I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020) Movie Script

I'm thinking of ending things.
Once this thought arrives, it stays.
It sticks, it lingers, it dominates.
There's not much I can do about it,
trust me.
It doesn't go away.
It's there whether I like it or not.
It's there when I eat, when I go to bed.
It's there when I sleep, when I wake up.
It's always there. Always.
I haven't been thinking about it for long.
The idea is new.
But it feels old at the same time.
When did it start?
What if this thought
wasn't conceived by me,
but planted in my mind, pre-developed.
Is an unspoken idea unoriginal?
Maybe I've actually known all along.
Maybe this is how
it was always going to end.
Jake once said,
"Sometimes the thought
is closer to the truth,
to reality, than an action.
You can say anything, you can do anything,
but you can't fake a thought."
The road is mostly empty.
It's quiet around here. Vacant.
More so than anticipated.
So much to see, but not many people.
Not many buildings or houses.
Trees, fields, fences.
The road and its gravel shoulders.
"You wanna stop for a coffee?"
"I think I'm OK I say.
"Last chance we'll have
before it becomes really farm-y."
I'm visiting Jake's parents
for the first time.
Or I will be when we arrive.
Jake, my boyfriend.
He hasn't been my boyfriend for very long.
It's our first trip together.
Our first long drive.
So it's weird that I'm feeling nostalgic,
about our relationship,
about him, about us.
I should be excited,
looking forward to the first of many.
But I'm not. Not at all.
I've seen more barns on this drive
than I've seen in years.
Maybe in my life.
They all look the same.
Some cows, some horses, sheep, fields.
And barns.
Such a big sky.
Feels like I've known Jake
longer than I have.
What has it been?
Oh, a month?
Six weeks, maybe seven.
I should know exactly.
I'll say seven weeks.
The assumptions are right.
I can feel my fear growing. Now is the...
We have a real connection.
A rare and intense attachment.
I've never experienced anything like it.
growing. Now is the time
for the answer. Just one question.
One question to answer.
It's snowing!
Winter is comin' in!
Look at the sky.
I'm thinking of ending things.
- Huh?
- What?
Did you say something?
No, I don't think so.
I'm thinking of ending things.
What's the point in carrying on like this?
I know what it is, where it's going.
Jake is a nice guy, but...
it's not going anywhere.
I've known this for a while now.
Maybe it's human nature to keep going
in the face of this knowledge.
The alternative requires too much energy.
People stay in unhealthy relationships
because it's easier.
Basic physics.
An object in motion
tends to stay in motion.
People tend to stay in relationships
past their expiration date.
It's Newton's first law of emotion.
Do you want to stop for a coffee
or something, a... a snack?
It's... it's going to get pretty farm-y
- pretty fast now.
- No, no, no, I'm... I'm fine.
- You sure?
- Mm-hmm.
Don't want to spoil my appetite.
You know, my mother hasn't been
feeling well recently.
- Oh.
- So...
I'm sorry.
I'm just saying
that there might not be much of a spread,
that she might not be up to
a lot of cooking.
- She hasn't been well.
- What's going on with her?
Just saying, if you want
to stop for a snack
or anything like that,
it would probably be fine...
in terms of appetite spoiling.
It might even be advisable.
I'm fine.
Come, join me, my friends,
and accept Jesus into your hearts,
for as Isaiah 1:18 tells us,
though your sins be as scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow.
They really are looking forward
to meeting you.
I don't want to give you
the wrong impression.
- Aww, that's nice to hear.
- A lot about you.
Yeah, I-I-I'm... I'm...
I'm really looking forward
to meeting them too.
Maybe it's unfair of me
to be going on this trip with Jake
when I'm so uncertain about our future,
our lack of it.
After all, going to meet
your boyfriend's parents
is the proverbial next step, isn't it?
The truth is, I haven't even
told my parents I'm dating Jake.
I've never mentioned him,
and I don't think I ever will.
She hasn't been feeling well.
Getting old ain't for sissies,
as Bette Davis said.
True, although...
one might just take issue
with her use of the word sissy...
- Yeah, of course. Yeah. Yes, sir.
- As a pejorative.
It was a different time.
I guess it's curiosity.
Jake is certainly hard to figure.
Maybe it's like a window into his origins.
The child being father of the man and all.
Are you a fan of Wordsworth, then?
- Wordsworth?
- William Wordsworth, the poet?
Not... I'm not familiar, really.
Why do you ask?
Just thinking about him for some reason.
He popped into my head.
Intimations of Immortality
from Recollections of Early Childhood.
Jesus, that's the title?
- Sounds like an entire poem.
- Well
- I'm thinking of...
- Get your words' worth with Wordsworth.
Do you want to hear how it starts?
- It's just that the...
- I'm not a metaphorical-type gal.
It's just that that one speaks to me.
Uh, incidentally, Wordsworth wrote
a series of poems to a woman named Lucy.
Like me!
A beautiful, idealized woman
who dies young.
Oh, yikes.
Well, the comparison goes
only as far as your name.
And that you are ideal,
- of course.
- Yeah, yeah.
Ah, that's very sweet.
It's just
Who's that?
Uh, it's just a friend.
I'm not gonna answer.
- You can, I don't mind. You should.
- Eh, it's OK
- It's all right.
- I don't mind.
That's odd. Did you see that swing set
- we just passed?
- What swing set?
It was weird.
It was this beautiful new swing set
in front of an abandoned house.
- No. I missed it.
- What?
I didn't see it.
Why would that be there?
I mean, clearly no one's lived
in that house for years.
Someone's moving in, and...
they brought the swing set first?
That's all I can think of.
- I...
- That seems
like an unlikely sequence of events.
You know, like,
to have something
to entertain the kids while the parents
are getting the house ready.
They're saying, uh,
- there might be a fair amount of snow.
- Yeah?
They're predicting it.
Do you think we should maybe turn back?
I've got a fair amount of...
well, a lot, actually,
of work to do tomorrow.
I need to get home tonight so that I...
I think we'll be OK.
I've got tire chains in the trunk.
- What are you working on?
- Oh, I have a paper due Wednesday.
Which one is this?
Susceptibility to rabies infection
in the sensory dorsal
root ganglia neurons.
The trigeminal ganglia as well, right?
Yes, exactly.
Point for me.
Interested in and knowledgeable
about my girlfriend's work.
Point for Jake.
- How's the paper going?
- Oh...
It's nowhere actually.
I really do need to get back tonight,
deal with it first thing.
I'll get you home!
Yeah, I do like Jake.
And he's educated.
Our fields are different,
but he's curious and keeps up.
That's a good thing.
It's in the pro column.
And he's cute in his awkward way.
We're interesting together too.
People look at us when we're together.
"Who's that couple?"
I don't get looked at alone.
And Jake doesn't either.
Jake tells me that he feels it.
Feels invisible.
You want to listen to something?
Sorry, uh, what?
I asked if you want to listen
to some music?
Oh, yeah, sure.
When you get out this far,
there's not much signal.
It's an odd song.
- Out here in... in the middle of nothing.
- It's from Oklahoma!
The musical.
I didn't know you were a fan
of musical theater.
Well, I'm not, really.
Anyway, I just know a few musicals. Uh...
Oklahoma, Phantom,
Carousel, South Pacific,
Guys and Dolls, Flower Drum Song...
How to Succeed in Business
Without Really Trying, Music Man,
Pajama Game, Cabaret,
The Lion King, Grease,
The King and I, The Sound of Music,
Pal Joey, Charley's Aunt, On The Town,
My Fair Lady.
But I know Oklahoma best, I guess.
They do it every few years...
for obvious reasons.
Wait, who does it every few years?
Sometimes I see kids
who were in past productions, you know,
um, at the supermarket,
working at stores in town.
Older now.
This girl seems healthy enough
in her attitude.
Good for her.
She... she's protesting too much,
it turns out.
We've all been there.
Protesting too much
how OK everything is.
That's why I like road trips.
It's good to remind yourself
the world's... larger
than the inside of your own head.
- You know?
- Mm-hmm.
It is beautiful out here.
In a bleak, heartbroken kind of way.
What was the last road trip I took?
I should remember, but I don't.
Nothing's coming to mind.
It's odd. I'm foggy
about so many things lately.
Do you like this type of landscape?
Yeah, it's beautiful.
It's melancholy.
I do like that.
It's the poet in you.
I suppose so.
Maybe, I don't know.
You been working on anything?
Uh, I-I...
I just finished something.
Yeah. I don't... I don't know.
- Can I hear it?
- You can read it.
I like to hear them in your voice,
and you're so good at reciting them.
Not really, but thanks.
It'll go with the poetic scenery.
I don't know, Jake,
I just don't...
I don't really feel much like performing
- right now.
- Come on, it'll pass the time.
I don't want you to get bored.
It's called "Bonedog."
"Coming home is terrible...
whether the dogs lick your face or not,
whether you have...
a wife,
or just a wife-shaped loneliness
waiting for you.
Coming home is terribly lonely...
so that you think
of the oppressive barometric pressure
back where you have just come from
with fondness,
because everything's worse
once you're home.
You think of the vermin
clinging to the grass stalks...
long hours on the road,
roadside assistance and ice creams,
and the peculiar shapes of certain clouds
and silences
with longing,
because you did not want to return.
Coming home is...
just awful.
And the home-style silences and clouds
contribute to nothing
but the general malaise.
Clouds, such as they are,
are in fact suspect
and made from a different material
than those you left behind.
You yourself were cut
from a different cloudy cloth,
ill-met by moonlight,
unhappy to be back,
slack in all the wrong spots.
Seamy suit of clothes,
dishrag-ratty, worn.
You return home,
The Earth's gravitational pull,
an effort now redoubled...
dragging your shoelaces loose...
and your shoulders,
etching deeper the stanza of worry
on your forehead.
You return home deepened,
a parched well linked to tomorrow
by a frail strand of...
You sigh into the onslaught
of identical days,
one might as well, at a time.
you're back.
The sun goes up and down
like a tired whore,
the weather immobile like a broken limb
while you just keep getting older.
Nothing moves, but the shifting tides
of salt in your body.
Your vision blears,
you carry your weather with you;
the big, blue whale;
a skeletal darkness.
You come back
with X-ray vision...
your eyes have become a hunger.
You come home with your mutant gifts
to a house of bone.
Everything you see now,
all of it...
Well, wow is an all-purpose exclamation.
I just realized that.
It might be... It can...
It can mean you... you loved it,
or it can mean there are no words
to describe how...
how rubbish it is.
I love it.
I love it. It's amazing.
It's... it's like...
It's like you wrote it about me.
Oh, you know, I-I-I...
I guess that's what one hopes for
when writing a poem.
What's that?
Some universality in the specific,
I don't know.
It's like you wrote it about me.
I'm thinking of ending things.
Jake is really great.
He's really sweet.
He's sensitive,
and he listens to me, and he's smart.
But there's just something...
Profoundly, unutterably,
un-fixably wrong here.
-Are you OK
You just seem sort of far away is all.
I'm... just thinking.
About what?
I don't know, just...
vague in my head stuff.
Vague in your head stuff.
I guess I was thinking about time.
- Really?
- Yeah.
Like we're on a train
and it takes us where it takes us.
There's no veering off,
there's no side trips,
and like Mussolini's train,
it runs on time.
But that's not really true
about Mussolini and trains.
The improvements
in the railway system preceded him.
He just took the credit.
And even still,
they didn't always run on time.
I wasn't really talking
about Mussolini's train...
And anyway, you...
you can always jump off a train.
In movies.
In real life, you'll probably die
jumping from a moving train.
That's... that's very true.
I suppose I watch too many movies.
Hmm. Everybody does.
Societal malady.
Fill my brain with lies
to pass the time,
in the blink of an eye,
and an eye blink
in excruciatingly slow motion.
It's like the rabies virus,
attaching itself to our ganglia,
changing us into itself.
Viruses aremonstrous.
Everything wants to live, Jake.
Viruses are just one more example
of everything.
Even fake, crappy movie ideas
want to live.
Like, they grow in your brain,
replacing real ideas.
That's what makes them dangerous.
But, did you know...
there are insects that blow themselves up?
- Yes.
- Not everything wants to live.
There are certain ants, certain aphids.
For the good of their community.
There are suicide bombers.
join me.
So not everything wants to live.
True. Well, they...
they want their communities to live.
Which is sort of like themselves,
writ large.
Anyway, we don't really know
if they want anything.
It's just most likely
how they're programmed.
Maybe we're all programmed, right?
And now we're both dead.
So, uh, I'm not... I'm not ready to go in.
I-I need to stretch my legs, long legs.
Long drive.
What? What, isn't that rude?
She clearly knows we're here.
We've been waving at each other for...
quite a long time.
They know I like to stretch my legs.
Come on, I'll show you around.
Jake, I don't know,
it's... it's... it's... it's cold
- and it's getting dark.
- Come on.
Come on, I'll give you the abridged tour.
Maybe, we'll...
come back in the spring,
and we can lie out here
and look up at the universe.
The sheep.
Let's say hi.
- Hi, sheep.
- Hi, sheep.
There is something
dreary and sad in here.
And it smells.
I wonder what it must be like
to be a sheep.
Spend one's entire life in this miserable,
smelly place doing nothing.
Eating, shitting, sleeping...
- over and over.
- Well, there you have it.
The sheep.
- What happened to the lambs?
- What?
What will happen...
I don't know what you're asking me.
They're already dead, so wh...
what else can happen to them?
- Well, I mean, will they be buried?
- Probably be burned
come spring.
But they're frozen solid for now,
so they're fine.
No worries.
Come on, I'll show you the... the old pen
where we used to keep the pigs.
They had to put them down.
- That's too bad.
- -Rotten situation, the pigs.
Life isn't always pretty on a farm.
Something you should know.
So what... what happened to them?
To the pigs?
Forget it. Uh, I don't think
you'd like the story.
Can't do that. You have to tell me now.
- Yeah?
- Yes! Jesus.
OK, well...
My dad hadn't been in
to check on the pigs for a few days.
My parents were busy.
He'd just tossed their food into the pen.
But after a few days,
he noticed that they were all just lying
in this corner all the time,
so he went in to check on them.
They didn't look well.
He decided he'd better try to move them.
And they're heavy.
They're pigs, right?
But yeah, he... he finally managed
to move one, and discovered...
its entire underside
was filled with maggots.
Both pigs were being eaten alive.
Life can be brutal on a farm.
Should we go inside? It's getting cold.
Everything has to die.
That's the truth.
One likes to think
that there is always hope.
That you can live above death.
And it's a uniquely human fantasy
that things will get better,
born perhaps of the uniquely
human understanding that things will not.
There's no way to know for certain.
But I suspect humans are the only animals
that know the inevitability
of their own deaths.
Other animals live in the present.
Humans cannot,
so they invented hope.
I'm here.
We're here.
It's Jake!
- We'll be right down.
- OK
Do you want slippers?
- I...
- Floors are cold here.
- Old houses. Will you hold this, please?
- Yeah.
Yeah, thanks, I think.
They'll be big on you.
They're my old ones, but they are warm.
Ah! Voil.
- None for you?
- No.
No, no. No, no, no, no, no, no,
you should have these.
- These are yours.
- Oh, no.
What kind of gentleman
would that make me?
My slippers are your slippers.
- You sure?
- I am.
Um, have a seat.
They'll be right down.
So, the... the bedrooms are upstairs.
Not much else. Um...
My mom's sewing room,
bedroom, linen closet.
I can show you after we eat,
if you'd like.
It's not fancy,
as you can see.
It's nice. I like it.
- Yeah?
- Yes.
Reminds me of the house I grew up in.
I suppose all farmhouses are alike.
Like all happy families.
I'm not sure Tolstoy got that one right.
Happiness in a family
is as nuanced as unhappiness.
Well, I think he was
talking about marriage...
Ah, here they come!
I'll just get a fire going
in the meantime.
Your parents knew
we were coming, right?
I mean, they invited us and all...
Invitation sounds a little formal
for my family,
but yeah, of course,
we communicated.
OK, cool.
This fire feels good.
- What's in there?
- The basement.
I see.
We keep it closed off, mostly,
'cause old houses tend to be...
the basement is unfinished.
A hole in the ground, really.
A hole in the ground?
Just, water heater, washer and dryer,
stuff like that.
We don't use it really for anything else.
- OK.
- So, it's a waste of space.
I hate the basement, if you...
really want to know.
You have intense feelings about it.
You know, when you're a kid,
uh, basements are scary.
Well, we didn't have one
growing up in an apartment,
but watching those scary movies,
you get the idea.
Don't look down in the basement.
Oh, whoa!
He's hiding in there. Shh.
- Who?
- What?
What are those scratches on the door?
Dog. From the dog, mostly.
I love dogs.
I didn't know your parents have a dog!
I usually can tell when there's a dog
in someone's house.
- Toys lying around, and...
- My folks are tidy.
Well, where is it? What...
what kind? What's its name?
So many questions. Uh, Jimmy.
He's a border collie.
Probably outside, or...
Oh! Hi, Jimmy!
Oh, he's all wet.
- That's...
- Ah! Here they come.
Was the drive OK?
Yeah, fine.
- So glad to meet you, Louisa.
- Oh.
Jake has told us
so much about you.
Oh, he's told me so much
about both of you too.
Oh. And you came anyway?
Well, let's eat. All the food
will be as cold as a witch's tit
in a brass brassiere.
- Oh, it smells great.
- I hope you're hungry.
All homemade. Everything you see
on the table is from the farm.
Looks lovely.
Jake tells us you're a painter.
Yes! Jake tells you correctly.
I don't really know much about art,
but I like pictures where you know
what you're looking at.
What's it called? Uh, abstract.
I don't get that.
I could do abstract. Smear some paint on,
what's it called?
Canvas. I think it's a con job
if you ask me.
I like paintings
that look like photographs.
I couldn't do that in a million years.
That is talent.
Why... why not just take a photograph,
Dad, if you like photographs?
It's much quicker, and photographs look
exactly like photographs.
I like photographs,
mostly sports photographs.
What kind of paintings
do you make, Lucy?
Uh, well, I-I'm not an abstract artist,
so that's in my favor.
Good! You see, that's exactly my point.
You see? Good!
I-I do mostly landscape.
Like outside paintings?
Uh, yes! Mm-hmm.Plein air.
Which is outdoor painting.
I try to capture the feel
of light and atmosphere.
That sounds lovely.
- Jake used to paint too, of course.
- Mom!
- He worked really hard at it.
- Aww.
I didn't know that.
- He was very good.
- Mom.
I try to imbue my work with a sort of...
Interiority. So you paint...
- inside?
- Well, inside my head.
So a landscape would attempt to express
how I feel at that time.
Lonely, joyous, worried, s-sad.
That sounds very interesting.
Like that painting of that girl,
sitting in a field, looking at a house.
Christina's World. Wyeth.
Yes. Exactly.
But without people.
How can a picture of a field be sad
without a sad person
looking sad in the field?
That's an interesting problem.
Yeah, I-I-I-I...
I... I struggle with that.
Well, I have some pictures of my work,
if you'd like to see them.
Oh, yes!
- Yeah?
- Yes?
- Yes!
- Yeah?
These here.
Mmm. Ah!
Mmm. I mean, they're pretty,
but I don't see how it's supposed
to make me feel something
if there's not a person in them
feeling something.
If there's not a person in them
feeling sad or joyous
or whatever other emotion you said.
Well, m-maybe think of yourself
as the person looking out at the scene.
I'd have to see me in them.
Well, if you were there,
you wouldn't see yourself, right?
Well, I would if I looked down.
I'm not a ghost.
- Yet.
- I can attest to that.
Especially in the bedroom.
I mean, but if you were there
looking out at it without looking down,
you'd... you'd see the scene
and you'd feel something.
Anything an environment makes you feel
is about you,
not the environment, right?
None of...
none of the feeling
is inherent to the place.
Uh, that's over my head, I guess.
They are pretty, though.
You're very talented.
- Thank you.
- I like the colors.
Psst, Jake, you didn't tell us
your girlfriend was so talented.
I did, actually.
Anyway, uh...
I mean, sometimes I...
I would've thought...
Uh, so...
tells me you're studying quantum psychics
at the university.
- Yes.
- Physics.
- Really?
- Yeah.
That's unusual for a girl, isn't it?
Yes, it is, actually.
I'm just asking.
A little less so these days,
which I think is a good thing.
Well, after seventh grade,
I couldn't understand
what Jake was saying,
so it's wonderful he has someone
he can share all his ideas with.
Jake tells us there's been lots of famous
husband and wife physicists.
- Ooh!
- Dad!
I guess there have been some.
Uh, Pierre and Marie Curie
shared a Nobel Prize in physics.
Well, even I've heard of them.
Well, I've heard of her anyway, radiation.
- Uh, radioactivity.
- Radium.
- Yes.
- I am so glad Jake has found someone.
Won't you please tell us the story
of how you met?
Jake has refused.
I love romantic meeting stories.
Like in Forget Paris.
- Billy Crystal?
- I didn't like that movie.
Billy Crystal is a Nancy.
I went with a friend
to a bar near campus, and...
it turned out to be trivia night.
Oh, I love this so far!
Jake is crazy about trivia!
We used to play
the Genius Edition of the...
- We used to play the Genius Edition...
- Genus.
- We used to play the Genius Edition...
- Genus!
of Trivial Pursuit. What?
It's Genus Edition.
Oh, I always thought the word was genius.
I've been saying it wrong all these years.
Goes to show, I'm no genus!
That's a good one.
No, no, no.
Genus is not...
the same as genius.
A genus is a category.
I always thought
it was the Genius Edition.
I told everyone he knew every answer
in the Genius Edition.
I was very proud of that.
- Why didn't we get the Genius...
- There is no...
- Genius Edition.
- OK.
So, Jake was
with his trivia team,
and my friend and I
found an empty table near him,
and I was watching him.
- Because you thought he was cute!
- Yeah, I did.
And he was very serious about the game,
which I found, I don't know, charming.
And... Oh, his team was called...
- Brezhnev's Eyebrows.
- Brezhnev's Eyebrows, right.
I asked who Brezhnev was,
basically so I could say something to him.
And he told me
that Brezhnev was a Soviet engineer.
And a general of the...
- Uh, the section head of...
- Secretary of the Communist Party.
During the age of starvation.
- Stagnation.
- Stagnation.
Anyway, those team names
drive me nuts usually.
They all have the most teams show-offy.
But I don't know, it didn't
bother me so much with Jake.
I guess I didn't let it
because I thought he was cute.
Aw, he is cute, isn't he?
So I-I-I was trying to get up the nerve
to talk to him, because...
even though he looked over at me
more than once,
it was clear he wasn't gonna say anything.
I thought you said
you were talking about Brezhnev?
Yes, that's true.
But we didn't talk anymore after that,
I guess is what I meant.
So I said something stupid, like,
"You guys seem to be doing well."
And I had to practically yell it,
it was so noisy.
And Jake... Jake raised his glass
and went, "Well, yeah,
well, we're helpfully fortified."
And I laughed, which broke the ice,
and I think he was egged on
by my laughing,
'cause he went on to tell me
that he was a cruc...
- Verbalist.
- Verbalist.
And I didn't know what that meant.
But I-I didn't want to admit that,
so I just said,
- "Cool."
- Cool.
And he was showing off again,
and poorly,
and I thought, "This guy is awkward.
He has no game at all."
And there was something
sort of appealing about that.
But then he kept going.
And he told me that he wanted
his team name to be Ipseity,
and I was like, "Ugh."
You didn't like him anymore?
I did.
I just wanted that stuff to stop.
So I told him,
"You know I don't know that word.
Why don't you just cut the crap?"
And he said something like,
"I'm an asshole."
"I'm not very good at talking to people,
and Ipseity is just another word
for selfhood."
Anyway, after that, he talked
like a normal person, and he was funny.
And I could see he wanted to ask
for my number,
but was shy.
And I was getting up to go.
My girlfriend wanted to leave.
And Jake...
blurted out, could he have my number?
There you go... Jake.
It's about time.
And the rest was history.
That was like...
six weeks ago?
God, feels longer.
Feels like forever, in a way.
I can't...
I can't even remember how long ago it is.
I'll be right with you.
Hello, welcome to Red Line.
I'm Yvonne. I'll be taking care
of you today.
There's a guy behind you.
That's Nimrod.
He's the idiot waiter-in-training
trailing me.
- Hi, I'm Nimrod.
- Hey.
So are you folks ready to order,
or can I answer questions about the menu?
- How is the Santa Fe burger?
- Very popular.
OK, so, uh, which do you prefer,
the Santa Fe burger or the Natchez burger?
Hmm, that's a tough one.
They're both really, really good.
- You don't have a favorite?
- Um, I guess I would say the...
Look, man, she's a vegan, so...
- What the hell are you doing?
- No, look. What you don't know
about this amazing woman in front of you
is that she's not a waitress.
- Can you please leave?
- She is a waitress.
But only to put herself through school
so that she can become
- an animal rights lawyer.
- OK.
No, not a crumb of meat or dairy
has crossed her lips
since she was five years old.
And she realized that a...
that a hamburger is just a ground-up cow.
She spent the rest of her life trying...
She spent the rest of her life
trying to make the world
a better place for animals,
and I love her!
I love her! I love her
because she's the most beautiful...
That was beautiful, Yvonne.
You're fired.
I needed that job, idiot.
I know.
Did you say you love me?
I did.
Well, that was lovely.
- We gotta get on the road.
- Jake was always a good boy.
He was even awarded a diligence pin
at school, you remember?
- Still working on that?
- Nah.
Diligence. At eight, can you believe that?
It was quite a thing. His father and I
never got awarded any such pin at eight.
- At any age.
- True enough.
At no age.
I won a bunch of sports trophies,
but never a diligence trophy.
I don't imagine I knew the word diligence
at eight!
But Jake knew it. You knew.
Jake knew.
Jake knew. Remember how excited you were
- about that diligence pin?
- No.
- He wore it to school.
- I didn't.
He did, every day. You did!
No, I was disappointed.
I wanted the acumen pin.
is an also ran.
"You there, you worked very hard,
you're not very bright,
but we're impressed
that you tried anyway."
Oh, don't be sour.
It was a lovely pin, sweetheart.
I made Jake's favorite chocolate cake.
Of course, I never turn down
anything chocolate.
Help me.
I'll serve dessert in the sitting room.
That's from My Fair Lady.
- That was you! Yes!
- She said he was a Nancy.
You've been saying that one
for years!
Oh, you cannot keep doing this!
You seem so quiet.
You OK?
Do you like them?
They're very nice.
Very nice parents.
You chose well, my friend.
- Yeah.
- Yes.
- Yeah.
- Yes.
Of course.
They love you a lot.
- Yeah.
- Prime importance in parents.
I suppose.
We've had our issues.
Jesus, everyone's had issues
with their parents.
Hey, what happened to Jimmy?
Aw, here he is!
You're a stinky wet monster, huh?
- Sorry.
- About?
His smell.
Jake, he's a dog.
It's fine. Jimmy...
Hey, who is this?
You can't tell?
It's me.
No, it was me.
W-Wasn't it me?
- H-How...
- Sorry for the delay...
- Oh, God.
- Kitchen emergency, don't you know.
Well, here it is,
Jake's favorite. Ta-da!
Chocolate yule log.
Even though it's well past yule.
Reminds me of when Jake
used to suck his thumb.
Well past the age
when he should've stopped.
He'd say, "Yule, yule, yule..."
as he sucked it.
Yule log. Kinda looks like thumb!
Looks great.
Thank you.
It really looks amazing.
Thank you. Enjoy.
I've been having problems with my ears.
Just in case anyone is wondering why
I keep pulling at my ears all night long.
More than a problem.
It is what it is, as they say.
What is tinnitus?
Not very much fun is what.
Not very much fun.
But shit happens, as they say.
I hear a kind of buzzing in my ears.
Well, not so much a buzzing,
more of a hiss.
Well, more of a...
Oh, always?
As if I'm constantly being whispered to.
Maybe it's sharing the secrets
of the universe with me.
But I can't tell.
Maybe it's giving me stock market tips.
Oh, we'd be rich!
Sorry, sorry.
I... I thought it had been turned off.
- See my glasses?
- Here you are.
It's just a friend.
- Her friend calls a lot.
- Well, you can take it.
You should take it.
We won't think it rude.
No, it's OK. It's not important.
You don't know. It might be.
It's a blizzard out there.
- She might be stranded.
- It's OK.
Is it a blizzard now?
We... We don't want to get stuck.
- Stuck? Stuck?
- It's OK. I've got the chains.
I've... I've got to work early tomorrow.
Oh, you put the chains on?
No, not yet, but they're in...
they're in the bed.
Chains should make it fine.
What? I'm sorry.
- The chains.
- Oh, God.
- The whispers, I call them.
- The night is the worst.
- What is?
- Night!
Oh, night is the worst.
I don't sleep much anymore.
Oh, that sounds very difficult. I'm sorry.
- Sorry?
- I just said I'm sorry!
We're both saying sorry!
- You should take your call though.
- It could be an emergency.
It's fine.
- I know what she's calling about.
- You should at least listen to the message
There's only one question
to resolve.
I'm scared. I feel a little crazy.
I'm not lucid.How...
The assumptions are right.
I can feel my fear growing.
Now is the time for the answer,
just one question.
One question to answer.
- She's fine.
- Eh?
Wh... what did she want?
Oh, she was just calling to say hi.
How nice.
Friends are important.
Jake never really had a lot of them
growing up. Or even after.
Remember your 50th birthday?
- Twentieth.
- What did I say?
- Fiftieth.
- Fiftieth.
Goodness, where is my brain?
Friends can be helpful.
Hmm. That's what I've always found.
'Cause life can be difficult.
On a farm.
Doesn't get any easier
as it trudges along, I'll say that.
- What?
- Doesn't get any easier.
- What doesn't?
- Life!
Oh, no, it doesn't.
It's basically a fast train to hell.
For God's sake, Mom!
All right, all right, yes.
I'm overstating it. I agree.
It's a fast train to heck!
Your mother was always very funny.
It's what I loved about her.
I think it's the...
the first thing that I fell in love with.
Kind of... faded as she got older.
Wears you down, I guess.
It's not so funny anymore.
I miss her terribly.
So, Lucia...
is studying gerontology.
Oh, really?
Oh, how fascinating.
Oh, fascinating.
I've always been interested
in the problems associated with aging.
I think our society has an almost
repulsed relationship to the aged.
Which iseminently foolish,
seeing that it's an inevitable and natural
part of the life cycle
of all living things.
Not to mention it's terribly unkind.
How interesting.
And compassionate.
Oh, we've gotta keep her, Jake.
Oh, how kind she is.
Boy, it's, uh...
It's looking pretty bad out there.
I don't know, Jake,
I-I think we should probably...
- Jake?
- What?
I-I-I-I think we should go.
It's looking pretty bad.
I have chains!
Where are you?
- Upstairs.
- I'm coming up.
Just letting you know.
Where are you?
"Coming home is terrible.
Whether the dogs lick your face or not.
Whether you have a wife or just
a wife-shaped loneliness waiting for you.
Coming home is terribly lonely."
Sorry, you...
you scared me.
Oh, I'm sorry.
This is...
Jake's childhood bedroom.
Yeah, I-I...
I saw the sign on the door.
Oh, that.
How can I explain that?
My memory is going, um...
Early signs of, uh...
- Lewy bodies...
- Yeah, I think that's it.
We've taken to...
labeling things
around the home,
you'll see labels all over the house.
I haven't noticed.
You will notice.
I'm sorry to hear that y-you're...
That's OK.
Truth is...
I'm looking forward
to when it gets very bad
and I don't have to remember
that I can't remember!
Seems that that'll be a...
better way to, um...
Oh, come on.
- Yeah.
- They say that every cloud has a...
- A silver...
- Silver! Ah, that's it, exactly. Silver.
They say that every cloud has a silver,
and, uh...
Well, I believe that to be true.
This is Jake's old room.
You two can stay in here tonight
if you want.
His mother and I aren't old fashioned
about that kind of thing.
Fucking and whatnot.
Oh, I.. I... I have to get home tonight.
I have work in... in the morning.
I know this bed
looks a bit small for two, um...
Oh, come on.
Uh, uh, grown-ups.
It's a child's bed, after all.
Not even for twin children.
Just for one child. I'm sure
for a single night you could make do.
That's very generous of you, but I...
I-I do have to...
I imagine you won't be doing
any fucking in this bed.
Not really made for fucking.
It's a child's bed.
Just for one child, not two.
Sure I can find
one of my wife's old, um...
Things for you to wear for tonight.
Might have to dig through some trunks.
Sure I can find one of my wife's
old things for you to wear.
For tonight. Oh, look, there's...
Jake's old room.
Oh, it's the girlfriend.
Open up.
Jake, the snow. I need to leave.
I've told him over and over
it's time for him to leave!
Mom, you need to eat!
I'll be down in a minute.
Jake's always been a good boy.
He won a pin.
Maybe not as naturally talented
as some of the other students,
he worked so hard.
And that's even more impressive.
Being a genus...
Genius, Mom.
The luck of the draw, really.
The genetic lottery, as they say.
But to do as well as Jake did
with no special talent or abilities...
That's much more impressive.
- Maybe you should...
- Soon!
We will leave soon.
Let me just finish up here.
I'm impressed
with your attentiveness to your mom.
It's rare.
We tend to warehouse our elderly.
It's really special
how devoted a son you are.
I'm glad to hear you say that.
That makes me feel better.
Sometimes it...
feels like no one sees
the good things you do.
Like you're just alone.
I see it.
I'll wait downstairs.
Give you some privacy.
I don't want to live in a warehouse.
I should end this.
Just end it.
I just make a clean break.
No lingering,
no waiting for things to get better.
You can only wait so long.
I don't even know who I am
in this whole thing anymore,
where I stop and Jake starts.
I'm a pinball. My emotional state
is bouncing all over the place.
Jake needs to see me
as someone who sees him.
He needs to be seen,
and he needs to be seen with approval.
Like that's my purpose
in all this, in life.
To approve of Jake, to keep him going.
And he needs to see me as someone
whose approval of him is validated
because I'm approved of by others.
"Look at my girlfriend,
look at what I won.
She's smart, she's talented,
she's sensitive.
She can do this, she knows about that,
she made this, she cares about that."
Let me just take him to the bathroom,
then we'll go.
I need to end it.
Is that the girl?
- Yes, Dad, Louisa.
- Oh.
I brought your mother's, uh...
For her.
very kind. I...
I have to go home tonight.
Oh, I-I... I don't understand.
What does she mean?
I don't know, Dad.
- I can't tell.
- I have my shift tomorrow.
She's a waitress.
We.. we met when she was serving me.
It's a sweet story.
I asked her about the...
Santa Fe burger.
I'm feeling confused.
Let's just get you to the bathroom.
We don't want another accident.
Remember last night?
What's this old thing doing here?
I'm not sure.
Oh, my goodness it's filthy.
It's got Jake's baby food on it.
What's it doing here?
I tell you,
I would misplace my own head
if it wasn't screwed onto my own head.
Would you be a sweetheart and toss it
in the washer? I just started a load.
My hands are full picking up
all these darn toys.
Jake would leave his head on the floor
if it wasn't screwed onto his own head.
- Where is it?
- In the basement.
I don't think Jake wants me down there.
Jake can be controlling.
You can't allow him to control you.
I think it's the other side of his type
of personality. Thisdiligence thing.
He needs to control everything.
There's so many,
many things that make him nervous.
He keeps closing off more and more
of the world. It's a problem.
And the few people
he does have left in his life
need to follow all sorts of rules.
It really is a problem.
Yes, I'm probably to blame.
And all this guilt
causes me to feel obligated...
to bend over backwards
to accommodate his every little whim.
It's a vicious cycle.
So what exactly are you saying to me?
I'm saying,
take the darn nightgown to the basement.
Live dangerously.
You... you sent her down?
To the washer.
Mom! Really?
You don't have to do laundry
for my mom.
You're a guest,
and we... we... we'll get you
a clean nightgown for tonight.
- I don't mind.
- Well, we really need...
We really need to get on the road.
I could... I could use some help
with the chains.
Right, I'll be up.
It's tragic how few people
possess their souls before they die.
"Nothing is more rare in any man,"
says Emerson,
"than an act of his own."
And it's quite true.
Most people are other people.
Their thoughts are
someone else's opinions.
Their lives a mimicry,
their passions a quotation.
That's an Oscar Wilde quote.
There's only one question
to resolve.
I'm scared. I feel a little crazy.
I'm not lucid.
The assumptions are right.
I can feel my fear growing.
Now is the time for the answer.
Just one question,
one question to answer.
Oh, my God.
Jake, is your mom...
She's asleep.
We should go.
It's getting treacherous.
Are you certain she's all right?
Out like a light.
It's a good time to go.
What about your dad?
He's puttering somewhere.
The disposal's out again.
It was great to meet you.
It was great to meet you too.
Thank you so much for your hospitality.
Oh, you're welcome here any time. Yes.
Jake's a good boy, yes?
- Yes.
- Yeah?
A good man, I should say.
You agree?
OK then, well...
Did you like them?
Uh, y-yes, they're very nice.
They can be a little pushy,
but they're basically decent people.
That was eminently clear.
They both loved you, by the way.
That's good. I'm glad.
- So smart, my mother said.
- Did she?
Well, not to you. That would've
made you uncomfortable.
But, um, when I was helping her
with the dishes.
I don't remember Jake
helping his mother with the dishes.
I feel uncertain about a lot
of what happened tonight. It felt like...
When you and Dad were discussing...
When you and Dad were discussing...
It seemed
as if everything was slightly...
- Tariffs.
- Right. Tariffs.
Yeah, I-I do remember now.
I'm a little fuzzy.
You did have a lot of wine.
He was thrilled to have someone
who knew the difference.
Did I?
You did.
I don't think you noticed,
because he kept topping you off.
- Did he?
- Yes, yes, yes.
I didn't notice that.
- Yeah.
- Tricky.
Makes it hard to keep count.
- It does.
- As I was saying...
All in all, I think everything...
went well.
I think it was a successful visit.
Mm-hmm. Yes.
Everyone got to know each other.
That's true. They're very nice.
- You liked them?
- Yes.
They liked you, too.
I think that...
I think that's a good sign.
Sign is perhaps not the right word.
- The thing.
- Oh.
The good thing.
- Yeah.
- Good thing.
It's good when people you like,
like each other.
People like to think of themselves
as points moving through time.
But I think it's probably the opposite.
We're stationary,
and time passes through us,
blowing like cold wind,
stealing our heat,
- leaving us chapped and frozen.
- What are you thinking?
I don't know, dead.
I feel like I was that wind tonight.
Blowing through Jake's parents.
Seeing them as they were,
seeing them as they will be.
- Seeing them after they're gone.
- What are you...
- When only I'm left.
- What are you thinking?
Only the wind.
Not much.
I'm tired, Jake. The wine, I guess.
Yes, you did have a lot.
It is a depressant, as you know.
Of course I know.
I think it's important for people
to keep that in mind
before they make decisions
under its influence.
- A Woman Under the Influence.
- Amazing film.
I'm not sure I agree.
I've been watching that film over and over
for my essay due Wednesday.
I felt, uh, a kinship
with Mabel, I guess.
She's such a powerful,
horribly wronged character.
Is she?
I think...
Mabel Longhetti is bombed out
because she's always trying
to please everyone,
so that she can be considered one more
victim-heroine for the women's liberation.
But only by womenliberationists
who are willing to accept
textbook spin-offs as art.
The Junoesque Gena Rowlands,
Mrs. Cassavetes, is a prodigious actress,
and she never lets go of the character.
I agree. I-I thought she was
great in the role.
- Seemed to me she... she encompassed...
- Now at an indeterminate age
when her beauty has deepened
beyond ingenue roles,
Rowlands can look old or young.
Shades of expression
transform Mabel Longhetti from...
a radiantly flirtatious beauty
into a sad, sagging neighborhood drunk.
Rowlands externalizes
schizophrenic dissolution.
Mabel fragments before your eyes.
A three-ring circus
might be taking place in her face.
Rowland's performance is enough
for half a dozen tours de force,
a whole row of Oscars. It's exhausting.
she is a great actress, but...
nothing she does is memorable,
because she does so much.
It's the most transient
big performance I've ever seen.
I guess I'm unclear
what you mean by transient?
Mabel tries to slash her wrist,
Nick puts a band-aid on the cut.
The idiot symbolism is enough
to make you want to hoot,
but this two-hour and 35-minute movie
leaves you too groggy
to do more than moan.
Details that are meant to establish
the pathological nature
of the characters surrounding Mabel...
and so show her isolation
become instead limp, false moments.
It's unclear whether the characters
are unconscious
or whether it's Cassavetes
who's unconscious of what he's doing.
The children keep murmuring
that they love her.
There's no clue
as how to decipher that refrain.
Are they coddling her?
Reversing roles and treating her
like a child in need of reassurance?
Or are they as unashamedly loving
as she is?
And what are... what are we to make
of Nick the Pulper's
constant assertations?
Is assertations even a word?
- I thought it was assertions.
- They're both words. Look it up.
What are we to make of Nick the Pulper's
constant assertations of love?
The... the movie is entirely tendentious.
It's all planned yet it isn't thought out.
I do see what you're saying.
You are certainly the expert
on things cinematic.
I am.
I-I guess I was just...
taken in...
by the... the sympathy
that Cassavetes showed for her.
I feel like maybe our society
lacks a certain kindness,
a certain willingness
to take in the struggles of others...
struggling with, uh,
issues caused by...
An alienating society?
I don't know.
Uh, I guess.
Yeah. It seems hopeless.
What does?
All of it. Uh, everything.
Like feeling old,
like your body is going,
your hearing, your sight.
You can't see, and you're invisible.
And you've made so many wrong turns.
The lie of it all.
- What is the lie of it all?
- I don't know! That...
it's going to get better,
that it's never too late,
God has a plan for you.
- That age is just a number.
- Shut up.
it's always darkest
before the dawn. That
every cloud has a fucking silver lining!
That there's...
That there's someone for everyone.
Platitudes all.
Shut up, Mabel! Sit down, Mabel!
And God never gives us
more than we can bear.
God's a good egg that way.
Hey, do you want something sweet?
What do you mean?
- Dessert.
- Didn't we have dessert at your mom's?
I feel like there was
this huge cake thing, or...
I guess I'm a sugar junkie!
I don't know.
It might help me stay awake.
Then definitely!
We need Jake awake for a bit.
This is all so treacherous.
There's a Tulsey Town
just at the turn-off up ahead.
A Tulsey Town?
Open now? In this? It's freezing.
It is perfect weather for a Brrr.
Don't you think?
Yeah, I guess it is.
Tulsey Town.
Jesus, I never thought of that before.
What do you suppose Tulsey Town is?
Based on the clown...
I'd say it's a circus town.
Maybe like that place...
uh, where the sideshow folks go
during off season.
- Ruled by the clown lady?
- Ah.
Well, yes, she wears a crown.
She has a...
clown crown?
A benevolent and tolerant
ice cream clown queen.
Made entirely of lactose.
She is lactose tolerant!
She's sweet but cold.
Like your mum.
What do you mean?
Nothing. I don't know why I said that.
That just came out.
- Did you think of my mother as cold?
- No.
Uh, she was lovely, she really was.
'Cause I don't...
subscribe to that,
the mother is the cause
of all psychological problems crap.
That's misogynistic claptrap.
Freudian bullshit.
It is tempting...
to have someone to pin it on, though.
Pin what on?
All of it. Why you feel a certain way,
why you are a certain way.
That's misogynistic claptrap.
Freudian bullshit.
A person, an adult, has to,
at one point or another,
take responsibility for who they are.
Don't you think?
- Yeah.
- Yes.
Mother's are people
with their own pain,
their own history of neglect and abuse.
Yet, at one time or another,
during the 20th century, every fucking
childhood trait was blamed on them:
schizophrenia, autism,
narcissism, homosexuality.
Not that homosexuality is akin
to any of those other things.
- Uh, yeah. Of course not.
- Obviously.
Saying that a mother is to blame
for her child's homosexuality
is to imply that homosexuality
is somehow negative.
I was just saying that when homosexuality
was considered a pathology
in the DSM before 1973,
a coddling mother
- was often seen as the culprit.
- Right.
It's despicable how we label people
and categorize them and dismiss them.
I look at the kids
I see at school every day.
I see the ones who are ostracized.
different. They're out of step.
And I see the lives they'll have
because of that.
Sometimes I see them years later,
in town, at the supermarket.
I see,
I can tell that they still carry
that stuff around with them.
Like a...
black aura.
Like a millstone.
Like an oozing wound.
- I'm thinking...
- Here! Ta-da!
Oh. Man, that's brutal.
Brutal place, the land of Tulsey Town.
Climate change here too.
Have you read the novel Ice?
- I don't think so.
- By Anna Kavan?
I don't think so.
1967, it's a fable of sorts,
Let's just get the ice cream and go,
it's freezing.
Wait a minute.
I just want to see who's on tonight first.
You know the people
who work here?
Some of them.
Well, I stop sometimes
after visiting my parents.
I don't like some of the girls
that work here, so I just wanna make sure.
- What's wrong with them?
- I don't know. People...
can be cold to me.
- Uh, I'm gonna wait in the car.
- No, no! Say hello.
They won't come if they know it's me.
- Hello, anybody here?
- In a minute!
So, Ice takes place...
during, uh...
an environmental cataclysm,
causing the world to become
a frozen wasteland.
And the main...
Can I help you, sir?
So, yeah, uh, I'll have, uh...
Oreo Brr.
And he'll have...
Uh, two of those, please.
Two "sames."
Uh, sorry, uh, we need to get back
on the road.
So can we get them as quick
as... as... as possible?
Uh, sorry, hi.
Sorry about the smell, they're doing some
varnishing in the back.
Oh. No problem.
I know this girl.
I've seen her somewhere.
I've seen her before, her... her face.
Her rash, I know her.
It's on the tip of my tongue.
Tip of my brain, as Jake says.
She's someone. She's from somewhere.
I'm certain of it.
It's a fucking blizzard out there.
Surprised you were open
on a night like this.
It's a fucking blizzard out there,
fucking Brrr in here.
Yeah, I-I...
I was thinking the exact same thing.
You're kind.
You're not like them.
Vapid and mean and pretty.
Thanks a lot.
I didn't mean it like that.
I love the way you look.
You... you have a kindness,
and of course you're very attractive.
- I didn't mean it like that.
- It's OK. I understand.
It's, uh...
It's just, there seem...
seems to be a...
certain hardness that comes
with a certain kind of pretty.
You don't have that.
Maybe they suffer too, the pretty ones.
I don't know, maybe...
maybe their prettiness
causes them suffering.
I'm not a psychiatrist.
What an odd thing to say.
Of course she's not a psychiatrist.
She can't be more than 15.
Made them extra high,
since you're so nice.
It'll be eight dollars, please?
Keep the change.
- Thank you.
- You're welcome. Thanks.
I'm worried.
Excuse me?
I shouldn't be saying this.
You OK? Do you need me to call for help?
It's not varnish.
That's not why it smells.
You should know that.
What do you mean?
- You don't have to go.
- I don't have to go where?
Forward, in time. You...
you can stay here.
I'm very scared.
About what? What are you scared about?
- I'm scared for you.
- Thank you.
Have a good night. Be careful.
The roads are treacherous.
You notice that girl's arms?
- Which girl?
- In the Tulsey Town.
Which girl? There were... several.
Several? There were three.
Several is anything more than two.
Mm-hmm. Look it up.
Look it up?
Can you stop saying that?
Anyway, the one... the one with the rash
all over her arms.
I didn't notice.
You're being willfully obtuse.
Not my intention.
"Not my intention."
How's the Brrr?
- Too sweet?
- Yeah, it's sweet.
I always forget how sweet these are.
A little goes a long way.
I don't think I can eat anymore of mine.
You barely touched it.
It's very sweet.
It is a lot.
- Cold?
- Yeah. The ice cream, I guess.
We're in the middle of a snow storm.
Whose idea was it to go to Tulsey Town
in the middle of all this, anyway?
I am not saying a word.
How odd.
This is probably the last time
I'll ever be in a car with Jake.
Soon this'll all be a distant memory.
We'll both be in different places,
remembering this moment.
This shared laugh.
And maybe there'll be regret.
Maybe time will soften
the harder edges, and...
we'll both think that was sort of nice.
Why did it have to end?
And there's no way back at that point.
There's never a way back.
- You got quiet all of a sudden.
- Just watching the storm.
If you can't even tell the other person
what you're thinking,
- that doesn't bode well.
- Looks like you're done with it.
What do you mean?
Bit of a wasted stop.
At least I can say I've been
to Tulsey Town in the middle of the night,
in the middle of nowhere,
in the middle of a snowstorm.
That's something I'll never do again.
A supposedly fun thing
you'll never do again.
- Yes.
- Have you... have you read that?
Read what?
It's a book of essays
by David Foster Wallace.
Nope. I have not.
It's a book... a book of essays.
Ah. No, I haven't read it.
We should... we should find someplace
to dump these.
They're going to melt
and get the cup holders all sticky.
He's got this essay in it
about television.
Pretty people tend to appeal...
Pretty people tend to be
more pleasing to look at
than non-pretty people.
But when we're talking about television,
the combination of sheer audience size
and quiet psychic intercourse
between images and oglers
starts a cycle that both enhances
pretty images' appeal
and erodes us viewers'
own sense of security
in the face of gazes.
That... that's from the essay.
that's interesting.
He killed himself.
Yeah. Yeah, I-I think I knew that.
Yeah, everybody knows it.
Even people who know nothing else
about David Foster Wallace,
never read a word of his writing.
Suicide becomes the story.
The mythology.
The cautionary tale. It's obnoxious.
It's obnoxious.
I don't think we know how
to be human anymore.
Who doesn't?
Our society, our culture, people.
Whatever all this is.
Any of us.
Well, have you ever read
any Guy Debord?
- The Society of the Spectacle?
- Exactly. Yes.
Yes. Of course.
Debord says...
"The spectacle cannot be understood
as a mere visual deception
produced by mass media technologies.
It is a worldview
that has actually been materialized."
Watch the world through this glass,
pre-interpreted for us.
And it infects our brains. We become it.
Like a virus.
Listen, these... these melting things
are... are driving me crazy.
They're going to get
everything all sticky.
Well, have you got a plastic bag
or something?
- No, no, nothing like that.
- A napkin maybe?
I want to find a place to dump them.
Well, there doesn't seem
to be anything around here.
There's a small road
up ahead of us that I know of.
- There'll... there'll be a garbage can.
- I don't know.
May... maybe we should just head home.
To the farm?
No. To the city.
I'm worried
we're gonna get stuck out here.
If we turn off the main road
and get stuck, no one's gonna find us.
It's not...
I'm not going to feel right if I don't
get rid of these. It'll prey on my mind.
OK? Shit.
Hey, hey! It's not... it's... it's not...
it's not a big deal.
I know that, Ames.
- Ames?
- I know that.
Is that short for Amy?
That doesn't sound right.
That doesn't seem like my name.
Or my nickname.
Let's go here, real quick.
And I'll get to show you my high school.
this goes to a high school?
My high school,
where I spent every tortured day.
For so long.
For so goddamn... long.
Can we just turn around?
This doesn't feel right.
I don't understand.
It's just a... a high school.
- It feels wrong.
- I can't turn around.
The road is too narrow.
I'll just get to the school,
we'll dump the cups, and we'll leave.
-OK-No, I-I-I don't...
I don't know what this is.
It doesn't make any sense to me.
How do school buses get down here?
It's a rural high school.
Yeah, I went... I grew up on a farm.
I went to a rural high school.
We... There was a... there was a...
a normal entrance
with a paved fucking road.
It's fine. Everything is tinged.
OK? That's the thing
you have to realize.
- It's tinged?
- Colored by mood, by emotion,
by past experience.
There is no objective reality.
You know there's no color
in the universe, right?
Only in the brain.
Just electromagnetic frequencies,
the brain tinges them.
Yes, I am a physicist.
I know what color is.
Yes, yes. Yes, you are.
You do.
Color is the deeds of light.
It's the deeds and suffering.
That's beautiful.
It's not physicist talk,
but eminently poetic.
Yeah, well, I am a poet after all.
You are. It's beautiful.
- This road seems excessively long.
- Seems.
That's the operative word.
Time is another thing
that exists only in the brain.
- And yet we get older.
- Older and older, older and older.
Or so it seems.
Sometimes I feel...
I'm much younger
than I actually am,
like still a kid inside,
until I pass a mirror.
- Is younger better?
- Yes.
I think so. It's admirable.
Youth is admirable?
How can you admire a person for their age?
It's like admiring a certain point
in a stream.
It's healthier,
it's brighter,
it's more fun.
More attractive, hopeful.
Like a Coca-Cola commercial.
Almost all groundbreaking work
in science and the arts
is done by young people.
Old people are the ash heap of youth.
Listen, Jake,
I-I'm thinking that we need to...
I didn't expect anything so enormous.
One hundred and thirty classrooms,
a gymnasium, two locker rooms,
boys, girls,
auditorium, ten bathrooms,
six administrative offices,
teachers' lounge,
counselor's center.
It's regional, so 11 towns feed into it.
Well, you certainly know your high school.
Like the back of my hand.
- There's someone here.
- School maintenance?
Janitor? Something.
Trash can. I knew it. Be right back.
Come on!
Good. Yes, yes!
Where were you?
That bin was filled with road salt
for the...
I remembered there's a...
a dumpster on the other side
near the loading docks.
- Mission accomplished.
- Let's go.
It's humid in here.
Kind of peaceful.
More creepy than peaceful, I'd say.
- I don't agree.
- I want to go.
- What's the rush all of a sudden?
- All of the sudden?
I've been like a broken record all night,
telling you that I wanted to go home.
I've given you like 40 reasons
why I need to get back tonight.
- I guess that's true.
- You guess?
I just thought...
you know.
It's peaceful and quiet here.
Baby, it's cold outside.
You're gonna quote a rape song at me?
It's not a...
it's not a rape song.
She keeps saying she wants to leave.
He keeps ignoring her.
What would you call that?
She wants to stay. She's just afraid
of what people will think.
She asks him, "What have you put
in my damn drink?"
Jesus. The song was written in 1936.
It's not about roofies!
Roofies or not, he's trying to break down
her defenses with strong liquor.
And anyway, they had mickeys in the '30s.
It's a song about coercion.
I don't know why you're getting so angry.
I just want to go home.
- To the farmhouse?
- Not to the fucking farmhouse,
to my house!
Jake, my house!
Thank you.
And then... and then he says,
"what's the point in hurting my pride,"
like it's her job to make this guy
feel sexually attractive.
Regardless of her own desires,
like that's...
like that's her responsibility.
I see that.
You have convinced me. I'm sorry.
I'm sorry.
It's all right.
What? What?
There was someone watching us.
- I didn't see anyone.
- Well, he was watching us.
Like... like a goddamn pervert.
- Let's go.
- Believe me, I'm very familiar
with that particular look.
Jake, I just...
What the hell does that mean?
I'm going to give him a piece of my mind.
- Jake, don't be ridiculous.
- It's not acceptable.
- Jake, let's just go.
- No.
- You don't...
- I'll be right back. This...
- It's unacceptable!
- Let's go! Jake, let's just go!
- I'll be right back.
- Don't! Jake! Don't, please!
Oh, I shouldn't have come.
I shouldn't have come.
Aah, fuck!
It's hard to say no.
I was never taught that.
It's easier just to say yes.
Anyway, sometimes
you're just caught off guard.
And the request comes,
can I have your number?
And the easiest way out of it
is just to say yes,
and then that yes turns into more yes,
and then it's yes, yes, yes.
He's not a monster, he...
He doesn't beat you.
I'm certain the sex has been good.
At least some of the time.
How long does it take to get hypothermia?
Maybe it's not a bad way to go
if I have to go.
Shit, shit, shit!
Oh, my God.
Piece of shit! Shit!
Shit, shit!
Oh, God.
Jake, I wanna go. Please?
I'm sorry. M-My...
My boyfriend came in here.
I think he went to school here
a while back.
Maybe you know him, I.. I... I don't...
I don't... I don't know
if you were here when...
when he was a student.
I mean, how would I know? Anyway, I...
You haven't seen anyone around here,
have you?
What does your boyfriend
look like?
It's hard to describe people.
It was so long ago, I barely remember.
I mean...
We never even talked,
is the truth. I'm not even sure
I registered him. There's a lot of people.
I was there with my girlfriend...
We were celebrating our anniversary,
stopped in for a drink,
and then this guy
kept looking at me.
It's a nuisance.
The occupational hazard of...
of being a female.
You can't even go for a drink.
Always being looked at.
He was a creeper! You know?
And I remember thinking,
I wish my boyfriend was here.
Which is...
That's sort of sad,
that being a woman,
the only way a guy leaves you alone
is if you're with another guy.
Like, if... like...
like you've been claimed.
Like you're property, even then.
Anyway, I can't...
I can't remember what he looks like.
Why would I?
Nothing happened.
Maybe it was just...
I think it was just...
Just one of thousands
of such non-interactions in my life.
It's like asking me to describe
a mosquito that bit me
on an evening 40 years ago.
Well, you haven't seen anyone
fitting that description, have you?
I haven't seen anyone.
I mean...
except you. I see you.
I'm... I'm...
I'm a little worried about him.
I'm sure there's no need.
He's safe if he's here.
It's safe in here.
It's quiet.
Is it OK if I look around for him?
Maybe take your wet shoes off.
I've just cleaned the floors.
They're yours.
- Oh.
- Come.
Join me.
It's not bad once you stop
feeling sorry for yourself
because you're just a pig,
or, even worse,
a pig infested with maggots.
Someone has to be
a pig infested with maggots, right?
It might as well be you.
It's the luck of the draw.
You play the hand you're dealt.
You make lemonade. You... you move on.
You don't worry about a thing.
- That song has always made me cry.
- I've always loved it.
There is kindness in the world, you know?
You have to search for it, but it's there.
- You're kind.
- Eh, I'm just evolving.
Even now, even as a ghost, as a memory.
As dust, as you will.
We're the same.
Everything is the same
when you look close enough.
As a physicist, you know that.
You, me, ideas. We're all one thing.
Let's get you dressed.
Thank you.
Thank you.
I accept.
I accept...
it all.
Accept youracknowledgment,
this... award.
I accept all...
that it entails.
That this award comes...
near the end of a long, fruitful life,
in acknowledgment for the work I did
decades ago.
My quest has taken me
through the physical, the metaphysical,
the delusional...
and back.
And I have made the most important...
discovery of my career...
the most important discovery
of my life.
It is only in the mysterious equations
of love...
that any logical reasons can be found.
I am only here tonight because of you.
You are the reason I am.
You are all my reasons.
Thank you.