Mr. Marcus Skinner...
care of the English department, Stanford University.
Dear Mr. Skinner, My name is Shaun Brumder...
and I think you are a total genius.
I live in California...
in a place called Orange County.
A year ago, I was just another Orange County surfer--
spending my days at the beach with my buddies...
Spike it, Shaun!
and spending my nights around a bonfire partying.
School was always a walk for me.
I did pretty well without trying too hard.
Thereís a tropical storm off Laguna.
Letís go, dude. Surfís up.
I was easily distracted.
- What about next period? - Twenty-footers. Screw your period.
Then last April, me and my crew drove out to Emerald Cove...
to catch some major tsunami waves.
I donít know, you guys.
Dude, face the fear.
This is intense!
Lonny always said he wanted to die eating foam in a massive wipeout...
but I bet heís up in heaven right now.
After Lonny drowned, I did some heavy meditating.
I thought, maybe thereís more to life than extreme sports...
and trying to get laid.
Maybe thereís a bigger purpose for me...
and Iíve just been too high to figure it out.
I was sitting on the beach, totally cogitating.
I looked down, and there, in the sand, was a copy of your book.
It was like a sign, like your book was calling out to me.
For the next few days, I read it from cover to cover.
Your book totally captured what itís like to be a teenager--
the excitement, the confusion, the horniness.
Sometimes I laughed so hard, I thought I was going to puke and die.
Other times, I cried.
Are you okay?
Itís just so sad.
I read your book 52 times that month...
and I finally realized what I wanted to do with my life.
I want to be a writer.
Iíve been writing ever since. Itís all I ever do.
All day and all night sometimes.
It was hard to get going, but, once I did, I couldnít stop.
Iím like a machine, and nothing else matters.
Iím selling my board. I donít have time.
- I need to focus on my writing. - What?
My friends think Iíve lost my mind.
Heís lost his mind.
Letís get lit and go jump off the roof of my house.
Now youíre talking.
I need some feedback, and thereís no one here to help me.
Got your story here. Wow.
I have the sneaking suspicion that my English teacher is illiterate.
I noticed you used a lot of big words. Nice. Good for you.
It was a little long, so I didnít read the whole thing.
But who cares? ĎCause I gave you an A.
My brother, Lance, is perpetually recovering from the night before.
Iím sorry. I donít feel good.
My girlfriend is the only one whoís actually read my work.
But sheís always so positive, itís hard to take her seriously.
Itís, like, the best story Iíve ever read.
Itís funny and original.
I think it could be a movie.
I donít know if Orange County is the best environment...
for an aspiring writer...
so Iím applying to Stanford.
You are a shoo-in.
Do you think I should apply to some safety schools?
No need. Donít be a scaredy-cat.
Thereís no doubt in my mind youíre gonna go to Berkeley.
Yes. Stanford is where youíre going, mister.
Iím sending you a copy of my story.
Hopefully, with your wisdom and guidance...
I will one day be a real writer.
I look forward to seeing you in the fall, Mr. Skinner.
Your greatest admirer, Shaun Brumder.
Watch it, man.
What are you doing lying here?
My parole officer wants to give me a drug test, and I need your urine.
Can I score some of your piss?
- Yeah. - Awesome, man.
Donít yell at me!
Are you okay?
Itís my kitchen!
Mom. Hey, Mom.
- What? - Somethingís wrong with Bob.
- Did you feed him his pills today? - I donít know. Is he okay?
You gotta remember to feed him his pills.
Lupe, did you give Bob his pills?
Iím not a nurse.
Youíve got to get rid of her right now, okay, baby?
She has a bad attitude, and sheís-- You stole my Palm Pilot.
You did. Admit it.
- Thatís it. - You did.
Yeah. Itís over.
What? What happened? Whatíd she say?
Sheís sorry, and she thinks youíre an incredible lady.
Listen, Mom, when the mail comes, will you call me on my cell?
ĎCause Iím supposed to hear from Stanford today.
Come on. Donít get upset, Mom.
All right? You knew this day was gonna come.
Iím just goiní to college. Itís not like Iím leaving the planet.
Mom, get a grip.
Iím going back to bed.
Check this out. You gotta help us out.
- Donít call me a punk. - Youíre a punk.
You remember the night we all went golfing and I paid for everyone?
- ĎCause stinge-king over here-- - Who paid for parking?
I donít remember you ever paying for anything in your sorry life.
Of course you donít remember when someone else does.
Did you guys know that itís April 1 5?
A year ago today, Lonny died.
Hey, dude, thatís true.
I canít believe itís been a whole year.
I was thinking that, you know...
maybe we should do something in his memory.
We should pull a killer prank. We should go jump off something.
Yeah, bro, or blow something up.
Maybe we should go to Emerald Cove and have a surf in Lonnyís memory.
Shaun doesnít surf anymore, stupid.
I forgot. He doesnít surf or skate or pick his butt.
- Writer boy now. - Whatís up, Dr. Seuss? Cat in the Hat?
Principal Harbert, as you may know...
there was an oil spill last week off the coast of Redondo.
Todayís paper just says hundreds of seagulls have been affected.
I propose a school-sponsored fund-raiser...
with all the proceeds going to the seagull rehabilitation fund.
As the community-service leader, we would be morally remiss...
if we did nothing for these seagulls.
One more. Last one.
After this, weíll let all sick and endangered animals die horrible deaths.
Now, people, June is just around the corner.
Letís talk graduation speakers. Ideas?
Sheís in town that same weekend for a book signing.
Sheís won the Nobel Prize.
Dana, didnít you say you have a cousin whoís friends with Britney Spears?
Yeah. Best friends.
Now when I say Romeo and Juliet, who comes to mind?
- Dana? - Claire Danes.
Thatís right. Claire Danes. Who else?
- Leonardo DiCaprio. - Right. Who else?
You know, someone else was involved in that movie...
who, in some ways, is as famous as Leonardo DiCaprio.
And his nameís William Shakespeare...
and some great movies are based on his plays.
Hamlet, West Side Story...
Talented Mr. Ripley, Waterworld...
Mr. Burke, as you know, my boyfriend drowned in a surfing accident.
I donít think I can handle Romeo and Juliet right now...
Tanya, Lonny died a year ago.
Sometimes it takes decades to recover from a tragedy like this.
You only went out with him for two weeks.
Your momís outside. She says you got into Stanford!
- Can you do me a favor? - Who you lookiní for?
Shaun, pick up the phone!
Heís not here.
Will you please just go to the door and tell me if the mailís there?
Iím begging you.
Do I have to turn on your computer?
Just go to the front door.
The mail would be in the mailbox.
You owe me one, buddy.
Yeah, itís here.
Todayís the big day, Gary.
- Wow! - Look at me! Iím--
Where is it?
Come on. Where is it? Where is the mail?
- I donít know. - Are you sitting on it?
Dude, I see it on the floor.
Iím moving your chair.
This is it.
This is my future right here in this envelope.
Hey, youíre blocking the tube.
"We regret to inform you...
that your application to Stanford University was not accepted."
I didnít get in?
I didnít get in?
I donít get it.
I donít unders--
Youíre overreacting, dude.
I didnít get into college, and check me out.
Something horribleís happened.
Is Bob dead?
Did something break?
I got rejected from Stanford.
Baby, Iím sorry.
Iím so sorry.
Youíre just gonna have to go somewhere closer to home. Thatís all.
And you get to keep living here...
with Lance and Bob...
Okay, and are you a student here?
Yes, Iím a student here.
Iím Shaun Brumder. Iím the class president.
And you didnít get into Stanford? Too bad. Tough break.
Where else did you apply?
Nowhere. You told me I was a shoo-in.
Nowhere. Not even a safety school?
You said shoo-in.
Calm down. Letís see what we can do.
Looks here like your GPA is-- What, 2.5?
And your S.A.T.s combined are 940.
940? I had a 1 520.
It says 940.
Thatís not my transcript. Thatís Shane Brainardís transcript.
- And you are? - Shaun Brumder.
You couldnít have.
You sent in the wrong transcript?
Whatís up, Shane?
Hey, guys, I got into Stanford.
I applied as a joke, and they let me in.
Iím freakiní out.
- I didnít. - Yes, you did.
- I didnít. - Yes, you did!
You just donít throw accusations around. This is nobodyís fault.
Yes, it is. Itís your fault!
Youíre screeching at me.
Because you are a moron! Now listen to me, lady!
Code red! Code red!
Call 911! Code red!
Hey! Watch it.
I got into...
I gotta get outta here.
I gotta get out of Orange County.
Where are you going?
Iím going to my dadís.
All right. Iím gonna go in there and Iím gonna say to my dad...
that he abandoned our family, and, if he wants to make it up to me...
then he can start now by making a massive donation to Stanford.
Remember when the sea lions beached themselves in Corona Del Mar...
and nobody was doing anything about it?
Well, me getting all hysterical didnít help anything.
This is it, Ashley.
Iím gonna tell my dad I wanna be a writer.
- Who are you? - Iím Shaun.
Iím your brother.
- What are you sucking on? - My poody.
Well, arenít you a little old for a poody?
What did you just do?
Go pick up your poody, or youíre gonna get a time-out.
Pick up your poody. Thatís it!
Rosa, take Jake upstairs and give him some Ritalin.
I donít like your attitude!
I donít like your attitude!
Isnít he getting big?
So whatís up with you? You look great.
You really filled out-- your arms and your chest.
- You been workiní out? - No.
Bud is getting so fat.
You should really talk to him.
Heís gonna have a heart attack.
Plus heís fat.
Goddamn it! Are you trying to ruin me?
Yeah, where is my dad?
If you do this, I will eat your face!
Come, my lady Come, come, my lady
Youíre my butterfly sugar baby
God! My God! Puppy!
What do you have to write about? Youíre not oppressed. Youíre not gay.
- Not all writers are gay. - Theyíre all poor.
Itís not true. What about Tom Clancy,
Three people in the history of literature.
The truth is I donít care about making money.
I have a burst blood vessel in my brain.
I could die at any moment, but I keep plugging away day after day...
because I want to leave you with something special-- a business...
- I want my poody! - Hey, pal, control yourself.
Can you-- Give me that back.
- I want my poody! - Whereís your mother?
- Will you get in here! - Yeah, Iím coming!
- Can you get him out of here? - Okay, okay.
- Doesnít he need a nap? - Come here.
- We want him to learn some limits. - Come on.
This is my lifeís work here.
When I started out, I had nothing. Now look at me.
Iíve got 8 1 /2 million square feet in Irvine alone.
Itís a goddamn empire, and I want to leave it to you.
This is the life I want for you.
But what about what I want?
You want to be a writer?
Before that, you wanted to be a professional surfer...
so itís a little hard to take you seriously.
Fine. I donít want your money.
But just for the record, Dad, youíve never done anything for me.
Itís always been about you.
Itís over. I should just drive my car into the ocean and get it over with.
Donít say that.
He was running across PCH. He didnít have a tag.
Was I gonna leave him there? Heíd get killed.
- I have something to confess. - What?
You know how you told me youíd pray youíd get into Stanford?
The other night, I prayed for something too.
I prayed that you wouldnít get into Stanford.
I didnít think it was gonna work.
I was sitting here thinking, whoa, my prayer was answered.
I should be happy.
I got into OCU, and maybe you can go to OCU.
You can study creative writing, and I can study marine biology...
and we can be together.
But I just started feeling really guilty.
But I just started feeling really guilty.
I mean, this was your dream, and Iím just being selfish.
I just feel awful.
This is not your fault.
I want to try and make it up to you.
I really donít think thereís anything you can do.
Maybe there is. Tanyaís grandfather is on the board at Stanford.
And Tanyaís my friend, so maybe she can help us.
My grandfather is not gonna bend over backwards for just anyone.
Please. Canít you just help us?
Canít you see Iím busy?
Why donít you go check on the dog?
Give him some water, okay? Iíll take care of this.
We need to have a little chat.
Look, Shaunís my boyfriend, and I would do anything for him...
even if that means breaking a promise to you.
Halloween. Danaís little brother.
- Everyone knows about that. - Maybe.
But they donít know about Lonnyís memorial.
I miss Lonny.
Hey, I miss Lonny too.
But you promised.
And prom night?
Hi, Grammy. Itís Tanya.
Is Grandpa there?
You are so awesome.
- But, hey, we should go. - Yeah.
-Tanyaís grandfather wants to meet you. -I want to meet him.
He and his wife are gonna come by your house at 5:00.
- My house? - Yeah.
Do you know who lives at my house?
Yeah, thatís right. Just cover his whole head.
Who are you?
Iím your wife. Cindy.
We met in Maui.
Hey, look. Bobís still bleeding.
Whatís this-- What is-- My God!
He likes you. Yes. We found him on PCH.
Get him out of the house. I donít allow dogs in here.
But heís so sweet.
Call the Humane Society. Theyíll have him put to sleep.
Donít you think we should put out some cheese and crackers?
Theyíre gonna be here in 1 5 minutes.
- Yeah, I know. - Whoís coming?
Mom, you might want to put on something more, you know.
More what? More what?
Whatís going on?
Sit down. Sit down, okay?
Just sit. Donít be nervous.
Someone very important is coming over, and heís bringing his wife.
If he likes me, heís gonna get me into Stanford.
- Theyíre coming over now? - Theyíll be here in a couple minutes.
The house is a mess, and Bob is bleeding.
You canít expect me to drop everything and entertain these strangers.
Drop what? What were you doing?
Look. This is my last chance to get into Stanford.
I know, honey, and itís not a good day for me.
- I have to go to college. - Why?
Because thatís what you do after high school.
Please donít do this to me. Please donít sabotage me.
Every time I try to depend on you, you start acting like a total lunatic.
So now Iím a bad mother.
Youíre not. Please just put on some clothes.
I sacrificed a lot for you. I sacrificed Damian for you.
Your tennis instructor.
He was beautiful and Serbian!
When your father left, I almost married him.
And if I had, weíd be living in a condo, clipping coupons and eating lunch meat.
So I didnít.
I married Bob for you.
I had sex with Bob four times for you.
How can you say Iím a bad mother?
Iím not saying that.
- You know money canít buy happiness. - Grow up. Yes, it can.
You and Dad both have money, and youíre both miserable.
Heís miserable? Did he say that?
Mom, this is the most decisive day of my life...
and all Iím asking for is one hour-- one hour with no big scenes...
and no nervous breakdowns and no Meryl Streep impressions--
just one hour where you act like a normal, loving parent.
Can you do this for me?
Yes, I can.
Thank you, Mom.
But Iíll need a glass of wine. Thereís chardonnay in the fridge.
Okay. Iíll be right back.
Iím really nervous.
Donít be. Everythingís gonna be fine.
Some very important people are coming over.
- Stay in your room. - Why?
- Because youíre an embarrassment. - Okay.
I look like a pinata.
You look great. Just remember what I said.
No big drunken scenes, okay?
Lupeís with Bob, Lance is in his room and Mom is dressed.
How do I look?
- Now just--just be yourself. - Okay.
You must be Shaun.
Yes, sir. Yes, sir, Mr. Gantner.
Please come in.
Mrs. Gantner. Thank you for coming.
- This is my girlfriend Ashley. - Hi.
- Nice to meet you. - Hello.
- Youíre friends with Tanya. - Tanyaís very upset by your situation.
I donít like it when my granddaughter is upset.
Tanya has Arthur wrapped around her little finger.
- Thatís right. - Hello!
Hi. Iím Cindy Almond-Beugler.
- Iím Arthur Gantner. My wife Vera. - How do you do?
Wonít you please make yourselves at home?
Thank you. Thank you. Thank--
So, tell us about yourself.
Well, Iím a National Merit Scholar...
a straight-A student...
and I want to be a writer.
Do you like John Grisham? I sure do.
Shaunís also our class president...
and he was the representative at our model UN.
Heís a fabulous kid, Mr. Gantner.
Arthur. Please. Call me Arthur.
Even as a little boy, he was so smart.
I miss those days.
The last few years have been really hard.
I helped my former husband start his business.
Soon as he gets a little money, he starts screwing around on me.
He left me for a 20-year-old he met at the gym.
I walked in on them at a motel.
Sheís got him naked and handcuffed to the bed.
So we divorced. I remarried.
Then this new one, Bob...
he starts falling apart, and--
and itís just one shit storm after the other.
- Let us in! - Hurry up!
- Hurry up! - Come on!
We heard you tried to kill Mrs. Cobb.
Are you on a violent rampage, dude?
What do you want?
All right, bro. Check it out.
We thought, in Lonnyís memory, we could go down to Emerald Cove.
We could take his board and push it out into the ocean.
- Or blow it up. - Right.
That sounds like a great idea, and weíll do it.
But I canít right now Ďcause I got important people over.
- More important than us, huh? - No.
- More important than Lonny? - Of course not.
- This is his birthday, man. - Yeah, man.
Like, his death birthday. Doesnít that mean anything to you?
Just go hang with your little VIPs.
Sorry we intruded on your tea party.
If you need us, weíll be out in the van picking each otherís butts.
- Naked. - Huh?
I visited Stanford in the fall. Itís a beautiful campus.
Isnít it lovely? We go up there for football games.
And Arthur is on the board, so--
Excuse me. Sorry.
Have you seen my piss?
My parole officer called. He wants that piss.
I know I got it around here.
Donít you see that we have company?
Hey, whatís up? There it is.
I am so sorry.
Somebodyís gotta fill this up, or Iím going to jail.
Would you just get out of here!
Iíd like to "protose" a toast.
Shaun has been a wonderful son...
and I want him to be happy.
Iím going to be all alone.
Mom, you didnít give Bob his medication.
Excuse me for a minute.
Dude! Where are Bobís pain pills?
This is Excedrin.
Itís a decoy. I put my stash in aspirin bottles.
Yellow are painkillers. They go in the Excedrin.
Listen to me, all right?
I need Bobís pain pills.
Bob doesnít have any pain pills. I sold them, but these are good.
Wait. Yellow are not painkillers.
What are they? Speed. Theyíre the X. Painkillers are in the Tylenol.
Give him one of these. Itíll knock him right out.
Wait. Please. Where are you going?
You people are sick.
Your motherís a drunk. Your brotherís a pervert.
Shame on you for abusing an old man.
Shame on you for abusing an old man.
Heís fine. Tell them youíre fine.
I know how this looks, but I do everything I can for Bob.
- I love Bob. - Hey!
Stanford is for the best and the brightest--
the future leaders of America.
Youíll never go to Stanford...
as long as I have a breath in my body.
Watch your fingers.
You went for a ride.
Are you okay?
I got ya, buddy!
You should sue, man. This isnít right. Sue the school.
Just go to Stanford anyway. Go there and take the classes.
Donít take "no" for an answer. Just say, Iím goiní here. Kiss my ass.
- Thatís a good idea. - What?
I should go up to Stanford.
If I talk with the dean of admissions and tell him my situation...
heís gotta let me in.
I can get you there in three hours.
Youíre getting into Stanford. I know it!
I have a question for you. I got something to say.
Iím gonna do something with my life. Yeah, man.
I got these ideas. I got so many ideas.
Theyíre burning through my skull, buddy.
I donít know, like, hats and shirts.
Like Stussy. Do you know what?
Stussy got started out making hats and shirts for surfers in Hawaii.
Now heís, like, a millionaire. He parties in Hawaii 24-7!
I could do something like that, donít you think?
Like a fuckiní shirt that says "Loser."
Or I donít know. "Talk to the hand" or something like that.
Those would sell.
Or-- I donít know. I got these ideas.
Like a hat, a big hat that goes--
Watch the road, dumb ass!
People have written me off. Do you know that?
People have written me off, like Dad for one.
Just keep your eyes on the road.
Dude, Iím gonna have the last laugh...
because hereís why.
Some little chumps go to college. Some little chumps stay home.
Some little chumps eat roast beef. Some little chumps have none.
This chumpís gonna cry "wee wee wee" all the way to the biz-neck.
- You know what Iím sayiní?
- I love you, dude. - I love you too.
We donít say it enough. Itís true, and itís not the drugs.
- Hi. - Hi.
I need to talk to the dean of admissions.
Well, itís 1 0:30 at night, so heís not here right now.
I know, but, you see, this is an emergency.
Iím sure. Youíll have to come back tomorrow though.
Could you maybe just give us his phone number?
What? His phone number?
Please, you guys, cut me some slack.
Come back tomorrow, all right? Weíre closed.
Thatís such crap.
That is such crap. Screw her.
You know what? Screw her.
- You cold? Want my jacket? - Thank you.
Man! She thinks sheís so smart Ďcause she goes to Stanford.
Well, Iím smart too. Iím gonna pull a MacGyver.
I will break in through a window, Iíll look around and find a--
What do you call that thing?
Directory. You stay here.
Iím gonna be back in 15 minutes with the directory.
The deanís probably listed. You could just call information.
Hey, what are you doing?
What do you want?
the question is...
what do you want?
do you want me to call public safety?
Do you want me to get naked and start the revolution?
Iíll take that as a maybe.
- Yes? - Mr. Durkett?
- Youíre such a liar! - Girls! I told you. Knock it off!
- Dad, Stephanie stole my flip-flops. - So deal with it, Gina. Go.
- Yes? - Liar!
Iím Shaun Brumder. I need to talk to you about my application.
Itís late. I gotta get up for a 7:00 flight.
Thereís been a big mistake.
Iím sorry. Thereís nothing I can do. Good night.
Look, we drove all the way here from Orange County.
Canít you just give us five minutes of your time? Please.
Okay. You have five minutes. Go.
Okay. Stanford University was my first choice.
I didnít even apply to any other schools.
My college counsellor sent you the wrong transcript.
Show me your transcript.
I left it in the car. Iíll go get it.
- Please donít go anywhere. - Okay.
- What? - Where are our bathing suits?
Thereís a green-mesh dive bag on the floor of my closet.
Just look in there.
Who are these people? Get rid of them.
Could I have one of those?
Thank you. My head is killing me.
Take two or three.
You can just have the whole bottle.
When youíre done down there, I need help closing my suitcase.
Okay. Iíll be up in five minutes.
Oh, come on.
Jesus. You look like a beast.
Whereís Shaun? I need to talk to him.
- Stanford. Heís having a crisis. - I know all about it.
Youíre such a good father, so good to your kids.
I need a drink. Do you have any beer, coyote ugly?
This is an excellent transcript.
You should be very proud, but what can I tell you?
If Iíd had this by January 21 , you might have had a shot.
I need you.
What is the big deal?
Heís gonna say no.
Hey, donít let him say no.
Itís gonna be fine.
So whatís up with your brother and aspirin?
Does he get a lot of headaches, or what?
What is that smell? What am I sitting in?
Relax. Itís just urine.
Your son was being a real brat today, a real pain in the ass.
- My son. - He said I was selfish.
He said that everythingís always about me.
He called me a drama queen, said I was trying to sabotage him.
So, howís Bob?
Howís whatís her face?
Sheís sleeping around.
I canít talk to her. She doesnít play tennis.
Sheís not a good mother. Sheís not like you.
Want another beer?
Sometimes I leave the office at the end of the day...
and I get into my car and head home...
and, 1 5 minutes later, Iím here-- parked in front of this house.
Itís annoying. Itís totally out of my way.
I made a mistake. Iím tired of paying for it. I want you back.
Youíre such an asshole.
Which ones were they?
- Excedrin? - Excedrin. Okay.
Excedrin are pain pills.
- Pain pills. - Oh, my God!
We just gave the dean of admissions three hits of--
Where were we?
Well, Mr. Durkett, to me...
Stanfordís not just a school.
Itís my entire reason for living.
Every night, before I went to bed, Iíd pray that Iíd get into Stanford.
And I worked really hard.
And when all my friends were out having fun...
I stayed in and I studied.
Thatís good. Thatís what you have to do.
Wait a second.
I like you. Whatís your name?
I like you.
I do. I donít know why.
I just like you.
I feel so good.
Is it me, or is it, like, hotter than hell in here?
Can you help me?
Yes. Yes, I can.
Thereís no time. Iím leaving.
Iím going to Bali with my family.
I love them so much.
I need water or--
I need to lie down.
Hey, before you do that--
Youíre my same height. That is neat.
It is. Letís go to your office...
and you can add my name to the acceptance list...
before you leave for Bali.
The lights are, like, vivid.
Well, itís a beautiful night.
- Youíre so beautiful. - Thank you.
You know, I really appreciate this.
Ďcause I feel like Iíve known you forever.
I have a confession.
I never went to college.
My brother wants to go here next year.
Well, I hope heís on this list.
Itís a list of people theyíve accepted.
They rejected him, the jerks.
Donít do that.
When I was little, I was a total pyro.
I was too.
Put that out, man.
- Put it out. - Whoa!
- Who are you people? - Iím Shaun Brumder.
Youíre going to help me get into Stanford.
And weíre at your office.
Oh, my God!
Do me a favor. Back that engine out. We got a knockdown.
Thatís negatory, Julio. I need you to wedge that popper.
Hey! Whatís your name?
-Joe--John. - What is it?
- Your nameís "Joe John"? -Johnston.
You wanna tell me what happened here?
Just a fire. I donít know.
I came by and was...
checking out the fire.
Well, that lady, Mona...
said that you two were in the building when the fire started.
Yeah, sheís a liar,
So whatever she says is a lie.
Youíre saying you werenít in the building with that woman?
Not I. All right.
She started it, all right? Because she was, like...
"I hate my job! Iím gonna burn this mother down!"
I said, "You better not! Youíd better not!"
- She said it was an electrical fire. - It was.
It was a total electrical fire. It was, like...
the switches had sparks coming out,
- It was like the Fourth of July. - Why arenít you wearing your pants?
I tripped and--
Then I had to take Ďem off to run faster out of the flames.
I think I inhaled some smoke.
Will you excuse me one second?
Iíll be right back.
Weíve a got a sprinter. Five-foot-five, no pants...
- Youíll be fine. - Wait a second.
This guy thinks heís the dean of admissions.
Shaun, so psychedelic.
Buddy, I light one match, and the building blows up.
I was just trying to help you, bro.
By setting the building on fire?
Well, I was high.
Youíre always high. Youíre a drugged-out loser.
You think youíre gonna create a T-shirt company?
You canít even dress yourself.
Shaun, Iím so sorry.
I shouldíve seen this coming.
The one day I need my family to come through for me...
they end up doing what they always do.
My father goes ballistic, my mother gets plastered...
and my brother burns down a building.
Itís like theyíve all come together...
in some evil conspiracy to prevent me from getting anywhere.
Is that what you think?
What else am I supposed to think?
You know, I really believed that you wanted to go to Stanford...
because you wanted to study with Marcus Skinner.
- Thatís not it, is it? - What are you talking about?
You want to run away.
You want to be free of everybody.
You think by coming up here, youíre gonna meet people that are...
smarter and saner...
You know, if you went to Stanford, thatíd be the end of us.
And it doesnít seem to me like that thoughtís ever crossed your mind.
Ashley, come on!
Shaun, Iím sorry you didnít get into Stanford.
But if you think going here...
is the only way you can be the person you want to be...
then I just feel sorry for you.
Whatís going on? What are you doing in that bathrobe?
Iím not gonna lie to you.
Did you sleep with your ex-wife?
I want a divorce.
You can have the house.
Really? What about Jake?
I thought we could share custody.
But can you take him tonight?
Thereís this new club in Newport thatís supposed to be totally bitchiní.
So you have my pager number and my cell phone number.
If you need me just call me. And I think this is a great idea.
- Later. - Later.
What are you reading?
Youíre an English major?
No. I donít even go here.
So youíre just visiting?
I should probably go.
It was nice meeting you.
Iím going to a party.
You wanna maybe come check it out?
So do you like Faulkner?
Heís okay. I mean, heís kind of boring.
I think I might just get the "Cliff Notes."
There are some serious cuties at this party.
And lock me up, because I am horny!
Guys, this is Shaun.
Oh, my God! This is our song!
Scrabble? I love Scrabble.
Last time I played, actually, I threw down the word "mazer."
Itís a type of small cherry tree.
I even got 50 bonus points.
So, you donít look familiar. Are you a freshman?
No, not even. Iím still in high school.
- Did you apply to Stanford, or-- - No, no.
Iím going to Orange County University.
- Thatís where Iím from. - Iíve heard of Orange County.
I love it there. The weatherís great, people are nice.
I really want to be a marine biologist...
so itís really the perfect place for me to study.
What about you?
Iím a comparative literature major. I want to be a writer.
Fiction, poetry, screenplays, whatever, you know.
Actually, I have an idea for a TV show.
Itís about vampires, ostensibly. But underneath...
itís actually about the reunification of Germany.
But itís funny.
My boyfriend wants to be a writer too.
Heís really talented.
He wrote this great story...
about growing up in Orange County.
And itís just really funny and smart.
But it doesnít really matter what I think, so--
Is this your boyfriend?
What are you, like, spying on me?
No! I was--
I was just up on the balcony...
Yeah, I was spying on you. Whoís this?
Yeah, Kip. Letís go inside where we can be alone.
Come on, Ash.
Youíre Marcus Skinner.
Youíre a good writer.
Iím obsessed with you, Mr. Skinner.
Not in a sexual way or romantic way or anything like that.
Just your writing.
Iím Shaun Brumder. I wrote you a letter a couple of months ago...
and I sent you one of my stories.
Yeah, wait. Did you read it?
Oh, yes. Yeah. It was a great story.
Itís been a long day.
Could you just say what you just said just one more time?
It was a great story. I really enjoyed it.
you have no idea what that means to me.
The characters are unique--
The mother-- drunk...
arguing with all the maids.
The brother-- always passing out everywhere.
And I love the girlfriend-- the bleeding heart animal freak.
She was my favorite.
You really love your characters. It comes through in the writing.
Well, thank you.
I never really thought about it that way.
My only criticism--
Yes. Oh, please. Itís what I need.
You need an ending.
I know. I just-- I donít know how to end it.
You should figure that out.
Maybe I can help you.
Well, I didnít get into Stanford.
Yeah, so that means I canít work with you.
I want to be a good writer, Mr. Skinner...
but Iím just afraid...
that if I donít get out of Orange County...
itís never gonna happen.
You donít have to be afraid of that. You are a good writer.
And every good writer has a conflicted relationship...
with the place where he grew up--
Joyce, Faulkner, Tolstoy.
And thatís what I remember loving about your story.
Itís very conflicted.
ĎCause at the beginning, you think these people are doomed.
I mean, this family is heading for disaster, and then...
as you read on, you see that there exists...
beneath the surface, these very real connections.
These deep relationships.
What I took from your story is this--
that even in a world where people can be superficial...
and stupid and selfish...
thereís still hope.
Was that the message you were trying for?
- Sorry. - Ow!
- God! - Sorry.
- God! Lance! - Iím sorry. Itís just a nick.
Dude, you will never believe who I just met.
- Who? - Marcus Skinner.
- I met Marcus Skinner! - What? Who?
The writer. He liked my story!
- He liked my story! - Shut up!
Thatís awesome, but I am going to prison!
- What? - Some cops are right on my ass.
Listen, Iíve been thinking about it. We are going to Mexico, buddy.
Right now! Please?
All right, fine. Weíre leaving. But we gotta get Ashley first.
No, Iím sorry. No, thatís not in the cards, Broseph.
Listen, sheíll be fine. Just forget about her.
Some dudeíll pick her up and give her a nice bed to sleep in.
- Lance. - Okay!
We will go and get her. But you gotta follow me...
Ďcause I am an expert at "excaping."
Letís go. Fast "excape." Fast "excapes" are my expertise.
Lance, are you okay?
Go get the Bronco, Shaun, and come back for me.
- Okay. - Dude?
Promise me, dude.
The whole time Iím thinking itís the alternator.
My bro says to me, "No, bro, itís the carburettor."
It turned out he was right.
- Would you get in the car? - Iím mad at you, remember?
I know, but can we talk about it in the car, please?
Hey, you heard her. Why donít you leave her alone?
Butt out, dude. Ashley, get in the car right now.
Shaun, apologize to her. Tell her youíre sorry.
Dude, come on.
Iím so sorry.
Now tell her you love her.
Tell her you love her.
I love you.
I love you so much.
Good. You love him. He loves you. Now get in...
the damn Bronco!
Ashley, now! Now!
Kip, it was really nice to meet you.
Get in the car!
Lance isnít gonna be able to hear anything.
Heís passed out. Heís not gonna wake up. I promise.
Okay, you donít believe me? Lance. Lance!
See? Nothing. Heís out cold.
Like a light. Come on.
Itíll be fine. I promise, okay?
Clearly, youíre not an expert on negotiations...
so let me walk you through this.
You come in with a proposal thatís over the top.
You want a new gymnasium--
Then I counter with a lowball offer, like $2,000 for a medicine ball.
- That is absurd and offensive. - What?
Itís offensive, sir. Stanford University doesnĎt--
- We already have a medicine ball. - Youíre not hearing me.
- I believe itís you whoís not-- - Youíre not hearing me!
Drink your milk.
I donít want milk. I want my poody.
Well, your poodyís been retired.
Youíre a little big for-- Where are you going?
You donít want the milk? Fine. You want some juice?
Go to the fridge, open it up and get yourself some.
And get some for me while youíre at it.
Youíre helpful. Finally, some help around here.
Hey, guys, whatís up?
Hey, whatís up, dude? Hey, dude, check this out.
Last night we were at this party...
and little Arlo here decides to profess his undying love for me.
Did I tell you he was a fruitcake or what?
Thatís not true. This is the real story, dude.
Chad crashed at my house, right?
And I woke up in the night. He was fondling my--
Dude, I lost my keys. I was looking for Ďem.
- Do you guys want to come in? - All right.
- What are you doing here? - Hello, everybody.
- Hey, Bob. - How was your trip?
It was okay.
Just come back with an offer.
Well, we donít have to dot the Iís and cross the Tís.
You have your people, I have my people.
Iíll call you back. My kids just walked in the door.
Mom, what is going on?
Something happened last night.
Your mother and I, we--
You banged Mom?
Thatís not the word I would use, but...
yes, we came together.
- Are you serious? - Guess what else we did?
Iíve been on the phone all morning with Stanford.
Your mother and I donated the money for a new admissions building.
I guess the old one burned down.
We got you into Stanford, Shaun.
- You did that for me? - Yeah.
- Yeah, bro, way to go, man. - Weíre stoked, dude.
Congratulations, Shaun. Thatís-- That is awesome.
I was just up in my room thinking about Faulkner...
and wondering if he had left the South...
would he have ever written a Light in August?
Or what if James Joyce had left Ireland?
Well, I mean, he did leave Ireland, but not in his heart.
Do you see what Iím getting at here?
I donít need to go to Stanford to be a writer.
All I need are the people who inspire me...
Like my friends...
and my family....
So Iím gonna stay. Iím gonna stay in Orange County.
"Dear Mr. Skinner, Iím writing you to say thank you...
for all your words of wisdom.
It took me a while, but I finally realized...
Orange County is the perfect environment...
for an aspiring writer.
Today I went down to the beach with a copy of your book.
I left it there by the water.
Maybe another mixed-up kid will stumble upon it.
And maybe it will change his life like it changed mine.
Later, Mr. Skinner.
Yours truly, Shaun Brumder. "
Dude, donít touch! Iím lighting the fire.
It was my idea, and youíre an idiot.
Youíre gonna blow off your hand. Give me the lighter.
Dude, Lonny would have wanted me to blow up his board, dude.
- Lonny thought you were a tool. - Lonny thought you were a fool.
- Hey, guys, what are you doing? - Gonna blow up Lonnyís board, man.
- Itís gonna be explosive. - We got so many M-80s.
Itís gonna be like the Fourth of July.
- Dude, what are you doing? - Iím going surfing!
Come on! Letís go!
O Brother Where Art Thou
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