Note: This is the overall critique. For scene by scene critique click here
Note: This is the synthesis. See scene by scene analysis here
|Internal Goal||8.35||85||Silence of the lambs: 8.34||Shaun of the Dead: 8.35|
|Characters||8.4||73||Killers of the flower moon: 8.3||American hustle: 8.4|
|Emotional Impact||7.6||65||Queens Gambit: 7.5||Erin Brokovich: 7.6|
|Character Changes||6.1||52||Lucifer: 6.0||Deadpool: 6.1|
|External Goal||7.63||49||The Good place release: 7.55||As good as it gets: 7.63|
|Structure||8.31||46||Shaun of the Dead: 8.30||As good as it gets: 8.31|
|Dialogue||7.4||30||The sweet hereafter: 7.3||the dark knight rises: 7.4|
|Formatting||8.91||25||Everything Everywhere All at Once: 8.90||The Wolf of Wall Street: 8.91|
|Pacing||8.16||24||Mo: 8.14||As good as it gets: 8.16|
|Conflict Level||6.6||16||Scott pilgrim vs. the world: 6.5||As good as it gets: 6.6|
|High Stakes||5.7||12||Midnight cowboy: 5.6||Scott pilgrim vs. the world: 5.7|
|Concept||7.3||9||There's something about Mary: 7.2||Erin Brokovich: 7.3|
|Plot||7.4||9||Community: 7.3||heathers : 7.4|
|Originality||5.91||9||The sweet hereafter: 5.65||As good as it gets: 5.91|
|Story Forward||6.9||8||Mind Hunter: 6.8||As good as it gets: 6.9|
|Overall||7.8||7||Clerks: 7.7||sense 8: 7.8|
|Engagement||7.97||4||Breaking bad: 7.57||As good as it gets: 7.97|
|Story Content||Character Development||Scene Elements||Audience Engagement||Technical Aspects|
|Scene Number||Full Analysis||Tone||Overall Grade||Concept||Plot||Originality Score||Characters||Character Changes||Internal Goal||External Goal||Conflict||Opposition||High stakes||Story forward||Twist||Emotional Impact||Dialogue||Engagement||Pacing||Formatting||Structure|
|1||As Good as it Gets - Scene 1||"darkly comedic"||7||6||7||6||8||2||7||9||8||0||4||5||0||6||6||10||9||9||8|
|2||Verdell Returns Home||"sarcastic"||7||6||7||4||8||3||9||8||4||0||3||6||0||5||6||7||8||8||8|
|3||Confrontation with Melvin||"Tense and Confrontational"||8||7||9||7||8||7||9||8||9||0||8||8||0||7||8||9||8||8||8|
|4||Melvin crosses a line||"tense and uncomfortable"||8||7||7||7||8||6||8||6||7||0||6||7||0||8||8||9||7||10||8|
|5||A vulnerable moment||"Intimate, awkward"||7||8||6||6||8||7||8||7||4||0||3||8||0||9||5||7||8||9||9|
|7||Confrontations and Creativity||"Tense"||7||7||7||6||7||6||8||7||8||0||7||6||0||7||6||7||9||9||8|
|8||Attack and Confession||"Tense"||8||7||8||6||8||7||8||9||10||0||7||8||0||9||7||7||9||9||8|
|9||Melvin's Apartment and Hospital Visit||"somber"||7||7||7||5||8||6||8||7||5||0||4||6||0||8||6||6||7||8||8|
|10||Melvin takes care of Verdell and writes||"lighthearted"||8||8||7||7||8||6||8||7||3||0||2||5||0||5||7||8||9||10||9|
|12||Melvin's breakdown at the psychiatrist||"Tense"||8||8||7||8||9||8||9||8||9||0||8||7||0||8||7||9||9||9||8|
|13||Melvin's Unwanted Arrival at Spencer's Apartment||"Tense"||7||6||8||5||8||5||8||7||9||0||7||8||0||6||7||8||7||9||8|
|14||Financial Woes and Unwanted Advances||"tense"||8||8||8||7||7||6||8||8||9||0||8||9||0||9||9||7||7||8||8|
|18||Carol Confronts Melvin||"Tense"||8||7||8||6||9||6||9||8||7||0||6||7||0||8||9||9||8||10||9|
|19||Melvin and Simon's Conversation||"somber"||7||8||7||5||8||6||8||6||4||0||5||5||0||7||7||8||8||9||9|
|20||Love and Loss||"somber"||5||4||2||0||7||5||0||0||3||0||2||4||0||2||4||0||0||0||0|
|21||Melvin's Request||"Tense, emotional"||8||7||7||7||8||5||9||8||7||0||6||6||0||8||9||8||8||9||8|
|22||Packing and Leaving||"emotional"||7||7||6||8||8||5||9||8||5||0||6||6||0||8||6||7||8||9||9|
|23||The Car Ride||"Tense yet somewhat humorous"||7.5||8||7||3||8||3||0||7||5||0||4||5||0||5||7||5||8||9||8|
|24||Trauma Stories||"Reflective, Emotional"||8||8||8||5||9||8||9||8||6||0||6||7||0||10||9||7||9||9||8|
|26||The Awkward Dinner Date||"Emotional, tense, and awkward"||9||8||8||7||9||9||10||9||10||0||8||8||0||11||9||9||9||10||8|
|31||Melvin's Confession and Carol's Uncertainty||"Tense"||8||8||8||6||8||7||8||9||7||0||7||8||0||8||8||9||9||8||8|
|32||Melvin's Confession||"Tense and emotional"||8||7||8||8||9||7||7||5||6||0||4||7||0||8||8||8||9||8||8|
|33||Melvin's Epiphany||"Tender, hopeful"||9||8||8||5||10||8||7||8||5||0||7||8||0||9||9||8||8||10||10|
Mard Andrus & James L. Brooks
1 INT. APARTMENT BUILDING (NEW YORK), HALLWAY - NIGHT 1
ANGLE ON apartment doorway. As it opens and an enormously
SWEET-FACED, ELDER WOMAN steps out, bungled up against the
cold -- turning back to call inside to the unseen love of
her long life.
I'm just going to get some flowers,
dear. I'll be back in twenty
minutes. It's tulip season today.
I'm so happy.
And now she turns and faces the hallway... her sweetness
dissolves in a flash... replaced by repulsion and that
quickly she has reversed herself and re-entered her
apartment... closing the door as we consider her vacated.
POV - MELVIN UDALL
in the hallway... Well past 50... unliked, unloved,
unsettling. A huge pain in the ass to everyone he's ever
met. Right now all his considerable talent and strength is
totally focused on seducing a tiny dog into the elevator
door he holds open.
Come here, sweetheart... come on.
Sniffing at a particular spot on
the hall carpeting. Melvin lets the
elevator door close and advances on
the mutt who has ignores him.
Wanna go for a ride? Okay, sweetie?
The dog lifts his leg at the precise moment Melvin lunges
and picks him up with a decisive heft -- so that dog urine
squirts the hall wall for a second or two. The DOG sensing a
kindred spirit starts to GROWL and BARK.
(a malevolent tone)
You've pissed your last floor, you
The dog takes a snap at Melvin, but the man is much meaner
and quicker than the dog -- he holds his snout shut with his
hand and reaches for the door of the garbage chute.
I'll bet you wish you were some
sort of real dog now, huh? Don't
worry... this is New York. If you
can make it here, you can make it
anywhere, you know? You ugly,
And with that, he stuffs him in the garbage chute and lets
go. We hear a FADING SERIES of PLEADING "ANOOOOS" from the
DOG fade to nothingness... as another apartment door opens
emitting the loud sounds of a PARTY and SIMON NYE, early
30s. Simon has been born and raised with Gothic horror and
it's strange that what that stew of trauma has produced is a
gifted, decent man.
2 INT. APARTMENT BUILDING (NEW YORK), HALLWAY - NIGHT 2
Frantic... he bolts into the hall... Melvin is just about to
enter his apartment.
Verdell!?!! Here, good doggie...
He notices Melvin at the far end of the hall.
Mr. Udall... excuse me. Hey there!
(as Melvin turns)
Have you seen Verdell?
What's he look like?
Melvin starts to walk back to his apartment door which is
directly opposite Simon's.
My dog... you know... I mean my
little dog with the adorable
face... Don't you know what my dog
I got it. You're talking about your
dog. I thought that was the name of
the colored man I've been seeing in
Simon looks O.S. -- and sees his black friend.
Which color was that?
Like thick molasses, with one of
those wide noses perfect for
smelling trouble and prison food...
Simon has had it.
Frank Sachs -- Melvin Udall.
(not missing a beat)
How're you doing?
Franks shows my work, Mr. Udall. I
think you know that.
Simon, you've got to get dressed.
What I know is that as long as you
keep your work zipped up around me,
I don't give a fuck what or where
you shove your show. Are we being
neighbors for now?
Do you still think I was
FRANK can only smile.
Definitely a package you don't want
to open or touch.
Hope you find him. I love that dog.
Simon, terminally non-confrontational, still finds himself
compelled to turn back toward Melvin.
You don't love anything, Mr. Udall.
Simon closes his door leaving Melvin alone in the hallway.
I love throwing your dog down the
3 INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT, BATHROOM - NIGHT 3
Melvin locks and unlocks and locks his door, counting to
five with each lock. He turns the lights quickly on and off
and on five times and makes a straight-line towards his
bathroom where he turns on the hot water and opens the
4 INT. MEDICINE CHEST 4
Scores of neatly stacked Neutrogena soaps. He unwraps one --
begins to wash -- discards it -- goes through the process
two more times.
A group of PARTY GOERS enters -- followed by a HANDYMAN
holding Verdell who looks and finds:
who looks up -- lights up -- and
tears up as he moves quickly toward
the group and his dog.
Thank the good Lord... wow... my
honey... where have you been?
(thinking the greeting's
He always liked me.
As Simon goes past him to take the dog from the Handyman...
JACKIE, Frank's junior partner, barking a laugh at the Party
Goer -- VERDELL BARKING some love. As the others greet
Simon, Jackie directs the group inside. Jackie lingers,
looking on affectionately as Simon picks some awful, sticky
gunk from the dog's body... he puts Verdell down to reach
for his wallet -- the tiny DOG YAPS in protest.
Just for a second, okay?
The DOG YAPS "no." Simon, delighted, picks him up again.
(kissing him on the
Look at him... where was little
In the basement garbage bin eating
Simon reacts -- then notices the Handyman, tongue in cheek,
trying to suppress his amusement.
Go ahead, John, you earned your
(looking at Verdell)
How did he get down in the
basement? I mean even if he got on
the elevator how... ?
Maybe some nice neighbor shoved him
down the garbage chute.
My God! No!
He stares out... Frank frustrated following.
6 INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT - OFFICE - NIGHT 6
Quiet -- safe -- just Melvin's voice reading aloud as he
'Somewhat in the dark, she had
confessed and he had forgiven. This
is what you live for, he said. Two
heads on a pillow where there is
only the safety of being with each
other. How, she wondered, could she
find such hope in the most shameful
part of her.'
He barely reacts as we hear a LOUD KNOCKING at he reads.
But Melvin's into it. His fingers flying as he reads.
'At last she was able to define
love. Love was... '
Mr. Udall, I'd like to talk to you
'Love was... '
He almost has the rest of the sentence -- the meaning of
love -- but the knocking throws him.
He burst from his chair.
As Simon hears MELVIN through the door and takes a step
back. Melvin throws open the door. He looks demonic.
(loud and angry)
Maybe this can wait.
Frank signals encouragement as Melvin opens the door.
I found Verdell, Mr. Udall.
Well, that's a load off.
Melvin walks back into the apartment and is about to close
the door when Simon has another burst of bravery.
Did you... do something to him?
Do you realize that I work at him?
No, I didn't.
Do you like to be interrupt when
you are danging around in your
No... actually, I even shut the
phone off and put a little piece of
cardboard in the ringer so no one
can just buzz me from d...
Well, I work all the time. So
never, never again interrupt me.
Okay? I mean, never. Not 30 years
from now... not if there's fire.
Not even if you hear a thud from
inside my home and a week later
there's a smell from in there that
can only come from a decaying body
and you have to hold a hanky
against your face because the
stench is so thick you think you're
going to faint even then don't come
knocking or, if it's election night
and you're excited and want to
celebrate because some fudge-packer
you dated has been elected the
first queer President of the United
States... and he's going to put you
up in Camp David and you just want
to share the moment with someone...
don't knock ... not on this door.
Not for anything. Got me.
Yes. It's not a subtle point you're
Melvin enters his apartment and slams the door shut.
So the theory of confrontations is
that now he'll think twice before
messing with me?
Frank smiles affectionately. Simon turns serious.
He's genuinely upsetting, isn't he?
Won't worry about it. You go ahead.
Frank waits till Simon EXITS SCENE and then knocks loudly on
Melvin's door. There is a sharp change in his demeanor.
Oh, I'm pissed!! Now I am really
Frank waits patiently as Melvin jerks his door back open.
Frank immediately grabs Melvin by his shirt and jerks him
forward... Melvin is scared. Operating on survival mode.
No touch. No touch. No touch.
You may think you can intimidate
the whole world with your attitude,
but I grew up in Hell. My
grandmother had more attitude. You
don't intimidate me.
Police! Police! Fucking crooked
police... doughnut-munching morons
Assault and battery and you're
Shhhh now. I like Simon. I like him
enough to batter you unrecognizable
if you verbally abuse him or so
much as touch his dog again.
Meanwhile, I'll try and think how
you can make this up to him.
I hate doing this. I'm an art
Have a nice day. Party!
He tosses Melvin back and walks out. Melvin straightens his
shirt as he steps out into the hall. Frank smiles as he re-
enters the other apartment. Melvin appears impressed.
8 EXT. NEW YORK CITY STREET NEAR CAROL'S RESTAURANT - DAY 8
A crowded and dirty street and here comes Melvin. His walk
is brisk -- an animal wanting to pass through the danger
without giving off the scent of its mounting fear. At times
he places his palms together and extends his arms cutting a
path through people. We will be very pointed in the fact
that he avoids stepping on cracks.
CLOSER ON MELVIN
His eyes focused on the terrain.
ANGLE ON WAITRESS
CAROL CONNELLY talks with another MOTHER -- a customer. You
would not guess it, but her working hours tend to be the
most carefree time of the day. She is telling a story about
her son for the umpteenth time.
(to the Mother's little
Look at you, you're all better.
It's that new medication.
You know all my son's stuff, right?
The Mother nods too sympathetically that she does, but Carol
No, no, no, I got a date tonight.
I'm walking out the door this
morning and he says to me, 'Mom, I
promise not to get one of my fevers
or coughs during your date.'
Isn't that sweet.
Little blonde angle.
Melvin enters and moves past several empty tables to a table
towards the back and is obviously surprised to find a MAN
and WOMAN sitting at the table.
It just came out of me. I said you
love me the way a remote control
loves a TV. As long as I switch
HER MALE COMPANION
People who talk in metaphors can
shampoo my crotch.
(on their look)
They turn away -- Melvin walks a few paces to the waitress
station where two waitresses, LISA and CAROL, are talking.
Pay me back next week.
I owe you. I told you today...
them's the rules. Oh, excuse me,
She puts two hands lightly on his waist to move him out of
the way. He gulps at the contact (since no one else ever
touches him) but covers his self-consciousness.
(firmly to Lisa)
Will you please take it?
Melvin intentionally moves a step in her path, with stealth,
so that she must touch him again to get him out of the
This way you take a cab home so you
have time to get ready for the
"Ready" is not my problem.
She barks a mirthless though hearty laugh. If we could read
Melvin which we can't, we'd see him unsettled by the date
talk. To Carol he is as harmless as furniture.
Go sit down. You know you're not
allowed back here... Spencer's
more excited about it than I am...
He says, "Mom, I promise not to get
a fever or couch during your date."
The other WAITRESSES and the SHORT ORDER COOK all go "awww."
I know. He's just the best.
I've got Jews at my table.
It's not your table. It's the
place's table. Behave. This once,
you can sit at someone else's
The two waitresses signal their protests.
Or you can just wait your turn...
Melvin walks back into the restaurant proper... he hangs
near their table... his discomfort builds in this limbo...
How much more you got to eat? Your
appetite isn't as big as your
noses, is it?
Let's go --
The Woman starts to protest.
Let's leave. We're going.
Melvin sits down at the table -- and takes from his pocket a
plastic eating utensil set wrapped and sealed. As he opens
Bryan says he doesn't care how long
you've been coming you ever act
like this again you're barred for
life. I'm gonna miss the
excitement, but I'll handle it.
There is in Carol's attitude toward Melvin some ingredient
of self-satisfaction -- that she is the only one in the
place who can handle him. She starts to clear the table.
The table's fine if it had some
cholesterol on it. Two sausages,
six bacon strips, fries, three eggs
over easy and coffee.
You're gonna die soon with that
diet, you know that?
We're all gonna die soon. I will.
You will. It sure sounds like your
Stunned. Some crazy street-freak
has slipped under her perfect guard
and momentarily devastated her.
Melvin senses that he's gone way
too far. He wipes his knife.
If you ever mention my son again,
you will never be able to eat here
again. Do you understand? Give me
some sign you understand or leave
now. Do you understand me...
(adds truthful label)
you crazy freak? Do you?!?
A beat and then Melvin nods, hardly breathing -- backing
Okay. I'll get your order.
She walks away. Melvin watches her, biting his lower lip. He
takes some napkins and cleans the table himself.
She is underneath a YOUNGER, cuter MAN on the living room
sofa. He is expertly into foreplay. She begins to make
noises as she responds... each time startling herself with
her own noise and trying to reign it in.
She's two women here -- one speeding the pleasure highway --
the other -- functional mom so blown away by the emergence
of this sexy self that she laughs. The Young Man stops and
looks at her.
I... I... I don't know... You
His eyes try to burn into hers... She is getting excited but
doesn't know how to play it... He pushes one of the fingers
of the hand caressing her face toward her mouth... She
closes her teeth, his fingers attempt opening her mouth. She
Let me just do whatever I do by
myself... I'll catch up to you
someplace I promise.
(as he's put off)
Oh, no... don't look like that.
No. I'm sorry if I'm a goof.
And so with earnestness and caring, she has transformed the
sex into something more intimate -- and, talk about egg in
your beer, hotter. Things are getting wild when we hear from
the distance a child, SPENCER, CALLING and
Kissing... kissing boys. Oh my.
Carol pulls her head away -- as Spencer's call continues.
Maybe you better check.
Like what did you think I was going
11 INT. HALLWAY/BEVERLY'S ROOM - NIGHT 11
Pulling herself together she goes off down the hallway...
she ducks her head into the first bedroom where her mother,
BEVERLY, is listening to music on headphones... she takes
them off when she sees Carol, then hears the cough.
I'm sorry. I was hearing just
everything you were doing so I put
these on to give you privacy.
Carol now goes into her son's room.
12 INT. SPENCER'S ROOM - NIGHT 12
The room is a monument to horrible, sleepless nights... two
drugstore de-humidifying filters, a nebulizer (breathing
contraption) a waste basket... a night stand filled with
medicine, a blood pressure kit... along with some stacks of
seven-year-old toys and a small TV wedged into the tiny
Don't be silly. How bad?
Carol feels his head... that's okay. Then he coughs --
trying to suppress it... then a bigger cough... they each
know what that signals... She brings up a waste basket as
he throws up... she comforts him. He apologizes. She loves
13 INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT 13
As she re-enters. He is taking a cigarette from a pack.
(a bit panicked)
You can't smoke... He can't take
He palms the cigarette -- resumes making out -- his hand
squeezes her breast -- then he stops and looks at his hand.
She looks down and sees a bit of throw-up he picked up while
feeling her and then notices him looking at her with extreme
distaste... She barks a laugh to cover her embarrassment
but speaks the truth.
Oh, God... I don't even notice
She crosses to the kitchen for a dishtowel. Tries to make
That'll teach you.
That wasn't an apology.
She notices his demeanor -- how he avoids looking at her --
how uncomfortable he is.
Hey... this is just a little throw-
up -- it's nothing to be so
embarrassed about. Really.
(as he shifts
Thanks for the dinner. Let me write
down which trains you take to get
I'll take a cab.
She deflates as he moves past her.
Too much reality for a Friday
A cold night in hell. Three young men bullshit near the
approach to the tunnel.
Their names are VINCENT, EVAN and DOUG, who is the oldest at
28. Vincent is dopey and the most likeable of the gritty
Why is every customer surprised I
You read books?
Oh, wow! I know this guy! Look! He
even bought me dinner.
They all focus on a black BMW as it slows and stops in front
of them. CARL checks them out carefully through the front
window. He is talking on the speaker phone.
Look, I just can't. I promised
Simon I'd find him a model.
(on speaker phone,
Carl, take me off the speaker. Did
I tell you that these are house
seats? C'mon, you could use a
break. Hello... Carl, are you
Seeing the hustlers:
. ... I just found a model.
Hey, how it's goin'...
Hey, hi... remember?
I only need one.
You picked me up, maybe a few
weeks, I don't know, some time ago.
You were very flattering about
Maybe just you and me... but this
is for a painting. I need a pretty
Carl beckons to Vincent who joins him, trying to conceal his
pride at winning this lowest end of beauty contest.
15 INT. SIMON'S APARTMENT - DAY 15
There is a KNOCK at the door -- Simon crosses to answer. He
is more relaxed than we've seen him -- a man at peace
humming to his favorite music, talking to his dog who
scratches at the door. Simon opens the door to Vincent.
Sorry, I was out in the studio
doing some work and I forgot about
He leads the way back toward the studio -- chatting away --
unaware that Vincent is disrobing as he follows him and
eyeing the expensive apartment.
I usually make such a big deal out
of picking models but Carl's so
thorough. I'll bet he drove you
nuts checking your references.
And he turns and sees the naked model.
This isn't a nude.
Vincent moves back to retrieve his clothes.
Just kidding around.
So much for love.
16 INT. SIMON'S APARTMENT - STUDIO (MINUTES LATER) 16
Vincent is striking blatantly sexual poses to the
increasingly uneasy Simon.
Exactly what is your previous
How about that pose?
This is not fun...
Give me some direction.
Vincent has instinctively put Simon on the defensive. He
tries not to show it.
Nothing. I just watch till
something strikes me. Do anything
you think of -- try different
thing. Until I say, "hold that
pose." Then just try and
comfortably hold it.
(trying another space)
The fact that you haven't said,
"hold it" means I haven't done it
right... is that correct? I
haven't done it right?
No... Okay. What I do is watch and
wait for, um... You ever watch
someone who doesn't know you're
watching... an old woman on a bus,
kids going to school and you see
this flash come over them and you
know immediately that it has
nothing to do with anything
external -- that it's in respond to
a private thought they just had?
They are just sort of realer and
more alive. And when you notice it
so are you. If you look at someone
long enough, you discover their
Vincent's slack-jawed expression changes. He feels an
intellectual tingle to be having this conversation.
I know exactly what you mean.
There's a joy in him at this moment -- a bit of purity.
Vincent does so -- hums a bit of "Satisfaction" to
Carol and LESLIE, another waitress, are waiting for their
order at the cappuccino bar. Leslie is telling the story of
the traumatic audition which may have turned her life. Carol
As they pass Melvin she does not break stride, nor give him
notice. Though she is aware of him -- resentfully so -- hard
not to be since he is giving a moment to moment commentary
on her every action.
Clippity clop -- clippity clop --
she has to pretend she doesn't hear
me. Listening to the story from the
upset friend... now she drops off
the cappuccino and smiles at the
putzette who doesn't even say,
"Thank you." No, the putzette
wanted the whipped cream so back
she goes and now she has to pass
him again and it's getting tougher
to make believe.
Melvin stops -- she passes behind him to deliver an
uncharacteristic rabbit punch.
What's with the plastic picnic
ware? Why not try ours... afraid
it isn't clean?
I see the help -- judgement call.
Just give yourself a little pep
talk. "Must try other people's
clean silverware as part of the fun
of dining out."
What's wrong with your son, anyway?
What do you care?
Melvin just looks at her.
He's gotta fight to breathe. His
asthma can just shoot off the
charts -- he's allergic to dust and
this is New York and his immune
system bails on him when there's
trouble so an ear infection... Is
this bothering you?
An ear infection can send us to the
emergency room -- maybe five, six
times a month where I get whatever
nine-year-old they just made a
doctor. Nice chatting with you.
18 INT. SIMON'S APARTMENT - STUDIO - DAY (SEVERAL WEEKS LATER)
The greenhouse studio is a busy sanctuary, as Simon puts the
finishing touches on his painting of Vincent. A beat and
then a strange figure crosses between the CAMERA and the
scene -- gone before we can examine him further.
You can put on anything you want
now. I might be sort of done
Vincent quickly and expertly picks a CD to meet his
immediate needs and puts it on -- dying a little at every
second of silence during the transition... then LOUD MUSIC
PLAYS... Vincent even GOOSING the VOLUME.
Simon does a take -- he gestures Vincent to take it down --
which Vincent does.
ANGLE - APARTMENT
where it is not clear that a robbery is in progress --
Vincent's two friends from the street sweeping all objects
into large sacks -- one of them, Doug, pauses to look past
the terrace to the studio.
Lucky Vinnie -- he's a painting.
19 INT. SIMON'S APARTMENT, STUDIO - DAY 19
MUSIC PLAYS -- Simon cleaning up his stuff.
So you're practically finished,
Yes... well, there's one more
stage -- trying to figure out if
it's any good.
Simon sneaks a look at the canvas from another
perspective... he focuses -- then the smallest shy nod of
self-approval -- he's finished. Vincent is desperate to
CLOSE ON dog as Verdell awakens, stretches and pricks his
ears. He moves quickly to the closed door and starts to
frantically scratch, attracting Simon's attention.
As Simon keeps walking... Vincent shoots over to the
Wait -- I want to see the painting.
Just a second -- he has to go.
Simon opens the door and Verdell shoots out like a bullet.
Vincent pauses before the painting and is thrown to see his
humanity captured -- to be "immortalized."
Doug and Evan are nearly to the front door as VERDELL stops
them with a vicious GROWL and BARK.
Simon is distracted -- looking down at his pet so that he
continues to walk toward Doug and Evan, not noticing them --
Vincent, terribly afraid, appears behind Simon.
What's the matter, sweetheart?
He instantly stops. Shocked. Frozen. His eyes on the
stranger, Doug, looking at him. Now Vincent comes in. Doug
Simon turns to Vincent.
Why are you doing this?
No. No. No. Hey, that painting in
there... I just want to tell
Now Evan appears holding a brass hat rack.
What are you doing? Cruising him?
And he uses the hat rack first as a spear, then as a club,
as the brief savage attack begins.
as he starts to go toward Simon and
then scurries back in fear. The
three attackers leave. Now silence.
A single BARK from VERDELL.
21 INT. APARTMENT BUILDING (NEW YORK) - HALLWAY - DUSK 21
A mass of OFFICIAL PEOPLE clutter the hall as a gurney is
whisked down to the elevator. It's impossible to tell if
Simon is awake or dead. Melvin is standing against the wall
near his door a cop, RAY, interviewing him.
Okay. So you call 911 and don't
leave your name -- even a dumb
geezer should know that emergency
automatically pulls up your name.
How come you make a mistake like
How come you're pretending to do
cop work -- 'cause I don't think
you could find your ass if you were
spotted the hole.
Just move on. No one here killed
Oh, is he dead?
We will if we can and if we can't,
we'll come back and ask you again
22 INT. APARTMENT BUILDING (NEW YORK) - HALLWAY - 22
23 ANOTHER ANGLE - NIGHT 23
Frank standing upset, anxious, holding a dog bowl, a leash
and VERDELL, who is more upset making pathetic little CRYING
As we FOCUS BRIEFLY ON Verdell... Frank is talking to the
I've been praying for him since I
So I've got to get to the hospital.
If you could take the dog just for
Oh, Lord -- I've got all these
antique knick-knacks... Or else
I'd be glad...
Maybe if you kept locked in the
bathroom. No? Okay. Thanks.
(as he turns away and she
closes the door he adds)
Old bitch... Damn dog.
A short laugh makes us realize that Melvin has witnessed and
enjoyed Frank's hostile mutterings...
VERDELL starts WHIMPERING as a pissed Frank approaches his
You're taking him... yes...
you're taking him -- this will
clear the books. One night. You
want to say "no" to me? Try...
because I've never felt as nuts as
I do right this second. I almost
want you to try saying "no."
I'm not saying nothing to you.
Thanks for looking after him.
Frank pushes open the door to Melvin's apartment and places
24 INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT - NIGHT 24
MUSIC IN: as Frank pulls the door partially closed to block
The music represents Verdell's state of mind -- trapped in
the apartment of the man who tried to kill him. We STAY with
the dog during the O.S. dialogue: As his head turns in panic
we see his various POVs as the dialogue continues O.S.
Hey, where are you going? You can't
(calls after Frank)
I can't take a dog.
Nobody's ever been in here before.
You don't want to mess with me
today. I'll figure something else
25 INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT 25
Melvin enters -- the dog cowers in the shadows. Now Melvin
VERDELL STOPS -- gives Melvin wide berth -- slinking along
the far wall. Melvin finds Verdell's fear of him a bit
I don't have dog food. And I won't
want dog food here. You'll eat what
we have. You'll eat what we eat.
Melvin exits. Verdell is in a major funk.
26 INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT - KITCHEN - NIGHT 26
Melvin breaks two eggs over a large pile of prime chopped
meat, sticks raw pieces of bacon into it and exits the room.
Don't you touch anything.
Verdell cringing as his new master approaches -- MUSIC
CONTINUES ominously. Melvin sets the bowl down and exits...
Verdell breathes excitedly though looking alternately in all
directions... his recent past making him suspect this feast
is a trick. He sniffs cautiously -- then dives in -- GOTHIC
MUSIC CHANGING on a dime TO SCORE his RAPTURE... from O.S.
we hear the sound of RUNNING WATER as steam escapes the
bathroom -- then MUSIC OUT -- as Melvin returns... ignoring
Verdell he sits at the piano and his one key repeatedly.
It's odd. Verdell shifts his body so he is eating from the
bowl with his tail to Melvin. Then Melvin begins to play and
sing Monty Python's "Always Look On The Bright Side Of
Life," with its cheerful whistle refrain. Verdell looks over
with surprise and pleasure. But just as mood lifts and
warmth threatens, Melvin stops abruptly, turns out the
lights and exits.
28 INT. HOSPITAL CORRIDOR - DAY 28
Frank on the phone.
Put the solid red dots on three of
them and the hold blue dots on two
others... Well, we're not going to
sell anything if they know we're
two weeks into a show and have no
sales. No, you can't reduce a price
at this stage... We're in free
fall here. Any calls?
We can see him.
I'll meet you in there.
29 INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY 29
As Jackie enters.
How you doing, great one?
I haven't looked at myself yet. I
figured I could tell from your
He turns toward her. Much of his body -- taped -- his
painting hand wrapped. Simon's face is something of a
horror. Swollen, one savage discolored cut. We are into
yuccchhh... The sight is a jolt. Jackie breaks into
tears... sobs, actually.
That bad, huh?
They share a helpless half-laugh -- then Frank appears in
(as he sees him)
Haaa... bad but temporary. The
nurses say it's much better than
you looked three weeks ago... the
hand will come back... they're
Jackie, will you hand me the
(a small voice)
She starts to hand him a large mirror from her purse -- then
thinks better of it.
Wait, I have a smaller one.
But he holds out his hand and she gives him the mirror -- he
starts to look -- then thinks better of it.
So, what's new anyway? How's
Your neighbor -- Udall -- is taking
care of him.
(suddenly alive and
How could you do that? He'll hurt
No, I promise... not a chance. I
own this guy. There was no one
else. I'm on the move too much.
You are very certain my dog is
okay... because you have no
Yes. Your dog is fine, Simon.
Simon holds the mirror poised for a moment of discovery,
then he takes a breath -- like someone about to dive
underwater. First a small, mumbled pep talk to himself.
Okay, waiting gives the devil time.
He quickly brings his hand up and looks at the mirror... he
is startled -- the bottom drops out -- leaving him awed by
Oh my... Where'd I go? Ummmm?
30 EXT. CAROL'S RESTAURANT - DAY 30
AN ESTABLISHING SHOT FEATURING Verdell tied up in front.
Melvin finishing a plate of eggs, bacon and sausage with his
plastic knife and fork. Carol looks totally beat as she sets
down a cup of coffee. Melvin is craning periodically to keep
an eye of his dog.
So what are you doing with a dog?
Suckered in. Set up. Pushed around.
You're not worried that someone
might take him?
Well, not until now -- for Christ's
It's okay -- I'll sit here.
He changes tables for the first time ever so that he can
keep an eye on Verdell. Carol is amazed.
You know he's a little dog. Next
time, if Bryan's not here, you can
bring him in.
How old are you?
If I had to guess by your eyes, I'd
say you were fifty.
Carol looks at him.
And if I had to guess by your eyes.
I'd say you were kind. So, so much
for eyes. But as long as you bring
up age... how old are you?
Otherwise, you're not ugly.
(laughs out loud)
Okay, pal... I accept the
compliment, but go easy -- my knees
start a-knocking when you turn on
the charm full blast.
What's with the dark?
He indicates the bags under her eyes by tapping his own.
Dawn patrol -- major dawn patrol.
My son had a full blown attack. And
this time, for extra fun, they gave
us the wrong antibiotics, so I get
She reaches for the plate of uneaten bacon -- he goes nuts.
No... no... leave it... the
bacon's for the dog.
She is jolted by the insensitivity of his interruption, but
he doesn't notice, turning, almost chatty.
Last week I was playing the piano
for him and he likes it, and so I
decide I'm going to make a little
You all set here?
Melvin nods -- a bit frustrated about not being able to
finish his dog story. He pockets the remaining bacon.
32 EXT. NEW YORK STREET - DAY 32
As Melvin walks Verdell back home, we notice, perhaps a beat
before Melvin, a remarkably event. Verdell is avoiding the
cracks in the sidewalk.
It's a beautiful day for our walk.
Melvin slows -- observes the dog mirroring his behavior.
again carefully placing his paws to
avoid a crack in the sidewalk.
Melvin laughs out loud -- puts on
plastic gloves hurriedly so he can
lift the dog to eye level.
Don't be like me, don't you be like
me. You stay just the way you are
because you are a perfect man. I'm
gonna take you home and get you
something to eat... what you love.
Ohhh. I'd like to be treated like
(all smiles to Verdell)
Let's go home and do some writing.
33 INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT 33
Melvin whaling away at his computer, reading to himself with
great satisfaction as he goes.
Verdell sits at his chair, fascinated by the speed of his
master's fingers on the keyboard. He reads his writing aloud
to the dog.
"He turned off the gas jets and
carried her outside.
He kissed her brow and when her
eyes opened and found him, he said,
'there are easier ways to break a
date.' She laughed. The only
sensible ambition he had ever known
was now realized. He had made the
girl happy. And what a girl.
'You've saved my life,' she said,
'you'd better make it up to me.'"
Exhilarated by his own words, he shuts down the machine...
(singing to Verdell)
(playing with him some)
Yes, I hate the doggy... yes, I
hate the doggy.
Sixty-two books... done!
As the dog goes shooting off to the kitchen we leave our
couple's play time for...
34 INT. SIMON'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM/LIVING ROOM/HALLWAY - DAY
As the rookie invalid awakens in precisely the same foul
mood he'd had on falling asleep. In the living room, the
maid, NORA, is talking with Jackie -- we catch only a few
words as they review Simon's mounting pile of bills and talk
of how long Nora can stay on.
Frank knocking on Melvin's door. He opens it.
How's Verdell doing?
He's a pain in the ass.
As he looks over at the dog, Verdell trots over and, without
realizing it, Melvin smiles at him to Frank's surprise.
Simon's home. I was sort of hoping
you could keep the dog until he's
had a chance to think and adjust...
(leaping at the chance)
It's been five weeks... another
few won't kill me.
No. He wants him back. He'll be by
(too loudly, weirdly)
Okay by me.
36 INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - DAY 36
Melvin sits -- Verdell looks up at him. Melvin walks to the
door. He turns the lock... then checks that they are
locked... checks again to make sure he turned them in the
correct direction... turns from the door... then back to
check once more. And again... and again... anguished,
until now he breaks briefly, the dog looking on.
37 INT. NEW YORK BUILDING - MELVIN'S APARTMENT - HALLWAY - DAY
Melvin opens the door -- looks at the scarred Simon in a
wheelchair and shudders...
That's some face they left hanging
on you. You look like...
Could you take it just a little
easy, Mr. Udall?
A beat of silence as Melvin thinks whether to comply.
Thank you. Verdell... sweetheart?
By the way, thanks for saving me.
I called. I never touched you. I
didn't leave my name or nothing.
Totally weirded out... hiding
behind Melvin... now Melvin shifts
and Simon and Verdell see each
other... Simon smiles at the
dog... he is emotionally caught up
in the reunion.
Verdell isn't eager.
The first gnawing pains of
38 INT. SIMON'S APARTMENT - DAY 38
Simon pats his leg -- trying unsuccessfully to get Verdell
to approach him. Instead the dog goes to the door and
scratches at it. Jackie starts to pick the dog up.
No. Please, don't force him.
You little stinker. He's given you
39 INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - DAY 39
Verdell's towel on the floor --
near his bowl.
BACK TO SCENE
Melvin's lips compress... he sits on the piano bench and
hits a few keys... looks at Verdell's empty spot again...
there are those who "get the joke" -- Melvin is clearly one -
- he laughs suddenly and helplessly even as he feels the
panic rise in him...
... all his painstaking success in keeping the lid on and
now it threatens to blow for a reason he articulates.
Over the dog... an ugly dog.
It's hilarious. But now the humor detours. An actual sob is
choked back... he gets up -- following a definite pattern
across the room.
He is conducting a small but highest-stakes fight for
survival. Momentarily a scared, beaten middle-aged man -- he
races out the door.
40 EXT. NYC STREETS - DAY 40
Melvin charging as fast as crack checks allow and then
turning into a building with a copper sign reading
"Grammercy Park Psychiatric Group."
Worst sidewalk in New York and look
where they put in.
Melvin bursts in on the psychiatrist and emits one word.
If you want to see me you will not
do this. You will make an
Explain to me how you can diagnose
someone as "obsessive compulsive
disorder" and then act like I have
any choice in barging in.
There's not going to be a debate.
You must leave.
The Doctor moves into the hallway, forcing Melvin to follow.
You said you could help me -- what
was that -- a tease?
I can help you if you take the
responsibility to keep regular app -
You changed the room around...
Two years ago...
Melvin shakes his head -- as if things weren't bad enough he
must go through a careful exercise noting every new element
before he's at all comfortable... as he studies each object.
The Doctor is professionally intrigued despite himself.
I also regrew my beard... but
you're not interested in changes in
me... so it's like I always told
you... when it comes to people
Shhhhhhh. I don't have this
mountain of available time... I
got to get to my restaurant on
time. Do you know how hard it is
for me to be here?
(as Melvin starts for the
42 INT. PSYCHIATRISTS' WAITING ROOM - DAY 42
More PATIENTS in the almost-crowded waiting room. Melvin
passes through -- visibly drawn and upset. He stops. Eyes on
(to other patients)
What if this is as good as it gets?
They look stricken. He exits.
43 INT. CAROL'S RESTAURANT - DAY 43
As he walks to his booth and sits down. Enormous relief.
CHERYL, a heavy-set waitress, reluctantly moves to his table
-- unseen by Melvin as he takes out his utensils and
arranges them. In a corner booth, four big TRANSIT AUTHORITY
POLICE are having a meal together. Cheryl looks at his
What the heck are those for?
No. No. Get Carol.
I'm filling in. We don't know if
she's coming back. She might have
to get a job closer to home.
What are you trying to do to me?
What the heck do you mean?
Hey, elephant girl, call her or
something... just let her do my
one meal here. I'll pay whatever.
(as she doesn't budge; he
The MANAGER comes over, gesturing to the table of police
that he can handle it. All attention is on Melvin.
Out. Be silent or leave.
I'll be quiet. Just let me wait. No
problem. Get her here -- have her
get me two sausages, four bacon,
two eggs over easy and coffee. I'm
not a prick here -- I'm a great
customer. This day is a disaster. I
can't handle this, too.
Get out immediately or there's
going to be trouble.
Melvin looks at the police, sizes up the hopeless situation
There's going to be trouble???
He walks toward the door as Cheryl and all the other
employees applaud his defeat. As he passes a BUSBOY near the
door he hands him 20 dollars.
Carol's last name?
44 EXT. BROOKLYN STREET - DAY 44
An uncomfortable Melvin sitting in the back of a taxi.
A neighborhood in Brooklyn -- a
community. Melvin, ever the shark
observer, looks from the cab to see
slices of community life -- MEN in
front of a bar, PARENTS giving
their CHILD a ride on a mechanical
horse outside a local store -- two
YOUNG WOMEN discuss dating.
45 EXT. CAROL'S BUILDING - DAY 45
As he exits -- RINGS the BELL and is BUZZED in.
Carol opens the door just as he arrives on her landing. She
holds a container of ice, washclothes and a thermometer.
(on Carol's astonished
You've upset my whole day. I
What are you doing here?
Melvin ignores the question, instead answering a charge he
had imagined she might make...
This is not a sexist thing. If you
were a waiter I would still be here
Are you totally gone? This is my
I am trying to keep emotions out of
this. Even though this is an
important issue to me and I have
strong feelings about the subject.
What subject? That I wasn't there
to take crap from you and bring you
eggs? Do you have any control over
how creepy you allow yourself to
Yes, I do, as a matter of fact...
and to prove it I have not gotten
personal and you have. Why aren't
you at work? You're not sick -- you
don't look sick... just very tired
My son is sick, okay?
Even saying the sentence, "My son is sick" pushes some
emotions toward the surface which are wasted on the crazy
man at her threshold.
What about your mother?
How do you know about my mother?
I hear you talk when I'm waiting!!!
She crosses to the sink to dump the ice. Melvin takes a step
inside. Spencer, seven and looking ill, walks into the room.
Sorry, honey... I'll be right
How ya doing?
Spencer just stares at him.
You should answer when someone
talks to you...
Carol eyes Melvin with disgust and disbelief then
emphatically gestures him to "clear out." Melvin backs out
Sorry. There is a limit, Melvin,
and I can't handle you teaching my
She closes the door in his face, then walks to her son and
leads him back to his room.
47 INT. SPENCER'S ROOM 47
CAMERA MOVES TOWARD mother and son sitting on the edge of
Spencer's bed. She holds a digital thermometer to his ear.
They both count down the seconds.
CAROL AND SPENCER
4... 3... 2... 1... Bingo.
We are going to treat ourselves to
a cab ride.
48 EXT. BROOKLYN SIDEWALK - ANGLE ON CAROL - DAY 48
As Carol carries her young son through a class of uniformed
KIDS from a Catholic elementary school. She spots Melvin
about to enter a cab.
The school kids pick up the chant in unison.
Melvin, wait! Melvin, wait! Melvin,
He turns to face them.
Shut up, kids!
They immediately obey as Carol approaches him.
Melvin... give us a lift. We've
got to go see our friends at the
Melvin is thrown... he pauses a beat... then holds the
rear door open as Carol hustles the kid inside. The maneuver
puts the beet red, sweating Spencer at his face.
I'll ride up front. Cover your
mouth when you cough, kid.
49 INT. BROOKLYN CAB - DAY 49
As they settle in and drive off.
Brooklyn Presbyterian Hospital,
please and quickly please.
50 EXT. HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM - DAY 50
As Carol enters the hospital.
I owe you three dollars.
Melvin follows behind her as she carries her son...
Yeah, yeah... any chance you'll
get back to work today?
No!!! Stay away from me!
Verdell lies just inside the front door whimpering for
Melvin. Jackie sits across from Simon's wheel chair... she
has some index cards in her laps which she occasionally
consults and shuffles.
I feel terrible that I have to...
Simon? Forget about the dog for a
Simon forces his attention to Jackie.
Sorry. What are those cards?
(a bit embarrassed)
Frank's idea. He thought I should
have notes so I did this right...
maintained focus, didn't get
emotional and tried not to terrify
See, he's right. I need the cards.
(reading from cards)
Simon, you're broke.
ANGLE ON VERDELL
as their conversation continues -- the dog is distressed.
The medical bill are 61 thousand
now. I've spoken to your parents
and they didn't hang up or anything
-- they just said they would feel
strange calling you.
Well, I can't reach them.
Verdell walks out on the terrace and looks off. He turns
Here, baby... what is it,
Verdell?... You miss the tough
(trying to be Melvin-
Well, here I am, you little pissant
mop, happy to see me? How about
another ride down the chute? Oh,
God... I don't mean it,
(on Jackie's look)
I'm sorry. I know...
Verdell hides behind a chair.
Frank loves you. You know that...
but I've spoken to him and he feels
(reading from card)
-- as a businessman, with limited
I'll be able to keep my apartment
and studio, won't I?... Just tell
As Jackie looks at him then thumbs for a card.
Verdell has come near him -- he reaches out a hand to pet
the dog and the dog ducks.
52 INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT - DAY 52
He is trying to write. He can't. His world has been upset.
He walks away from his work -- a highly unusual act. He is
distressed -- and then an idea and he exits.
53 INT. PUBLISHER'S OFFICE - DAY 53
We are looking at ZOE, the receptionist. She is listening
with interest to an O.S. conversation while answering phone
calls, "Premier Publishing."
FEMALE EXECUTIVE (O.S.)
Yes, you write more than anyone
else. Yes, you make us a lot of
money, but isn't there someone more
I need this. Just say, "Melvin,
I'll try," okay?
FEMALE EXECUTIVE (O.S.)
Melvin, I'll try.
They appear now -- the woman tall, attractive, etc. She
pauses at the elevator.
Now, on a pleasant note, our son
got accepted at Brown. My
Great, wonderful. I don't need you
to wait with me.
She nods, pissed, waves and leaves. As Melvin waits, Zoe
summons her moxie.
I can't resist. You usually move
through here so quickly and I have
so many questions I want to ask
you. You have no idea what your
work means to me.
What's it mean?
That somebody out there knows what
it's like to be...
(taps her head and heart)
Oh God, this is like a nightmare.
Aw come on, just a couple of
questions -- how hard is that?
As he hits the button, wipes his fingers, hits the button
How do you write women so well?
(as he turns toward her)
I think of a man and take away
reason and accountability.
The fan is jolted as the elevator doors open and close.
54 EXT. STREET NEAR CAROL'S BUILDING - DAY 54
A depleted, exhausted Carol approaches her home. She is
suddenly wary -- SOUND DIALED DOWN -- as we MOVE CLOSER.
A car at the curb with "MD" license
BACK TO SCENE
As Carol breaks into a run.
As she bounds the stairs, comes to her apartment door and
jiggles with the keys, a strange prescient whimpering sound
coming from her. As she enters the apartment.
Mrs. Connelly, I'm in here.
The worst confirmed, she moves down the narrow hallway, her
innards squirting the same chemicals that drives elk on
opening day of the hunting season.
56 INT. SPENCER'S ROOM - DAY 56
What? Please? Now? Tell me?!
Mrs. Connelly. I'm Martin Bettes
... Dr. Bettes.
Not your name... what are you
telling me your name for!! Where is
He's in the bathroom... He's fine.
Tell me how bad it is. I let him go
out last night when it was so cool
without an overshirt -- just and
underone with just the straps and I
know better... and I let him talk
me into it. He was whining and...
you don't need this. Give me a
second to catch hold.
And so she does. Wow does she... and gives us some notion of
the size of her fear demon and the strength it takes to
subdue it as Dr. Bettes keeps reassuring her and she keeps
nodding... finally a deep breath as Spencer enters from the
bathroom. All at hyper speed now. Salvation as farce.
(to his mother)
Did you know there are doctors who
come to your house?
No, I didn't.
So why are you h...
Beverly, Carol's mother, enters the room. She is ebullient
which, if life allowed, would be her natural state.
I didn't know you had a secret
You met the gift.
He's good... And I'm an expert on
Stay out of this... Doctor?
My wife is Melvin Udall's
(as Carol reacts)
She says I have to take great care
of this guy because you're urgently
needed back at work. What work do
I'm a waitress.
ON Dr. Bettes' reaction her mother adds a saving grace.
A NURSE enters.
Sorry it took so long. I don't know
It's okay, Terry.
(hands her blood vail)
Tell the lab I'd like the report
Carol and her mother exchange a look of incredulity.
You're going to get the results
As we approach the doctor and Carol
seated across from each other at a
small table... soft voices...
relaxation. Bettes is examining
How long has he been having
Have they done blood tests on him?
Only in the emergency room or when
he was well.
Emergency room only.
Have they done skin testing for
They haven't done the standard
scratch test. Where they make small
injections into the skin?
No. I asked. They said it's not
covered under my plan. And it's not
It's amazing these things weren't
Fucking H.M.O. bastard piece of
shit... I'm sorry... forgive me.
No. Actually, I think that's their
Once the tests come back, is there
someone I can reach in your office
for the results?
Me. My home number is on this card.
His home number.
Carol look at her mother -- they share a laugh. Beverly has
a hard time stopping.
Do you want some juice or coffee or
two female slaves?
Water... Nobody told you it might
be a good idea to remove the
carpeting and drapes in Spencer's
She starts towards Spencer's room.
You don't have to do it this
second... it's not dangerous or
anything. It's just something
that's advisable. Look, there's a
lot to be checked but...
Hey, your son is going to feel a
good deal better at the very
She pats his head... Then embraces him with fierce
So listen, you gotta let me know
about the additional costs -- one
way or the other we'll...
They're considerable. But Mr. Udall
wants to be billed.
She takes this as a blow to the heart, stomach and groin.
Simon practices walking using his cane. A tearstained Nora
hugs him good-bye.
You poor, poor man.
Let's use just one poor, okay?
Anyway, dear, thanks for
everything. Forgive my recent
crankiness and as soon as things
are on track again I'll call.
She kisses him and starts for the door and suddenly a sharp
intake of breath -- she's forgotten something.
Who's going to walk Verdell?
Simon hadn't thought of this either.
58 INT. APARTMENT BUILDING (NEW YORK) - HALLWAY - DAY 58
Nora holding her things, knocks on Melvin's door. Melvin
opens the door. Nora is still sniffling. He misinterprets.
Is he dead yet?
No! Would there be any way for you
to be willing to walk his dog for
Not just today -- Uh, could you do
it -- until, until he gets back on
You're a wonderful man. Two o'clock
is a good time. Here's the key in
case he's asleep. Open the curtains
for him, so he sees God's beautiful
work and knows that even things
like this happen for the best.
Where'd they teach you to talk like
this -- some Panama City "Sailor
want to hump-hump bar"? Or was
today getaway day and your last
shot at his whiskey. Sell crazy
some place else -- we're all
stocked up here.
He closes the door in her face. She stands there... thrown
by the abruptness -- then lifts the two paper shopping bags
holding her things -- walks back toward the elevator --
pausing briefly outside Simon's door -- then continues on
59 INT. CAROL'S APARTMENT 59
The doctor gone, mother and daughter arguing.
There is a seriously goofy man
behind this. You are not allowed to
block out that fact.
Do you really want to go back to
the runt doctors in Emergency who
keep telling us they can't help?
It lets a crazy man into our lives.
Come on. Why fight when we know how
it will come out. This isn't like
stocking or a string of pearls. You
don't send this one back.
60 EXT. NEW YORK APARTMENT - ESTABLISHING - DAY 60
Shades drawn. Simon is a wheelchair... the PHONE RINGS. He
goes to answer... the phone across the bed so that reaching
for the phone is a brief but difficult struggle... he grunts
with pain, hope and anxiety as he answers.
Hello?... yes... sure...
finally, huh? Why, "finally"?
Because I called you so many times.
(relief) Oh, boy... I was hoping it was something like
that. You didn't get one of them, huh? 'Cause I mean it
wasn't only your office -- it was your home, hotel and the
cigar club you like in San Francisco. No -- Sarcastic... Of
course. I believe you. No, don't fire anyone... Please.
Maybe I'm wrong about the 20 times. Take a breath... (more)
So, you miss me a little? Hey, strike the question -- How's
the case going? Really. Fantastic. I didn't hear. I haven't
been watching. Great. Just great. I'm so happy. Whoopie! Me?
Well, I'm mending. No, I look fine. Well, some of the damage
might still be noticeable if you look closely...
He runs a hand across his scarred and still bloated and
Carl, I need some help and you're
the logical one to turn to.
No! Not 'cause I blame you for what
happened. I hardly get how you can
ever think that. No, I'm not being
(trying to figure it out)
I guess because you hired the guy
who did this you think... No, I am
a sarcastic person. Well, if you
must know, the reason I said you
were the logical person is because
you always told me how you thought
I was this great person who made
you feel good about humanity and
everything. You do remembering
saying that? Well, whew. Okay, so
Carl. I hate asking but this money
thing is ridiculously serious...
He picks up an index card from his night stand and takes the
leap -- reading the text he prepared in advance.
"Will you please loan me money? I
will pay you back. I will give you
whatever percentage of my income I
don't absolutely need until I do.
It will take a while. But I don't
know what I'll do if you say"...
(as he listens)
I understand... yes... No, I do.
(a bit of boldness)
But you know, you know -- you
didn't even ask how much, Carl?
Well, Frank has no right to discuss
how much I'm in hock... no, you're
right -- not the point. So... what
have you been up to??? Uh-huh...
Oh, the group show... how was it?
Well, I'm not surprised that
there's that much talent around...
great... Look -- gotta go... no,
you shouldn't feel that way at
all... take care, you, too...
you, too... Good-bye.
(as he hangs up)
Pal o' mine.
It's very quiet.
LONG SHOT - SIMON
A lonely figure -- who now holds his good hand up to his
face and appears on the verge of enormous emotional release -
- CAMERA MOVES TOWARD him as if to rendezvous with the
moment of catharsis...
... but Simon is denied even this small luxury as the
CAMERA ABRUPTLY ADJUSTS just as he begins sobbing to focus
on the door opening and Melvin and Verdell entering the
Maybe I'll bring him some food by.
Thank you for walking him.
Simon wheels away from Melvin.
If you'll excuse me I'm not feeling
It smells like shit in here?
That cleaning woman doesn't...
Please, just leave.
Where are all your queer party
(his first shout)
Melvin pauses -- Simon weeping... Verdell looks at Simon
with concern. Melvin is thrown. Moved?
Nothing worse than having to feel
this way in front of you?
Nellie, you're a disgrace to
Rot in hell, Melvin.
No need to stop being a lady...
quit worrying -- you'll be back on
your knees in no time.
Simon swings his arm and cast at Melvin -- the sudden attack
jolts Melvin but not as much as what follows.
Is this fun for you? Well, you
lucky devil... It just gets better
and better. I am losing my
apartment and Frank wants me to
promise to paint hotter subjects
and to beg my parents, who haven't
called, for help... and I won't.
And I don't want to paint anymore.
Melvin has made for the door... Simon blocks him.
So the life I was trying for is
over. The life I had is gone and I
am feeling so damn sorry for myself
that it is difficult to breathe.
Right times for you -- huh, Melvin.
The gay neighbor is terrified...
(a sudden screamed word
surprises them both)
Terrified... Lucky you, you're
here for rock bottom... me
wallowing in self-pity in front of
you, you absolute horror of a human
As Simon works to stop crying, Melvin is weird with
Well, I'll do one thing for you
that might cheer you up.
Don't piss on a gift, tough guy.
You want to know why the dog
prefers me... it's not affection.
It's a trick.
Simon looks up, his mood turning on a dime -- he's rapt...
Melvin comes and stands by his wheelchair.
I carry bacon in my pocket.
Oh, my gosh.
(hands him bacon)
Now we'll both call him.
Come on, sweetheart...
Yo, yo, yo...
Verdell goes like a bullet to Melvin... who is totally
surprised and staggered by the implications. True love and
Would you leave now, please?
I don't get it.
He exits... looking apologetically at Simon in stoic ruin.
Carol in bed on the pullout sofa... She is in turmoil...
there is THUNDER, but no rain. She walks to the kitchen. She
is trembling as she drinks a glass of water and exits.
63 INT. BEVERLY BEDROOM - NIGHT 63
The room is on an air shaft and this is where Carol shares a
closet with her mother, who is now asleep.
Carol quietly extracts a dress from the closet, leaving her
nightgown on the floor. There is something sexy here, the
woman in Carol churning. She plops on a summer dress -- no
time for underwear.
64 EXT. BROOKLYN STREET - NIGHT 64
Carol seeing a bus and dashing after it.
65 EXT. MANHATTAN BRIDGE - TWO AM 65
Carol crossing to Manhattan. She looks as if she's on her
way to some final exam where she has no notion of the
66 EXT. NEW YORK CITY STREET - NEAR MELVIN'S BUILDING - 66
Hot summer night as she gets off
the bus and now the rains come...
We are in a familiar neighborhood.
67 ANGLE ON MELVIN AND SIMON'S APARTMENT HOUSE 67
As Carol consults the slip of paper with the address on it.
68 INT. NEW YORK APARTMENT BUILDING - NIGHT (RAIN) 68
As she enters building and realizes it's not just that she's
wet -- the thin summer dress is a winner in any wet T-shirt
contest... the fabric clinging to her breasts, like the old
movie poster of The Deep.
69 INT. NEW YORK APARTMENT BUILDING - HALLWAY - NIGHT 69
As Carol passes Simon's door... stands in front of Melvin's
apartment -- twists herself to ease nervousness and knocks
on the door... then RINGS the BELL. Finally Carol hears
MUFFLED THROAT CLEARING on the other side of the door.
Carol the waitress?
As we hear him unlock the door, Carol looks at her breasts
and gasps. She grasps the fabric and holds it straight out
just as Melvin opens the door. His hair is static city,
standing on end as he periodically gives it self-conscious
The doctors had your billing
address. I'm sorry about the hour.
I was working... can't you just
drop me a thank-you note?
That's not why I'm here...
... though you have no idea what
it's like to have a real
conversation with a doctor about
Note. Put it in the note.
Why did yo do this for me?
To get you back at work so you can
wait on me.
But you do have some idea how
strange that sounds??? I'm worried
that you did this because...
She pauses -- the beginning of an extraordinarily long
You waiting for me to say
(as she shakes her head)
What sort of thing do you want?
Look, I'll be at the restaurant
I don't think I can wait until
tomorrow. This needs clearing up.
What needs clearing up?
(strong and true)
I'm not going to sleep with you. I
will never, ever sleep with you.
Never. Not ever.
Melvin's reaction? Well, he'll never get credit for the
brief but intense inner struggle -- the struggle not to
-- not to cry -- to process the sudden and stunning hurt
during his half turn away from her -- and then answer
I'm sorry. We don't open for the no-
sex oaths until 9 a.m.
Carol is amused, surprised... maybe, in some small way ever
taken by his style... but top priority is clarity.
I'm not kidding.
Okay!!!! Anything else?!?
Just how grateful I am.
Her mission completed -- she turns.
So you'll be at work?
70 INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT - NIGHT 70
It's a 3:22 a.m. as the two digital clocks on Melvin's night
stand tell us... He gets up -- the first time we've seen
his waking routine -- taps one foot on the floor twice --
then the other foot -- two more taps and his body angles
from the bed in a deliberate way.
He is having anxiety. He sits at the piano and plays very
briefly... Stops -- wipes some sweat from his forehead...
Walks to his computer room -- turns the light on and then
quickly off... Walks to his refrigerator...
71 INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT, KITCHEN, INSIDE REFRIGERATOR - 71
As he grabs a cardboard take-out
He knocks of Simon's door... It opens quickly.
73 SIMON'S APARTMENT 73
I took a chance you were up.
Simon walks painfully back to a chair.
I brought you Chinese soup.
I have never been so tired in my
life. Okay, if I sit here?
Got any easier questions?
Melvin sits and moans -- the dog sitting near him.
I haven't been sleeping. I haven't
been clear or felt like myself. I'm
in trouble. Some son of a bitch is
burning my bridges behind my
back... But the tiredness --
boy... Not just sleepy.
But sick -- nauseous -- where
everything looks distorted and
everything inside just aches --
when you can barely get up the will
He feels a touch of community and not knowing where to take
it from here.
I'm glad we did this.
He rises and makes an awkward exit.
Good talking to you.
He exits -- Simon puzzled and concerned.
74 INT. CAROL'S APARTMENT - NIGHT 74
Carol seated working on a letter... She is trying to express
her gratitude... An enormous sheaf of completed pages sit
next to her... She is so involved she doesn't even look up
as a young man, SEAN, knocks on the door and is let in by
They exchange greetings and move inside where we faintly
hear Spencer greeting him... We MOVE IN and read over
Carol's shoulder -- "I'm sorry to have gotten sloppy and
emotional in this letter, but it would have been on my
conscionce (sic) forever if I didn't tell you how gratefull
You're not still writing that thank-
I'm on the last page. How do you
C-o-n-s-c-i-e-n-c-e. I got Sean
from the bakery to baby-sit so
let's go out.
I still don't feel safe leaving
Spencer with someone. How do you
spell it again?
Spencer is okay. You'd better start
finding something else to do with
your free time. If you can't feel
good about this break and step out
(struts and pumps her
You ought to get Mr. Udall to send
you over a psychiatrist.
(more emotionally than
I don't need one 'cause I know
what's really going on here. I have
to finish this letter or I'll go
(looking at paper; weepy)
This can't be right -- con-
Carol breathes heavily -- gets control, stopping herself on
the brink of crying.
Carol is amazed at herself... that she might not be able to
stem the flow... wide-eyed with apprehension, she looks at
her mother, who, in return, only nods permission for Carol
to let it go. A last defiant snort from Carol -- and then
she is overwhelmed. The headline comes first.
I don't know... It's very strange
not feeling that stupid panic thing
inside you all the time. Without
that you just start thinking about
yourself -- and what does that ever
get anybody. Today, on the bus
there was this adorable couple and
I felt myself giving them a dirty
look -- I had no idea everything
(great, forceful hand
... moving in the wrong
direction... Away from when I even
remembered what it was like to have
a man to... anything... hold
fucking -- sorry -- hands with, for
Christ's sake. I was feeling like
really bad that Dr. Bettes is
(this next one's tough)
Which is probably why I make poor
Spencer hug me more than he wants
to... Like the poor kid doesn't
have enough problems. He has to
make up for his mom not getting
(weeps at her insight)
Oh, boy. Who needs these thoughts?
Spencer's doing fine. So what are
you saying, that you're frustr...
Leave me be! Why are you doing
this? Why are you picking at my
sores... What is it that you
want?... You want what? What's with
you? I hope getting me thinking of
everything that's wrong when all I
want is to not do this has some
(puffy; red; furious)
What is it, Mom? No kidding.
Slumped, fought out -- Carol gets out one last, naked husky
What is it you want? What?
I want us to go out.
A beat, then.
As they enter, still wiping away the effects of their cry.
We're going out.
(looking at their red
Looks like fun.
She kisses Spencer -- almost getting involved in what he's
doing -- then sees her mother waiting.
Okay -- we're out of here. I love
Spencer nods -- involved with Sean. CAMERA FOLLOWS Carol as
she exits the apartment -- her mother leading. Halfway down
the stairs, she stops and reverses herself, going back to
the apartment which she re-enters -- then to her son to ask:
Do you love me?
76 EXT. STREET - NEAR CAROL'S BLDG. (MOVING) - DAY 76
Beverly and Carol walking past the store windows. A simple
and unprecedented experience in their recent lives.
Nice to get out, isn't it?
Carol nods tightly... then they wrap arms around each other
and continue walking, turning into a corner bar.
As Carol stands nervously while Lisa finishes reading her
letter. In the b.g. Melvin and Frank are seated at the same
table and in earnest conversation. Lisa keeps flicking away
tears -- a few drops on the pages.
Don't get it wet.
Lisa brushes the paper -- finishes and embraces Carol.
So it's okay?
You almost have me liking him. You
sure come from the heart. I never
knew what you went through with
I wanted him to know how much he'd
Can you believe he's eating with
78 ON MELVIN & FRANK 78
It's not my dog and this Simon
seems to have enough on his mind --
but he did throw up twice and his
spark is off.
Sure -- take him to the vet.
I did. And his stomach is out of
whack. So they need him for a
couple of days.
She self-consciously hands him with the thick envelope.
A thank-you note for what you did
He hands it back to her deliberately. She takes it and walks
back to the service area where, embarrassed, confused, and
messed with -- she tosses the note.
After Carol leaves...
Really nice. Shouldn't that be a
good thing... telling someone, 'no
It looks like it really went over.
You're sure making the rounds.
Simon says you brought him soup
last night. I hope he doesn't write
you a note.
Melvin looks up -- wary -- his brain sends a disturbing
"What?" Look at you... You sense a
Hey -- you called me... I...
About a dog.
Yeah, but it's all about Simon
now... you helped with the dog...
And now there are other things. I'm
just as concerned as you are about
Concerned. I'm just the hall
It's not only financial assistance.
What he's got to do is go to
Baltimore tomorrow and ask his
parents for money. It's not going
to happen on the phone.
Yeah. If his parents are alive
they've got to help -- those are
the rules. Good.
Yes. And tomorrow? I have a high
maintenance selling painter coming
through... So I'm out. Can you take
Think white and get serious.
Carol enters scene.
Take my car -- a convertible. Do
Like the wind but I'm not doing it.
Getting loud, getting loud.
He wants me to take his car and his
client to Baltimore.
I want your life for a minute where
my big problem is someone offers me
a free convertible so I can get out
of this city.
She exits. Frank prepares to depart.
Okay. I'll take him. Get him packed
-- ready -- tomorrow morning.
Frank stumbles back... self-satisfied, he relaxes.
Okay... so I'll see you tomorrow.
Let's not drag this out. We don't
enjoy another that much.
If there's some mental health
foundation that raises money to
help people like you be sure to let
Last word freak.
Frank adjusts and exits... Carol approaches calling a "good-
bye" to him.
So. Anything else?
Yes. I'm going to give my queer
neighbor a lift to Baltimore.
Hey, what I did for you is working
(a breath; then)
What you did changed my life.
She offers him the note.
No... no thank you notes.
Well, part of what I said in this
entire history of my life which you
won't read is that somehow you've
done more for my mother, my son and
me, than anyone else ever has...
And that makes you the most
important, surprising, generous
person I've ever met and that you
be in our daily prayers forever.
I also wrote one part... I wrote
I'm sorry... I was talking about I
was sorry when I got mad at you
when you came over and you told my
son that he ought to answer back so
I wrote that.
(reading from the letter,
I was sorry for busting you on
that... and I'm sorry for busting
in on you that night... when I said
I was never... I was sorry and I'm
sorry every time your food was cold
and that you had to wait two
seconds for a coffee filler...
Melvin wants to disappear but Carol is getting into it --
emotionally moved by her own words.
... and I'm sorry for never
spotting, right there at the table
in the restaurant, the human being
that had it in him to do this thing
for us... You know what, I'm just
going to start from the
beginning... I have not been able
to express my gratefulness to
you... even as I look at the word
"grateful" now it doesn't begin to
tell you what I feel for you...
And finally Carol notes Melvin's mood and pauses.
Nice of you... thank you.
Now I want you to do something for
She looks at him for a very strange, long beat.
Oh, I'm sorry... Didn't I say,
"what?" I thought I said,
I want you to go on this trip.
I can't do this alone. I'm afraid
he'll pull the stiff one eye on me.
I need you to chaperon. Separate
everything but cars. You said you
liked convertibles. Now I'm on the
The stiff one eye?
I can't. I work.
You take off when you have to.
Bettes tells me he's doing fine.
(no other way)
Melvin, I'd rather not.
What's that got to do with it?
Funny, I thought it was a strong
Write me a note and ain't she
sweet. I need a hand and where'd
Are you saying accepting your help
Is there another way to see it?
Carol takes an old weekend case down from the top shelf of
Well, here's a little suitcase
shocked that it's been used.
She holds up a dress -- a pretty one... then decides it's
too pretty and puts it back... Now she looks in another
drawer and pauses as if she ponders one of the mysteries of
the ages. She hesitates then talks to herself.
80 INSERT -- UNDERWEAR DRAWER 80
Her best underwear neatly stacked alongside her everyday
"girl Jockies." She fingers the good stuff -- puts it back --
then the everyday -- hesitates.
There's not way to pack for this
trip... well, I'll tell you -- I'm
not packing the camera.
As she exits the room --
81 INT. CAROL'S APARTMENT - KITCHEN - NIGHT 81
As she picks up the phone.
82 INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT 82
Melvin is in his bedroom -- everything he's taking neatly
stacked on the bed waiting to be packed (he is taking a
camera). He has a list of what he needs. All items --
underwear, socks, etc... with four checks next to each one
and still he -- checks each stack on the bed and adds
another check. The PHONE RINGS. This is an amazing
development. He has almost no recent experience with
receiving a nighttime phone call. He makes a little comment
to himself as he moves.
He stops -- briefly trying to remember where the phone is --
and then, remembering, crosses and picks it up but before
bringing it to his mouth nervously clears his throat.
As she hears his throat being
cleared. It is not a pretty sound.
(The following conversation is
Are you still coming?
Melvin visibly relaxes.
Melvin... I'd like to know exactly
where we are going.
Just south to Baltimore, Maryland.
So I know what you're going to ask
That you might ask -- I'm not
There's... there's no need to bring
anything dressy... or... I mean --
I didn't know if we'd be eating at
any restaurant that have dress
We might. Yes. We can. Let's.
Okay, gotcha. What did you think I
was going to ask?
Whether crabs are in season there
Oh. Okay, then -- Melvin. Good
83 INT. CAROL'S APARTMENT - BEVERLY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT 83
Beverly looks up expectantly as her daughter enters.
How was it talking to him?
Stop treating this like I'm going
away with a man. He's just going to
say those crappy, sick,
complaining, angry things to me. I
hate this, Mom -- I hate this. He's
a freak show -- the worst person I
Well, maybe he has nice friends.
84 EXT. CAROL'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY 84
Beverly and Spencer wait with her. The bus approaches. She
You stand there and I'll wave to
you from the back window.
As she boards the bus.
Call me as soon as you're settled.
I love you.
The bus driver closes the doors on her -- she shoves them
(to bus driver)
The bus pulls out. He runs after the bus -- waving at his
mother who grows concerned that he might be taxing himself.
85 INT. VETERINARIAN'S WAITING ROOM - DAY 85
A female VETERINARIAN in surgical scrubs holds Verdell as
Melvin finishes filling out some forms.
On opposite sides of the waiting room, a very large black
dog and a tiny Chihuahua sit patiently with their owners.
Anything unusual in the dog's diet?
No. Everybody gets their own cage?
(pointing to Chihuahua)
Put him in with that one, not that
(pointing to large dog)
... Builds his confidence.
86 EXT. BUS STOP NEAR APARTMENT BUILDING (NEW YORK) - DAY 86
As she walks and turns a corner.
CLOSE ON CAROL
The shot of the prisoner taking the walk toward the death
chamber. But the prisoner -- has grit -- her knees do not
buckle. She does not whimper. No prison "screws" will have
to support her weight. Still, the prospect couldn't be
Melvin next to a spiffy
convertible. Top down. Trunk open.
CLOSER ON MELVIN
He is wearing driving gloves and turns to witness the tussle
Frank and Simon are having just inside the building.
I'm sorry that I'm not taking you.
So am I, Frank.
Frank starts to leave -- Simon stops him. They embrace.
Soak it up -- it's your last chance
at a hug for a few days.
As Frank moves off Melvin sees Carol and his demeanor
changes... that quickly there is a shyness.
Thanks for being on time... Carol,
the waitress, this is Simon, the
Hello... Oh, my God, who did that
I, uh... I was... attacked. Walked
in on people robbing me. I was
hospitalized. I almost died.
Let's do the small talk in the car.
Carol puts her bag in the car.
I was going to do that for you.
It's okay. No problem. Where should
I -- uh, I... Well, there is no
place cards or anything.
Let me go in back. You look like
you need all the room you can
That's very thoughtful.
Never a break. Never.
Carol steps into the back. Melvin disappointed that he's not
sitting next to Carol... Carol is wedged in the small back
seat. She struggles to get her feet in.
You're really jammed back there.
He reaches for the latch between his legs and slides his
seat and, with some effort, wrenches it forward giving
Carol more room and putting his right against the wheel. She
is startled by the gesture.
And off they go. Simon and Carol stunned by the manners.
88 EXT. 12TH STREET 88
Turning onto Fifth.
I got the whole ride programmed.
CAMERA FOLLOWS as Melvin goes to a rack of CDs -- all
carefully labelled. He selects and begins to play the one
marked "ICEBREAKER." It is a song which we clearly and
quickly judge as off the circumstances -- a quick burst of
"Y.M.C.A." Melvin STOPS the MUSIC and chuckles.
Just wanted to see what you'd do.
No, we have greatness here.
He goes for another CD labelled "FOR USE TO REP THINGS UP."
The car turns onto Seventh as we hear BEAUTIFULLY SELECTED
Hey, I like this music.
And, as the MUSIC PLAYS, Simon looks out.
89 EXT. ROAD - DAY 89
The three of them... Carol chattering away.
I don't know the last time I've
been out of the city... Hey, my
arms are tanning. I used to tan
great. We gotta stop soon so'se I
can check on Spencer.
(during the above)
I'm sorry... I can't hear you. I
can't turn my head all the way
yet... tell her we can't hear her.
Doesn't matter. She's enjoying
herself. Consider it part of the
A short time later. Carol is now driving.
I'm sure, Simon, they did something
real off for you to feel this
way... But when it comes to your
partners -- or your kid -- things
will always be off for you unless
you set it straight. Maybe this
thing happened to you just to give
you that chance.
Anybody here who's interested in
what Melvin has to say raise their
Simon does not raise his hand. Simon and Carol have thus
declared their majority.
Do you want to know what happened
with my parents?
Yes. I really would.
No, let me pull over so I can pay
Car pulling over toward parking spot.
91 EXT. HIGHWAY - CURBSIDE - CONVERTIBLE - DAY 91
She takes the car curbside and parks.
Now go ahead.
Simon looks back at Melvin as does Carol. He looks innocent.
Several beats -- Melvin almost says something -- a hidden
hand gesture from Carol stops him. Finally.
Well, I always painted. Always. And
my mother always encouraged it. She
was sort of fabulous about it
actually... and she used to... I
was too young to think there was
anything at all wrong with it...
and she was very natural. She used
to pose nude for me... and I
thought or assumed my father was
aware of it.
This stuff is pointless.
Hey -- you let him...
You like sad stories -- you want
. Go ahead, Simon. Really. Please.
Don't let him stop you. Ignore him.
Okay. Well, one day my father came
in on one of those painting
sessions when I was nine -- and he
just started screaming at her -- at
us -- at evil. And...
... my father didn't leave his room
for 11 years -- he hit my hand with
a yardstick if I made a mistake on
Go ahead, Simon. Your father walked
in on you and was yelling and...
really, come on.
I was trying to defend my mother
and make peace, in the lamest way.
I said, "she's not naked -- it's
art." And then he started hitting
me. And he beat me unconscious.
After that he talked to me less and
less -- he knew before I left for
college, my dad came into my room.
He held out his hand. It was filled
with money. A big wad of sweaty
And he said to me, "I don't want
you to ever come back." I grabbed
him and I hugged him... He turns
and walked out.
Carol, whose life has been rugged but basic, feels as
strange as she does moved by Simon's trauma which is so much
more complicated than her meat and potatoes troubles. She
looks out her window -- then kisses her fingers and touches
them to Simon's cheek. A nice, understated, gesture of
Well, you know -- I still stay what
I said. You've got to get past it
all when it comes to your parents.
We all have these horror stories to
Melvin shifts INTO the FRAME.
That's not true. Some of us have
great stories... pretty stories
that take place at lakes with boats
and friends and noodle salad. Just
not anybody in this car. But lots
of people -- that's their story --
good times and noodle salad... and
that's what makes it hard. Not that
you had it bad but being that
pissed that so many had it good.
Not it at all, really.
(a veteran's irony)
Not at all, huh?!... Let's go to
the hotel. And if you're lucky
tomorrow Dad will give you another
wad of sweaty money.
92 INT. HOTEL SUITE - LIVING ROOM/CARL'S ROOM - DAY 92
Two bedrooms and the sofa opens...
Carol is on the phone in the living room -- she hangs up.
No answer... Maybe we should just
drive there tomorrow. Can I have
I'll take the sofa.
Carol walks into her room -- the nicest room she'll ever
have slept in... She goes to the phone and dials...
Hello... Hi, Spencer... Why are you
out of breath? You did?!? That is
great... So great... So -- no, wait
a second, Spence...
Melvin watches Simon struggle to unpack his especially neat
suitcase. Melvin is uncomfortable.
Can I ask you a personal question?
Simon laughs loudly in apprehension squared.
Do you ever get an erection for a
Wouldn't your lie be a lot easier
if you were not...
You consider your life easy.
I give you that one...
94 INT. HOTEL SUITE - LIVING ROOM - DAY 94
Carol enters the common living room... Melvin is sitting
there. Carol is dealing with a number of unsettling new
factors in her life.
My son was outside playing soccer.
I never saw him playing ball. Come
on, you guys -- take me out for a
good time... Take me out dancing.
I can't, I'm exhausted.
Carol walks to Simon and puts an arm on him. Melvin is
visibly disturbed by her gesture.
I don't blame you...
This is a monumental first day
out... You sad or anything?
No... Nervous. It would be very
rough, Carol, if you weren't along.
What a nice compliment.
She gives Simon a kiss... Melvin deals with jealousy. She
turns to him.
I'm happy. And you're my date.
Let's get dressed.
She exits the room. Melvin unnerved.
I'm going to jump in the shower.
I'll be right with you.
95 INT. HOTEL SUITE - NIGHT 95
As Carol, dressed in a thrift shop find, enters the main
room of the suite and hears the SHOWER running -- she sits
down to wait -- through...
96 SERIES OF DISSOLVES 96
Showing the enormous length of time which transpires until
finally a seriously clean Melvin emerges from the bathroom
through a cloud of steam. They exit.
97 EXT. FIRST RATE RESTAURANT - NIGHT 97
As they drive up.
Good evening, sir.
They sell hard shell crabs here?
98 INT. FIRST RATE RESTAURANT - NIGHT 98
As they enters...
Hi. You have hard shells, right?
Stop asking everyone.
Just him and that's it. Okay, you
can answer -- we've worked it out.
Yes, we do... And I can give you a
tie and jacket.
They require a tie and jacket but
we have some available.
He reaches into the coat and check room and withdraws them.
No... I'm not wearing that -- and
just in case you were going to ask
I'm not going to let you inject me
with plaque either.
You promised a nice place -- can't
(to Head Waiter)
You have these dry cleaned all the
time, don't you?
Actually, I don't think so.
99 EXT. FIRST RATE RESTAURANT - NIGHT 99
As Melvin takes his car back from the valet.
100 EXT. STREET - SHOPPING MALL - NIGHT 100
As the car goes right across the street to a shopping mall.
101 INT. SHOPPING MALL - MEN'S STORE - NIGHT 101
Melvin walks to the doorway and stops suddenly.
I need a coat and tie.
CAMERA REVEALS that the floor is
intricately patterned so that
passage for Melvin is impossible.
Come on in.
That jacket and give me a tie.
As he pulls up - a new VALET taking his car.
You have hard shells?
I'm not sure.
Everyone else says you do.
Then I guess we do.
103 INT. FIRST RATE RESTAURANT 103
As he enters, looks for and then spot Carol. She is having a
martini at the bar... Sitting on a stool -- watching COUPLES
dance... Happy by herself... Turning down a MAN who wants to
buy her another... And Melvin watches... Watches his date.
Shall I get her for you?
No, it's all right. I'll just
He enjoys watching her for a few more beats... She turns --
Melvin makes a "Haul your ass over here" gesture... and she
smiles and walks toward him... A WAITER has lifted her drink
-- placed it on a tray and follows her. She takes a bit of a
slalom course through the tables, giddy as the MUSIC PLAYS
and couples dance in the b.g. She notices the waiter in her
(mouthing the words to
My drink is following me.
Melvin watches her approach. It is all too exquisite. He
takes a breath -- it doesn't come easily.
You look s...
She stops herself from saying "sexy," regathers, then...
You look great.
They arrives at the table. He holds out her chair for her.
You wanna dance?
I've been thinking about that since
you brought it up before.
(and before she can
... I don't get this place. They
make me buy an outfit but they let
you wear a house dress. I don't get
Melvin has no idea he has insulted
her. Sandbagged in extreme, she
gets up -- actually ready to leave.
No. Wait. What? Why? I didn't mean
it. You gotta sit down. You can
still give me the dirty look...
just sit down and give it to me.
Melvin, pay me a compliment... I
need one and quick... You have no
idea how much what you said just
hurt my feelings.
(really pissed, mutters)
That monominute somebody gets that
you need them they threaten to go
away. Never fails.
That's not compliment, Melvin...
That's just trying to sound smart
so I feel stupid... A compliment is
something nice about somebody
else... Now or never.
He waves her down.
And mean it...
Can we order first?
She thinks and then nods. The waiter is across the room.
This does not stop Melvin.
Two crab dinners and pitcher of
Baked or fries?
One baked -- one fries.
I'll tell your waiter.
Okay, I got a real great compliment
for you and it's true.
I am so afraid you're about to say
Don't be pessimistic. It's not your
style. Okay... Here I goes...
Clearly a mistake.
(this is hell for him)
I have this -- what? Ailment... And
my doctor -- a shrink... who I used
to see all the time... he says 50
or 60 percent of the time a pill
can really help. I hate pills. Very
dangerous things, pills. "Hate," I
am using the word "hate" about
pills. My compliment is that when
you came to my house that time and
told me how you'd never -- well,
you were there, you know... The
next morning I started taking these
(a little confused)
I don't quite get how that's a
compliment for me.
Amazing that something in Melvin rises to the occasion -- so
that he uncharacteristically looks at her directly -- then:
You make me want to be a better
Carol never expected the kind of praise which would so slip
under her guard. She stumbles a bit -- flattered,
momentarily moved and his for the taking.
That's maybe the best compliment of
Then I've really overshot here
'cause I was aiming at just enough
to keep you from walking out.
So how are you doing with those
pills? Well, I hopahopahopa.
Takes months to know... They work
little by little.
(holds his head; then)
Talking like this is exhausting.
Carol moves to the chair next to him... She sits very close -
- he tenses.
Have you ever let a romantic moment
make you do something you know is
Here's the trouble with never.
for the kiss. Their faces are close
-- she looks at him... She closes
her eyes -- her face moving toward
him -- he is wide-eyed and
afraid... His face almost moves
away -- in a shot this close it's
almost flight... But now his head
moves back and he receives her
kiss. It is brief. Carol smiles
encouragement to him and herself.
Melvin can't bear the pleasure.
You don't owe me that.
That wasn't payment. When you first
came into breakfast, when I saw you
-- I thought you were handsome...
Then, of course, you spoke...
So now that your soft li'l
underbelly is all exposed. Tell me,
why did you bring me?
Melvin's voice is soft -- hesitant, okay, vulnerable... as
he holds up his hands in a "stop" signal.
Well, ah... that's a personal
Tell me even if you're scared. Tell
me why you wanted me here. It's
She kisses him again.
If you ask me... I'll say, "yes."
There are lots of reason... I had a
thought that if you had sex with
Simon it might...
Sex with Simon?
It's one idea...
That's why you brought me? Look at
me! Is that really why you brought
me... Like I'm a what and I owe you
I don't know why I brought you --
that idea occurred to me is all...
It came out first... Hey, you kiss
him -- me... He says he loves you.
You two hit it off. But you don't
want to... fine... Forget what I
said about sex with Simon. It was a
(wiping away tears)
I'll never forget you said it.
It was a mistake.
But she has already turned away and exits the restaurant...
Melvin alone and miserable.
He finishes dialing. He is extremely tense -- not breathing -
- a lump in his throat -- trying not to let the anxiety
immobilize him... the NUMBER RINGS twice, then a humorless
(humorless male voice)
Hi. This is Fred Bishop...
(perky woman's voice)
... and Betty.
We are sorry to be unable to take
your call right now. Please leave a
message and we'd appreciate your
including the time/date and purpose
of your call.
(Simon mouths the word
"date," then Betty speaks
before the beep Bye-bye.
Ah, this is Simon... I'm here in
... and, folks, you haven't come
home later than 10 in your lives.
Please pick up -- really... Okay...
I'm going to call again in the
morning. I need to see you. Or, at
least get you to answer the phone.
He hangs up. His parents want no part of him and he needs
105 INT. HOTEL SUITE - CAROL'S ROOM - NIGHT 105
As Carol enters with some energy. We FOLLOW her as she goes
into her room -- takes her suitcase, begins throwing things
106 INT. HOTEL SUITE - SIMON'S ROOM - NIGHT 106
Carol thrusts open the door and enters...
Was this supposed to be your room?
Our room. I don't want to see him
and he's not going to come knocking
on your door.
Simon struggles with his shirt -- she helps him,
inadvertently venting some anger as she does so.
Can you not be violent?
I don't think so. You need help
with the pants?
I'm going to take a big bath and
order a big meal.
I'm sorry... are you okay?
Well, considering everything's
horrible and tomorrow I have to
face my parents... Don't ask me ...
I'm sick of my own complaints ...
got to get me a new set of
Why? What have you been thinking
How to die, mostly.
Can you believe in our little mix
you're the good roommate.
Simon laughs -- as she crosses to the bathroom and begins to
prepare a bath.
(turning off the light)
We are ON Simon settling in for sleep, when instinct or
sounds or the faint glow of hope turns him so that he faces
the bathroom and we have...
Carol sitting at tub's edge -- a
towel around her and now as Simon
looks at the bathing beauty she
adjusts her hair -- the towel falls
-- a better than perfect breast
BACK TO SCENE
He leaves the bed.
107 ANGLES ON HOTEL DESK 107
What's he up to... he takes the blotter from the desk set
and a pen from his jacket pocket which hangs on the chair
and with vigor and faint pain moves to the other side of the
bed where he turns on the light and stares at Carol.
I've got to sketch you.
No... Absolutely not. I'm shyer
than you think. I give the wrong
impression sometimes and...
I haven't even been thinking about
sketching for weeks.
Stop staring. Do a vase.
But you're beautiful... your skin
Thanks. But I just want to take a
That long neck -- the line of
you... you're porcelain... your
back goes on forever. You're
classic... you're why cavemen
chiseled on walls...
All right, cut me a break.
Simon's pen moves across the blotter -- Carol sees him
earnestly engrossed, a beat of indecision and then shyly but
deliberately she lowers the towel. He's right. She's