Flag Day (2021) - full transcript

Jennifer Vogel's father John was larger than life. As a child, Jennifer marveled at his magnetizing energy and ability to make life feel like a grand adventure. He taught her so much about love and joy, but he also happened to be the most notorious counterfeiter in US history. Based on a true story and directed by Sean Penn, Flag Day stars Penn and his real-life daughter Dylan Penn in an intimate family portrait about a young woman who struggles to rise above the wreckage of her past while reconciling the inescapable bond between a daughter and her father.

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Your father,

he was released on bail,
pending trial.

His arraignment hearing
had been set for Monday.

He didn't show up.

The troopers
made every effort.

Do you know
what this is?

This is very
high quality.

The ink color
is perfect.

The paper is good.

The weight,
watermark, plate work,

it's all meticulous.

There's even
a metal strip embedded.

In six months,
he had passed almost $50,000.

- He printed $50,000?
- No, Ms. Vogel.

He passed $50,000.
He printed $22 million.

He was facing
a maximum of 75 years.

Um, may I hold it?

It's beautiful.

My father...

he died
a hundred times

poking holes
in his veins,

like so many rehearsals
for our ultimate rejection.

We get pretty good
at it, don't we?

It says,
"Happy Highway Harry."

It says, "Only three miles
to make a meal outta life."

My father came
and went from our lives.

Showing up only when he
hungered for affirmation.

I adored
his attention,

and he
accommodated that.

As wholeheartedly
as he abandoned it.

Memory reckons itself
in blurs and flashes.

The special moments of
childhood are like fairy tales.

And in mine,
my father was the prince.

There are plenty
of ways to kill oneself.

The idea is that,
given the range of options,

each suicide reflects the
life that preceded it.

If this was true,

then Dad's end would be
violent and spectacular.

Everybody asleep
around here?

I'm awake.

- You wanna come up here?
- Yeah.

Move right here.
That's right.

That's the gas,

that's the brake,
that's the shift.

Those are the basics.

I'll just be here
if you need anything.

- No!
- What's up, honey?

I can't... I can't
reach the pedals!

Sure you can.

Look at how long
those legs are.

That's it,
just keep it right there.

No, Daddy,
please don't leave me!

you gotta learn how to drive.

It's the only way you're
gonna see the world.

Just take care because
there's a bend up here

in about an hour.

An hour?

My mother sometimes
called Dad Peter Pan,

for the kind of
silly charm

that allowed him to make
reckless, impulsive decisions

look like perfect
plans of action.

In those times,

he always wanted to make
things perfect for us.

Replace the humdrum
of everyday life

with new places
and unexpected moments.

He purchased the farm on a
payment plan he couldn't afford.

It was a dilapidated
old place,

but he filled it
with classical music

and always kept things
fun for Nick and me

while he and Mom fixed it up
like a permanent family home.

But as more delivery trucks
arrived, brimming with materials

purchased on IOUs
that would never be met,

the light fluttering
music of Dad

seemed to fade
into a darkness.

And with each layer
of darkness,

a new reason
to disappear.

- Give me my record!
- No!

Give me
my goddamn Chopin...

I will
fucking break it!

I'll punch your whore
face, you goddamn witch!

Fuck you!
You're a shitty-ass husband!

explained his absences

by claiming to
be working

on some mysterious
business endeavor,

and left Mom to
pick up the pieces.

She tried to find
regular work,

but spent most
of her time

staring at walls and
worrying about unpaid bills.

First pioneers would
be in the Blue Ridge Mountains

and the Bluegrass
region of Kentucky.

To the emptiness.

Dad always
seemed to call Nick and me

when Mom
was sleeping.

His voice made me feel like
part of a bigger world.

A bigger world I
could only dream of.




We're gonna go
live with Dad.


You kids are like
his hunting dogs.

He only runs you
when he feels like it.

It'll be better
than living with you.


You, too?

There are things about your
father that you don't know.

Like what?

- When you're older...
- I am older!

Nick, we're leaving.

Fine, fine, fine!
Go! Get outta here!

Oh, there's gotta be some
kind of mistake, Beck!

My kids are much
smaller than these two.

Look at that little
button nose.

Look at you two.

Now go and get your bags
from Uncle Beck's truck.

I got it.

I really appreciate
you bringing them down.

How's their mama?

How do you think she
is, you bastard?

You left her with
two kids and no dough.

That was bust,
I had to make a move.

I see
your moves, John.

Man, you had
a good girl

and you steel-toe kicked her
heart all over the street.

You know what?

She'll get back
on her feet.

In the meantime, you just take
good care of her babies, okay?

It's not like that.
I mean, they are my babies, too.

- Yeah, yeah.
- See ya.

I'd do anything
for those kids.

Yeah. Prove it.

Dad! Oh, my God!

Oh, no!

Oh, my God.
Dad, way too much lighter fluid!

He might light
the tree on fire!


Oh, my...

- Good Lord!
- Anybody?

- The "Nocturnes"!
- What number?

"Number 20"!

See, how many kids you
know know their Chopin?

When can we eat?

I told you ten times,
it's gotta marinate.

You asked for
pepper steak, right?

If it doesn't marinate,

it's not pepper steak,
it's just steak.

I'll take just steak.

Too late, it's marinating.

Hold the thought.

It's all right.

Do you like
music, Jennifer?

Um, yeah. I like ELO.

English rock, huh?

Have you heard
Bob Seger?

I don't think so, no.

You have to hear Bob Seger!

Okay, fellas,
I'll see you in a couple weeks.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, hey!
What are you doing?

- I'm changing the mood!
- The mood?

We're in
a classics mood.

We're listening
to the classics.

But you can't
dance to Chopin.

Oh, come on, old bones!

I wanna play Jennifer
some rock 'n' roll.

Are you
seriously suggesting

that Bob Seger beats out Frederic
Chopin, seriously?

I'm just
changing the tempo.

Your music
is for funerals.

You know what? Okay.
But they ain't gonna like it.

These kids got class.

Yeah. You wanna
dance, baby?

Come on, honey.
Let's have a little groove.



You... You seriously
like this stuff?



When I was young,

I thought all
the exciting things

he made happen,
he made happen for me.

Hey, wait for me!


Hello! Dad!


Not enough time.
Don't fuck around.

I don't wanna
hear that shit.

- John, look at...
- Hey.

Hey, honey.

Uh... This
is my daughter Jennifer.

Um, Jennifer,
these are just some friends,

some business colleagues from Brainerd.
Everything's okay.

Go on inside,
I'll meet you inside.

Honey, go inside.

Oh, my God! Dad...
Dad! Are you okay?

I'm okay, honey.

Daddy just bumped his
face into the canoe.

- Oh. Nick!
- Nick!

Hands up, who had
a great summer?

We don't want
to go home.

Yeah, well, something came
up, Nick, you know.

Well, anyway,
you and I both had accidents

on the same day,
that's a karma thing.

The next ones
are always worse.

Besides, you guys both
got school coming up,

and from what
I understand,

your mom is doing
much better.

I love you, baby.

Don't you ever
forget it.

You and me, we got
the same heart.

Two peas in a pod.
Come here.

Hey. Hey.
Would you look at that?

- What is that?
- You don't remember?

I got a feeling
I know what this is.

"Happy Highway Harry."

You still have that,
you didn't lose it.

- No, of course not.
- All aboard!

All right!

All right, take this.

Come on.

They're coming,
they're coming.

- All right.
- Thank you.

- Well, this is it.
- All right, Nick.

You take care of
your little sister.

Big sister.
I keep forgetting.

Oh! Look at the moon.

- Oh!
- All right, go. Okay, go on.

By the time that
summer had come and gone,

the bank had
foreclosed on the farm.

Like so many
times before,

all of our earthly

filled the old
station wagon

in pursuit of
a fresh start.

- Hi, Uncle Beck.
- Hey there, guys.


Come on in.

Ugh! Oh,
the couch stinks!

You can lay on me
if you want.

I'm gonna
leave the keys right there.

Just come over here, gimme a hug goodbye.
I gotta go.

Give your Uncle Beck
a hug goodbye, come on!

- There we go.
- Goodbye.

- I love you guys.
- I love you.

- Thank you, Uncle Beck.
- Mm-hmm.

Uncle Beck.

Yep. Go lay down
on the poop couch.

I don't know between John and
I who had the shittier father,

but I do hope...

that you pick better than my
mother did on your next try.

You hang
in there, kid.

I'll track him down,
all right?

And at the very least,

I'll get him to
mail back those...

plates for your car.

He hadn't paid
a single bill in months.

My boy
Johnny is a bad penny.

You never trust a
bastard born on Flag Day.

Because they think

all immigrants are
putting them out of jobs.

Yeah, he just thinks
that way sometimes.

He thinks
that way sometimes?

What's so funny?

You're lucky he left.

When he comes crawling
back to you...

I come to you to borrow
a few hundred bucks.

Not to judge
my husband.

The year
you got hitched,

John bought the cabin
at Browns Lake.

You spent all summer
doing it up.

The day he left,
it burns to the ground.

Then bought
the burger joint.

Spent weeks making pretty,
pretty tablecloths.

It was pretty.

But spent nothing
on the kitchen.

And then a hardworking
Black fella

opens up a better burger
joint across the street,

and lo and behold,

John's place burns
to the ground.

He'd burn down
the world

if he thought it would
put him in white mansions.

- Good morning.
- Morning.

You sleep well?

Like a baby.

Did you do
your homework, honey?

Of course.

- Good girl.
- Why don't you show him?

Oh, I don't
need to see it.

I trust my little girl, don't I?

Wanna tell him
I trust you?

We trust
each other, yeah?

- Mm-hmm?
- Mm-hmm.



That guy's so fucking stupid.

My name is Cheryl,
and I'm an alcoholic.

- Hi, Cheryl.
- I came here and I had...

lost everything.

I lost my home
and my career,

and my darling husband.
I say that now.

A year ago, I thought
he was a piece of shit

who dropped me by the curb,
but you know something,

I was so angry,
and I needed someone to blame,

and I could not see
that it was on me.

What's going on?

Come on, Doc,
you're in the wrong room.


Come on there.

Tipsy fool!
Let's get you to the right one.


Good morning, ladies.

Now, that is the way
you make coffee.

All right,
I'm out of here.

If I'm not back
for dinner,

you guys start
without me.

What are you doing?
What is that?

It's resin.
You want some?

It's not bad.

Don't push me,
little lady.

What are you trying
to prove, Jennifer?

Hell, it's 8:55 in the morning,

I'm just trying to
take the edge off.

You show some respect!

- Why?
- I'm still your mother.

How long you been
smoking that stuff?

- Oh, please!
- Answer me!

Fuck you,
you hypocrite!

Answer me,
you little slut!

You big slut.

Oh. You don't get
to fucking hit me.


I'm gonna miss you.

I love you
so much.

Honey, we need to talk.

I'm leaving.

- Jennifer!
- What?

Don't think
you're taking the car.

Doc paid for that car.

I don't want
his fucking car.

I never wanna see
that sick fuck again.

How dare you?
After all he's done for you!

And where are you gonna
go, Jennifer?

- You don't have anywhere
- Yes, I do!

Yes, I do, Mom.

Oh, Jen.

Jen, I may be dumb,

but you're a smart girl.
Don't kid yourself.

Like I'm passing up
a great gig here?

There are things about your
father that you don't know.

Oh, God,
here we go again,

are you kidding me?
Are you kidding?

It's not
that he's a con man

- or a swindler.
- Mom, this is your shit!

It's nothing to do with
my relationship with him!

...he believes his own lies!

Okay, let's talk about
believing your own lies,

shall we?

Let's talk about
protecting your children!

It's your one fucking
job to protect me!

Listen to me,
your father is a liar.

- He's a liar.
- Shut up! Please, shut up!

Look, I know what I
am, he doesn't.

And if you're gonna
go with him,

pretty soon,
you won't either.

- You won't.
- I'm done. I'm done.

I'm done!
I'm done!

Your father...
Your father is a liar.

Get off me!

I can't do this

Stop! Stop!

- Don't touch me!
- Listen to me, Jennifer!

He looks you
square in the eyes

and he shows
you his heart,

- and it is a lie!
- Get out of my way!

Get the fuck out of my way!


Who's there?

Dad, it's Jennifer.


Yeah. Can you...
Can you open the door?



- how's school?
- It's okay.

Any thoughts
about college?

I guess you got time.

Actually, I want
to study journalism.

What kind of journalism?

Investigative, maybe.

I like that.

I can see
my snicklefritz

taking on the titans
of industries,

a fast-food chain,

Just a bunch of crumbs bound
together by dough, right?

Dad, what do you do?

What do you mean,
what do I do?

I mean, for a living.
What do you do for a living?

You know what
I do for living.

I'm an entrepreneur.

My skill is

Like what?

For instance,

right now,
I got a whole raft of businesses.

I'm working a very
broad portfolio.

And when you
work it that way,

you're not depending
on one business

to be your bread and
butter, you know?

Yield goes
down on one,

pops up
on another.

And the good
news is,

that I'm doing really
great with that.

What's that?

moving out of Mom's.

I can't stand it
there anymore.


It's okay, babe.
It's okay.

What's the problem,

Are you mixed up
in drugs?


So, what's
the problem?

I just gotta get out.

I thought maybe I could
come live with you.

That kind of comes
out of the blue.

Some things in life
are about timing.

Timing, you see.
See, uh, right now,

I'm growing the business.

And it takes all
the time God sends.

I've just got
a lot of...

Yeah, I understand. It's...

But I gotta keep
the plates spinning.

I gotta keep the
balls in the air.

It's okay, Dad.
It's really... It's fine.

I just want a fresh
start, you know?

Dad, I lied.

In Sheboygan,
I did a lot of drugs.

I smoked weed,
I did a lot of speed.


I just did stupid
things, you know?

I'm angry at you.

You're smarter
than that.

Don't think
I couldn't tell.

It's not
my first rodeo.

Have you done drugs?

Never! Oh.

Uh, in some
medical circles,

alcohol is
classed a drug,

so is tobacco.

So, I'm not gonna
sit here

and tell you that I've
never enjoyed a vodka gimlet

on a Sunday afternoon.

And, oh, what's this?

Exhibit A, methinks.

So, yes.

But no, I've never
done drugs.

Are you kidding me?

At the cabin,
you had those plants in the cupboard.

I used to sit up
8at night

and see you and Debbie
roll joint after joint.

And I also saw you
doing lines.

I found coke
in your drawer.

Don't change
the subject.

I'm not changing
the subject, I saw you.

And how old were you?
How could you possibly remember?

I remember.
I saw it, Dad.

- You didn't.
- Yes, I did.

- You didn't.
- I did.

- You didn't. You didn't.
- Yes, I did. I did.

You didn't.
You done?

- Am I done?
- With your food?

- Yeah.
- All right, let's go.

Can I drive?

Since when do you
know how to drive?

Since I was 11.
Someone told me it was the only way

to see the world.

Must have been
a pretty smart someone.


God damn it!

Can we finish
our conversation?

Jennifer, whatever it was
that you think you saw,

or you saw,
or you think you're alleging...

Dad, I just think we should
be straight with each other.

We should tell
each other the truth.

I told you the truth.


I've got
some problems.

Not drug problems.
Not drugs.

Um, business.

And I owe some people
some money,

some big mistakes
I made.

Thank you
for telling me.

I don't want
to be a burden.

It's not a burden.

Like I've been saying,
it's a fresh start.

Let's get you
whipped into shape.

No more darkness!

- Whoa! Whoa, Jen!
- No more hiding

- from beautiful things.
- Whoa, whoa!

You know, Dad,
these people you owe money to, Dad,

you can just tell them
you're getting a new job.

A fresh start.

"Age 39. Administration.


Apartment Building.

Artist. Art Supply

Antique trader.
Applicator." Those are just the As.

You're not 39, Dad.

Well, I shaved
a couple years off.

I thought
we were being honest.

Also, you're listing way
too many areas of expertise.

It's a resume, Jennifer.

They expect you
to lie on a resume.

Everybody lies on a
resume, they factor it in.

Oh, don't go too short
on the top,

it makes me
look beak-ish.

All right now,
the pay is okay slash not great.

It's $2.50 an hour,

raise up to $3.50 after
the first six months.

That's great.
It works for me.

Sir, hi. Can I have a
moment of your time? Okay.

Hello. Hi.
My name's Jennifer. Okay.

- Great.
- Yeah, absolutely.

Thank you for supporting such
a great cause, that's awesome.

Excuse me.

Excuse me.

I got a job.

- You did?
- Yeah.

You're looking at the
new executive manager

for Sailfeather

- Dad, that's fantastic.
- Yeah.

Well, it's a long way
out of town.

A managerial
position, sure.

And they made me lay out
for a fancy new briefcase.

But it's a job.

We should celebrate.


There's a sensitive
topic I've got to raise.

I come home
from work

and I have
a little stress.

And I wind down...
We've covered this.

I keep a little
Thai stick

in that carved canoe
on my dresser.

And I went to my
little carved canoe...

Jennifer, have you
touched my stash?

- Yes.
- Yes?

I'm sorry,
I didn't think you would notice.

Okay, calling
a house meeting.

Rule number one,
you stay away from my stash. Agreed?

- Agreed.
- Rule number two,

you can smoke,
but do it behind my back.

Or we could
smoke together?

Don't you understand the
concept of boundaries?

Look, Jennifer,
don't disappoint me.

I'm off having to be
the boss of many men

in the bureaucratic
world all day.

I get home,
I wanna know I've got my weed.



Okay, this one's
not a rule,

but just consider changing
your hair color back.

Goodnight, darling,
I'm going to bed.

Nick wrote me.

You're drawing?

You bought
yourself a car?

Something like that,

I dropped 400 bucks to
see how long it'll last.

How was work?

You're home
kinda early.

You know, I wanna
show you something.

Sit yourself down.

What's that?


It's a jean stretcher.

It makes
jeans longer.

- Really?
- Yeah.

Well, you know how my
jeans are always too short,

but they're fine
when I buy them.

It's just when I put them in the
wash, they shrink,

and millions of people
have that problem.


See how that works?

See? $12.95 for one

and $25 for two.

- That sound fair to you?
- Sure.

Let me show you the art.
It's for the ad.

I've already paid for it to
run in the paper next week,

but I've gotta check
my pennies in the piggy.

It's great.

It's a great thing to have
alongside the day job.

Exactly, snicklefritz.

It just, it goes along
with the whole big raft.

Now, don't go

there's a lot more
I wanna tell ya.

I had a couple of
other opportunities.

I got offered
a couple other jobs,

even better money,
but they're all labor.

I could never
do that.

In the workplace,

I'm strictly
a suit-and-tie man.

My father's
misguided sense of pride

seemed so
endlessly wed

to his own shame
and disappointment.

For Dad,
Flag Day was all of America

his birthday.

He believed he was
owed that much,

that it was the least his
country should do for him.

We've done our
cost benefit analysis.

We've decided
to cancel the ad.


No, that's bullshit!

Are you trying to bilk me
out of 16 fucking dollars?

I'm gonna have the
president of Vogel Products

call you right back!

You dog-fuckers.

May you all
die screaming

in fucking cancer!

You motherfucking

"Through the years,
long and wearing,

with you my dreams
I will be sharing.

I understand
your pain

and know in my heart
that we're the same.

In whatever you
choose to endeavor,

I will support you
forever and ever.

Love, Jennifer."

Where are my goddamn cigarettes?

Oh, there.

God. Look what
you've done to me.

You gonna
make a wish?

Don't move.
I'll be right back.

I drove by your work
today, Dad.

You should be proud.

You're doing
honest work.

Open it.

Oh, God. Damn it.

You idiot.

- Do you remember that?
- Yeah.

You told me
to describe the cowboy

while you sketched
with your back to him.

You said that

if you describe
something well enough,

anyone can see it.

Sorry about...

- It's okay, Dad.
- No, it's not okay.

It's not okay.
It's not okay.

I appreciate...

so much.

What you did, I mean,

all of this
that you did for me.


And I just so want
you to know...

...for you, baby,
I'd climb any mountain.

And no matter what happens,
I'm gonna be there.

No matter.

The whole fucking
world could explode

and I will be
here for you.

I know.

Do ya?

Yes, Dad.

Thank God.

Oh, my darling
baby girl.

Things are
really good here, Nick.

Dad seems to actually
be changing.

He's been more
honest with me

and is finally even
willing to work

a regular boring
job for a living.

Please, please,
write me back.

Love, Jen.

You colored your hair.

I colored my hair?

I haven't changed my clothes
in three fucking days

because the cops wouldn't
let me back in the house.

Can I... Can I get
a cigarette, man?

Here you go.

Thank you.

I was reading recently
in Reader's Digest...

about the power of
the subconscious mind

and how our actions are
not consciously willed,

but are what our inner beings
secretly divine for us.

Some people think
it's the gods.

I think you make
your bed,

or your mind
makes your bed.

What's that
on your forehead?

- What is that?
- Nothing. Nothing.

What do you mean
it's nothing?

I see it,
it's right there.

Well, I cut myself.

What are you
talking about?

- It's not even a cut.
- Yeah.

What is it?

What happened?

- Jennifer...
- It's red raw,

it's a huge welt!

Dad, this is important.

When did you decide
to do this?

Jen, I...
Listen. I've been asked

a lot of questions lately
and I'm a little...

- Shut up!
- I've been getting asked

a lot of questions
lately, Jen!

Then answer mine!

- Hey, cool it!
- It's okay.

I'm a little tired.


You're tired?

You're tired?
Are you fucking kidding me?

Okay, okay. Come on.
It's okay, it's okay!

- Are you fucking kidding me?
- No, no, no, no!

- Come on, baby!
- That's it.

Just one more second,
I promise.

Answer the fucking

just tell me
the truth!

You're only interested in
what the cops' story is.

You don't even
wanna hear mine.

- Dad...
- I'm guilty until proven innocent.

I don't have
any rights, do I?

Do I? Do I?
I've got a cop standing right here.

- I've been in a fucking...
- They caught you

- with the money in the car.
- Huh?

You had a gun,
you have a fucking huge welt

- where you glued on a wig!
- I...

Look, you know,
I'm at a disadvantage.

I can't see what
you're talking about.

My God.

I need to know when
you decided to do this.

I'm not lying to
you, Jennifer.

It... It just is
more complicated

- than that, come on.
- So, you're innocent?

You don't...

You don't get it yet,

you're gonna get it when
you walk a mile in my shoes.

You're gonna
understand, trust me.

You're gonna understand one
day when you walk a mile...

You will never fucking change!

- Jen! Jen!
- Come on, that's enough.

- Up. Come on, let's go.
- Okay, wait, okay. Fuck, man!

God, fuck, man.

Come on!


Come on, come on,
come on.

God fucking damn it!

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck!

Dad was originally
sentenced to 15 years.

He wrote letters
I didn't receive.

I was never in one
place long enough,

and left no
forwarding addresses.

He wanted so badly
to make his mark,

and in his way,
he did.

He left a trail
of failed schemes,

squandered money,
and broken hearts.

Now, my abiding concern
was who I would become

and whether I myself
wanted to matter at all.

I used to
tell myself,


you never saw a
three-story building

before you met
John Vogel.

You were young and
he was a tidal wave."

But the truth is...

I wasn't that young.

And there is no
justifying any of it.

You and Nick deserved
more from me.

- Mom.
- Don't.

How are you
for money?

It's kind of tight,
but I'm gonna look

for something in Minneapolis.


I got your juice.


Hey, baby brother.

You got me
my favorite cookies.


God, I can't
believe you.

Oh! It's so beautiful!
Look at that!

Oh, babe, I gotta get off the
phone, though,

'cause my sister's cab
is about to be here.


All right,
I love you, too.

Just take it, baby.

It's what
I can afford.

It should help
get you started.

this is too much.

It's... Take it.

Thank you.

Really, thank you
so much.

Why do you want
to be a journalist?

I think this country has a fine tradition

in journalism,
and I truly believe

I have something
to offer in the field.

I think this country has a need

for a deeper

on a wide variety
of issues,

both on a local
and global scale.

You submitted three
excellent sample articles.

- Thank you.
- You're welcome.

So, why did you lie
on your application?

I'm sorry,
I don't understand.

Your references
don't pan out.

We contacted your high
school in Sheboygan.

You dropped out
with Fs and Ds.

Sorry, there's...
There's been a mistake.

Miss Vogel,
there is no one

by the name of
John Vogel

working for JK Lowe
Insurance in Seattle.

- I'm not lying!
- You can't BS your way

into the University
of Minnesota.

Who's that?

You're right.

My dad's a bank robber.
He's spending 15 years

in an Arizona
federal penitentiary,

and I flunked
out of school.

Sorry for wasting
your time.

Hold it, Jennifer.

Your sample articles,
you did write those.

Seems to me
that a person

who really wants
to be a journalist

has to have an awfully
strong motivation

to find the truth
in things.

Why do you want
to be a journalist?

I want to matter.

Dear Jennifer, wow!

Nick tells me you really
impressed somebody

over there at the
University of Minnesota.

Hmm. My snicklefritz.

I always knew

you were gonna be
something very special.

Hi, Jen.

In places like this,

the world seems to
forget we ever existed.

It's as if we're all
just ghosts

from the Earth.

Hi, me again.

I'm told congratulations
are in order.

Seems your temp job
has led your editor

to give you
a shot at writing.

Well, I'm super proud of
you, my little girl.

Hi, number one.

I guess you're either
not receiving

or just not reading
my letters.

I sure wish
you'd write me back.

Excuse me.
What's the time?

writing you letters

and working in
the prison print shop,

I keep myself busy.

I think because I sketch pretty
well, I'm good at it.

Maybe I can add graphic
designer to my resume. Ha-ha.

It's cold here,

so it must be freezing
where you are.

Boy, once I get out,

I'm never ever coming
back to prison again.

Jennifer Vogel.

University graduate.

I'm sure sorry
I missed it, honey.

If I could have
broken out of here,

I'd have been there.

I wanna thank all of you
for being here today,

all of you who spoke,

all of you who have
been friends of mine

for so many years.

All of you who have
given me your support...

Wow! Do me a favor.

Wanna read back
that last part for me?

"It's risky
and sensationalist,

it's also true."

"We back up
the court files

with interviews
from lawyers,

and scientists.

More importantly,
they're poisoning the water."

"Poisoning the water."
Yes. Yes.

But all these
things are true,

and it's our job
to write about it.

So, take "yes"
for an answer.

You're not worried about
backlash from Brentax?

No! If there's backlash,
I'll blame the whole thing on who?

- Fucking Vogel.
- Fucking Vogel.

I survived this business
pretty well playing good cop.

Well, I'll be twirling
my moustache.


Is that you,
number one?

You're... You're
all grown up.

You look terrific.

You look just terrific.

When did you
get out?

I was just
wondering if...

maybe you could pull
away for an hour,

come have lunch
with me?


I mean, not if
it's bad timing.

No, it's fine,
I can get an early lunch.

Let me just
grab my purse.

Oh, I've got money.
I'm okay, I'm okay.

- I mean, I just...
- Okay. Oh, sure.

Sure, I'll wait here.

- I'll be right back.
- Okay.


I didn't know
you were getting out.

Did you tell anyone?

Did anybody
pick you up?

The truth is,
I've actually been out for a while.

How long?

A year and a bit.

A year and a bit?
What the hell?

You don't
call or write

and you've been out
a year and a bit?

I wrote you
a hundred times

from prison.
I didn't hear anything back.

No response, nothing.

Why would I think
anything would change

when I got out here?

Did you even read
any of my letters?

I was kind of on the
road for a while.

I got 'em
when I got back,

and I read some
of them. I just...

What have you been
doing for over a year?

Well, I got a...
I got a business.

A little, uh,

print and copy business
down at Center City.

It's called Center City Print & Copy.
Catchy, huh?

- A print shop?
- Yep.

How did you
afford that?

I wouldn't go
too far there.

I mean, it was only a
couple thousand down.

Previous owner had bad business
sense and terminal cancer.

It's a tiny

but I do have
one account.

One client that's, you
know, a pretty big deal,

that covers me
all right.

In fact, I was able, recently,

to do something I've been
dreaming about for...

a long time.


I took a one-month

of a cabin

up at the lake where
we spent that summer.


And matter of fact,

I was thinking
of going out there

this weekend,
just for a day.

I don't have
a lot of time,

parole and all that,

so I'd like to make
the time special

if I'm gonna
spend time there.

I thought maybe you
and I'd go open her up.


take the boat out
on the lake.

Um, I don't
think I can.

Well, hey,
let's see...

How about this following
weekend, what's that, uh...

- That's the, uh...
- I have to work next weekend.

Hey, how about the
weekend after that?

That'd be the 30th.

I don't know,
I have to check.

Okay, well,
why don't you check,

and if you can't
make it,

we can do it the weekend after that.
I'm pretty flexible.


This is it. Chez moi.

It's not that bad.

I'll be getting out
in a few weeks.

I just don't know if I'm
ready for any of this, Dad.

It's a lot.

So, you have
my number.

I do. I do.

So, you'll let me know
if you change your mind.

Come by.

- Yeah.
- And I'm flexible.

You know, I could do pretty
much any time you want.


Well, I, uh...

I'm just so
proud of you,

it felt...
it was so great to see you.

I mean, all that
you've achieved.

I guess what remains to be said,

and I hope
you believe this...

is that...
people do change.

...Pennsylvania, Rhode Island,

South Dakota,

Jennifer, call me
when you get a chance,

will you,
please, honey?

Hi, it's me.
Please call.

Jen, please call.

Jennifer, it's dad.

Please pick up.

Hi, kid, it's Dad.
Can you please pick up?

Hey, Jen.
I know you're busy.

Just wanted to
remind you that

there's a beautiful lake
one phone call away.

Texas, Utah,

Vermont, Virginia,

West Virginia,

Wisconsin, Wyoming.

Look at that.

You've got a,
a delicate kind of beauty.

You got
delicate features,

like I did
when I was your age.

Your nose, your eyes,

and I see that
little gap closed

twixt your teeth.

When you're older,

you'll have a more
unusual beauty.

People gotta look real hard to see
it, but if they look,

they'll see it,
'cause it's there.

I think the greatest
hope a man can have

is to leave something
beautiful behind.

Something that
he made.

I am so damn
happy you came out here.


I want to apologize.

I had a long time to...

to reflect on
my mistakes.

I've mulled it...

and weighed
my responsibilities,

and I want to apologize...
for what happened.

You know, all of it.

The other day,

when you dropped me
at the halfway house,

I was watching
you drive away

and I thought
to myself,

"What can I do
to help?

What can
you do, John,

to give her
something real,

something practical?"

So, last Tuesday,
right after we met,

I called a dealer
I know

and I put a $5,000
deposit down

on a 1989 XJS Jaguar,
flamenco red,

biscuit leather
interior and top.

I mean, it's a stunner
and drives like new.

What are you
talking about, Dad?

You've had
all this time

and this is how
you're talking?

- It's a fantasy.
- Oh, is that so?

- Says who?
- I don't want a Jaguar.

- You don't want a Jaguar?
- It's a fantasy.

It's a fucked-up

Does a $5,000 deposit sound
like a fantasy to you?

- I just wanna go back in.
- Jen.

- Just take me back in.
- I... I need...

- I need you to believe in me.
- Dad!

We got so far
to go, Jen!

I just wanna go back.
I'm cold.

What did I say?
What happened?

I'm cold,
just take me back in.

Here. Here.
Take my jacket.

- I don't want your jacket.
- Just take my jacket.

I just
wanna go back in.

- I don't want it.
- Take my jacket.

I don't want
your fucking jacket!

Ah, Mr. Sullivan.

Yes. This is
John Vogel.

I'm the one that
put down the deposit

on the flamenco red
1989 Jaguar XJS,

biscuit leather
interior and top.


Due to some unforeseen

we're not gonna
be able to proceed.

No, I'm aware.

See, the thing is,
it's that the car was for my daughter,

and, uh,
she changed her mind.

She doesn't
like the car.



Anyway, yeah, well,
it's a long story,

but I think we need to talk
about the $5,000 deposit.

I understand
your policy, sir,

but you gotta have
some flexibility here.

Well, for instance,
how about, um,

you know, 50% back
on the deposit.


Okay, how about 40%?

You keep $3,000.

Dad! Fuck!

I have to put you on
hold for a second.

- I'll call you straight back.
- Oh, my God.



Hi, Jen, it's Dad.
Can you please pick up?

Jen, I gotta catch up on a
load of work at the shop,

and then I gotta leave
town for a little bit,

so please call me.

Two years ago,
a group of school kids

from Minnesota Country
School went on a field trip

to study pond life on a
farm in Le Sueur County,

a farm that backs on
to the Lyle-Hasco plant.

This is what
they found.

Miss Vogel,

how much do you know
about pesticides?

How much study have you
devoted to the field?

One, two nights up
drinking coffee?

Perhaps you even
went to a library.

The building I work in,
Lyle-Hasco HQ,

is a two-story,
big, flat building.

And on one of those floors
is guys in white coats,

and the other
is lawyers.

Can you guess
which one I'm on?

A school field trip?

And you let me
be clear,

if Hippie Papers
prints one more

of this
unsubstantiated garbage,

we will sue you all the
way back to Haight-Ashbury.

I'm not a lawyer,

and I'm not
a scientist,

but Dr. Lee Nobles from
Minnesota State University is,

and is the leading

of amphibian research
in the United States.

He's also a part of the
team investigating Brentax.

It's a two-year study,

and he's publishing
his findings this week.

If Brentax
is in the water,

then that's the water
Minnesotans drink,

give to their children,
take baths in,

make coffee with.

I just wondered if
you cared to comment.

Excuse me.

interrupt the broadcast

with breaking news.

We join now in progress

Team Three's
eye-in-the-sky reporter,

Margaret Deneb,

who is above a
high-speed police pursuit

in the Corrigan Lake

We go to you, Margaret.

This morning,

the U.S. Marshals
executed a warrant

at a print and copy
business in Center City

just outside
of Minneapolis.

Convicted felon,
John Vogel,

is alleged to have been
using the storefront

for a major counterfeiting



I am sorry
for your loss.

The death of a father

drags you to
a secret place.

It trivializes
everyday matters.


You feel abandoned
by the living.

And a kinship
with the dead.

Dad had been
so skilled

at sounding those finely
tuned notes of sorrow

and releasing them
at the perfect moment

to achieve impact.

My father lusted
after freedom.

The kind of freedom most
free people never experience.

In the end,
he got that freedom

and gave me
mine in return.