It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books (1988) Movie Script

I'm back in Missoula.
Just got back from Seattle... yesterday.
Just got back from summer school.
Glad to get that over with.
And I just got your tape too.
That was-- was good, 'cause I was
wondering what had happened to you.
Sounds like, uh... like you aren't
in the best of spirits these days.
Like, you're just - I don't know...
kind of up and down
about, just, things.
You sound like
you're kind of bumming about -
bumming out about the prospect
of another semester of school...
which I guess you guys
will be starting pretty soon.
School doesn't start here
for another few weeks.
My folks want me to get a job
till then, but, uh, fuck that.
I don't think that's gonna happen.
The only thing I feel like doing is, uh...
I don't know.
I was thinking maybe if you wanted
to blow off school or somethin'...
you could come up here for a while
and, uh, hang out.
It's pretty nice up here.
It's good hiking weather.
Could maybe--
There's a big concrete dam
up on the side of the mountain.
Maybe we could hike up there
or somethin'.
I'll probably have to spend some time
with Linda, but, uh...
I don't know.
I got a roommate who's, uh--
He's into-- He's up for doing anything,
just about anything.
He's into hanging out.
Linda has a friend too.
Maybe we can, uh...
Maybe we can all do somethin'... together.
I don't know.
Maybe you should just go to school.
How long you think that'll be?
- About five minutes.
- Okay.
[Footsteps Approaching]
[Girl Speaking, Indistinct]
[Boy Speaking, Indistinct]
- [Gun Hammer Clicks]
- [Tires Screeching]
- [Bells Chiming]
- [Gunshot]
[Chiming Continues]
[Bell Dinging]
[Brakes Screeching]
[Man On P.A.] Smoking is permitted
only in the rear 24 seats of coach cars.
Smoking is not permitted at all in the diner
or in the center section...
of the upper lounge and the lower--
I mean, the table area
of the lower lounge.
Pipes, cigars and clove cigarettes are
permitted only in private accommodations.
[Man Continues, Indistinct]
We also ask that you not move
from car to car.
Shoes are required at all times
while moving about the train.
We also ask the parents of small children
not to leave them unattended.
[Continues, Indistinct]
We also ask that you please do not open the
lower vents, doors or windows at any time.
For your convenience, each coach
has a trash receptacle at either end...
and one in the center of each car.
Toilets are located on the lower level
of all coaches and sleepers.
[Man On P.A.] May I have
your attention, please? Amtrak 3414...
[Continues, Indistinct]
[Radio Chatter]
And I'll pull the other end off.
[Man #2]
How about 30, Tom?
[Chatter Continues]
- [Man] That was, uh, to Willaston.
- [Man #2] Yeah.
[Chatter Continues]
[Man] I'll give this information.
One of the doctors was describing to me--
- So how are things going in Austin?
- Well, you know, same old shit.
Parents pissed 'cause you're not
going to school?
Yeah, they're pissed, but, um,
I haven't really told 'em yet.
- Yeah.
- Guess I'll send 'em a postcard...
or somethin' like that.
Doubt they're too worried
about it, though.
Anything particular you want
to do in Missoula?
No, not really.
Whatever's goin' on.
What is goin' on?
Uh, I don't know.
I guess we could, uh...
We could rent some movies.
It's kind of nice out.
We could, uh, you know...
We could do somethin' outside.
Hmm. Any shot of us gettin' up to Glacier
like you mentioned?
Uh, actually...
yeah, if we could, uh,
scam my girlfriend's car off of her.
I don't think she'd be into goin'
too much herself, but, uh...
She doesn't really like to hike or anything.
And that, uh, friend of hers
you mentioned?
Yeah, we might be able
to get her to drive up there with us.
- Yeah?
- Yeah.
- Where are we goin'?
- [Indistinct]
- What's that?
- Uh, a chicken place.
- Chicken?
- Well, they got a bar menu.
- Oh.
- We might get other food there.
So, we're goin' out tonight?
- What's there to do?
- Drink a lot of beer, dude.
We could get, uh, you know...
something to eat downstairs,
you know, and, um...
Um, and then maybe go out
to Top Hat later on.
Hey, those big mountains--
I'll tell you what you
do have.
You have nice air,
you have mountains and you have Luke's.
- That's all you have.
- There's a lot of people out.
- So you have to take advantage of that.
- Yeah.
- Want to go to Luke's?
- Luke's?
- You want to go to Luke's?
- Let's go to Luke's.
Hey, check this out. This guy--
This guy just, uh-- He just met--
He just got through reading
"The Metamorphosis," right?
He meets Kafka. And they're talking
about writing and everything...
and he says, and the author
says to Kafka -
they're just talking about writing,
what he writes--
He says,
"I'm disturbed by the light, the factory...
"the houses, the windows over the way,
most of all, by the light.
The light distracts my attention".
And then Kafka says...
"Perhaps it distracts one
from the darkness within.
"It is good when the light
overpowers one.
"If it were not for these horrible
sleepless nights, I would never write at all.
But they always recall me again
to my own dark solitude".
Then the author says,
"Is he not himself, the unfortunate bug?"
That's pretty-- pretty stupid.
- "The unfortunate bug".
- "The unfortunate bug".
[Train Approaching]
There it is, Missoula Valley.
All you do is climb up here--
Gotta do somethin'.
Have you figured out
a place to go?
I think we should go to Holland Lake.
Where's that, uh--
Where's that place that--
- It's Holland Lake.
- Sure it's not Seeley Lake?
That's Seeley Lake. -No, that's
Seeley Lake. This is Holland Lake.
This right here?
- [Chuckling] It's Seeley Lake.
- [Chuckling]
That's Seeley Lake,
but this is Holland Lake.
- That's where Seeley is.
- Are you sure? How do you know?
I know.
- [Man On TV] It's beautiful, isn't it?
- [Man #2] Yeah, it's exactly what I wanted.
Yeah, pops, you could take care
of a whole roomful of people with that gun.
Maybe not kill 'em all, but then they
wouldn't be good for anything afterwards.
I knew you'd take care of it
for me, Nikki.
- Say, how long you had this place?
- Almost a year.
Yeah, it's picturesque enough,
but there can't be much profit in it.
There isn't. But then, there isn't
much trouble neither.
- What are you thinking about?
- A job.
- Your kind of a job, a job with a rifle.
- What kind of money, pops?
- 5,000.
- Who do I have to kill?
- [Reading Russian Words]
- [Repeating Words]
- "Paxhat".
- "Pakat".
- Nyet. "Paxhat".
- "Pakat".
[Resumes Reading]
- Think these are dry?
- Well, let's check it out.
- They're dry?
- Yeah.
Hey, be sure to tell Linda
thanks for lettin' us use your drier.
Sure. Yeah, it's pretty nice.
Save some bucks. Save me, uh...
the turmoil, the mental turmoil caused
by sitting in a Laundromat all day.
No shit.
Clean clothes.
[Man On TV]
Okay, so you like all of the people.
But what did the story mean to you?
[Woman On TV]
Well, it means a lot.
[Man] Well, then, tell me
what it's all about.
Nick, don't get mad.
Every time I open my mouth,
you get mad at me.
[Man] You don't understand
a word of what I said.
- You don't understand the story at all.
- No, I don't!
But that don't mean
I don't like it.
I don't understand you neither,
but that don't mean I don't like you.
I love you.
I-- But I don't understand you.
What's the matter with that?
- Jinnie?
- What?
Will you marry me?
- What?
- Marry me. Now. Tonight.
Thank you very much.
- Yes, sir.
- "Dear Frank...
"I presume you're in the midst
of a hectic preparation...
for your last big autumn term..."
- Exclamation point.
- Hey.
"Hopefully you will enjoy
the cool weather before winter sets in.
"You are glad in a sense, I suspect...
"that you managed to miss
the Texas summer this year.
And what a summer it has been..."
Exclamation point.
"The garden is very dry right now...
"and Hans, Bernini and Willie are spending
most of the day in the shade.
Enclosed is your autumn tuition money".
- Thank you very much.
- Cool.
"I've put in a little bonus
for a new winter coat...
and some wool socks,
which I'm sure you will need".
- Beer money.
- "Naturally, since we haven't...
"seen you in quite some time,
we want you to come home Christmas.
"Therefore, we would like to know
your finals schedule as soon as possible...
so that we can make you
a plane reservation".
[Bobby Vinton]
# I walk along the street
# We used to walk
# Two by two, lovers pass
# And as they're passing by
# I could die
# 'Cause you're not here
# With me
# Now the trees are bare
# There's sadness in the air
# And I'm as blue as I can be
# Blue on blue
# Heartache on heartache
# Blue on blue
# Now that we are through
# Blue on blue
# Heartache on heartache
# And I find I can't
# Get over losing you
# Night after lonely night
# We meet in dreams ##
So, when's your bus leave?
Hmm. Not for a couple hours.
But, um, I gotta get back over to Frank's...
and get my stuff together,
you know, before I go.
- Bags and shit.
- Need a ride to the station or anything?
I don't think so. I think
we're just gonna walk over there, you know.
It's not too far or anything. Hmm...
All right.
- Well...
- [Door Creaks]
- See you later.
- Okay.
[Man On P.A.] Your attention, please.
Ladies and gentlemen...
we're going to load by destination
this evening.
We don't want you
to get in the wrong section of the train.
We're now gonna board
our coach passengers.
And first, we'll board passengers
for Minot, Willaston...
Hamburg, Whitefish...
Spokane, Pasco...
Wishram via White Salmon,
Vancouver and Portland, Oregon.
I would sleep better, though...
[Continues, Indistinct]
[Man On P.A.] Good morning.
May I have your attention, please?
[Continues, Indistinct]
The lower caf,
the bar are now open...
to serve cocktail, wine,
beer, sodas, snacks...
hot and cold service and so on...
Please come down. Thank you.
Thank you.
- There you go.
- [Man] Thank you.
Yes, thank you.
Eighty cents.
I don't have much-- any change on me.
- Cheez Doodles are 40 cents.
- [Indistinct]
Yeah, but we got two of those for you.
- [Indistinct]
- For 40 cents.
[Man On P.A.]
Today will be chicken salad.
With that you may have your choice
of Amtrak dressing, hot rolls and butter.
These are complete luncheons.
They come with a cup of minestrone...
a choice of coffee, hot or iced tea
or milk as a beverage.
You'll also have an la carte selection,
including apple or cherry pie for dessert...
cheesecake and carrot cake,
vanilla ice cream...
as well as beer, light wine,
Coca-Cola or 7-Up...
to accompany your meal...
at a slight additional charge.
Once again, this will begin about, uh,
noon today in the diner.
Thank you.
[Foghorn Bellowing]
[Man On P.A.]
Loading those passengers only.
No hurry.
[Woman On P.A.]
The white zone is for immediate loading
and unloading of passengers only.
No parking.
[Man On P.A., Spanish]
- Is this the one for Austin?
- Sure is.
Um, I think I'll take a 7-Up.
And how big are those, uh, egg rolls?
Oh, about--
Um, okay. Egg roll and a, uh, 7-Up.
[Man] Coyotes, coons,
rattlesnakes, stinging scorpions -
you name it, we've got a bunch here.
Matter of fact, more than have
ever been known in history.
A few more mountain lions are worse
to the ranchers, and sometimes people.
Because he doesn't just kill to eat,
he kills for pleasure.
So whatever he finds in a group--
- [Man] Not much to see there, is there?
- [Man #2] Oh, yes.
[Man #1]
Oh, yeah? They have a museum? Oh, yeah?
[Man On P.A.] Austin. Austin, Texas,
will be our next station stop.
Please check the overhead luggage rack
for any personal property.
And thank you for traveling Amtrak.
[Water Running]
[Water Flowing]
[Jackhammer Pounding]
[Jackhammer Continuing]
[Frank On Tape]
I'm really wired.
[Breathing Heavily]
It's about 2:00 in the fuckin' morning.
Just got back from...
my favorite restaurant in the world--
Doing my favorite job in the world.
Washing fuckin' dishes.
Big pain in the ass.
That restaurant I was telling you about.
Found out today
this other dishwasher I work with, uh...
has been in this fuckin' dish room
since 1962.
God, nineteen sixty-fucking-two.
He's been Joe Dish ever since.
His whole lot in life.
[Ignition Buzzes, Engine Starts]
[Air Hissing]
[Engine Starts]
What's goin' on?
Yeah, I'm in town for a little while.
I'm over at my sister's right now.
I just got in.
But, uh... Hmm.
So, how are things?
Well, actually...
I'm kind of on my way
to Huntsville after this.
My mom and her boyfriend
are going out of town.
Like, she just had a dog that had puppies
and all this stuff...
and needs someone to
take care of 'em.
So, uh, I guess I kinda got volunteered.
But, um...
I don't know.
So, what are you up to
later this afternoon?
Yeah, I can cruise by.
Well, first I got to, uh--
My dad's in town.
We're having a big-- I don't know.
I have to go to my grandmother's.
There's some big-- I don't know.
Some kind of tribal obligation. I think
we're getting together for some reason.
So, uh, I gotta go over there for a while.
But then I can, uh...
I can probably cruise over after that.
I'll try to get out of there
pretty quick, if I can.
And, uh...
So maybe I'll be over later, huh?
I kinda gotta get going now,
because I'm--
I was supposed to be over there already.
Hey, Grandma. Yeah, I'm here.
Is everybody here?
Okay. Go ahead and let me in.
Yeah. Okay. Bye.
I'll tell you where you used to smell garlic.
In Chicago. You get on a crowded streetcar
goin' to work in the morning.
- [Man] Oh, yeah.
- [Woman #2] In the morning?
Oh, listen... -And you think of
all these foreigners and the garlic--
- For breakfast?
- I guess.
Didn't you find them
in the elevators at school?
- I guess you don't--
- I had a one-story school. [Chuckles]
[Man] You've got to work
in an ethnic neighborhood...
to really get the flavor of it.
[Woman] Gavelston's kind of ethnic.
They have a really big Italian population.
Maybe their clothes were just
permeated with the scent of it.
- No.
- I don't know.
This is bad breath.
This is garlic.
They'd been eating garlic.
[Man] You know, Italians
have very low heart disease.
- I think it's the garlic and the olive oil.
- Mm-hmm.
- And the lifestyle.
- It's all in sync.
- "I don't give a rip" attitude.
- Yeah.
That'll do it.
Well, it's not so much "I don't give a rip,"
but "I don't have any need to give a rip".
- You know. They don't--
- They have their priorities in order.
They know-- They know what's important.
I'm not derelict in my duty.
[Man #2] The most humane people. They
have a real sense of what's valuable in life.
[Man #1]
Well, social community.
Like, I remember--
They don't sit at the house and drink.
Um, they go down to the bar.
- [Woman] Clorox 2?
- [Chuckles]
I've rediscovered Clorox. It's great.
Anything white in my house is--
[Man #1]
You're gonna want your flank protected.
[Woman] Even-- Even colored
things that I've washed.
- Hey.
- [Woman] Hey.
## [Pop On TV]
[Woman On TV, Indistinct]
## [Pop Continues]
[Woman On Radio]
Thursday... [Continues, Indistinct]
[Static Continues]
The Wailers on this first album.
And I understand he's quite an artist.
[Man] Was called into a special meeting
in the Hague yesterday and told--
## [Pop]
## [Rock]
There's no telling what impact, if any...
that could have on various aspects
of the 1,300-page farm bill.
## [Pop]
## [Rock]
[Changing Channels]
## [Pop]
## [Ballad]
[Linda Ronstadt]
# Wait for the day
# You'll go away
- Are you out of your mind?
- I must have been.
Hey, can you use an extra hand, Mac?
[Man #2]
Are you kidding? I--
Pulled from the left to the right.
He sure can play boccie ball.
[Man] Because whether you're just
starting out, or you've started a family al--
Be still.
You are the renowned
Gregor the Great. -Be qui--
Edgar realizes that--
## [Pop]
- Ripe tomato. I, uh--
- Yeah. Yeah, I know.
Yeah. I guess you do.
She wouldn't be the reason
you sold the Lady Luck, would she?
- Could be.
- Look, David...
it ain't none of my business,
but fishermen...
smart fishermen,
don't go chasing yachts or broads...
e-especially if they're married.
- And who says they're married?
- Well, aren't they?
And now the final seconds will tick away...
and Chuck Knox and the Seahawks
will go home a happy crew.
They're seven and six.
The Cowboy season possibly over...
also now seven and six.
In a game that may have as many
repercussions for next year...
as it does for the rest of this season.
Thanks for watching the house
while we were gone.
Yeah, sure.
- Everything going okay with you?
- Yeah.
- Have a good trip.
- Yeah.
- Be careful.
- Okay.
[Door Opening]
[Starter Misfiring]
[Starter Misfiring]
[Starter Misfiring]
[Starter Misfiring]
## [Country On Radio]
[Speaking Danish]
[Elevator Bell Dings]
[Elevator Bell Dings]
Hey, what does your shirt say?
What does that shirt say?
It's Russian, um...
It-- I don't know.
[Speaks Russian] I can't really pronounce it,
but it means in Russian...
"You can't learn to plow
by reading books".
- Old Russian proverb.
- What's that book? What's that book?
- I guess I can't.
- [Chuckling]
It's The Burning Brand.
- It's these diaries from this crazy guy.
- Uh, yeah. H-Here you go.
Tapes, have one of my tapes.
You can have it.
- Your tapes?
- Yeah.
- I put some songs-- I record things.
- Really?
- I'm recording right now.
- Are you really?
Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Yeah, I hope you like it. Yeah.
- Okay.
- Take it easy.
## [Out-Of-Tune Piano]
# And all of a sudden...
# The room was--
## [Continues]
## [Stops]
# In livin' anymore
# And I don't feel much like livin'
# Can't see what for
# There ain't no life left in me
# I feel a bit funny
# Like a ghost with nowhere to go
# My hope has gone and left me
# A desperate man
# There's no spunk left in-- ##
# Or let yourself down
# Put yourself together or fall apart
# Make your mind up or let yourself down
# Oh ##
[Woman] Oh, I just, you know--
This Thursday night...
I put the cassette in and...
just laid there on my bed, and I just
started talking to the machine and--
I'd never felt that, uh...
Usually I've been real self-conscious
about recording my voice.
- Mm-hmm.
- And a machine, I don't...
"No. No, no. I don't like this".
Then we stop.
But I did it.
And I-- It all came out.
'Cause it all needed to come out.
It's like an hour and a half...
or however long the cassette was,
both sides.
And, like, I was interrupted
a couple times -
someone knocking at the door
or whatever.
But it was all on the tape.
It was all on the tape.
And then I-- When it was over,
I decided to listen to it...
and I listened to it, and I said...
"God, all these horrible things
that are happening to that woman".
I mean, that--
The poor little girl, you know.
Just so much, you know.
How-- I mean, she's so strong for herself.
She's talking to this machine.
You know, she's here alone in this house
talking to this machine...
telling it, you know,
all her problems and--
It's so sad. It's like it's--
While it was-- While it was still on,
I could hear my voice...
talking about my problems
and everything.
I just got so sad I started crying.
How can this poor girl -
she's going through so much -
how could she do it?
You know, it's so--
It's too much to happen to one person
in one lifetime...
let alone in two or three weeks.
She shouldn't be alone right now.
She should be with someone else.
[Water Running]
[Door Opening, Closing]
## [Guitar]
# I can't feel you anymore
# I can't even touch the books you've read
# Every time I crawl past your door
# I've been wishin'
I was somebody else instead
# Down the highway
Down the tracks
# Down the road
# To ecstasy
# I waited for you
# Beneath the stars
# Hounded by your memory
# And all your
# Raging glory ##
Originally published 08/21/2012