Burning Down the House (2001) - full transcript

A down-on-his-luck film director sets fire to his home so he can collect the insurance money and fund his new movie. But crime apparently does pay, because once the rumor mill gets wind of his plans, everyone suddenly wants a slice of his new project's pie.

foodval.com - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
(upbeat pop music)

- [Jake] In LA, status
is the closest distance

between two points.

Anything outside of a straight
line is sheer desperation.

This town breeds it, cultivates it,

then hides it behind a
smile and a fake tan.

See, this town's a jungle.

Cannibals preside here,

consuming the finest
delicacy: the human soul.

(groovy bass guitar music)

(dog whining)

(trigger clicks)

You cocksucker!

You're really gonna make me go
through this all over again?

You're the only one I ever trusted.

(dog whining)

I can't do this.

(dog whining)

(gun firing)

- Oh.

- Oh, Mr. Kranston.

This is my wife, Brenda.

- Hi.

How are you, Mr. Kranston?
- Listen...


I hope we have a...

Chance to talk.

(light upbeat keyboard music)

- Sy.

I'll miss you, Sy.

- Yeah, Sy.

I'm gonna miss you too.

- I'm sorry, Jakey.

I know how much you loved him.

- Listen, thank you for coming.

I really, I appreciate it.

Thanks for coming.

- Sure.

I'll call you, Jakey.

- I didn't know he made that movies.

That's 29 movies, oh my god.

- Is that what that's supposed to be?

- Yeah, yeah.

You thirsty?

Wanna grab a cocktail?

- Yeah.

- Bye, Sy.

- Well, I'm still your friend, huh?

- Thank god for that.
- I mean, am I right?

You don't see me running off.

- Reggie.

- Jake, how you doin'?

It's good to see you.

Good to see you.

- Let me ask you something: You and Sy,

you had some deal going
on with a book project?

- We were talking.

Can you believe it?

He was making a deal with Arthur Kranston.

- Kranston, Kranston.

Oh, yeah, it's the old guy.

I know him; he won a couple
awards or something, didn't he?

- Arnie.

Two Pulitzers.
- Wow.

- This was his first book after 20 years.

And that was gonna be like his comeback.

- I love this stuff, that's right.

Is he still hot at the studio?

- Oh, the studios are never gonna forget

about Arthur Kranston.

- I don't know.

You know, Hollywood's got a short memory.

I mean, if anybody knows that, you should.

- [Jake] Why do you have to say that?

You know I'm depressed.

- Hi, we'll stay later.

- [Arnie] Don't go there, don't go there.

- Hiya, sweetie.
- I need to talk to you.

- Sweetie.

I got a lotta people to deal with here.

I can't talk now.

- Please, just let me
talk to you for a second.

- I talked to you earlier.

- Arnie?
- Hmm?

- Look, I need a ride home.

- I'm here on my motorcycle.

- I don't mind, I'll ride on the back.

- Yeah, I know, I only have one helmet.

New helmet law.

You look great!

- Thanks.

- I mean, this is getting
completely outta control.

Look at this, this is disgusting.

Come on, put this down.

Get something to eat.

You got two going.

- I feel sick.
- Would you have a bite?

- Come on, the doctor is in.

Just have a bite.
- Arnie, come on.

- Just have a bite.
- Arnie, stop it.

- Come on.
- Arnie, I don't want any.

- Oh, fuck!



(car horn honking)

Move around me!

Move around me!
(car horns honking)



(car horn honking)
Oh, fantastic!

(car horn honking)

Honk a little louder!

That'll make the car start!

- Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey!

What are you doin'?!

What are you doin' with my car?!

- You are three months behind;

this is not your car anymore, man!

- I talked to the guy
at the bank yesterday!

- Oh, you talked to the banker?

- Yeah!
- You talked to him?

- We talked.
- Yeah, I talked to him too.

You know what he said?

He said, "Fuck you!"

- Ah man, look, you're an actor, right?

(car engine sputtering)

I can put you in my film!

- Oh, yeah, thanks a lot!

- No, don't do this to me, man.

- Get outta my way!
- Please don't do this!

- Move it or lose it!
- Don't do it, don't do it!

(light upbeat pop music)
No, c'mon, please stop!

Fuck you!



- Look, lady, I'm not gonna
be able to fix this car here.

We're gonna have to take this to the shop.

- Well, how far is the garage?

- About 15 minutes.

- I cannot take 15 minutes.

I have an audition,

so I have to get to the studio right away.

- You do soap operas!

- Hardly.

I do films, that's why
I'm going to a studio.

- Movies, that's it!

That's where I know you!

- That's good.

I've had several small hits.

Now, let's get going.


Jesus friggin' Christ!

Ow, dammit!



This thing sounds like a tin can.

Okay, let's go.

- Okay, okay.

- Hey, don't put your hand on my knee!

- I'm sorry, but I
gotta be shifting gears.

- That doesn't require
you to touch my knee.

- I'm sorry, but how would
you expect me to drive

if I can't shift gears?

- Oh my god, is this real life?

- [Mechanic] I can't believe
I'm here with a movie actress.

- [Brenda] Just keep your
eyes on the road, okay?

Don't kill me.

- Mr. Kranston?

This is Jake Seiling.

- Oh, hi.

- I just wanted to touch base
with you, you know, about Sy.

- I loved Sy.

- Yeah, I loved him too.

- Well, I was expecting your call here.

And, you know, the thing about Sy

is as my agent,

my producer,

really, the fulcrum of my life,

he was there for me and
then he wasn't there for me.


Are you sure this is what you really want?

- Well...

Actually, that's why I called.


I have to do it.

For Sy.

And me, of course, but--

- As a favor to Sy.

Now, I'll give you the first rights.

You know, I gotta tell ya

that I'm gonna need the $75,000 up front

because I'm just gonna have to have it.

It's really outta my hands.

I have two coasts that
I'm taking care of here.

So, as long as we can get
around that, then it's yours.

- Oh, it's perfect! (laughing)

- I really can't talk to you
anymore right now, buddy, okay?


I'm too upset, I can't talk anymore.

So, I'll talk to you later, okay?


- Arnie, you are so cute.

(speaking foreign language)

- (speaking foreign language)


- What did he say?

- He said you have character.

- Hey!

I like that, a man with taste, all right.

- What else have you got?


- I got something extraordinary.

- Oh?

- I got Arthur Kranston's new novel

and Jake Seiling to direct it.

- Seiling?

- Seiling.

- Ugh, (speaking foreign language).

- Well, Francois, he thinks
that Seiling is finished.

He's no good, he can't get arrested.

- Wait, okay?

Everybody's had their ups and downs.

This guy's a thoroughbred.

I mean, he's very, very talented.

You have to understand something else.

While he's on his way back up,

we're very fortunate to be
able to get him at this time.

Six months from now, we
won't be able to touch him.



- Bon appetite.

- (speaking foreign language)

- (speaking foreign language)

- Good, huh?

(light upbeat pop music)

(buzzer buzzing)


- [Brenda] Wait for me,
I've gotta fix my hair

and I've gotta fix my makeup.

I've gotta fix everything
before I go see the director.

- All my life, if I have to.

(door rattling)


Show business.

- Hello, I'm Brenda Goodman.

What's that?

- The scene you're gonna read.

- I'm sorry, there must
be some misunderstanding.

I said I'm Brenda Goodman

and I haven't read in over 10 years.

- Oh, I'm sorry.

- Brenda!


You look fabulous.

- Hal, I think there's
a little confusion here

because your girl is trying
to get me to read sides.

- A formality.

Nick just wants to see
what kind of (pausing)

chemistry you two have.

You'll be sensational, as always.

Piece of cake.

Nick's already crazy about you.

Loved that little picture you did.

- I wouldn't call it little, Hal.

I was considered for a
People's Choice Award.


- So...

You raise half the budget,

you get this Seiling,

and then we think about it, huh?

- Well, hey, that sounds fair.



Hey, why don't you guys grab this one?

I'll get the next one.

- Grab?
- Grab?

- The check.

- Ah.

No, we never carry money.

- You don't carry money?

- Of course not.

- Okay.

Excuse me just a minute,
I'll be right back.

(phone ringing)

- Hi, thank you for calling Rasputin's.

How may I help you?

- Yeah, listen to me,
you asshole, all right?

I got food poisoning

off one of your rotten
$22 shrimp cocktails.

Been stuck in the bathroom for three days.

- Can I have my check, please?

- Hey, can you give me a minute?

- All right?

So, in appreciation, I
left you a little bomb

in your restaurant,

which I hope blows this
place over the hill

into the San fuckin' Fernando
Valley, where it belongs.

You hear what I'm saying?

(dial tone humming)

- Excuse me.

We've had a bomb threat.

You're gonna have to
leave immediately, please?

- Brenda.

Honey, you're the love interest.

We have to know that you
guys will be hot together.

- Take a good look at your bungalow, pal.

Because after I sue the fuck
out of you, it's gonna be mine!

Why don't you take your TV
series and shove it up your ass?!

That's something I'm sure that
you would very much enjoy.

- Brenda, you're overreacting.

I thought you said you liked the role.

You do, right?

- You call that thing a role?

I don't think it
qualifies as a donut hole.

- Next.

- The thing is I gotta
raise $75,000 right now.

And, Arnie, right now,
I can't raise a dime.

- Well, don't look at me.

I mean, why don't you sell the house?

- This place is
practically in foreclosure.

- Eh.
- Oh man.

- Times are tough, Jake.

- This is a nightmare.

This is a nightmare.

I feel like I'm trapped in a giant tomb.

I'm suffocating and I can't breathe.

I am suffocating.

- I don't know what to tell you.

- Jesus.

(heavy breathing)

I just don't know what to do, Arnie.

I don't know what to do anymore.

This place might as well burn down.

I just don't have any more ideas, Arnie.

I don't have any more ideas.
- What did you say?

- I don't have more ideas.
- No, no, no, no.

What did you say?

About burning the house down?

- What house?

- This house.
- This house?

- That's fucking brilliant, man.

- No, that's too crazy, man!
- Fucking brilliant!

- No, that's insurance fraud,

that's arson, that's unethical!

- Are you kidding?!

People are doing it, man!

Respectable people!

Man, there's a blaze craze
going on in this town.

I know this writer out in Bel
Air, burned his house down.

He collected a million bucks, man!

He's thinking about doing it again!

- He got a mil?
- A mil!

- No, I gotta think about this, Arnie.

- Think about it; you better think fast

'cause time is running out.

- Oh god, this is a nightmare!

- This is the magic solution, man!

You torch this joint!

You pick up the cash,

you get out from underneath
your problems, it's done!

- This is too fucking crazy, Arnie.

- This is your ticket back.

- Right.

- Wait, wait a minute, hang on.

Wait, wait, wait, wait, did I hear--

- [Jake] Thinking about the possibilities.

- Hang on, hang on; did I hear, "Okay"?

- Well, no.

It was only, I was thinking
about the possibilities.

- Like, was that an okay?

Is that okay?

C'mon, give me an okay.

Was that okay?

- Well, I gotta think about it, you know?

I can't just do these things right away!

You gotta give me time, Arnie!

I gotta have time!

- Come on!
- All right, all right!

Yes, fuck it, yes!

- Oh god, what am I doing?

What am I doing?

What am I doing?

- Now, you're talking like a
man with sense, you know that?

I'll tell you something.

I'm gonna call the expert, Ray.

- Who the fuck is Ray?

- He's a writer.

- The mechanic?

- Yeah, he's also an arsonist,
arsonist to the stars.

He's a multi-talented guy.
- Oh god, oh god!

- Oh man.

- Oh god, what am I doing?

- This is beautiful, man!

This is so good.

- You better not be fucking me, Arnie!

- Fucking you?

Let me tell you something, my friend.

In six months' time,

you're gonna be sitting
back in a director's chair.

- The chair?

The director's chair.


The director's chair.


- Oh god.

My life.

It's going really great.

My career's a bust.

My marriage is a bust.

Have you ever been cheated on?

- Brenda, I think everyone
has that happen to them

once in a while.

Just gotta get through it.

- That's very good advice.

Gimme another one.

- Don't you think you've
had enough, Brenda?

- I don't think when I'm drunk;

that's the whole point, isn't it?

- That's one way of doing it.

- Go-go-go-go, go, go ask her, go.

And if it's her, get my her autograph.

- Oh, come on.

- Excuse me.

I recognize you from the movies, don't I?


You are...

- I was.

- Who were you again?

- Enough.

- Thank you, governor.
- No thanks.

- You were great!

She was.

- All right, so how many square
feet are we talking about?

- I don't know, rough guesstimate,

like, what, 6,000-7,000 square
feet, something like that?

- Good, good; how many floors.

- I don't know, what is it,
four? It's Jake's place.

- It's a great place, Jake.
What kinda policy you guys got?

- Oh, we got the full wraparound
policy, zero deductible.

- That's good, you guys qualify.

You want plan A or B?

- I don't know, what do you think?

- I'd go with B.

I mean, it's a little more work,

but I'm telling ya,
it's a foolproof method.

- What is it?

- You paint the place.

- Oh, fuck! (laughing)

You paint the place.
- I'm telling you,

the fumes will make this
place go up in a blaze!

- Oh my god, that's great.

I think we oughta go with a
powder blue, don't you think?

It matches the floor tiles.

- What difference does it make?

We're gonna burn the place down!

- It makes a big difference, man.

I mean, you gotta be able
to believe your story.

It's gotta be realistic, authentic,

in case you get questioned later, man.

You're totally behind it.

Pick a color.

- I like green.

- Green's a good color.

- Yeah.
- Yeah.

- All right, here's the program, Jake.

I got it all worked out, all right?

Here's what happens.

We're painting the house.

We decide that we're getting
hungry, so we wanna eat in.

We're too fuckin' filthy to go anywhere.

So, we put a turkey in the oven, right?

We're gonna have mashed potatoes,
yams, the whole program.

We put it in.

We decide to go with a
second coat of paint.

After a while, the fuckin' fumes

just start to get us so loaded

we decide that we're gonna
spend the night in my house.

So, we leave, we go over to my house,

and the pilot blew out and
the place starts to fill up

with fuckin' fumes.

And something lights it
and the place goes up

like a fuckin' Roman candle.

The fire department can't put it out

because the place has
just been freshly painted.

I don't know what set it off.

Your cigarette, some bullshit like that.

Don't worry, we're gonna talk to Ray.

He's an expert.

He has all the details.

You okay with that?

You okay, man?

- Let's do it.

- You sure?

- I'm fuckin' positive.

Let's do it.


- They should tell people.

They should tell people,
"Don't ever follow your dreams,

"because it's just gonna
end up like a nightmare.


"Don't swear so much in
the interviews, Brenda.

"Sit up straight in
the interviews, Brenda.

"Don't talk so much in the interviews.

"Don't try so hard in
the interviews, Brenda!"


♪ Ooh ♪

♪ Yeah ♪

I was good in that picture.

I was fucking great in
that fucking picture.

Those fucking bastards.

I don't care.

Fuck 'em all.

- What are you doing?

- I'm gonna put everything away.

- No, wait a minute, wait a minute.

Jake, this is the bad part.

- Wait a minute, what bad part?

- Well, I thought you knew.

- Knew what?

- All the art, it's gotta
go down in the fire.

- No.

No, not my art.
- Yeah, hey.

Wait a minute, wait, Jake, listen, listen,

otherwise it's gonna
look like a total setup.

- But...

Arnie, you can't do this.

- This is what makes
it look authentic, man.

Nobody's gonna think
somebody stupid enough

to burn their entire art collection.

- Oh no.

- C'mon.
- No.

- It's all right, man.

It's okay.

Let's go have another cigarette.

Look, I'll tell you something.

You're a little outta balance lately,

but we're gonna get you realigned, okay?

I promise you that.

(Jake whimpering)

- What's the final payoff, Arnie?

- It's the insurance policy.

- No, besides that.

The final payoff to all this insanity.

- I mean, like, the final solution?

- No, not the final solution.

The final (pausing) payoff.

- Like, the final, final payoff?

- I mean...

Do we destroy ourselves
in some desperate effort

to try and get it up again?


Is that what we do?

What the hell is going on here?

This house is my dream.

I built it with my own hands from scratch.

Two years ago, I coulda bought
my own ticket in this town.

And then, what?

I did something wrong.


I fucked the wrong woman.

I'm a Republican.

I made a flop.

And I'm through.


My whole life has to go up in smoke?

Everything I've dreamed
of, everything I've built?

I put my blood into this place.

I will not destroy the
only thing I have left.

I can't.

Fuck 'em!

I will not burn my home down.

- You have to.

(heavy breathing)

- I have to.

- Freddy, I missed you.

Gimme a kiss.



You slipped me a little tongue. (laughing)


Fucking, fucking...



I had a...

I had an audition for a TV show.

They acted like they
didn't know who I was,

like I never had my own TV series.

I mean, it was the most humiliating thing

that I've ever been through in my life.

I had four lines and they
made me do a kissing scene

with this kid, Schwimmer, Schnimmer; dick.

I don't know what the hell his name was.

He stuck his tongue down my mouth.

- Oh, baby.
- He twirled it.

He stuck it down and then he twirled it.

And then he got on top
of me and I said to him,

"Listen, you little
pervert, you little twit.

"Don't you ever, ever stick
your tongue in my mouth again!

"I don't even know where the
hell your tongue has been!"

I'm dealing with creeps now.

- Come here, come here.

Come here, sit.

Sit down for a second.

- Jake.
- Come here.

- Jakey, I don't know what to do anymore.

- Here we go.

Oh, it's all right.

We were having a meeting here.

What do you want?

- I'm sorry that I lost my
temper the other day, Jake.

I'm sorry.

- You trashed the place.

I can't have the police coming up here.

I can't afford that kinda
publicity right now.

- I know, but you know I
just got hurt, that's all.

- Eh, well, you were smashed.

- Well, I was...

I was hurt and I was smashed.

You know, sometimes--
- Well, I get hurt.

We all get hurt.

But you can't go around
smashing people's places up.

- He's right, Brenda.

- Thank you.

Thank you, Arnie.
- All right.


Baby, baby.

I haven't seen you this bad before.

- Well, you've never
treated me this bad before.

- Wait a minute.

I didn't do anything.

- I know.

You haven't made love to
me in three months, Jake,

and it's making me very tense.

Why don't you tell me what's wrong?

What's wrong?

Why are you suddenly...

What is it?

- Nothing!

Nothing's wrong!

It's not you, it's me.

It's me.

I'm going through something here.

- Oh, yeah, like you were
going through that bimbo

the other fucking night.

- Look, it's my house.

I have the right to do what I want here.

- I have an idea.

I've been thinking about it.

- What are you doing?

- I wanna move back in.

- What?

- I want us to be together again.

Come on, Jakey.
- You're crazy.

- Come on, Jakey.

We could have a warm bear
fight like we used to,

get all naked.
- It's over.

- I could fix it!

We're good together!

- Oh yeah, you guys were great together.

- Oh Jesus, will you shut up?
- Come on!

Let me--
- Brenda!

- Just repair, fix it all up.

I can-- (screaming)

- Oh god.

I'm sorry.

Baby, I'm sorry.

- I don't know what the
fuck you want, Jake.

- You're making an ass of yourself.

- Would this help you, huh?

- I just want you to stop.
- Just look at their tits.

- What are you doing?

Stop it.

- Why don't I do what your chicks do?

Lemme show you my tits.

- Don't do that.

Don't do that, Brenda!

- Let her make her point.

- You shut up!

- Thank you, Arnie.

Oh, they're so nice!

Oh, here's your little tits.

Fucking tell me, what do you want?!

- [Jake] I want you to get out of here.

- No fucking way!

Lemme tell you something
about yourself, bigshot.

You are one of the most
heartless, uncaring,

selfish goddamn people
I've ever fucking met!

- Get out.


- You want me out?

Why don't you chase me?

Come on.

Catch me.

Catch me; hey, and you!

You catch me too.

Come on, catch me.

You catch me too.

Catch me!
- Brenda, Brenda.

Are you gonna help me with this?

- I don't wanna get near her.
- And kiss my fucking ass!

- Brenda, I don't wanna
have to hurt you, Brenda.

- I'm not getting anywhere near her, okay?

- Brenda!

Brenda, come on now.

Please, Brenda.

- Don't you fucking touch me!

Oh, wait a minute.

Better yet, why don't you fucking hit me?

C'mon, do you have it in you to hit me?!

No, you don't; do you know why?

Because you don't give
a fuck about anything.

Do you know that?

You don't have feelings left
inside you; do you know that?!

You never loved me, Jake!

Don't you say you ever
fucking loved anybody!

- Oh, Jesus.

- Let me tell you something, mister.

You were once a
golden-fucking-ass director.

Well, now you're down, you asshole!

You're way fucking down!

Way down!

Way down!

Way down!

Way, way down!
- Come on.

Ow, oh my god!

Christ, you bit me, man!

- Jesus.

No, don't.



- I loved you, Jake.

I fucking loved you.

- Baby.

- You're a fuck.

(light upbeat pop music)

(heavy breathing)

- That was a hell of a round.

You okay, champ?

Jesus, you guys should sell tickets.

(curious piano music)

(foreboding orchestral music)


- Don't ever come here without calling me!

- What the fuck is wrong with you man?

(phone ringing)


- [Man] Mr. Seiling, this is Mr. Phillips.

I'm Arthur Kranston's attorney.

You need to be aware that a large offer

has been made on Mr. Kranston's new book.

Now, he is willing to
keep his deal with you,

but he must have payment
within the next 10 days

or he'll be forced to
take the larger offer.

- What are we gonna do, Arnie?

- We paint the house, we burn
the house, and cash our check.


- Right.
- Put down the gun.

Yeah, yeah.

- Oh.
- Yeah, thanks.

- Sorry.

(light upbeat pop music)


- [Arnie] (sighing) I don't
know, something's wrong.

- [Jake] I shoulda never listened to you.

- I don't know, something's wrong.

- I'm gonna kill you, Arnie.

- You know what, hey,
maybe it's just the gas.

Maybe just the gas went off.

- I'm gonna kill you.
- That could be it.

- Forget it, it's not working.

- No-no-no, hey-hey-hey, wait a minute.

Just probably a small
adjustment, all right?

- It's not working.

It didn't work.

- Wait, hey-hey-hey, I see smoke.

- Where?
- Coming outta the top floor.

You see smoke?

- What is that?

That's not what's supposed to happen.

It's supposed to burn.

You know, it's supposed to go.

I'm gonna kill you, Arnie.

(explosion booming)

(upbeat rock music)

- Mr. Seiling!

A few messages for you, sir.

- Jenkins.

I'm so happy to be back.

- I'm sorry I haven't had a chance

to run them up to your room yet.

There's just been so many calls.

- Those are all for me?
- Every one of them, sir.

- Were there dollar signs
and little zeroes on them?

- The heads of every studio
called while you were out.


- Hello, baby.

- Hello.

- So glad you're still here.
- You are?

- There we go.


- I had a great time last night.

- It was the most beautiful
evening I've ever had.

- Really?


I think I could fall in love with you.

- Ooh, we'll have to work on that.


- Jake?
- Arnie!


- The phone has been ringing off the hook.

- Every hour we make 'em wait,

the price goes that much higher!

You'll never believe it.

I come outta my breakfast meeting,

and there on the curb
are all these paparazzi.

And they're yelling at me, "Mr. Seiling!

"Who are you gonna go with on
the Arthur Kranston project?!"

I can't believe it!

This is big, Arnie!

This is big!

Oh, I can't believe
this is happening to me!

- I...

I mean...

Who should we go with?

I mean, who we thinking

that we should go with on this thing?

- We?

- Hey, man.

You're thinking about fucking me are you?

You're not thinking about
fucking me, are you?!

- Hey come on, take it easy!
- Let me tell you something.

This was my idea, man!

- I was just kidding.
- I know everything, man!

- Friends don't fuck friends, Arnie!

Come on now!

- Okay, I'm sorry, man.

I'm sorry, I just...


I'm a little nuts, man.

I don't have a written deal, man,

and I just, I don't wanna be cut out.

- On the basis of all the
messages I got this morning,

I'd say there's a lotta people

who wanna have a part of this deal.

- Oh, I love it, I love
it, you son of a bitch!

You know what, you did it!

I can't believe you made this thing play,

you son of a bitch!

We're gonna be so filthy rich!

We won't be able to get
ourselves on the phone!

- Be careful, all right?


Big changes happen in little
spaces of time. (laughing)

- I love it, I love it. So,
let me tell you something.

You know what?

I think we oughta go indie, man.

We oughta go to Pierre and Francois.

I mean, they got the bankroll.

They can fish up for this whole puppy!

(soft blues music)

Okay, Pierre, here's the deal.

Every studio in town is
bidding high for this,

but I can bring it home for
you if you want it bad enough.

- And what makes you think
Seiling will listen to you?

- Are you kidding me?

I know his secrets.

He does what I say.

- So, what do you propose?

- When did Mr. Monet here
learn how to speak English?

- Francois, (speaking foreign language).

So, Arnie.

Tell us what you want.

(soft romantic music)

- Oh, Jakey.

What happened to us?

- What are you doing here, Brenda?

- I'm sober.

Two weeks.

I thought I'd give sobriety a shot.

- Hey. (laughing)



- And I've been thinking a
lot about (pausing) everything

and I'm ashamed of the
way I've been behaving.

I guess the pressure got too much for me.

It's been tough times
for both of us, Jake.

- Yeah.

Both of us.

- I want us to be friends.

I miss you, I mean it.

- Brenda.

I miss you too.

- I wanna make a peace offering.

I wanna be friends.

I don't wanna lose that.

(soft romantic music)

- Neither do I.

- Friends?

- Friends.

- Honey.

- Things coulda been so
good between the two of us.

- They still can be, Jake.

They still can be.

(car alarm blaring)

Have you thought about your
new leading lady for the film?

- Why don't we just do it?

- Give me a shot at it.

- I mean, just take off
and have a fantasy trip.

- Jakey.
- Huh?

- You're not listening to me.

- What's that?

- I'm talking about me being the new lead

in your new feature film, silly.

That's what I'm talking about.

- Oh, forget about it.

Julie's got that part.

- What did you just say to me?

- Huh?

- What did you just say?

- Forget it, forget it.

Julie's got that part.

- That's my role.

- I can't believe it.

I mean, I'm here pouring
my heart out to you

and you're thinking about the
casting of some goddamn movie?


- "What?"

What do you think?

I don't know what you're talking about.

I thought you wanted to be together.

I thought you loved me.

And now you're giving the
fucking part to Julie!

- It's just not right for you.

What are you doing?

- I'm getting dressed. What
does it look like I'm doing?

- Come on, baby.

- I'm okay, everything's fine.

You can't blame me for trying, can you?

- No.

- Well, that's the way it goes.

When you're out, you're out.

- No, come here, come on.

- I'm fine, I just need a drink.

- No, come on, Brenda.
- I just need a drink.

- [Jake] Don't do that.

- Leave me alone.

On second thought, I don't
think I need a drink.

You guys were really funny.

You were a couple of cards.

- What are you talking about?

- It's not easy burning down a house.

Now, I learned that from you guys.

I mean, it took you three tries.

And, god, was it entertaining,

watching Arnie trying to stick
that rag in the air vent.

I mean, I just enjoyed myself so much.

But the third time, what a charm.

Kaboom, bang!

It was like the Fourth of July.

And I just sat there watching you watch.

And I had such a good view,
I was able to take a picture.

Jake, I don't think you're
in a position to screw me.

Do you?

- I think I'm gonna be sick.

- Don't get sick, sweetheart.

Just give me the part.

No one ever has to know about it.

- [Jake] You would do this to me?

- I would do this to you?


What did you do to me?

I gave you my life, I gave you
all my time and all my love.

You said, "We'll always be together."

Always means until someone
younger or prettier comes along?

That's what I think always means.

I built up your career.

You had nothing.

Let me tell you something.

There's one thing that I'm not
getting taken away from me,

and that's being your leading lady.

Goodbye, Jake.

Oh, don't be late to pick
up the insurance check.


Are you gonna name the insurance company

as executive producer?

- Well...

I don't know.

(traffic roaring)

- Just complete this and sign it here.

Any questions, call me on my direct line.

- Okay.

(soft romantic music)

- Mr. Seiling!

Welcome back.

Have a seat.

Feel relieved?

- Yes, thank you, fine.


Shows a lotta talent.

- Why don't you tell
me what happened again?

For the hell of it.

It'll be fun.

- I thought I was just
coming to pick up the check.

- Come on, one more time.

It's a hell of an interesting story.

- Well, we bought a turkey.

It's just the two of us,

we're not gonna eat the whole thing.

I thought perhaps,

I make a plan actually
of making sandwiches.

I like turkey sandwiches.

And we had thought of different
groups, some homeless.

I like to feel part of my community.

I contribute there.

- I saw you on TV this morning.

- Oh, really?

- Talk about turning bad luck into good.

One day your house burns down,

the next you're the
hottest guy in Hollywood.

- Well, that project had
actually been in development

for a long time.

- You know, Arthur Kranston's been

one of my very favorite authors

and playwrights for years now.

- Is that right?

- You have the sensitivity of an artist,

a writer's sensitivity.

- How did you manage
to get him to give you

the first book he's written in years?

Must've cost a shitload of money.

A shitload of money.

- No.

No, not really.

I mean, you know the business.

You know how it is.

It's not what you know, it's who you know.

You know?

Anyway, Sy, my friend,

he'd been working on a deal with Arthur.

And Sy (pausing)


- Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.


Heart attack?

- Suicide.

- Tough business.

So, Kranston decided to sell you the book

out of respect for your mutual friend?

- Right, right.

- How much did you have to pay for it?

- Well, I mean, I'm not
at liberty to disclose.

- $75,000?


And insurance fraud?

- You know, when we locked
eyes, it was one world.

It was (pausing) electricity.

Shock waves.




Not mine!

It's like high tension in the tropics.

I went back to the
source and it was primal

and I felt every particle,
do you know what I mean?

Because what are we?

We are that.

We are specks.

Specks in the universe.

And you know what?

Can I tell you something?

From one spot to another,

I'm telling you, we must burn.

We must (pausing) light up that speck

that we occupy for this
short period of time.

Do you know what I mean?

- Okay.
- Yeah.

- We lit that sucker up.

We took it out.

It was...

It was beautiful, like we were

two Roman soldiers watching
the burning of Rome,

two soldiers in the night.

It was fucking beautiful.

It was watching these orange
and red phosphorous flames

reaching up and licking the
black sky to create light.

Fucking (pausing) light, man!

Well, I don't know, it was...

Power, it was power, man.

You want another bump?

- Mr. Seiling.

- [Jake] Later.

- More zeroes for you, sir.

That's the kitchen, sir.

It's the other way.

- Well, I'm just...
- I understand.

By the way, the manager
would like to see you

regarding your account.

- The manager?

Well, I'll be right back.

- Yes sir, Mr. Seiling's arrived.


- Oh man.

Oh man.


- Hey.
- Hey.

- Hi, Jakey.

- Julie.


What's going on?

- Jake, this is Tracy.

Tracy, this is Jake Seiling,
the hottest director in town.

- Hi.

- Don't I know you?

- I don't know.

Maybe we slept together or something.

- I don't think so.

Arnie, come here.

- What's up, buddy?

- [Jake] What did you say to her?

- [Arnie] Say to who?

- That girl in there.

What did you say?

- Nothing, bullshit.

We were just having a laugh.

What the hell's going on?

Cool it.

- Did you say anything
about all about the fire?

- Why am I gonna say
anything about the fire?

- She's an insurance investigator.

- Get the fuck outta here!

- No, I swear to god!

I saw her today (gasping)
at the insurance office.

- Are you sure?

- I swear. (gasping)

- Jake; oh, Jake, not again.

- I'm just gonna try to find my lipstick.

- Were you at the state
insurance office today?!

- Yeah, how did you know that?

- What were you doing there?

- I got in a car accident and
I was giving a deposition.

- You don't work for
the insurance company?

- Are you crazy?

I'm a dancer.

I am outta here.

- I think we're getting a
little paranoid here, okay?

I think we're gonna have
to compose ourselves, okay?

Don't give me a fucking heart attack!

- Julie.

- Well.

Looks like you got yourself a new partner.

- Now, look.

I'm going to make one thing very clear.

I did not burn my house down. (sobbing)

- Okay.


Mr. Seiling.

- Oh, thanks.


(blowing nose)

- Feeling better?

(blowing nose)

- Yeah.

- There's just one thing.


You said you were cooking the turkey

and then you left the oven on.

- Yeah.

- All right, all right.

It's a funny thing.

The only thing in the
house that wasn't cooked

was that turkey.

Every inch of that place
was burnt to a crisp,

except for that bird.

You know, you're lucky
you didn't get salmonella.

Now, how do you figure
something like that happened?

- I don't know!

I'm only a director! (sobbing)

- Jake.

Did I ever mention to you

that it's always been my secret ambition

to be in the motion picture business?

- No, you didn't, but I figured, you know?

- You did?


You think I got the look?





You know, I mighta been an actor,

except I had to go to work when I was 16

to support my family!

I wasn't able to pursue my dreams.

- I'm going to jail, aren't I?

- Jail?

What for?

Did you do something wrong?



- How much?

(groovy rock music)

- Oh.

Excuse me, no-no-no,
no-no, excuse me, okay?

Yes, I got the sandwich.

How much is this room?

No, no-no-no.

Why don't you try $856.73,
not including tax.


No, I'll tell you why.


All right?!

I asked for a corned
beef sandwich, all right?

On an onion loaf, lean, with
a little bit of Dijon mustard

and some mayo on the side,
a side of potato salad,

no cole slaw, and an extra pickle.

I did not get my extra pickle

and I got sourdough, all right?!

(blowing nose)
- That's right.

Put it there, partner.


Oh, good.

Hold it!


- Yeah.
- Yeah!

- All right, man, all right. (laughing)

All right.

- I'll see ya, partner.

- We'll see ya.

We'll see ya soon.

- How the hell did this happen?

- How the hell am I supposed to know?

- What caused the fire?

- I don't know.

But that isn't all.

- There's more?

- The investigator is now our partner.

- Partner?!

Like how?!

- Like in co-producer partner.

- Shit!

- It was just Sy and me.

Now, everybody owns
this project except me.

- The check!

We gotta get the check!

We gotta get the check to Kranston!

- Oh, I forgot, the check.

Oh, I almost forgot about it.

I think I put it in my jacket pocket.

- Here's you jacket, go ahead.

- Okay, I got it.
- Come on, go ahead.

Let's go!

- I'll be right back.

- Excuse me, sir, excuse me.

More zeroes?

(light upbeat rock music)

- You get that message to
Francois ASAP, you got it?


Yeah, come on in, it's open!

What's a matter, Jake,
you forget something?

- Hey, buddy, what's up?
- What are you doing here?

- I read the trades man.

I got show business dreams
like everybody else.

- What'd you read in the
trades that brings you to me?

- Kranston.

Jake Seiling's making a new film

about Arthur Kranston's next book.

- You know Kranston?

- I've heard the name.

Anyway, I figured it's
gotta be huge, you know?

I mean, just by the sounds of it.

And then I started thinking.

I mean, you using plan B
to help a director friend?

Bingo, I figured it out!

So, did the fire pay yet?

- Why, what do you want?

- I want in, man!

- You're a fucking mechanic!

- A mechanic who helped you
burn a guy's house down.

That makes me a writer-producer.

- Jesus Christ, you always
get screwed by your mechanic.

- Hello.


- [Arthur] Hello.

- Mr. Kranston?

Mr. Kranston, you might remember
me from Sy Rosen's funeral.

I'm Brenda Goodman.

I'm Jake Seiling's wife.

- [Arthur] Oh, hi.

- I'm here because I
have a terrible problem

and I think you can help me with it.

It involves you.

(door whirring)

- Okay.

There you go.

- Thank you for seeing me, Mr. Kranston.

- Oh, it's fine.

It's fine. (laughing)


It's fine.

It's fine.

Okay, all right, yeah, so.

What can I do for you?

- Thank you.

Well, I'm Jake Seiling's wife.

- Oh, I like Jake.

Jake's a good guy.

- Oh, yes he is.

Well, he was.

- Oh, what's the matter?

Is he in trouble?

- Well, I don't know if
you'd call it trouble.

He (pausing) burned our house down.

- He what?

- To the ground.

- Why would he do a thing like that?

- Well, you see, he wanted
the money for your book,

for the option, and I am
sure it is an excellent book,

a very good book, but--
- Oh my god.

- But to burn down our
house, I'm sure you--

- Oh my god.

- You see, I think Hollywood
has completely destroyed him.

- Yeah.

- I mean, he respects
you, as of course I do

and I know everyone does.

And you see, when Sy passed away,

I just, I just, I just, I just,

I just didn't know who to turn to anymore.

And so-so-so-so, I'm turning to you.

Can you help me?

- No.

- [Jake] Mr. Kranston!

- Oh my god, it's--

- [Jake] Arthur!

I'm here and I'm ready--


Brenda, what are you doing here?

- Hello, darling.
- What is she doing here?

- Jake, you've chosen your
career over your marriage.

That's a mistake.

I'm here to tell you, that's a mistake.

I lost the one truly functioning
relationship I ever had

because I made that mistake.

Don't make that mistake, Jake.

I mean, look, look at this girl.

She needs you.

- Mr. Kranston, with all due respect,

this situation here is more
complicated than it appears.

- Well, I'm sorry, life doesn't
have to be so complicated.

There are plenty of things on this Earth

that are more interesting
than the movie business.

Cooking, for example, is
a lot more interesting

than the movie business!

- Cooking.

Eh, cooking?

I'm an expert cook,
and she left me anyway.

- Well, shoot, are you already divorced?

- I'm deeply in love with him still.

- Well then, why do you keep trying

to screw up my life, Brenda?

Brenda, just forget it.

Mr. Kranston and I have
some very important business

to attend to.

- That's all you've ever
cared about, business.

It makes perfect sense.

- Look, Jake, I have to ask you this.

Did you burn down your
house to get the money

to pay me for the option?

- Burn down.


Burn down?

- Did you burn down your house to pay me

for the money on the option?

- Can't you see through
this emotional front?

Can't you see through this facade?

This is just another actress

trying to blackmail me for a part.


I didn't know what else to do!

Sy died!

I was only trying to start
where he had finished,

or just to begin where
he had left off to make--

Look, this is the payment
that we agreed on!

- Mr. Kranston, please,
before you take Jake's check,

take mine.

It's for $150,000.

I'm authorized by private investors.

It's twice the amount of Jake's.

Stop that!
- This is my thing.

Come on now!

- Look, look...

I'm under the impression

that you're both very troubled people.

And I have to tell you

that money doesn't motivate
me, honey, I'm sorry.

I promised Jake the option
originally, so Jake gets it.

Jake, do you really want this?

You haven't even read the goddamn thing.

- I want this more than
anything I've ever--

- Heather, honey!
- Wanted in my whole life!

- Can you get me the manuscript

next to the refrigerator in the stack?

In the stack, the black one.
- Thank you!

- Yeah, all right.
- Oh, god!

- Jake.
- Thank you.

- Here you go.

All right.

Heather, get Maury on
the phone for me, please.

- Thank you.

- This is a binding contract

that ensures you participation
in the Kranston project.

There's plenty for all of us.

Congratulations, partners.

(light pop music)

♪ You always seem to be concerned ♪

♪ Where I go and where I've been ♪

- It's gotta be realistic,
it's gotta be authentic!

You gotta believe what you're saying

in case we get questioned
later, you know what I'm saying?

Go ahead, pick a color.

- [Jake] I like green.

♪ Questioning of what I do ♪

- Boom, the place goes up!

I mean, I don't know what sets it off.

It could be one of your fucking
cigarettes for god's sake.

♪ Curious, that's always you ♪

- Arson, and insurance fraud.

♪ Never seem to be okay ♪

♪ With who I see or what I say ♪

- I loved you, Jake.

I really loved you.

♪ What's going on ♪

♪ What's going on ♪

- Are you going to list
the insurance company

as the executive producer?

I knew about it all along.

I heard all about it the
night I came up those stairs.

I don't think you're really
in a position to screw me.

Do you?

- Oh, Sy!

Oh, I get it.

I finally get it, Sy.


We got him.

We got him, Sy.

Thanks. (laughing)


Thanks, Sy.

- It's a fucking hit!

So, we retain all control.

We control, TV, video,
foreign, domestic markets.

It's all for us.

And the studio fucking executives,

which are all lying Pinocchios anyway,

they don't cut into any of our back end.

- What's the final (pausing) payoff?

- Final payoff.

You mean, like, an Oscar,
something like that?

- Arnie, I don't wanna end up like Sy.

I just, I'm tired of the shit, you know?

- Okay, wait a minute, shit.

Hang on, shit.

Fertilizer is Mother Earth.

All good things spring from shit.

What stinks now is gonna be
our life-supporting essence.

- We're not gardeners, Arnie.

What's your point?

- That shit is good.

- Arnie, I've lost my
marriage, I've lost my home.

I burned my own home down.

And for what?

- To make a fucking movie!

- Right.

To make a movie.

To make a movie.

- So, what must we do to get these rights?

- Pay me.

You pay me now.

- Look, just give me a couple hours,

I'll deliver you the manuscript.

- Why is Seiling selling the option

just a few days after he bought it, huh?

- That's the beauty of it. He's
getting outta the business.

I don't know, some sort of
new-age 12-step program shit,

something like that; god, who knows?

All I know is that I've got it.

I've always been the
backbone of this partnership.

You know what?

Now, I'm offering this
tremendous property to you.

- Why?

- Because you're gonna put up the money.

- You must've really been in big trouble

to have called me, Jake.

- That was a great performance
you gave for Kranston.

I think it was one of your best.

- Thank you, honey.

One of the nicest things
you've said to me in a while.

- Did you ever think of just
giving it all up, Brenda?

I mean, you know...

Starting a new life?

Leaving this?

- [Brenda] You still
don't know what you want.

- I wanna give you this.

- What is this?

- It's Kranston's book.

- Oh.

- Take it.

- Do not be stupid, Jake.

You worked for this, you fought for it.

It's yours.
- No, it's over.

- I just want the role, that's all I want.

- It's over.

I'm out.

- Jake, you can't do this.

- I can.

It's what I'm trying to tell you, Brenda.

I can.

And I am.

- Oh, god, Jake, this is your ticket back.

You can't do this.

You know, you don't want anything.

You don't want me.

You don't want your career.

You've never wanted anything completely.

That's why you never
done anything completely.

God, Jakey.

You couldn't even burn
your own house down.

- Looks pretty complete
to me; I mean, look at it.

- You didn't do it, Jake.

I did it.


You and Arnie let the paint sit too long.

I had to go in there with
a gasoline-soaked rag

and shove it into the vent;
at my own risk, I might add.

I hope you find something
you really want, Jake.

I know I really wanted you.

(somber keyboard music)

- Finally, we are to do business.

- Yes.

- You know, it is nice to
finally deal with a gentleman.

- Would you care for a cigar?

- That's lovely, thank you very much.

Oh, I love cigars.

I'm gonna put this away and save it.

- We are disappointed

that you will not be directing the movie.

- I just need some time to clear my head.

- Well, you are a breath of fresh air

in a very stale environment, huh?

- I appreciate that.

- So, does it have a
title, our blockbuster?

- The title...


Tastes of Joy.

- Tastes of Joy.
- Tastes of Joy.

(speaking foreign language) Tastes of Joy.

- (speaking foreign language)

Tastes of Joy.

I like it, it's very sensual.

I love it.
- I love it.

- This joy, it is a woman?

Or is a penis?

- It's both, no?

- It's all about the senses.

- Arnie!

- I'm sure you're familiar
with Mr. Arnie Green.

- Bonjour, Arnie.
- Arnie, sit down.

It's good that you got here.

- I was starting to negotiate.

- Arnie, shut up.

- Okay.

- And now, the whole party
is here, the other term.

Sweetheart, Brenda, I'm
so glad you could get here

on such short notice.

Don't worry, it's all for the good.

- So, now that we have
our little band together,

what is the purpose?

- I want (pausing) to sell

this project to you

on two conditions.

- (speaking foreign language)

- I want Mr. Green to
produce Taste of Joy.

- And I've always said
you're an amazing man, Jake.

You really are.

- And is that all?

- Just one other detail.

I want Brenda to play the starring role.

- Ah!
- Jake.

- [Jake] I don't want you to interview

any other actresses for the part.

- Thank you.

- I've always said that you
were a great actress, Brenda.

- You came through for me.

- And...

How much?

- One?

- One...


- One?

- One?

- $1 million.

- This is ridiculous!

We cannot afford to pay that!

- Jake, Jake, Jake, just come
on for a second, all right?

I mean, you wanna get this produced right?

You gotta come down on
the price a little bit.

Just come down.

- Lower the price.

- $600,000 is our final offer.

- Now, you know a studio
would offer twice that.

So, if this is your answer,
than I must say bonjour.

- Oh, Jake.
- Jake, come on, man.

- [Brenda] Oh, Jake.


- Jake!


Come back here, please.

- $1 million.


A bank check, s'il vous plait.


- Checking out already, Mr. Seiling?

- Mr. Green will foot the bill.

- Well done, sir.

And I wish you continued success, sir.

♪ A good director's always
nice to his actors ♪

♪ And wear comfortable shoes ♪

- Comfortable shoes, sir.

- I get it.

The lead character's a chef.

- Oh, here she is making roast pork.

Next scene, she's making lasagna.

- $1 million for this?

This is like a cookbook.

- This is like a recipe to a masterpiece.


- Thanks, Sy.

You'd be proud of me.

I won today.

I'm outta the game.

- Miss Goodman, there's a problem.

The director will be here in a second.

- What, what problem is there?

- The director's coming.

- Why can't you tell me what it is?

- [Man] Marker.

- Laura, you look great.

- [Man] Marker.

- [Man] Okay; quiet, guys.

- Line.

Out loud.

Right, okay, thank you.


- I thought this was gonna be big.

This is gonna be huge.

I can't believe this is happening to me.

(bright orchestral music)

(siren wailing)

(guns firing)
(tires screeching)

- [Woman] Hey, baby, you wanna go out?

- Carolina?

How did you feel about the lasagna?

- Laura, that's a turkey.

- I said, how did you
feel about the lasagna?

- I don't have time for
this right now, really.

- Why, because of these
little chickie-poos?

- You know something?

Since I shot the guy that was raping you

when you were 11 years old,

you have been nothing but
a big fat pain in the ass.

- Don't even go there!

- Look, I don't have time for this.

Would you just get outta here?

We all get hurt.

Don't we get hurt, girls?

- Yes.
- Yes, Carolina.

- [Jake] If desire is
the flip-side of despair,

your dreams are at the
mercy of a coin toss.

God isn't a studio head.

He's PT Barnum, cooking up
the ultimate freak show,

with human flesh standing in
line for their 15 minutes.

Now, that's entertainment.

In some twisted form of irony,

Tastes of Joy went on to become

one of the top-grossing films of the year

with Arnie directing Brenda.

As for me, I've moved on.

Should've left long ago
for Milwaukee or Duluth,

some place far where no one wants to go.

No one in Hollywood, anyway.

There's an old saying that
the thirst for existence

comes from a need to feel significant.

Maybe that's why LA's a desert.

(light upbeat pop music)

♪ Can you believe I made it ♪

♪ Can you believe I survived ♪

♪ Who could have seen the danger ♪

♪ I never knew sacrifice ♪

♪ From the pan to the fire ♪

♪ Getting hotter and hotter ♪

♪ Burning my desire ♪

♪ Consuming me ♪

♪ I was naive and dreaming ♪

♪ Trying my best to survive ♪

♪ Between the pain and sorrow ♪

♪ You stood strong by my side ♪

♪ From the pan to the fire ♪

♪ Getting hotter and hotter ♪

♪ Burning my desire ♪

♪ Consuming me ♪

♪ From the pan to the fire ♪

♪ Getting hotter and hotter ♪

♪ Burning my desire ♪

♪ Consuming me ♪

♪ When you believe it ♪

♪ All it takes ♪

♪ To get into trouble ♪

♪ Somehow I came out alive ♪

♪ From the pan to the fire ♪

♪ Getting hotter and hotter ♪

♪ Burning my desire ♪

♪ Consuming me ♪

♪ From the pan to the fire ♪

♪ Getting hotter and hotter ♪

♪ Burning my desire ♪

♪ Consuming me ♪

♪ From the pan to the fire ♪

♪ Getting hotter and hotter ♪