Henry David Thoreau wrote, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." The protagonist of "The Mud Bowl," Michael Haggerty, has been plagued his entire life by questions of "What if?" and dogged by "Have to!" He's a good man with a good heart. He's a father and a son, a teacher and a friend. But, he's angry and afraid his life hasn't amounted to much; all because one bad decision a long time ago smashed his biggest dream. There comes a time in every person’s life when you finally have to grow up and take responsibility for what you’ve become and what you’ve accomplished. You can forgive yourself and affirm that your life is worthwhile … or you can swallow a shotgun. For Michael, that day of epiphany is the 25th anniversary of "The Mud Bowl." It's been the same each year for the past 25 years. A group of aging high school friends gather on Thanksgiving morning to play "The Mud Bowl." Each year, these "boys of autumn" use the game as an excuse to never grow up. To escape who they are. And what they have become. But this year is destined to be different. They are all on a collision course with expectations at the crossroads of change. On this one ordinary day, something extraordinary will happen. And they will never be the same. Two of the players will use the game as a weapon to get even for something that happened twenty-five years before. In their blind quest for revenge, they lose sight of who they are. And, caught in the crossfire of their anger, is their best friend—the person most responsible for sustaining the illusion of this "game." In a moment of desperate recklessness, all three are involved in a near-fatal accident. While one fights for his life, the other two are forced to closely examine theirs. They all learn that to survive in this random and absurd world, you can only be good for others when you're good for yourself.
THE MUD BOWL
1108 Wellesley Avenue
Modesto, CA 95350-5044
EXT. LOS ANGELES - STREET CORNER - PRE-DAWN
Softly but distinctly, someone SINGS. Fighting it are the
SOUNDS of a city coming to life. The song is abruptly CUT
RECORDING ENGINEER (O.S.)
(over the PA)
Last take. Put your heart into it,
A little GRUMBLING, then the song resumes.
A pile of "LA Times" is thrown inside a paper rack. The
glass front slams shut to reveal the front page. It's
November 23rd, 1973 - Thanksgiving Day.
MICHAEL HAGGERTY staggers out the recording studio door.
He's a little drunk. He SINGS to himself. It's the same
VOICE we heard earlier. He picks up the song where it
ended off-screen. He tosses a master audiotape box into
The white box floats through the air. As it falls toward
Michael's waiting hands, a beefy HAND grabs the box.
Michael stops singing and turns to confront . . .
DON LAIDLAW, his best friend. Don wears a Stanford
letterman's jacket and baseball hat. Michael smiles as he
turns the bill up on Don's hat, then yanks the tape away
and . . .
A scarred HAND reaches from behind and grips Michael's
LOAN SHARK (O.S.)
Leaving town, big time?
The LOAN SHARK is flanked by a huge Neanderthal WISEGUY,
who covers Don. Don's body tenses.
And a little unfinished business?
Michael glances at Don, then does a slow burn on the
Should know better.
The Shark lets go and steps back.
We're not playing kid's games, shit–
Michael drops the tape, distracting the Shark for a moment.
Then kicks the guy square in the nuts.
The Shark drops to his knees. Before the Wiseguy can act,
Don thrusts a right elbow into his solar plexus. The
Wiseguy staggers in pain.
Don lands a hard left on the Wiseguy's jaw.
falls on his butt next to the dazed Shark.
Had enough, girls?
The Shark leaps to his feet and charges Michael, slashing
with a knife. The tip of the knife slices Michael's left
cheek. Michael falls back and SLAMS into the iron gates of
a pawn shop doorway. He touches the wound and sees blood.
Don whacks the back of the Shark's neck.
to the ground.
The man crumples
The Wiseguy gets up. Don doesn't see him. He charges.
Michael runs toward the Wiseguy to head him off.
Out of nowhere, a CAR races toward the group of men.
Don swivels to face the onrushing Wiseguy.
He braces for
Just then, the Wiseguy belly flops. He cuts an onrushing
Michael at the knees and sends him flying through the air.
Michael slams into Don, knocking him backward and into the
The car's headlights wash across Don. He covers his head.
The car's head lamp rips into the side of Don's head. The
light explodes in a thunderous POP, echoed by a sickening
Don ricochets off the car.
The car ROARS away.
Don falls backward and cracks the back of his head on the
curb. He lies unconscious. A pool of blood runs from his
head to the audiotape box, still lying where Michael
There is the sound of RUNNING as two SHADOWS flicker across
Don's body and against the building walls. A beat, then a
third SHADOW, stops. A bloody hand picks up the audiotape.
And we hear the sound of more RUNNING.
EXT. SAN FRANCISCO SKYLINE - TREASURE ISLAND POV - PRE-DAWN
Cars stream over the Bay Bridge.
Fog enshrouded, "The
EXT. COIT TOWER - PRE-DAWN
Coit Tower is awash in blue and green light.
squats at its feet.
A newspaper TRUCK drops a bundle of newspapers on the
sidewalk. The front page is dated, "November 21st, 1989."
The headline reads: "Living in the Past: A Thanksgiving
The SOUND of SHUTTLING videotape slices through the muffled
morning. The WHITE NOISE of the city becomes the WHITE
NOISE of the edit suite.
INT. EDIT SUITE - PRE-DAWN
Styrofoam coffee cups, empty pizza boxes, and antacids
indicate it's been an all-nighter.
A video monitor displays an old, rose-tinted 8mm film
transfer of "The Mud Bowl" football field, supered over a
photo of an iron Arch. Across the Arch are the words:
"Water-Wealth-Contentment-Health." The film is followed by
a series of black and white and color images of Modesto,
Flashing lights reflect off the tired, but excited, face of
On another monitor, a 25-year-old Don Laidlaw, wearing a
Stanford baseball hat, sticks his face in front of the
lens. He pulls a pair of rose-colored "Granny Glasses"
away from the lens, puts them on, and runs toward the
A 25-year-old Michael Haggerty jumps into frame, mugs for
the camera, runs after Don, and tackles him. Michael pins
his friend's arms, then peels back the bill of his hat.
Miss those guys.
On other monitors, a bunch of YOUNG MEN play flag football
in the mud. We see them age through the years.
On a preview monitor, a 25-year-old Kevin snaps photographs
of Michael holding an "air mike" and singing, while leaning
on another PLAYER, with long blonde hair and wearing a
surfer shirt, who plays "air guitar."
On another screen, Don catches a pass and falls to the
ground in SLOW MOTION.
On still another monitor, all these same YOUNG MEN pose for
a group portrait.
I miss sleeping with my wife.
Hang in there, Buddy.
I owe you one.
If you didn't bring so much corporate
work into this place, I'da faded your
act to black ages ago!
Kevin takes a sip of coffee. He sets the mug down beside
an INVITATION to the annual Mud Bowl. His name is written
on the front in child-like handwriting. Lying next to it
is a very expensive, portable DICTATION MACHINE.
Have another cup. We're almost there.
Several reels WHIR simultaneously as they cue to the next
INT. MICHAEL HAGGERTY'S HOUSE - BEDROOM - DAWN OF THE SAME DAY
Below the window, a hand-made bookcase overflows. A framed
Teaching Credential leans against a leather-bound copy of
Henry David Thoreau's "Walden." It's open to a quote which
reads: "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."
On the night stand, next to a funky old alarm clock, sits a
picture of Michael Haggerty, his 16-year old son, DAVID,
and his Father, GEORGE.
The clock CLICKS to 6:00AM.
An obnoxious CLANGING begins.
Oh . . . my God! What am I still
A female hand SLAMS down on the clock.
The CLANGING stops.
Michael hides his head beneath the pillow.
Ask that every day.
Michael, I gotta get home.
Michael tosses away the pillow, sits up, and rubs the
cobwebs from his puffy, blood-shot eyes.
Who's stopping you?
Michael, Annie, and UTAH, a mixed breed dog, all lay
entwined on the bed. Utah leaps off as they start to move.
Get off me.
Michael GRUNTS and rolls off Annie.
and begins dressing.
JD's gonna kill me.
She jumps out of bed
I just know it.
Calm down. He's probably just now
hauling his redneck butt off his fork
lift. If you bust those sweet little
buns, . . .
. . . you'll get home before he does.
David KNOCKS and walks in. His hazel eyes register mild
surprise. He and Annie have been through this ritual
Ironing board's still up.
(more dazed than
David glances back at the half-dressed Annie, smiles, and
leaves with Utah, quietly closing the door behind him.
INT. EDIT SUITE - MORNING
Kevin packs the last of several videotapes into file boxes
and a duffel bag, as Buddy prints the completed edit list.
Isn't your wife gettin' a little tired
of bein' a video widow 'bout this time
A wall clock above the console reads:
As Kevin dials his cell phone, an ENGINEER shuffles in. He
looks around as he heads for the coffee pot. He grabs a
limp rubber chicken from inside one of the file boxes. He
holds it up to Buddy, waiting for an explanation.
Kevin's body language suddenly changes.
INT. KEVIN AND MOLLY'S APARTMENT - KITCHEN - SAME TIME
MOLLY WRIGHT stands at the sink, gazing out the window.
She looks razor sharp, dressed in a handsome business suit.
She drains the last of her coffee from a mug with a "Mud
Bowl" emblem printed below the Modesto Arch.
You said you'd be home before I left
for work. You're not and I am.
KEVIN (V.O., ON THE PHONE)
I know and I apologize, but–
INTERCUT TELEPHONE CONVERSATION
Don't explain. We just won't see each
other before Thanksgiving. Again.
Took a little longer than I figured.
Always does. I don't understand why
you do this to yourself every year.
Is it really worth it?
People expect it. It's part of the
Part of the illusion, you mean. Some
day you'll grow up and see this "game"
and your "home" town for what they
It's your home, too.
A very long time ago.
Why don't you come this year? The
Bowlers haven't seen you in years.
That's the way I'd like to keep it.
You go play with your little high
school friends. I'll see you when I
She turns and accidentally knocks the mug off the counter.
It SHATTERS against the tile floor.
What was that?
Molly looks at the pieces. The mug is broken in half,
splitting the Mud Bowl emblem and Modesto Arch in two.
Nothing that can't be replaced.
(moves the pieces
around with her
I have to go. See you Monday.
Fine. Drive carefully.
Love you, too.
Kevin disconnects. He turns toward Buddy and the Engineer.
Grabbing his crotch locker-room style says it all.
EXT. INTERSTATE 5 NORTHBOUND - MORNING OF THE SAME DAY
A stylish, black roadster races down a flat stretch of
freeway. The driver tailgates anything foolish enough to
be in the fast lane.
Get a horse, asshole!
The roadster whips around the slower car.
INT. SCOTT LAIDLAW'S CAR - CONTINUOUS
The speedometer reads 95mph and climbing.
stereo system ROCKS.
SCOTT LAIDLAW checks his razor-sharp image in the rear-view
mirror. He talks on his cell phone.
Make it happen, Avery. We need this
Give him whatever he wants.
He can use anyone we represent. We've
got demo reels for all of them.
They're in the cabinet behind my desk.
Yes, the ones on the left side.
There's some old cassettes on the
right. Leave those alone.
He SLAMS the phone down on the console. A Mud Bowl
INVITATION identical to Kevin's flutters next to the phone.
Do it right, you got to do it
Scott reaches over and starts fondling his wife MARY's left
arm, just inside her elbow.
His touch arouses the sleeping beauty. Her drowsy lids
open to reveal languid hazel eyes. As her tongue slowly
and sensually licks her parted lips, she realizes where she
is. She sits upright, abruptly pulling her arm away from
Are we there?
No. I just don't like making this
You're so considerate.
That's why you married me.
If it wasn't for your brother, you
would be making this trip alone.
If it wasn't for my brother, I'd be at
the office taking care of business
instead of playing kid's games.
The cell phone RINGS again.
Scott reaches, then pauses.
Besides, Michael would be so
disappointed if I came without you.
Scott sneaks another glance of himself in the rear view
mirror. He decides not to mess with perfection.
INT. MICHAEL'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - SAME MORNING
The tiny room is furnished with Goodwill rejects. Shelves
cover one entire wall. They overflow with albums and
tapes. Massive speakers loom large on either side of the
fireplace. Music BLARES. Birthday cards line the mantle.
Michael stands at the ironing board, SINGING to the music.
David sits near the fireplace, POUNDING on a foot stool.
They're both very good.
Michael spritzes water from a plastic spray bottle on his
shirt and irons only the sleeves and collar.
You playing this year?
Yeah. I made the mistake of promising
Kevin a couple of new tunes for this
I mean the game.
Say that every year.
Why do you ask every year?
Well, it's gonna be spades.
'Cause Don told me Scott's coming.
News to me.
How come I didn't hear
Wanted to surprise you, I guess.
Some goddamned surprise!
(surprised at his
Just thought you guys were old
friends, that's all.
Michael pulls the shirt on. He grabs an old sweater off a
chair and yanks it over his still mostly wrinkled shirt.
That was a long time ago. Before you
were born. It's blood under the
He picks at a loose thread.
He tugs on it until the fabric
David turns off the stereo. Next to the amplifier sits a
white master audiotape box smeared with reddish-brown
stains. "1973" is crudely scrawled on a recording studio
label. Below the date are written the words: "Demo
Reel/Haggerty Sessions." It's the same box from the open.
A Mud Bowl INVITATION identical to Kevin's and Scott's lies
next to the tape.
INT. KEVIN AND MOLLY'S APARTMENT - KITCHEN - SAME MORNING
Kevin carries a leather football and athletic bag. He's in
an upbeat mood, until he spies the broken coffee mug. He
picks up the pieces and tries to put them together again.
They're too badly broken. He gives up.
EXT. KEVIN AND MOLLY'S DRIVEWAY - CONTINUOUS
Kevin throws the bag into the back of his spotless Sports
Utility Vehicle, next to a broadcast video camera rig. He
tosses the football inside and SLAMS the hatch, revealing a
personalized license plate that reads: "MUDBOWL."
INT. JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL - HALLWAY - LATE MORNING
A janitor's cart rolls down the hallway of a run-down
junior high school in the airport district of Modesto. A
stained and faded Stanford baseball hat hangs on a dust
The rolling garbage can glides by several classrooms. It
stops in front of Michael's. Through the windowed door, we
see Michael and his STUDENTS. Judging from their clothes
and attitude, these kids are poor and mostly bored. But,
he's got their interest.
People like Hitler manipulated
reality. He started with young
people, like you. That's why it's
important that you look closely at
what people tell you.
We MOVE through the windowed door into the classroom.
When we're born, the world says, "Here
I am. What you see is what you get."
Then, our parents . . .
He gestures to himself and smiles conspiratorially.
. . . and teachers, . . .
He makes quote marks with his fingers.
. . . "hypnotize" us into "seeing" the
world the "right" way.
EXT. HIGHWAY 99 EASTBOUND - HIGH NOON
Kevin's SUV rumbles by.
They label it. Give it names. And
voices. So we can never see or hear
it the same way again. We spend the
rest of our life trying to break the
INT. KEVIN'S SUV - HIGH NOON
Kevin half-listens to a CD. He absent-mindedly SINGS
along, poorly. The song is in sharp contrast to what Scott
was listening to, in both era and style.
The message? Be careful in your
choice of hypnotists.
Kevin speaks into the dictation machine.
Mud Bowl story notes. Good quote.
"Lend yourself to others. But, give
yourself to yourself."
The open blade of Highway 99 slices through the heart of
the San Joaquin Valley. A highway sign reads: "Modesto,
Next 7 Exits."
INT. JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL - CLASSROOM - EARLY AFTERNOON
The school bell RINGS.
Michael waits for it to stop.
Read chapter eleven tonight and–
–and you'll see how it was possible
for one man to change the lives of so
many people. Remember, half day
tomorrow. Now get outta here.
The students hit the door and stream out.
Michael calls to
Yo, Lionel. You want to be stuck
working in a cannery the rest of your
"Way!" Unless you get caught up.
Come see me Monday morning. We'll
look at your book report. Maybe I'll
teach you a couple new harmonies,
Thanks, Mr. Haggerty.
Michael stacks some papers. Suddenly, a football SMASHES
into the desk, scattering everything. Without looking up,
Michael grabs a red ink pen and fires it in the direction
the ball came from.
Kevin tries to dodge it, but the red tip impales the block
letter above the left breast of his Modesto High School
letterman's jacket. He stumbles back out the doorway.
Michael leans down to remove the pen.
You know I don't like surprises,
Michael helps Kevin up. Michael tucks the football under
his left arm and rubs the mark on Kevin's jacket.
Nice to see you, too. You could've
put my eye out, jerkoff.
Right on time, as usual.
Avoiding the issue, as usual.
Kevin dusts himself off as they walk down the hallway
together. He continues to fuss over the red ink stain.
Glad you can still hit a moving
target. Just save it for the game.
Always the joker.
Kevin playfully feints a jab to Michael's jaw. Something
flicks through Michael's eyes before he flashes a crooked
EXT. JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL - PARKING LOT - CONTINUOUS
Michael and Kevin exit the doors and head down the steps
toward the parking lot. Kevin grabs for the ball. Michael
spins it on his index finger just out of reach.
You pull this hold-out crap every
Did you know Scott's coming up?
(pumps his fist in
All right! The tradition continues.
Screw the tradition. If Laidlaw
shows, I go.
Michael stops at his old, beat-to-shit car. He throws his
briefcase in the passenger side. He turns and fires the
football at Kevin. Kevin catches the point right in the
sternum. He holds on, but it knocks the wind out of him.
Kevin's face registers pain and surprise.
You're still pissed. Just because he
wouldn't help with your music.
Why should I be pissed? I didn't miss
anything. Got a great life here.
Teaching history at an underfunded
Junior High to uninterested kids.
Making huge amounts of money. Living
large in a town that anyone with real
talent would have left long ago.
This town's all right. Besides, you
hated LA. It's not where you wanted
They begin playing "burn out," throwing the ball harder
each time. It gets more and more intense.
How do you know what I want?
I think I know a little about you.
Think is the watchword here, pal.
You'd be surprised how little you
really know. About me. This town.
Or anyone else here.
Look, I don't know what happened
between you guys, and right now I
don't care. Maybe some day you'll
tell me the rest of the story.
Some day. And then you'll tell your
version of it.
Jesus, how bad could it have been?
Besides, it was a long time ago.
Yeah, sixteen years long.
Let it go.
Don't let him get to you.
Never have, never will.
Dinosaurs like you still have a chance
to make it. Long as they keep
recycling the Sixties.
Seems one hip producer likes this
particular old dinosaur.
Some new kid wants to hear my songs.
Come on, give it up.
Don't want to jinx it.
Okay. I'm counting on you. Hey,
you're gonna love this year's video.
Make me a hero again?
No, kept it real this time. Made you
look like the dick you really are.
All I've got left is your songs.
(snaps his fingers)
Earth to Michael. Your songs. For
You've written the lyrics, right?
Better have. Tonight's got to be the
night. Need to lay them back to video
before the banquet. So watch the
If you get your act together, we'll
get done in time to play poker at
Christ, do you ever stop orchestrating
(reacts to Kevin's
Right. And we'll kick some serious
booty come Turkey Day.
Like old times.
Michael fires the football back at Kevin.
Just then, Scott pulls up in his car. The ball whistles
past Kevin and SLAMS into the passenger window, startling a
Just like old times.
Scott leaps out of the car, eyes on fire.
Scott's almost on top of Michael when a wide body steps
between them. Don gives his younger brother a big hug that
doubles as a holding action.
Welcome home, Scotty.
Don releases Scott, who continues to glare at Michael from
behind his brother's back.
Don turns his back on Scott and faces Michael. No words
are said. Michael simply smiles and peels back the bill of
Don's hat. Michael looks past the two brothers to the car
A black leather bra covers the front of the car, encircling
the customized license plate that reads: "MUZKLAW."
Nice front end.
(looks toward Mary)
She must have a healthy set of
Everyone looks at Mary, then back.
Michael would be dead meat.
If looks could kill,
Michael shifts his head toward the front of the car.
all realize he's referring to the car's front end.
Humor's in need of repair, dude.
(rubs the scar on his
jaw, then to Kevin)
Think I'll stay a while.
Swim with the sharks.
Going over to the folks house in a
bit. Come by.
Gotta get David and stop by the old
They'd love to see you.
Look for me when you see me coming.
Michael points a cocked finger at Kevin, then swivels to
Scott and fires.
INT. GEORGE HAGGERTY'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - AFTERNOON
Michael and David decorate an old aluminum Christmas tree.
GEORGE HAGGERTY watches. Old home movies of Christmases
past play on the TV. All three men try real hard to
capture something that’s not there anymore.
Just like when I was growing up. Your
Grandpa was so meticulous with his
lights, he and your Grandma always got
in fights over it. They had to be
No sense doing anything if you do it
(looks at the TV)
Man, we had some good times then.
loved those holidays.
Couldn’t wait for them to be over.
Michael puts a star on top of the tree.
Got a call the other day.
From a producer in San Francisco.
He’s putting together a docu-drama on
the Bay Area music scene. He’s
looking for some new songs that sound
old. Somebody told him about me.
His dad sits up, but says nothing.
He wants to hear some songs.
Kick it, Dad.
I’m gonna take him my old demo reel.
Soon as I get a protection copy made.
(MUTES the TV)
What about your son? He’s gotten used
to having you around.
I can handle it.
Sure he can.
He's gotta go for it, Gramps.
It’s my last shot, Dad. If I don't
take it, I'll never know–
What if? What if? You know, Michael,
regret is a powerful thing. It can
paralyze you if you let it. What if
I’d been in better shape? What if I
hadn’t partied the night before? What
if that guy hadn’t fallen on my knee?
What if I hadn’t played hurt? I’ve
lived with a plague of doubts my whole
life. And look where it’s got me.
Don't want that to happen to you.
INT. KEVIN'S PARENTS' HOUSE - LATER THAT AFTERNOON
It's a mad house. Kevin's NIECES and NEPHEWS SCREAM
through the dining room and into the family room.
Kevin, Michael, and David walk in the front door without
knocking. Kevin drops his bags. He surveys the scene.
His two younger SISTERS, LINDY and SARAH, gossip at the
dining room table.
Kevin motions for them not to say anything. He quickly
kisses and hugs each. Michael gets an especially
affectionate embrace from each sister.
Seems the only time we see you is when
he comes home.
Always something going on.
Truth be known, we'd be happy to trade
him in and keep you.
Careful, you'll hurt his feelings.
Big brothers don't have feelings.
This good looking young man can't be
David shyly smiles.
I remember when we used to change your
Now David's looking for a place to hide.
He'd pee all over us.
Now he can't wait to get out of there.
Looks like you've grown out of it.
Your Father sure hasn't.
Kevin's MOTHER, JUNE, prepares Thanksgiving dinner. The
kitchen is warm and inviting. Kevin sneaks up on her and
pokes her sides. She jumps, then spins to hammer her
attacker with a wooden spoon. She sees it's Kevin and
gives him a big hug and kiss.
How's my favorite number one son?
She sees Michael.
(before Kevin can
And my other son?
She gives Michael a big squeeze.
Then sees David.
David, how are you?
Getting older, bigger, and more like
his old man every day.
He's old enough to speak for himself,
Like my Dad said. Older and bigger,
And your Father?
Same old, same old.
Somebody's got a birthday coming up,
Father and son point at the other.
My goodness. Don't you wish you could
just put time in a bottle?
You both look great.
never come around?
How come you
Michael shrugs, like he used to when he was ten and she
asked him the same question.
You and David going to stop by
Thanksgiving? We've got plenty.
If I'm still standing, I'm here.
Good. I love having all my kids
around on the holidays.
Kevin CLEARS his throat.
How are you?
June gives Michael a look that says, "He does this every
year, doesn't he?" Michael smiles.
You forget Molly again?
She had a bunch to do.
Why do you always cover for her?
That's what you're supposed to do.
Tell her we miss her.
He shrugs as if to say, "It's out of my hands."
Michael opens the paper bag he brought in with him. He
pulls out a bundle of aluminum foil wrapped with a ribbon.
He hands it to June.
What would Christmas be without your
Didn't drink a thing. And doublechecked to make sure there were no
shells in it this time.
Our teeth thank you, Michael.
Making me a football widow.
She points to the family room.
She hugs her boys again and
The comfortably worn family room brims with more KIDS and
glows from the heat of a raging fire. Kevin's FATHER,
JACK, and Kevin's two younger brothers, JUNIOR and STAN,
watch an NFL game. They sip drinks and eat junk food.
Hey, it's the wanna be.
Better than what Detroit's showing
And his shadow.
Junior leaps to his feet. He and Michael have a playful
slap fight, just like they've had every year since they
(to Kevin, Michael,
Just get in?
Father and son shake hands.
They do not embrace.
Little while ago.
(flops on the couch)
And immediately took control of
Nothing's changed, huh Michael?
Not a thing.
David slumps down next to his Father.
You get the click tracks I sent?
Got 'em. Laid down the rhythm tracks
(shoots Michael a
Just missing lyrics, vocals, and
Farther along than usual.
We'll be in tonight.
Locked and loaded.
Everyone theatrically turns to Michael.
I'll be there.
Believe it when you see it.
INT. SCOTT LAIDLAW'S PARENTS' HOUSE - LATE AFTERNOON
Picture a showcase home from Architectural Digest and you
can begin to imagine the Laidlaw house. Everything is
perfect and perfectly cold. It's more showroom than home.
Scott and Mary come through the front door.
It's the biggest deal we've ever done.
When will you know?
Can't you ever take some time off?
This deal goes down, maybe I will.
When it happens, and it will, Mary,
you'll be glad you chose me over that
Scott drops his bags. His mother, AGNES, scurries in from
the living room, followed by her Hispanic maid, DOLORES.
Agnes gives Mary a warm hug, then turns to face her son.
She blows him a kiss. Scott walks out as the maid gathers
INT. COMMUNITY CENTER - LATE AFTERNOON
David and Michael drop off a box of canned goods for the
annual Can Tree Food Drive.
INT. GARAGE - EARLY EVENING
David jams with some BUDDIES.
They’re really cooking.
We hear a sweet TENOR VOICE. It’s Michael. Sitting in.
David smiles and looks around for affirmation. He gets it.
The song ends. They all APPLAUD Michael, who bows to each
player in turn. Michael takes a slug of tequila.
The BASS PLAYER hands David a bottle of Jim Beam.
takes a pull. He and his Father exchange looks.
Before Michael can say anything, David BANGS his drumsticks
together and counts down the next tune.
EXT. BEAR'S HOUSE - NIGHT
PAUL (BEAR) PEDERSON's house is located outside town near
the stretch of Paradise Road where Milner beat Falfa in
If what you drive is what you are, the Mud Bowlers are an
interesting cross-section of mobile Americana. Bumper
stickers and personalized plates define their owners.
Music BLARES through the house walls. Below the THUMPING
bass line, male voices HOWL, children SCREAM, and women
INT. BEAR'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS
The living room brims with KIDS and WOMEN.
Annie sits at the eye of the storm, looking a little
uncomfortable and definitely out of place. She's got a
small shiner under her left eye.
It's poorly hidden under
HOPE RITTER gets up from her chair and sits beside Annie.
Get you another?
JD wants me to drive
That's liberated of him.
(touches her eye)
Yeah, awfully liberated.
Hope forces a smile and walks off toward the kitchen.
INT. BEAR'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS
Hope walks through the kitchen. It's filled with enough
alcohol to stock a liquor store and enough California
nouvelle junk food cuisine to satisfy any addict.
Hope continues out into a hallway and past the "Wall of
Shame." A captioned, chronological history unfolds as she
moves past pictures, shrines, and mementos.
There are framed T-shirts, group photos from years past,
individual shots of the Mud Bowlers, and, lastly, a picture
of Don with Michael and Scott's heads pinned under either
arm, and Kevin perched on Don's shoulders.
INT. BEAR'S HOUSE - DINING ROOM - CONTINUOUS
A Steel wash tub overflows with beer and ice. A HAND
clears the ice and pulls two cans from the tub. We follow
the feet of this Mud Bowler out of the kitchen and into the
dining room where he settles into a chair at the end of one
table. He wears airman's flight shoes over nylon parachute
EDWARD "FAST EDDIE" GARRISON (O.S.)
Now, deal me a winner.
We SEE white shoes under white milkman's pants stained with
red wine juice.
JEREMIAH "WHITE RAT" STEWART (O.S.)
Here, Fast Eddie. Try some of this
ghetto white lightning we cooked up at
the winery. Maybe it'll change your
Followed by torn Levi's and black, high-top Converse tennis
shoes, covered with dirt and grass stains.
CRAIG "NATTY" SAMPSON (O.S.)
Nobody's ever prepared to lose their
Father, Whitey. Hope Mom can handle
Left the business in a mess. Spending
all my time with lawyers and
Then loose linen trousers over light-colored Italian shoes.
TYLER "TD" JONES (O.S.)
Maybe Vasquez can help you out, Natty.
Once you get it straightened out, I've
got some solid growth opportunities
you should check out.
Followed by hiking boots protruding from a baggy pair of
TONY "MALLARD" CUNHA (O.S.)
Ducks on the pond, TD. Ducks on the
And rodeo-cut jeans covering the heels of broken-down
JAMES DOWNEY "JD" BARTLETT (O.S.)
I think she's gettin' dicked by
Don't get paranoid, JD.
Kin smell it on her.
(to the players)
Put up or shut up.
We see well-worn, but clean, Levi's over thick-soled
telephone lineman's boots.
THOMAS "BONES" MAHON (O.S.)
We're gettin' by. Be nice to win a
few big pots. Got to pay off those
credit cards before Christmas.
Then, red and black bowling shoes matching faded red sweat
CHRIS "BABY BEAR" PEDERSON (O.S.)
Bear almost dislocated my elbow,
That's the problem with being the
little brother, Baby Bear.
BABY BEAR (O.S.)
I'll break his neck yet.
Maybe when he's 64.
Followed by thin-wale corduroy pants over Top Siders.
JACK "HEMINGWAY" BUCKLEY (O.S.)
You guys kill me. I love this stuff.
It'd make a great story.
BABY BEAR (O.S.)
Hemingway, all you do is take down
names. Ya know, a real writer writes.
We MOVE between the two poker tables. From the
Youngbloods' table over to the Dinosaurs' side. Under the
adjoining table, we see expensive khaki slacks over worn
SPENCER "DESERT RAT" RITTER (O.S.)
Loved that 64 'Stang. Chicks dug it
Next to dark blue dress slacks creased sharp as a knife
above brightly polished loafers.
MILES "WHEELS" BRIDGES (O.S.)
Don't make them like that anymore, Rat
(to the players)
Let's play. It's a speed game.
Followed by broken down combat boots over worn fatigues.
MERLIN "DINGO" BENGSTON (O.S.)
That stuff'll burn a hole in your
Better to burn out than just fade
away, Dingo my man.
A Mud Bowler wearing, wingtips and polyester slacks, raises
his left butt cheek. We hear a nasty beer FART.
You in, Gasbomb?
PETER "GASBOMB" GREENBAUM (O.S.)
Get off my butt.
That's the last place I want to be.
Next to expensive leather cowboy boots below denim slacks.
JESUS "LOBO" VASQUEZ (O.S.)
Goddamn jar of pennies. You save them
all year for this one game?
Lope your mule, Beaner mouthpiece.
Whoa, racist remarks from a Jew boy.
I'll see you in court.
Bite me, Lobo.
Then, black, high-top weight-lifting shoes sticking out of
frayed, "high water" Big Ben black work pants.
PAUL "BEAR" PEDERSON (O.S.)
Shit or get off the pot, Captain
At the end of the second table are Birkenstocks and drawstring baggy pants.
SHERMAN "CAPTAIN TRIPS" WEEKS (O.S.)
Mellow out, Bear. Save all that anger
for the game.
We MOVE off the sandals to reveal Captain Trips, who sits
next to Michael.
You're just blowin' our minds, right?
No way we can play without a QB.
The dining room looks a lot like a locker room.
card tables sit side-by-side. Signs hang from the ceiling
above each. One is marked: "Dinosaurs." The other:
"Youngbloods." And never the twain shall meet.
Around these tables sit the same Mud Bowlers featured in
the Hall of Shame rogue's gallery. Only they're older.
A drunken Michael sits at the head of the Dinosaurs' table.
He has the biggest pile of winnings.
For once I'm gonna spend Thanksgiving
with David and my old man. Besides,
you guys are a bad influence on the
Michael guzzles his beer and backs it with tequila.
JD glares across at Michael from the Youngbloods' table.
(through a wad of
Tot'l bullshit. You say that evr'y
damned year, Haggerty. Yer jes scared
us Youngbloods'ul kick yer sorry ol'
asses, jes like we always do.
Michael flips JD off, then looks at his cards. He takes a
last hit of beer, chucks it, and opens a fresh one.
A portable phone RINGS.
Bear's Den. We're out of hibernation
and we're horny.
Yeah, he's here. Hey, asshole.
Everyone automatically looks at Michael.
It's for you.
Michael grabs the phone.
(into the phone)
Make it fast. Got money on the table.
(cringes, looks at
his watch, then
Deal me out.
Michael grabs some napkins from the table and yanks an
expensive fountain pen out of Hemingway's pocket. He
stumbles out of the room pelted by a hail of CURSES.
INT. STAN'S RECORDING STUDIO - CONTINUOUS
Kevin holds the phone to his ear.
Stan NOODLES on an
(turns to Stan)
Piece of monkey shit hung up on me.
INT. BEAR'S HOUSE - DINING ROOM - CONTINUOUS
As Michael rushes out of the room, MARK "BILLIE THE KID"
JAMES, surfer dude and jester, bursts through the front
Which one of you mainlanders is gonna
buy me a beer?
of the Hawaiian hand
Hey, Billie boy, howzit?
Hang loose, Bruddah.
Hide the women and children.
And your butts.
Billie catches a beer tossed at his head.
Where's our Unitas, our Montana, our
They all point down the hallway.
Billie heads that way.
Michael sits on the toilet seat. He quietly SINGS some
lyrics to himself. Satisfied, he writes them down on the
There's a KNOCK on the bathroom door.
Hold your lizard. Be out in a sec.
Michael stands and hurriedly stuffs the napkin in his
shirt. He yanks the door open to reveal . . .
Kevin arms crossed, standing in the doorway.
behind him. Annie behind him.
Stan's studio's a heartbeat away and
you can't pull yourself away from a
lousy card game.
Yeah, lighten up. It's not like
you're his old man.
Never made a difference before.
Annie steps around Kevin and Billie and slides by Michael.
They make eye contact. Michael sees the bruise. Annie
looks away. She lightly pushes Michael out the door and
closes it behind her.
Was counting on you.
That was your first mistake.
Kevin shoves Michael ahead of him.
Real friends don't expect so much.
They cut each other some slack.
Kevin's about to push him again and thinks better of it.
Michael walks away.
Michael enters, followed by Kevin and Billie. A moment
later, Annie walks in. She turns her freshly powdered face
toward Michael and smiles. Michael smiles back.
up just in time to see this. And loses it.
You goddamned goat-roper.
JD charges and throws a right-handed round house at
Michael reacts, reeling back toward the wall.
JD's fist just clips Michael's scarred jaw. Michael's head
whips around as the rest of JD's glancing blow crashes
through the wall. Michael slides down the wall.
The Mud Bowlers jump up and get between JD and Michael.
Annie turns to face JD. She's crying. The makeup over her
left cheekbone has smeared. Her shiner shines. CAROLYN
PEDERSON, Bear's wife, puts her arm around Annie's shoulder
(to them all)
You should know better.
Carolyn and Annie walk back to the living room. The other
WOMEN wipe away Annie's tears and try to cheer her up.
A couple of Youngbloods help JD free his hand from the
When the crowd clears, he sees . . .
Scott sitting in Gasbomb's chair at the Dinosaurs' table.
Don and Mary stand behind him.
Got women fighting your fights.
They can take care of themselves.
(looks at the
You all right?
Excuse me for being so impolite.
Michael. You remember Mary.
Been a few years.
Sorry you two didn't have a chance to
say hello this afternoon. You
obviously found my car more
No, I just think lingerie looks better
on some women than on some cars.
It has been a long time.
Kevin enters the room. Seizing the moment to defuse the
situation, Mary walks up to Kevin.
You must be Kevin?
You must be Mary.
I've heard a lot about you over the
All bad, I'm sure.
To the contrary.
Glad you could make it to our little
It was long past due.
Long past due.
In a minute.
The rest of the Mud Bowlers filter back in, say their
hellos to the new arrivals, and take their seats.
Scott doesn't move from Gasbomb's chair. Mary returns to
stand next to Don. Michael sits across from Scott.
Hey, Youngblood. I think you're at
the wrong table.
They still call you Gasbomb?
Scott drags the deck of cards toward him.
Well, then. You should stay away from
He whips out a wooden match and strikes it with his
We wouldn't want you splattered all
over the walls.
Still play guts?
Deal 'em if you got 'em.
INT. BEAR'S HOUSE - DINING ROOM - MUCH LATER
The tub of beer is mostly water. A few pieces of ice float
among the even fewer beers that bob aimlessly. A HAND
pulls the last two beers from the tub.
The only light in the room spills from the two floor lamps
above each table. Kevin walks the beers over to the
Dinosaurs' table. Scott has a huge pile of money in front
of him. Billie, Captain Trips, and Gasbomb each have a few
dollars. Michael, even less.
What's left of the party has migrated into this room.
Everyone watches the game. Kevin sits next to Michael,
hands him a beer, and looks across at Scott.
As Michael opens his beer, Scott lays down two deuces. A
collective GROAN gasps from the onlookers. Michael remains
unmoved. He slides his cards, face down, into the discard
That should cover a weekend's worth of
tennis lessons for my wife.
Captain Trips gets up to leave as Scott rakes in his pot.
Me too, man.
I gotta split.
If practicing law was this easy,
Still be a parasitic prick.
That cuts me so deep. Especially
coming from a two-time loser like you.
Michael starts to get up, but Billie and Kevin grab his
arms, forcing him to sit down.
Let's see, that's–
Eighty-six bucks each to stay in.
Scott lights another match and again holds it between him
and Gasbomb, hoping Gasbomb will finally get the message.
We should go. Don has to get up
early. So does Michael.
See what you've been missing?
Still looking at Michael, Scott slowly moves the match
closer to Gasbomb. He turns his head.
The force of the word blows out the match.
Let's end this.
Don't believe you've got enough to
cover your bet, old friend.
I'll play light.
The way you've always done, Haggerty?
You know, you can get hurt playing
with other people's money.
(rubs his scar)
Look, if you haven't got the balls to
play the game, just get out.
You know me better than that.
Yeah, I do.
Kevin takes out his wallet and removes four crisp twenties,
a five, and a one. He sets the bills down on the table in
front of Michael. Scott deals.
Finish what you've started.
(looks at Scott, but
speaks to Kevin)
I'll pay you back later.
Where have I heard that before?
What's that supposed to mean?
Come on, guys. Ease up a little.
Not a chance. Especially if you knew
what I know about your "good and true"
One more word and you're history.
Mary comes up next to Scott.
It is definitely time to go, Scott.
Scott puts his arm around her waist.
You're right, sweet cheeks. No need
getting greedy. I have everything I
(picks up his cards)
Don't I, Michael?
Mary angrily pulls herself away from Scott.
Michael explodes over the table as Scott stands to defend
himself. It's too late. The thrust of Michael's full body
block sends Scott and his money flying. Scott slams
against a cabinet.
Kevin and Billie pull Michael back as Scott recovers and
shoots back toward them. Just as his right hand is about
to make contact with Michael's jaw, a huge hand grabs his
fist, stopping Scott where he stands.
Don wraps his arms around his younger brother, holding him
eye-to-eye with Michael.
You owe me.
Now it's payback time.
Count on it!
Like Don did?!
Michael lunges again, but Kevin grabs him and jerks him
away toward the front door.
Come on. You got to get real
tomorrow. People are depending on
Yeah, everybody's carnival ride.
Michael shakes off his friend's hands as the two head for
Those still left in the room are a little stunned and
amazed. Billie turns the cards over. Scott had a pair of
eights. Michael a pair of Aces.
EXT. BEAR'S FRONT YARD - MOMENTS LATER
Michael slams the front door open and careens down the
porch steps. Kevin shadows him as he heads for his car.
What the hell is going on between you
Mind game. He's pulling the same old
shit all over again.
Michael leans against his car to get his balance.
Wish I knew what you were talking
Look, it's between Scott and Don and
me. It's our business. And none of
Michael climbs in and starts the car.
He slams it into
Where you going?!
You'll never make it!
Michael races off, briefly loses control and swerves, just
missing a parked car.
Billie walks up behind Kevin.
Bet you money he misses his turn.
Miss it, he'll never even see it.
EXT. CITY STREETS - LATE NIGHT
Michael attempts a right turn from the left, inside lane.
He nearly hits another car traveling parallel to him in the
right lane. Michael's car swings back into the left lane,
causing him to miss his turn.
INT. GEORGE HAGGERTY'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - LATE NIGHT
The flickering blue light of a TV reflects off a shelf full
of dusty trophies and memorabilia. A framed newspaper
clipping hangs crooked above the shelf. It's a photograph
of a young Michael posing in a football uniform, arm
cocked, ready to throw a pass. The caption reads: "AllValley Quarterback Rejects Stanford Scholarship to Pursue
George stares blankly and heavy-lidded at a wrestling
match. He holds a can of cheap beer.
(crumples the can)
Get 'em you mother! Kick the shit
Without looking, he swings the can to his left.
Buy me one while you're up.
Michael slouches on the couch near his Dad.
He cradles a
No place to go and nobody to
Michael puts down his beer and heads for the kitchen.
How 'bout a shot of Stoli.
can handle it?
Michael pulls a couple of beers from the refrigerator. He
opens the freezer door and grabs a bottle of Stolichnaya
Vodka. He reaches deeper and pulls out a frozen Turkey TV
That's pathetic. Finish it,
goddammit. That figures. No guts.
Michael bows his head for a moment and shoves the tin
dinner to the back of the freezer.
The wrestling match ends. George hits play on the remote.
The screen goes BLACK. Some old home movies begin. It's
game films of Michael playing Pop Warner and high school
Michael returns with the beer and shot glass of vodka. He
stares at the screen, then shoves the drinks between his
Father's face and the TV. Without looking up, George grabs
the shot and shoots it.
Michael pops his Dad's beer, sets it on the coffee table,
Michael rummages through the garbage-strewn coffee table.
He dredges up more clippings and scrapbooks. Some feature
him, others his Father.
Mary's in town.
You two gettin' together?
She's still married to Scott, for
Never stopped you before.
Michael cuts his Father a dark look.
Sure seems like Laidlaw always got
what you wanted.
Screw that crap. Don't want anything
Don't have to worry about that now, do
we? Guess we blew that chance a long
time ago, didn't we?
Not this again.
If you'd stuck with football–
–I'd be living large.
How do you know
George finally turns to his son. We see their twin
reflection in the glass surface of the table.
You wouldn't be here if you were.
It doesn't get any better than this,
does it, Dad? All the culture I can
(gestures to TV)
(holds up the beer)
(toasts his Father)
Michael drains his beer. He yanks an old "Sports
Illustrated" out of the pile, dumping most of the magazines
and memorabilia on the floor, along with George's beer.
A chance to reminisce with the greats
of the game.
Was talkin' 'bout this town.
Sure, I just love re-living the past
Knock it off, Michael.
Michael senses his Father's humiliation, but takes it to
the limit anyway.
Look, you helped me out a long time
ago. I appreciate that. Stop using
it. I've done my time making it up to
you. I'm tired of trying to live up
to everybody's expectations. I'm
tired of being everybody's good time.
(the storm passes as
quickly as it came)
Aw, screw it! It doesn't matter
anyway. Nobody really gives a damn.
Michael grabs one of the "Sports Illustrated" magazines
lying on the floor and mops up the spilled beer.
No, time to retire.
George CREAKS agonizingly to his feet. He hobbles over to
the TV and SNAPS it off. The room glows suddenly dim.
I'm really sorry.
Yeah, forget it.
(hopeful, but unsure)
See ya at the game?
You say that every goddamned year.
This year is different.
Just like every year.
George limps away and disappears down the dark hallway.
A look of shame covers Michael's face as he turns over the
magazine he just used to clean up the beer. He suddenly
It's a vintage "Sports Illustrated." His Father's picture
is on the cover. Michael turns the soggy pages, stopping
at the article about his Dad's own notable football career.
EXT. MICHAEL'S HOUSE - DRIVEWAY - PRE-DAWN
Michael CRASHES his car into two garbage cans, then
SCREECHES to a stop, inches away from his garage door.
INT. MICHAEL'S CAR - CONTINUOUS
Michael's head snaps forward, then back against the
headrest. Momentarily startled, his tired eyes nod shut.
He passes out, mouth wide open, and begins SNORING.
INT. KEVIN'S PARENTS' HOUSE - EARLY MORNING
Kevin, June, and Jack drink coffee.
We didn't hear you come in last night.
Your Mother was gettin' a little
Sorry. He wanted to see the guys and
play some cards. I tried to get him
to do his songs.
He as reliable as ever?
Let's say he's predictable.
Guess that means they didn't get done.
You got it.
He still gonna do the songs?
What’s come over that boy?
Hates his life and what he’s done with
June shoots Jack a look.
He's stuck in some day. Believes as
soon as he gets that break, everything
will be okay.
Sure. I know about some day. Just
wait till the kids grow up, or you get
that raise, or you retire. Happiness
is always over that next hill. Fact
is, today is some day.
What’s he waiting for? There’s no
better time to be happy than right
Life waits for no one, Kevin.
Doesn’t see it. All he knows is that
he’s getting older. And he’s alone.
He’s got David.
Takes that for granted. He's still
looking for someone to love. Wants to
be married. Be a happy family man.
He give up on music?
Thought so. Till he said something
yesterday. About getting another
shot. Guess he’s got something
I hope for his sake, and David’s, that
it works out.
It has to.
INT. MICHAEL'S HOUSE - BEDROOM - SAME TIME
Michael still SNORES, mouth open, in the same position we
left him in the car. The alarm clock ERUPTS.
Michael's hand SLAMS down on the clock.
He sits up in bed and rubs his face with both hands. The
empty tequila bottle pinned under his arm RATTLES to the
He gazes around the room, trying to get his bearings. He's
still fully-clothed. He's momentarily lost, then his eyes
cross as the room begins to spin. He bails over the side
of the bed and barfs.
INT. MICHAEL'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - A LITTLE LATER
Michael looks real rough around the edges.
David leans against the wall, hoping it will hold him up
and keep his world from spinning out of control.
People who live in stone houses . . .
Look, I don’t want to tell you how to
live your life–
Then . . .
. . . don’t.
Before Michael can say anything more, David turns green.
He puts his hand over his mouth and races for the bathroom.
He didn’t make it. There’s vomit all over the floor.
Michael wants to be angry, but he can’t be.
Don’t do this, bud.
You don’t want to be me.
Don’t do as I do, David.
What difference does it makes?
Try to be.
When was the last time we ate dinner
together, Dad? Or just talked?
All I’m saying is don’t do something
you’ll regret. Deal?
Michael holds out his hand.
him off the floor.
David takes it.
LIVING ROOM - A LITTLE LATER
Michael and David gingerly gather their stuff for school.
They're both hurtin' units. They hear a KNOCK. It's
really LOUD. They turn as Kevin enters.
What happened to you last night?
Michael holds up his hand, asking for silence.
Got lost in the past.
(to David, but
looking at Michael)
David, make sure he finds his way this
That mean I get the car?
Appears your uncle Kevin is calling
the shots. As usual. I'll be out
front at noon. Don't forget your
Tell me the songs are done.
Michael retrieves the crumpled napkin from his jacket
pocket. Kevin just shakes his head.
INT. LAIDLAW HOUSE - LATE MORNING
Agnes reviews the Thanksgiving menu with her maid.
Scott's fist SLAMS the kitchen table. Salt and pepper
shakers scatter, a bud vase capsizes, apples and oranges
spill out of a fruit basket.
Agnes stops her conversation and casts a disdainful look at
her out-of-control son, who talks on his cell phone.
INT. AVERY BERLINER'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS
AVERY BERLINER talks on the phone.
What can I say? He likes this
INTERCUT TELEPHONE CONVERSATION
Where'd you find it?
In with the other ones. Behind your
desk. On the right side, like you
said. Where'd you get it anyway?
It's, like, sixteen years old.
(mostly to himself)
Talk about stone age rock 'n roll.
Dammit, Avery. I told you the left
side. That artist's not available.
Tell him he'll have to use somebody
Hey, partner, "Mr. Flavor-of-theMonth" wants those cuts for two cues
in his flick. He's made it pretty
clear. If we don't deliver, we'll be
looking for office space in Oxnard.
Lie to him. Say anything.
we don't have the rights.
No can do. He's already checked it
out. He knows we have an exclusive.
He wants the master before the
Whaddya mean we, kimo sabe.
Mary glides into the kitchen.
Not my turn to watch him.
You were supposed to pick him up at
(looks at watch)
I forgot. Look, I'm in the middle of
Could you cover for me, babe?
Without waiting for an answer, Scott throws his car keys at
Mary. She lets them RATTLE to the floor. She throws him a
cold look, picks up the keys, and leaves.
Scott smiles and jumps back into his phone conversation.
PURRING WHITE CAT leaps up on the table.
I'll take care of it, Avery.
Off-screen, the cat suddenly HISSES, then SCREECHES.
EXT. JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL - FRONT ENTRANCE - NOON
Mary SCREECHES to a halt at the foot of the front entrance
stairs. KIDS pour out the school door and down the stairs
past a smiling Don. He waves. Most wave back.
Mary slides over to the passenger side to get Don's
attention. Just then, Michael exits the school door.
reaches over and peels back the bill of Don's hat.
Michael puts his arm around Don and they descend the stairs
together, surrounded by kids.
As the wave of children parts, Don and Michael spot Mary
inside the car. Mary's smile turns embarrassed. As does
Michael's. Don, looking from one to the other, flashes a
self-satisfied grin of approval.
See you still sleep in your clothes.
One less egg to fry.
Wouldn't want to complicate your life
It's a philosophy I live by these
(taking a chance)
I'd like to hear more about it.
give you a lift?
(looks at his watch,
Guess I've got nothing to lose.
Mary slides back to the driver's side as Don climbs in the
back and Michael the front. They pull away from the curb.
EXT./INT. STREET - MICHAEL'S CAR - CONTINUOUS
David pulls up just in time to see them leave.
in the front seat. They don't follow.
INT. SHOPPING MALL - CLOTHES STORE - LATER
David and George help two raggedy-looking BOYS shop for
Christmas presents. Other, well-dressed ADULTS help other
threadbare CHILDREN buy clothes.
Your Father does care, David.
Hard to tell.
Just trying to play with hand he was
Some say he did it to himself.
Think I know who "some" are and
they're wrong. They don't know the
George gestures for David to sit.
The two boys continue to
Your Dad was a damned good football
player. Good enough to get a full
ride to Stanford. He was also a
helluva singer and songwriter. He
And went to LA.
He gets down there and runs into some
money trouble. Comes back for a
while. Wouldn't come to me for help.
Went to Don.
Don came through.
He did. Don went back with Michael.
To protect his investment, he said.
They finished the demo tape–
That when Don got hurt?
It was. Michael came home. Then Don.
They were never the same again.
Then you came along. Turned your
Dad's life around.
Did you know my Mother?
Just then, the two boys rush up to show David and George
their new stuff.
INT. SHOPPING MALL - CONTINUOUS
David and George exit the store and walk through the mall.
Was that it for his music?
He needs to try again.
to stop now.
He's too good
No, son, he needs to get on with his
life. He's too old to change it now.
Grampa, dreams are all we've got.
But, regrets are what we live with.
That's what I know.
Wish I could do something. Anything,
so he could get what he's always
INT. RESTAURANT - BANQUET ROOM - EARLY AFTERNOON
Kevin supervises decoration of the banquet room. The party
favors are equal parts Mud Bowl nostalgia, high school
reunion, and silver anniversary.
A very expensive bottle of California Wine sits on a side
table. Leaning against it is a card that reads: "The Last
Kevin balances dangerously on the top step of a rickety
ladder. He stretches up to hang a streamer. He loses his
balance and plunges head-first toward the floor.
Michael and Mary stare at him.
on their heads.
Strangely, they're standing
Don holds Kevin around the waist as he dangles upside down.
Getting ready for the game's getting
more dangerous than playing.
Don rights Kevin, who straightens his clothes.
Don, sometimes I don't know what we'd
do without you.
Michael, Don, and Mary exchange glances.
It doesn't escape
Don puts his arm around Kevin. He pulls Michael to him.
He hugs both men. The scene is reminiscent of the photo
hanging on the Wall of Shame in Bear's house.
That's sweet, Don.
Don releases Michael and Kevin, who begin rough-housing.
They stop and Michael makes a sweeping gesture.
So, what do you think of all this?
(looks around, then
I can't believe you put this all
together every year.
With a little help from his friends.
Hope our behavior didn't offend you
Not at all. Only happens once a year,
Is there a phone here?
Don pulls an old Mud Bowl photo out of a box and hangs it
on the wall.
Around that corner. Next to the
Don lifts another picture out of the box.
Mary nods and walks toward the phone.
You can put them all up if you want.
Photographs and memories.
That's what it's all about, Don.
Let's get a drink.
Kevin heads for the bar. Michael looks confused, glances
over at Don, who smiles, then follows Kevin.
INT. STAN'S STUDIO - EARLY AFTERNOON
Inside the soundproof studio, Stan sets up a voice mike.
Billie sits in the corner STRUMMING his electric guitar.
Through the glass of the studio, David talks on the phone
in the control room.
You sure it's okay? A surprise?
Nails. You know I'd do anything.
INT. LAIDLAW KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS
Agnes crosses, cradling her cat. She holds its tail close
to her. Scott casts a predatory glance at them both as he
holds his cell phone to his ear.
That's right. We both would.
It'll be something he'll never forget.
INTERCUT TELEPHONE CONVERSATION
They're really checking out his tunes?
They're not zooming you?
Trust me. It's going to change your
(listens, then looks
No, it's here.
The demo master audiotape from the open, another tape
labeled "Protection Master," and several cassette copies
sit on a shelf in the control room.
My Dad wanted Stan to make some
copies. I think he's got something
All of a sudden, he's hot
Interesting. Now, don't forget. This
is a surprise. Don't tell anyone.
Not even Kevin.
Sure, if that's how you want it.
It is. When will Kevin and your Dad
I'll be right over.
INT. RESTAURANT - BAR - LATE AFTERNOON
Kevin enters and sits at the bar. Michael is barely seated
before Kevin jabs him in the ribs. Although both talk
during this conversation, neither one really listens.
What the hell you think you're doing?
Ordering a drink.
(motions to the
Leading with your dick again.
I'll take a Bloody Mary.
Is it just the season, or do you mess
up this bad all year long?
Make it a double.
You hate your life so much you'd
destroy all this just to get your
You mean this carefully contrived
little party of yours?
It means a whole lot more than that.
May help get you through the night.
Does nothing for me.
You're just looking for another score.
Wrong number, compadre. It's just
been a long time since I saw her.
No secret game plans?
INT. RESTAURANT - HALLWAY - SAME TIME
Mary talks on the pay phone.
It was Don's idea. Really.
to help Kevin.
INT. LAIDLAW KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS
Scott talks on his cell phone.
Twisted your arm, did he?
INTERCUT TELEPHONE CONVERSATION
I still can't say no to him.
really loves seeing me.
Never. Uh, no, I meant Don.
I meant where's Michael?
Kevin said he might stop by here after
(catches the lie)
You can stay as long as Don's enjoying
himself. Just leave living in the
past to Kevin, all right?
Don't worry. I'll keep the memories
at arm's length.
INT. RESTAURANT - BAR - SAME TIME
Look, I don't want to tell you how to
live your life–
his own words)
You're going to anyway.
Michael looks away, down the bar. Sitting at the far end
is JOHN CRICHTON, a local loser. Crichton is wasted away.
Especially when your crap threatens
something we've built over a lot of
Kevin physically reacts, thinking he's pushed Michael too
Don't look now, but that sure looks
like John Crichton down there.
Michael to see)
Whoa, is he toasted. Heard he was
Yeah, money and women. Lost his
business and his wife left him. I can
Didn't realize he'd taken it so hard.
Haven't seen him since the last time
he played. Maybe we should see how
he's doing. Just for grins.
Leave salvation to the goddamned
missionaries will you.
Michael takes one last sidelong look at Crichton. In the
glass divider of the waitress station, he sees his own
Hey, soldier, buy a girl a drink?
In the mirror behind the bar, Mary stands between Kevin and
You got the money, honey, I got the
INT. STAN'S STUDIO - LATE AFTERNOON
Above the front door, the red doorbell light flashes.
INT. STAN'S STUDIO - CONTROL ROOM - CONTINUOUS
Stan looks up at the light.
Billie motions he'll get it.
EXT. STAN'S STUDIO - CONTINUOUS
Scott gazes warily at a sleeping Utah. Billie pushes the
door open. His face says he's shocked to see Scott
Back for round two?
Hardly. Wouldn't want to get my hands
dirty. David here? He has something
EXT. RESTAURANT - PARKING LOT - LATER
Michael, Mary, Kevin, and Don troop to their cars. Michael
and Mary are a little unsteady. Everyone squints against
Thanks for the drinks. It was nice of
you to let Don help out.
Wouldn't have been the same without
Be careful, Michael.
(looks at Mary, but
I will be. See you later, okay?
Let's get going. We've got things to
meet and people to do.
Kevin ushers Michael away as Mary helps Don into her car.
EXT. STAN'S STUDIO - A LITTLE LATER
David closes the studio door as Scott rushes down the path
toward the driveway. Utah bolts across the yard and
through a mud puddle. Scott hears the RUMBLE and turns.
Just in time to receive the full wrath of Utah's affection.
Scott staggers back and falls flat on his butt, squarely in
the mud. Utah climbs on Scott's chest and licks some mud
off his cheek. A muddy paw print is now stamped across the
already stained audiotape box.
INT. LAIDLAW KITCHEN - SAME TIME
Agnes flips through a magazine.
The phone RINGS and she
Laidlaw residence. Agnes speaking.
No, Scott's not here, dear. He had to
run some errands.
No, no message.
EXT. RESTAURANT - PARKING LOT - SCOTT'S CAR - CONTINUOUS
Mary talks on her cell phone.
Maybe he left something on our voice
Mary looks out the car window. Michael and Kevin stand
next to Kevin's SUV. She looks over at Don.
When you see Scott, Agnes, tell him
Don and I are on our way home.
Mary disconnects and dials.
AVERY (V.O., ON VOICE MAIL)
Scott, you gotta call me, man. The
director's really turning up the heat.
He wants those Haggerty songs and he
doesn't want to hear no. Do
something. Anything. Offer the guy
Maybe you can get someone to, like,
"borrow" the master. Maybe there's
someone you can con. Tell them he's
gonna hit the big time. You gotta do
something. Whatever it takes.
Mary SLAMS her cell phone down, throws the car in gear, and
SCREECHES off. Don's head whiplashes back. Michael and
Kevin watch her roar off.
INT. KEVIN'S SUV - SLIGHTLY LATER
A white convertible Mustang with a couple of YOUNG BLONDE
THINGS pulls up next to Kevin and Michael.
Jail bait at twelve o'clock.
Michael leans out and begins flirting.
Kevin shrinks in
Say, sweet things. Care to party?
The girls GIGGLE, then speed off.
Blondes in white cars.
I'd love one.
No, you wouldn't. It's not real.
It's like giving up something you've
got for something you think you want
You're an asshole.
All my friends are assholes, too.
EXT. MUD BOWL FIELD - DAY - SLIGHTLY LATER
Kevin and Michael walk the field of battle. Michael sucks
on a six-pack. Kevin shoots some pre-game video footage.
MICHAEL (TO CAMERA)
Everybody knows. On this day, they'll
be here. In this park. Playing
He stops walking and talking.
into the camera.
He makes a "jerk-off" motion
Why in hell do we do this every year?
Just trying to beat the isolation.
You're really doing it for yourself.
Of course I am. Who the hell else
would I be doing it for? I need it.
Besides, it feels good.
They stop near a picnic table.
You've created this fantasy world you
want to live in. That's why you think
you can come back.
It's the people, not the place.
They don't exist.
They do for me.
They head for the stairs that lead to the street.
Why is it you've always got to be in
the thick of everything?
That's my job. Get people together.
And keep them there.
No matter how much you try, we're all
not going to get along. It's like
you're the hub of a wheel, we're the
spokes. We're connected to you, but
not to the others. I'm here and
Scott's over there, along with all the
rest. That's the way it's always
going to be.
Got to keep trying.
They ascend the stairs.
If things work out, I may not be part
of your fantasy game next year.
Hope they do.
You've wanted it long
They reach the SUV.
Am I hearing second thoughts?
There's David. And the old man.
What are you afraid of?
Maybe a little of both.
INT. BEAR'S HOUSE - GAME ROOM - DUSK
The floor below a dart board is littered with dartpunctured playing cards. Suddenly, a dart with the Queen
of Hearts impaled on it, pierces the bull's-eye. An UPROAR
follows and a fine mist of beer.
The Dinosaurs are scattered around a basement game room.
The Desert Rat stands at the throwing line.
"Hump the Queen" time.
Gasbomb steps up, takes a card from the top of the deck,
sticks his dart through it, walks to the line, and throws
half-heartedly. It misses wide and to the left. Just
missing a lamp, it hits the wall and bounces off.
Rag arm! Glad you're not throwing
manana. The air would be filled with
Bear tosses an empty beer can at the plastic garbage can in
the corner. It sprays Don as it flies by. Don stands.
Michael removes Don's hat, wipes it off, puts it back on,
and turns the bill up.
No harm, no foul. Right, big guy?
They both sit.
Gasbomb pulls a stack of neatly-drawn 3X5 index cards from
his pant's pocket.
Are we going to go over these plays,
No, we're all going long.
Like we do every year. 'Cause nobody
follows their patterns anyways.
Captain Trips holds up his finger like he's testing the
A change is coming.
It's about time.
He's not talking about the game.
There's a new spirituality brewing. A
new civility. A simplicity. People
are looking inward. They're
downshifting. They're taking care of
Somebody just shoot me.
Slave to the moment? Over.
Selfishness. Done. Instant
Kill us all.
Bear throws a dart from where he sits. It misses wide and
sticks in the lamp shade. There are many other points of
light shining through the shade.
Don't say I didn't warn you.
Captain Trips lights up a roach and takes a toke. He
offers it around. The looks he gets says they don't do
that shit no more. He finishes it quickly.
Forget the plays. All we got to do is
keep JD off Haggerty's ass. Think you
can handle that, Dingo?
Dingo sits quietly on the edge of an old wooden chair.
There are other, more comfortable chairs, but this is the
one he likes.
I'll take care of it.
You can't do it alone.
Do it alone every day.
Dingo's stare cuts them short.
We're all alone out there, boys.
we're going out there again.
The high lonesome.
That old dog solitude.
Rat shit, bat shit, dirty old . . .
They stop the dirty drinking song mid-refrain.
Lobo throws his dart. It punctures the upper left corner
of the Queen of Hearts. Stuck to his dart is the King of
Hump, hump, hump!
Who gets sloppy seconds?
We gotta get ready, guys.
'Nam was war.
That was hell.
How would you know?
Hey, man, I fought on the home front.
That didn't make me love this country
any less. It took guts to do what we
A collective look from the rest says, "Here we go again."
Piss on us when we came home.
Never did that.
Pop into the 21st Century, boys.
Sixties are history.
The Desert Rat flashes the "Power to the People" salute.
Wheels flashes the "Peace" sign.
Peace, love, and methedrine.
Come on, let's get serious.
Gettin' serious hasn't won us a game
in ten years.
That's because we don't follow the
No, it's because they're younger and
(gestures to Captain
Of course, we could let "Captain
Trips" here argue them to death.
You're a true master of light.
You give great sex.
You wanna know what real hell is?
Makin' a life in this shitty little
He looks to Michael for support.
He gets none.
Town's got nothing to do with it.
How would you know?
here for years.
You haven't lived
Sorry you don't like your life, Bear.
This town's not doing it.
What is, professor?
Tell me. You're the only one looking
out those eyes. If you don't change
it, who will?
Look who's talkin'.
kids and debts.
You ain't got
Got a wife.
They all SNICKER.
That I love more than you shitheads
will ever know.
That's all that matters.
She's not here.
That's me, not her.
Believe it or don't.
It's all up to
Beware of what you wish for.
might get it.
Wheels steps to the line.
What's this bullshit about a last
Saw it in some old movie. All these
World War I flying aces. Sort of a
final tribute to their fallen
Bummer. I mean we're only, like,
I think it's terrific.
Me, too. Could be a whole new
Michael shoots Kevin a "There you go again" look.
What's the big deal? Just buy a
bottle of Thunderbird and store it for
a few years.
Keep it cheap. Otherwise Gasbomb'll
sell it and buy more rental units.
I'll never make it to pop
No lie. Between the stress, the
wives, and the vices, only a Catholic
priest could make it to the bell.
He'd die of AIDS first.
The Jack of Hearts flies wide of the Queen.
Captain Trips steps up to throw.
I mean, if everybody would just
visualize success, we should have no
Captain Trips looks slowly from his dart to the board,
closes his eyes, then lofts it. It lands on the bottom
edge of the board.
I can see that new age crap really
works for you.
Gasbomb puts his beer down on a side table. The Desert Rat
reaches over and flicks some ashes from his cigarette in
Okay, forget the plays.
A dart whizzes by Gasbomb's face. He jumps back and looks
over toward the dart board. A dart carrying the Ace of
Spades misses the Queen, but not by much. Gasbomb
nervously looks toward Wheels.
There ain't no rules at the Mud Bowl.
The only way we're gonna win is to
intimidate the shit outta them punks.
(shakes the "Cheap
Shot" chicken at
Gasbomb grabs his beer and takes a small sip. When he puts
it down, everyone sees wet cigarette ashes around his lips.
Everyone busts out LAUGHING. Gasbomb hasn't a clue.
Michael walks to the line. Dart in one hand, beer in the
other. He stabs the card on the top of the stack. He
drains the beer and discards it. He sights in on the
bull's eye. Someone makes a CHOKING noise.
Michael turns. The CHOKING stops. He sights in again.
Intense. Determined. Playing to win. He fires the dart.
We're forgetting something.
More like someone.
Yeah, who's gonna take care of–
Michael's dart quivers, the entire point buried in the
The dart sliced right through the sword of the King of
Clubs and the heart of the Queen of Hearts.
That's our ticket to ride.
The card on Michael's dart is the Joker.
INT. LAIDLAW HOUSE - DUSK
Through the living room window, we see Scott pull up in his
Mother's Cadillac. His car sits in the driveway.
INT. CADILLAC - CONTINUOUS
Scott grabs the stained and muddy demo tape master, the
protection master, the cassettes, and a Federal Express
envelope. He gets out of the car.
EXT. LAIDLAW HOUSE - CONTINUOUS
Scott crosses to his car. He pops open the trunk from
inside, pulls out a blanket, drops all the tapes and the
envelope in the trunk. He closes the trunk.
Scott tosses the blanket in the back seat of his car before
he heads up the path to the house. He tries to brush some
of the mud off his clothes. The living room curtains
INT. LAIDLAW HOUSE - FOYER - CONTINUOUS
Scott enters, tracking mud on the spotless white tile
floor. He drops the car keys on the hall tree. enters.
Don stands off to one side.
Remove those filthy garments this
minute. I don't want you tracking
your dirt into my house.
Look, I'm in a real rush here, Mother.
At least wash your hands.
INT. LAIDLAW HOUSE - GUEST ROOM - SHOWER - CONTINUOUS
Mary hears coins JINGLING. She turns off the shower, wraps
herself in a towel, and walks out into the room.
INT. - LAIDLAW HOUSE - GUEST ROOM - CONTINUOUS
Scott empties his pockets. He looks up and sees Mary, her
breathtaking beauty back-lit and softened by the steamy
mist. His reaction is strangely and coldly ambivalent.
Where are the car keys? Got to take
care of some business after I shower.
He removes his black book from a pocket and lays it down.
Doing your own dirty laundry now?
No, Mother will.
(suddenly senses the
true meaning of her
Some dog practically mauled me to
Wouldn't have been David's by any
Scott looks up, but doesn't lose a beat.
Was just some dirty dog.
Why did you do it, Scott?
you just ask him?
Do what? Ask who? Look, I'm in a
hurry right now. Don't have time to
play guessing games.
Then don't play me for a fool. I know
where you've been. And what you've
done. You've stolen Michael's songs.
Scott lunges toward Mary and gets right in her face.
Stolen! Stolen! Those songs were
mine from the start. I own the
rights. Now I'm going to exercise my
option to use them. Legally! I don't
need anybody's permission.
Then why haven't you used them before?
"Legally?" If the songs were so good,
why didn't you release them?
You know why. There's blood on those
tracks. My brother's. I wasn't
about to let Haggerty get away with
He made a mistake.
It was unforgivable.
Outside the bedroom door, Don listens to the argument.
It's ancient history.
Ancient history! Look at him. He'll
never be the same. Ever. Haggerty
took him along for the ride and nearly
got him killed. He ruined his life.
BACK TO GUEST ROOM
It was you, Scott. It was you all
along. You're the reason–
Dead wrong. He was his own reason.
He didn't have the guts. He's been
taking it out on everybody ever since.
Or, had you forgotten?
But, now you need him. And you're
going to do just what he did. Hurt
someone. Use them to get what you
Will any of you ever stop using others
as pawns in your little games? You
boys are old enough to know better.
This "game" is bigger than Michael or
me. Even Don or David. I don't need
revenge anymore. I need those songs.
Or, it's over.
Mary is dumbfounded, speechless. Seeing this, Scott takes
the opportunity to head for the shower.
You unfeeling, manipulating son-of-abitch.
Don't let my Mother hear you say that.
Scott closes the bathroom door and turns on the shower.
Mary throws her towel at the door.
She dresses quickly. She opens Scott's black book and
finds a piece of paper with the phone number and address
for Stan's studio.
She walks to the phone next to the bed and dials Stan's
number. The line is BUSY. She grabs the car keys and
heads out the door, note in hand.
INT. STAN'S STUDIO - CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT
The studio telephone is off the hook. The switch for the
door bell light is turned off. The red recording light
On the studio speakers, Michael's sweet VOICE counterpoints
a melodic ballad. The song SOUNDS incredible, until . . .
(over the speakers)
Michael blows the lyrics.
Kevin, Stan, and Billie sit at the mixing console in the
control room. David sits on a stool outside the control
room in front of the glass window of the studio.
Michael sits at a piano inside the studio on the other side
of the glass. He wears headphones and faces the
Cue it back to heads.
He's a little out of sync.
Ghosts will do that.
Kevin hits the talk back on the console.
(over the PA)
Come on, Michael, ten times is a
charm. Eighteen is ridiculous. Let's
get this one right so we can get out
Sorry, bro. Back to the top, okay?
Michael takes a huge swig from a two-thirds empty fifth of
tequila. Stan cues up the tapes.
(over the speakers)
Go piss up a tree. I'll nail it this
take. First, I gotta pee.
Michael gets to his feet and exits the studio.
at David and staggers down the hall.
Not if he keeps pulling off that
"Tekillya," he won't.
A mind's a terrible thing to waste.
You know, every time I hear him, drunk
or sober, he blows me away. Why in
hell didn't he make it?
He says bad timing and no breaks. I
don't ask anymore. All I know is, he
and Don went down to Los Angeles to
cut the demo. Scott set it up and
planned to shop the songs.
Had some pretty solid connections,
Yeah, for a new kid on the block.
Thanks to his old man.
Even so, he was pretty sharp.
David stands and stretches. He turns around and smiles at
the guys in the control room.
Next thing I know, Michael's back.
Then Don came home. Different.
David's born. Michael gets his
credential and shelves his music.
Except for drunken garage band gigs.
And your Mud Bowl shows.
Hey, beats reality.
Bettern' growing up.
Peter Pan's got nothin' on you guys.
Nothing wrong with living in the past
for a few days.
Long as you don't get stuck there.
Speaking of which.
Michael slides back into the studio and sits down.
(over the PA)
Last take. Put your heart into it,
Michael flinches, as if someone had just slapped him across
the face. His haunted eyes tell us he's suddenly somewhere
else. He's experiencing a gut-wrenching sense of Deja Vu.
The smell of the studio. The sounds. The songs.
The feeling goes as suddenly as it came. The moment was
frightening, but now it's gone and he's strangely
energized. He plays the song introduction on the piano.
EXT. STAN'S STUDIO - FRONT DOOR - SAME TIME
Mary sees the flashing red light and hears the MUSIC. She
RINGS the door bell. She waits for a response, but gets
none. She KNOCKS on the door and waits. She hesitates a
moment, then tries the door knob. It's unlocked. She
pushes it open.
INT. LAIDLAW HOUSE - FOYER - LATER
Scott races down the stairs.
Where the hell'd she go?
As he reaches the bottom, Agnes walks in and gives him the
Well, don't you feel much better now
that you are all clean?
Don walks in.
Oh, she flew out of here like the
queen on prom night.
(smugly, before he
And she didn't say where she was
Scott rushes over to the living room window.
THROUGH THE WINDOW
He sees his car is gone.
Scott grabs the keys from the hall tree.
Need to borrow your car again.
Can I ride shotgun?
INT. STAN'S STUDIO - LATER
Mary enters through the door that opens onto a hallway that
runs alongside the control room.
Michael is the only one who sees her come in. That look of
Deja Vu washes over his face again, followed by the same
look of determination and inspiration. Michael begins to
SING each phrase with more feeling.
Mary slowly walks past the control room toward the studio
and the open area where David sits.
The stronger Michael SINGS, the stronger the emotion in
Mary's eyes. Michael's performance is brilliant, moving,
and heartfelt, if a little ragged.
When Michael hits the climax, Mary stops behind David.
David shifts in his seat, mirroring Michael's reflection in
the studio glass.
Michael finishes, the music fades, and he bows his head in
Kevin, Stan, and Billie exhale simultaneously. The tape
runs off the reel. There is a very long pause.
Michael stares at Mary and David.
her hands on David's shoulders.
Mary tentatively places
Proud of his Father, David turns for acknowledgment. His
pride turns to embarrassment and confusion when he sees
it's Mary, not Kevin.
Mary looks at Michael, then David. She suddenly catches
herself and removes her hands from David's shoulders.
Kevin shoots a look at Michael. Michael smiles. Kevin's
expression appeals to Michael, asking to be let in on the
secret. Michael gazes back and innocently shrugs, as if to
say, "You figure it out." Michael glances back at Mary and
Michael walks out to join
exchange a private look.
It's obvious to everyone,
embarrassed and angry and
them. Mary meets him. They
The emotional sparks are flying.
especially David, who's
doesn't know why.
Didn't expect to see you again so
Just the opposite.
Can we talk?
David watches them leave.
STUDIO HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS
Mary and Michael stand face-to-face at the dark end of the
hallway. The naked desire of a moment before is now his
Where is it?
He has it.
He just never gives up.
Never forgets. Or forgives.
He's not going to win this time.
destroy it first.
Wait in the car.
CONTROL ROOM - CONTINUOUS
David, Kevin, Stan, and Billie turn as Michael SLAMS open
the control room door.
Thought I knew you guys.
were my friends.
Why didn't you tell me Scott took my
Kevin is shocked.
Stan and Billie guilty co-conspirators.
He asked me not to.
Would you shoot yourself if he asked
Cut the kid some slack.
Back off. This is between me and my
How am I supposed to get those songs
to San Francisco when Scott's got
Just wanted to help.
Would all of you just stop trying to
help. Don't want it. Don't need it.
I'd say you could use all you can get.
Like I said before. Shows how much
Don't get on David's case.
Seems Scott's the one who's makin' all
Why didn't you guys do anything?
Figured you knew.
Said David had something for you.
You believed him.
No reason not to.
It's Scott, guys. You should know
You know, you're right. I do need
Sure. You all want to help so much,
there is something you can do. Don't
tell Scott Mary was here. Let's
Give him something he'll never forget.
(extends hand to
David looks down at Michael's extended hand, then back up
at his Father. He brushes past him and walks away.
Michael stares back at the hard faces of his friends.
flips them all off and leaves.
INT. SCOTT'S CAR - CONTINUOUS
Mary starts the car as Michael climbs into the passenger's
seat and SLAMS the door.
Any particular place you want to go?
Back in time.
INT. SCOTT'S MOM'S CADILLAC - NIGHT
Don listens on headphones to his portable CD
In another world, aren't you?
Don doesn't hear him. Scott removes the headphones. Don
looks over and smiles. Scott returns it with his own warm
Maybe back in LA. All of us together.
That was a good time.
Until Michael screwed it up. Guess I
should've paid more attention to Mary.
Maybe she and Michael wouldn't have
. . .
. . . and you wouldn't have–
Don removes a dog-eared, well-worn PHOTOGRAPH from his
wallet. It's an old photo of the Mud Bowlers taken sixteen
years earlier. He touches Michael's face.
Friends don't gamble away each other's
Best friends don't get each other
Love these guys.
Don looks over at his brother. Scott reaches over and
peels the bill back on Don's hat. Don's reaction tells us
this is probably the only time Scott's ever done that.
Funny, isn't it, big brother? Figured
you'd always be the one to take care
of me. Not the other way around.
Scott replaces the headphones and Don goes back to his own
Guess things just never turn out the
way they're supposed do.
INT. STAN'S STUDIO - LATER
An angry Scott looks past Kevin and Billie toward David.
Don stands behind his brother.
Asked you not to tell him.
He's not going to lie to his Father.
Like some people.
(sniffs the air and
Was Mary here?
Haven't seen her.
Scott tries to step around them to get closer to David.
Billie blocks his way.
None of us have.
Home. Wanted to get a good night's
sleep before the big game.
Yeah, it is.
You see them, either one, tell them
I'm looking for them.
We'll be sure to do that.
I'll be at JD's.
Misery loves company.
But, she never pays the bills.
INT. JD'S HOUSE - GARAGE - LATER
The Youngbloods play "Liar's Dice" in the half-finished,
converted garage. Weights, car parts, empty beer cans, and
dirty laundry are scattered everywhere.
Everyone SLAMS their dice cup down on the old picnic table.
Baby Bear is first up. He peeks underneath. He pulls a
die out with a one showing. He drags it to the center of
And that gives me . . .
Only one way to find out.
Bones looks at his hand.
He pulls another ace out.
The White Rat tips up his cup and checks his dice.
JD and Scott sit at the end of the table, half-ass watching
and waiting their turn. Don sits on a bar stool behind his
Haggerty took sumptin' 'a mine.
now he's gonna pay.
Fast Eddie takes his turn.
Fast Eddie shrugs and smiles.
It's TD's turn. He looks worried. He scans the table to
see how many wild aces are out. Only two. He looks at his
dice. He exhales.
Somebody's blowin' smoke.
You're wrong, you drink it all.
Natty eyes his beer and tumbler of bourbon.
Scott looks around the table, then leans closer to JD.
Tomorrow, Haggerty goes down.
Jes' tell me what to do.
Stay out of my way.
Natty touches the top of his dice cup, then peeks
underneath. He pulls another wild ace out. He looks
Gettin' ugly now.
JD checks his hand.
He drags yet another ace out.
(without looking at
They all turn to Scott. Cool, confident, and used to
winning. He's not about to be beaten. He looks.
Hemingway, you're meat.
Hemingway looks at the table.
He counts the wild cards.
You're as full of shit as a Christmas
Scott calmly looks back at Hemingway.
Come on, call him a liar.
Hold on, I'm thinking.
Scared money never wins.
No guts, no glory.
Call his ass up, lightweight.
Hemingway peeks instead.
Hemingway checks his cup.
He clears his throat.
Mallard immediately pushes his dice cup over.
Let's see 'em.
Everyone turns their cups over.
Hemingway lifts his cup.
Not even close.
Fast Eddie counts.
Ten twos and four aces make fourteen.
Hemingway reaches for Scott's cup.
Scott's glare stops
What'd you have.
Scott rolls his cup over.
Not one stinking six.
Man, you're too damned good at this
Practice, practice, practice.
INT. SCOTT'S CAR - NIGHT
Mary and Michael watch the city landscape slide by.
Just wanted you to know, that's all.
Making up for some things, I guess.
Whose side you on, anyway?
Seemed like the right thing
Like sixteen years ago.
That's not fair.
Why'd you leave?
Why didn't you come after me?
Had someone else to worry about.
When are we going to tell him?
Scott has a way of finding these
Not Scott. Our son.
It's time David knew.
We owe it to
He knows. He was in the same room
tonight, wasn't he?
Michael touches Mary on the inside of her elbow.
her arm away.
Felt like old times, didn't it?
Funny how you can forget all the bad
You felt it, too. I know you did.
I'm not made of ice.
Could've fooled me.
I still care.
Enough to leave him?
I don't know.
Michael touches her arm again.
She doesn't resist.
Michael stares at Mary's profile. Beyond her, a BEAUTIFUL
BLONDE in a classic white Thunderbird cruises by.
EXT. PARK - LATE NIGHT
Scott's car sits in the parking lot facing an irrigation
Michael and Mary sit on a blanket beneath a tree. He
unzips his jacket. She lies back. He unbuttons her
Anguish, confusion, and guilt race across his face. He's
hit rock bottom and he knows it. This wasn't the way their
reunion was supposed to play out. She's just another
victim, another score. Someone else to use, just like they
Suddenly, he pulls away.
and looks into his eyes.
Mary props herself up on an elbow
This isn't how I imagined it.
You were ready to make love for love's
sake. I wasn't.
He touches her face. She leans her head against his
shoulder. He wraps the blanket around her.
A few drops of rain plop on their glistening faces.
hear a loud THUNDER CLAP. The skies open up.
In the downpour, they comically try to button their clothes
and get out of the rain before they get totally soaked.
They race to the car. Mary jumps into the driver's seat
and releases the trunk latch. Michael runs around to the
back, lugging his soaked jacket and the sodden blanket.
Michael lifts the lid to toss the jacket and blanket
inside. The trunk opens to reveal his master tape, the
protection master, cassettes, and Federal Express envelope.
EXT. MICHAEL'S HOUSE - LATER
Mary stops in front of Michael's house.
INT. SCOTT'S CAR - CONTINUOUS
Michael and Mary kiss.
See you at the game?
Could you pop the trunk? Left
something of mine in there.
She pops the trunk.
Michael gets out and opens the trunk. He grabs the tapes,
wraps them in his jacket, and SLAMS the trunk shut.
INT. MICHAEL'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - LATER
Michael stares at the master tape lying in the open box.
Is it really worth it.
A fire burns in the fireplace. Michael closes the box and
stacks all the tapes. He carries them over to the hearth.
INT. LAIDLAW HOUSE - GUEST ROOM - LATER
Scott holds the blanket.
It drips on the floor.
I don't know where they are.
They were in the trunk.
I didn't get in the trunk.
INT. HOMELESS SHELTER - THANKSGIVING MORNING - SUNRISE
Michael, David, and George serve Thanksgiving dinner to the
EXT. HOMELESS SHELTER - LATER
Michael, David, and George stand beside Michael's car.
(to his father)
Got you an early Christmas present.
Michael motions for David to get something from the car.
David reaches inside and pulls out a PACKAGE. He gives it
to his Grandfather.
It’s a mint condition "Sports Illustrated." The same issue
that featured George on the cover. The same issue that
Kevin pulls up just in time to hear . . .
No more rearview mirrors.
Michael extends his hand. Father and son shake.
tosses David his car keys.
Take it easy.
Don't do anything stupid, son.
INT. COFFEE SHOP - EARLY MORNING
Every year, a handful of the Dinosaurs meet at this old
coffee shop for their pre-game eye-opener and carbo load.
Lobo and Wheels sit in a booth. Across from them, Billie
lounges next to the Desert Rat. Captain Trips and Kevin
sit across from them. They're all dressed for the game.
Michael joins them.
He's shed his street clothes for his
You hear about Dingo's Mom?
to emergency last night.
Man, our parents are dropping like
We're at that age. Not kids anymore.
Time to grow up.
And put away those young boy ways.
After all, we're all sober
The pillars of our community.
We are our parents.
They were supposed to live forever.
Only in the movies.
The WAITRESS puts the check on the table. The Desert Rat
and Wheels fight over it. Kevin half-heartedly reaches for
his wallet, as does Captain Trips.
What do I owe?
How 'bout me?
Everyone's reaction indicates that this, too, is part of
the tradition. The Desert Rat wins.
They set us up.
All of them.
Billie makes SIREN SOUNDS and winds his arm like he's
cranking an old air raid siren.
Sound the reality alarm.
Up yours. I mean, they told us
everything was possible.
We could do anything.
If something went south, we just
looked somewhere else for the reason,
'cause it couldn't be our fault.
Right. Michael's music wasn't bad.
They just didn't recognize his talent.
He looks to Michael for thanks, but gets none.
None of us really failed.
some bad bounces.
We just got
Our marriages didn't fall apart.
ex's just didn't understand us.
We didn't choose to stay in this town,
man. We had no choice.
God, back in high school, the
possibilities seemed limitless.
One day I'm worried about copping a
feel. Turn around and I'm worried
about paying taxes. One day I'm
facing an open road. Suddenly, it's
over my shoulder.
There's no looking back.
We're so spoiled. We want it all.
When we can't have it, we do stupid
Our expectations set us up.
Just over forty victims of fate.
INT. KEVIN'S SUV - MORNING - SLIGHTLY LATER
Kevin drives to the game. Billie rides shotgun. Michael
sits in back. Through the rain splattered windshield, they
see the open road before them.
You guys think they got it dialed?
we have to grow up?
Don't know about you, but I plan to
rage a little longer. Got to keep the
freak flag flying.
Easy for you. You're happy with
yourself. A lot of us aren't. I see
a lot of people locked in lives they
Kevin is caught off-guard by the sudden shift to his own
life. It's obvious he doesn't like being the one under the
Not letting you get your way?
Jealous of the wrong things.
Beyond Kevin's profile, Billie can see the city landscape
flying past outside the window.
And my family. This town. I wish
she'd lighten up. I'd like to spend
more time here. Things seem easier
and clearer. People let me be me.
You're not thinking about moving back
Besides, Molly won't go
Doesn't matter. We're history anyway.
Hold the phone.
It isn't working. We're living
together, but leading separate lives.
She should be here. It's not that
much to ask. She's not.
Sometimes we choose things by letting
That's what it feels like. Something
went wrong and we just let it drift.
Somehow we got de-railed and we're not
doing anything about it.
Too bad. You guys made a good team.
You got too much history to give it up
to be here.
When I'm with her, I want
When I'm here, I want to
The Christmas Gypsy.
Christmas Gypsy. Wants summer when
it's winter, winter when it's summer.
That's me. Always on the road.
Looking for a home, but never finding
This world is filled with homes. I
don't feel like I have one.
Get in line.
They all stare at the windshield as the wipers SLAP away
the heavy raindrops.
EXT. MUD BOWL FIELD - EARLY MORNING
Raindrops pelt a puddle of water. Michael's reflection
appears in the puddle, followed by Kevin then Don and
Scott. Each looks in the other's eyes.
A body belly-flops into the puddle, shattering the still
life. Billie barrel-rolls to his feet, HOOTING like a
The rain lets up.
The field still floats in mud and water.
PRE-GAME MONTAGE (VARIOUS SHOTS)
On the sidelines and the field of play, the Youngbloods and
Dinosaurs go through all sorts of pre-game rituals.
Kevin videotapes the events. At a distance behind him,
Michael tucks something inside Kevin's athletic bag.
PLAYERS arrive alone and in small groups, with FAMILY and
FRIENDS. Each wears the same "uniform" they've worn every
year. Now tattered and torn and too many sizes too small.
The local NEWS MEDIA arrives. Two ENG CREWs. A NEWSPAPER
REPORTER and his PHOTOGRAPHER. Kevin immediately makes
The reporters set up and begin interviewing PLAYERS and
OBSERVERS. Billie walks around, recording interviews on
Kevin's portable dictation machine.
One of the REPORTERS is an attractive FEMALE. The guys
wrestle to be the first in line to talk with her.
FEMALE REPORTER (O.S.)
You came all the way from Salt Lake
HEMINGWAY (TO CAMERA)
FEMALE REPORTER (O.S.)
That's a long way to come for a
I do enjoy coming.
(leans into frame)
I hope to continue coming.
That's a real short-coming.
Lobo and Mallard are interviewed, back-to-back.
LOBO (TO NEWSPAPER REPORTER)
I'm one of the Dinosaurs. Modesto
High Class of a long time ago.
MALLARD (TO NEWSPAPER REPORTER)
I'm one of the Youngbloods. Downey
They'll always be older than us.
NEWSPAPER REPORTER (O.S.)
After this, what?
LOBO (TO NEWSPAPER REPORTER)
Pig out on Turkey. Banquet tonight.
MALLARD (TO NEWSPAPER REPORTER)
Nurse the wounds. Get ready for next
Ice chests are filled and brown bags removed, as most of
the players suck on a collection of alcoholic beverages,
puff on cigarettes, visit with FRIENDS and FAMILY, or just
hang out and catch up. One or two trudge back from
depositing their pre-game nervousness in the park bathroom.
MALE REPORTER (O.S.)
You guys enjoy getting all muddy and
TD (TO CAMERA)
Only happens once a year. Got all
year to get dry.
BABY BEAR (TO CAMERA)
Baby Bear toasts the camera.
Flags are passed out and cinched over bellies five times
the size of the school kids who normally wear them.
BEAR (TO CAMERA)
We've been doing this since high
school. Two groups of friends from
different schools. Some younger
FEMALE REPORTER (O.S.)
You do this for a beer?
BEAR (TO CAMERA)
Bear tips the bottle up and finishes it, sucking down the
BEAR (TO CAMERA)
Kids, don't try this at home.
We see players trying to hold their weary and worn bodies
together with athletic tape and an assortment of ankle,
knee, and wrist braces.
MALE REPORTER (O.S.)
Ever have any injuries?
WHEELS (TO CAMERA)
MALE REPORTER (O.S.)
WHEELS (TO CAMERA)
A group of Dinosaurs stretches, while Gasbomb tries
unsuccessfully to go over the plays again. The Dinosaurs
are more interested in trying to stay warm and clear the
DESERT RAT (TO NEWSPAPER REPORTER)
Been pretty much the same group of
twenty for all twenty-five years.
NEWSPAPER REPORTER (O.S.)
Anybody ever miss any?
WHEELS (TO NEWSPAPER REPORTER)
NEWSPAPER REPORTER (O.S.)
PARENTS, BROTHERS, SISTERS, CHILDREN, WIVES, and LOVERS
arrive and set up lawn chairs and blankets in the same
location they do every year. Everywhere, DOGS and KIDS
Perhaps it's a sign of the times, rather than a comment on
the Bowlers, but there are few wives and even fewer
DINGO (TO CAMERA)
I'd just like to say hello to my
Mother. She's in the hospital. Good
A few players half-heartedly run patterns, catch passes,
and kick punts. Billie interviews JD.
Strategy? First play.
Bomb to me.
You're a helluva man.
Been accused 'a that afore.
Any shot at a trophy?
All three. You ol' guys are goin'
down. Fer good.
Bear hangs the "Cheap Shot" rubber chicken to a tree with a
home-made noose. On the ground below are individual
trophies for MVP, "Best O," and "Best D," as well as the
commemorative plaque listing past game results.
WHITE RAT (TO CAMERA)
The key to victory? Discipline,
coordination, and maiming the opposing
Scott, sitting far from the madding crowd and alone,
methodically screws a set of long cleats into his football
NORA WEEKS (TO CAMERA)
It's just one of those every
Thanksgiving things we do.
FEMALE REPORTER (O.S.)
What'll you do after the game?
NORA WEEKS (TO CAMERA)
Take him home. Clean him up. He'll
be sore for days.
Captain Trips and JD walk off the boundaries, marking end
zones and first downs with orange cones. They argue as
they go. The squabbling sounds like a schoolyard light
Which cones are firsts?
(points to the cones)
Or three completes.
One runnin' play a series?
Scott and Wheels join them.
Somebody'll get hammered.
What about live ball?
Kickoffs and punts only.
How many on a team?
Make it seven.
Can't get it up graybeard?
How many el'gible?
They're all surprised.
What about the rush?
One alligator, two alligator?
On the sidelines, Annie flirts with Michael. JD sees this.
He throws a hip into TD as he flies by on a practice route.
Watch the head slaps.
How long we gonna play?
Git shorter ev'ry year.
Git older ev'ry year.
Annie leaves. Mary walks by Michael without saying a word.
Her glare says it all.
Michael is a little confused, considering what happened the
night before. In her wake, a SCARF flutters out of her
Mary walks over to Don, who stands beside the trophies.
Michael retrieves the scarf, ties it around his neck, and
tucks it inside his jersey. The gauntlet has been thrown
and Michael has taken it up.
NEWSPAPER REPORTER (O.S.)
Aren't you a little old for this?
HEMINGWAY (TO NEWSPAPER REPORTER)
Hope to do it another twenty-five.
NEWSPAPER REPORTER (O.S.)
You're getting to be middle-aged.
You're going to have to face that.
FAST EDDIE (TO NEWSPAPER REPORTER)
Maybe next year.
HEMINGWAY (TO NEWSPAPER REPORTER)
Down at one end of the field, another game has already
begun. Between the CHILDREN of these "boys," as they
prepare for the day when they will take up the torch from
FEMALE REPORTER (O.S.)
Guess you could be called "The Boys of
TD (TO CAMERA)
We've all been buds since
FEMALE REPORTER (O.S.)
Best of friends.
TD (TO CAMERA)
The kind that know they'll attend each
Officiously, Gasbomb calls everyone over for the coin toss.
Michael (flanked by Billie and Bear) and Scott (flanked by
JD and Bones) stand eyeball-to-eyeball, doing their best to
make the other blink first.
Scott is momentarily distracted by the familiar looking
(and smelling) scarf peeking out from under Michael's
Lick your lips, girls.
Gasbomb flips a coin.
Scott points at Michael.
Haggerty, if you didn't have bad luck,
you'd have no luck at all.
Gasbomb signals the Youngbloods will receive.
brushes by him. JD shoves him on his ass.
FIELD - FIRST HALF MONTAGE (VARIOUS SHOTS)
The Dinosaurs kick off.
The game starts slowly and badly for the old farts. They
can't seem to move the ball; partly because Michael's not
quite on track yet.
The Youngbloods, helmed by Scott, march up and down the
field at will, scoring two quick touchdowns.
A teacher's test clock indicates the first half is nearly
Michael hits Dingo for a short score, bringing the overthe-hill gang to within one touchdown. The clock DINGS,
signaling the end of the half.
SIDELINES - HALFTIME MONTAGE (VARIOUS SHOTS)
The players head for drinks and cigarettes, chairs, and
SIGNIFICANT OTHERS. The reporters, Kevin, and Billie
BEAR (TO CAMERA)
I am way too old for this.
MALE REPORTER (O.S.)
Some of you guys are playing a little
crazy out there.
BEAR (TO CAMERA)
Showin' some bare wires.
David and George Haggerty walk down the stairs to the
sidelines. Michael walks over to greet them. He scans the
sidelines, looking for Mary. She still stands next to Don.
They make eye contact. She looks away.
More FRIENDS and FAMILY arrive, including Stan, Junior, and
Kevin's Dad, Jack. These are the all-night, late risers.
The players visit. And continue to drink.
walk off pulled muscles.
Some try to
Scott avoids Mary and Don. He looks in her direction and
sees Michael staring at her.
Captain Trips resets the game clock.
FIELD - SECOND HALF MONTAGE (VARIOUS SHOTS)
Scott leads the Youngbloods out onto the field.
tries to rally the Dinosaurs.
The Youngbloods kick off to the Dinosaurs.
The Desert Rat hands off to Dingo who hands off to Bear on
a double reverse. Unfortunately, Bear loses the handle and
fumbles. Dingo pounces on it. The Dinosaurs retain
On the first play from scrimmage, Michael drops back and
hits Wheels for a short gain. JD rushes. Ignoring the
ball (and the completion), he zeroes in on Michael and
delivers a forearm shiver to his head. Michael crumples to
Hey, shithead! I didn't do anything
On the next play, Michael rolls right and connects with
Kevin for a long sideline gain and a first down.
JD tackles Michael long after he's let go of the ball. He
pulls Michael's flag and throws it in his face. Michael
starts after him. Seeing Mary across the field, he decides
On the next play, Michael rolls right again. He's just
about to release the ball when he hears FOOTSTEPS.
He pulls the ball down just before he gets blind-sided.
hits the ground face-first, skating along in the mud,
ridden by whoever hit him. He finally stops.
(spits out dirt and
Jesus, JD! Take it easy. It's not
like I screwed your wife!
Michael rolls over, expecting to see JD.
see Scott glaring down at him.
Scott leans down as if to help Michael.
his face into Michael's.
He's surprised to
Instead, he shoves
That tape's mine. I'll get it.
way or the other.
Wouldn't bet my wife on it.
I own the rights.
Rights to a blank tape don't mean
Before Scott can respond, players from each team drag them
back to their respective huddles.
We shift from the players to the observers.
background, play continues.
ANNIE BARTLETT (TO CAMERA)
Not enough injuries. I want to see
blood and guts.
MALE REPORTER (O.S.)
Some of these guys are looking bad.
LOBO (TO CAMERA)
Flu's going around.
DESERT RAT (TO CAMERA)
(they both make
And Peruvian Flu.
A small gaggle of player's wives and girlfriends visit.
Away from most of the crowd, Mary and Don visit with some
of the players' families.
(stares at Mary)
She's not real friendly.
Ice Maiden fits.
You see the way she was looking at
So did Scott.
Michael comes off the field to catch his wind. Mary leaves
Don to intercept Michael. She stops in front of him.
Happy? You beat him.
get your tapes back.
You used me to
Michael backs up, a little surprised by this sudden
emotional reversal. Mary grabs a FOOTBALL off the ground.
It's just a game between you two.
Well, play with this.
(shoves the ball in
She's gone before Michael can say anything. Scott (and
almost everyone else) has witnessed this exchange.
Michael towels off his face and heads back to the huddle.
Scott cuts him off this time.
Don't go near her again.
It's not over yet.
Scott's fists clench as Michael brushes past him to rejoin
his team for the next set of downs.
On the next play, Michael is forced out of the pocket. He
rolls left before hitting Bear in the chest with a bullet.
The ball EXPLODES against Bear's sternum like a cannon
shot. He holds onto the ball and rumbles down the
Three Youngbloods, including Scott, try to tackle him.
They can't. Bear carries them all out of bounds. Everyone
on the sidelines dodges for cover as this human cannonball
barrels toward them. They finally fall. Right in front of
David and George.
The players get up and head back onto the field.
smirking Scott trails behind.
As they clear, we see David's horrified and confused face.
George looks helplessly at his Grandson.
Mary looks at David then Michael. David looks at Michael
then Mary. He spins away from everyone's eyes and walks
away to a nearby tree. George follows.
Michael has seen all this from the huddle. He slowly turns
from watching David to look straight at Scott, who smiles.
Dingo snaps the ball. The Youngbloods blitz everyone.
Michael side-steps the rush and rolls left. A BODY
suddenly flies into frame and tackles him. Michael opens
his eyes to find Scott on top of him again.
What'd you do to my kid?
A little whittling on his family tree.
Guess that makes me a real
motherfucker, doesn't it?
Michael pushes Scott off, gets up, and heads back to the
huddle. Scott pounces. Bear blocks his way.
Round three's over.
Mary walks toward David, who stands with head bowed, his
back to the game. George stands beside him. She continues
around in front of David and gazes at him through the tree.
David tries to turn away. Mary stops him.
something. He looks away.
Mary glares past David at Scott and Michael on the playing
field. She says something else to David. Mary, David, and
George leave together.
From a distance, Kevin videotapes the exchange.
The teams huddle again.
(to the other huddle)
Fourth 'n goal.
(to his huddle)
Crash and burn time, boys. I want all
the meat on the right side. I'm
sweeping that way. I want their legs
chopped at the line.
On two. Break!
Michael takes the snap and races right. Like dominoes, the
Youngbloods fall as Michael sweeps. The last player falls,
revealing Scott – the only man between Michael and the goal
Michael and Scott bear down for the collision. Just before
impact, Scott smiles and dives at Michael's knees. As he
drops out of frame, he reveals Kevin shooting the action –
up close and personal.
We see the next series of shots as Kevin sees it through
Michael is suddenly airborne. He SCREAMS head-first,
across the goal line and . . .
SMASHES into Kevin's chest.
The camera flies skyward.
Scott bowls through ice chests, lawn chairs, and
Michael ricochets off Kevin and lands at Don's feet.
rolls away, head-over-heels.
A GASP goes up from the crowd as they all stand to see
Michael gets to his feet and rushes over to Kevin, who lies
on his stomach. Michael kneels and offers him a hand.
There's no response.
Suddenly frightened, he turns Kevin over. His head bleeds.
Michael catches his breath. He sees that one of the
trophies has impaled Kevin's chest, like a jouster's lance.
It protrudes from his left breast, right above the heart.
I didn't mean to.
Scott leans in. He looks at Kevin, then Michael.
stare at each other over Kevin's body.
Call an ambulance!
Beyond Kevin lies his athletic bag. The contents are
scattered. A stack of tapes, including the demo master,
the protection master, and the cassettes, peeks out of the
Rubber-banded to the top of the stack is a new master
audiotape and a cassette. As we look closer, the label
tells us these are the finished takes from the session at
A HAND tosses the tapes back in the bag and zips it up.
INT. RESTAURANT - BANQUET ROOM - EVENING
The Mud Bowl commemorative plaque is propped on a small
table. Taped to the face is the final score. The
Dinosaurs won "Six Touchdowns to Five." A Polaroid GROUP
PORTRAIT of the players leans against the plaque. Beside
it is the bottle of California Wine.
The banquet winds down, although it never really got going.
Taped MUSIC from the last twenty-five years plays in the
background. The WHITE NOISE of intense conversation
dominates. A PHOTOGRAPHER from the local newspaper snaps
photos. Souvenir T-shirts dot the room.
INT. RESTAURANT - BAR - SAME TIME
In a dark corner, Carolyn Pederson sits with a few of the
He's changed. He doesn't tell me
anything anymore. I don't know what
I'm going to do.
The Dinosaurs look helplessly at each other, then down, not
wanting to break the ice.
What a drag. I don't know what to
tell you, Carolyn. Like, I see Bear
once a year. He's usually too drunk
to be serious.
She nods in despair.
We'd all like to help. If only we
knew what to do.
Talk to him.
You're his best friends.
A long time ago.
We see each other once a year.
There's no way we can know what's
going on in each other's lives.
I didn't even know in high school.
was simpler then.
He seems so alone.
At least he's got you and the kids.
Her look says that's small comfort.
It's hard to stay in touch. To stay
close. We've really got nothing to
'Cept this game.
And a trunk full of memories.
It's easier to just say next year.
Maybe next year.
What can one man do?
(she looks at them
Change the world. Make it work again.
Mary and Scott sit alone together. She gazes in one
direction, he in the other. She suddenly gets up and goes,
leaving him confused, then angry. He touches the trophy he
won for "Best Defense."
Mary brushes by Bear, who empties his
arrives. He toasts a group of fellow
trying desperately to capture the old
The reason they started doing this in
Scotch as another
magic, the old fun.
the first place.
You know, ten years from now, we'll
all be sitting here.
Telling the same jokes.
(gestures in Mary's
There'll be even fewer women.
You see the lick I put on JD?
him like a bad habit.
Got you the "Cheap Shot" chicken.
Bear shakes the rubber chicken in the direction of a few
sore Youngbloods, sitting across the wide gulf of banquet
JD hurls a chunk of ice at Bear. As Bear dodges it, he
bumps against the table, capsizing a series of drinks like
dominoes. They fall, until they stop abruptly at a glass
grasped by a tight FIST.
A tortured, and very drunk, Michael stares down at the
trophy he won for "Best Offense." He looks up.
At the head table of the U-shaped seating arrangement, the
MVP trophy and a videotape sit on the table in front of an
empty chair. David and Don sit on either side.
A SHADOW falls across the trophy, videotape, and empty
chair. A grim Billie picks up the videotape.
(to everyone and no
Can't let a little reality interfere
with the fantasy, now can we?
He walks to the VCR, inserts the tape, and hits play.
house lights dim as the OPENING MUSIC begins.
The first image fades up from black.
"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what
we pretend to be."
-- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
VIDEOTAPE - MONTAGE
The opening is an upbeat, slightly humorous look at the
past twenty-five years.
The electronic images bathe the room in blue light.
stirs. They are slaves to the moment.
The tape is a profile of Don Laidlaw, the everyman who got
lost along the way. It is a portrait of lost innocence; of
coming full circle back to the child in all of us; of this
"Circle Game" that is life. Most of the images of Don were
shot before the accident.
Kevin's reality flickers across the faces of Scott and
Michael. It is a moment of revelation and enlightenment.
A reminder of what they had; of what they were; of what
At one end of the playing field, Don stands next to
Michael, his arm draped carelessly around his friend.
REPORTER (O.S., ON TAPE)
Why aren't you sitting home watching
MICHAEL (ON TAPE)
We do this every year.
DON (ON TAPE)
There's no place I'd rather be on a
MICHAEL (ON TAPE)
Besides, I love these guys.
(greeted by GROANS
Michael reaches over and turns up the bill on Don's
baseball hat. Kevin suddenly busts in over their
shoulders. He jabs his finger at the off-screen reporter.
KEVIN (ON TAPE)
I want that tape.
REPORTER (O.S., ON TAPE)
What's after this?
MICHAEL (ON TAPE)
Get cleaned up. Do bird. The annual
KEVIN (ON TAPE)
Premiere my documentary.
MICHAEL (ON TAPE)
DON (ON TAPE)
You're looking at the next rock 'n
roll superstar. Look for this guy on
the cover of "Rolling Stone."
The three "boys" race off to join the rest of the players.
VIDEOTAPE - CLOSING MONTAGE (VARIOUS SHOTS)
It's an emotional reprise of the life and times of these
"Boys of Winter."
NARRATOR (V.O., ON TAPE)
There have been ups and downs. Good
times and bad. Just like any group of
There have been marriages and
children, divorces and death.
There have been frustrations and
disappointments. Like life.
And, some times, real life has shaken
But, for a few days, they were all
together again. And these old friends
were boys once more. Just playing a
game . . . in the mud.
The MUSIC slowly fades. The screen fades to black. It's
dead SILENT. A few VOICES clear. A few chairs SCRAPE.
The many emotions playing on their faces says it all.
Scott lifts his head.
His eyes glisten.
From across the room, Mary stares at him, surprised and
heartened by this uncharacteristic display of emotion.
Their eyes meet. He looks away. She follows his gaze.
But, his chair isn't empty.
All the audiotapes sit where he did. Behind the chair
stands Don, the bill of his baseball hat turned up. He
smiles. Scott returns the smile.
EXT. MODESTO STREET - NIGHT
Michael reels across town in the thick fog. He's trying
desperately to polish off a bottle of tequila.
Michael steadies himself against a building. The SHADOW of
a speeding car runs across him. He flinches and
instinctively covers his head. He looks up to see where it
has disappeared to.
Way down at the end of the street, SOMETHING moves.
Michael squints to see better.
The APPARITION disappears.
rubs his eyes.
Michael shakes his head and
He lurches past a pawn shop's recessed doorway.
SOMETHING else move. He leans closer.
Comatose in the doorway, covered with the day's newspaper,
lies John Crichton.
Michael unsteadily leans down and gently drapes his jacket
over the old friend. He toasts him.
Truth has few friends.
Michael staggers back, pulls himself up straight, looks at
the bottle, and SMASHES it against the building. Crichton
rolls over and burrows in deeper.
EXT. BRIDGE OVER RIVER - LATER
Michael stops at the center of the bridge.
The fog swirls
He stares at the water. He seems torn, like he can't make
up his mind about something. Suddenly, SOMETHING whizzes
past his ear and SPLASHES in the water below.
The object floats away.
like a FOOTBALL.
It couldn't be, but it sure looked
Michael shivers and shoves off again.
EXT. CITY HOSPITAL - EMERGENCY ROOM ENTRANCE - NIGHT
Michael is silhouetted by the fog-muted red and white
lights of the hospital emergency room entrance.
INT. EMERGENCY ROOM - WAITING AREA - CONTINUOUS
Michael jousts with the automatic door. He dances through
to the other side. He shields his eyes against the
suddenly bright overhead lights. A veteran NIGHT NURSE
comes into focus.
(tries to sound
Could you tell me what room Kevin
Wright is in?
Visiting hours are over.
If you're still around in the morning,
you'll find him in Room 403B.
They smile a conspiratorial smile.
INT. KEVIN'S HOSPITAL ROOM - CONTINUOUS
The BEEPS of the vital signs monitor echo Kevin's
Michael stands at the door.
Kevin looks cadaverous in his drug-induced sleep.
Michael slumps into a chair near the foot of Kevin's bed,
his back to the door.
Well, amigo, sure looks like I dixied
this one but good. First Don. Now
He lays his arms and head on the bed.
and leans back in his chair.
He gets the spins
Uncrossing his eyes, he spies Kevin's dictation machine on
the bedside table. It sits next to a brand new Mud Bowl
COFFEE MUG. Michael grabs the machine and slumps back in
his chair. He rewinds, then hits play.
We hear the sounds of the game.
BILLIE (ON TAPE)
It's all come down to this. This one
play will decide it all. But, first,
some advice from a wife.
ANNIE BARTLETT (ON TAPE)
Act your age.
BILLIE (ON TAPE)
We hear CRIES of shock and surprise.
ANNIE BARTLETT (ON TAPE)
Oh, my God!
The sounds of RUNNING and . . .
BILLIE (ON TAPE)
Then, dead air and . . .
KEVIN (ON TAPE)
Mud Bowl '89. On a collision course
with change. Especially Michael. He
is what he is. He needs to live with
that. No one else can live his life
for him. He's got to stop living it
Michael squeezes his eyes shut.
KEVIN (ON TAPE)
No more hiding behind memories. No
more blaming others. No more regrets.
No more waiting for some day, because
today's all we've got.
That's what you've been saying all
along. But, I can't handle it. I
just can't . . .
Michael nods off, then snaps back to consciousness.
Be better if I just retired the old
His head rocks back and he starts to SNORE.
A HAND touches Michael's head in a sign of absolution.
Mary leans against the door jamb, tears streaming down her
face. She crosses and lightly tucks a note into Michael's
It's up to you. Always has been.
Mary kisses his temple, then turns toward the bed.
Kevin lies there, eyes open. He's heard everything.
smiles as Mary and Don leave.
INT. KEVIN'S HOSPITAL ROOM - EARLY NEXT MORNING - BEFORE
Kevin sleeps, arms outstretched, a crucifix in repose.
Michael sleeps at his feet.
A FLOOR NURSE passes the doorway. She bursts into the
room, surprised to find Michael there.
Excuse me, mister, but who gave you
permission to be in here at this hour?
It takes a moment for the smart-ass to
I don't care if it was Christ the
Redeemer. You'll have to leave right
The nurse begins to hustle him out. Kevin holds up his
index finger, asking for a minute. She shakes her head and
Don't retire your number just yet,
sport. Don and I aren't done with
Michael looks confused, yet oppositional. He's not ready
to cop to anything quite so soon, or so easily.
We let you off the hook a long time
ago. Maybe it's about time you did
Accepting what you are may be harder
to swallow than tequila, but it sure
It's not that simple.
It never is.
Besides, nobody really gives a damn.
Why should I?
Your Father does. Hell, he's the
worst. Your kid's just as bad.
Then there's Mary.
Was she here?
Where is she?
Like I said, who cares.
She may have something to say about
Michael looks to where Kevin points. He touches his pocket
and feels the note. He pulls it out. He hesitates.
Catch you later.
INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE KEVIN'S ROOM - EARLY MORNING
Michael exits the room. Down the hall, in the emergency
room waiting area, he sees Kevin's family and Molly. He
puts away the note.
WAITING ROOM - CONTINUOUS
Everyone sees Michael.
He walks up to them.
They stand, concern in their eyes.
Well enough to bust my chops.
Thank God for second chances.
June embraces Michael.
The teargates flood open.
Will you guys ever grow up?
Too late now.
Michael takes Molly's hand.
I know you hate this town, but it'd be
nice to see you more often. Miss you
I don't see a problem.
It is my home
Always will be.
Molly kisses his cheek.
INT. HOSPITAL LOBBY - CONTINUOUS
Michael exits the elevator. He stops. He takes Mary's
note from his pocket. He reads as he walks.
Dear Michael, I had a long talk with
David. He's a wonderful young man.
He's a survivor, like you. I will
There are some things I need to take
care of. On my own. They say you can
only be good for others when you're
good for yourself. I understand that
As for you. Be true to yourself and
you'll be just fine.
I'd like to think we'll meet again.
Until then, sing like no one's
listening. Always, Mary.
As Michael reaches the end of the note, he also reaches the
front doors. The doors open to reveal a brand new day.
EXT. HOSPITAL ENTRANCE - DAWN
They're all there. Bowlers, wives, kids, family, friends,
and significant others. They surround Scott and Don, David
A spectral Michael approaches them. They're shocked at how
bad he looks. They turn to each other, concerned about
Michael, then suddenly worried what his appearance says
about Kevin's condition.
Don's the first to reach him.
Thanks for the ride. Make it a little
less bumpy next time.
Michael playfully peels back the bill on Don's hat.
It's okay. Kevin's still an asshole.
All his friends are, too.
Scott steps up.
You forgot something.
The group tenses, sensing a resumption of hostilities.
Scott pulls the original master audiotape box out of his
coat pocket. He tosses it to Michael, unsmiling and almost
angrily. Michael catches it.
You left this behind. Can't use it.
It's not worth anything to me anymore.
A barely repentant smile stretches across his face.
This I can use.
He pulls the cassette of the new tracks out of a different
Problem is, I'm not sure if I like the
old you, or the new.
Keep the new.
Yeah, I think I like the new better.
Let's not do this anymore.
There's always next year.
Sure, next year.
Sorry about Mary.
She'll be back.
Hope you're right.
The group flows around Michael and into the hospital.
David waits, rooted where he stands. George Haggerty stays
behind, as well. Michael walks up and leans on his son.
No more looking over our shoulders.
Michael extends his hand to his Father.
him. Father and son embrace.
His Father grabs
All three leave together.
Sing like nobody's listening.
EXT. MICHAEL'S HOME - MONDAY MORNING
The Monday following Thanksgiving begins in a fog.
INT. MICHAEL'S HOME - LIVING ROOM - MONDAY MORNING
MUSIC brightens the manic Monday. Michael SINGS and David
DRUMS, accompanying a SONG on the stereo. All the tapes
are back on the book shelf where we first saw them,
including the new master.
Michael stands at the ironing board.
He irons his entire
EXT. JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL - MONDAY MORNING
Michael walks toward his classroom.
gets in step with him.
Lionel runs up and
Mornin', Mr. Haggerty.
You know, if we're going to make it,
we've got to take care of each other.
As Lionel smiles and runs off, Kevin appears behind
It ain't over till it's over!
As Michael turns, Kevin (his bum left wing taped to his
side) whips the football at Michael, who drops everything
to grab it.
In the parking lot behind Kevin, Michael sees Molly in
Kevin's SUV. She shakes her head in wonder.
Michael rears back and fires the football as hard as he's
ever thrown it. Kevin does an El Cordobes. The sleeve of
his coat teases the nose of the ball as it flies by.
Just then, Scott's car SCREECHES into frame behind Kevin.
Scott ducks as the ball zips cleanly through both the
passenger and driver windows. He jumps out of the car.
As the ball rockets toward us, an ARM suddenly reaches into
frame, snagging the football.
Don tucks the ball away and smiles. David steps in beside
him. Scott joins them. Michael and Kevin face them.
You Dinosaurs just never learn.
Double or nothing on next year's game.
We'll see who's taking the sucker's
walk next Thanksgiving, butt wipe.
You guys really are old enough to know
(spoken the way he
spoke before the
Famous last words.
EXT. JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL - CONTINUOUS
Shadows crisscross the playground, forming a crossroads.
Michael remains at the center of the junction.
Kevin and Scott walk away in opposite directions.
Don and David join Michael at the crossroads.