Dear friend... I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand. And didn't try to sleep with that person at that party... even though you could have. Please, don't try to figure out who I am. I don't want you to do that. I just need to know that people like you exist. Like, if you met me you wouldn't... think I was the weird kid who spent time in the hospital. And I wouldn't make you nervous. I hope it's okay for me to think that. You see, I haven't really talked to anyone... outside of my family all summer. But tomorrow is my first day of high school ever. And I need to turn things around. So I have a plan. As I enter the school for the first time... I will visualize what it will be like... on the last day of my senior year. Unfortunately, I counted and that's... Hop, freshman toads! Hop! Let's move it! We worked out all summer. Rock hard. Hey, you know what? Why don't you guys get a room? Just 1,385 days. In the meantime, I'd hoped that my sister, Candace, and her boyfriend, Derek... would have let me eat lunch with their Earth Club. Seniors only. What are you doing with that plastic spork? I don't wanna bring back silverware. Derek, you're Earth Club treasurer. Come on! When my sister said "No," I thought... maybe my old friend Susan would wanna have lunch with me. In middle school, Susan was very fun to be around... but now she doesn't like to say "Hi" to me anymore. And then there's Brad Hays. Before my older brother went to play football for Penn State... he and Brad played together... so I thought maybe he'd say "Hi" to me. But Brad's a senior. And I'm me. So who am I kidding? On the bright side... one senior decided to make fun of the teacher instead of the freshmen. He even drew on Mr. Callahan's legendary goatee... with a grease pencil. The prick punch is not a toy. I learned that back in 'Nam in '68. "Callahan," sergeant said... "you put down that prick punch. You go kill some gooks." And you know what happened? That prick punch killed my best friend in a Saigon whorehouse. I heard you were gonna be in my class. Are you proud to be a senior... having to take freshman shop, Patty-Cakes? Look, my name is Patrick. Either you call me Patrick or you call me nothing. Okay, Nothing. I felt really bad for Patrick. He wasn't doing the impersonation to be mean or anything. He was just trying to make us freshmen feel better. Nothing, why don't you read first? All right. "Chapter One." Surviving your fascist shop teacher... "who needs to put kids down to feel big." this is useful, guys. We should read on. My last class of the day is Advanced English... and I'm really excited to finally learn... with the smartest kids in the school. Nice Trapper Keeper, faggot. Believe it or not, she's gotten straight A's since kindergarten. I'm Mr. Anderson. I'm gonna be your teacher for freshman English. This semester we're gonna learn about... Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Genius book. Now, who'd like to get out of the first pop quiz? I'm shocked. All right. Well, you can skip the quiz... if you tell me which author invented the paperback book. Anyone? He was British. He also invented the serial. In fact, at the end of the third chapter of his first novel... he had a man hanging from a cliff by his fingernails. Hence the term "cliff hanger." Anybody? - Yeah? - Shakespeare. That's a great guess, but no. Shakespeare didn't write novels. Anybody else? The author... was Charles Dickens. However, if you and I had gone to a Shakespeare play... it would have cost us four pennies. Can you imagine that? We would have put those pennies in a metal box. The ushers would lock it in the office. And that's where we get the term... Cash register. Office Max. I'll give you a free "A" on anything... except the final term paper if you get it right. Box office. You should learn to participate. Why didn't you raise your hand? They call you the "teacher's pet"? "Freak"? That kinda thing? I used to get "spaz." I mean, come on, "spaz"? You know, I heard you had a tough time last year. But they say if you make one friend... on your first day, you're doing okay. Thank you, sir, but if my English teacher... is the only friend I make today... that would be sort of depressing. Yeah, I can see that. Don't worry, Mr. Anderson, I'm okay. Thanks. I would happily not take shop... Hey, freshman toad. Well, I have 1,384 days to go. Just so I say it to someone... high school is even worse than middle school. If my parents ask me about it... I probably won't tell them the truth... because I don't want them... to worry that I might get bad again. If my Aunt Helen were still here, I could talk to her... and I know she would understand... how I'm both happy and sad. And I'm still trying to figure out how that could be. I just hope I make a friend soon. Love always, Charlie. Charlie? Come on. This chicken paprikash is delicious. Thank you, Derek. It's Charlie's favorite. He was a little nervous about starting high school today, so I made it for him. Feel a little silly about being nervous now, Champ? Yes, sir. I sure do. I told you, just give 'em a smile... and be yourself. - That's how you... - Make friends in the real world. You're cruisin' for a bruisin'. Freshman year is tough, but... you really find yourself. Thanks, Derek. You could have been a little nicer to Derek. I'm sorry, the kid's a pussy. I can't stand him. - I really hope you love the mix tape I made. - I do. - The cover is hand-painted. - Oh, wow. Hey, Charlie, you want this? Are you sure? He gives me one every week. Hey, babe. This next one might be a little sad, but it reminded me of your eyes. Sing me to sleep I'm tired and I I want to go to bed Sing me to sleep Did you already do the term paper on To Kill a Mockingbird? No. Get him. Don't try to wake me in the morning 'Cause I will be gone Don't feel bad for me I want you to know Deep in the cell of my heart I will feel so glad to go Let's go, Devils! Right. Come on, offense! - Hey, Nothing. - Hey, Nothing. Oh, suck it, virginity pledges. Suck it. Oh, you're in trouble now, Jaguars! Hey, Patrick. Hey. You're in my shop class, right? How's your clock coming? My dad's building it for me. Yeah. Mine looks like a boat. You wanna sit over here or are you waiting for your friends? No, no, no, I'll sit. Thanks for not calling me Nothing by the way. It's an endless nightmare. And these assholes, they actually think they're being original. So do you like football? Love it. Love football. Maybe you know my brother then. Hey, Sam. Question. Could the bathrooms here be more disgusting? Yes. They call it the men's room. Oh. So I finally got hold of Bob. Party tonight? He's still trying to shag that waitress from the Olive Garden. He's never tossing that salad. Come on! Patrick. Yeah? Who's this? This is- Charlie Kelmeckis. Kelmeckis? No shit? Your sister's dating Ponytail Derek, isn't she? - God. - Is that what they call him? Would you leave Ponytail Derek alone? You put the "ass" in "class," Patrick. I try. Sam, I try. It's nice to meet you, Charlie. I'm Sam. - What's the plan? Are we going to Mary Elizabeth's tonight? - Nope. She got caught watering down her parents' brandy with iced tea. Let's just go to Kings. All right. We're goin' to Kings after the game if you wanna come. Do you have a favorite band? Well, I think The Smiths are my favorite. Are you kidding? I love The Smiths. Best breakup band ever. What's your favorite song? "Asleep." It's from Louder than Bombs. I heard it on Ponytail Derek's mix tape. Oh, that works on so many levels. I can make you guys a copy if you want. - What about Eides? You love Eides, right? - Yeah, of course. They're great. Not a band, Charlie. It's a record store downtown. Things sound so much better on vinyl. You know, I used to be popular before Sam got me some good music. So you be careful. She'll ruin your life forever. That's okay. - Hey, Nothing. - Hey, Nothing. Let it go! Jesus! It's an antique joke. It's over. So what are you gonna do when you get outta this place? Well, my Aunt Helen said I should be a writer... but I don't know what I'd write about. You could write about us. Yeah! Call it Slut and the Falcon. Make us solve crimes. You guys seem really happy together. How long have you been boyfriend and girlfriend? He's not my boyfriend. He's my stepbrother. My mom finally left my worthless dad... and married his nice dad when we moved here. But she's not bitter or anything. Make no mistake. Absolutely not. Charlie, I'm not a bulimic. - I'm a bulim-ist. - I'm sorry, I don't know what that is. She just really believes in bulimia. I love bulimia! Hey. Thanks for paying, Charlie. Oh, no problem. Thank you guys for the ride. Maybe I'll see you around in school? - God, would you turn it down? You're gonna make us deaf. - So be it. It's rock and roll. Bye, Charlie! - Bye, Charlie. - Okay, bye. Your mom says, "Don't go to Columbia with Candace, Derek." - Shut... - "Don't go to Columbia!" Do you always want to be a mama's boy, Derek? I am not a mama's boy! You are, because every single time I go to your house... Every single time! Shut up, Candace! You just stand there like a little bitch dog. No. Charlie... Charlie, just go. I can handle it. Just don't wake up Mom and Dad. Hey! Look who's here. Welcome home, Aunt Helen. Look at you guys. Dressed so nice. Hey, Candace. What are you doing? Look, I egged him on. You saw it. He's never hit me before, and I promise you, he will never hit me again. Like Aunt Helen's boyfriends? Charlie, this is Ponytail Derek. I can handle him. Do you trust me? Please, don't tell Mom and Dad. Oh, my God, they're playing good music! Holy shit. Holy shit! They are! They're playing good music. - Living room routine. - Living room routine. - Yes. - Yes! Excuse us. Excuse me. Pardon. Sorry. Get out of the way! Get out of the way! Poor old Johnny Ray Sounded sad upon the radio Moved a million hearts in mono Our mothers cried - Sang along, who'd blame them? - Come on, Eileen Too-rye-loo-rye, Too-rye-loo-rye-ay And we can sing just like our fathers Come on, Eileen - Oh, I swear - What he means At this moment you mean everything You in that dress My thoughts, I confess Verge on dirty Oh, come on, Eileen Come on, Eileen Too-loo-rye-ay Come on, Eileen Too-loo-rye-ay Now you're full grown Now you have shown Eileen Come on, Eileen These things they are real and I know how you feel Now I must say more than ever Things round here have changed I said, too-loo-rye Too-loo-rye-ay God, it's freezing! But you wore that toasty costume. It's not like it's cute or original. - You'd hope it would be warm. - Yeah, piss off, Tennessee Tuxedo. Are you sure it's okay that I come? Yeah, of course. Just remember, Charlie, Bob's not paranoid. He's sensitive. Sam! That waitress from the Olive Garden, she was such a tease. Will you marry me? Only with Patrick's blessing. Patrick? You are a hopeless stoner who attends the culinary institute. I'm gonna say "no" on that, but nice try. Charlie. Oh, touch. So, Charlie. This is a party. This is what fun looks like. Are you ready to meet some desperate women? Here, have a seat. Hey, ladies. Meet Charlie. - Hi. - Meet ladies. - Hey. - Mary Elizabeth. - Alice. - Nice to meet you. This is Charlie's first party ever. So I expect nice, meaningful, heartfelt blowjobs from both of you. - Patrick, you're such a dick. - Where the hell did you go? - The dance was a little boring, don't you think? - You are so selfish. We looked everywhere for you. You could have told someone. Cry me a river. How is it that you've got meaner since becoming a Buddhist? Just lucky, I guess. No, you're doing something wrong, I think. Or something very right. - Yeah, well... - Hey! Look who's here. Is that Brad Hays? Yeah. He comes here sometimes. But he's a popular kid. Then what are we? Oh, Charlie! You look like you could use a brownie. Thank you. I was so hungry at the dance. I was gonna go to Kings... but I didn't really have any time. Thanks. Have you guys felt this carpet? This carpet feels so darn good. Charlie, Charlie, what do you think about high school? High school? Bullshit. The cafeteria is called the Nutrition Center. People wear their letter jackets even when it's 98 degrees out. And why do they give out letter jackets to marching band? It's not a sport. We all know it. This kid is crazy. Mary Elizabeth, I think you're really gonna regret that... you know-haircut when you look back at old photographs. Oh, my God! I'm really sorry. That sounded like a compliment in my head. My God! Well, it's kinda true. Shut up! I can't even be mad at him. Look at him. Bob, did you get him stoned? Come on, Sam, he likes it, just look at him. How do you feel, Charlie? I just really want a milk shake. Sam... You have such pretty brown eyes. The kind of pretty that deserves to make... a big deal about itself though, you know what I mean? Okay, Charlie. Let me make the milk shake. What a great word. Milk shake. It's like when you say your name over and over again in the mirror... and after a while it sounds crazy. So I'm guessing you've never been high before? No. No, no, no. My best friend, Michael, his dad was a big drinker... so he hated all that stuff. Parties too. Well, where is Michael tonight? Oh, he shot himself last May. I kinda wished he'd left a note. You know what I mean? Where's the bathroom? It's up the stairs. Thanks, Sam. You're so nice. Charlie. Weird. Charlie. What... Who was that kid? Relax. Relax. He's a friend of mine. Stay here. I didn't see anything. Yeah, I know you saw something, but it's okay. Okay, listen... Brad doesn't want anyone to know. Wait. - Are you baked? - Like a cake. That's what Bob said. And you can't have three on a match because then they'd find us. And everybody laughed but I don't understand what's funny. Okay, Charlie, listen. I need you to promise... that you're not gonna say anything to anyone about me and Brad. Okay? This has to be our little secret. Our little secret. Agreed. Okay. Thank you. We'll talk later. I look forward to that big talk. Can I have your cherry? Isn't this the best milk shake ever, Alice? It's even better than the first one. Charlie just told me that his best friend shot himself. I don't think he has any friends. Hey, everyone! Everybody! Everyone... raise your glasses to Charlie. - What did I do? - You didn't do anything. We just wanna toast to our new friend. You see things. And you understand. You're a wallflower. What is it? What's wrong? I didn't think anyone noticed me. Well, we didn't think there was anyone cool left to meet. So come on, everyone. To Charlie. To Charlie. Welcome to the Island of Misfit Toys. Oh, my God! What is this song? Right? I have no idea. Have you ever heard this before? Never. Patrick, we've gotta go through the tunnel. Sam, it's freezing. Patrick, It's the perfect song. No. Mama Patrick says "No." Patrick. It's Sam. It's Sam speaking to you right now. I'm begging you to do this for me. I concede! What is she doing? Oh, don't worry. She does it all the time. Turn it up! You got it, your highness. We can be heroes Just for one day I I will be king And you What? I feel infinite. And nothing Will drive them away We can be heroes Just for one day Dear friend... I'm sorry I haven't written for a while... but I've been trying hard not to be a loser. For example, I'm trying to participate... by listening to Sam's collection of big rock ballads... and thinking about love. Sam says they're kitschy and brilliant. I completely agree. I'm also writing essays and studying extra books outside of class. As it turns out, Mr. Anderson is a writer. He even had a play put up in New York once... which I think is very impressive. Great Gatsby? He and his wife might go back there after this year. I know this is selfish, but I really hope he doesn't. My favorite time, though, is lunch... because I get to see Sam and Patrick. We spend the time working on Mary Elizabeth's fanzine... about music and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It's called Punk Rocky. Mary Elizabeth is really interesting... because she's a Buddhist and a punk. But somehow she always acts like my father at the end of a long day. Her best friend Alice loves vampires... and wants to go to film school. She also steals jeans from the mall. I don't know why, because her family is rich... but I'm trying not to be judgmental. Especially since I know that they were all there for Patrick last year. Patrick never likes to be serious... so it took me a while to get what happened. When he was a junior, Patrick started seeing Brad on the weekends in secret. I guess it was hard, too... because Brad had to get drunk every time they fooled around. Then Monday in school, Brad would say... "Man, I was so wasted I don't remember a thing." This went on for seven months. When they finally did it, Brad said he loved Patrick. Then he started to cry. No matter what Patrick did... Brad kept saying that his dad would kill him. And saying that he was going to hell. Patrick was eventually able to help Brad get sober. I asked Patrick if he felt sad... that he still had to keep it a secret. And he said "No," because at least now... Brad doesn't have to get drunk to love him. I think I understand, because I really like Sam. I asked my sister about her... and she said that when Sam was a freshman... the upperclassmen used to get her drunk at parties. I guess she had a reputation. But I don't care. I'd hate for her to judge me based on what I used to be like. So I've been making her a mix tape so she'll know how I feel. Oh, shit! - C! - C! - Give me a K! - K! - Give me a Y! - Y! What's that spell? Rocky! I can't hear you! Rocky! One more time! Rocky! Whatever happened to Fay Wray? She went ape-shit. That delicate Satin-draped frame As it clung to her thigh How I started to cry 'Cause I wanted to be dressed just the same Give yourself over To absolute pleasure Swim the warm waters Of sins of the flesh Erotic nightmares Beyond any measure And sensual daydreams To treasure forever Can't you just see it? Don't dream it Be it That picture is gorgeous, Craig. What did you use? Oh, I know. Thank you. Color film, but black and white paper for printing. Yeah. My professor gave me an A... but for all the wrong reasons. Most of them are idiots. You'll see what I mean when you get to college. How'd your S.A.T.'s go, by the way? Yeah, I hope so. So- Are you okay? Yeah. Yeah. But I got my S.A.T. results back. Oops. You can take them again, you know. Yeah, it's just, if I'm going to Penn State main campus... I have to do much better. I wish I would have studied freshman year. It's a bit of a mess. I'll help you study for the next one. Will you? Yeah. Of course. Thanks, Charlie. What's this? It's just a mix tape. No big deal. My parents have a good stereo, so... It's all about that night in the tunnel. I couldn't find that song that we were listening to... but, you know, I'm still searching for it, so yeah. That's okay. These are great. Nick Drake. The Shaggs. You have really good taste, Charlie. Really? Yeah. Way better than me as a freshman. I used to listen to the worst Top 40. - No. - Yeah, I did. Then I heard this old song. "Pearly Dewdrops' Drop." And I thought someday I'd be at a party in college or something... and I'd look up and see this person across the room. And from that moment, I'd know... everything was going to be okay. You know what I mean? Yeah. I hope it works out. I don't know. Craig would be a big step up from her last boyfriend. Yeah, no shit. Who could forget Mr. Car Wash Loser? I just hope she can stop playing dumb with these guys. I keep telling her, "Don't make yourself small." Can't save anybody. Excuse me. Man, your mix is morbidly sad, kid. How about something a little bit more upbeat? Let's just see. So Sam tells me you wanna be a writer. Yeah. Don't you write poetry, Craig? Poetry writes me. You know? Let's get this party started. That was fast. You want another one? Yeah. All right. Mr. Anderson? Can I ask you something? Yeah. Why do nice people choose the wrong people to date? Are we talking about anyone specific? Well... We accept the love we think we deserve. Can we make them know that they deserve more? We can try. - Hey. - Hey, Sam. Didn't see you come in. How's it goin'? You wanna start work on probability and statistics? Yeah. Sure. Page 291 in your book. And I ordered you some breakfast. The country breakfast. Dad? Can I have 30 dollars? Twenty dollars? What do you need 10 dollars for? Sam's doing Secret Santa. It's her favorite thing in the world. Please? Have fun. Thanks. Charlie. This was my favorite book growing up. This is my copy, but I want you to have it. Thanks. Have a great Christmas break. You, too, Mr. Anderson. Terrible stain. That's pretty good, Charlie. You gotta be kidding me. If you fail me, you get me next semester. C minus! Ladies and gentlemen, I am below average! - Below average! - Below average! Guys, 1210. What? No more applications! No more S.A.T.'s! Thank you, Charlie! All right. All right, guys, I got... Multiple pairs of bluejeans. This is a really tough one... but I'm gonna have to guess Alice. Wait. Guys, a receipt! She actually paid! I'm so touched! Where's Craig? Oh, he went home to Connecticut. But he'll be back for New Year's Eve. Sorry we won't be seeing him tonight. All right, big brother by three weeks, who's your Secret Santa? I'll tell you, Sam. This one's tough. I have received a harmonica... a Magnetic Poetry set... a book about Harvey Milk... and a mix tape with the song "Asleep" on it twice. I mean, I have no idea. This collection of presents is so gay... that I think I must have given them to myself. But despite that distinct possibility... I'm gonna have to go with... Drum roll. Charlie. Obviously. Beautifully done. All right, Charlie. It's your turn. Okay. Okey dokey. I have received socks, pants, a shirt and a belt. I was ordered to wear them all tonight, so... Guessing my Secret Santa is Mary Elizabeth. Now why do you say that? You know, she bosses people around sometimes. Sorry. - What the hell is wrong with you? - Sorry. You'll be surprised to know that your Secret Santa is actually me. Why all the clothes? Well, all the great writers used to wear great suits. So your last present is on a towel rack in the bathroom. Delve into our facilities. Emerge a star. Perfect. Will you hand these out while I'm gone? Wait a second. There's only Secret Santa presents. There's rules. Mary Elizabeth, why are you trying to eat Christmas? Hand them out, Sam. All right. Mary Elizabeth. For you. Alice. Thanks. Bob. And this one's for me. "Alice, I know you'll get into NYU." Forty dollars to print Punk Rocky in color next time. He knows me. He really knows me. All right, Charlie. Come on out. Get out here, buddy. Come on, Charlie. Charlie! Don't be shy. Come out, come out, wherever... Yeah! What a display of man I have never seen! Where are we going? It's a surprise. Is this your room? So cool. Thanks. You got me a present? After all your help on my Penn State application? Of course I did. Open it! I don't know what to say. You don't have to say anything. I'm really sorry we can't be here for your birthday. No, that's okay. I'm just sorry you have to go back and visit your dad. I'm in such a good mood I don't think even he could ruin it. I feel like I'm finally doing good. You are. Well, what about you? When I met you, you were this scared freshman. Now look at you in that suit. You're like a sexy English schoolboy. I saw Mary Elizabeth checking you out. No. Innocent. Worst kinda guys. Never see you coming. And parents love you. That's, like... extra danger. Yeah, well, it hasn't worked so far. You've never had a girlfriend? Not even like a second grade Valentine? Nope. Have you ever kissed a girl? No. What about you? Have I ever kissed a girl? No, no. Your first kiss. I was 11. His name was Robert. He used to come over to the house all the time. Was he your first boyfriend? He was my... He was my dad's boss. You know, Charlie, I used to sleep with guys who treated me like shit. And get wasted all the time. But now I feel like... I have a chance. Like... I can even get into a real college. It's true. You can do it. You really think so? My aunt had that same thing done to her, too. And she turned her life around. She must have been great. She was my favorite person in the world. Until now. Charlie... I know that you know I like Craig. But I want to forget about that for a minute, okay? Okay. I just wanna make sure that the first person who kisses you... loves you. Okay? Okay. I love you, Charlie. I love you, too. I wanna do Secret Santa forever! Have a good time at your mom's. Thanks. And, listen, Charlie. Because your birthday's on Christmas Eve... I figure you don't get that many presents? I thought you should have my clock. From the heart. Thank you, Patrick. Bye. Have a good one, guys. I love you guys! Hey! Look who's here. - Come here, little sister. - Hey, Chris. Hey, honey. Ma, you look so thin. You. Look at you. Charlie. Come on, I got dinner ready. - Happy birthday. - Thanks. Let's eat. Make a wish, honey. Can you see it, Charlie? The luminaria is a landing strip for Santa Claus. Why don't you keep an eye out for him, and I will be right back, okay? Going to get your birthday present. Hey. God, I miss Mom's cooking. You have no idea how good you have it. I'm actually starting to hate pizza. So how you liking school? Well, I'm no braniac like you or Candace. I'm doing okay. Okay? You're playing in a bowl game. How are you feeling, Charlie? Good. No, you know what I mean. Is it bad tonight? No. I'm not picturing things anymore. Or if I do, I can just shut it off. Well, you know, Mom did say that you have good friends now. And maybe if it does get bad again... you can just talk to them. Yeah? Yeah. Especially Sam. She's great. I'm gonna ask her out at New Year's. I think the time is right now. - Body of Christ. - Amen. How long does this take to work? Shovelin' snow? I have to get this driveway clean. And then... I'm going to congratulate you on being happy. 'Cause you deserve it. You said that an hour ago. Was that tonight? Oh, I just... saw this tree, but it was a dragon. Then it was a tree again and it just lied to me. Okay, Charlie, don't freak out. Give me this. Calm down. Look up. Isn't it quiet? Sam, do you think if people knew... how crazy you really were, no one would ever talk to you? All the time. So you wanna wear these glasses? They'll protect you. It's gonna be our little secret. Did your older friends pressure you? No one pressured me, Officer. I would never do drugs. Never. Then how did you happen to be passed out on the ground at 6:00 in the morning? Well, I... I was really tired. And I was feeling feverish... so I went outside for a walk just to get some cold air. I started seeing things, so I passed out. You're seeing things again, Charlie? Not really. Nice suit. It was a Christmas present. Did you have fun on your break? More fun than you're gonna have today, Sinatra. Nice look, jag-off. I've called him 30 times. What are we supposed to do? We're going on in 10 minutes. - They said in health class- - Hello? They say that about L.S.D.just to scare you. - Are you sure? You know I've seen... - Charlie, you're fine, man. Guys, we have an emergency. Craig has flaked out on us again. So I need a Rocky. Brad? No. No way. No. I'm not... There's people out there. No. Charlie, take off your clothes. Then if anything grows While you pose I'll oil you up and rub you down Down, down, down And that's just one small fraction of the main attraction You need a friendly hand And I need action Toucha toucha toucha touch me I wanna be dirty Thrill me, chill me, fulfill me Creature of the night Maybe I can join the cast as an alternate or something. Well, we're filled up now... but they're gonna need people when we go to college. We could put in a good word for you. That'd be great. Thanks. Yeah. Charlie... Have you heard of the Sadie Hawkins dance? The one where the girl asks the guy? Obviously, it is completely stupid. And sexist. I mean, it's like "Hey, thanks for the crumb." And normally, I would just blow it off, because school dances suck torture. But, you know, it's my last year and... Would you maybe wanna go with me? You wanna go with me? Yeah, I'm sick of macho guys. Plus you looked really cute in your costume. So what do you say? You must be Mary Elizabeth. Yes. It's so nice to meet you. You, too, Mrs. Kelmeckis. Charlie tells me you're a Buddhist. - Please, come in. - Okay. A little closer together. That looks nice. Buddhist, I need you to smile a little bit more. There you go. Nice. Hey. Hey. Are you having a good time? Not really. How about you? I mean, I don't know. It's my first date, I don't have much to compare it to. You're doing fine. Sorry Craig couldn't come. Yeah. He said he didn't want to go to some stupid high school dance. I can't say I blame him really. I don't know. If you like it, he should come. Thanks, Charlie. Have a beautiful first date. You deserve it. I'll try not to make you too jealous. Now just let it breathe. It sure is a nice house. Thanks. Don't you just love old music? Yeah. Good. 'Cause I made you a mix of it. I'd love to expose you to great things like... Billie Holiday and foreign films. This merlot is really fancy. Yeah. My dad collects wine, but he doesn't drink. That's kinda weird, isn't it? I guess. Where are your parents? Their club's hosting a cotillion or something racist. They'll be gone all night. Sure is a nice fire. Yeah. When I'm done being a lobbyist... I wanna move to a house like this in Cape Cod. Sounds nice, doesn't it? Yeah. Your heart is beating really fast. Is it? Here. Feel. Charlie? Do you like me? You know what I mean. I think so. Don't be nervous. Charlie. I didn't know how tonight was gonna go, but... It's really nice, isn't it? Yeah. I just can't believe it. You, of all people. I just can't believe you're my boyfriend. Shit! My parents! Shit! - Here, zip this up. - Okay. No, I got this. Just zip it up like a normal zipper! It's stuck. It's just... Thank you. See you Monday. Dear friend... sorry I haven't written for a while... but things are a total disaster. We're literally making out and I'm in my bra... Hello! And the front door opens, it's my parents! I probably should have been honest about... how I didn't want to go out with Mary Elizabeth after Sadie's, but... I really didn't want to hurt her feelings. You see, Mary Elizabeth is a really nice person... underneath the part of her that hates everyone. Hey! And since I heard that having a girlfriend makes you happy... I tried hard to love her like I love Sam. Can you believe it's almost our 2-week anniversary? Yeah, I know. So I took her on double dates. First foreign film. Do you want butter on your popcorn? Vegans don't eat butter. And I tried not to mind that she loves to hold hands... even when her hands are sweaty. And I had to admit something really upsetting, but... I'm tired of touching her boobs. I thought maybe if she would just let me pick the make-out music... once in a while, we might have a chance. And maybe if she didn't put down the books that Mr. Anderson gives me. Walden. I read this in 7th grade. I would have called it On Boring Pond. Or if she would stop calling me the minute I get home from school... when I have absolutely nothing to talk about other than the bus ride home. Somehow she finds new things to say. That dairy just sits with you. You know, it walks with you. She's on the phone right now? Charlie, you've gotta break up with her. I can do that? For Christ's sake, I need to use the phone. I got you this book. It's really how I became a vegan. I know I should have been honest... but I was getting so mad, it was starting to scare me. I mean the way they treat those- I just wish I could have found another way to break up. Mary Elizabeth, can I talk to you... Charlie, please don't interrupt. You know I hate that. In hindsight, I probably could not have picked... a worse way to be honest with Mary Elizabeth. Truth or dare? Who are you talking to? I dare you to kiss Alice. Gird your loins, procreator. Oh, my God. Mary Elizabeth, Samantha told me that you got into Harvard. Congratulations. Thank you. This one still hasn't gotten me flowers. But I forgive you. Hey, don't worry about Penn State. You're just wait-listed. Yeah. You guys are about to miss some severely hot fag-on-goth action. Get a room. You're a monster. My turn. Let's see. Let's think. Charlie. Truth. How's your first relationship going? It's so bad... that I keep fantasizing that one of us is dying of cancer. So that I don't have to break up with her. Charlie? Truth or dare? Hello? Dare. Okay, I dare you to kiss the prettiest girl in the room... on the lips. And notice I charitably said "girl" and not "person"... because, let's face it, I'd smoke all you bitches. Oh, that's fucked up. Mary Elizabeth. I'm so sorry. It was a mistake, I'm sorry. Sam? Sam? I really didn't mean anything by it. I'm sorry. What the hell is wrong with you? I should go back and apologize. Charlie, trust me, you don't wanna go back in there. I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to do anything. I know you didn't. But, look- I hate to be the one to break this... but there's history with Mary Elizabeth and Sam. Other guys and things that have nothing to do with you. It's best if you just stay away for a while. Oh, okay. How long do you think? Charlie. Come on, get dressed. You're gonna be late for Easter Mass. I'll be there in a minute. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread... and forgive us our trespasses... as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us... Mary Elizabeth, I've been listening to the Billie Holiday CD every night. It's too late, Charlie. I know. I just feel really bad about what I did. I just get so messed up inside. Like I'm not there or something. Tell it to someone who cares. Look, I know. I'm sorry. Just we've all become such good friends. Good friends? Do you mean the people that I've known since kindergarten... and you've known for six months? Those good friends? Yeah, I mean, I just don't wanna do anything to ruin our relationship. It's ruined. Okay? So stop calling everyone. Stop embarrassing yourself. Okay, I will. Good... - Something's wrong with me. - Don't worry about it. Hey, have you heard from Patrick? No, he told me to stay away. You don't know. Why? Why? What happened? Brad's father caught them together. Some kids jumped him outside the O. No, it was some kids from North Hills. Did you see his face? That's not what I heard. Are you okay? Not now, Charlie. I'm sorry. Hey, Nothing. Oops. Sorry, Nothing. You gonna do anything? What are you talking about? I'm talking about your pet ape just tripped me. Gonna say something? - Why would I? - You know why. This is pathetic, man. Your fixation on me. Do you want your friends to know how you got those bruises? Really? I got jumped in a parking lot. Where? Schenley Park? Do you guys know about Schenley Park? - Do your friends know... - I don't know what kinda sick shit... you're trying to pull, but you better walk away right now. Nothing. Fine. Say hi to your dad for me. Whatever, faggot. - What did you just call me? - Just called you a faggot. Say that shit again! Say that shit again! It's Patrick! Leave him alone! Sam! Stop! Leave him! Stop! Stop! Touch my friends again and I'll blind you. Charlie? Yeah? Thanks for stopping 'em. Sure, Brad. How you doing, Charlie? I don't know. I keep trying, but I can't really remember what I did. Do you want me to tell you? Yeah. You saved my brother. That's what you did. So you're not scared of me? No. Can we be friends again? Of course. Come on. Let's go be psychos together. I'm dating Peter now. He's in college with Craig. He's opinionated. We have intellectual debates. You were very sweet but our relationship was too one-sided. I know this is hard for you. I'm just glad that you're happy. Okay. Hey, Craig, Sam will be down. Soon. We're gonna miss the movie. Yeah, I'll go put some pep in her step. Don't worry. Hello? Hey. Do you wanna get out of here? Sure, Patrick. I'll tell you something, Charlie... I feel good. You know what I mean? Maybe tomorrow I'll take you to this karaoke place downtown. And this club off the Strip. They don't card. And the Schenley Park scene. You have to see the Fruit Loop at least one time. Oh, my God. My life is officially an after-school special. Son of a bitch! It really is. It so is. So, you ever hear the one about Lily Miller? I don't know. Really? I thought your brother would have told you. It's a classic. Maybe. Okay, Lily comes here one night with this guy Parker. And this was to be the night that they were gonna lose their virginity. So she did it really proper. She packed a picnic. Stole a bottle of wine. Everything was perfect and they're just about to "do it." When they realize they forgot the condoms. - So what do you think happened? - I don't know. They did it with one of the sandwich bags. Oh, that's disgusting! Yes, it is. Come on! Let's keep the train rolling. Suburban legend, Charlie. Well... There's this girl named Second Base Stace. And, well, she had boobs in 4th grade. Mosquito bites. Promising. Go. And she let some of the guys feel them. - That's your suburban legend? - Yeah. - Did you at least cop a feel? - No. No. Of course not. You went home... listened to "Asleep," wrote a poem... Fine. Okay. Your turn. Yeah. I've got one. Well... there's this one guy. Queer as a 3-dollar bill. The guy's father doesn't know about his son. So he comes into the basement one night when he's supposed to be out of town. Catches his son with another boy. So he starts beating him. But not like the slap kind. Like, the real kind. And the boyfriend says, "Stop. You're killing him." But the son just yells, "Get out." And eventually... the boyfriend just did. Why can't you save anybody? I don't know. Forget it. I'm free now, right? I could meet the love of my life any second. Things will be different now and that's good. I just need to meet a good guy. Yeah. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. It's all right. I've been spending a lot of time with Patrick. He begins every night really excited. He always says he feels free and tonight is his destiny. But after a while he runs out of things to keep himself numb. And Sam got her letter from Penn State. "We will require you to take our summer session... at the main campus immediately following your high school graduation." She got in, Charlie. After that, all Patrick could talk about was college and all their futures. Alice did get into NYU film school. Patrick is going to the University of Washington... because he wants to be near the music in Seattle. But he wasn't going to leave without organizing the best senior prank ever. Sam is going away right after graduation. It all feels very exciting. I just wish it were happening to me. Especially because, ever since I blacked out in the cafeteria... it's been getting worse. And I can't turn it off this time. All right, guys, you wanna pass your copies of Gatsby up to the front, please. And I know it's the last day... but if we could keep it to a dull roar, I'd appreciate it. Thank you. Guy. Guys. Thank you for such a great year. I had a blast. I hope you did, too. And I hope you have a great time this summer on your vacations. Now who here is gonna read for pleasure this summer? Charlie. Very good. Have a good summer. Last day. Yeah. So I know it's none of my business, but have you decided? Are you going to New York? Well... My wife and I like it here. And I think I might be better at teaching than writing. You know, Charlie, I was thinking that... maybe I could still give you books next year. Yeah. Yeah. I think you could write one of them one day. - Really? - I do. You're the best teacher I've ever had. Thank you. Ten, nine, eight... seven, six, five... four, three, two, one. Dear friend... I wanted to tell you about us running. There was this beautiful sunset. And just a few hours before, everyone I love... had their last day of high school ever. I was happy because they were happy... even though I counted and I have... I kept imagining what school would be like without them... as they were all getting ready for their prom. My sister finally decided to break up with Derek... and go stag with her girlfriends instead. And then there was Sam. I've looked at her picture since that night. I like to see how happy she was before she knew. They were in a hotel suite after prom and the truth came out. Basically Craig has been cheating on Sam the whole time. When I heard that... I kept thinking about the happy girl in these pictures. 'Cause she doesn't have 1,095 days to go. She made it. This is her time. And no one should be able to take that away. Congratulations. Oh, Charlie. Charlie's here. Guys, group photo. We should all take a group photo. Get against the railing and try to look suave. Yep, this is the one. That's gonna be a great angle. At her going away party... I wanted her to know about that night we went through the tunnel. And how for the first time... I felt like I belonged somewhere. And tomorrow, she's leaving. So I wanted to give her a part of me. Are these all your books, Charlie? Thanks for staying up with me. Sure. My brother said Penn State has this restaurant called Ye Olde College Diner. You have to get a grilled sticky on your first night. It's a tradition. That sounds like fun. Yeah. Pretty soon, you'll have a whole new group of friends, you know. You won't even think about this place anymore. Yes, I will. Had lunch with Craig today. Yeah? He said he was sorry and that I was right to break up with him. I'm driving away and was feeling so small. Just asking myself, "Why do I and everyone I love... pick people who treat us like we're nothing?" We accept the love we think we deserve. Then why didn't you ever ask me out? I... I just didn't think that you wanted that. Well, what did you want? I just want you to be happy. Don't you get it, Charlie? I can't feel that. It's really sweet and everything, but... You can't just sit there and put everybody's lives ahead of yours... and think that counts as love. I don't want to be somebody's crush. I want people to like the real me. I know who you are, Sam. I know I'm quiet. And I know I should speak more. But if you knew the things that were in my head most of the time... you'd know what it really meant. How much we're alike... and how we've been through the same things. And you're not small. You're beautiful. What's wrong, Charlie? Nothing. You know I'm gonna call you all the time. - We're gonna see each other in New York. - All the time. Come on, Sam. What's wrong, Charlie? Put your seat belt on. We'll meet you there. Don't wake your sister. It'll be our little secret, okay? Look, Charlie, she's fast asleep. Don't wake your sister. My fault. It's all my fault. It'll be our little secret. Okay? Stop it. Stop. Stop crying. This'll be our little secret. Candace. Your brother's on the phone. Hello? - Hey, Candace. - Charlie? Sam and Patrick left, and I can't stop thinking about something. What? Candace... I killed Aunt Helen, didn't I? She died getting my birthday present... so I guess I killed her, right? I've tried to stop thinking that, but I can't. She keeps driving away and dying. Call the police and send them to my house. I can't stop her. I'm crazy again. No. Charlie, listen to me. Mom and Dad are gonna be home with Chris any second. I'm just thinking... what if I wanted her to die, Candace? What? Charlie? Charlie! Charlie? I'm Dr. Burton. Where am I? Mayview Hospital. You... You have to let me go. My dad can't afford it. Oh, don't worry about that. No. I saw them when I was little... and I don't want to be a Mayview kid. Just tell me how to stop it. Stop what? Seeing it. All their lives all the time. How do you stop seeing it? Seeing what, Charlie? There is so much pain. And I don't know how to not notice it. What's hurting you? No, not me. It's them. It's everyone. It never stops. Do you understand? What about your Aunt Helen? What about her? Do you see her? Yes. She had a terrible life. God, what am I supposed to... You said some things about her in your sleep. I don't care. If you want to get better... you have to. She... She was insane. I'm just sayin'. She... Charlie? You gonna let me help you here? Okay. Do you remember anything before you blacked out? I remember leaving Sam's house. I was walking home. And... I was in the hospital for a while. I won't go into detail about all of it. But I will say there were some very bad days. And some unexpected beautiful days. The worst day was the time my doctor told my mom and dad... what Aunt Helen did to me. Honey? I'm so sorry. The best days were those when I could have visitors. My brother and sister always came for those... until Chris had to go to training camp. He's going to be first string this year. My sister told me she met a nice guy at her summer job. Here he is. So I'll see you Thursday at 6:00, right? - Okay. - You gonna hang in there? My doctor said we can't choose where we come from... but we can choose where we go from there. I know it's not all the answers... but it was enough to start putting these pieces together. God bless this food we are about to receive. We thank you for this bounty... in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen. - Amen. - Amen. How do you think the Penguins are gonna do this year, Dad? Goddamn Penguins. Think they're allergic to goddamn defense. What do the players call a puck again? A biscuit. Are you sure it's not a "goddamn biscuit"? You're cruisin' for a bruisin'. Honey, I think we're gonna have to do... a little shopping for you before you take off? - Yeah, I need some books. - Clothes, too. Yeah. Can Charlie come out and play? Charlie's mother smiles. Charlie smiles, too. Especially
when he sees... Sam. Standing next to Patrick. Her hair a little different. Her eyes alive and happy.. That first night, I had grilled stickies. It was so good. You have to visit in the Fall. We'll have some. Okay? CHARLIE Definitely. PATRICK Sorry, Sam. Charlie has a breakdown scheduled for October. Charlie laughs. Sam smiles. After a beat... SAM Well, can I tell you something? I've been away for two months. It's another world. And it gets better. And my roommate Katie has the best taste in music. Sam puts a cassette tape down on the table. I found the tunnel song. Charlie looks at Sam and Patrick, who smile. Let's drive.. I don't know if I will have the time to write any more letters because I might be too busy trying to participate. So, if this does end up being the last letter, I just want you to know that I was in a bad place before I started high school. And you helped me. The three friends are flying down the highway in Sam's truck. The music blaring. The wind making their hair dance. Even if you didn't know what I was talking about. Or know someone who's gone through it. It made me not feel alone. With Sam's help, Charlie climbs through the little window Because I know there are people who say all of these things don't happen. And there are people who forget what it's like to be 16 when they turn 17. We see Charlie in profile. The night sky behind him until... ... they enter the tunnel, and we realize just how fast they're driving. The white tiles of the tunnel whiz by at blinding speed. A perfect night. A perfect drive. Flying. I know these will all be stories someday. And our pictures will become old photographs. And we'll all become somebody's mom or dad. But right now, these moments are not stories. Charlie turns to face forward. To the moment. To Sam, Smiling at him from the front seat. This is happening. I am here. And I am Looking at her. And she is so beautiful. Sam kisses Charlie. Then, she turns, and all three kids look Ahead to everything in front of them. Charlie begins to Stand in the back of the truck. Ready to leave the tunnel. I can see it. This one moment when you know you're not a sad story. You are alive. And as you stand up and see the lights on buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you are listening to that song on that drive with the people you love most in this world. Charlie stands in the back of the truck. The wind on his face. He is free. And in this moment, I swear... ... we are infinite.