Screenplay Genre: Drama
Movie Time: 189 minutes
1. INCITING INCIDENT
Police officer Jim Kurring (John C. Reilly) receives a call of disturbance and goes to check it out. In Marcie’s department he finds a dead body in the closet. (16:39) He was Porter Parker, Marcie’s husband. The building guy witnessed Parker had a fight with Marcie’s son “Worm” last night. And a little boy was with him.
Linda Partridge (Julianne Moore) talks with the doctor about her husband Earl’s (Jason Robards) situation: He is dying of cancer and nothing can release his pain. The doctor tells Linda there’s a method: it’s a strong, effective liquid morphine. But once it is used on Earl, he is never going back. (19:19)
Earl is lying in the bed and passing his last time with pain and regrets of his life. He tells his nurse Phil Parma (Philip Seymour Hoffman) he has a son and wants to see him. When he says his son’s name, Phil can’t believe his ears: He is Frank Mackey, the author of Seduce and Destroy. (21:15)
Frank Mackey (Tom Cruise) is doing his TV show of Seduce and Destroy. Journalist Gwenovier (April Grace) from Profiles comes for an interview with him. (27:22)
Jimmy Gator (Philip Baker Hall), the What Do Kids Know, goes to see his daughter Claudia (Melora Walters) and finds she is messing around with a sick, old guy. (32:00) He tells Claudia he has cancer and does not have much time. He and Claudia’s mother Rose (Melinda Dillon) miss her. But Claudia goes crazy and drives Jimmy out of her house.
Donnie Smith (William H. Macy) was a Quiz Kid of 1960’s. Now he is in his crappy, tired middle age. As he is in need of money to get braces, he is fired by his boss Solomon and forced to give back the keys to the store. (38:11)
Stanley, a contender of Quiz Kid, goes to the TV station with his father to play the continue dominating What Do Kids Know? (43: 41)
2. LOCK IN
In the half-time break of the show, Frank meets Gwenovier and begins the interview. (50:39)
Donnie Smith goes to the gay bar to see his dream boy bartender Brad, who is cute and has braces. But he sees Brad is close with his old, rich boyfriend. (56:05)
Jim receives a call of disturbance that someone keeps music loud and goes to check it out. When he knocks the door, Claudia is snorting coke in the apartment. She cleans up as fast as she can and opens the door. Jim falls in love with her at first glance. (56:42)
Linda gets the prescription of the liquid morphine from Doctor Dian. But at the drug store, the clerks find Prozac and Dexedrine both on the prescription. This raises their doubts. (64:16)
Stanley has been in the post of the show with his teammates. He wants to pee but it’s too late to go bathroom. He has to stay in the chair. (64:45)
What Do Kids Know? begins. Jimmy Gator feels sick/drunk but he has to keep the show going. (65: 23)
Phil begins to calls Seduce and Destroy to find Frank Markey for Earl. (69:17)
3. FIRST CULMINATION
Phil keeps calling for Frank Markey but is kicked around; he just can’t get Frank. And he has to take care of old Earl who is moaning and dying in the bed. (83:25)
In the bar, Donnie falls in an awkward and unpleasant talk with his rival in love: Brad’s old, rich boy friend. He talks about his smart childhood and experience of being struck by lightning. (88:05)
Linda goes to Earl’s lawyer and tells him she wants to change Earl’s will. Because she feels guilty about doing many bad things to him and she doesn’t deserve his heritage. Now she finds she loves him so much when he is dying. (95:39) The lawyer tells her the will can’t be changed unless Earl himself wants it changed.
On What Do Kids Know? Stanley can’t answer the questions any more because he has peed his pants. (97:42) Jimmy Gator can’t hold himself up and falls down on live television. (98:51)
Jim leaves Claudia’s home and turns back to ask her on a date. Claudia says yes. (104:01)
In Frank’s interview, Gwenovier asks tough questions to discover his real background and why he won’t look back on his past. He was the son of Earl and Lily. His father left his mother when she had a cancer. So he had to take care of his mother when he was fourteen till she passed away. Frank answers with silence and ends the interview. (113:28)
4. MAIN CULMINATION
In the bar, Donnie declares his love with Brad in public. (108:09)
Jimmy encounters a gunshot when he is tracing a suspect (“Worm” who killed Porter Parker) and loses his gun. (115:49)
Stanley refuses to take the final one-on-one. He is tired of being controlled and runs to the bathroom. (118:44)
Frank gets the information from that his father Earl is dying and wants to see him. He is hesitating. Linda goes back home and stops Phil from contacting Frank. Frank decides go to see his father. (121:13)
Claudia sees her father fall down on TV. She cries. (122:59)
Linda says sorry to Phil, and leaves Earl and takes the drugs herself. (125:57)
5. THIRD ACT TWIST
Linda is dying in the car. That little boy (Worm’s son) finds her and calls the police. Donnie hacks into Solomon Electronic and steals the money in the safe. Later he regrets and wants to send the money back but trapped in trouble. Frank sees his dying father and keeps crying and cursing at him. Jimmy confesses to Rose what he did to Claudia. Rose blames Jimmy deeply and goes to see her daughter. Jimmy wants to take his own life with a gun. Claudia keeps drugging in her home. Stanley breaks in the school library to going on his study. And Jim is very sad for losing his gun...
When an unbelievable / biblical rain of frogs falls down from the sky, everything changes. Intervention has occurred: (165:50) Claudia stops abusing drugs and is sent back into Rose’s arms. Jimmy Gator does not commit suicide. Earl wakes up and takes one last look at his son. Jim helps Donnie out of his rabbit hole of trouble. Stanley sees the real wonder of world. And, Jim’s gun is thrown back.