December CommQuote

There were many good scenes in the 1999 Oscar winning film, American Beauty, directed by Sam Mendes. This was one of them. Excerpted from the screenplay by Alan Fall.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – RICKY’S BEDROOM

On VIDEO: we’re IN an empty parking lot on a cold, gray day. Something is floating across from us… it’s an empty, wrinkled, white PLASTIC BAG. We follow it as the wind carries it in a circle around us, sometimes whipping it about violently, or, without warning, sending it soaring skyward, then letting it float gracefully down to the ground…

Jane sits on the bed. She watches Ricky’s WIDE-SCREEN TV, her brow furrowed, trying to figure out why this is beautiful.

From a chair across the ROOM, RICKY watches, smiling.

RICKY: It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing and there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it, right? And this bag was like, dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. And that’s the day I knew there was this entire life behind things, and … this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid. Ever.

A beat.

RICKY: (cont’d) Video’s a poor excuse. But it helps me remember… and I need to remember…

–Alan Ball, American Beauty screenplay

Leave a comment