Lousy Carter (2023) Movie Script

Kids started calling me
Lousy Carter
when I was on the golf team
in high school,
I couldn't
hit the ball straight.
And an Italian kid
named Matt Ciani yelled,
"Hit it straight, Lousy,"
on my back swing.
It was obviously not meant
to be a compliment.
It wasn't
a complimentary nickname,
but I never hated it
and it stuck.
How did it make you feel
when Matt Ciani yelled "Lousy"
that day?
You, um...
You hear the one about
the guy goes to the doctor?
Doctor gives him
six months to live.
He can't pay his bill.
Doctor gives him
another six months.
Lousy Carter.
I keep getting emails
about my 25th year
high school reunion.
You think I should go?
Uh, depends on when it is.
Wha... what?
- See this?
- Yeah.
- See that?
- Okay.
That's me?
It's... You're Carter, right?
We need the room.
Sorry about this.
Mr. Carter, you have
a balance of 6,478 dollars.
We urge you
to take care of this today.
The card on file was declined.
I'm a professor.
I'm sorry?
It's Professor Carter, usually.
Professor Carter, you have
a balance of 6,478 dollars.
We urge you
to take care of this today.
The card on file was declined.
You guys usually shake
people down right after
the doc hands down
the death sentence?
I don't have access
to medical records.
- Okay.
- I'm billing.
You told me
not to sell you booze.
Things have changed,
I'm... terminally ill.
When you told me this,
you told me that
when you came back in here
to buy liquor
that you'd say
that things had changed.
You'd offer up
some kind of excuse,
some kind of
extenuating circumstance,
some kind of bullshit.
Well, hey, look,
I've got 50 bucks.
This is what, 31.95?
That works.
The bad hospitals let you die
and the good hospitals kill you.
That sounds like a drag.
So what are you gonna do?
Are you gonna finish that thing
you've been working on forever?
That thing,
that animated thing.
Stop saying thing.
Yeah, maybe.
Why don't I
make you crab cakes?
Uh, no.
I'm gonna take a rain check
on those crab cakes.
I gotta go.
Maybe you should
one of your students.
That's not a bad idea.
I guess if I get fired,
who cares?
Indeed. Who cares?
Welcome, class.
This class is capped at
eight students, as you may know.
Uh... Everyone here?
How many we got, eight?
This graduate seminar
is entirely devoted
to an American novel,
some say novella,
called The Great Gatsby
written in 1924
by American writer
F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Um, it says 1925.
On Wikipedia, it says 1925.
I don't like you lounging out
while I'm talking to you.
- What is your name?
- Liam.
You're on thin ice, Liam.
I know the book came out
in 1925.
I've dedicated my life
to the book,
but it was written in 1924,
along with scraps in 1923, 1922.
Anything else?
You wanna teach the class?
Okay, let's take a break.
If you come back
after the break,
I'll know
you want to be in the class.
if you don't come back,
I'll suspect this isn't for you.
You ever
feel like a fraud up there...
- teaching?
- No.
You were going to the doc.
Uh, how'd it go?
You were experiencing symptoms.
What was it, a hernia?
False alarm.
Are we still playing
racquetball Thursday?
Are we still playing
pickleball Thursday?
And why, pray tell,
would we not be?
Yes. Yes, I am a professor.
The Gatsby class, is it full?
Who's asking?
I mean, I'm asking.
The class is capped
at eight students.
We may not have
much luck with this book,
but one thing
I've always enjoyed is something
that Fitzgerald's editor said
after he read the first draft,
that it had vitality
to an extraordinary degree
and glamour.
Now, how many of you know
that Murakami taught himself
to write
by copying sentences from
The Great Gatsby in Japanese?
Maybe you wanna look that up,
First name, Haruki. H A R U K I.
Come to think of it,
I want everyone
to read a Murakami book
this week.
- Oh, God.
- Oh.
What about the thing you said
about the class
being The Great Gatsby?
It's not me.
You okay?
One page writing samples,
due from everyone
next time we meet,
preferably on the book.
Which one?
Last time we were here,
you said
you had difficulty
experiencing... joy.
- I said that?
- Yeah.
"I only seem to be able to
feel joy at the suffering
of others."
- Uh...
- Whoop.
You're a college professor.
Yes, but I teach English.
Everyone knows what that is.
I mean, I know what that is,
schadenfreude, yes.
I saw some news
in which a colleague
received a kind of
public professional rejection,
and I was relieved.
It felt like I could feel
less pressured for a moment.
So it's not a... general
or continual thing, necessarily.
It's more occasional,
but seemed worth mentioning.
Yeah, and last time
you were here, you also said
we were going to get started
on your mother.
Oh, boy.
How much time do you have?
They've taken
everything from me, food, sex.
I don't drink,
I don't like to exercise.
I don't even try to do
any kind of work anymore,
really. Obviously.
I don't have any ambitions.
Yet still, I wanna be alive.
Sounds about right, Ma.
Are you even listening to me?
They've taken
everything from you, food, sex.
You don't drink,
you don't like exercise.
You don't really even try
to do any work anymore.
You don't have any ambition,
and yet
you still wanna be alive.
Okay. Pretty good.
- You just got here.
- Yeah, you just got here.
Have you heard of
narcissistic busyness disorder?
It's where you
pretend to be busier
than you really are,
so you can ignore all the people
in your life
you consider to be
less important than you.
That's... You're diagnosing me?
Well, I just don't really know
what you're doing.
Are you a teacher?
Are you a failed animator?
Hey, take it easy.
Sorry, failing animator.
I don't know,
were you a good teacher?
I was an okay teacher
because it was important to me
to not be boring,
but I wasn't super excited
about my students the way
the really good teachers are.
I couldn't really help
the untalented ones
and the talented ones
didn't really need my help.
What about the stupid ones?
Hey, Lousy.
Reaching out
about the high school reunion.
It's the 25th.
Make sure you RSVP here.
it's your number one fan,
Dick Anthony.
Dick Anthony.
What the fuck?
Oh, Gail. Hey, have a seat.
Okay. This is a grad class.
"C-plus, see me?"
You get along
with your mother, Gail?
Does your mother criticize you?
- You handle that well?
- Um...
I've formed an uneasy alliance
with my own mother
after a few years out in the...
Shifting gears...
I've always been fascinated with
the teacher-student dynamic.
I wanna make a thing about it.
I've been tinkering
with an idea.
Thirteen years.
Can you feign interest?
That's what
I thought I was doing.
I've been meaning to...
You want these?
You look like you need a boost.
No, I don't need these.
I'm just having a hard time
getting anyone on my side.
Yeah, that's self-pity,
pure and simple.
I don't think so.
The reason that everyone
is frustrated with you
is because you've diminished
over the years.
You don't act like yourself.
You're a simulacrum.
A facsimile.
Just a version.
You're a version.
I'm not a virgin.
You're trying to tell me
that your problems matter?
Am I not supposed to
tell you my problems?
Gimme a sec.
What are you doing?
Texting your wife
so we can hook up later.
Come have brunch with us.
She'll make us that frittata.
Not a brunch guy.
French toast?
You had said
the diagnosis was fairly dire?
- He said six months tops.
- Six months.
What are you gonna do
with the furniture?
I was gonna
just give it to Goodwill,
or the Salvation Army.
I don't need the money.
I do.
And you owe me 775 dollars.
- I do?
- When you moved out,
it was a cold winter.
I had all these utility bills
- and your half was 800.
- It's 800, now?
You could sell this bookshelf
and that coffee table.
What a drag.
I mean, I'm really sorry.
I forgot.
Or really never
thought about it.
You just seemed really depressed
and eager for me to go.
That wasn't depression,
I had Lyme disease.
It can be both.
It's clear
you never cared.
It's fine, I got used to it.
I stopped blaming you
once I could see
how limited you are.
Men are dumb.
Why do you think men are dumb?
Weak brain?
I'd like to say,
one breakthrough I had recently
about our relationship,
and this is not an attack,
you seem to think
loving someone
meant freeing yourself
of the need
to get along
with the person in question,
while for me to love someone
meant the opposite.
The relationship was meant
to be a placid sea of calm,
a safe harbor
from the shitstorm of the world.
You have it completely wrong,
as usual.
We broke up because you were,
are, and always will be
a baby man and I am
a real-life adult woman.
There's a lot that's been said
about this book.
We may take a look at a few of
the film versions out there.
There's the
Baz Luhrmann version.
I've been holding off
on that one.
Who here has seen it?
Maybe we'll thread that.
Coppola made one,
as none of you, I'm sure, know.
Well, he wrote one.
He didn't make one,
as I'm sure you know.
This is a graduate seminar.
You can't really
just show movies.
Okay, you, Gail? After class.
All right, uh, sorry. Um...
Like I was saying,
I was kind of famous
when they hired me here.
I was hot and... wanted.
Now, less so.
Why would they let an animator
teach The Great Gatsby?
But this thing
I'm trying to resurrect,
we would basically
photograph you and then
have some animators come in
and work on it. It's easy.
- What's it about?
- Oh, well, you know...
...it's about a, uh...
a May-December, thing.
It... It's like the mores
and morays.
Wait, there's....
there's a book,
Laughter in the Dark.
It's Vladimir Nabokov's
first novel
published in the United States.
I'd really love to tell you
about it.
Is this why
I'm saying after class?
That the book isn't more
well known is astonishing.
Now you know that Nabokov
was Russian, right?
So he taught himself English
and went on to write Lolita,
a book many people know.
It was... It won...
...best novel 20th-century
amidst a group of
a lot of critics.
- Yes.
- It's usually on
top ten lists
as an all-time great.
It's... it's uh,
very highly regarded.
Along with
The Great Gatsby, of course.
But the thing is, Nabokov wrote
Laughter in the Dark
quickly and in Russian,
but he had a chance to revise it
when it came out here.
And he kind of fixed it,
you know?
He made some revisions
that make a lot of sense
and it's just a good book.
And it's criminally
underappreciated, uh, you know?
And to add to the intrigue,
it makes no sense that Nabokov
was able to teach himself
to write well in English.
For example, uh,
he added an opening paragraph
to help frame the story.
"Once upon a time
there lived in Berlin, Germany,
a man called Albinus."
"He was rich,
respectable, happy."
"One day he abandoned his wife
for the sake of
the youthful mistress."
"He loved, was not loved,
and his life
ended in disaster."
And so, what?
You wanna make an animated
version of that book?
I've been working on something
and I'd...
I'd like to get it
back up on its feet.
I don't think
that's a good idea.
People are generally
opposed to,
what's the word, um...
Hey, hold up.
Hee-haw. Whoa.
I'm... That's not what...
It's about a man
who likes young women.
Like pedophiles do?
No, like you,
like a younger woman.
I don't feel safe.
- I'm not a creeper.
- Creeper?
That's not me.
But I think
you do have nice hair.
I'm not attracted,
I'm not attracted to you at all.
You look fine.
I'm fine with how you look.
I have no, you're not...
you're not my type,
first of all.
Thank you?
I'm so sorry.
That's wrong of me.
That was wrong.
what are you doing here?
It's Sunday.
You think I don't know that?
That's a complicated question.
You had invited me
to your house. I'm here.
Of course. Of course.
How's the class, Lousy?
Do you want a mimosa?
Oh, no, thanks.
The class, my class? Good.
Class. I like it.
- Great book.
- Oh, yeah.
"'They're such beautiful
shirts,' she sobbed."
"Her voice muffled
in the thick folds."
"'It makes me sad
because I've never seen such,
such beautiful shirts before.'"
Well, that's... that's great.
You're the laughingstock
of the entire faculty,
teaching what amounts
to barely one book
at the graduate level.
Well, that's not true, Herschel.
You know that's not true.
Why not teach a pamphlet?
You should teach
an STD pamphlet.
You're teaching that,
uh, Tolstoy class, right?
Yeah, I get Tolstoy mixed up
with the other one.
- That's sad.
- Yeah, that's not...
Are you, uh...
you teaching this semester?
Um, no, I'm...
I'm on sabbatical.
You ever have an affair,
you know, with a student?
You ask me that repeatedly.
It's not anyone's business.
My answer is no.
So why not just say no, then?
Both pieces of information
are relevant.
You're saying you wouldn't
tell me if you were.
I'm saying the question
- is impertinent.
- I thought we were friends.
Friends tell each other stuff.
I love my wife.
Your wife is... great. Great.
I know.
How's your class?
Uh, collectively,
they seem too dumb to breathe.
Sounds frustrating.
I'm used to it.
You really go in there
and get after it regardless.
I like trying
to whip them into shape.
See, I don't think
I really do that.
I don't think
I'm very good at my job.
What's the point?
Yes, with the abyss,
you see it as pointless to try.
I see it as pointless not to.
And you assume
death is unpleasant.
Your death? My death?
Let's say
for the sake of argument,
you'll be riddled
and wracked with regret.
So, yes.
Me? Less so.
I just need to let them
kind of trace me digitally?
They just need to see you
in a green screen environment.
Do you know what that is?
I don't think
there's anyone alive
that doesn't know
what a green screen is.
They'll have you in
12 to 15 various positions.
I don't mean sexual positions.
Got it.
How much do I get?
Three hundred dollars.
Per position? I need money.
No. No, that's a flat rate.
If the movie makes money,
which it won't,
we will pay you more.
What about my voice,
do you want that?
Let me think about it.
What about
the rights to the book?
Did you reach out
to the publisher?
I made a query a while ago.
I think they're gonna
let us use it
just to see what happens.
It's a pretty obscure book,
- you know?
- That's crazy.
- We could put it on the map.
- No, no, no, that's crazy.
They're gonna want money,
it's Nabokov.
I think
it's pronounced Nabokov.
A lot of money.
This is the last time.
- No question.
- Okay. Hi.
That was great.
You seemed to have
something extra tonight.
I'm just kind of
in a good mood.
It feels great sitting here
reviewing things.
Well, it's not great.
I feel incredibly guilty.
You should too.
I don't feel guilty.
- Monster.
- I can't help but want to
meet up with you. You're great.
Sorry, you're... you...
If you knew how great you were,
you would want to meet up too.
You know, Kaminsky thinks
I need to lose weight.
You call your husband
I can never remember
his first name.
It's Herschel.
You called him that yesterday.
Well, he's asked me
if I wanna start running.
Yeah, you mentioned that.
I... I don't have an opinion.
So you think I'm fat.
I don't think
they're saying fat anymore.
Look, I'd be in love with you
if you weighed 350 pounds.
And while I love doing it
with you,
I think it's more like
it gives us a reason to meet.
Never say that to a woman.
Do you think Kaminsky would
kill us if he found out?
Do you think
he looks down on me?
So we're talking about him now?
We've been talking
about him.
I think you brought him up,
I just get the feeling
he's it's disappointed in me,
Compared to
how he'd feel knowing
you were sodomizing his wife.
You were the one
who suggested that.
I just wanna say
that this can go
towards your grade. You can be
getting extra credit for this.
I don't care.
About the grades
or about the project?
About what you're saying.
You seem to try
and guess what you think
I wanna hear
and say some version of that,
but you're always wrong.
In fact,
all your behavior is odd to me.
I keep expecting you
to sound sort of worldly
and professorial,
but instead, it's more like
someone who's somewhere
in between 14 and 16.
I don't mean that
in a mean way.
I mean, I guess it's an insult.
Your immaturity
and moral failings
don't make you less attractive,
which is I guess
what matters to you.
Well, I hope you feel better.
Thirteen years
you've been working on this?
You have a skin tag.
I just noticed
for the first time.
Yeah, there's a lot going on
with your face
that I haven't pointed
out, but...
It's a lot to process.
The feeling you get.
You like feeling good.
- Yes.
- It's important,
feeling good, but it is not
the most important thing.
- Go on.
- Work.
Work. Work is
the most important thing.
The feeling good is a byproduct.
If you don't know that,
you're lost.
I'm not really
after advice here.
I don't give advice.
Speaking of advice,
um, I've been getting emails
about my 25th year
high school reunion.
Been blowing them off.
Should I go?
Who knows?
You had said
you paid your mother a visit.
You said you were going to
or we were going to...
...now that I'm in slightly
improved communication
with my mother,
and she's kind of
clearly an older person,
our previous dynamic where
I was afraid she would say
recriminatory things to me,
I guess she would say things
to me that
if anyone else said them,
I wouldn't
talk to that person anymore,
so it made sense to me to reduce
and eventually cut off contact,
but now it's more like,
of course, she said those things
and of course
she says those things.
Sorry, I'm not here. Sorry.
If you're there, pick up.
Kaminsky found out we
were having an affair.
Found out?
Yeah. I mean,
I guess technically
I told him
we were having an affair.
Oh, great. Thank you.
The guilt was just piling up.
I... I feel a lot better.
I'm glad you feel better.
What'd he say?
About what, specifically?
- When you told him.
- Oh.
He said
he was going to kill you.
He got in the car
to go find you.
And then he changed his mind
and he went to that gun store
on Claremont Ave,
but the line was too long,
so now he's out
in the backyard grilling steaks.
Yeah, I think... I think
this is gonna be good for us.
- Us?
- Me and Kaminsky.
I told him
he was better at sex than you.
That seemed to calm him down
a little, I hope that's okay.
- Is that true?
- I don't know.
This last time though,
you definitely seemed to be
in a groove or a rhythm
or something.
- Mm, I gotta go.
- Are you mad?
What difference does that make?
My mom's place is calling me.
Your mom's place?
Yeah, the place where she lives,
they're calling me.
Let's try and connect later.
- Lousy Carter?
- Yes.
Your mother passed away
this morning.
Aren't you supposed to tell me
to come down there
and break it to me in person?
I'm new here,
it's my first day.
She seemed to be on the mend.
- Never met her.
- Of course.
let me think. Hang on.
Take your time.
You guys have anybody
down there for next steps?
I suppose you mean
a mortician?
We got a guy, Alfred.
He's kind of a
in-house counsel,
but you know, an undertaker.
Do you want me
to patch you over?
No, I'm gonna come down there.
Have a nice day.
Have a nice day. WTF.
She had requested
she be cremated,
as you may know.
Uh, we have a new procedure
where we can shoot
the remains into space.
It's 11,000 dollars.
You kidding? You're kidding.
I'm not gonna try to talk you
into or out of anything.
I'm tired.
You're tired.
I'm tired of the rap we get,
people like me,
people in my profession for
trying to upsell our services.
It's terribly cliched.
We can also have the ashes
sprinkled at the Eiffel Tower.
- Sprinkled.
- Sprinkled, scattered.
It's, um... So the ashes are
flown first class to Paris...
No, I think... I think
this may be what people are
referring to when they say
they feel taken advantage of.
I can spend, I guess, like, 5K.
I'm happy to use
a fucking Folgers can.
If you're looking for
more cost-effective options, um,
there is a discount
for group cremation.
Sorry, say again?
Eight percent discount
for group cremation.
Your mother would be
cremated amidst...
in a group setting.
I guess I gotta rent a hall
for people to go to
after the ceremony.
They offered me
the rec room at the hospice,
but I don't have enough
of a sense of irony,
you know, to take them up on it.
There's a bowling alley
three blocks from here I like.
- A bowling alley?
- Yes, a bowling alley.
You can't have the reception
at a bowling alley.
Why not?
Was your mother a bowler?
She was an avid bowler.
Yeah, I don't think so.
What's the difference?
If I say she wanted it
at a bowling alley,
who's gonna argue with me?
Isn't that what we're doing,
I like the place,
I think she'd like the place.
- It's a fun place.
- Not my idea of fun,
but I'm too tired
to argue with you about it.
Everyone is tired, Jesus.
Not tired, exactly.
It's just painfully
obviously silly for me to
vigorously suggest
an alternative.
Plus, I have Lyme disease
and I'm always tired.
I'm dying.
Here's your Lyme disease.
Fitzgerald's kind of
a mythical figure.
When I was younger,
I think I liked the book
because it glamorized
the drinking lifestyle.
That's faded and then that's
not helpful to any of you guys.
I get that.
It's a funny thing
to teach the book.
It doesn't make sense to try
and teach this book. You know?
You know,
Gatsby gets shot at the end.
Oh geez, thanks a lot.
Yeah, spoiler alert.
Wait, wait, you're certainly
supposed to be done
reading it by now.
This is a graduate class.
Leaving aside the idea that
everyone ought to have read it
in high school,
this class would be like
taking Spanish II for someone
who lived in Guadalajara
for three years.
The book was released
to less than glowing
critical reception
and low sales.
That's true.
The book did not sell well.
The book glorifies the banal,
it's grim logical extension
being Instagram.
You're blaming Fitzgerald
for that?
It only really works
as a reflection of a culture
relieved at a return
to prosperity,
which in turn
relies on exploiting
less-developed countries,
the whole notion being eerily
and hopelessly outdated.
The Great Gatsby
is aesthetically glorified,
emotionally vacant,
and morally complacent.
Emotionally vacant?
The book is an anachronism,
a curiosity, a museum piece.
Lazy Carter.
Lazy Carter.
We advanced through youth
into the middle years.
A stage arrives where we are
unmistakably no longer young.
The aches and pains
kind of calcify.
We go to the doctor to discuss
things growing inside of us,
and they offer to take pictures,
cut us open,
retrieve the things,
examine them.
Oh, oh, sorry, I gotta go.
You can't use a phone in here.
I can't?
it messes with the equipment.
What equipment?
The office equipment.
So it's like a plane?
So like...
like I'm preventing the office
from taking off and landing?
Same company, same equipment.
That's bullshit. Uh...
Thanks for the 55-minute wait,
by the way.
It's delicious.
Twenty-five minutes
in the waiting room
with magazines from 1987,
another half hour in here.
You know, you'd think
the terminally ill patients,
you'd ease off
on the waiting a little.
Hmm. Meanwhile,
I don't know why I'm back here.
It's been two months.
Am I here so you can tell me
I've got four months left?
You see where
it's progressed here and here?
You have about four months left.
Oh, 'kay. Great.
Great, thank you.
Any questions?
- LC.
- Whoa.
Herschel, hello.
My wife told me your mom died.
Sorry to hear that.
When's the service?
I have to check with the place.
I'm not a hundred percent sure
it's up to me.
Of course, it's up to you.
I have a sister in Kentucky,
she may have a say.
She's strange.
I mean, she's estranged.
She was estranged
from my mother,
who was by definition,
to get along with.
The only way I managed it,
in case you're wondering,
was to treat her
like a cartoon character.
Also, I agreed
with everything she said
and I never told her my plans.
And where did you get that from?
I can't remember.
Anything else?
That should do it.
Looking forward
to meeting your sister.
I oughta tell her
our mom died.
Is it ethically unsound
to do that on Facebook?
and one more thing.
My wife also told me
about you and her.
What'd she say?
We can pick it up later.
- Hello?
- Hello.
- Hello?
- Gail.
Professor Carter.
Are you friends
with the Russian lit prof?
Who's asking?
I just passed him
in the hallway.
You guys are friends.
You can say that.
Is it office hours?
I don't know.
- I heard your mom died.
- Jesus. How?
- How'd she die?
- No.
How'd I find out?
One of the students
put it on Facebook.
- WTF. Can they do that?
- Yeah.
Aren't you too cool
for Facebook?
Yes, thank you.
Can I come to the funeral?
I love funerals.
Yeah, that's just because
you assume
you're not gonna die.
You don't think...
You think you're not gonna die.
Never thought about it.
And I had no idea you hated
The Great Gatsby.
Who says I do?
In the dream, there was
a father figure, a dog,
I think
the dog was supposed to be God.
The father figure
was pointing a gun at my wrist.
We're not doing
the dream thing here these days.
You're a Jungian.
That's your... That's dreams.
No, not so much anymore.
We haven't discussed
the drinking much lately.
Yes, I have been avoiding that.
Not the subject, the drinking.
Fitzgerald's drinking has been
somewhat on my mind.
You know, with my own work,
booze helped when I was younger
in a way that's hard
to put your finger on exactly.
It's not like it specifically
activated anything.
It just worked
as a lifestyle choice.
But then gradually...
I guess in a way that mirrors
Fitzgerald's situation,
alcohol started
to turn against me
until everyone...
Until it was obvious to everyone
that I needed to give it up.
I obviously ought to
reserve anger for my father
for fleeing, for abandoning us
when I was three,
but it always made sense to me,
him doing that.
At least you had a father.
Hey, Lousy.
It's, uh, been a while.
I wasn't a hundred percent sure
what you'd look like.
Yeah. You look the same.
You look good,
I like your outfit.
I think that's something
you say to someone
you're trying to fuck,
not your sister.
I could've just taken an Uber.
Isn't that what we're doing?
Taking an Uber?
So you're all set?
We're all set
with the service or whatever?
I can't believe she's gone.
Who, Mom? Yeah, she died.
I'm thrilled, frankly.
What a fricking dumbass.
Don't people have
better things to do?
Hello, and I wish
we were all here
for more cheerful reasons.
A few words about my mother,
uh, she had me
when she was too young.
She told me later
to understand
the responsibilities
that came with parenting.
When I was loud,
she'd put me in a closet,
often dosing me
with a half cup of
cough syrup so I'd pass out.
She told me
this many years later.
Of course, I don't remember it.
She described it to me as if
it were a sensible response.
She said,
I screamed a lot as a baby...
and she had a hard time
getting used to it.
I mean, I get it.
She said my father
could handle it,
but he left when I was three,
apparently having had his fill,
and she had trouble with this,
preferring to blame me
rather than take responsibility.
She was a talented artist...
but preferred
the gentle oblivion of alcohol,
which she only gave up at 65
when her doctor told her
she had early signs
of cirrhosis.
What else? Uh...
I'm... I'm starting
to like her more now
that she's gone. I...
I have heard this happens.
We formed an uneasy alliance
late in her life
when she could see
I wasn't gonna visit her
if she was gonna be
casually abusive.
She helped me become who I am,
emotionally unavailable,
but with a fondness
for good books.
I believe she had
a good sense of humor,
which she bequeathed to me,
but this is complicated
because I think I have
a good sense of humor
and since everyone
imagines they have that...
doesn't mean anything.
I do not feel sentimental
standing here.
But if... if you check with me
in a few months,
If anyone has anything
to say about her,
now's the time, really,
and I prefer the remarks
be slightly more charitable.
I don't know
what this man is talking about,
but it's a disgrace.
It is unfathomable to me.
Your rambling, indecisive,
incoherent remarks.
She was a teacher for
many years. You left that out.
It's true, she was
my art teacher in eighth grade.
Our art teacher.
She's really good. Honey.
Um. She was very popular.
She more or less
taught us to draw.
You see? No idea.
Well, like the man said,
well, well, well,
well, well, well, well.
Yeah, you really only get
one swing there.
There are no do-over eulogies.
Thank you for inviting me.
I love funerals.
You mentioned that.
Certainly, better than
some dumb play, right?
I'm glad. I'm glad the horrible
misery of my childhood
can transpose itself into
a half hour's entertainment
for generation DGAF.
You grew up fairly
upper middle class, didn't you?
It's true.
I had no point
of reference for thinking
that my childhood was anything
but ordinary,
but it was only later
when I needed
to blame someone
or something for my mediocrity
that I pounced
on this narrative.
I mean, I had uncles chasing me
from when I was nine.
I think that's worse.
It's worse, isn't it?
Men should be rounded up
and gassed.
- Sorry about your wife.
- What?
I mean your mom.
Sorry about your mom.
- Lousy Carter.
- You got him.
Hey, you don't remember me.
I'm Dick Anthony.
We were in school together
at Central High?
Oh, right. Dick Anthony.
Yeah, yeah. I made an effort
to reach out to you on Facebook.
I'm not a big Facebook guy.
Yeah, no, um,
I tried email too.
And regular mail.
Anyway, I knew your mom.
And she was one of the teachers
that was made reference to
in the service.
I was one of the...
I was one of the students
that was made reference to
in the service,
is what I meant to say.
Thanks for coming.
I'm surprised, I... I really
made an effort to contact you.
We ran cross country
sophomore year.
My name was Richard Janikowski
in high school.
I didn't start going
by Dick Anthony
until after college.
Oh, right. I do remember you.
You look a lot different.
Yeah, yeah. I didn't have
a beard in high school.
I wanted to say hello and, um,
again, I'm sorry about your mom.
Yeah, thanks.
I could have done a better job
with the eulogy.
Thank you.
I was a big fan
of the film you made,
the animated film
from the early aughts?
It was criminally
Sorry, I'm not here. Sorry.
Professor Carter,
you have a mandatory meeting
with the provost
tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.
This is a matter
of some urgency.
It's come to our attention
that you had
an extracurricular activity
off campus
with a student present.
That was a funeral.
- That counts?
- Yes.
My mother died.
For the purposes
of our discussion,
that is not relevant.
More to the point, there's been
chatter around campus
that you're having
an inappropriate relationship
with the student in question,
one Ms. Gail Everson.
You know, she just kind of
showed up to the funeral.
It's in the newspaper.
You can't control
who comes to a funeral.
It's my job
to put a stop to this.
And if there's nothing
to worry about,
then there's nothing
to worry about.
But if you're fucking her,
then in effect,
you're fucking me,
Professor Carter,
and I don't like being fucked
without giving my say so first.
Wow. Wow.
- Wow.
- What?
I see why you have this job.
So what's going on here?
The truth is, I asked her
to be in a film I'm making.
And that's been largely limited
to work we've done here
on campus.
I don't know
if you know my work.
I made an animated film
13 years ago
to some acclaim
and got hired here
on the strength of it.
How about you give me a break.
Break it off forthwith
or expect to be released
very unceremoniously.
You can't just fire me.
You might like knowing
Ms. Everson has come
to our attention in the past
for a dalliance with
a Russian literature professor,
- one Herschel Kaminsky.
- Jesus.
You know him?
He's my best friend.
Why didn't he get fired?
Professor Kaminsky
was a subject of an inquiry.
Perhaps we can discuss
that some other time.
If you think
you can flout the rules
and battle me with any success,
try me.
Like the man said,
"Make my day."
- Came in to settle the bill.
- In person?
I'm old school.
What's the damage?
I can pay 1200 bucks.
This isn't a Peruvian
flea market, Mr. Carter.
You're not buying
an alpaca blanket.
- I see.
- All in,
- we hit the 5K you requested.
- It was a nice service,
- thank you.
- Yeah, I heard you got into it
- with a couple of the mourners.
- Nah.
This check is
for 10,000 dollars.
doc gave me the death sentence.
You've heard of
adult-onset ADHD,
early-onset Alzheimer's.
I've got adult
early-onset dying.
Uh, yeah, right.
Terminally ill.
I think I heard somebody
mention something
about it at the funeral. Um,
- or was that Facebook?
- I don't know.
I've lost track of who knows
and who doesn't.
- Oh, goodness.
- That's fine.
I've had time to process.
Okay, well look,
this is a little unusual, um,
but certainly not unheard of.
What do you suppose
happens when we die?
When we die?
It's like a bubble
floating in the air...
...suddenly popping.
That's what we become, nothing.
Japanese word for it is "Mu."
Moo, like a cow?
Are you Japanese?
M U, mu.
Jesus, you porked my sister?
Now we're even.
Not completely
following the math.
Nothing happened.
We split a six and watched TV.
Is that true?
No, don't do that.
What are you doing?
Central Standard
time in Dallas, Texas.
Maybe things will get better.
Maybe things will get better.
It's generally safe to assert
maybe things will get better.
I wanted to say that growing up,
it felt like there were
two children and it wasn't me
and you, it was you and mom.
Now that she's gone,
I will try...
I will try to do a better job
of seeing you as an adult.
Hey, thank you.
Despite the fact
it seems you haven't matured
and you feel more like
you're 15 than 40.
I guess I don't
really know how old you are
or if you were adopted.
I always just assumed
you were basically happy
and that you really
didn't have any problems.
Yeah, no, that's not the case.
That's textbook narcissism.
I always kinda liked it
when the two of you
didn't get along.
I felt like it validated
my own problems with her.
Yes, but you could have done
more to bridge those gaps
and had you pulled more weight,
it's possible
the three of us would've had
a more harmonious dynamic.
What are we doing here,
- Mac?
- Yeah.
I'm not getting paid
to sit here.
Anything else?
I don't know
whether to try
and get on better terms
with my sister.
I think
she hated my mother and me
and she's transferred
all of that hatred to me now.
There's a good possibility
you're going to be acting out
in response to the discomfort
you feel there.
I wanted, I guess,
to have sex with Gail
- when I first met her.
- For example.
Well, it seemed like
the logical extension
of my response
to her being so attractive
would be to sleep with her.
Now, I'm not so sure.
I'm not sure
we aren't better off
staying in
the realm of fantasy.
Sorry, I'm not here. Sorry.
Hey, uh, Lousy.
It's Dick Anthony.
I ran into you...
- Dick Anthony?
The truth is, and I might
as well tell you this,
uh, I do remember
Dick Anthony pretty well.
We were basically friends
in high school.
We didn't go to a big school
and I was a brutal nerd.
Even nerds were embarrassed
for me,
except Dick Anthony.
I never really understood
why he was
such a fan of my work, though.
I was a prodigy.
I was a prodigy.
But my lo-fi animating style
never really evolved.
You know, I was heralded
on behalf of the idea
of potential never realized
and I think Dick Anthony
reminds me of that.
Leaving that aside
for the moment,
what about the dalliance
with your colleague's wife?
that was a lousy thing to do.
I kind of miss her,
but what the hell.
Lousy thing to do.
You don't seem to have taken
your friend into account there.
You don't seem him to have
taken Kaminsky's feelings
into account, seducing his wife.
First of all...
...he doesn't seem
to have feelings
and I don't see it that way.
Uh, I see it
as her having seduced me,
so your thesis is full of holes.
Well, we... we shouldn't sleep
with our friends' wives.
Yes, but with Gail,
I don't know.
Yeah, Gail.
That's not going to end well.
What is it?
Oh, this guy I ran into
at the funeral,
the guy who called
is texting me.
I gave him my number.
Wants to have lunch.
Have lunch with the guy.
I'm experimenting
with setting boundaries
by not getting back to people.
Pretty tied up
this week, Dick.
Hey, Dennis.
You know that guy?
- Dennis?
- Dennis.
Did you know that
Fitzgerald was convinced
that the reason his book
wasn't a bigger success
was because
Gatsby didn't have a single
admirable female character
and at the time,
most of the people
reading novels were women?
No, and I don't care.
How's the other project going?
Gail told me about it.
I didn't know you knew her.
I ran into her at the funeral.
I had her in a Russian lit class
back when
she was just getting going here.
- You had her, huh?
- Mm-hmm.
You might've told me.
Says the king
of being on the up and up.
- Listen.
- No, you listen.
You are sleeping with my wife.
Pretty sure that's past tense,
but go on.
Normally that's not something
you forgive someone for,
at least right away.
Not right away.
it's brought us closer together.
You and me?
Me and my wife.
She also said you're lousy,
as in a lousy lay.
I hope
that makes you feel better.
You are not
the wronged party here.
I will say anything I like.
For a minute there,
I was gonna get a revolver,
empty it into your midsection,
and watch you die.
I'm a bit adrift.
I guess I still wish I felt
like you respected me more.
Don't worry about it.
You and I are friends because of
your professional
and moral failings,
not despite them.
You know,
when I bought this futon,
it was half off
and I asked the sales lady why
and she said,
"Um, because it's disgusting."
You got a bargain.
I can't carry this by myself.
Oh, okay.
Do you remember that fight
we got into in my car
when you got out
and started walking
even though
the car was still moving?
I think I must have
sensed you were leaving me.
I was, um, unhappy.
You left me for that meathead.
What was his name?
Oh yeah, Clinton.
Bill Clinton.
Clinton was his first name.
What about that?
I guess
this is what it comes down to.
How do you feel?
I feel the usual. Nothing.
Sorry, I'm not here. Sorry.
please give us a call.
Your account is
45 days in arrears
and the doctor
would like to see you.
Why did you keep your analog
phone answering machine?
Uh, yeah, not sure
the best way to put this.
- Yeah.
- Yeah?
Yeah, I don't know.
We mixed your file up
with another Carter who comes
in here, William Carter.
he's not taking it too well.
So you have a hernia.
Probably ought to get it
taken care of
the next year or two.
I'm not terminally ill?
You gonna wipe out the debt?
That's not my area.
- Sorry?
- That's not my department.
Yeah, but you fucked up.
That doesn't make me
a bill collector.
Seems as if you might
be able to intercede.
I'll ask,
but I'm not optimistic.
Rachel's tough.
So you're not sick.
That's great.
That's great.
So you get a clean bill
and the first thing you're
bitching about, money.
Wow, ingrate.
Where do we land on
The Great Gatsby?
I think that book's
more for dudes
and I sort of stand by
what I said
about it being too excited
about money.
Okay, I guess
over the course of the next
55, 60 years of your life,
you'll have time to reconsider.
Dick Anthony.
Lousy Carter.
Thanks for blowing me off.
I'm sorry!
I was hoping to go last
and sum things up,
but did not work out that way.
Lousy Carter...
my best friend...
a great loss, mostly for me.
I will be at least 30 percent
lonelier with him gone
and I'm already pretty lonely.
In deference to my husband,
I won't go into any detail
about any private moments
I had with the deceased,
but I have fond memories of him
and those memories
will necessarily replace
any future interaction
I might've had with him.
Lousy was special
to me, but it's complicated.
Whew, boy.
Lousy Carter. What the fuck?
Shot by some loser.
What a way to go.
Can I pass
and have you come back to me?
He had flaws, as we all do...
but it was, um, it was fun
having lunch with him.
I tried to teach him
how to play chess...
but that was hopeless.
He was hopeless.
I would've liked
to have been there
when he died, I think.
Yeah, it was cool.
It wasn't really sad.
I guess the movie
we're working on
is gonna go unfinished.
Were you afraid
you were gonna be shot also?
Thank you.
I would say carry on
and make sure to finish it,
but my heart's not in it.
They wanted 470,000 dollars
for the rights.
What the fuck?
When were you gonna tell me?
I was gonna wait.
I liked working with you.
I was hoping to talk them down.
To what, like, 450?
No one wants to
see a movie about a pedophile
creeping on a young girl.
Probably true.
I look back on the man
I was a year ago
and I'm disappointed.
it took something pretty drastic
for me to turn my life around,
and shooting a guy is
unforgivable, of course...
but it jarred
something loose in me,
made me want to do better.
I admit, I didn't...
I didn't even know
Lousy Carter very well.
I guess
I always looked up to him...
and he was just a figment
of my imagination...
and I can do better.
It's sad that somebody
had to lose their life
for me to come out of my shell,
but um...
it takes what it takes.