Brad's Status (2017) - full transcript

A father takes his son to tour colleges on the East Coast and meets up with an old friend who makes him feel inferior about his life's choices.

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[sighs softly]

[sighs]

[man] The night before we left,
I couldn't sleep.

I couldn't stop thinking
about Chris Kanew,

and how he quit,

and all the things he said.

[Chris] Brad, I loved working
with you so much,

and I learned a lot from you,
but this job has made me...

kind of depressed.

[Brad] I thought about
how I'd taught this kid everything I knew,



and how he was my only employee,

and... how pathetic it all was.

[agitated instrumentals playing]

Then my mind drifted to the dinner party.

And the Architectural Digest.

[man 1] She has a teenage daughter.

[man 2] They call that...

- [man 1] Oh, is that it? Okay.
- [man 2] Yeah.

We were talking about cheese.
You got to try this.

This is, like, an imitation Comté.

Really?
[man] But instead of organic...

[lively chatter continues]

[woman] Isn't that
your friend from college?

Brad has this friend from college...



[Brad] I knew Nick had become
rich and successful, but...

I felt gut-punched.

I felt like the world was
rubbing my nose in something.

[agitated instrumentals continue]

So many friends from college
have become successful.

[lively chatter, laughter]

[Brad] Nick Pascale was
a big movie director in Hollywood,

living this crazy, decadent life.

Jason Hatfield had his own hedge fund.

Obscenely rich.

Owns three houses.

Big philanthropist.

Billy Wearslter sold
his tech company at 40.

He's already retired,
living a life of leisure in Maui.

Craig Fisher worked for the White House.

He's written all these best-sellers.

Always on TV.

[agitated instrumentals continue]

It's stupid to compare lives.

But when I do,

[sighs]

I feel somehow I failed.

And over time, these feelings get worse.

Brad.
Shit.

Oh, my.
Sorry.

You okay?

What the hell?
You just... you just hit me in the face.

Oh, sorry.

It's okay.

Can't sleep.
Mm.

How much do you think
your parents' house is worth?

My parents' house?

I don't know.

Like, uh, two million?

Two and a half?

I don't know.

You never thought about it?

What does it matter?

Well, aren't you getting
the house when they die?

When they die?

I think they're considering
leaving it all to the grandkids.

What do you mean?

Like, splitting everything
between the grandkids.

What? Steve has three kids.

He's already rich. We only have one.
How's that fair?

It's not up to me.

They also talked about just giving it all
to charity, so, who knows?

Seriously?

That's absurd.

[scoffs]

Seriously, that's mean.

You work for a nonprofit,
and you think that's absurd?

Right, I work for a nonprofit.
You work for the government.

We need the money.

Look, I'm gonna be so distraught
when my parents die,

I'm not gonna give a fuck about the money.

Really?

Not at all?

Think you will.

What about your dad?

You have money coming to you.

Oh, he's an academic. I mean...

two hundred thousand, maybe.

Well, that'll help pay for Troy's college.

[sighs]
Is that why you're worrying about money?

We'll be fine.

We'll figure it out.

We didn't work this hard
to end up dying in a flophouse, you know?

All right, you're freaking me out.

I just feel like
we're running out of time.

It's like there's no more potential.

This is it.

We've plateaued.

It's not like there's gonna be some...

windfall that, you know,
suddenly changes our situation.

I mean...

We're not poor, Brad.
I kn...

In some circles, yeah.

Oh, what circles? The one percent?

We have a great life.

Go to sleep.

Do you think you should
talk to your parents?

Then we'll get some clarity.

You and I are done.
I love you.

Please shut up.

[sighs softly]

[classical music playing]

[Brad calling out] Troy?

[woman calling out] Troy, are you up?

[panting]

Oh, yes. Hello.

What is your name?

I know your name.

You have ten minutes.

Uh, yeah, I'm ready.
I just got to put on my clothes.

Can you give me a second?

Yeah.

You have, like, the body of a man now.

Hey, Dad, can you not be weird?
'Cause I'm stressed.

Okay.

Can you close my door?

Yeah.

[Troy] Can you close the door?

Yeah.

[agitated instrumentals playing]

[woman] Yeah, it looks good.
Did you bring a jacket?

- [Troy] Yeah.
- [woman] Okay. It's gonna get cold.

- [Troy] Yeah.
- [woman] Oh,

I think you guys are gonna like this.

[Troy] Yeah, I think
it'll be good, I guess.

[Brad] On the ride to the airport,

I kept thinking
about what Chris Kanew said.

So, wait a minute,
you're going into banking?

Look, Brad, I honestly think
I can do so much more good

by making a lot of money
and then giving it away,

instead of spending all my time
asking other people

for their money to give away.

You know what I mean?

[woman] You have
all the hotel information, right?

Yeah, Mom. It's on my phone.

Would you forward it to your dad?

I don't think he has any sense
of the schedule. Do you, Brad?

I don't think he has any idea,
so, it's really on you, honey.

[Troy] Okay.

[Brad] There are moments you realize
your entire life's work is absurd

and you have nothing to show for it.

[man 1]...the deputies of Kim Jong-il.
[woman] Yeah.

[lively chatter continues]

[man 1] Or maybe it was Kim Jong-un.
Was it Kim Jong-un or Kim Jong-il?

- Was it the father?
- [man 2] It was Il.

[man 1] That's the father.

[Brad] Some guys have empires.

What do I have?

I live in Sacramento,

a secondary market
surrounded by mediocrities

and beta males.

...this piece on NPR.

It was an interview. It was Terry Gross
with All Things Considered.

But the guy... you were telling
about the guy in the prison before,

the vegetarian guy, right?
[man 3] Oh, yeah.

In this... It's a private prison
in Georgia.

And they have meat in every dish.

This guy just said,
"I'm gonna stop eating meat."

So, they got him tied down.
They're force-feeding him through a tube.

And he just keeps saying,
"Vegetables. Vegetarian. Fruit."

[woman speaking indistinctly]

[Brad] This is not where I thought I'd be.

It's not the life I imagined.

[woman] Oh, honey,
this is gonna be so cool.

This is great.

[Troy] Mom, I think I'm just gonna take
Old River Road, connect to the freeway.

[man over PA]
For your safety and security...

[Troy] This good?

[Brad] Yeah.

[agitated instrumentals continue]

[woman] Call me all the time.

I want to know everything.
This is so exciting.

- Yeah, thanks, Mom.
- I love you.

All right. Should be good.

[chuckles] I can't believe this.

This is crazy.
I know.

It just feels like a big moment.

I'm so jealous. I can't believe
I have to go to this stupid conference.

Okay, flight info's all on your phone,

and the hotels, it's all on there, okay?
Great, okay.

All right, be happy. Be present.
[smooches] Love you.

All right.
I love you.

[Brad] Love you, honey.
[woman] Okay.

Oh, take lots of pictures!

Love you!

[Troy] Love you!

[woman over PA]
Attention, all departing passengers...

[woman continues indistinctly over PA]

Economy entrance is that line.

But, uh, I have a, uh, Silver Flyer card.

It's Gold and Platinum only.

Next, please.

Enjoy your flight.

[tense music playing]

[child fussing]

[tense music continues]

You know what I'm thinking?

Hmm?

Let's try for an upgrade.

What do you mean?

Going off to find your college.

And I don't know when you and I
are gonna take a trip like this again.

Let's fly business, okay?

Really?
Yeah.

Okay. Cool.

I, uh, I never flown business.

Let's make this fucking special, okay?

[chuckles] Okay.
All right.

Oh! Good news.
There are two seats available in business.

Oh!

[airline rep] Can I see
your tickets, please?

Awesome.

Yeah.
Thank you.

Yeah. I was hoping to put it on my miles.

I got a bunch of miles, I think.

Unfortunately, no, not with this flight,
you can't.

So... [tapping keyboard]
cost to upgrade to business

would be $821 per ticket.
Mm.

So, the total would be $1,642.

Sixteen hundred dollars?
That's... for a domestic flight?

Yes, $1,642.

Would you like to go ahead
and purchase the tickets?

[smacks lips] I...

I'm gonna go for it.

Go for it. I can put it on my Amex.
Actually... Sorry, no.

Put it on my MasterCard.

Thanks.
Gonna put it on the Amex. Just...

[quietly] Okay.

Sorry.
Great. Let me just run that.

Yeah, it's a... once-in-a-lifetime thing.

Mm-hmm. Mr. Sloan, actually...
Yeah?

...unfortunately, we can't upgrade you.

I'm sorry.
What? Why not?

Seems as though you bought those tickets
on a discounted website,

and with that type of ticket,
we can't do the upgrade.

Okay.

But... not even if I pay you $1,600?

There's actually no amount of money
you can pay to get an upgrade.

I'm so sorry.

Anything else?

Um... no.

It's not a big deal, anyway.

Okay.

And what if I'm a Silver Flyer member?

I'm sorry.

Next?
Okay.

[man coughs]
[man] Right on the beach.

[woman] Really?

[stewardess] Champagne?
[woman] That sounds like...

[man] Oh!
[stewardess] There you are.

Thanks.
Thank you.

[stewardess] Yes. Enjoy your flight.

[indistinct chatter]

[baby crying]

[baby crying loudly]

[Brad sighs]

Sorry I couldn't get us the upgrade.

It's not a big deal.

[scoffs] Silver Flyer card.

Means nothing.

Gets you nothing at all.

Well, then get rid of it.

Yeah, I'm gonna. I'm tossing it.

[seat belt alarm chimes]

Should I? I should, right?

[Troy] Mm-hmm.

Stupid...

[passenger sneezes]

[passenger coughing]

I'll keep it for now.

[muffled rap music playing over earbuds]

[agitated instrumentals playing]

[Brad] I couldn't help but wonder:

When was the last time
Craig Fisher flew economy?

Probably not in decades.

[stewardess] Mr. Fisher?

Can I offer you a warm towel?

A warm towel.
[giggles quietly]

Yes, thank you.

[groans with satisfaction]

- [children shouting]
- What are you two doing?

[Brad] And now Jason Hatfield
has his own private plane.

Never has to fly commercial at all.

Nick Pascale probably flies private, too.

[dog barking]

Thank you so much.

[Brad] Must be nice to always have
the seas part for you.

Nothing's out of reach.

[Xavier] Can I have this one?

Okay.
[Xavier] Yeah? Oh.

[Brad] Everything an option.

Must be like a drug.

Always feeling important and special.

Better than.

- [children laughing]
- [Brad] And all the adventures.

The exotic destinations.

Au revoir!

[Brad] For them,
the world isn't a battlefield.

It's a playground.

A dream.

It's heaven, manifested.

Dad, can I get some Pringles?
They're seven dollars.

- Yeah.
- I need your credit card.

[steward over PA]
There are 45 minutes left on the flight.

Keep your seat belt fastened.
Enjoy the rest of the flight.

[snoring quietly]

[Brad] Eventually,
my mind drifted back to college.

Back then, I was in love with the world

and the world was in love with me.

When did we fall out of love
with each other?

Where did it all go wrong?

My thoughts turned to Melanie.

[Melanie] It's unbelievable.

It's fucked up.

They've got kids...
little elementary school kids...

doing these mass-shooting drills
in their schools,

because everybody has to have a gun,
because that's the answer...

[Brad] I love Melanie's idealism,
but maybe that idealism

prevented me from ever selling out.

[woman speaks French]

Jason Hatfield married a woman
who had money of her own.

She introduced him to rich clients,
gave him entrée and status.

Diane Fisher's famous in her own right.

She and Craig competed with each other,

pushing each other to succeed.

[Brad] Here.
Oh.

But Melanie...

she's so easily satisfied.

It's good.

Seriously?
Yeah!

Honestly?
Yeah, I always love your sauces.

Maybe her contentment
undermined my ambition.

[quietly] Okay.

[phone ringing]

Hey. Hi, honey.

[Melanie] Hey, you in Boston?

Yep. We made it.

Yeah, we're on our way to the hotel.

[Melanie] Oh, good. How's Troy doing?

He's good.
Good.

[Brad] Yeah. He's, uh, drinking in Boston.

- [phones ringing]
- [indistinct chatter]

[man] And I'll tell you something:
I know exactly what the...

[Brad] I can't blame Melanie
for my decisions,

or anyone else.

It's my fault.

[Troy] Dad.

You want to get some food? All I've eaten
today is the can of Pringles.

Yeah. Let's do it. I'm hungry, too.

Yeah. Let's get some food.

[quiet chatter]

[Asian music playing]

And then, uh, Thursday, rent a car
and drive to Amherst and then Williams.

You know,
these are competitive schools, Troy.

Just... just try not to put
too much pressure on yourself.

You know what I mean?

Don't get caught up
in the game, all the brands.

You know, "Williams,"
"Harvard," all of it.

Just... It all works out.

In the end, you end up at the right place.

Mm, yeah, I'm not really worried.

Okay.

You know, when I was your age,
I was so freaked out about college.

I wanted to go to Yale.

Was just obsessed, right?

I mean, why Yale?

I didn't know why.

And then, uh, I got waitlisted,
and then I didn't get in.

Right?

Guess what?

It all worked out.

I loved Tufts.

Tufts was a fantastic school.

I made great friends.

I met that professor, Bob Connor,

took me under his wing and just,

you know, kind of blew my mind
and changed my life.

Made me want to save the world.

So...

Anyway, my point is, fuck Yale, okay?

And you don't get into Tufts, fuck Tufts.

My, uh, counselor thinks
that I'll get into Yale.

She does?
He does, yeah.

He does. Why does he think that?

Uh, I mean, I guess my grades
and scores and my compositions,

'cause I guess a lot of these schools
are looking to fill orchestral spots.

And, uh, he's pretty confident

I'll get into pretty much
everywhere I apply.

You look stunned.

He thinks you're gonna get into Yale?

[chuckles] Yes.

Really? That's amazing.

I mean, I knew you had
good grades and I...

you know, I always thought
you were a genius,

but I just...

That's so awesome, Troy.

But we're not, um, visiting Yale.

Uh, yeah, I don't really
want to go to Yale.

Why not?

Um... well, I'm hoping
that I get into Harvard,

'cause there's this, uh,
there's this music professor there,

this guy, Jerome Backaly,

and he's doing, like,
a lot of really cool stuff and...

Yeah, it's just a really cool program.

My, uh, friend from school,

she says that there's
a concert Wednesday night

that she's playing,
and he might be there, so...

S...

- You're going to Harvard.
- [both chuckle]

Well, maybe. You know, I don't know.

Does your mother know about this?

Well, she knows I want to.
I...

I can't believe...
I didn't know about this.

What do you mean?
You knew that we were coming here.

I knew we were checking out the school,

but I didn't know you were
actually gonna get in.

[scoffs] Well, I might not get in.

But it seems like you might.

Well, yeah, I might.

My kid's going to Harvard.

[laughs]

Don't fucking jinx me, dude.

[sentimental music playing]

You all right?
Yeah.

Life's crazy, huh?

I mean...

how cool.

I'm proud of you.

[Brad] Sometimes in life,
you can lose the plot.

[playing repeated note on keyboard]

[Brad over earbuds]
You want to play something, buddy?

[sentimental music continues]

I suddenly remembered what I'd been doing
for the last 17 years.

Planting and nurturing
for this amazing creature.

How could I have regrets?

[upbeat music playing]

[Brad] If I had stayed in New York
and married a striver like Diane Fisher...

No, that is bullshit...

...Troy could've turned out
entitled and pretentious.

Dad, don't be so cisgender.
[Diane] Come on.

Yeah, Dad, don't be so cis.
[Diane] You've got to look at what...

[Brad] If I'd pursued money and power,

he might've become
a spoiled little monster.

[children laughing]

[inhaling]
[girl] Save one for me!

Yeah! [whoops]

[Troy] Toblerone?

Oh. Thanks.

Thank God for Sacramento.

What?

Oh! Checking your phone?
Are you ticklish? Tickle Man?

- Do you remember Tickle Man?
- [laughing] No.

- You used to love this. Tickle, tickle.
- No.

- Come on.
- Please stop.

Oh, yeah, I got...

[laughs] Oh!

[Brad yelps] Whoa! Oh, my God!

Okay, stop. Troy, Troy, seriously, stop.

Okay.

[laughs]

[mock evil chuckling]

[Brad grunts]

[Brad yelps] Whoa! Troy!

[both laughing]

[upbeat music continues]

[Brad] That night, I imagine
Troy getting into Harvard,

and the satisfactions it would bring.

Hey! Hey, guys!

Hey!

I got in!

[upbeat music swells]

[yelling, whooping]
I got in!

[laughing]

Oh! Harvard!

[Troy] Hey!
[whoops]

All right, buddy!

Harvard!

[upbeat music continues]

Not a bad place to go to school.

[Troy] No.

[chuckles]

Wow.

This is where you go.

Let's go. Let's go.

[quiet chatter]

You have a son or a daughter?

A son, yes. He's interviewing.

Mine, too.

Yeah, my son is a, uh,
very talented musician.

Keyboards.

Pianist.

Yeah.

Also composes his own music, so...

Wonderful.

Looks like he's gonna have
a lot of decisions to make.

Mm.

But I'm pretty sure Harvard is,
uh, gonna be in the running.

Oh, you think Harvard's got a chance?

[scoffs]

Uh, what does your son do?

What does he do?
He's a student in high school.

Right. Okay.

Hey.

What's going on? Is it over?

Uh... no, I got the day wrong.

What?

I got the... I got the day wrong.

It's yesterday.

Yesterday? What do you mean?

Yeah, I mean, I don't know,
I fucked it up. It was yesterday.

Well, did they... did they give
you a time to come back?

Um... no, I mean, I think
they're really booked up.

But they said, like,
I can just do an alumni interview

back in Sacramento.
No. No.

No, you want to do it
with one of these guys.

I mean, these are the guys that decide.

Right?

Dad, I'm just gonna go on the tour.
It's not... this isn't a big deal.

It's a big deal. I'm gonna talk to them.

- What? You don't need to talk to them.
- Yes, I do.

Listen, we didn't come all this way
for you to interview in Sacramento.

[Brad] Excuse me. Sir? Hi.

Oh, I'd love to be able
to accommodate you guys,

but our schedule's been set
for months now.

I want you to get a sense of my son.
Harvard is his first choice...

Hey, Dad, it's okay.

He's a pianist. He does community service.

His counselor says he's Harvard material.

It's not necessary to interview here.

Alumni interviews are just as effective.

Well, I... Okay.

I mean... I mean,
I know how important face time is.

You know, we're here. Come on.

Don't shine us on. I mean...
Dad.

No. Can't you just sit with us
for ten minutes?

I mean, he's right here.

What are you guys doing right now?

I have a staff meeting, sir.

[whispering] Dad, please,
please, please, please stop.

- Please stop.
- Okay. I'll stop, okay.

Okay. All right. Thank you.

Thank you. Come on, let's go.

[Troy sighing heavily]

Dad, what the fuck? You think
arguing with the admissions officer

is gonna help my chances?
He won't remember this.

I think he will.
You know, I don't understand.

How can someone who has the brains
to get into Harvard

not have the brain to remember
what day he made an appointment

so he can get into Harvard?

I'm sorry. Can we please talk and, like,

walk somewhere else, please,
'cause they're about to start a tour.

So what?
So, I don't want everybody

seeing me getting bitched-out
by my dad, okay?

I'm not bitching you out.

I'm trying to solve a problem here.

I know you think you got this in the bag,
but this is Harvard, Troy.

Even geniuses get rejected.

[quietly] Oh, my God.

You realize you're competing

with kids from Hong Kong
and everywhere, okay?

You're a white kid from the suburbs

without a sob story,
and you're not even a legacy.

We're the underdogs here.
We need to do everything we can.

Dad, I'm about to flip
the fuck out. Please shut up.

Okay, let me think. Just...

Okay, why don't you go
on the tour, and I'm...

I'm gonna, um...
What are you gonna do?

I'm gonna make some calls.

Just don't do anything uncool.

[ringtone playing]

Hey.

[Brad] Hey. So, Troy messed up,

and we're at Harvard,
and he doesn't have an interview.

He got the day wrong.

Do we know anybody at Harvard?

I really want to get him an interview.
I mean,

I just want them to meet him.

Oh, who's at Harvard?

Like, um, like, uh, like, like...

Yeah, yeah, like, um...

- Like...
- Like a dean.

Babe, Harvard is Troy's first choice.
Did you know that?

- Yeah, yeah.
- And his counselor thinks he can get in.

Did you know that?

- Yeah.
- Who do we know at Harvard?

Uh, I don't know. I mean, I got to think.

Like, um... Toni Morrison.

Toni Morrison?

You know Toni Morrison?

- No.
- No, no, she teaches at Princeton.

Melanie, what the fuck
are you talking about, Toni Morrison?

I don't know. Who would I know at Harvard?

- Um...
- Uh, just, you know people in government.

Someone must have gone to Harvard.
I mean, think.

- It's Troy's future.
- Okay.

Um... Oh!

Craig Fisher teaches
a class there. Doesn't he?

Uh, what? No.

Does he?

Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I read that somewhere.

He's, uh, a visiting lecturer
or something.

He drives up from DC.

Uh, no. He lives in New York now.

Okay, well, he drives up
from New York, then.

I mean, I'm pretty sure he lectures there,
teaches a class, something.

[quietly] Oh, fuck.

- What?
- [smacks lips]

No, I think you're right,
now that you mention it.

[quietly] Shit.

What's wrong?

I just... I don't want to call him.

Why not?

[grunts]

Damn it.

What's the big deal?

All right, all right.
I'll call you later, okay?

Okay. Can I talk to Troy?

[line beeps]

[ethereal music playing]

[Brad] Working up the courage
to call Craig,

I remembered the first time
I'd seen him on TV.

[woman over TV] I'd like to welcome
Craig Fisher to the conversation.

He is a former White House press secretary

who now works at the Heller Institute.

He's also the bestselling
author of Political Animals.

Craig, who's responsible
for this congressional...

[Brad] It was like a ghost
I'd conjured to haunt me.

[Craig]...castrates the forefathers.

Um, but we have a system,
for better or for worse,

in this country of checks and balances,

to make sure
that there is no one demagogue...

[Brad] It wasn'tjust a fleeting jealousy.

It was real pain.

[ethereal music continues]

Why is it so painful?

What was wrong with me?

I thought about the last time I saw him.

[Brad]...exciting about this
is it's an opportunity...

We'd both been in New York
for different reasons

and decided to meet up.

I'd just started my nonprofit
and was full of enthusiasm.

...and so what we would do

is kind of be a clearing house
for that, and kind of a...

like a matchmaking service,

social media matchmaking organization
that would find the organizations

that need the money, find the people
who want to give money,

bring them together and...

[Brad] I was hoping Craig might want
to get involved in some way,

offer up his famous friends.

Even donate money.

But he never took the bait.

Back in Sacramento,
I decided to be more direct.

I sent him an e-mail asking him
to come onto my board of directors.

I wrote about the worthiness of the cause
and my deep respect for Craig

and how much it would mean
to me personally.

[Melanie] Mrs. Cohen said we have to bring
all the science stuff to school by Friday.

[Troy] Oh.
So, we got to figure that out.

[Brad] But I never heard back.

[Troy] Well, I do like whales a lot,

so, we could study the anatomy...

You know, they say politics
is show business for ugly people.

Any whiff of show business,
I think people really respond...

[TV clicks off]

[Brad] In fact, I never heard
from Craig again.

[sighs]

Aw, fuck it.

[phone beeps]

[electronic chimes]

[automated voice] Your call
cannot be completed as dialed.

[phone beeps]

[sniffs]

[phone ringing]

Brad?

[Brad] Hey! Yo, Billy.

How you doing, man? What's up? How's life?

Oh, life is good, man.

It's fucking excellent.

You're, like, retired. Amazing.

I know.

You're, like, uh, living the dream.

Yeah, pretty much.

Although I'm not really retired.

I put some money
into this little beach bar here,

and it just blew up.

And now we're franchising across Hawaii,
we're coming to the mainland.

So, that's keeping me pretty busy.

Wow, that sounds great.

And I've got these two...

beautiful wahine who live with me,

and they're fucking gorgeous
and they're fucking cool.

And they make these amazing necklaces
out of shells and shit,

and I'm helping them open a store.

[chuckles quietly]

We surf,

then we fuck...

then we surf.

It's awesome.

[chuckles]

No, come... wait, so you're serious?

You're living... you have two girlfriends
that you live with?

Yeah, well, it's pretty fluid, you know.

Anyway, what's up with you?

Uh... uh, I'm, uh, I'm great.

I'm here in Boston with my son, Troy,

and we're visiting colleges.

- Yeah?
- Yeah. He's, uh...

probably gonna go to Harvard.

Yeah? Sweet.

Yeah, he's, uh, he's a pretty smart kid.

He's the real deal.

- Oh, awesome.
- Uh... anyway, hey,

do you happen to have Craig's number?

I wanted to ask him something,
but I think that he changed it.

Oh, yeah, I'll text it to you.
I just saw him in LA at Nick's wedding.

Nick got married?

To who?

To Xavier. Who is actually very cool.

it was a beautiful ceremony.

Uh-huh.

Yeah, no, I didn't know about it.

Oh. Well, it was real small.

Somebody asked about you.

I forget who.

Mm-hmm.

They were, like, asking about,

you know, where you were,
or whatever happened to you,

or... I don't know. Who was it?

Who was it? Someone...
someone saying, "Where's Brad?

I remember that guy Brad."

Oh, well, I'm just, uh,
just been doing my thing.

Dude, it's good to hear your voice.

My dog took a shit, though,
so I got to pick it up.

Okay.

Well, I'll, um...
I'll talk to you soon, man.

It's really good to talk to you, also.

And, uh, yeah, if you could,
uh, text me that number.

Yeah, yeah, I'll send it right away.

Come to the islands sometime,
brother. Later.

Yeah. Okay.

[Brad] For a moment,
I imagined Billy's life in Maui,

with two young girlfriends,

and the great sex he must be having.

[Hawaiian music playing]

[laughter]

[woman whoops]

[Brad] Then I thought about Melanie

and what was left of our sex life.

[crickets chirping]

[phone rings]

[line ringing]

[automated voice]
Please leave a message for...

[Craig] Craig Fisher.

- [automated voice]...at the beep.
- [beep]

Uh, hey, Craig. It's, uh, Brad Sloan.

How you doing, man?

Uh, I'm in Boston, and, uh, my son...

Um, if you, uh,

if you could... if you have time,
could you give me a call?

Um, it's kind of on the urgent side.

So, uh... thanks, man.

[agitated instrumentals playing]

[Brad] Not being invited to Nick's wedding
confirmed a creeping fear.

Not only had I not lived up
to my own expectations,

I'd failed in the eyes of others.

I pictured the wedding party.

Everyone there,

basking in each other's glow.

It wasn't friendship that bonded them,

but a perceived level of success.

Whether I was forgotten or excluded...

made no difference.

I was off the list.

A nobody.

A nothing.

The world hated me,
and the feeling was mutual.

Are you okay?
'Cause you seem a little off.

Hm.

[smacks lips] No. It's just, um...

stupid.

What?

Uh, some, uh, I don't know,
some old friends...

got together and didn't invite me.
Mm.

And so, you know, 'cause...

I guess 'cause I'm not... um...

[chuckles uncomfortably]
you know, whatever.

Just, it's random.

What? You're kind of mumbling.

No, it's... no, it's something
I wouldn't have even wanted to go to

even if I was invited, so...
Oh.

Just, I don't know, kind of lame.

I'm sorry.
Mm.

No.

It's ridiculous.

They sound like dicks.

Hmm. Yeah.

[grunts]

[phone ringing]

Hello?

[Craig] Hey. It's Craig Fisher.

Hey! Craig.

What's going on?

Is everything okay? Did someone die?
What?

No. No, nobody died.

Well, you sounded kind of weird on your...

on your message,
and you said it was urgent, so I...

No, no, no, no. I'm sorry.
I didn't mean to...

No. It's just, I'm up here
at Cambridge with, uh, my son,

and we're looking at Harvard,

and he had an interview,
or was supposed to,

at the admissions office, and someone...

messed up over there, so, um...

Uh, you know what?

Uh, hang on a second. I'm in a restaurant.

- [bell jingles]
- [Brad] Hey. Yeah.

So, anyway, I heard that you, uh,

- teach a class there.
- [door closes]

[continues indistinctly]

You know what, actually, I...
I'm flying up there tomorrow.

You guys still gonna be around?

Yeah. We're here, uh...
we're here tomorrow.

We're here till Thursday.
We leave Thursday.

Why don't we get some dinner.

That would be great.

Yeah. Oh, and, um... one last thing.

Troy is a musician.
I mean, like, a true prodigy.

And, uh, there's this music professor...

And I'm not just saying that
'cause he's my kid, but...

Hey, Troy. [glass knocking] Troy.

What's the name of the professor?

What?
What's the name of... Hang on.

[bell jingles]

What's the name
of the music professor you like?

Um, Jerome Backaly.

Jerome Backaly.

- [Craig] Jerome Backaly.
- Yeah.

Sure, I'll give him a call.

That would be terrific, Craig.

That... man, I owe you.

[Craig] No problem. So, dinner tomorrow.

[Brad] Yeah, that'll be great.
I'll pick a place.

Have a great taping.

[Craig] Thanks, man. Bye.

[Troy] What's going on?

[sighs]
Dad...

[upbeat music playing]

I'm on it, okay?

I'm on it.

[upbeat music continues]

[phone ringing, vibrating]

Mm-hmm.

- Hey, Craig.
- [Craig chuckles] Hey.

Guess what. I'm in a bookstore,
and I'm looking at your book right now.

Great. So, I've got some good news.

Just got off the phone
with the dean of admissions.

Seriously?

[Craig] You're in luck.

Guess who you have
a meeting with tomorrow.

Who?
Jerome Backaly.

What?
Yeah.

And then after that, you have an interview
with the dean of admissions.

No way.

Way.

Are you serious?
Totally serious.

[laughs] Wow! Wha...
[laughs]

[gasps] Oh, jee...

What?
Yeah, man.

Oh, sh...

Now I'm nervous.

No. Come on.

[gasps] Oh...

Uh... wait, no, shit.

Uh, tomorrow I'm supposed
to have Tufts, though.

Fuck Tufts.

Yeah. Yeah.
[laughs]

Ah... we'll go in the afternoon.

[gasps] Dad.
Yeah?

You're the fucking king, man.

Gotcha, pal.

[upbeat music playing]

What do you think, Troy?

I'm going to Harvard.

[Brad] Coming through for Troy
made me giddy.

Try it.

Maybe this was the first
in a long series of victories.

Oh, my God.

I pictured Troy as an adult,
happy and wealthy.

Even famous.

I'm getting all of them.

[Melanie laughs]

Here you go.

That's our son.
For you. It's our son.

It's our son.

I love you both so much.

And all my success is because of you.

Aw.
Oh.

Thank you. Thanks, buddy.
And guess what.

[Brad and Melanie] What?

I bought an island!

What?
[gasps]

Yeah!
[laughing]

[Brad] I pictured his triumphs eclipsing
those of my contemporaries.

And how gratifying that would be.

[upbeat music continues]

[agitated instrumentals playing]

Suddenly, my thoughts darkened.

These victories...

how desperate to claim them as mine.

They would be his.

[Troy on TV] Um... my dad,
like, whenever he sees

a photo of me on the Internet
or in a magazine,

for some reason he thinks it's,
like, my obituary.

- [audience laughter]
- And that I've, like, died.

It sounds like your dad
might be a little bit crazy.

Crazy? Uh, yeah, a little.
I would say, um...

- Like, maybe this?
- Maybe, yeah.

- A little bit more.
- Maybe a little more than that.

- Maybe a little bit more than a little.
- [Kimmel] Yeah, yeah.

[Brad] What if Troy lorded
his success over me,

or hoarded it away?

[Kimmel] It sounds like your father
might be mentally ill,

in need of some help.

[Brad] What if, in the end,

Troy's wins made me feel
even more the failure?

What if I became envious of my own son?

The thought horrified me.

[man] Lose yourself in nature

And find peace

Troubles will come

Troubles will release

Lose yourself
In nature and find peace

[Brad] Then again...

musicians rarely make money.

Even with a Harvard education,

Troy could easily end up
a struggling artist.

Troubles will come

Troubles will release

Lose yourself in nature and find peace

Chickens and children know it all...

[Brad] Or maybe he'll take after Melanie...

perfectly satisfied
with practically nothing.

We may reach great heights

But ever will we fall

Chickens and children know it all

Lose yourself in nature and find peace

Lose yourself in nature
And find peace

Hey, if you're just gonna be a musician,

do you even need to go to college?

What?

It's a fair question.

- "Just" a musician?
- Yeah.

I'm just saying,
do you need a Harvard diploma

if you're gonna play music in a band?

Isn't that what you want to do?

I don't know what I want to do, Dad.

Okay, well, you better start thinking
about it, 'cause, uh,

this isn't cheap, Troy,
and you're assuming a lot

if you think that I can pay for all this
without taking out loans,

or you taking out loans,
or trying to get scholarships

or financial aid.

What the fuck just happened?

I'm thinking out loud, okay?
I don't expect you to pay for everything.

I mean, are you not gonna
be able to pay for everything?

We'll see. I don't want
you to worry about this yet.

Clearly.

Hey, it might not be a big issue.
Maybe one of your grandparents will die.

[elevator bell dings]

- Hey.
- [Troy] Hey.

How you doing?
Good. How are you?

This is my dad, Brad.

[chuckles] Hey, Dad-Brad. I'm Ananya.

Hey. So, you guys were friends
at Country Day?

We were in orchestra together.

Yeah, Ananya's a really amazing musician.
[Brad] Really?

[Troy] Uh-huh.
And now you go to Harvard.

Yeah. I'm a junior.
That's... Wow.

Are you liking it?
Yeah, it's great.

I mean, it gets really cold,
but I love my classes.

Really great people.

Yeah, no complaints. [chuckles]

Uh, I made a reservation
at a restaurant around the corner.

So, should we go?

Yeah.
Cool.

Let's do it.
Mm.

[Ananya] It's good to see faces from home.

It's so cool you got that
meeting with Jerome Backaly.

How'd you manage that?

Oh, my dad's friends
with a professor here.

Oh, yeah?
Mm-hmm.

[Brad] Yeah.
Who?

His name's Craig Fisher.

Oh... What?

What?

You made a face.

I did?
Yeah, you definitely made a face.

It's okay, you can say whatever you want.

We're not close or anything.

We were friends a long time ago.

Well, I took his class last year,

and... he's kind of the worst.

[laughs] Should I not have said that?

No, say it. What?
He's just...

he's condescending, and...

I don't know, he's pretty sexist.

He's got this air of someone who thinks

that they know everything
just because he's on TV

and has got contacts at the White House.

But, how do you really feel?

Honestly, by the end of his class,

I wanted to quit my major, so...
Mm.

Uh, aren't you a music major?

No, government.

My, uh, dad majored in government.

Oh, yeah?
Yeah, communications and government.

This was at Tufts.

So, what do you do now?

I have a nonprofit I started
a few years ago.

- Really?
- Yeah, yeah.

We, uh, help other nonprofits
use social media

to get the word out about what they do.

You know, find donors, members.

So, is it, like, crowdsourcing or...

Um, a little bit of that.

Basically, we're a consultant.

Sounds boring, but...
Cool. No, no, no.

It doesn't sound boring.

It sounds amazing.

Oh. Well, thanks.

Yeah. Um, actually, I'm...

I'm writing my thesis on NGOs.

Maybe I could talk to you at some point?

Of course. Whatever you need.
Cool.

Thank you.

So, tell us about your thesis.

Really?
Yeah.

You want to know?
Yeah.

Okay, well, um, uh,
it's not fully formed yet,

uh, but I want to write about the history
of white missionary women.

Like, you know, the wives

who went to India
and Sri Lanka to, you know,

like, "convert the heathens," but, really,

they laid down a lot of groundwork

[audio fading] for social reform...

[Brad] I remember this.

[tender music playing]

This feeling.

This girl, with all her idealism,

her sense of purpose,

her hope.

[Ananya]...as it relates
to women's rights,

and how one of the sad legacies
of colonialism

is that they really had no part...

[Brad] I remember these nights.

These conversations.

The plans to change the world.

A longing to connect.

One time, I told him that my dream job
was to work at Amnesty International,

and he was, like, devastated.
[Brad] Mm.

[Troy] Mm.
So you're lucky...

you're lucky that your dad's so cool.

[Troy] Yeah.
[Ananya] Oh.

Hey!
Hey!

This is my friend, Maya.
Hey, how are you?

Hey. I told her to stop by.

I hope that's okay.
[Maya] Thank you.

So, uh, you go to Harvard, too?
Yes, I do.

Yeah, uh, Maya's in orchestra with me.

She plays the violin.
[Brad] Oh.

And, uh, what instrument do you play?

I play the flute. Yeah.

The flute? Oh, wow.
[Ananya] Yeah.

[Maya] I just don't feel like it's my job

to be the ambassador
to all these Chinese students.

I mean, of course I want
to help them assimilate, but...

First of all, I'm fucking Korean. Okay?

And second of all,
I don't even speak Mandarin...

[Brad] Her friend Maya
was equally captivating,

equally compelling.

[tender music continues]

I suddenly felt a deep grief...

for all the women I would never love...

and all the lives I would never live.

I imagined running away with them both

- and starting again.
- [women laughing]

And what that might look like.

[tender music continues]

[laughter]

Really great, right?
[laughter]

Yes. It was pretty funny.

You were there, you...
I know.

[laughter]

Thank you guys so much for dinner.

[Maya] Yes, thank you.
Yeah. Well, thanks for taking the time.

I know Troy appreciates it.

Yeah, Troy's very grateful. Thank you.
[laughter]

Uh, well, we're meeting a few people

at The Druid for drinks,
if you guys want to come.

Oh, yeah? Where's that?

Uh, just across the street.

Oh. You, um...

Yeah, you know what,
Troy's got a bunch of meetings tomorrow,

so, we should probably get some sleep.

Not even for one drink?

Nah.
Oh, I'm not 21,

so, I probably can't even get in.

Oh, that's right. Shit.

Yeah. But you guys have fun, all right?

And we'll see you tomorrow night
for the concert.

We will?
Uh, well, no, you can't,

'cause you got dinner with your friend.

But, uh, I'm gonna go.
Oh, right.

[Ananya] Aw.
Craig Fisher.

Oh.

[sneers]
[Ananya] Have fun with that.

Yeah. Yeah.
[Ananya] Yeah.

[laughs] Okay, well, uh...

- [Troy] Okay, bye.
- Bye, hon.

[Troy] I'll see you tomorrow.
[Maya] Bye. Cool.

- [Ananya] Bye. Was nice meeting you.
- Yeah, great to meet you.

- Thanks for dinner.
- All right.

Yeah, of course. All right.
[Maya] Bye. Thank you.

- Thank you so much.
- Bye-bye.

Good night.
Enjoy school.

[Ananya and Maya] Thank you.
[Brad] Okay.

Kind of seemed like you wanted to go.

Oh, no. No.

I was just, uh, just being polite.

[Troy] Mm.

[woman] Now, your book, as we heard,

starts with a warning
that readers might be better off

with a more cheerful book.

Why did you decide
to start your book that way?

[man] Well, it seemed only fair,

um, to warn anyone who was,
uh, who was seeking cheerfulness.

[whispers] Troy?
[man] And, um, also,

when I sat down to start writing...

[video stops]

[whispers] Troy, you awake?

["Generationwhy" playing]

♪ Something in the night is calling me ♪

♪ Saying get up, get up ♪

♪ Get up, get up ♪

♪ Something in the distance is creeping ♪

♪ Closer, closer... ♪

Hey. Hi. Uh, I think
I'll just, uh, close out my tab.

[bartender] Uh, just the whiskey?
Yeah.

Eight dollars.

Hey!

Hey! Yeah.
You made it.

Yeah. I just, uh, had a little insomnia,
so I, uh, got a whiskey.

Well, we're over in the corner.
Come join us.

Oh. Uh, nah. You guys
are having a good time.

I... I just couldn't sleep.

Oh, come on.

We're not having fun,
we're organizing a protest.

Yeah? That's cool.
Mm-hmm.

I'm very impressed by you.

Yeah?
Yeah. I think it's, uh, really cool,

a person your age who's
so aware of what's going on,

but you're hopeful and, uh,

you seem to have your values
in the right place.

Thank you.

Yeah. Reminds me of when I was your age
and going to school.

So, what's your advice to me?

My advice?
Yeah.

If you were to go back in time

and give yourself advice,
what would you say?

[sighs] Oh.

Seriously?

Yeah. Honestly, I'd love to know.

Honestly, I would probably say,

"Forget nonprofits, Brad.
Just go make a lot of money."

[laughs]

Shut up. You aren't serious.

No, I'm totally serious.

If you want to make an impact in the world

and have respect, go be Bill Gates.

Go make a lot of money,

and then you can do
whatever you want with it.

That's what you would say?
Yeah.

Look, I go to a dinner party
and I tell people

what I do for a living,
and for about three minutes,

they act like they admire me
and they're interested,

and then, uh,
after three minutes, I'm invisible.

They do not admire me.

And what's worse, they think
I'm gonna ask them for a donation...

which I usually do.

Mm-hmm.

What?

Do I sound jaded, or...

Just know, I started out
as idealistic as you

or any of your friends over there.

And I'm not saying what,
you know, what you do...

[Brad] I could tell I'd lost her.

[ethereal music playing]

Lost her respect.

And I wanted it back.

I thought if I could summarize
the trajectory of my life,

she would understand me,

see me as someone
who'd lost the good fight,

but had fought it nonetheless.

I mean, when I was in journalism school,
that's...

that was the ideal, you know?

Everybody wanted to be
Woodward and Bernstein.

You know what I mean? You know...
Mm. Mm-hmm.

You know who they are, right?
Yeah, yeah, of course.

[Brad] I told her
about my career mistakes,

my years in journalism just as
the newspaper business was folding.

My attempt to start a digital
magazine in San Francisco,

but how no one wanted to read
long-form pieces anymore.

And how I'd won a few prestigious prizes,
but my magazine had still gone bust.

Yeah, we won a Peabody.

I mean, you know,
not that that matters, but...

I talked about my friends from college,

and how they'd sold out and gotten rich,

and didn't invite me
to their milestone events,

even though I'd been
the heart and soul of our group.

I may have failed in their eyes,

but at least I still had my integrity

and could sleep at night.

[Brad] And then there are guys
like Craig Fisher, who...

but he has no moral compass,

and he'll just basically pivot to whatever

sound bite or talking point,
what makes him seem the most interesting,

the most, you know, it's whatever.

He's very, you know, telegenic.
I get it, you know, but...

[Brad] I told her about my nonprofit.

Even though it had been struggling lately,

I still felt I'd done
some real good with it.

Maybe if I was more in touch

with the people I was helping,
or out in the field more,

I would feel
a little less disconnected or, um...

Wh... what is that look?

What?

That...

No, what are you thinking?

What am I thinking?

Yeah, please, tell me.

Honestly...

I'm thinking you're really lucky.

You're 50 years old,

and you still think
that the world was made for you.

[scoffs]

Uh, I'm 47.

Do you even know poor people?

Of course.

Okay, well, when I visit
my mother's family in Delhi,

a lot of people out there
only live on two dollars a day.

They're not complaining
about being ignored at a dinner party.

They're happy they get dinner.

Right. But I'm not competing
with those people. I'm...

You compete with the people
who are markers in your life.

Why are you competing at all?

It's the way the world is. And...

You competing
with your friends from college,

that competition
is the history of colonialism, okay?

And... and the oppression of women,

and the fucking up of the environment.

Oh, come on, don't go there.
And...

[scoffs] I'm not part
of the problem, okay?

I work for a...
a nonprofit, for fuck's sake.

It's just, from where I sit,
it kind of seems like

white privilege, male privilege,

first-class problems.

[grunts]

Okay. I...

You know, I know I might seem
like some cliché to you,

but this is actually my life, okay?

Just... don't ask me to feel bad for you.

You're doing just fine.

Trust me.

I promise you; you have enough.

[Ananya] Yeah, you, too.
I'll see you around.

All right, so long. Bye.

[ethereal music playing]

[tender music playing]

[laughter]

[excited chatter]

[Troy] Dad.

Dad.

- Dad, we got to go. I got my meeting.
- [Brad] Mm.

[grunts]

Mm... hungover.

[chuckles] What?
You had one glass of wine.

[groans quietly]

[agitated instrumentals playing]

[Brad] I couldn't stop thinking
about Ananya

and the things she said.

And the contempt she had for me.

[Jason] Listen, if we have any luck
at all, girls...

[Brad] I doubted she'd ever
live up to all her ideals.

[agitated instrumentals continue]

...plantains and... and daiquiris...

[Brad] One taste of luxury,

how quickly she'd forget
the suffering of the masses.

I mean,
can't believe that I met you girls.

[Brad] I knew I was just trying
to make myself feel better.

Ananya had a good heart.

[agitated instrumentals continue]

She reminded me a lot of Melanie.

Oh, shit.

Melanie.

[Melanie] Hey, it's Melanie.
Leave me a message.

[beep]

Hey, hon. Uh, trip's going great.

Troy's meeting with one
of the music professors here right now,

and then he's got an interview
with the dean of admissions.

So, uh, yeah,
it all seems to be working out.

Uh...

Oh. Actually, Troy's coming right now,
so, uh, I'll call you back later.

Yeah, I got dinner
with Craig Fisher tonight,

so, I'm really looking forward
to that, as you can imagine.

Uh, okay. I love you, honey. Bye.

Hey.
Hey. How was it?

It was, uh, it was good.
He listened to some of my stuff.

I think he liked it.
That's awesome, Troy.

See? There you go.

Connections and talent.

I give you the layup, you swish it in.

That's great, man.

What's wrong?

Nothing.

Okay. You seem a little, uh...

Should be happy.

Should be pumped.
Yeah. No, I am.

I don't... He just, like,
wasn't what I expected,

but, you know, he was fine.

How is he not what you expected?

Um...

Uh, I don't know, it's just weird,
'cause it's, like...

He's one of my heroes, but it seemed like

he was trying kind of hard to,
like, impress me.

Mm-hmm.
And he was, like, sort of

bragging a lot, and he was, like,

uh... a lot more into

the business side of things, too,
than I would have thought.

Like, he kept telling me ways
I should monetize my music

and just, like,
a bunch of weird stuff like that.

Um... I don't know.
I just thought that he would be cooler.

You know, uh,
don't be so judgmental, Troy.

Hmm?
You've been living in a bubble.

Remember that, okay?

So, don't go... judging people
living in the real world

until you've actually
been out there yourself.

Okay?
Okay, but you asked me a question,

and then I just said
that he wasn't what I expected.

No, you said he wasn't cool.

But, you know, what's cool
to a 17-year-old hipster

who doesn't pay his own bills
isn't necessarily what's cool

to the rest of the world.
Okay. Fuck. Yeah.

Okay? I'm just saying
talk to me in 30 years.

Then you can tell me who's cool or not.

Uh-huh.

You know you... you are fucking nuts.

I'm about to go have my interview.

Do you really need to be jumping
all over me right now?

Troy...

Okay, you're right. I'm sorry.

I love you.

You're the best. You're the best son.

You know I feel that, right?

Dad, um...
Okay?

I know you're gonna kill it in there.

Can you leave me alone?
I'm just gonna try and clear my head.

I'll just meet you after.

Okay.
All right.

Hey, Troy.
Yeah?

I'm proud of you.

[man] Want to follow me, please?

Is... is that your daughter?

Yeah.
She's got her interview now?

Oh, yeah.

Hope it goes well.

My son's meeting with the dean, so, uh...

he's been a little on edge.

Good luck.

- Thanks.
- [phone ringing, vibrating]

Hello?

[Jason] Hey, Brad. It's Jason Hatfield.

Hey. Jason.

Hang on a second.

It's been a long time.

What's up?

Uh, my office said you called me.

Oh, yeah. Right. I was actually, um,

just calling for Craig's number,
but I got it from Billy.

Oh, okay. Good.
Well, uh, all right, look, I...

I heard you, uh,
guys all got together in LA.

How was that?

I don't really have time to talk.

It's just, it's not a good time right now.

Mm-hmm. Okay. Well...

Listen, I don't mean to be rude.

It's just I've got
all these clients looking for me,

and I'm in Minnesota.

I'm at the Mayo Clinic,
and I'm waiting on some test results,

and I've got to make
a noon flight back to New York,

or I'm gonna miss this deposition

that I've been preparing for
for months, so...

Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, no, no.
I got it. I hear you.

Well, at least you know
the plane will wait for you, right?

I don't understand.

I mean, you have your own jet, right?
So, that must make it a little easier.

A jet?

Are you being an asshole right now, or...

What? No. No. I'm serious. You...

I don't own a jet.

- What are you talking about?
- I...

I thought... I swear you told me once
you had a private plane.

What? No.

In San Francisco.

When I saw you,
you said you just were on your, um...

Yeah, my company leased a plane
and flew everyone out there.

Um, okay, well, I misunderstood.

Listen, I just found out

that my daughter
has a tethered spine, okay?

She's fucking three years old.

What?

Oh, no. Man, I'm...

Jason, I... [stammers]

What does... what does that mean?

I don't know what it means,

except, uh,

she's having major surgery in the morning,

and, uh, she's just, uh...

she's so little, you know?

Oh... my God.

And it's killing me.

Listen, we're sitting down
with the doctors right now.

I got to go, Brad.

Okay. Okay, well...
well, uh, keep me posted,

and please give my love to your family.

And, uh, I'm really sorry.

[line beeping]

Aren't you gonna, like,
ask me how it went?

What?

The interview?

Yeah, of course. How'd it go?

It was, uh, it was really good.

He said Jerome Backaly already called him
and told him that I was talented

and to pay attention to my application.

Really?
Yeah.

Troy, that's amazing.
Yeah.

Are you happy?
[laughs] Yeah.

Good, man. Come on.

Let's get this guy, all right?

[upbeat music playing]

[Brad] Hey, we're going
to Tufts University.

[Brad] Do you mind
if I don't go on the tour?

[Troy] Okay, sure.

[Brad] There's an old professor of mine

- I want to go say hi to.
- Okay.

[Brad] I think I told you about him.

[Troy] Yeah. That's fine.

[Brad] Yeah, it's right down there.

My old dorm is back that way.

[upbeat music continues]

Hi. I'm an old student
of Professor Connor's.

I was hoping I could say hi to him.

- Is he, uh...
- Oh.

You just missed him.

- He just left?
- No.

Um...

I'm sorry to say he died...

just a few weeks ago, so...

He died?

But his name is still on the,
uh, directory.

I know. We have to change that.

I just got in here, so...
Oh.

How did he die?

He had a stroke, and he never recovered.

- Oh. Well, that's so sad.
- Mm.

Yes.

He was a great teacher.

He was a sweet man, mm-hmm.

Okay, well...

have a nice day.

Thanks. You, too.

[somber music playing]

[somber music continues]

[phone ringing]

Hello?

Hey, Brad. I saw you called.
Everything okay?

Yeah. Everything's great.
Yeah. It's great.

Hey, Mel...

I just, um...

I just... Isn't it crazy how [chuckles]

we made this kid, and now he's this...

brilliant, amazing person?

I wish you were here.

Aw. So do I.

Well, honey, we're getting ready
to go into the conference.

I should probably go.

Um, but I love you.

I'll call you tonight.
Yeah. Okay.

Okay, great. I love you, too.

[woman] Yeah. Thank you so much for...

[water running]

You know, I like Tufts.
It's a good school.

I think I'd be happy there.
And, you know, you went there.

[Brad] Yeah.

Yeah, thanks for bringing me here, Dad,
and going all out and everything.

Aw. I didn't do anything.

Well, no, I mean,
you made all those calls,

and then now you have to go
to dinner with a guy you hate.

I don't hate him.

I like him.

But you said he was a jerk
and you hated his guts.

Nah, he's a good guy.

He's, uh... he's an old friend.

I'm actually looking forward
to seeing him.

Old friends are important.

All right, I'm heading out.
I wish I could go to your concert,

but, have a good time, all right?
All right.

All right, man.
Have fun.

I'll see you.

[tense music playing]

[Brad] Hi.

I believe I have
a reservation for two at 7:00.

The name is Sloan.

Okay.

Great. Follow me.

Yes, you are the first to arrive.

Oh. Okay. Do you happen
to have another table?

Just, it's a little loud right here.

We're fully booked tonight.

How about that one?

I'm sorry, but it's not available.

Oh. Looks like it's available.

Yeah.

It's not.

Mm-hmm.

[lounge music playing]

Thank you.

- Hey, buddy.
- Hey, man!

[both laughing]

- Look at you. You look good.
- Oh... I'm going gray.

Oh. Not as bad as me.

We failed in life.

Hmm?

Failed to stay young. [chuckles]

[chuckles]
Come on, grab your beer.

We're moving tables.

Oh. Okay.

I guess this table was available.

Yes. Enjoy your dinner.

Thank you so much for coming tonight.
Oh.

We love having you.

Ah. Can I get a Jack and Coke?

Absolutely. I'll get that for you myself.

[Craig] Thank you.

You must be a regular.

Never been here before.

But I hear it's good.

Really? She was acting
like you guys were best friends.

Uh...
Oh.

'Cause she recognizes you?
[chuckles]

That must be nice.

[laughs]

Aw, man. Dude!
Ah.

How long has it been?
It must be over ten years.

Yeah. Man, it's so good
to see you. Really.

Really. Really good to see you.
It's good to see you, pal.

Welcome to Boston.
Thank you.

Where are you staying?

We're at, uh, the Oak Tree ExecuStay.

Wow.

Yeah.
I've never heard of anyone staying there.

Uh, is it nice?

Yeah. It's, uh, it's not bad.

So, listen, thank you so much

for getting Troy in to meet
with that music professor

and the dean of admissions.
That was huge.

And he had really great meetings.

Oh, I'm glad.
Yeah.

I just can't believe
he's already looking at colleges.

I know. Me, either.

Well, I guess, you know,
my girls are, too.

They're only 12, but they're all over it.

They're writing out
their little applications.

Mm-hmm, yeah, well...
They're so much more on it than we were.

Yeah, I know, right?

Troy has a great attitude about it all.
Yeah.

Is he medicated?

No.

Oh. Thank you.

Pleasure.

So, how's Melanie?
[chuckles] Mm.

Uh, she's great.

Yeah, yeah. She's... really likes her job,

and she's always been pretty happy.

Diane just, uh, sold an article to HBO.

They're gonna make a series out of it.

Oh. Cool.

[laughs]
Wow. Yeah.

So, uh, I went to Tufts today.

Bob Connor died.

I know, I know.

You knew?
Yeah.

Well, I spoke at his memorial.

Oh. You did?
Yeah.

We'd been in touch.
Well, he'd asked me a few times

to speak in his class
about journalism and government.

Oh, he did? That's... that's flattering.

Yeah, I usually try and get out
of that stuff, but,

you know, for him...

Such a good person.

Yeah. Yeah, he was the, uh,

closest thing I ever had to a mentor.

Oh, right. That... Yes.

You were his favorite. Back in the day.

Yeah. I wish I'd been there
at his memorial.

I wish I'd known.

If I had seen you at Nick's wedding,

I would have told you about it.
It happened right after.

Yeah. I didn't know
about Nick's thing either.

[chuckles] Well, you didn't miss much.

[chuckles] Nick has gotten s...
I mean, I love the guy.

But the more successful
he gets, the gayer he gets.

[scoffs, chuckles]

He's, like, a full-on flamer now,

with hairless dudes in banana hammocks

running around his house,
humping each other. [chuckles]

Yeah, I saw that house
in, uh, Architectural Digest.

It's...
Oh, yeah, yeah. It's like the set

for a sci-fi gay porno or something.

[chuckling]

Hmm.

I, um, talked to Jason today.

Oh, yeah? How's he?

Uh, he sounded stressed.

His, uh... his kid's sick.

I think she has
something wrong with her spine.

Oh, that sucks.

Uh, which one?

He has, like, four.

Uh, I think I might have offended him.

I thought he had his own jet,
for some reason,

and I brought it up,
and maybe I sounded glib... I don't know...

but, uh, he seemed annoyed at me

that I accused him
of having his own plane.

I felt bad.

Well, he does have a plane.

No, he doesn't.
Yes, he does.

No, his company maybe leases one for him.

Yeah, that's his company.
His company, his plane.

Are you sure?

Did you not read the piece in the Times?

Oh, my God, he's getting sued.

He lost a lot of money
for a lot of powerful people.

He's running scared.

Oh, my God. That's, uh... I...
[chuckles]

Might be why he was a little,
uh, sensitive about it.

Yeah. I guess, uh... Oh. I thought, uh...
I guess I got that wrong. I don't know.

No, Jason is a pillar of society.

He is a... He's a family man, you know?

He's a good dude.

And he's a total crook.

[chuckles]
Really?

Yeah, he's a thief.

I mean, there's a chance... albeit slight,

that he goes to jail.

Really? Jesus.
Yeah.

You don't get rich like that
by being an Eagle Scout. [chuckles]

Mm.
Mm.

He should do what Billy did.
He should flee.

Yeah, Billy. Right.

He's really living the dream, huh?

Two girlfriends.
Ah.

Just don't call him
after 5:00 p.m. [chuckles]

[chuckles] Why not?
What do you mean? He's a drunk.

He is?
Mm!

And a [hums].

And a [whoops].

Shut up. What are you...
[chuckles]

Don't be naive. You knew that.

I mean, when I talked to him on the phone,
he sounded okay. He was...

It was early in the morning.
He was, like, walking his dog.

He'd probably been
out all night on a bender.

No, come on, in his defense,

he's got a lot of time on his hands.

You pick up vices.

Oh. Huh. I'm so in the dark.

Well, that is what happens
to you when you drop out

and you move to Sacramento. [chuckles]

I'm... I moved to Sacramento.
I didn't drop out.

Why did you move to Sacramento?

Because Melanie got a job there.

Yeah. And, uh, I can work
anywhere right now.

Oh, that's right.
You have your little, uh, thing.

Oh, that is...

No, that is a cool thing
that you're doing.

Thank you.

That is good stuff.

I'm sorry I didn't
get back to you about that.

Oh, it's all right.

Just came at a moment
when I was getting bombarded, you know?

It's like every day
I'm being hit up for requests.

Speaking engagements
and writing introductions

to someone's book
and being asked to sit on boards,

executive boards, not-for-profit boards.

[chuckles] It's just not enough
hours in the day, you know?

Sometimes you got to...
you got to just draw the line.

As hard as it is.
Mm-hmm.

You know? You got to learn... to say no.

Just yesterday I was asked to speak
at the Aspen Ideas Festival in June.

Well, that one I'm gonna do.
But that's cool, you know?

That's interesting people, well-curated.

Hey, Craig.
Yeah.

Listen, I just want you to know, uh...

I'm proud of you.

I really am.
Oh.

I know you must be
under so much pressure, you know,

having so many balls in the air
and everything that's going on. But...

you know, from the outside...

It's not that stressful.

It's... it's fun.

I'm just happy for you.

Aw.
To be honest,

at first, when I'd see you on TV,

it kind of bothered me a little.

Just 'cause, you know, we always had
our little competitive thing.

But, um... you know, I'm happy in my life.

You're doing what you want to do.

And things work out the way they should.

I was never competitive
with you. [chuckles]

Well, I mean, come on.

Really?

Uh, maybe in school for, like, a second.

But, um...

I haven't thought
of you like that in years.

You haven't thought of me that way? Wh...

What do you... what do you mean by that?

Why would I compete with you?

Aw, come on, shut the fuck up.

What?
[chuckles] Look, I'm just...

I'm trying to be real with you, all right?

Let's... You know? I mean...

Like, do you... [chuckles]

do you even know what I do?

I mean, I actually help people. I...

I just don't... I don't...

Like, why would you...

treat me like this?

Treat you? Like what?

I just... I don't...
What am I to you? Am I...

Excuse me, Mr. Fisher.
Hi. Uh, my name's Mark.

Hi.

Um, I'm such a big fan of yours. I...

I love your work,
your books, just everything.

I was wondering
if I could take a picture...

You know, my mom died,
and you never said anything.

Like, you follow me on Facebook, you know?

I just... I don't know.

I don't know.

Sorry, am I... interrupting?

No, no, no. Go, go, go.
Oh, okay. Thank you.

[camera clicks]
Great. Thank you.

I... Are you my friend?

Or... Are you? Or... I don't know.

I mean, what are...
Are we even... What are we?

I just, I just... All this shit-talking.
And... just...

Just, it's like, I...

Right now, I'm feeling like...

I know what I'm feeling, and it's not...

Okay, I'm genuinely confused.
What's going on?

Sorry. Thank you for helping my son.

But I just... I can't...
I'm sorry, I can't...

I can't... can't do this.

I don't know whatever this is. I can't...

[scoffs]

[tense music playing]

[sighs]

[tense music continues]

Sir?

Your ticket.

Yeah. Thank you.

[orchestra warming up]

[whispers] Excuse me.

Dad?

[Brad] Hi.

What happened to your dinner?

I'd rather be here with you.

[applause]

[whispering] Those are the girls
from last night.

I know.

[playing "Humoresque"]

They're so good.
[shushes]

[Brad] A sudden rush of feeling
flooded through me.

I spend so much time
in my mind, puffing myself up,

tearing myself down.

I sat there and just listened

and let myself really feel
the life inside me.

[music continues]

The music was beautiful.

The girls were beautiful.

I could love them and never possess them,

just like I could love the world
and never possess it.

I still did love the world.

[music continues]

Dad?
Yeah, I'm good. I'm good.

I'm okay.

[applause]

[city noises]

Want one?
No thanks.

Ananya said you met up
with her last night.

Yeah. Uh, I couldn't sleep.

Just a drink.

Hey, Dad, you having

some kind of nervous breakdown
or something?

No.

No, it's just...

sometimes I, uh...

have doubts, you know?

Just...

worry that people look at me and, uh,
think of me as...

a failure.

But, you know, the feeling passes.

So...

[Troy] Mm.

You know, when we were
walking around today

and you were embarrassing me,
I kept thinking, like,

you know, if I go to this school,
everybody here's gonna remember this

and I'm never gonna
be able to live this down.

But...

you know, they're not gonna remember.

Because... everybody's just
thinking about themselves.

You know? Nobody cares.

Like, the only person
that's thinking about you, is me, so...

only person's opinion

that you should really care about is mine.

Yeah.

What's your opinion?

Well, I love you.

Thank you.

[sentimental music playing]

[Brad] My son.

He's here.

We still have years together.

I try to imagine the future.

[sentimental music continues]

[sentimental music continues]

I kept saying, in my head...

we're still alive.

I'm still alive.

["Humoresque" playing]

[song ends]

[upbeat music playing]

[song ends]

[guitar playing]

[man] Action.

Lose yourself in nature and find peace

Lose yourself in nature and find peace

Troubles will come

Troubles will release

Lose yourself in nature and find peace

If you love

Be happy, loyal and free

If you love

Be happy, loyal and free

You may have others

You may stay with me

Love be happy, loyal and free

Chickens and children know it all

Chickens and children know it all

We may reach great heights

But surely we may fall

Chickens and children know it all

God is not full of hate

God is not full of hate

Some may use him

Defend their fearful ways

But God is not full of hate

Lose yourself in nature and find peace

Lose yourself in nature and find peace

Troubles will come

And these troubles will release

Lose yourself in nature and find peace