Liberal Arts (2012) Movie Script

You know,
high school to college,
it can be a big transition,
especially if you're not
from the city,
so-so we try to help out
with that transition
in a number of ways.
Wow, that's a real
I mean, you're not in yet,
no, things are looking
pretty good.
We do an all-campus picnic,
which is a nice way
for the incoming students
to acclimate themselves
to the college.
For me, the most exciting thing
about this place is the classes.
So you don't want to go
to college?
You know, I'm not up to date
on the course catalog.
One of the great things
about this school is, you know,
you have a campus
called New York City.
Greatest city in the world,
they say.
I thought your essay was-
was interesting.
A spell-check might be nice
on these essays.
Planning on taking
your boards again?
Love those extracurriculars.
Have you heard
about the meal plan?
Where do you see things going,
you know,
after-after college?
Mm, mm, mm-hmm
Hmm, mm
Look at how life
has gone today
My sweet love is gone away
My sweet love is gone today
My sweet love
is gone away now
Mm, mm
Look at how life
has gone away
My sweet love is gone away
My sweet love is gone today
My sweet love
is gone away now
Mm-hmm, mm-hmm
Mm-hmm, mm-hmm
Yours or mine?
You can have it if you want,
Is that a new shirt?
Uh, yeah, it is.
Do you like it?
Don't ask me that.
Because it's not my job
to make you feel good
about yourself anymore.
Look at how life
has drived away
My sweet love is gone away
My sweet love is gone today
My sweet love
is gone away now
That'll be all for you?
- Hmm?
- Anything else?
Oh, no, that's it.
That's a nice shirt.
Oh, my baby
Oh, my love
Oh, my baby, now
Mm-hmm, mm-hmm
Mm-hmm, mm-hmm
Mm-hmm, mm-hmm
Jesse Fisher?
It's your favorite Communist.
Professor Peter Hoberg?
Screw you.
I'm not a Communist.
How you doing?
Oh, you know.
Listen, I don't want to
take up too much of your time,
but here's why I'm calling.
Ever since I announced
that I was packing it in,
it's funny, but this whole place
has finally decided
that they don't really hate me
after all.
Now, I know Ohio is not
as glamorous as New York,
but they're throwing me
a retirement dinner thing
at the end of the month,
and they asked me to invite
any former students
that might want to lie and say
some nice things about me.
And since you're one of
the great liars that I know...
When is it?
Weekend of the 25th.
You know, check your schedule.
Checking now.
Uh, looks like I'd have to shift
some things around, but yeah.
I'll be there.
Look at this.
How are you?
- Jesse.
- Yeah, hi.
Hi, I'm David.
This is Susan.
- Hi.
- Hey.
Peter warned you
that we'd be here?
He did.
He did, yeah.
We're making him take care
of us while we're here.
How was your drive?
It was good, yeah.
Pleasant, actually.
Peter, Jesse's here!
So it's good to be back?
Yeah, it's weird.
I drove up the hill.
I suddenly felt like
I was seeing
an ex-girlfriend
or something.
- The one that got away.
- Exactly.
Zibby loves it here so much,
she gets sad to come home
on breaks.
Elizabeth, our daughter.
She's a sophomore.
She's in the improv group.
We came up
to see one of her shows.
- How was it?
- Hilarious.
Uh, filthy but hilarious.
So how do you guys know Peter?
He was my camp counselor.
No way.
He made us sing pro-union
songs around the campfire.
You must stand up
for your brother
So you won't die for the man
Stand up for your brother
so you won't die for
He never writes.
He never calls.
Oh, hey.
Let me look at you.
Not bad.
Who's hungry?
- I'm hungry.
- Okay, let's go.
We've got reservations.
Oh, man, 37 years.
Can you believe it?
Native New Yorker spends
37 years in a county
where the tallest building's
nine stories.
Oh, my.
How are you feeling
about it all?
- The retirement?
- Yeah.
Oh, I don't know.
Another year
of faculty meetings,
I'd throw myself
off that nine-story building.
So how's the admissions game,
the admissions game, buddy?"
Whoa, is that
Professor Fairfield?
Wow, she looks fantastic!
What is she like?
Is she cool?
She's definitely not warm.
I loved
her British Romantic lit class.
She was, like, the best teacher
I had here.
She was, like, the second best
teacher I had here.
You are unbelievable.
Tell her how you feel.
I will.
Jesse, this is my daughter,
Peter, should we follow you?
If you think that's wise.
And he's like, "I had it
up to here with America
and its repressive, regressive,
fascist," whatever.
I sound like that?
That's how I sound?
You do.
You sound like that.
And he gets up in front
of the class.
He says, "I just-I couldn't
take it anymore,
so I picked up my life,
and I moved to France."
This is being ludicrously
misreported, by the way.
So I raised my hand.
I said, "Wait, wait, wait,
wait, wait, Peter.
"You're telling us you got
so angry at this country
that you moved to France?"
And Peter says, "Yeah.
Well, I had a Fulbright."
Yeah, well, yeah, if I told you
what this putz was like
when he was here,
he'd run out of the room crying.
That's probably true.
Well, what were you like
when you were here?
I was very handsome, wasn't I?
Am I remembering that correctly?
No, I don't remember that.
But what I do remember
is you being a real jerk
to your parents
on graduation weekend.
He didn't want to leave.
It's true.
And I blamed my parents,
weirdly, all four of them.
Like it was their fault
college was ending.
Don't do that to us.
- No, I won't.
- She says that now.
So your parents told me
you're in the improv group?
How's that?
It's the best.
I love it.
What do you love about it?
Um, I think I love
how terrifying it is
and how you have to say "yes"
to everything.
Uh, sorry, what does that mean?
It's, like, the only rule
of improv.
You can never say "no."
You have to say "yes"
and then add something.
Like, uh-like, look.
Um, okay, Mom, you and I
have been wandering
in the desert for days,
and we're about to die, okay?
Okay, and I say,
"Hand me that lemonade."
So hand me that lemonade.
Jesus, Susan, hand her
the goddamn lemonade.
Never mind.
Jesse, hand me that lemonade.
Thank you.
Sweet, just the way I like it.
I nailed this.
It doesn't make sense.
We're in the desert.
I mean, where would we get
It's great seeing you guys.
So what was your major?
I was English
with a minor in history,
just to make sure
I was fully unemployable.
- Right.
- What about you?
I mean, not officially yet,
'cause my dad's not totally
thrilled with the idea,
so maybe also art history?
I'm just happy you go to class
I thought maybe you just
improvised all day long.
I mean, I do, I guess.
Have you ever thought
about that?
About what?
How everything in life
is basically improvised?
There's no script.
We're just making this up
as we go.
That's true.
So yeah.
Well, improv is deep, man.
- Well, we're about to head out.
- Oh.
- Pleasure to meet you, Jesse.
- Yeah, yeah, you too.
Take care.
So I'll-
I'll see you around, I guess.
- Yeah, yeah, see you around.
- Okay.
It was nice to meet you.
Yeah, you too.
- See you later.
- Okay, bye.
Enjoy college.
You wearing a tie tonight?
What can you say, really?
People get up and say
all this great stuff about you.
You know, I'm thinking,
"Who in the hell
are they talking about?"
It's just,
where does the time go?
This seems impossible.
37 years.
There comes a time
in a man's life
when it hurts to do the math.
You know, I worry
that I've been here so long
that I'll be lousy
being anyplace else.
Oh, well, I guess I'll find out
very shortly.
Um, hey, thanks for the chicken.
It was a little cold,
but still I...
Think nice thoughts about me
when I'm gone,
if you can.
No, they did it at Macalester.
I really think
it could work here.
Well, it sounds great.
I tell you,
let's talk about it on Monday.
Oh, sure.
Night, Jesse.
Yeah, good night.
It's a good idea, though.
It's a terrible idea.
Oh, what a disaster.
Whatno, it was nice.
You're not half the liar
you used to be.
You know, it really means
a lot to me
that you came out for this.
How could I miss it?
You're the second best teacher
I had here.
I'm serious.
I'm gonna take off.
Well, I'll come with you.
Oh, no, no, no, you stay.
I want to be alone for a bit.
I feel you, man.
A lot of information in trees.
How's your night going?
Is your name...
You look like an Ethan to me.
My name's not Ethan.
How cool would that have been
if that was your name
and I just, like...
Knew it?
Are you a student here?
Uh, no,
but thank you for thinking that.
Nah, man.
I'm just here
visiting a buddy of mine.
But it's not a bad place
to kill a little time, huh?
I'm Nat.
I'm Jesse.
Do you hear that music, Ethan?
It sounds like a celebration.
I say we do
a little sherlocking,
find out where it's coming from
and what's going on.
- No-
- Don't say no.
Fortune never smiles
on those who say no.
Everybody get on the floor
Everybody wanna uh-uh-uh
Everybody get on the floor
Everybody wanna uh-uh-uh
Everybody get...
I would get you a beer,
but alcohol's for suckers, man.
Uh, yeah.
Listen, Nat, this isn't really
my scene anymore.
I'm gonna...
Give yourself five minutes
to adapt, my brother.
Change is never easy.
Tell me this.
What are your thoughts
on crop circles?
Uh, I don't have any.
There's some seriously weird
shit going on, bro.
You think it's just a bunch
of drunk English guys
with planks and rope?
You're a fool.
Spend some time
with those patterns.
You can feel it.
Something's trying
to communicate with us.
It should be on the front page
of every paper every day.
I thought that was you.
- Hi.
- How'd you end up here?
He made a friend.
Yeah, yeah, I-yeah.
Look at you.
You're, like, back in college.
How does it feel?
Oh, this is Vanessa.
- Hey.
- Hi.
- I'm Nat.
- Hey.
Jesse's an alum.
We had brunch this morning.
I think my mom has
a little crush on him.
You went here?
I did, yeah.
When'd you graduate?
Oh, man, it was, uh, the '90s.
That was when we were born.
Yeah, yeah.
I'm old.
But you look good.
And you're overdressed.
Hotter, sweeter, taller...
That's better.
Hotter, sweeter
Why do I like this guy so much?
Because he's likable.
Hey, let's get you guys
some drinks.
Yeah, no, I think I'm gonna-
I'm gonna take off.
No, you should stay.
No, really, I should go.
- Do you drink coffee?
- Yeah.
That's crazy.
So does my friend here.
You two, tomorrow.
Yeah, I could do that.
You want to?
Um, I-yeah, uh, yeah.
That'd be-that's great.
9:00 okay?
Oh, you're serious.
Is 11:30 okay?
Yeah, that works.
Can we talk?
Yeah, sure, okay.
See you tomorrow?
Yeah, yeah.
See you then.
Hey, Vanessa.
Don't sweat that guy.
She only had eyes for you.
Good night, Nat.
Good night, Ethan.
Can I help you?
I just...
just the best book of all time.
I just like holding it,
I guess.
Best book of all time?
Well, one of them, sure.
Have you ever noticed
how everyone around here
speaks in wild hyperbole?
Everything's the best.
"He's the best professor ever,"
or, "This is the best patty melt
on the planet,"
as if they've sampled
every possible variety
of professor and patty melt,
which is, as we know,
logistically impossible.
All right, do we have
enough time for that?
- Hey.
- Hey.
Am I super late?
Uh, no.
You want a coffee?
No, I'll just drink yours.
You okay?
I don't know yet.
I smell like beer.
Do you smell that?
Yeah, actually, you do.
II need to excuse myself
just for a...
Sorry about that.
Back there.
You walked away,
and I was just wondering
why I was being rude to someone
who loves the same writer I do.
And I don't have an answer
for that.
Okay, so yeah, um,
I'll just...
My grades tanked senior year.
That book was the only thing
I wanted to read.
You liking it?
Uh, yeah.
It's my second time reading it,
That's impressive.
It's not short.
Yeah, I know.
You know, he said
the purpose of fiction
was to combat loneliness.
That's good.
I never heard that.
Well, on the other hand,
spending most of your time
with an 1,100-page book
tends to put a dent
in your social life.
Loneliness simultaneously
increased and decreased.
What, you guys know each other?
Yeah, we had Symbolic Logic
first semester.
Dean, hi.
- Hey.
- I'm Jesse, by the way.
Interesting guy.
I can't believe
he's even back here.
What do you mean?
He had a manic episode
last year.
Eventually, they took him
to a hospital
and, I don't know,
calmed him down, I guess.
He's supposed to be, like,
the smartest guy ever.
Everything okay?
Yeah, everything's great.
I puked.
That's gross.
Sorry, you did not need
to hear that.
Come on, let's-let's walk.
My parents really liked you.
That's nice.
I like them.
You're really lucky
to have parents like that.
Like what?
Like, I don't know.
Around, first of all.
Still together so they
can fret over you as a team.
Yeah, I guess.
I like them best when they're
not being so parental,
which is, like, 1% of the time.
Oh, I thought
of this great trick
for having them annoy me less.
Want to hear it?
Okay, I decided
to treat my parents
like they're always drunk.
No, really, it works.
Any time they say something
irritating or offensive,
I'm just like,
"Oh, I can't get mad at them.
They're drunk.
It's not their fault."
And why should I take advice
from drunk people seriously?
That's great.
Do you like classical music?
Yeah, sure.
Okay, I took this
music survey class last year.
Oh, my God!
It totally changed my life.
I'm really happy
I ran into you last night.
Yeah, yeah, me too.
It's random.
Who was that guy?
What guy?
Thelast night, that guy.
Oh, his name is Eric.
Is Eric your fella?
You know, I think I like almost
everything about this place
but the dude situation.
Not great?
No one, like, dates.
Everyone's so casual
about it all.
Same as when I was here.
I guess there's part of me
that's a little old-fashioned.
Well, on behalf
of all current and former
18- to 22-year-olds,
I'd like to apologize.
Forgive us.
We know not what we do.
I think one of the things
I loved the most
about being here
was the feeling
that anything was possible.
It's just infinite choices
ahead of you.
You'd get out of school,
and anything could happen.
And then you do get out, and...
life happens, you know?
Decisions get made.
And then all those many choices
you had in front of you
are no longer really there.
At a certain point,
you just got to go,
"Oh, I guess
this is how it's going down."
And there's just something
a little depressing about that.
Well, don't you think you're
romanticizing youth a bit much?
You know, 'cause it's
just as hard and annoying
to be young as it is to be old,
I'm assuming.
Not that you're old,
'cause, you know, you're not.
Look, I get the whole
"we're all equal" argument,
and it's kind of true,
but it's also kind of not true.
Like, okay, I feel different now
than I felt when I was here,
and I hate to break this to you,
but so will you.
So you're saying things suck?
I should prepare myself
for suckiness?
No, a liberal arts education
solves all your problems.
Thank God!
Worth every penny.
We should hug.
I mean, we could keep talking,
but I think it would be better
if we hugged.
Come on.
Who starts?
I do.
- Okay.
- Here we go.
God, so you were here
a long time ago.
Whoa, okay.
- I mean-
- Enough, enough.
That's-I mean, I just mean
because I thought,
with the greenhouses...
Hey, before you go, I thought
you might like these,
'cause I don't really need 'em
anymore and, uh, here.
Look at this one.
Oh, please,
that's a great shirt.
You know the trouble I caused
in this shirt?
I can only imagine.
You got no taste
on top of everything else.
Oh, my God,
what a beautiful shirt.
Not giving it to you anyway.
All right.
Oh, it feels great!
Oh, hi.
No, no, he's-he's still here.
Yeah, hold on.
You haven't left yet.
- Uh, no.
- Good.
I need to see you before you go.
Will you meet me
at the bookstore?
Say yes.
She's asking
about a book I recommended.
- All right, I'm off.
- Okay.
Be a gentleman.
Walk me to my car.
All right, all right.
Thanks for the shirts.
I'll get them next time, okay?
Yeah, you'll be on the road,
and you'll be saying,
"Oh, maybe I'll call him up."
- Hey.
- Hey.
Sorry, I don't want
to hold you up or anything,
but I, um...
I made this for you.
Burned it, whatever.
Um, it's music
from the survey class
I was telling you about.
- Oh.
- Classical, baroque, opera.
This is great.
I know none of this.
Who says we always
have to be listening
to obscure indie bands, right?
So, um, yeah, I don't know.
This is all music I never
thought I'd like or care about,
and this class just...
well, you know how you can be
told something so many times
and it's like, "Whatever,"
and then you have
a great teacher
take you through it,
and suddenly it's like,
"Beethoven, whoa."
This is really great.
Thank you.
I wish I had come
with something for you.
Well, you know
what you could do?
You could write me a letter.
I could do that.
Handwritten, I mean,
like with a pen or something.
- Ooh.
- Yeah, paper.
Maybe seal it
with some red wax.
I could listen to this
while I'm writing.
Right, it'll be like
full-on 17th century.
Right, right.
So, um,
I don't have your address.
Oh, 108 is my P.O. box,
and you can figure out the rest,
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
I also-I put my number
on the inside of the case.
Yes, you did.
You know, in case you ever...
Yeah, right.
- Well...
- Well...
Professor Fairfield.
Uh, Jesse Fisher.
I, um...
I took your British
Romantic literature class
when I was here as a student.
And I loved it.
Hey, Dean.
I know it's bad for you.
Just quit when you graduate,
like everyone else.
Sweet ride.
You jerk.
It's a rental.
I'm not the best at flying.
I can understand that.
Where you headed?
Back to my dorm.
Get in.
I'll give you a lift.
So you went here, right?
I did.
You liked it?
A lot.
I mean, you block out
the bad memories...
writing a senior thesis,
Yeah, February here sucks.
Yeah, it's horrible.
So other than February,
things are good for you here?
I wouldn't say that.
You want to-you can tell me
about it if you want.
Well, um, it's not exactly
a secret.
Last year, I kind of, um,
lost my mind a bit.
I don't really remember
much of it,
but apparently I got up to
some pretty amusing antics.
So now they've got me
on this pretty heavy stuff,
which I guess
allows me to function,
but it also makes
everything seem underwater,
which is not as pleasant
as it sounds.
Why'd you come back?
My mom's a nurse.
She raised me on her own.
I got a full ride.
so proud I'm here.
Thanks for the lift.
"Dear Zibby,
I can't thank you enough
"for introducing me
to this music.
"Beyond just genuinely
loving it,
"I feel it's quietly altering
my feeling about New York City,
"with which I've always had
"a slightly conflicted
"I've found that if you replace
the horns and the shouting
"with, say, Schubert
or Telemann,
"the city becomes
unbearably beautiful.
"After years of thinly disguised
rage on both our parts,
"it's like the music has
mediated a truce between us.
"Some early favorites.
"Massenet's Meditation.
"If a more beautiful piece
of music has ever been composed,
"I don't know it.
"That Brandenburg concerto
is no joke,
"and I echo your sentiment
regarding Beethoven.
"I have no idea
"what the Vivaldi piece
from Giustino is actually about,
"but to me,
it suggests deception,
"some kind of elegant
"It makes me feel like
I'm a double agent
"knee deep in some kind of
sexy espionage.
"I've decided the Wagner
overture you included
"should come
with a warning label.
"According to
some quick online research,
"the opera deals
with the struggle
"between sacred
and profane love,
"which is arguably
the only struggle there is.
"The other day,
I was crossing the street,
"lost in my head
about something,
"a not uncommon state
of affairs.
"I was listening
to the overture,
"and as the music began
to swell,
"I suddenly realized that I had
hands and legs and a torso
"and that I was surrounded
by people and cars.
"It's hard to explain
exactly what happened.
"But I felt in that moment
that the divine,
"however we may choose
to define such a thing,
"surely dwells as much
in the concrete and taxicabs
"as it does in the rivers,
lakes, and mountains.
"Grace, I realized, is neither
time-nor place-dependent.
"All we need
is the right soundtrack.
"I suppose this new infusion
of music in my life is,
"at the very least,
making me reconsider
my hostility
to dead, white males."
"And I've you to thank
for that.
"How's things, by the way?
Your friend, Jesse Fisher."
"Jesse, things is good.
"So happy
you're loving the music.
"I felt
my whole life got an upgrade
"when I took that class.
"The thing that floors me most
"is that human beings wrote
that music.
"Are people writing music
like that nowadays?
"If they are,
I don't know about it.
"I hope you've fallen in love
with the piece
"from Cosi fan tutte.
"I find that when I listen
to it, for some reason,
"everyone I see becomes
instantly more attractive.
Please experiment with it
and get back to me."
Sia il vento
Sia I'onda
Ed ogni
"Elizabeth, you were right
about the Mozart piece.
"It somehow made everyone
in New York look like
"a viable romantic partner.
"I can't escape it any longer.
"I think I like opera.
"You are never to tell anyone
this, ever.
"Your opera secret
is safe with me.
"I've been relistening
to the music
"after each of your letters.
"I like hearing your take
and then revisiting them.
"And even though Pennsylvania
stands between us,
"knowing we're hearing
the same sounds
"makes me feel
you are not all that far away.
"If I haven't been clear
about this, I miss you.
"Hmm, don't really know why.
"I barely know you.
"By the way,
handwritten letters?
"Greatest thing in the world.
Keep them coming."
"You asked why music like this
isn't being written today.
"I wonder if these composers
were expressing things musically
that are too large for
our current psychic state..."
"Anyway, all is fine here.
College continues
colleging along..."
for instance,
"and I worry
that my nervous system
is ill-equipped to contain
such immensity of feeling."
"I bet if we went here
at the same time,
we'd have been great friends."
"Will this music be
the death of me?
"If so, you'll have blood
on your hands, Elizabeth.
Can you deal with that?"
"Jesse, as much as I love
these letters,
"I'd like to see you again.
"The sooner, the better.
"So come back here and see me.
"The dudes here continue to be
18 to 22 years old,
"and they continue
to act their age.
"I'd like a gentleman caller,
and I'd like him to be you.
Ever yours, Zibby."
"Dear Elizabeth, I've decided
to take you up on your offer.
"I'll be getting in on the 14th
and staying at the inn,
but I will be available
for walks, strolls, saunters,
"ambles, and promenades.
"Looking forward to it.
Jesse Fisher."
So, Bob, um,
I've been asking myself
a lot of tough questions lately.
Everybody knows I made
a whole stink
about leaving this place,
you know, how it's time...
How if you'd look back,
you'd turn into a pillar
of salt.
Yeah, all that.
I think I may have spoken
too soon.
I think-I think I still got
a little gas in the tank is all.
I just...
Well, Peter, you have no
bigger fan around here than me.
Thank you.
When you announced your plans,
we were all sad to see you go,
but you insisted
that it was time.
Right, which I thought it was.
We hired someone,
young guy out of UVA.
Very impressive candidate.
He was our first choice,
We didn't think
we would get him, but we did.
You said you wanted
nothing to do with the search.
Right, right.
No, I...
I just...
I just didn't think
it would move so fast.
Well, there was unanimous
enthusiasm for the candidate,
so things just moved along
faster than normal.
Give me this one.
Peter, we can't.
The department has spent
thousands of dollars
on this search.
He's turned down other offers.
You know what goes into
this sort of thing.
I hired you, Bob.
You don't have to tell me
how this w...
And let me tell you,
there was not unanimous
enthusiasm for you back then.
It took a lot of arm-twisting
on my part
to get people to come around.
And now, 20 years later,
the only reason
that you're the chairman
of this goddamn department
is 'cause I loathe politics!
And you, for reasons
which I cannot fathom, do not.
In fact, you seem to have
a real taste for it.
I'm asking...
I'm asking a favor.
Just give me this one, Bob,
I need three more years.
I'm sorry.
There's nothing I can do.
Oh, hey.
Jesse, you remember Vanessa,
- Uh, yeah, hi.
- You're back.
So I should...
uh, yeah, I got some stuff
to do.
So this is your room.
Fancy, huh?
Forgot how small these are.
Good training
for living in New York.
So are you gonna see
Professor Hoberg
while you're here?
You know, probably not.
and, you know, if you-
if you run into him,
maybe don't mention
that I'm here.
- Okay.
- Okay.
Do you want to sit?
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
So I should tell you,
I feel a little weird
about being here.
Well, I don't know
if you know this,
but, uh, I'm a few years older
than you.
You are?
Just a few, yeah,
and I'm not necessarily
I don't want to get
ahead of myself here.
It's just...
Oh, wait, sorry.
You-did you think this was,
like, a romantic thing?
Just kidding.
Oh, my...
Come here.
Try not to overthink things,
You're talking
to the wrong guy.
Well, look.
We connect really well,
don't you think?
We do, yeah.
I just can't figure out
if it's because you're advanced
or because I'm stunted.
It's because I'm advanced.
But I'm also a little stunted.
Look, I want to take things
slowly, okay?
Yeah, okay.
Me too.
Me too.
But I would like to kiss you
on your forehead.
Can I kiss you on your forehead?
Say yes.
And your chin?
May I kiss your chin?
Hi, sorry.
Just need to grab something.
Can we-are you hungry?
I could eat.
Maybe we could go into town
and grab something?
That'll take too long.
I have class at 2:00.
But I know a place that's good
and even closer.
Hey, Dean.
You get a job here?
I wish.
Hey, I seem to have lost
my friend.
You mind if I...
What are you working on?
Yeah, it's this...
Good for you.
I guess.
You happy with it?
Not really.
How you been?
Any better?
I kind of just wish
this would all be over
as soon as possible.
Why did you love it here
so much?
It's the only time you get
to do this, you know?
You get to sit around
and read books all day,
have really great conversations
about ideas.
People out in the world,
they're not really doing that.
Think about it.
You could go up to everyone here
and say, "I'm a poet,"
and no one will punch you
in the face.
I mean, that's something.
I get that.
I just can't get around the fact
that I'm, like,
aggressively unhappy here.
That's my number,
if you ever want to talk.
- Hey.
- Hey.
Please tell me
this is Vanessa's.
Nope, that's mine.
Wait, you actually read this?
All of it?
Very sincerely.
What is it
with you girls and vampires?
What's it about?
No, what's it about?
I don't understand.
Is it good?
I mean, yeah.
But no.
Well, then why read it?
'Cause I like it.
That's no reason
to read something.
Why else
would you read something?
Many amazing books in the world.
Why would you read this?
Okay, I hate this conversation.
Can we stop?
Wait, this is a trilogy, right?
I'm afraid to answer that.
You've read three of these?
Have you ever read one of them?
What do you think?
How can you hate something
if you've never read it?
I mean, isn't that like
what repressive regimes do?
You want to burn books
you don't like?
You're right.
You know what I'm gonna do?
I'm gonna read this book,
all of it.
And then we can discuss it.
- Right now?
- Yeah, why not?
I mean, how long can it take,
This is great,
a little book club.
See ya soon.
Oh, no, this isn't what it...
I'm reading it as a dare.
It's a bet, actually.
I loved your class!
Should I start?
I liked it.
It was fun and stupid.
And it passed the time.
And it's not Tolstoy,
but it's also not television.
And it made me happy.
Now you.
- Thank you.
- Mm.
is the worst book
ever written
in English.
So there are worse books
written in other languages?
Probably not,
unless this book is translated
into other languages.
Okay, we really...
we don't need to do this.
No, please, let's.
I need to know
how you read these...
whew, I guess
you call them sentences...
close the book,
and feel anything
other than offended and sad?
Well, millions of people
like it.
So when millions of people
like something,
that means it's good?
No, it means
millions of people like it.
These books make people happy.
We don't always have to be
thinking about poli-sci
or reading Chaucer,
which, by the way, I hated.
You're not supposed to like it.
But then why read it?
You love college so much, right?
Isn't it all about understanding
different points of view?
It's also about
developing taste.
That was snobby.
You're a snob.
No, I'm not.
Yes, you are.
You think it's cool
to hate things.
And it's not.
It's boring.
Talk about what you love,
and keep quiet
about what you don't.
Look, I know how this sounds,
but trust me.
This is a big deal, okay?
This country is in bad shape,
and it has to do,
in large part, I think,
with people liking things
that are very, very bad.
But according to you.
Why are you the one who gets
to decide what's good and bad?
And do you only want
to surround yourself
with people who've read
the same books as you?
I guess we're gonna have to
move on to a specific example...
Where are you?
What do you mean?
I mean, you are somewhere,
but it's not here.
No, I'm-I'm here.
So why are we spending
all our time
having a stupid argument
about a book?
Hey, Peter.
What the hell
are you doing here?
I don't know.
You know how old I am?
No, how old are you?
It's none
of your goddamn business.
Do you know how old
I feel like I am?
Since I was 19,
I have never felt not 19.
But I shave my face,
and I look in the mirror,
and I'm forced to say,
"This is not a 19-year-old
staring back at me."
Teaching here all these years,
I've had to be very clear
with myself
that even though I'm surrounded
by 19-year-olds
and I may have felt 19,
I'm not 19 anymore.
You follow me?
Nobody feels like an adult.
It's the world's dirty secret.
How perfect is the universe?
You're still here?
Lucky for you,
'cause you look like
you could use a friend.
Did you know there's so many
preservatives in the food we eat
that they're finding
it's taking longer
for our bodies to decompose
once we die?
No way.
Preservatives, man.
It's messed up.
Want some good news?
give me my hat.
They're just scooting along,
being caterpillars.
At some point, these cells
show up called imaginal cells.
Scientists don't know
where they come from
or why they appear,
but these imaginal cells show up
inside the caterpillar
and say, "Get psyched,
It's butterfly-turning-into
And what do all
the other caterpillar cells do
when these imaginal cells
show up?
I have no idea.
They attack 'em!
Try to kill 'em!
They're like, "Screw you,
imaginal cells.
"We're happy
being a caterpillar.
Get lost!"
But eventually,
the imaginal cells keep growing
and overtake the destiny
of the caterpillar
and will it into this cocoon.
And then guess
what happens next.
The caterpillar turns
into a butterfly.
The caterpillar
turns into a butterfly.
That's awesome.
I know it is!
Yeah, that's good.
And that is why there is
no reason to be afraid,
because everything is okay.
Yeah, I don't know
if I believe that.
It has to be true.
There can be no other way.
You know, I'm not even sure
if you're real.
I mean, seriously.
It's all true, brother.
Whatever you believe.
What is that?
What are you drinking?
H to the 2 to the O.
You should have some.
Got to stay hydrated.
All right.
Oh, thanks.
You with me, bro?
I like you, Nat.
Thanks for being my friend.
Easiest thing in the world.
I enjoyed this.
I'm off.
You go get her, man.
Be love, man.
Be love!
You seem happy.
I am.
What happened?
I don't know.
Can I tell you some things?
Yeah, yeah, sure.
Okay, well, except for
the book thing,
which was genuinely
super annoying,
I-I feel really good about you.
It's been a while since I felt
that way about someone.
And I like it.
Yeah, me too.
I want you to stay here
with me tonight.
You have a roommate.
She's sleeping elsewhere.
So will you stay here?
But I have to tell you
this-it would be my, um...
first time.
But I want to.
With you.
Okay, um...
I have to...
hold on.
I'll-I'll be back
in a second, okay?
I should never have
told you that.
No, no, it's good.
I'm-I'm glad you did.
So is that a problem?
Well, yeah, it is.
Okay, well, first of all,
I'm 35.
- You don't look it.
- Thank you.
Plus, it doesn't bother me.
Well, it bothers me.
Well, it shouldn't.
Age is a stupid thing
to obsess over.
What if reincarnation
is real, huh?
Think about that.
What if I'm, like, thousands
of years older than you?
Okay, that's not really
a sound argument.
Why not?
Because it's like saying,
"What if reality is all
an illusion?"
Then there are no consequences
to anything.
We're completely off the hook.
And I believe in consequences.
No, you believe in guilt.
But guilt before we act
is called morality.
Why did you come back here?
To see you,
but I didn't know that you...
Why should that matter?
I mean, isn't it,
I don't know, flattering?
Sex is really complicated, okay?
I didn't quite understand that
when I was younger,
but I do now.
Okay, look, I didn't sign
one of those contracts
when I was in high school, okay?
I'm not a prude or whatever.
It's just, I never met anyone
that I trusted
or even liked enough
until now.
I can't.
Are you not attracted to me?
I mean, yes, I am.
It's just,
I also care about you a lot
already, somehow.
So, um, essentially,
you don't want to sleep with me
because you like
and respect me too much.
That's, like,
the saddest thing ever.
Look, I want to be
in your life.
I do.
Yeah, I already have
an older brother, okay?
And I don't need some mentor.
I can't just say yes
to everything.
Stop calling me that.
No one calls me that.
You need to leave right now.
I'm really upset,
and you need to go.
Get out!
I've got a right
to lose my mind
Well, well, well.
Since you left me here
Now I remember you.
You do?
Not really.
I stumbled
On a new world
Rough day?
"Mock on.
Mock on.
"'Tis all in vain.
"You throw the sand
against the wind,
and the wind
blows it back again."
And the life
And the life I'm living
French fries.
I was just about to order
a basket.
To lose my mind
I've got a right
to lose my mind
Can you get me a beer?
Yeah, have mine.
Of course, I'm thrilled.
Newly minted PhD.
I'm feeling very fancy
and officially teaching
Ode on a Grecian Urn
for the first time.
It's like heaven, right?
Right, right, right.
And I decide to be
a little dramatic.
I'm really gonna go for it
and just recite
the whole thing out loud.
What the hell, right?
And it's going very well,
if I do say so myself.
And as I reach
the immortal final lines
of one of the great poems
ever written in English,
I hear myself say the following:
"Beauth is trudy, trudy beauth."
"That is all ye know on Earth
and all ye need know."
That is great.
Great story.
When did you fall
for the Romantics?
Was it, like-
I'm just curious,
but was it in college
or grad school?
'Cause I knew almost nothing
about those guys
before your class.
Your class.
Ooh, I can gush, right?
I mean, I still think about it.
It's just...
You're very enthusiastic.
I guess.
I have a car.
I would like for you
to get in it with me,
and I would like
to drive us somewhere.
Don't worry about the fries.
They know me here.
Yo, Eric, what's up?
Oh, hey, man.
Okay, you got to go.
Go, now.
Are you serious?
Yeah, I don't have to, uh,
stay the night or anything,
but could I-could I at least
catch my breath?
How long
do you think that'll be?
- What?
- No, no.
It's just funny to me
all of a sudden.
What about it
is amusing to you?
Your post-coital cigarette,
for one, is amusing to me.
What, you never smoked?
- No, I did.
- But you quit.
- Yeah.
- Pussy.
Okay, you are the same
Judith Fairfield
I took British
Romantic literature from?
"From whom I took
British Romantic literature,"
and yes, that's me.
But just because we screwed,
don't assume we're suddenly...
what is it you kids say
Yeah, that's not really...
I mean, what do we really know
about each other?
You're a nonsmoker.
You're going to live
to be a hundred.
But what does it matter
if your life is joyless?
And it will be.
Trust me.
What's happening here?
You're getting your clothes
and you're leaving,
and I'm going to take an Ambien.
No, I meant, what is hap...
I mean, seriously.
You weren't thinking
we were gonna cuddle
the rest of the night
as I read you Wordsworth?
Not anymore.
I've taught at this school
for over 20 years.
I've seen the emergence of
your kind like an infection...
all these effete,
overarticulate man-boys
who never learned to toughen up.
Don't be one of them.
Go work with your hands.
Build something.
Punch someone in the face.
Too bad Norman Mailer's dead.
You guys would have been perfect
for each other.
Shall I count to ten?
Wait, just, can...
hold on just one second, okay?
You don't seem very happy.
Your powers of deduction
are stunning.
You must have gone
to a very good college.
I'm just confused how...
I mean,
you're a tenured professor
in one of the most prestigious
English departments
in the country.
That's not fulfilling?
Sit through a faculty meeting
at a liberal arts college,
Mr. Young Person.
I assure you, you will lose
all faith in humanity.
Okay, but what about
the classroom?
There had to have been
some joy there.
I mean, you were
such a good teacher.
Thank you.
I like to teach.
I used to love it.
What happened?
Life happened.
Okay, I'm gonna need
a little bit more.
Well, that's all
you're gonna get.
Unlike you, I'm not
from the "let me tell you
every sick, sordid detail
of my life" generation.
I value discretion.
I loathe self-pity.
So let's just leave it at this:
People are disappointing.
Yeah, it's just,
I would think...
- Don't get comfortable.
- Sorry.
I would just think
that spending so much time
with those poems
would make you more, you know,
optimistic and hopeful.
They were miserable men
who were granted a few moments
of transcendence,
and they had the talent
and foresight
to grab pen and paper
and write it down.
Byron was probably
the happiest of the lot,
only because he put his dick
in everything.
This is the saddest evening
of my life.
Get used to it.
My advice to you is this:
Put some armor around that gooey
little heart of yours.
Well, at least
I appreciate the irony.
I just had the least romantic
night of my life
with a Romantics professor.
For what it's worth,
I meant everything I said
about your class.
It opened something in me,
and I'm grateful for it.
And if my heart is gooey,
you're at least partially
responsible for that.
So you're still uninspired
by admissions.
Yeah, pretty much.
No little Jesse Fishers
out there?
Well, if there are,
I'm not meeting them.
Well, maybe you're just not
recognizing them.
I do appreciate you coming by.
I really do.
It's great to see you
one last time
before I get the hell
out of here.
You feeling any better
about things?
I tried to turn the clock back.
It doesn't work.
No, it doesn't.
Now I just...
I keep waiting to feel
more resolve somehow.
What if I'm like
one of those prisoners
that gets paroled
and finds he can't handle
life on the outside
so he commits a petty crime
so he can go back
to what he knows?
You think this place
is a prison?
Well, any place
you don't leave is a prison.
Well, whatever.
You know why you're my second
favorite professor of all time?
I have no idea.
Because you had us read books
by authors you hated.
Feel good
about what you did here.
Thank you.
Get in your car now,
and leave me be.
"Dear Zibby,
even after all these months,
"I'm still half-expecting
a letter from you
"to be sitting in my mailbox.
"I'm sure you have little left
to say to me at this point,
"but your letters
are very much missed.
"I know I hurt you,
and I'm sorry.
"Any bone-headed moves I made
"were born of confusion
and not malice.
"That said, I've been feeling
lately the stirrings
"of something
I can only call growth.
"It's a tribute of sorts to say
that someone 16 years my junior
"helped me finally start
acting my age.
"A wise man in a red hat
once told me,
"'Everything is okay.'
"I didn't believe him then,
but for some reason,
I'm starting to."
Sorry, we're closed!
Are you here for this?
I always notice you reading it
when you're in here.
Any bookstore I'm in,
I have to read the...
Last three pages.
I know.
They're devastating.
I'm Jesse.
I'm Ana.
- Hi.
- Hi.
I love books.
I do in, like,
the dorkiest way possible.
Oh, me too.
It's a problem.
Like, I love trees
'cause they give us books.
It's super cool of the trees
to do that, right?
I'm actually...
this is weird.
I'm actually trying
to read less.
I felt like I wasn't watching
enough television.
No, I just-I started to feel
like reading about life
was taking time away
from actually living life,
so I'm trying to, like,
accept invitations to things,
say "hi" to the world
a little more.
That sounds scary.
It's going well?
It's... okay.
Most of the time when I'm out,
I keep thinking
I'd be so much happier
in bed with a book,
and that makes me feel
not super cool.
I still read tons.
I just feel like I'm more aware
of a book's limitations.
Does that make sense?
Yeah, totally.
How am I doing here?
Here in this conversation?
Very well.
You are doing great.
So you maybe want to get away
from these books
and walk somewhere?
Yeah, okay.
- Really?
- Sure, let's do it.
And feel free to invite
your husband or boyfriend.
They're both pretty busy
right now, so...
Probably just be us, then.
Just us.
Oh, hi.
It's Dean.
We like the same writer.
Right, hey.
Dean, what's up?
Uh, you gave me your number,
and you told me to call you.
Uh, yeah.
No, it's good to hear from you.
How are you doing?
Uh, I'm pretty good, yeah.
Things, um...
I've been...
I just took a bunch of pills.
I just took a lot of pills.
How many?
I don't know.
I'm really scared.
- Where are you?
- In my dorm.
Staystay there, okay?
Stay right there.
Okay, yeah, just stay ri-
I'm gonna make a call,
and I'm gonna call...
I need you to stay by the phone,
though, okay?
Miss Hanson
to reception area, please.
Miss Hanson.
Hey, man.
How you feeling?
Kind of ridiculous.
You didn't have to drive
all the way out here.
I flew, you bastard.
For picking up the phone.
I didn't know who else to call.
Can I make a suggestion?
Stop reading this.
Because he killed himself,
and you're not gonna do that.
You need to read something else.
Listen, don't be a genius
who dies young.
Be one who dies old.
Being old is cool.
Grow old and die old.
It's a better arc.
Listen to me, man.
This right now, all this stuff
you're feeling,
this is a footnote, okay?
You're gonna graduate,
and you're gonna get out
in the world
and stumble into something
like contentment.
I know it.
Is that how it's been for you?
Hell, no.
But some days are all right,
you know?
Some days are like a gift,
and some days suck.
But all of that's okay.
So I'm taking you
off post-modernists.
What are you prescribing?
There are these vampire books.
The kids love 'em.
Trust me, they will empty
your mind completely.
Why are you being
so nice to me?
You flew all the way back here
to see me,
and we had, like,
two conversations.
I have a soft spot
for good readers.
They're hard to find these days.
I really did miss you.
You know, we had this thing
and it was so exciting,
and then you were just gone.
But it's okay now.
I get it.
I sometimes feel like
I'm looking down on myself,
like there's
this older, wiser me
watching over
this 19-year-old rough draft
who's full of all this potential
but has to live more
to catch up
with that other self somehow.
I know I'll get there.
It's just sometimes I think
I want to rush the process,
you know?
And I don't know.
Maybe-maybe I thought
you were some sort of shortcut.
Does that make any sense?
If I wrote you,
I would be like,
"This is
the best rough draft ever."
Well, I should get back
to adulthood.
See you there soon, I guess.
Bye, Zibby.
Bye, Jesse.
You're so beautiful
and fascinating
and age-appropriate.
Oh, nothing.
- Torna
- Torna
Zefiro Torna, torna
Torna, zefiro
Firo torna
E di soavi accenti
L'aer fa grato
E di soavi accenti...
Look, you're getting wise.
I'm getting old.
Not the same thing.
I say you're getting wise.
You worry about getting old?
I think being old's
gonna be okay.
It's just the getting there
that kicks your ass, you know?
You're gonna be
a great old guy.
- Really?
- Mm-hmm.
I feel like
that's the nicest thing
anyone's ever said to me.
Unless it's a criticism,
like, "You're already
judgmental and racist.
You're gonna be
a great old guy."
No, I mean
you'll wear baggy pants,
and you'll have a little belly.
And when you want more coffee,
you'll say to the waitress,
"Could you warm this up
for me, dear?"
You're right.
I will say that.
I think you're gonna be
a great old person too.
I want to be an old lady with
long, gray hair in a ponytail.
I can see it.
You're still foxy.
You still got it.
That's what they're gonna say
about you.
"She's still got it."
They're saying it now.
And I want a really,
really wrinkly face.
A small house,
maybe by some water.
I think getting old
could be really nice.
End of the day
on the subway
In my ear
Along the way,
the headphones play
I can hear you
You're my favorite song
I want to sing it again
You're my favorite song
Sing it to you, yeah
Stuck in my head,
replaying again
I don't mind
Stuck in my heart,
finish to start
It's all right
'Cause you are
my favorite song
I want to sing it again
You're my favorite song
Sing it to you, yeah
Into it, into it
With you, yeah, I'm into it
Into it, into it
Yes, I am
You're my favorite song
I want to sing it again
Into it, into it
You're my favorite song
I want to sing it again
Into it, into it
You're my favorite song
I want to sing it again
Into it, into it
You're my favorite song
Sing it to you
There are lots of men
At Wesleyan and Case
and OSU
While some are down at Oberlin
and at Reserve, a few
They are fat or thin
or young or old
And white or black or tan
But not a one
can be compared
To a really Kenyon man
I want a Kenyon man
Just a Kenyon man
You can't beat a Kenyon man
You can't beat a Kenyon man
I have one,
but he's my brother
So I'd like to have another
I want a Kenyon man
Oh, sometimes
Harcourt gets so slow
I'm almost tired of life
There's not a man
but Gordon who
Already has a wife
I look out toward
our Middle Path
And all the space to span
For there I see
what most I want
A really Kenyon man
I want a Kenyon man
Just a Kenyon man
You can't beat a Kenyon man
You can't beat a Kenyon man
I have one,
but he's my brother
So I'd like to have another
I want a Kenyon man
On Saturdays, to Benson Field
I go with all the rest
A baseball game
I think is grand
I always cheer my best
It makes no difference
If I don't know
who is winning man
I know the fellows
that I see
Are really Kenyon men
I want a Kenyon
Just a Kenyon man
You can't beat a Kenyon man
You can't beat a Kenyon man
I have one,
but he's my brother
So I'd like to have another
I want a Kenyon man
A show or Greek concert sets
All Harcourt in a hum
And those
who don't get picked
Can hunt their purses up
and go
The entertainment
matters not
We like them all for then
Rosse Hall is filled
on every side
With really Kenyon men
I want a Kenyon man
Just a Kenyon man
You can't beat a Kenyon man
You can't beat a Kenyon man
I have one,
but he's my brother
So I'd like to have another
I want a Kenyon man