Crooked Hearts (1991) Movie Script

The summer I was 11...
I was desperately in love
with the waitress in Hal's Caf.
Her name was Jeanetta.
I thought she was beautiful...
but there was something beyond that,
something magical about her...
the way there is
about some movie stars.
How you guys doin'?
You need more coffee?
It was a wasted summer
in every other way.
My little brother Ask and I
spend every morning...
down at Hal's drinking Cokes
while I mooned overJeanetta.
There was a night that summer
when my brother Charley...
got stuck baby-sitting
Ask and me.
Charley had plans that night...
and he wasn't about to break them
just to look after us...
so he did something
we could never have imagined.
He offered to take us with him.
And he made us swear
we wouldn't tell Mom and Dad.
So, boys...
got any chicks
lined up for tonight?
- Yeah, sure, Limber.
- Yeah, right.
You just better not
be hitting on mine.
Charley's moods were up and down
that whole summer.
We were moving across the country
to Tacoma, Washington.
My dad was fed up with teaching...
and he was going into business
with a friend.
Charley was angry
at having to miss...
his senior year in high school
with his friends.
Charley had always seemed
mysterious to Ask and me.
He was our brother,
but he was older...
and his world
was different from ours.
And even when he wasn't
angry about moving...
his moods had a way
of surprising you-
sometimes good,
sometimes bad-
and you never knew
which was coming.
- You guys want a beer?
- Sure.
Be cool about it.
Very smooth.
A couple of dudes in the back seat.
Where you buttheads been?
What's going on?
Jeanetta's in there dancing
with anything that moves.
Oh, boy.
Okay, I'm gonna go inside
and check out the girls.
If there's any left over,
I'll bring some out for you guys.
Don't let anybody see you
drinking that beer.
I'm gonna go take a look.
You'd better not.
- How've you been?
- Great.
You wanna dance?
Fuck you.
I was embarrassed
by what Charley had said...
butJeanetta said she understood
and that Charley was just upset.
She asked when we were moving.
She made me promise
to write to her.
And then she did a funny thing.
She kissed me...
on the lips too.
And I wished Ask had seen it,
because I knew he'd never believe me.
- You're gonna have lots of girlfriends.
- And then Charley came.
Well, bye.
- See you tomorrow.
- Yeah.
How come you said that
She wants me to deliver
a message to Dad.
What message?
She said to tell him...
that she'll wait for him
to work things out.
No bull.
What the hell happened toJeanetta,
Charley? I missed my dance.
What's wrong?
We moved to Washington
later that summer...
although it seemed
like a waste of effort.
My father sold his business after a year
and went back to teaching.
No one ever spoke
of that night at Hal's again...
and after a while
the memory of it faded.
And there were times I couldn't swear
to you that it really happened.
Sometimes I think being a kid
is like that-
the things that happen
are like in a dream.
Then you get older
and you wake up...
and you see them
in a different, clear way...
and you hope
it's not too late to matter.
Hey. I was gonna pick you up
at the bus station.
I had a little money for a cab.
Yeah, well, welcome home.
- How you doing?
- Okay.
Let me grab this.
Ooh! What have you got
in these things?
- Books.
- Yeah?
Yeah. Here.
God, you look great.
Berkeley hasn't changed you a bit.
- Huh.
- So what's up?
It's good to be home.
There's not gonna be a party,
is there?
Hi, Tom.
- Hey, Ma.
- Oh, let me see you.
Hey, put his luggage away.
It looks like he's leaving.
- Don't you eat? You look skinny.
- Oh, he does not.
- Hey, Dad.
- Hey.
Well, listen. I have some things to
finish in the kitchen, okay?
- Would you get Cassie? She's upstairs.
- Sure.
Edward, would you and Ask move
the furniture, please? We're almost ready.
Yeah. Let's just slide
the couch back against the wall.
Okay. Well, let's get the table first.
Leave that suitcase, Tom.
I'll get that one.
- Okay.
- Where's Charley?
I think he's getting the beer.
- Tom here yet?
- Yeah.
Yeah, he just got in.
He's waking up Cassie.
No, he isn't.
Charley, is all that gonna fit?
We'll just have
to throw out the food.
Yeah, right, and knock back
a few brewskies, right?
- Let me have one.
- Keep your hands off.
- I'm gonna get it.
- Stop it.
Come in.
- Hi.
- Thanks.
What happened?
Couldn't dig in.
Was it because of Eileen?
You know anything about this letter?
No. Did she send you a letter?
Sort of.
You gonna see her?
- What for?
- To talk.
Ask, she's married to Sam Crawford.
She's pregnant.
What am I gonna talk to her about?
You could talk.
Communication never hurts.
Tom, get down here!
Hi, honey. Come on.
Party time.
- Charley. Hi.
- How are you?
Welcome to hard times.
Hey, come on, Charley.
Please put me down. Hey!
Cassie's cake.
- Aw, Cassie!
- Yeah.
- Looks great, Cassie.
- Come here. Thank you.
I made it for you.
Come on, Ask.
- Does everybody have a drink?
- Happiness.
Well, I believe I last
stood here to commemorate...
the scientific achievements
of our own Askew Warren...
whose volcano project
had just exploded...
spewing forth a rich brown lava...
redecorating the entire
science laboratory.
Thank you. Thank you.
And before that,
if I'm not mistaken...
we celebrated Cassie's performance
in the school play.
Yes. I meant to do that, Dad.
When she forgot her lines and decided
her character should die on stage.
- It was a noble death.
- It shortened the play.
And in that spirit...
we welcome...
- Tom Warren!
- Go, Tom.
Home from school
before a single year has elapsed.
Just a few weeks shy
of his final exams.
He puts us in mind of the great man
who once said...
"Half the failures in life...
arise from pulling
in one's horse as he's leaping. "
- Yeah!
- Let the banner fall.
"You must know home
to be a traveler. "
What does it mean, Ask?
Come on,
it mean what it says.
It's philosophical.
- Ah.
- All right.
- The Warrens!
- The Warrens.
Ask, dance.
You're crazy.
Put it somewhere real safe.
Into my arms.
Oh, Charley. Jesus.
- What are you doing?
- Bonita, this is my brother Tom.
Tom, this is Bonita.
- Hi, Bonita.
- Hi.
Bonita manages
the Quickie Chicken at the mall.
Shut up.
Just get me out of here.
So what are you doing here?
I couldn't sleep.
I'm sorry.
I mean, what are you doing here?
How come you couldn't
make it down in Berkeley?
I don't know.
You're here.
Yeah, well,
I'm here wherever I am.
But you were out,
and you made a clean break.
Jesus. If I could make a clean break,
I would be gone.
What are you talking about?
I'm just saying it's not
gonna be so easy next time.
This family's like a drug,
and we're all junkies.
Here's Tom, all fired up
and ready to face the day.
Why don't you take it easy, Tom?
You're so intense.
- Tom, are you busy Saturday?
- No.
Do you remember Marriet Hoffman,
Jeannie Hoffman's girl?
Well, she's really
had a rough time of things.
She's back, and most of her friends
are either married or gone.
She doesn't have
anyone to go out with.
I thought maybe
you could do me a favor.
Mom, look, no.
I hate being fixed up. Please.
Oh, have a heart.
She got used on in California.
- Do you tell that child everything?
- Yes, I do. Now, hush.
Don't think of it as a date.
Take her bowling or something.
Think of it as being neighborly.
Think of it as getting laid.
Now, that's funny.
So where are you going to take her?
Bowling is the pits.
Take her to the beach.
No. Don't take her to the beach.
Take her bowling.
At least you'll have something to do.
I'm not gonna take her anywhere,
okay? I'm not gonna go.
All right, let's go. School.
Bye, hon.
- Bye, dear.
- I'll even lend you my car.
You never let anybody
touch your car.
I'll pay for the gas.
You should do it. It'll keep your mind
off of what's her name.
Mom, can we please,
this one time...
not make this a family decision?
I already took the liberty.
I'm late for an appointment.
So what about you?
Tell me something about yourself.
Like what?
Anything. You pick.
How about you go first?
What do you want?
Good stuff or awful stuff?
Start with the awful stuff.
Well, let's see.
My father left me and my little sister
in the back seat of a Corvair once...
and he forgot about us.
What made you think of that?
I bought a fish today
and it came in a plastic bag...
and it reminded me of being
in the back seat of that car.
You go.
All right.
I dropped out of school.
- Yeah? What school?
- Berkeley.
I was at Pierce College
for two years...
and then I went to Berkeley.
You didn't like it?
No. No, I liked it.
It's kind of complicated.
I dropped out too.
- Of what?
- Of Los Angeles.
The whole place.
So what happened in LA?
Oh, I-
I fell in love with a piranha
who happened to be my boss.
Who was married, of course,
and I slept with him.
All your basic mistakes
except getting pregnant.
- What are you doing now?
- I'm coagulating.
I hate to say getting it together,
so I'm regrouping. How's that?
I'm selling TVs and stereos and-
What about you?
I'm getting it together.
- Well, thank you. I had a good time.
- Me too.
- Good night.
- Good night.
Good night.
Good night.
Do you want to come in?
- Sure. Yeah.
- Okay.
You want something to drink?
I didn't like what I was wearing.
- So what do you think?
- It's nice.
Yeah. I left all my stuff in LA.
I thought it would be
easier to be someone new...
if I didn't have all my old junk
lying around.
It's water.
- Cheers.
- Cheers.
Still drinking out of jars, though.
Why do I do that?
Do what?
Want to see something really ugly?
I bite my nails
when I'm nervous.
You nervous?
Yeah. I guess.
I like you,
and that makes me nervous.
Well, you know,
I'm nervous too.
Meaning, you like me?
I'm working on being forthright...
and in my previous life, I would have
waited for the guy to say something first.
Hey, do you mind
if I ask you something?
I mean, would it be okay if we had
an agreement, you know, just about us?
I mean, not that there is an us yet,
of course, but, well, what if-
What if we made a deal
before we go to bed?
A deal?
Well, yeah.
You know how you-
People just have
different expectations.
So I have worked out
a contract...
for lovers.
Yeah. Come on.
I'll show it to you.
Sit down. Sit down.
It's just something where
we agree to call one another...
and to spend the night
if we have sex.
Oh, well, it protects you too.
I mean, it's not legal or anything.
I mean, it's-
It's not a commitment...
if that's what
you're worried about.
It's really starting
to sound crazy, but it's-
It's just something where we agree
to be nice to each other.
I'm being a complete asshole.
Maybe we're going too fast.
I'd like you to leave now.
Marriet, we could talk.
Please leave.
I could stay and we could talk.
Get out.
What was that?
Maybe she just wanted
a little insurance.
- I mean, anyway, you said you liked her.
- So what, Ask?
Would you want a girl to sign a contract
agreeing to like you no matter what?
- No matter what?
- Yeah.
I'm not making that layup.
Well, a contract sounds
like a good idea to me.
I sort of have one for myself anyway,
you know, my list of rules.
- List of rules? You still have that?
- Yeah.
- You made that up when we were kids.
- Yeah, well, I update it.
I keep it in my wallet-
Get out of the way-
In case I think of
something new while I'm out.
Like what?
Like never put out
electrical flames with water.
That's one of the rules
you live your life by?
Look, all I'm saying is that
a contract can be a good thing...
and you've gotta keep
your mind open to new ideas. Let's go.
- Oh, you want to go again?
- I want to go again.
- Double or nothing?
- Double or nothing.
- Just play.
- Okay, boy.
- Hi.
- Excuse me.
Those are some funny-looking
taco shells.
What are they,
chicken or pork, Mom?
- Pork.
- Chicken. Here.
- Pork tacos, yeah.
- Don't tease your brother.
- Aren't there pork tacos?
- I don't think so.
- Here. I suppose-
- Stop kicking me.
- Pass this around for me, please.
- Okay.
- This looks good, Mom.
- Thank you.
- I'm very hungry.
- Thank you.
Hey. Thank you.
Charley, why don't you pull up another
chair and invite your friend to join us?
- No, thanks.
- I'll get it.
Ask, it's all right. You don't
have to do that. Please sit down.
No, it's okay.
There's a chair right here.
It wouldn't hurt to pretend that you're
part of the family once in a while.
Edward, please don't.
Jill, the child has been
in the house two days.
- Nobody knows her name.
- Bonita.
- Met her in the bathroom.
- Thanks, boys.
Would you please
ask your friend to join us?
- I'm tired, Mom.
- Oh, Cassie.
Don't go to sleep before you finish
your homework.
I'm tired now, Mom.
- Oh, great. She's out.
- Cassie.
Mom, this is Bonita.
Hello, Bonita.
Please, sit down.
My father, my two brothers,
who you've met already.
That's my sister Cassie,
when she's awake.
So would you like some dinner?
Here. You can have Cassie's fork.
Oh, I don't eat meat.
We have cheese. Lettuce.
Well, I don't really eat cheese either,
'cause it really gums you up inside.
- Well, help yourself to whatever you see.
- Thanks.
What do you do for a living, Bonita?
I manage the Quickie Chicken
over at the mall.
I don't eat chicken either.
Why not?
Well, they shoot them
full of these growth hormones.
You just don't want them
in your chicken.
So, Bonita, how did
you and Charley meet?
I used to work with Charley
over at the warehouse.
I just couldn't stand being
around all those dead fish.
I keep telling Charley
he should leave.
Did Charley tell you that he passed up a
management internship at Weyerhauser?
No. Charley,
you never told me that.
They loved him. They didn't know
why he wasn't in college.
Charley's real smart.
Everybody who meets Charley
wants him on their team.
Edward, I really don't think we need
to go through this for Bonita's sake.
We're not going through it
for Bonita's sake.
Then whose sake
are we doing it for?
We're not going through it
for anyone's sake, Charley.
I'm just trying to point out to you
that people who meet you-
Oh, for Christ's sake.
It was a pleasure meeting you.
You have a nice family.
Thank you.
What happened?
Charley wasn't hungry.
Was he like this before I left?
It's gotten worse since you left.
For some reason your brother
thinks your father is a son of a bitch.
I think we should
throw Charley out.
'Cause he can't seem to bring himself
to leave any other way.
- Does he want to leave?
- Oh, I think so.
Well, he's a big boy, Mom.
Why doesn't he just leave?
It's hard for him.
He and your father are all tangled up
with each other.
I don't know how
to pull them apart.
I almost forgot.
- I stopped by the bakery on the way home.
- Thanks.
She's anxious to see you, say hello.
All right, Dad. Thanks.
- Hi.
- Hi.
You want a cannoli
and some coffee?
- It's on me.
- Okay.
Have a seat.
- Thanks.
- Mm-hmm.
I'm really glad you came.
How far along are you?
A few months.
You must be curious
about the circumstances.
Miss, may I have the cream, please?
I still love you.
How's Sam?
He's fine.
The baby's not his.
Excuse me?
It's not Sam's baby.
Whose baby is it?
- Is it my baby?
- No, it's not your baby, all right?
Well, whose baby is it, huh?
Whose baby is it?
It's Charley's.
The baby is Charley's.
He wanted to marry me.
He said it would be a way out
for both of us.
Out of what?
I don't know.
Your family.
He got to me through you, Tom.
He used to tell me all these stories
about his life.
And I held him,
and I made a mistake.
I can't explain it.
I wanted to get an abortion.
- Why didn't you?
- I was afraid of Charley.
He wanted the baby.
He wanted to marry me and run away.
I didn't know what he'd do.
I asked him to marry me,
and he said yes.
I did it for you.
That's great.
First you fuck Charley
because of me...
then you married
Sam Crawford for me.
Geez, Eileen, I think if you loved me any
more, no man in Tacoma would be safe.
You have a million girls
to choose from.
Christ, you scared the shit out of me.
Couldn't find anybody else to fuck?
It was an accident, Tom.
I didn't mean it to happen.
What does that mean?
Look at me, Charley.
I didn't know if you were
gonna hit me, Tom.
I don't want to hurt you.
Don't fuck around.
And don't try and come in here.
- He said he liked me?
- Yes.
- Oh, gross.
- Hey.
- What, are you sick?
- No, I'm not sick.
God, I wish I had the time to just lay
around all day and read the newspaper.
Cassie, you don't
read the newspaper.
Exactly, Tom.
I don't have the time, you know.
So, did you and Charley
have an argument last night?
I thought I heard doors slamming.
I guess we did.
What about?
Oh... Charley got Eileen pregnant.
I thought Sam Crawford
got her pregnant.
No. It was Charley.
- Who says?
- Eileen.
I'd never do that.
It's one of my rules.
What, don't sleep with
your brother's girlfriend?
Never do anything with the sole intent
of hurting someone else.
Maybe he didn't.
Maybe he loved her.
Does she love him, Tom?
No, Ask. Charley's a slut.
What are you talking about?
- Nothing.
- Nothing.
Why don't you do something
with your life, Tom?
Well, you're turning weird,
you know...
and idle hands
are the devil's playground.
Figure that one out.
You won't see
much traffic at night.
Mostly trucks.
Put the money in the safe
and lock it up at midnight.
Okay, Dave. Thanks a lot.
I really appreciate it.
Thank you.
What are you doing?
Where is everybody?
Tom went to his new job...
and everyone else is gone.
How come you're home?
Miss Prison Warden wanted me to
clean up my room and so I fell asleep.
- What are you doing?
- I'm leaving.
Grab that?
Where are you going?
Quit my job.
Told Arnsberger to bite it.
- I'm going east.
- Why?
Because I want a new life.
What about your old life
where I'm your sister?
You'll still be my sister.
You're deserting the ship, Charley.
Go back to sleep.
I'm leaving my car.
It's a fair trade.
Where is this?
- Jesus!
- I fell asleep in the van.
I fell asleep in the van.
He didn't even know
I was in there, Mom.
What the hell
kind of a stunt is this?
Dad, he didn't even know
I was there.
What did you say to Arnsberger?
He's a friend of mine.
Fuck Arnsberger.
I got you that job!
I stuck my neck out for you!
- Doesn't that mean anything to you?
- Edward, let him go.
You get back in the house.
It doesn't concern you.
Hey, where are you going?
This is your family. Charley, stop.
Goddamn it,
I'm gonna have this out with you.
All right, drive. But when you stop,
we're gonna get to the bottom of this.
Running away.
Twenty-four years old,
pulling a junior high stunt.
Twenty-six, and he
shouldn't even live here.
He's a brat.
He's a little boy.
- Kick him out, Edward.
- I won't kick him out.
That's what he wants, just so he can say
the whole thing is our fault.
- Let him.
- I won't let him!
He could be anything
he wanted to be.
He works in a warehouse.
And he wouldn't have had that
if I hadn't gone to Arnsberger.
Maybe you shouldn't
have gone to Arnsberger.
He won't do a thing by himself.
He walks around
in his own little world.
Let him be connected to one thing
in the universe beyond himself.
- That's all I'm asking.
- He's not gonna find it here.
Not with us.
He is a part of us.
He is a part of our blood
and our bone.
He is part of everything we are.
We are his family,
and he belongs here.
He belongs where
he can live his life.
Jill, if he wants his privacy,
let him get an apartment.
He's trying something else.
He's trying to abandon the family.
I won't permit it.
Charley, are you mad at me?
- No, I'm not mad at you.
- Oh.
Look, you don't have
to believe this, but it's true.
I'm sorry about what happened
with Eileen.
I didn't mean to hurt you.
I didn't.
I just wanted to do something so bad
that they'd have to throw me out.
- Why don't you just leave, Charley?
- Because it's not that easy.
It's gonna take a lot more
than I thought.
What did he mean by that?
I don't know.
- I mean about Eileen.
- I said I don't know.
Tom, why is everybody
always keeping secrets?
Sorry, Cassie.
No one-
No one is keeping secrets.
God. This family
is getting too weird.
We should get a dog.
Well, because we used to have a dog,
and we were happier then.
We need a family project
to pull us all together.
Oh, anyway, good night.
Good night.
And quit moping around
and being so tragic.
Yeah. Yeah.
All right, but I don't
show it here at all.
Okay, well, let me look.
You're alive.
- Yeah. I wanted to see you.
- What for?
I had a good time.
You probably think I'm crazy.
No, I don't.
Well, then you just want
to go to bed with me.
No, Marriet.
Look. I really had a good time, okay?
- I'd like to go out with you again.
- You're funny.
Well, you just could
have called, you know.
I mean, it's been three weeks.
I just feel like an idiot.
You're absolutely right,
and I'm sorry. I really am.
There were just a few things
I had to work out in my mind.
You mean Eileen?
Pretty much, yeah.
Well, you could have called
and told me that.
You could have explained that to me.
I would understand that.
You're the one that threw me
out of your apartment.
Well, maybe I could show you
something a little more upscale then?
With stereophonic sound. Yes?
Oh, yeah. I probably should be
spending a lot more money.
I've been dreaming about you.
- I bet.
- I have.
Wild, erotic sex dreams, probably.
Just your basic dreams.
Your basic sex dreams.
They've been really nice.
- Left. Left!
- I can't do left.
Hit left. You have to be able
to hit left, then right.
Charley wants us to pick up something
for him at the train station.
- What?
- I don't know. Box or something.
I thought we were gonna
go get the dog.
Well, we're gonna drop you off...
and then we're gonna pick you up on
the way back from the train station.
- Oh, and let me pick it out by myself?
- Yeah.
Maybe you're ready for a little
adult responsibility, huh?
And you're Mr. Maturity
himself, right, Ask?
Wait. I get to sit up front then.
I'm going to make love
with Julie pretty soon.
Who's Julie?
Oh, you don't know her.
Yeah, she's new since you left.
You really think so?
How do you know you're going to
make love to her, hmm?
'Cause I can feel it coming.
It's like one of those slow-motion films
you see of a car accident in Driver's Ed.
You know, where you see the cars sliding
for, like, a minute before they hit.
- What is this thing?
- It's Dad's.
He keeps the bills in it
and stores it in his closet.
- What does it say?
- It says, "Open this. "
Got a pocket knife?
Maybe we shouldn't open it.
I mean, it's Dad's box.
- Look, Tom! Tom! Tom! No, no, no, no!
- What?
No. You're gonna break
the blade off.
These aren't bills.
We can't open this.
See if there's one already open.
- I can't read this.
- Just see who it's from.
This is a love letter.
May I please see that?
We shouldn't have opened it.
Why would Charley do this?
Let's burn 'em.
No, we can't burn them.
They're Dad's.
Charley is trying to
humiliate Dad with this.
That's what this is.
If we give them back,
that's all that's gonna happen.
- Well, we can't burn them.
- Yeah, 425, right?
I think it's right around
the corner here.
They're not ours.
Jesus, Ask.
Okay, look, Ask,
here's what we're gonna do.
We're gonna compromise, okay?
We're gonna put the letters back
in the locker...
and we're gonna figure out
what to do later.
Oh, he's a little runt.
I saved him.
- From what?
- The gas chamber.
The guy said that sometimes
people don't have the heart...
to flush runts down
the toilet themselves...
so then they give them to the pound
and have them do the job.
So what did Charley
want you guys to pick up?
I thought you said he wanted
you to pick up something.
The key didn't fit.
We couldn't open the locker.
- Did I leave the iron on?
- Charley did it.
- Why do you say that?
- It's why he left the letters.
What letters?
Cassie, honey, come with me.
Ask, you come too.
- Tom, what letters?
- Tom, come on.
Wait, what letters?
What letters, Tom?
What letters, Tom?
- Dad! Dad!
- Hey!
- Where's Cassie?
- She's with Eleanor.
- Where's Charley?
- I don't know.
Did you get everybody out?
My son might be in there!
- We just got here. Where would he be?
- In the back!
Charley, you bastard!
- Is she all right?
- Yeah, she's okay. She's inside.
She wanted to be alone.
Just go on in.
- You want us to check out the roof?
- No, not yet. It's too bad!
- Cassie, are you all right?
- Leave me alone.
Where the hell are you going?
Leave me alone, Mom.
Don't! Leave me
alone, Mom! Don't!
He's all right!
Charley is all right! He's okay!
How do you know, Tom? Tom, how do
you know? How do you know?
Dad, Charley's car is not here.
He's gone somewhere, all right?
All right?
I guess you're right.
Oh, my God.
Dad, do you care about
anybody but Charley? Huh?
- Of course I do.
- He doesn't care about you, Dad.
He doesn't care.
He doesn't care about me or Ask.
That's our house!
It's burning up!
Tom! Tom, he knows our house is
burning up. He's worried about Charley.
Charley doesn't care about-
He doesn't care about
anything but himself, Dad.
This house is everything
we own. Look at it!
- Tom! Tom!
- Look!
I don't give a damn about the house.
I don't give a damn about the house.
- Dad, Dad, Dad!
- I can't give you any more!
As far as I can. Get the flames
up on top. Go!
What's that sign?
Oh, my dad left that for Charley.
He doesn't think Charley
burned the house down.
What? Charley burned
the house down?
Well, what makes you say that?
Charley gave us some letters
before he left.
What letters?
Love letters.
My father's love letters.
Be careful.
From this woman
we used to know back in Virginia.
Wait, Charley was-
He burned the house down
because of that?
Well, not just that.
Charley was looking for
a way out of the family.
Come on. He never heard
of a crank phone call...
or, like, really rude behavior?
Charley's never heard of anything
except what's good for Charley.
My family's crazy.
Everybody's family is crazy.
Not like my family.
Yeah. Yeah, and everybody
thinks their family is crazier...
than everybody else's family too.
Except in your case, I-
I know it doesn't-
It may not seem like it now,
but you get over this stuff.
Hmm? What?
Oh, God.
It's ready.
- Want to go first?
- You can go first.
Oh, no, no.
You're the guest.
Yeah, but we could go together.
You go first.
Are you gonna
take your clothes off?
I don't know.
- Is it too hot for you?
- No, it's nice.
- Hey, you got fingernails.
- Pretty good, huh?
Let me see.
Fingers too.
That's great.
- Yeah, huh?
- Yep.
Let me wash your face.
- Bad, huh?
- You're a mess.
You're a mess too.
- Hello.
- Hi.
- Hey.
- Tom.
- Dad, this is Marriet.
- Hello, Marriet.
- Hi.
- Excuse me.
Hey, look what Marriet
found at the house.
- It's broken, but it's okay.
- Thanks, Marriet.
- Hi, Ask.
- Hey.
- My little brother. Do you know my-
- I know Ask. Hi.
- Hi. This is Julie.
- Hi.
Hi, Julie.
And that's John and Frances Heffel
from next door in 219.
We're just passing through.
Your folks invited us to the party.
Hi. Welcome.
Where's Mom and Cassie?
They're in the bedroom.
They'll be out in a minute.
Anybody want a drink?
Would you like a drink
or would you like to dance?
Let's dance.
Well, you must think
this is kind of strange...
having a party
when your house burns down.
Unlike you,
I'm tolerant of weirdness.
I hate Charley.
Well, at least he's gone now.
If he'd left a long time ago,
maybe none of this would've happened.
So, what if he comes back?
We'll have him arrested.
Are you serious?
Come on, everybody.
- Come on, dear. It's time for the toast.
- Mom? Cassie?
Do you want to do that later on?
Cass, this is my friend, Marriet.
This is my little sister, Cassie.
- Hi.
- Hi.
And I think you know
each other, don't you?
Hello. Hi. Nice to see you.
Dad's about ready to go here.
I believe the last time
I stood here...
was to celebrate Tom's
return home from college...
on the early retirement plan.
Before that, we honored Ask's
wholesale distribution of lava.
Before that, Cassie's contribution
to the literature of drama...
regardless of the intent of the author.
And in that same spirit...
we commemorate the passing
of the Warren house...
into smoke and ashes.
We celebrate without Charley,
but... we keep him with us in spirit...
if not in flesh.
Ask, let the banner fall.
- Oh, that's great.
- All right, Ask.
- The Warrens.
- Warrens.
- The Warrens.
- The Warrens!
Come on, Cassie.
Hi, dear.
We'll paint.
That'll help.
Some plants over there
by the window.
- I like it.
- You do?
- Yeah.
- Oh, that's good.
Yeah, it could be us.
Marriet lives right there.
See? It is a great house.
Yeah, come on in, Ask.
Shower my kisses
off your silent skin
- The reality is
- Hey. Hey!
- What? You ate all mine.
- Oh, that's not true.
Yes, it is.
My whole bag. Hey, Ask.
I've changed my mind.
I think we should burn 'em.
Let's read one first.
No, I don't think we should read them.
I'm not even sure we should burn them.
You read one.
- No, I don't think that's a good idea.
- Why?
Just one.
- Here.
- You didn't mark the spot.
How are you gonna know
where to put it back?
- I thought you were going to burn these?
- But you don't fiddle with the order.
Wow. Hasn't even
been opened yet.
Wait, wait, wait!
Do one that's already open.
Wait, at least tear it
like the others from the flap.
Do you have a leash for him?
It's okay. Go ahead.
"Edward, darling.
You wouldn't believe the rain.
Sheets and sheets.
The sky just opened up.
All the bottom land is covered
with silt, flat and brown.
A few creases,
like an old mattress.
I've been thinking
about you all morning.
When I was bathing,
I thought of your soft hair.
- The feel of it against my skin. "
- Aw, come on!
Do you want me to stop?
"I thought how your smile
centers your face so perfectly.
I long for you.
It centers my life.
Does that make sense to you?
I'm glad Tom made
the basketball team.
It means so much to him
to be accepted.
Ask isn't like that.
He's my favorite.
He doesn't need to belong
to anything but family.
I don't really know that's true.
What if you told me lies?
What if your letters are make-believe?
Their pictures line my dresser
along with yours.
I'm lucky to have you
and your boys and Cassie.
I long for you. "
Shouldn't you call her?
It's only 12:30.
Let's give her till 1:00.
Well, if she went to the movies,
she ought to be home.
The bus is at Marriet's.
Maybe she's with them. I'll go see.
Edward, don't. She'll just think
we're checking up on her.
She ought to be home.
I'll call the Hargroves
and see ifJenny's home yet.
Jenny got home two hours ago.
- I'm gonna go see.
- I'll call around.
Cassie wasn't home
and I was worried about her.
Oh. Well, she'll probably be home soon.
Those letters.
Did you read them?
Only to see who they were from.
You had no right to read my letters.
You're right, and I'm sorry.
Does Jill know?
I don't think so.
I had a good time.
- Cassie, where have you been?
- We went out to the movies.
Cassie, that was hours ago.
Where did you get the letters?
Hi, Dad.
- Where did you get the letters?
- What letters?
The letters in the van.
We found 'em.
Found 'em?
The letters burned.
Answer me.
Where'd you get them?
Charley saved them
before he burned the house.
Charley didn't burn the house.
Yes, he did, Dad.
He saved the letters
so we could read them.
Don't worry.
We're gonna burn 'em.
He wants to erase everything.
That's how I felt when I left LA.
I just wanted to start over again.
That's why I invented the contract.
Oh, whoa!
- Maybe we should put this out!
- Yeah, I know! We are!
Damn. Tom!
What the-
What happened?
What happened?
Hey, what did you do?
What happened?
Oh, my God.
Here. Come here.
Roll over. Oh, Ask.
Oh, Ask.
Oh, my God.
Am I hurt?
Do you think I'm hurt?
No. No, Ask, you're okay, buddy.
We're gonna get an ambulance.
Ambulance, now. Could you
call an ambulance, please?
Do you know how much
ambulances cost?
You don't talk, Ask.
Don't talk. Just shut up, all right?
- You never want me to do anything.
- Yeah.
Oh, my God.
I made love with Julie.
Yeah? How was it?
- I liked it. We both liked it.
- Good.
I'm glad it was mutual.
Can you hurry up, please?
Okay, now just don't talk. Shh.
- Tom!
- Right here. I know.
Oh, my God.
I'm right here, Ask.
Hey. Hey, look at me. I'm right here.
Hey, buddy, I'm right here.
Can you hear me?
No, Ask. Look.
Look at me.
Come here. Look at me.
Don't go away.
I don't think he's breathing!
I'm right- I'm here.
Don't go away.
Don't go away.
Don't go away.
I'll ride with your mother.
She gonna be all right?
What were they burning?
I don't know.
Your letters?
Did you know about them?
Jill, they never
meant anything to me.
- I didn't know how to stop them.
- I never cared about the letters.
I never believed they mattered.
Ask mattered.
Why didn't you throw
the letters away?
You hadn't even opened half of'em.
I couldn't.
It was all make-believe to you,
wasn't it?
What was make-believe?
Oh, Tom.
You're a hypocrite, Dad.
You know, you always made it
seem like we were so perfect.
Wasn't Charley a bastard
for not wanting to be a part of us?
You couldn't even
throw those letters away.
Those letters were private.
Ask was embarrassed for you, Dad.
That's why he was
burning the letters.
Can I come in?
Come in.
Hi, Mom.
I'm not gonna stay.
Eileen told me about Ask...
and I wanted
to come home.
You destroyed your home, Charley.
You pulled it down around you.
I just wanted to see you.
Where will you go?
I don't know.
I spent some time in Pittsburgh,
and I was working in Florida for a while.
I'm sorry for you.
I'm not sorry for you.
I was beginning to think
that you were trying to avoid me.
What are you doing?
I'm cleaning out Ask's room.
I figured it was something
I could do.
Leave his stuff alone, Charley.
I don't want you touching his things.
Well, somebody's got to do it.
It might as well be me.
Okay, okay, okay.
All right?
You want to beat me up, Charley?
Go ahead. I know you can do it.
You leaving?
Yep. I don't think I'm much in
the mood for a family reunion.
You're not gonna get away,
not like this.
Since when are you the big authority
on getting away?
You know what's wrong
with this family, Charley?
We're all in love
with screwing up.
You know, we just can't wait for one of us
to do it so we can take him back...
and we can tell each other
how special we all are.
You know, it's perfect.
No one ever has to learn anything...
no one ever has to grow up,
no one ever has to leave.
We could probably
go on doing this forever.
I came for Ask, Tom.
Ask would still be here,
alive, if it wasn't for you.
Just let me leave.
You're not gonna
get away by hating.
Take it from me.
You'll end up with the whole family...
strangling you
from inside your own head...
and you still won't get away.
Charley, wait.
Don't go.
I think we should have
a toast for all of us.
Will you pour?
I don't think we should
have a toast without Ask.
I don't think Ask
would mind, Cassie.
"Always get to the bottom of things. "
It's one of his rules, right?
Only this time, let's say
what's really on our minds.
We never seem to
get around to doing that.
We last stood here when
Charley burned the house down.
I never understood why Dad
and Charley fought all the time.
Even if I knew whose fault it was...
I don't think I'll ever understand
why Charley burned down the house.
Because I hated him.
I thought the toasts
were supposed to be funny.
And because I was afraid I could never
be good enough to make him happy.
Before that was when I dropped out
of school and came home...
because Charley's right.
This family is a drug,
and we're all junkies.
And I thought I was ready
to be on my own and I wasn't.
And I keep thinking that
if I had stayed in school...
none of this
would have happened...
and Ask would still be alive.
It's too late.
I mean, all of you guys
were keeping secrets...
just to protect yourselves
and not anybody else.
No, Cassie.
It was me.
Ask was covering up for me.
Setting fire to my lies.
I'm responsible.
I wonder what he'd say
if he were here now.
What do you think he'd say, Tom?
I think he would say that
we're all responsible...
and we all have to take care
of each other...
in spite of who we are.
Or maybe because
of who we are.
He'd probably put it on a banner.
And he'd raise his glass...
and he'd say, the Warrens.
The Warrens.
The Warrens.
The Warrens.
The Warrens.
I went back to school that fall.
Marriet came with me.
She thought Berkeley might be
a good place for a new start...
and I was hoping the same thing.
Ask had been looking forward
to starting college himself...
and he was on my mind as we left.
- You want to drive?
- Sure.
Somewhere in my bags,
I carried his list of rules.
He'd started the list when
he was about eight or nine.
He'd change it as he went along...
although sometimes
he'd keep something on it...
just to remind himself of what
he was like when he wrote it down.
I'll read them to you.
Number One: Never make
a complicated thing simple-
Or a simple thing complicated.
Number Two:
Wear white at night.
Number Three:
Take care of Tom.
Number Four:
Eat from the three food groups.
Five: Be consistent.
Six: Never do anything with
the sole intent ofhurting someone.
Seven: Floss.
Eight: Always put the family first.
Nine: Clean even
where it doesn't show.
Ten: Pursue the truth.
Eleven: Wear socks
that match your shirt.
Twelve: Take care of Cassie.
Thirteen: Look up words
you don't know.
Fourteen: Never put out electrical
flames with water.
Fifteen: Get to
the bottom of things.
I thought a lot about Charley.
I even added a new rule to my list.
Number Sixteen: