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capriccio/[]/ n. 恶作剧, 奇想, 随想曲...

影视剧本《爱在心头口难开》

本文属阅读资料
光影时代-专业英文剧本下载/影评基地 K555.Cn
As Good As It Gets (1997)
by James J. Brooks. Story by Mark Andrus.
Final script.

FADE IN:

INT. APARTMENT BUILDING (NEW YORK), HALLWAY - NIGHT

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.
       
          SWEET-FACED WOMAN
   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.

          MELVIN
   Come here, sweetheart... come on.

ON DOG

Sniffing at a particular spot on the hall carpeting. 
Melvin lets the elevator door close and advances on the 
mutt who has ignores him.

          MELVIN
   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.

          MELVIN
     (a malevolent tone)
   You've pissed your last floor, you 
   dog-eared monkey.

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.
 	
          MELVIN
   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, 
   smelly fuck.

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.

INT. APARTMENT BUILDING (NEW YORK), HALLWAY - NIGHT

Frantic... he bolts into the hall... Melvin is just about 
to enter his apartment.

          SIMON
   Verdell!?!! Here, good doggie... 

He notices Melvin at the far end of the hall.
 
          SIMON
   Mr. Udall... excuse me. Hey 
   there!
     (as Melvin turns)
   Have you seen Verdell?

          MELVIN
   What's he look like?

Melvin starts to walk back to his apartment door which is 
directly opposite Simon's.

          SIMON
   My dog... you know... I mean my 
   little dog with the adorable 
   face... Don't you know what my dog 
   looks like?

          MELVIN
   I got it. You're talking about 
   your dog. I thought that was the 
   name of the colored man I've been 
   seeing in the hall.

Simon looks O.S. -- and sees his black friend.

          SIMON
   Which color was that?

          MELVIN
   Like thick molasses, with one of 
   those wide noses perfect for 
   smelling trouble and prison 
   food... 

Simon has had it.

          SIMON
   Frank Sachs -- Melvin Udall.

          MELVIN
     (not missing a beat)
   How're you doing?

 	  SIMON
   Franks shows my work, Mr. Udall. I 
   think you know that.

 	  FRANK
     (overlapping)
   Simon, you've got to get dressed.

 	  MELVIN
     (to Simon)
   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?

 	  SIMON
     (to Frank)
   Do you still think I was 
   exaggerating?

FRANK can only smile.

 	  FRANK
   Definitely a package you don't 
   want to open or touch.

 	  MELVIN
   Hope you find him. I love that 
   dog.

Simon, terminally non-confrontational, still finds 
himself compelled to turn back toward Melvin.

 	  SIMON
     (directly)
   You don't love anything, Mr. 
   Udall.

Simon closes his door leaving Melvin alone in the 
hallway.

 	  MELVIN
   I love throwing your dog down the 
   garbage chute.

INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT, BATHROOM - NIGHT

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 medicine chest.

INT. MEDICINE CHEST

Scores of neatly stacked Neutrogena soaps. He unwraps 
one -- begins to wash -- discards it -- goes through the 
process two more times.

INT. SIMON'S APARTMENT, ENTRANCE HALL - NIGHT

A group of PARTY GOERS enters -- followed by a HANDYMAN 
holding Verdell who looks and finds:

SIMON

who looks up -- lights up -- and tears up as he moves 
quickly toward the group and his dog.

 	  SIMON
   Thank the good Lord... wow... my 
   honey... where have you been?

 	  PARTY GOER
     (thinking the greeting's 
      for him)
   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.

 	  SIMON
   Just for a second, okay?

The DOG YAPS "no." Simon, delighted, picks him up again.

 	  SIMON
     (kissing him on the mouth)
   Look at him...  where was little 
   baby?

 	  HANDYMAN
     (smiling)
   In the basement garbage bin eating 
   diaper shit.

Simon reacts -- then notices the Handyman, tongue in 
cheek, trying to suppress his amusement.

 	  SIMON
   Go ahead, John, you earned your fun.
     (looking at Verdell)
   How did he get down in the 
   basement? I mean even if he got 
   on the elevator how... ?

 	  HANDYMAN
   Maybe some nice neighbor shoved 
   him down the garbage chute.

 	  SIMON
   My God! No!

He stares out... Frank frustrated following.

INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT - OFFICE - NIGHT

Quiet -- safe -- just Melvin's voice reading aloud as he 
writes.

 	  MELVIN
   '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.

 	  SIMON (O.S.)
   Mr. Udall.

But Melvin's into it. His fingers flying as he reads.

 	  MELVIN
   'At last she was able to define 
   love. Love was... '

More KNOCKING.

 	  SIMON (O.S.)
   Mr. Udall, I'd like to talk to you 
   please.

 	  MELVIN
   'Love was... '

He almost has the rest of the sentence -- the meaning of 
love -- but the knocking throws him.

 	  MELVIN
   ... Son-of-a-bitch-pansy-assed-
   stool-pusher.

He burst from his chair.

INT. APARTMENT BUILDING (NEW YORK) - HALLWAY - NIGHT

As Simon hears MELVIN through the door and takes a step 
back. Melvin throws open the door. He looks demonic.

 	  MELVIN
     (loud and angry)
   Yeeeess!!!

 	  SIMON
   Maybe this can wait.

Frank signals encouragement as Melvin opens the door.

 	  SIMON
   I found Verdell, Mr. Udall.

 	  MELVIN
   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.

 	  SIMON
   Did you... do something to him?

 	  MELVIN
   Do you realize that I work at 
   him?

 	  SIMON
     (eyes downcast)
   No, I didn't.

 	  MELVIN
   Do you like to be interrupt when 
   you are danging around in your 
   little garden?

 	  SIMON
   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... 

 	  MELVIN
   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. Sweetheart?

 	  SIMON
   Yes. It's not a subtle point 
   you're making.

 	  MELVIN
   Okay, then.

Melvin enters his apartment and slams the door shut.

 	  SIMON
   So the theory of confrontations is 
   that now he'll think twice before 
   messing with me?

Frank smiles affectionately. Simon turns serious.

 	  SIMON
   He's genuinely upsetting, isn't 
   he?

 	  FRANK
   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.

 	  MELVIN (O.S.)
   Oh, I'm pissed!! Now I am really 
   pissed!!!

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.

 	  MELVIN
   No touch. No touch. No touch.

 	  FRANK
   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.

 	  MELVIN
     (calling)
   Police! Police! Fucking crooked 
   police...  doughnut-munching morons 
   help me!
     (to Frank)
   Assault and battery and you're 
   black.

 	  FRANK
   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.
     (suddenly loud)
   I hate doing this. I'm an art 
   dealer.
     (beat)
   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.

EXT. NEW YORK CITY STREET NEAR CAROL'S RESTAURANT - DAY

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.

INT. CAROL'S RESTAURANT - DAY

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.

 	  CAROL
     (to the Mother's 
      little girl)
   Look at you, you're all better.

 	  MOTHER
   It's that new medication.

 	  CAROL
   You know all my son's stuff, 
   right?

The Mother nods too sympathetically that she does, but 
Carol interrupts her.

 	  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.'

 	  MOTHER
   Isn't that sweet.

 	  CAROL
   Little blonde angle.
     (to child, 
      affectionately)
   Eat everything.

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.

 	  WOMAN
   It just came out of me. I said 
   you love me the way a remote 
   control loves a TV. As long as I 
   switch every time... 

 	  HER MALE COMPANION
   Wonderful.

 	  MELVIN
   People who talk in metaphors can 
   shampoo my crotch.
     (on their look)
   Eat up.

They turn away -- Melvin walks a few paces to the 
waitress station where two waitresses, LISA and CAROL, 
are talking.

 	  LISA
   Pay me back next week.

 	  CAROL
   I owe you. I told you today... 
   them's the rules. Oh, excuse me, 
   Melvin.

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.

 	  MELVIN
   I'm starving.

 	  CAROL
     (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 way... 

 	  LISA
   This way you take a cab home so 
   you have time to get ready for the 
   date.

 	  CAROL
   "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.

 	  CAROL
     (to Melvin)
   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."

 	  CAROL
   I know. He's just the best.

 	  MELVIN
   I've got Jews at my table.

 	  CAROL
   It's not your table. It's the 
   place's table. Behave. This 
   once, you can sit at someone 
   else's station.

The two waitresses signal their protests.

 	  CAROL
   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... 
then:

 	  MELVIN
   How much more you got to eat? 
   Your appetite isn't as big as 
   your noses, is it?

 	  WOMAN
   What?!!

 	  MAN
     (to Woman)
   Let's go --

The Woman starts to protest.

 	  MAN
   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 his utensils.

 	  CAROL
   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.

 	  MELVIN
   The table's fine if it had some 
   cholesterol on it. Two sausages, 
   six bacon strips, fries, three 
   eggs over easy and coffee.

 	  CAROL
   You're gonna die soon with that 
   diet, you know that?

 	  MELVIN
   We're all gonna die soon. I will. 
   You will. It sure sounds like 
   your son will.

ON CAROL

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.

 	  CAROL
   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 
down.

 	  CAROL
   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.

INT. CAROL'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

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.

 	  YOUNG MAN
   What?

 	  CAROL
   I...  I...  I don't know...  You got 
   me.

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 stops him.

 	  CAROL
   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 
COUGHING.

 	  CAROL
   Kissing...  kissing boys. Oh my.

Carol pulls her head away -- as Spencer's call continues.

 	  SPENCER (O.S.)
     (softly)
   Grandma, grandma... 

 	  YOUNG MAN
   Maybe you better check.

 	  CAROL
   Like what did you think I was 
   going to do?

INT. HALLWAY/BEVERLY'S ROOM - NIGHT

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.

 	  BEVERLY
   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.

INT. SPENCER'S ROOM - NIGHT

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 space.

 	  SPENCER
   I'm sorry.

 	  CAROL
   Don't be silly. How bad?

 	  SPENCER
   Not 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 him.

INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

As she re-enters. He is taking a cigarette from a pack.

 	  CAROL
     (a bit panicked)
   You can't smoke...  He can't take 
   smoke.

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.

 	  CAROL
   Oh, God...  I don't even notice 
   anymore.

She crosses to the kitchen for a dishtowel. Tries to make 
light.

 	  CAROL
   That'll teach you.

 	  YOUNG MAN
   Don't apologize.

 	  CAROL
     (perturbed)
   That wasn't an apology.

She notices his demeanor -- how he avoids looking at her -- 
how uncomfortable he is.

 	  CAROL
   Hey...  this is just a little throw-
   up -- it's nothing to be so 
   embarrassed about. Really.
     (as he shifts 
      uncomfortably)
   Thanks for the dinner. Let me 
   write down which trains you take 
   to get back.

 	  YOUNG MAN
   No way.

She brightens.

 	  YOUNG MAN
   I'll take a cab.

She deflates as he moves past her.

 	  YOUNG MAN
   Too much reality for a Friday 
   night.

EXT. HOLLAND TUNNEL - NIGHT

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 little trio.

 	  EVAN
   Why is every customer surprised I 
   read books?

 	  DOUG
     (amazed)
   You read books?

 	  EVAN
   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.

 	  CARL
     (slightly exasperated)
   Look, I just can't. I promised 
   Simon I'd find him a model.

 	  FRIEND (V.O.)
     (on speaker phone,
      flirting)
   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 
   there...  hello?

Seeing the hustlers:

 	  CARL
.		    ...  I just found a model.

 	  DOUG
     (to Carl)
   Hey, how it's goin'... 

 	  EVAN
   Hey, hi...  remember?

 	  CARL
   I only need one.

 	  EVAN
   You picked me up, maybe a few 
   weeks, I don't know, some time 
   ago. You were very flattering 
   about our...  encounter.

 	  CARL
   Maybe just you and me...  but this 
   is for a painting. I need a 
   pretty face.

Carl beckons to Vincent who joins him, trying to conceal 
his pride at winning this lowest end of beauty contest.

INT. SIMON'S APARTMENT - DAY

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.

 	  SIMON
   Sorry, I was out in the studio 
   doing some work and I forgot about 
   our appointment.

He leads the way back toward the studio -- chatting away 
-- unaware that Vincent is disrobing as he follows him 
and eyeing the expensive apartment.

 	  SIMON
   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.

 	  SIMON
     (taken aback)
   This isn't a nude.

Vincent moves back to retrieve his clothes.

 	  VINCENT
   Just kidding around.
     (then mutters)
   So much for love.

INT. SIMON'S APARTMENT - STUDIO (MINUTES LATER)

Vincent is striking blatantly sexual poses to the 
increasingly uneasy Simon.

 	  SIMON
   Exactly what is your previous 
   experience?

 	  VINCENT
   How about that pose?
     (sing-song)
   This is not fun... 
     (then)
   Give me some direction.

Vincent has instinctively put Simon on the defensive. He 
tries not to show it.

 	  SIMON
   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.

 	  VINCENT
     (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?

 	  SIMON
   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 humanity.

Vincent's slack-jawed expression changes. He feels an 
intellectual tingle to be having this conversation.

 	  VINCENT
   I know exactly what you mean.

There's a joy in him at this moment -- a bit of purity.

 	  SIMON
   Hold it.

Vincent does so -- hums a bit of "Satisfaction" to 
celebrate.

INT. RESTAURANT - DAY

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 is rapt.

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.

 	  MELVIN
   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.

 	  CAROL
     (reluctant forgiveness)
   Okay.

Melvin stops -- she passes behind him to deliver an 
uncharacteristic rabbit punch.

 	  CAROL
   What's with the plastic picnic 
   ware? Why not try ours...  afraid 
   it isn't clean?

 	  MELVIN
   I see the help -- judgement call.

 	  CAROL
   Just give yourself a little pep 
   talk. "Must try other people's 
   clean silverware as part of the 
   fun of dining out."

 	  MELVIN
   What's wrong with your son, 
   anyway?

 	  CAROL
   What do you care?

Melvin just looks at her.

 	  CAROL
   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?

 	  MELVIN
     (caught)
   No.

 	  CAROL
   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.

 	  MELVIN
   His name?

 	  CAROL
   Spencer.

 	  MELVIN
   Okay.

 	  CAROL
     (quietly)
   Spence.

She exits.

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.

 	  SIMON
   You can put on anything you want 
   now. I might be sort of done 
   here... 

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.

 	  DOUG
  Lucky Vinnie -- he's a painting.

INT. SIMON'S APARTMENT, STUDIO - DAY

MUSIC PLAYS -- Simon cleaning up his stuff.

 	  VINCENT
   So you're practically finished, 
   huh?

 	  SIMON
   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 distract.

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 
canvas.

 	  VINCENT
   Wait -- I want to see the 
   painting.

 	  SIMON
   Just a second -- he has to go.

 	  VINCENT
   Please!! NO!!!

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." 

INT. SIMON'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - DAY

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.

 	  SIMON
     (to Vincent)
   What's the matter, sweetheart?

He instantly stops. Shocked. Frozen. His eyes on the 
stranger, Doug, looking at him. Now Vincent comes in. 
Doug greets him.

 	  DOUG
   Yo.

Simon turns to Vincent.

 	  SIMON
   Why are you doing this?

 	  VINCENT
   No. No. No. Hey, that painting 
   in there...  I just want to tell 
   you... 

Now Evan appears holding a brass hat rack.

 	  EVAN
     (to Vincent)
   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.

ON VERDELL

as he starts to go toward Simon and then scurries back in 
fear. The three attackers leave. Now silence. A single 
BARK from VERDELL.

INT. APARTMENT BUILDING (NEW YORK) - HALLWAY - DUSK

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.

 	  RAY
   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 
   that?

 	  MELVIN
   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.

 	  RAY
     (stunned)
   What?

 	  MELVIN
   Just move on. No one here killed 
   him.

 	  RAY
   Oh, is he dead?

 	  MELVIN
   Ask him.

 	  RAY
   We will if we can and if we can't, 
   we'll come back and ask you again 
   and again.

INT. APARTMENT BUILDING (NEW YORK) - HALLWAY - 
ANOTHER ANGLE - NIGHT

Frank standing upset, anxious, holding a dog bowl, a 
leash and VERDELL, who is more upset making pathetic 
little CRYING SOUNDS.

As we FOCUS BRIEFLY ON Verdell...  Frank is talking to the 
Sweet-Faced Woman.

 	  SWEET-FACED WOMAN
   I've been praying for him since I 
   heard.

 	  FRANK
   So I've got to get to the 
   hospital. If you could take the 
   dog just for tonight.

 	  SWEET-FACED WOMAN
   Oh, Lord -- I've got all these 
   antique knick-knacks...  Or else 
   I'd be glad... 

 	  FRANK
   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 mugger:

 	  FRANK
   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."

 	  MELVIN
     (quietly)
   I'm not saying nothing to you.

 	  FRANK
   Thanks for looking after him.

Frank pushes open the door to Melvin's apartment and 
places Verdell inside.

INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

MUSIC IN: as Frank pulls the door partially closed to 
block Verdell's escape.

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.

 	  MELVIN (O.S.)
   Hey, where are you going? You 
   can't do this.
     (calls after Frank)
   I can't take a dog.
     (a confession)
   Nobody's ever been in here before.

 	  FRANK (O.S.)
     (threatening)
You don't want to mess with me 
today. I'll figure something else 
out tomorrow.

INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Melvin enters -- the dog cowers in the shadows. Now 
Melvin sees him.

 	  MELVIN
   You're dead!!

VERDELL STOPS -- gives Melvin wide berth -- slinking 
along the far wall. Melvin finds Verdell's fear of him a 
bit calming.

 	  MELVIN
   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.

INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT - KITCHEN - NIGHT

Melvin breaks two eggs over a large pile of prime chopped 
meat, sticks raw pieces of bacon into it and exits the 
room.

 	  MELVIN
   Don't you touch anything.

INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

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.

INT. HOSPITAL CORRIDOR - DAY

Frank on the phone.

 	  FRANK
     (into 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?

 	  JACKIE
   We can see him.

 	  FRANK
   I'll meet you in there.

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY

As Jackie enters.

 	  JACKIE
   How you doing, great one?

 	  SIMON
   I haven't looked at myself yet. I 
   figured I could tell from your 
   reaction.

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.

 	  SIMON
   That bad, huh?

They share a helpless half-laugh -- then Frank appears in 
the doorway.

 	  FRANK
   Hey, hey... 
     (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 
   sure... 

 	  SIMON
   Jackie, will you hand me the 
   mirror?

 	  JACKIE
     (a small voice)
   No.

She starts to hand him a large mirror from her purse -- 
then thinks better of it.

 	  JACKIE
   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.

 	  SIMON
   So, what's new anyway? How's 
   Verdell?

 	  FRANK
     (sheepish)
   Your neighbor -- Udall -- is 
   taking care of him.

 	  SIMON
     (suddenly alive and upset)
   How could you do that? He'll hurt 
   him.

 	  FRANK
   No, I promise...  not a chance. I 
   own this guy. There was no one 
   else. I'm on the move too much. 
   Trust me.

 	  SIMON
   You are very certain my dog is 
   okay...  because you have no 
   idea... 

 	  FRANK
   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.

 	  SIMON
   Okay, waiting gives the devil 
   time. Now!

He quickly brings his hand up and looks at the mirror...  
he is startled -- the bottom drops out -- leaving him 
awed by his misfortune.

 	  SIMON
   Oh my... Where'd I go? Ummmm?

EXT. CAROL'S RESTAURANT - DAY

AN ESTABLISHING SHOT FEATURING Verdell tied up in front.

INT. CAROL'S RESTAURANT - DAY

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.

 	  CAROL
   So what are you doing with a dog?

 	  MELVIN
   Suckered in. Set up. Pushed 
   around.

 	  CAROL
   You're not worried that someone 
   might take him?

 	  MELVIN
   Well, not until now -- for 
   Christ's sake.

 	  CAROL
   Sorry.

 	  MELVIN
   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.

 	  CAROL
   You know he's a little dog. Next 
   time, if Bryan's not here, you can 
   bring him in.

 	  MELVIN
   How old are you?

 	  CAROL
   Oh, please... 

 	  MELVIN
   If I had to guess by your eyes, 
   I'd say you were fifty.

Carol looks at him.

 	  CAROL
   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?

 	  MELVIN
     (quickly)
   Otherwise, you're not ugly.

 	  CAROL
     (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.

 	  MELVIN
   What's with the dark?

He indicates the bags under her eyes by tapping his own.

 	  CAROL
   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 him home... 

She reaches for the plate of uneaten bacon -- he goes 
nuts.

 	  MELVIN
   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.

 	  MELVIN
   Last week I was playing the piano 
   for him and he likes it, and so I 
   decide I'm going to make a little 
   joke... 

 	  CAROL
   You all set here?

Melvin nods -- a bit frustrated about not being able to 
finish his dog story. He pockets the remaining bacon.

EXT. NEW YORK STREET - DAY

As Melvin walks Verdell back home, we notice, perhaps a 
beat before Melvin, a remarkably event. Verdell is 
avoiding the cracks in the sidewalk.

 	  MELVIN
   It's a beautiful day for our walk.

Melvin slows -- observes the dog mirroring his behavior.

ON VERDELL

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.

 	  MELVIN
   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.

ANOTHER ANGLE

 	  FEMALE PASSERSBY
     (charmed)
   Ohhh. I'd like to be treated like 
   that.

 	  MELVIN
     (all smiles to Verdell)
   Let's go home and do some writing.

INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

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.

 	  MELVIN
   "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... 

 	  MELVIN
     (singing to Verdell)
   Done!
     (playing with him some)
   Yes, I hate the doggy...  yes, I 
   hate the doggy.

He exits.

 	  MELVIN (V.O.)
   Sixty-two books... done!

As the dog goes shooting off to the kitchen we leave our 
couple's play time for... 

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.

INT. NEW YORK APARTMENT BUILDING - HALLWAY - DAY

Frank knocking on Melvin's door. He opens it.

 	  FRANK
   How's Verdell doing?

 	  MELVIN
   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.

 	  FRANK
   Simon's home. I was sort of 
   hoping you could keep the dog 
   until he's had a chance to think 
   and adjust... 

 	  MELVIN
     (leaping at the chance)
   It's been five weeks...  another 
   few won't kill me.

 	  FRANK
   No. He wants him back. He'll be 
   by tomorrow.

 	  MELVIN
     (too loudly, weirdly)
   Okay by me.

Frank exits.

INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - DAY

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.

INT. NEW YORK BUILDING - MELVIN'S APARTMENT - HALLWAY - DAY

Melvin opens the door -- looks at the scarred Simon in a 
wheelchair and shudders... 

 	  MELVIN
   That's some face they left hanging 
   on you. You look like... 

 	  SIMON
     (interrupting)
   Could you take it just a little 
   easy, Mr. Udall?

A beat of silence as Melvin thinks whether to comply.

 	  SIMON
   Thank you. Verdell...  sweetheart?
     (to Melvin)
   By the way, thanks for saving me.

 	  MELVIN
   I called. I never touched you. I 
   didn't leave my name or nothing.

 	  SIMON
     (not listening)
   Verdell?

ON VERDELL

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.

 	  SIMON
   Hi, sweetheart.

Verdell isn't eager.

ON SIMON

The first gnawing pains of rejection.

INT. SIMON'S APARTMENT - DAY

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.

 	  SIMON
   No. Please, don't force him.

 	  JACKIE
     (to dog)
   You little stinker. He's given 
   you everything.

INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - DAY

MELVIN'S POV

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.

 	  MELVIN
   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.

EXT. NYC STREETS - DAY

Melvin charging as fast as crack checks allow and then 
turning into a building with a copper sign reading 
"Grammercy Park Psychiatric Group."

 	  MELVIN
   Worst sidewalk in New York and 
   look where they put in.

INT. PSYCHIATRIST'S OFFICE - DAY

Melvin bursts in on the psychiatrist and emits one word.

 	  MELVIN
   Help!

 	  DOCTOR
   If you want to see me you will not 
   do this. You will make an 
   appointment... 

 	  MELVIN
   Explain to me how you can diagnose 
   someone as "obsessive compulsive 
   disorder" and then act like I have 
   any choice in barging in.

 	  DOCTOR
   There's not going to be a debate. 
   You must leave.

The Doctor moves into the hallway, forcing Melvin to 
follow.

 	  MELVIN
   You said you could help me -- 
   what was that -- a tease?

 	  DOCTOR
   I can help you if you take the 
   responsibility to keep regular 
   app --

 	  MELVIN
     (suddenly)
   You changed the room around... 

 	  DOCTOR
   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.

 	  DOCTOR
   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 you... 

 	  MELVIN
   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?

 	  DOCTOR
   Yes.
     (as Melvin starts 
      for the office)
   No.

INT. PSYCHIATRISTS' WAITING ROOM - DAY

More PATIENTS in the almost-crowded waiting room. Melvin 
passes through -- visibly drawn and upset. He stops. 
Eyes on them. Then:

 	  MELVIN
     (to other patients)
   What if this is as good as it 
   gets?

They look stricken. He exits.

INT. CAROL'S RESTAURANT - DAY

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 utensils.

 	  CHERYL
   What the heck are those for?

 	  MELVIN
   No. No. Get Carol.

 	  CHERYL
   I'm filling in. We don't know if 
   she's coming back. She might have 
   to get a job closer to home.

 	  MELVIN
   What are you trying to do to me?

 	  CHERYL
   What the heck do you mean?

 	  MELVIN
   Hey, elephant girl, call her or 
   something...  just let her do my 
   one meal here. I'll pay whatever. 
   I'll wait.
     (as she doesn't 
      budge; he screams)
   Do it!!!

The MANAGER comes over, gesturing to the table of police 
that he can handle it. All attention is on Melvin.

 	  MANAGER
   Out. Be silent or leave.

 	  MELVIN
   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.

 	  MANAGER
   Get out immediately or there's 
   going to be trouble.

Melvin looks at the police, sizes up the hopeless 
situation and rises.

 	  MELVIN
   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.

 	  MELVIN
   Carol's last name?

 	  BUSBOY
   Connelly.

EXT. BROOKLYN STREET - DAY

An uncomfortable Melvin sitting in the back of a taxi.

MELVIN'S POV

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.

EXT. CAROL'S BUILDING - DAY

As he exits -- RINGS the BELL and is BUZZED in.

INT. CAROL'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DOOR/HALLWAY - DAY

Carol opens the door just as he arrives on her landing. 
She holds a container of ice, washclothes and a 
thermometer.

 	  MELVIN
   I'm hungry.
     (on Carol's astonished 
      look)
   You've upset my whole day. I 
   haven't eaten.

 	  CAROL
   What are you doing here?

Melvin ignores the question, instead answering a charge 
he had imagined she might make... 

 	  MELVIN
   This is not a sexist thing. If 
   you were a waiter I would still be 
   here saying... 

 	  CAROL
   Are you totally gone? This is my 
   private home... 

 	  MELVIN
   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.

 	  CAROL
   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 get?

 	  MELVIN
   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 and bitter.

 	  CAROL
   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.

 	  MELVIN
   What about your mother?

 	  CAROL
   How do you know about my mother?

 	  MELVIN
   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.

 	  CAROL
   Sorry, honey...  I'll be right 
   there.

 	  MELVIN
     (uncomfortably)
   How ya doing?

Spencer just stares at him.

 	  MELVIN
     (miffed)
   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 the door.

 	  CAROL
   Sorry. There is a limit, Melvin, 
   and I can't handle you teaching 
   my son manners.

She closes the door in his face, then walks to her son 
and leads him back to his room.

INT. SPENCER'S ROOM

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
   5...  4...  3...  2...  1...  Bingo.

 	  SPENCER
   104.9

 	  CAROL
   We are going to treat ourselves to 
   a cab ride.

EXT. BROOKLYN SIDEWALK - ANGLE ON CAROL - DAY

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.

 	  CAROL
   Melvin, wait!

The school kids pick up the chant in unison.

 	  SCHOOL KIDS
   Melvin, wait! Melvin, wait! 
   Melvin, wait!

He turns to face them.

 	  MELVIN
   Shut up, kids!

They immediately obey as Carol approaches him.

 	  CAROL
   Melvin...  give us a lift. We've 
   got to go see our friends at the 
   hospital.

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.

 	  MELVIN
   I'll ride up front. Cover your 
   mouth when you cough, kid.

INT. BROOKLYN CAB - DAY

As they settle in and drive off.

 	  CAROL
   Brooklyn Presbyterian Hospital, 
   please and quickly please.

EXT. HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM - DAY

As Carol enters the hospital.

 	  CAROL
     (calling back)
   I owe you three dollars.

Melvin follows behind her as she carries her son... 

 	  MELVIN
   Yeah, yeah...  any chance you'll 
   get back to work today?

 	  CAROL
     (furiously)
   No!!! Stay away from me!

INT. SIMON'S APARTMENT - DAY

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.

 	  JACKIE
   I feel terrible that I have to... 
   Simon? Forget about the dog for a 
   second.

Simon forces his attention to Jackie.

 	  SIMON
   Sorry. What are those cards?

 	  JACKIE
     (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 
   you.

 	  SIMON
     (scared shitless)
   Terrify me?

 	  JACKIE
   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.

 	  JACKIE (O.S.)
   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.

 	  SIMON (O.S.)
   Well, I can't reach them.

Verdell walks out on the terrace and looks off. He turns 
for:

 	  SIMON
     (to Verdell)
   Here, baby...  what is it, 
   Verdell?...  You miss the tough 
   guy... 
     (trying to be 
      Melvin-like)
   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, 
   sweetheart... 
     (on Jackie's look)
   I'm sorry. I know... 

Verdell hides behind a chair.

 	  JACKIE
   Frank loves you. You know that... 
   but I've spoken to him and he 
   feels that --
     (reading from card)
   -- as a businessman, with limited 
   resources... 

 	  SIMON
   I'll be able to keep my apartment 
   and studio, won't I?...  Just tell 
   me.

As Jackie looks at him then thumbs for a card.

 	  SIMON
     (overwhelmed)
Wow... 

Verdell has come near him -- he reaches out a hand to pet 
the dog and the dog ducks.

INT. MELVIN'S APARTMENT - DAY

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.

INT. PUBLISHER'S OFFICE - DAY

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 appropriate to... 

 	  MELVIN (O.S.)
   I need this. Just say, "Melvin, 
   I'll try," okay?

 	  FEMALE EXECUTIVE (O.S.)
     (resigned)
   Melvin, I'll try.

They appear now -- the woman tall, attractive, etc. She 
pauses at the elevator.

 	  FEMALE EXECUTIVE
   Now, on a pleasant note, our son 
   got accepted at Brown. My 
   husband... 

 	  MELVIN
     (curtly)
   Great, wonderful. I don't need 
   you to wait with me.

She nods, pissed, waves and leaves. As Melvin waits, Zoe 
summons her moxie.

 	  ZOE
   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.

 	  MELVIN
   What's it mean?

 	  ZOE
   That somebody out there knows what 
   it's like to be... 
     (taps her head and heart)
   in here.

 	  MELVIN
   Oh God, this is like a nightmare.

 	  ZOE
   Aw come on, just a couple of 
   questions -- how hard is that?

As he hits the button, wipes his fingers, hits the button 
etc.

 	  ZOE
   How do you write women so well?

 	  MELVIN
     (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.

EXT. STREET NEAR CAROL'S BUILDING - DAY

A depleted, exhausted Carol approaches her home. She is 
suddenly wary -- SOUND DIALED DOWN -- as we MOVE CLOSER.

CAROL'S POV

A car at the curb with "MD" license plate.

BACK TO SCENE

As Carol breaks into a run.

INT. CAROL'S APARTMENT BUILDING, STAIRWAY/HALLWAY - DAY

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.

 	  CAROL
   Hello? Hello?

 	  VOICE (O.S.)
   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.

INT. SPENCER'S ROOM - DAY

 	  CAROL
   What? Please? Now? Tell me?!

 	  DR. BETTES
   Mrs. Connelly. I'm Martin Bettes
   ...  Dr. Bettes.

 	  CAROL
   Not your name...  what are you 
   telling me your name for!! Where 
   is he?

 	  DR. BETTES
   He's in the bathroom...  He's fine.

 	  CAROL
     (overlapping)
   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.

 	  SPENCER
     (to his mother)
   Hi... 
     (they kiss)
   Did you know there are doctors who 
   come to your house?

 	  CAROL
   No, I didn't.
     (to Bettes)
   So why are you h... 

Beverly, Carol's mother, enters the room. She is ebullient 
which, if life allowed, would be her natural state.

 	  BEVERLY
   I didn't know you had a secret 
   admire.

 	  CAROL
   Huh?

 	  BEVERLY
   You met the gift.

 	  SPENCER
   He's good...  And I'm an expert on 
   doctors.

 	  CAROL
     (to Spencer)
   Stay out of this...  Doctor?

 	  DR. BETTES
   My wife is Melvin Udall's 
   publisher.
     (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 you do?

 	  CAROL
   I'm a waitress.

ON Dr. Bettes' reaction her mother adds a saving grace.

 	  BEVERLY
   In Manhattan.

 	  VOICE (O.S.)
   Dr. Bettes?

 	  DR. BETTES
   In here.

A NURSE enters.

 	  NURSE
   Sorry it took so long. I don't 
   know Brooklyn.

 	  DR. BETTES
   It's okay, Terry.
     (hands her blood 
      vail)
   Tell the lab I'd like the report 
   back today.

Carol and her mother exchange a look of incredulity.

 	  CAROL
   You're going to get the results 
   today?!

MOVING SHOT

As we approach the doctor and Carol seated across from 
each other at a small table... soft voices...  relaxation. 
Bettes is examining medicine bottles.

 	  DR. BETTES
   How long has he been having 
   problems?

 	  CAROL
   Since forever.

 	  DR. BETTES
   Have they done blood tests on him?

 	  CAROL
   Yes.

 	  DR. BETTES
   Only in the emergency room or when 
   he was well.

 	  CAROL
   Emergency room only.

 	  DR. BETTES
   Have they done skin testing for 
   allergies?

 	  CAROL
   No.

 	  DR. BETTES
   They haven't done the standard 
   scratch test. Where they make 
   small injections into the skin?

 	  CAROL
   No. I asked. They said it's not 
   covered under my plan. And it's 
   not necessary anyway.

 	  DR. BETTES
   It's amazing these things weren't 
   done.

 	  CAROL
   Fucking H.M.O. bastard piece of 
   shit...  I'm sorry...  forgive me.

 	  DR. BETTES
   No. Actually, I think that's 
   their technical name.

 	  CAROL
   Once the tests come back, is there 
   someone I can reach in your office 
   for the results?

 	  DR. BETTES
   Me. My home number is on this 
   card.

 	  CAROL
   His home number.

Carol look at her mother -- they share a laugh. Beverly 
has a hard time stopping.

 	  CAROL
     (to doctor)
   Do you want some juice or coffee 
   or two female slaves?

 	  DR. BETTES
   Water...  Nobody told you it might 
   be a good idea to remove the 
   carpeting and drapes in Spencer's 
   room?

 	  CAROL
   No.

She starts towards Spencer's room.

 	  DR. BETTES
   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 
   least... 

She pats his head...  Then embraces him with fierce 
intimacy.

 	  CAROL
   Doc!!!
     (then)
   So listen, you gotta let me know 
   about the additional costs -- one 
   way or the other we'll... 

 	  DR. BETTES
   They're considerable. But Mr. 
   Udall wants to be billed.

She takes this as a blow to the heart, stomach and groin.

INT. SIMON'S APARTMENT - DAY

Simon practices walking using his cane. A tearstained 
Nora hugs him good-bye.

 	  NORA
   You poor, poor man.

 	  SIMON
   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.

 	  SIMON
   What's wrong?

 	  NORA
   Who's going to walk Verdell?

Simon hadn't thought of this either.

 	  SIMON
   No, no.

INT. APARTMENT BUILDING (NEW YORK) - HALLWAY - DAY

Nora holding her things, knocks on Melvin's door. Melvin 
opens the door. Nora is still sniffling. He misinterprets.

 	  MELVIN
   Is he dead yet?

 	  NORA
   No! Would there be any way for 
   you to be willing to walk his dog 
   for him?

 	  MELVIN
   Absolutely.

 	  NORA
   Not just today -- Uh, could you 
   do it -- until, until he gets 
   back on his feet?

 	  MELVIN
   Sure thing.

 	  NORA
   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.

 	  MELVIN
   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 her way.

INT. CAROL'S APARTMENT

The doctor gone, mother and daughter arguing.

 	  CAROL
   There is a seriously goofy man 
   behind this. You are not allowed 
   to block out that fact.

 	  BEVERLY
   Do you really want to go back to 
   the runt doctors in Emergency who 
   keep telling us they can't help?

 	  CAROL
   It lets a crazy man into our 
   lives.

 	  BEVERLY
   Come on. Why fight when we know 
   how it will come out. This isn't 
   like stocking or a string of 
   p										
															
				
				
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