The film opens with a short montage of Santa Cruz. Sunrise over the city
from up on campus. shots of the field below east remote with the silhouette
of cows. Shot of mist engulfing Redwood trees. shot of an empty downtown
street. shot of the Louden Nelson park and the empty swing set. Tracking
shot of 309 Chestnut street.
At the same time, a voice over is heard.
V.O. Good morning. This is KZSC coming to you on on this lovely day in May
We are in Emily Cohen’s room. She is lying in bed and her alarm is playing.
She shuts KZSC off and lies there in bed for a minute. she closes her eyes
again. The camera is above her as she she takes her hand and sticks it
underneath the covers. The camera tracks in to her face and we see the
fantasy she is trying to create in her head. She is in bed, and we see her
eyes closed and a smile on her face as the head of a boy appears in the frame
from below her and comes up to her head and kisses her neck. She is smiling.
Cut to a shot from her POV of this guy. He is above her and looks at her,
and then all of a sudden the fantasy changes, as the Pomp and Circumstance
song is heard. All of a sudden it is graduation from college. Emily’s
parents are sitting in chairs, and she sees them wave at her. The music
stops and we Cut back to Emily in bed by herself. We see her eyes open from
the shock of the interruption to her masturbation fantasy with thoughts of
graduation and her parents. She closes her eyes again and we see her hand
return to its position under the covers as she tries to reconstruct another
fantasy to aid in her process of self pleasurement. This time, there is
another guy in her bed. He is lying down and we see Emily climbing on top of
him. She begins to kiss him and then again she is shocked out of her fantasy
with a vision of graduation again. He parents are smiling at her, and the
camera dolly’s left revealing her grandma, smiling and waving. Shocked out
of the fantasy yet again, Emily gives up on her self pleasuring attempts and
gets out of bed.
Emily and her best friend Danielle are sitting on a bench outside of their
work together on Pacific Ave. The scene starts out on Danielle as she is
talking to Emily. The camera pulls back from a CU of Danielle’s face to
reveal both girls in a two shot on the bench smoking cigarettes.
Danielle: pomp and circumstance. She laughs.
Emily: its not funny. i’m freaking out.
Emily: because. its all happening. or rather none of its happening, and
i’ve got a month left before i have to deal with the consequences.
Danielle: that’s kind of a little dramatic, isn’t it?
Emily: you’ve been with Matt for over a year.
Danielle: yeah, but I graduated a year ago.
Emily: people are getting married. Married. Already. I can’t even get a
Danielle: that’s not true...
Danielle is interrupted by a hippie who has approached Emily.
Hippie: hey, did you hear about the tree sit in Correlitos?
Hippy: no worries. You got some pot.
Emily: rolls her eyes.
Danielle: no, we don’t. sorry.
Hippie: no worries.
Emily: do you see this?
Danielle: you should have thought of that before you got them.
Emily: why do dreads have to symbolize hippiedom? That’s not why I got them.
Danielle: Didn’t you get them because of Skip?
Emily: not really because of skip.
Danielle: of really, then why?
Emily: They inspired me.
Danielle: just like all the other muses, right?
Emily: no. ok, well maybe, but not really.
Emily: I gotta go to work. See you tonight?
We see Danielle sitting alone still on the bench.
Inside Emily’s car.
She is singing along to Joni Mitchell’s song “All I want” which is playing
on the radio.
V.O. ahh, the muse. the inspiration for the dream, the idea, the angst, the
creativity, the incredible emotion that one discovers within themselves via
another person as a vehicle. There’s been many.
For instance, there was Johnny:
As she beings to remember some of her past crushes, each guy is shown in a
slow motion medium shot. The shots freeze, and superimposed titles appear on
screen detailing the qualities that attracted Emily to them at first. As her
voiceover describes them, they appear on-screen.
v.o. Johnny. He played guitar.
Johnny. 22 yrs.
guitar player. sweet, sensitive, and introspective.
Cut to a shot (memory) of Johnny. He is playing guitar on pacific ave.
God, I was so infatuated. But he was a total flake and he’d only talk about
Cut to Emily’s room. They are sitting on the bed. MS of Johnny.
Johnny: So, enough about me, what do you think about me?
Cut back to the freeze frame shot of Johnny with the titles superimposed.
Beneath the preexisting titles appears the words
Cut back to the car. Emily gets out at the East Field house. She walks into
her dance class, and as we see her dancing, we hear the
There’s always something special about the guy.
Raver. Fantastic dancer. Free Spirit.
Cut to a shot of an isolated Ian dancing.
v.o.: There’s always some spark that draws you to them.
Fade into a shot of Ian dancing with Emily.
And always a reason why their not interested.
Fade into a shot of Ian dancing with another guy and then they kiss.
Cut back to the freeze frame of Ian and the title, “gay” appears underneath
the other attributes.
After dance class, Juliana, a fellow classmate, comes up to Emily as she is
gathering her stuff and the two begin to walk out together.
Juliana: so Emily, your graduating right?
Juliana: Do you know what you are going to do once you get out?
Emily: No clue.
Juliana: That sucks.
Emily is at home and in her room. There is a glass of wine next to her bed.
The phone rings and she answers it.
Emily: Hi Grandma! (overly condescending and loud to her grandma). fine,
how are you? No, I don’t know what I’m doing when I graduate. No. I know
grandma. ...um, hold on a sec. She holds the phone away from her face and
then begins to talk again. Grandma, someone needs to use the phone. Its an
emergency. Ok, I love you too. bye.
Emily hangs up the phone and sighs. Then turns on her stereo and begins to
sing another Joni Mitchell song, “Canada” and drinks from her wine glass.
Voiceover: Then there was Phil:
Poet. Soft spoken.
v.o. Phil was a nice boy. A nice, soft spoken young man. He wrote poetry.
Shot of Phil reading poetry on a bench in a park.
v.o. He was incredibly talented and inspiring. That is until I invited him
to a party and he got on my house mate Jen.
Shot of Phil and Jen making out on a couch.
Cut to a shot of Phil’s freeze frame. The title, “fuck head” appears below
his other attributes.
Fade to Black.
Emily is sitting in a classroom during a lecture. As the professor talks, we
hear her voiceover.
v.o. And of course there was Skip.
massage therapist. spiritually enlightened.
I was in love with Skip. I couldn’t believe I could meet a guy under the age
of 50 who was that open-minded and in love with life.
Cut to a shot of Skip and Emily in her room. He is telling her about her
Chakra Energy patterns while he puts pomade in her newly formed dreads. The
dreads were my idea. I thought they’d bring us closer spiritually. Then he
dumped me for his ex girlfriend, shaved his dreads and moved to San Jose for
a dot com job.
Cut back to Skip’s freeze frame picture. Underneath his descriptions appears
the words, “full of shit.”
Cut back to the classroom. Class is over, and as she starts to walk out the
door, her professor catches her.
Professor: Emily, wait a minute.
Prof.: I haven’t gotten the chance to ask you what your plans are for after
All we see is emily’s disgusted facial reaction.
The next shots are a montage of Emily at school. She is seen walking through
the Porter fish pond from above, seen sitting in a class, seen waiting for a
bus, seen noticing a couple kissing and holding hands.
v.o. so yeah i’m graduating. and i’m freaking out. because somehow if i
graduate and i don’t fulfill all the expectations of what you are supposed to
do or be or have in college then you are a failure. and i’m a failure. why?
because i’m leaving this place with less of an idea of what i’m gonna do
with my life than when i came in. with less excitement and ambition to enter
the world then with more, and because i haven’t found anyone to fall in love
with or who has fallen in love with me, which, retarded as it may sound, is
somehow in my mind a measurement or a reflection of my own self worth.
fade to black.
Jen yells from inside the house before she walks out the screen door.
Emily, Danielle, and Tiphany are sitting outside their living room window on
the porch which is adjacent. They are sitting, sunbathing, and smoking
cigarettes. Emily has a pair of oversized pink sunglasses on.
Jen: Did anyone get the mail?
Danielle: (from outside the house on the porch) No
Jen: Em, your mom called. She said to tell you that your dad is on vacation
with your step mom and that she left a message about your graduation date but
that he might not get back in time to get a cheap flight.
Tiphany: So your dad might not be coming to graduation?
Emily: Who knows.
A couple of seconds of silence pass.
Emily: i think it all comes down to ethan molinosky.
Danielle: evan molinkinsky?
Emily: ethan molinosky.
Emily: he’s from the fifth grade?
Danielle: what’s the fifth grade have to do with this?
Emily: it doesn’t, but ethan does.
Emily: he was my first boy/friend. we talked on the phone for hours and
played at the creek. i thought he was so cool because he could play soccer
and was friends with all the cool kids but he still hung out with me.
Emily: well, then one day he decided i was too chubby and started calling me
tub of blub.
tiph: what an asshole!
danielle: babe, i’m sorry. what a little shit. Fuckin Evan Molovinsky.
emily: Ethan Molinosky.
Emily. Never mind...it just still upsets me.
danielle: well obviously. Tub of blub.
Emily hits her
danielle: oww! and laughingly says I’m sorry.
Emily: what pisses me off is that what’s in my head is retarded.
Danielle: so that’s why you want a muse, right? Because at least they’re
Emily: right. the draw is that you don’t know for sure that their retarded,
so that they can be better than you and you can bounce your ideas off them
and have them come from somewhere else.
Danielle: so you can pretend that they’re never retarded like you until you
get to know them well enough. so i guess the key is to never know them well
Tiphany: so therefore you will always be alone.
Danielle: or else everyone will always disappoint you.
Emily: right. no. fuck. no. because i disappoint myself.
Tiphany: how do you disappoint yourself?
Emily: i don’t know.
(gets up and starts to climb back into the living room through the window.)
You know what? Fuck it. I don’t need anyone. I’m over it.
Danielle: (yells back as Emily exits) but you do. just not for the reasons
that you think you do.
Jen enters with the mail.
Jen: (to Emily) Hi lovely lady.
Emily: Hi Jen.
(danielle and tiph climb through window)
Jen: Emily, you got a letter today. Its addressed to you from yourself.
Jen: here, open it.
(the girls crowd around her.)
Emily: oh my god. i totally forgot about this. i wrote this freshman year.
Tiph: was that for your intro to writing class?
Jen: I did that too.
Danielle: I guess they forwarded it from your old address.
Tiphany: what does it say?
Emily: I don’t know. Do you guys mind if I read it in private?
fade to black.
Emily is lying on her back on the driveway. We see her reading the letter as
the camera circles around her and then swoops down on her from above as she
puts on her oversized pink sunglasses.
fade to black.
she is walking to the park as night falls. As she walks and arrives at
Louden Nelson center and sits down on one of the swings of the swing set, we
hear the contents of the letter as voiceover.
V.O. The Letter: Emie, I don’t know where this letter will find you.
Hopefully you’re happy. Hopefully you are content. Maybe you’ve reached
that place in your life where you are who you want to be, with who you want
to be with, and doing what you always wanted to be doing. Maybe not. But
wherever you are, hopefully you’ve left the expectations behind, because as
you know, they can ruin you. But no matter what, hopefully you’ll remember
this one thing...Be true to yourself, because you’re all you’ve got in the
end. Love ya babe, your younger self.
When it stops, she sits quietly for a moment. Then she starts to swing. At
first all we hear are the sounds of the swing and her feet from her POV as
they swing below her and brush the ground.
V.O. When i was a little girl, my father used to push me on the swings. It
was one of my best memories of him. On the rare occasion that he’d take me
to the park, we head directly to them. Then he’d push me, and I’d swing
higher and faster than anyone else. But I didn’t even notice anyone else.
It was just me, the swing, the trees above my feet, and the wind. It was the
best pleasure in the world. And it was my own.