A great editor strains
the metaphorical dregs
from the wine,
and it's clear Mr. Shaw
needs a great editor,
as this new vintage
will not age well, I'm afraid.
Succinctly put,
as usual, Mr. Nolan.
But do you think fans of Shaw's
seminal novel, "Atomic Autumn,"
might still appreciate
"The Future Is X-Rated"?
Mr. Shaw and I
have our differences,
- but this isn't personal.
- [coughing]
The book is determined
to offend every ideology
that apparently brought on
its so-called event.
It's a laundry list
of grievances
rather than a thoughtful
of how this world came to be.
So, what do you make
of this so-called tour?
Well, while the book
is far from perfect,
I think it deserves better
than its author's urine.
If it's legitimacy
the publisher's looking for,
a circus isn't the best way
to achieve it.
To quote from the book itself,
"Art is not propaganda.
It's an expression
of the truth."
"Art is not propaganda.
It is an expression
of the truth."
Your words.
I want you to read
from the book.
Go and get me
another bloody bottle.
There will be no edits
or revisions
to the draft submitted
by the author.
In exchange, the author
must promote the book
in accordance with
the publisher's request.
I am the publisher,
and my request is that you read
from the book.
It is not selling, okay?
No one is buying it.
You're not very good at your
job, are you, silver spoon?
That is not fair.
You didn't even give me
a chance to edit it.
This book needed
a more cohesive shape.
A great unifying theme.
That's a quote
from public radio.
We're not exactly
Susan-bloody-Sontag, are we?
- No, I'm...
- [chuckles]
From the root
to the fruit.
What does that even mean?
It means that you don't have
the fucking freedom
to tell me what to do.
If your words
are so fucking perfect,
then why didn't you
read from it?
Why don't you go and get me
another fucking bottle.
Fine, drink yourself to death.
Meanwhile, I'm going to edit
your fucking stupid book.
Look, this is me
editing your book.
And I'm doing such a great job.
You know why?
Because I got a perfect score
on my SATs.
I got a 3.9 grade point average
at Vassar.
I was president of my class
every fucking year!
I was captain
of the cross-country team.
I worked all the time, okay?
I had no friends
and no personal life,
because I was working
and I was really good at it.
Oh, but all that
is bloody bullshite, isn't it?
It's all fucking bullshite.
I don't need this.
Neither do you, clearly.
[door opens]
Go and get me
a fucking bottle.
Go on.
[door opens]
Fucking hell.
[door closes]
[crowd cheering]
- [applause stops]
- Shh.
[dramatic music]
Ahem. Read! Read!
[all, chanting]
Read! Read!
Read! Read! Read!
Read! Read! Read! Read!
Read! Read! Read!
Read! Read! Read! Read!
- [overlapped chatter]
- Don't go now.
You guys, don't go now.
This is bullshite!
All right, I'll be back.
Start the music.
[rock music playing]
You said you were
going to read.
You fucking read it to them.
They're not here for me.
And I'm not fucking here
for them.
You know what?
It wouldn't matter anyway,
because no one fucking
reads anymore.
[indistinct chattering]
Hashtag "bullshite!"
- Read! Read! Read!
- [laughter]
They're all pissed in there,
you know.
Bunch of twits.
Read! Read!
I'll be right back.
Don't move.
Hey! Excuse me!
Bullshite, sir.
I'm really sorry, darling.
"Eden was gone.
"No longer within reach.
It seems God was done
with mistakes."
Is that better?
And you're going
to do the whole book like this?
Well, no.
I mean, just the best
passages, sections.
Well, that was
too melodramatic.
Okay, well, we can...
You can choose...
whatever you like.
Mm-hmm. I'll try.
"The plate did not come
from a pest or insect.
"It came from man gazing
into his own navel
instead of into
one another's eyes."
Is that what you were
looking for?
What do you think?
Really? That wasn't
too melodramatic for you?
What else you got?
I was thinking...
"The richest place on earth
had become the graveyards,
because that's where
dreams were buried."
That's some heavy shit.
"He was happy to die.
"Surrender was all
he had left.
"Nothing more
could happen to him.
Nothing more could be taken
from him."
"Watching the only other
person left on the planet die
"was a feeling like no other.
"The world instantly felt
ten times as vast and cold,
and gravity seemed
to loosen its grip."
"It was as if
the murals she painted
"were always intended for him.
"He had become the stranger
who might see them
and find hope."
"There were no phones.
"No TVs, no politicians.
"No kings or queens.
"No banks, no neighbors
and no movies stars.
"Of course,
God was still around.
But it's not like he'd ever
made a difference."
- Wow. Look, Hemmy.
- [cat meowing]
Look, Hemmy. Look.
Do you know who that is?
That's your papa.
Yeah, Harris Shaw.
This here's your trust fund,
[computer beeps]
So, the book is selling.
Yes. Sales are up.
All because
of this gimmick.
Well, I think
what they're reading
has something
to do with it.
I guess you found a way
to mess with me words after all.
[upbeat blues music]
[indistinct chatter]
Check it out, Shaw.
I'm taking your words
to the grave, man.
Your mother
reared a failed twit.
I can't believe
I'm saying this,
but we are sold out.
I'm so sorry.
We are completely sold out.
We're sold out.
Um, announcement!
We are completely sold out
of books, unfortunately,
but please buy them online.
Just use the discount code
for the discount.
- [all] Bullshite!
- Right it is.
We are completely sold out.
What? Yes!
Yes, yes, yes!
Okay, well,
you're not going to believe
what I'm about to tell you.
What? Good news or bad news?
I just got a call
from that talent coordinator
from the "Tonight Show."
They want Harris
to plug the book.
Oh, my God. Okay.
I know, I know.
- Tomorrow.
- Tomorrow?
As in, like, tomorrow?
Like, he's on the show
You'll be ready, right?
You'll be ready. Great.
Good job. Great work.
Harris is going to be great.
Talk soon.
What the bloody hell
are you doing?
Role play. Role play.
- What?
- I'm going to be the host.
You're going to be you...
except nicer.
More likeable.
Come on.
I'm bloody comfortable.
I'm not moving.
Ugh! Fine.
We'll do it here.
Again, I'm the host.
You're you, but censored.
- Yeah.
- Okay, action.
Thank you, thank you.
What a great audience.
Hey, did you hear
about the hungry clock?
It went back for seconds.
Ha! Your father should have
left you a bloody talk show.
Yeah. Okay.
Can you just please humor me?
- Okay, go on, then.
- Mr. Shaw,
what is your book about?
Well, it's about 350 pages.
- [laughs]
- That's very funny, Mr. Shaw.
It's been, what, 40 years
since anyone has seen
or heard from you?
What have you been up to
all this time?
I've been drinking.
You can't drink
on television, Harris.
This is going
to happen tomorrow.
- Oh.
- I'm going to ask you again.
Harris, it's been
a really long time
since anyone's seen you.
What have you been up to
all this time?
- Drinking.
- Goddamn it.
But why publish now? Huh?
What was the inspiration
for this new book?
Well, I didn't have
a lot else to do anyway,
so, you know...
- Money and boredom.
- Yeah.
If you're really bored
you start writing.
So you might as well
make some money.
See, people have
switched the channel by now.
You wrote your new book
because of money.
- Yeah, money.
- You know,
- despite your mantra...
- I need the money.
...the very popular
hashtag "bull..." bleep
is sweeping the nation.
But I read the book,
and I happen to think that...
there's an element of truth
behind those words.
That's right.
A profound, deeper meaning
that you're getting at.
Toughy-nosed git.
You can't call the host names.
I'm not talking
to the host.
Go ahead,
give me an example
of the truth in my book.
You want to know
what I think?
Well, you said you knew
about the truth.
Tell me the bloody truth.
Mary and the baby die
during childbirth, right?
And Arthur says that he's going
to bury himself alive
along with them.
But he doesn't do it.
He can't do it.
And your words imply
that he's a coward
because of that.
But I don't...
I don't think that's true.
Because the wealthiest place
on earth is not, as you write,
the graveyard.
It's being alive.
Even if you're left
completely alone.
What you don't realize is that
you have completely failed
to rob the last man
on earth of hope.
That's the truth
that I found.
Oh, my God.
Did you write all this down?
Yeah, it all on the manuscript
in the car.
Go and get the manuscript.
- Really?
- Please.
[door opens and closes]
Bloody hell.
[keys rattle]
[cell phone rings]
- Hey.
- Just so you know,
agents are calling.
They want to send us
What are you talking about?
The call I just got
from Drew Davis's agent
was particularly interesting.
Rachel, do not play with me.
She wants to meet
with you.
She's very intrigued by your
commitment to Harris Shaw.
Oh, my God.
Harris Shaw.
Fucking I knew it.
I knew it.
- How's he doing?
- You know what?
I think he's starting
to respect me.
I think he wants
to see my edits.
You made edits?
I'm sure they're great.
But don't show it to him.
Well, he asked to see them.
Lucy, why rock the boat
when you're this close
to shore?
Yeah, no. Yeah.
You know what I mean, right?
Yeah. Okay.
Have a good night.
Unity of effect?
Unity of effect.
It's the effect of the book
on the reader
is the purpose of the piece.
- Oh, yeah? Ah.
- It's the unity of effect?
You mean that your
Papa Stanbridge,
he donated a wing
to your school
so that you could understand
this bloody phrase.
Just forget about it.
Just... You know what?
Just forget...
Forget this ever happened, okay?
I don't fucking forget
You want to know something?
You are trying to accomplish
two things at once,
when you only need
to accomplish one.
Can you remember that?
Sometimes a man
has to dare
to be ambitious.
For instance,
I'm about to smoke...
and piss...
at the same time.
- Ugh.
- Yes.
And I think you should stick
to your young adult bullshite
that you keep
churning out.
[clears throat and coughs]
You like what I...
You like what I had
to say earlier.
You asked to see my edits.
You said you wanted
to see them.
Fucking fraud.
You fucking fraud.
I don't care what you think,
I don't fucking care.
- Yeah?
- [retching]
Well, it doesn't look like it
from here.
You know how much I care
about you and your famous
stupid book?
I've never even read
"Atomic Autumn."
I've nev...
- [retching]
- Okay, okay.
Wait. Hold on.
Heave away.
I've got you,
all right?
- You're done. You're done.
- [spits]
Okay, give me
your hand.
Give me your hand.
You know,
my dad told me
that the greatest day
of his life
was when he published
your book.
If he chose the book
over you...
he chose wrong.
I always wanted to be
just like him.
The great Joseph Stanbridge.
"You're the best, kiddo.
You're the best."
That's what he used to say to
me after I'd read to him.
So we beat on...
boats against the current,
borne back ceaselessly
into the past.
The past.
Oh, well,
is that a fact?
It was Elizabeth's
favorite book.
What was she like?
You ever hear people talk about
the one that got away?
Well, I was the one
who married her.
Well, if she was so special,
why the hell
would she marry you?
Well, even the worst of us
get lucky.
Hey, I'll show you
This is a picture
of us when...
we were at this book award.
Look the hell up.
You see? See there?
- Mm-hmm.
- That's a beer stein.
You know what it was full of?
It's so typical
of Elizabeth.
I'm going to read
your book, Harris.
I'm going to read it.
Oh, yeah?
I don't doubt it.
[distant traffic ambience]
You look like
you might need this.
Thank you.
What are you doing?
I thought if I made
another pass,
we might reissue the book.
- Yeah.
- Yeah?
And maybe we could work
on the next one together.
Next one?
Well, after you go
on the show tonight,
they're going to want more.
Let's just not wait
another 40 years, okay?
[door opens]
[cell phone rings]
So, we have to make a quick stop
along the way.
Some business.
I'm in no hurry.
Okay, good.
It won't take long.
I told you, go straight
forward and sit like that.
There you go.
Got it.
[seat belt clicks]
[keys jiggle]
[engine starts]
[classical music plays]
So sorry I'm late.
I'm just glad you finally
made it in person.
Yeah. So has there
been a change
in his medication
or his routine?
Everything is the same.
He was fine until he saw
some man on the news.
- Really?
- He was as docile as could be.
And then this.
Holy shit.
Oh, bloody hell.
Sir, are you supposed
to be out of your room?
Sod off.
I'm so sorry. I...
Did you see him do this?
- What's going on?
- Jesus.
This is like a fiendish
incarnation of fucking hell!
Okay, Harris,
can you please wait in the car?
I promise I'll explain
everything later.
Those are my fucking words.
What do you mean, your words?
This. Those are my words
scribbled on that wall.
Who the fuck has done that?
I've never been here.
There's someone here
that wants to see you.
It's Harris Shaw.
He hasn't had
a lucid moment in...
[breathing softly]
Dad, can you hear me?
Daddy, it's Lucy.
Hey, what just happened
in there.
You made out
he was fucking dead.
Harris, why did he
look at you like that?
He knows he's a goddamn
That's what happened
in there.
Right, here we go.
It's all bullshite, right?
That man found you,
That man made you.
My wife made me.
What are you saying?
Joseph pretended
to be a great editor,
but he didn't touch
a fucking word.
That's not true.
Elizabeth did it all.
Joseph, he's not an editor.
He's a bloody thief.
That's not true.
Your precious little daddy
is a fucking liar!
Then why didn't you
fucking tell me that?
If that's true,
then why did you tell everyone?
We didn't have any money.
Elizabeth was pregnant.
She wanted this house
more than anything.
And she said I'll get the
credit on the next book.
It doesn't matter.
She said,
"We'll get it next time."
But, of course,
there wasn't a next time.
I mean, there couldn't
be a next time without her.
I'm nothing...
without her.
You think you're a fraud?
That's it.
Fuck you.
- And leave me alone.
- Harris...
Get out of here.
[dramatic music]
[distant police sirens]
[thunder rumbles]
[horn blares]
- Come on, move it!
- I'm walking over here.
[horns honking]
Get the fuck out of the way.
You're going to get
yourself killed, man.
- Watch it.
- Get out of the way!
Sod off!
[horns blaring]
- Look, it's him.
- Are you sure?
Yeah, look in the window.
OMG, you're Harris Shaw.
Fuck off, you wankers.
Harris Shaw
just called us wankers.
That's so awesome!
What's it mean?
- Hold on.
- Okay.
Fucking fraud.
[lighter clicks]
We'll make it a honeymoon
That never ends
Back of today
No more delay
Can't stand the wait
And not come back again
[monitors beeping]
[somber music]
If it was meant
as a publicity stunt,
it seems to have worked.
The book continues to climb
the "New York Times"
best seller list.
Shaw's no stranger
in controversy,
with incidents
of public indecencies...
And tonight,
people everywhere
are burning the book
in a show of solidarity.
Harris Shaw has certainly
made his mark.
We're all hoping
for a speedy recovery.
Uh, well, we are so thrilled
that you'd even consider us,
Miss Davis.
I want to push boundaries.
Get edgier, Lucy.
I mean,
not "pee on my book" edgy,
but, no,
the culture today,
the man's
"we be provocative."
And given what you've done
with Shaw,
I think you might
be just what I need.
So, does that mean
that there's a provocative book
on the way?
A marriage on the rocks.
A couple decides
to test their compatibility
by attempting to summit
Mount Everest together.
But a fight for their marriage
becomes a fight for their lives.
Nicholas Sparks
meets Jon Krakauer.
- You get me?
- Yeah.
Are you ready for the title?
[cell phone vibrating]
I'm sorry,
this is the hospital.
I'm just going to take this.
Hello? Yes.
So sorry about that.
An emergency.
I'm sorry, I don't understand
what you're saying.
What are you saying?
Heart disease.
Lung cancer.
Cirrhosis of the liver.
Okay, so is there
anything you can do?
I'm afraid there isn't.
I don't understand
what that means.
What are we supposed
to do then?
We help him die.
- [purring]
- Come on out.
Come on, Hemmy.
It's time to go.
- [meows]
- Good boy.
This is crazy.
What about work?
Um, you know,
I can do my end
And what about
Drew Davis?
Drew Davis can wait.
- What is that?
- He needs this. It's his bird.
Hey, handsome.
Looking for a ride?
[upbeat music]
So you're officially
a best seller now.
I should have set myself
on fire sooner.
You know, that would
have saved me
a lot of time and money.
If it makes you feel
any better,
some kids are actually burning
the book after they read it.
You don't have
to stick around, you know.
Maybe I want
to stick around.
It won't be for long.
[wistful music]
Welcome home.
What the hell
did you do?
Not much.
Just tidied up a little bit.
I'm going to go
get your stuff.
Who put a collar on you?
- Come here.
- [meows]
- [door closes]
- Come and be with me.
Come around.
- [mewling]
- Oh, that's it.
Give me a kiss.
Oh, I love you.
I love you so much.
Are you comfortable?
Do you want more blankets
or pillows or...?
No, I'm comfortable
thank you very much.
- Okay.
- Yeah.
[dramatic music]
I read "Atomic Autumn."
I think it's...
really good.
And the ending,
I just...
trying to decide
between him and her freedom.
And then she leaves.
It's just...
God, it's so gutsy, it's...
How did you...?
Why did you do that?
I wanted to write
a cautionary tale,
but my wife only believed
in bold choices.
There were no lies
in her fire.
And you have that same fire,
don't you, love?
- I do?
- Yeah.
I want to go out.
You want to go outside?
Help me get dressed
and I'll tell you why.
[wind chimes jingling]
This is where she used to come
to read.
What happened to her?
Uh, we...
...we lost the baby, and...
Elizabeth went
a week later.
I should have done this
years ago.
When I go...
spread me here.
It's where I belong.
Harris, do you want me
to call anyone?
Like a friend,
or family, or...?
No, the cat's got all the
[laughs and sniffles]
It's time that you do...
[dramatic music]
[doorbell rings]
- Good day, ma'am.
- Hello.
Verne Olson.
Eastern Mutual.
Five hundred thousand dollars?
Really? How is that possible?
He took a line of credit out
against the house in 2005.
This book went
out of print.
Pardon me?
Well, he doesn't have
this kind of money, so...
Harris Shaw?
I find that a little hard
to believe.
He's not going to get
a return on the book
for at least six months.
Well, surely you could
get him an advance, or...?
No. That's not...
Yeah, that's not how it works.
Um, Mr. Olson,
look, this house
is really special.
He's written
his life's work here.
His wife died here.
He wants to live out
his life here.
I mean, what are you going
to do, kick him out?
He's Harris-fucking-Shaw, okay?
This house should be deemed
It should be turned
into a museum or something.
I'm sorry, ma'am.
He pays back the $500,000,
or it'll hit the market
in two weeks.
The buggers just used to call
or send lettuce.
They tried to throw me
out of here.
I'm a best-selling author.
they can't do that, right?
- No?
- No.
- Okay.
- No.
They can't do that.
Can they, Elizabeth?
[inhales deeply and sighs]
Okay, Roxanol ever three
to six hours, remember?
- Mm-hmm.
- Okay.
- Depending on pain.
- Yes.
Lucy, you're finally
on your feet again.
You worked so hard.
Are you 100% positive?
I want to do this.
It's the right thing to do.
Okay. Whatever you need.
I really appreciate this.
Thank you.
You got it.
[upbeat music]
Great. That's great.
So glad this worked out
in the end.
I really do think
it's for the best.
Don't you?
Yeah, you're doing
the right thing here, Luce.
It's going to keep
Joe's legacy alive.
You should feel good about it.
[slides paper]
There you go.
Thank you.
Well, you got
what you wanted, so...
Well, I mean,
to be fair,
I didn't get everything
I wanted, did I?
Oh, you didn't?
[clears throat]
Holy shit.
So sometimes,
this thing jams.
- But...
- [laughs] Lucy.
...sometimes it works.
You want to find out?
He's made you nuts,
hasn't he?
- [cocks hammer]
- I know.
No problem.
Got a meeting with Drew Davis
in an hour.
Don't want to be late.
Tell her I said hi.
[door opens and closes]
[dramatic music]
[keys clacking]
"He had come a long way
to this blue lawn,
"and his dream must have seemed
so close
"that he could hardly fail
to grasp it.
"He did not know that it was
already behind him,
"somewhere back in that vast
obscurity beyond the city,
"where the dark fields
of the republic rolled on
"under the night.
"Gatsby believed
in the green light,
"the orgastic future that
year by year recedes before us.
"It eluded us then,
but that's no matter.
"Tomorrow we will run faster,
"stretch out
our arms farther...
"and one fine morning...
"So we beat on,
"boats against the current...
borne back ceaselessly
into the past."
[wind chimes jingling]
[dramatic music]
My dear Lucy.
You have vanquished my fears.
And for that,
I am forever grateful.
[melodic piano music]
You know my voice.
And you have my trust.
Where I fall short,
make up the distance.
Impose your will
as you see fit.
Be brief. Be brave.
Be truthful.
And maybe throw in some of that
"unity of effect" bullshite.
I leave my words
in capable hands.
Go ahead, mess with them
all you want.
And know that your father
meant what he said.
You truly are the best,
All my love, Harris.
- Hey.
- Hey.
I'm glad you called.
How's it going?
It's okay, I guess.
There's not a lot
for me to do.
I've got to say,
I really miss my old boss.
How are you holding up?
I found some work,
How would you like to edit
some manuscripts with me?
["Last of the Steam Powered
Trains" by the Kinks plays]
Like the last of the good old
Puffer trains
I'm the last of
The blood and sweat brigade
And I don't know where
I'm going
Or why I came
I'm the last
Of the good old-fashioned
Steam-powered trains
I'm the last
Of the good old renegades
All my friends are
All middle-class and gray
But I live in a museum
A museum
So I'm okay
I'm the last
Of the good old-fashioned
Steam-powered trains
Like the last of the good old
Choo-choo trains
I huff and puff
Till I blow this world away
And I'm gonna
Keep on rolling
Till my dying day
I'm the last
Of the good old-fashioned
Steam-powered trains
Like the last of the good old
Puffer trains
I'm the last of
The soot and scum brigade
And all this
Peaceful living
Is driving me insane
I'm the last
Of the good old-fashioned
Steam-powered trains
I'm the last
Of the good old-fashioned
Steam-powered trains
[dramatic music]