L for Leisure (2014) - full transcript

L for Leisure is a comedy following a group of graduate students across 10 vacations in 1992 - 3 all around the world as they embark on a series of minor adventures: athletic, chemical, cultural and sexual. With a low-fi 16mm style that recalls 90s television, home videos and underground comic books, L FOR LEISURE is a unique piece of deeply independent filmmaking, reveling in excesses of both lush beauty and awkward humor.

Laguna Beach University
The OC, 1993

I'm so busy.

I have one hundreds of essays to grade by Monday,
and the revision on my proposal isn't done yet.


How are you otherwise?

I'm getting all my minerals.


Salut, Tristan.

Tristan, how are you?

Oh! Remind me what are you TA'ing?

I'm TA'ing Survey of Post-Apocalyptic Literature -

I have two thoughts on that.

If this is the "End of History" and the Americanization
of the whole world is a foregone conclusion

and the biggest decisions we'll
be making will be where to shop

then of course the post-apocalyptic scenario,
where we'd have to rely on our wits and bodies to survive

that becomes the increasingly sexy alternative.

Second, how we underestimate how
the post-apocalyptic fantasy affects reality

and how its erotic pull might be
driving the decisions of our leaders

even unconsciously.

Hey Professor Paradise.

Uh, I have that essay from a little bit ago?

Also, sorry

I wasn't in class today.

I mean I don't know if you noticed.

I noticed.

Is that the paper?

Oh yeah.

Yeah and sorry about the whole semester so far.

I'm having some complicated
relationship issues with my girlfriend.

I don't know maybe that's something
that you could like advise me on...


Nobody is going to tell you to
go to class or do your assignments.

Now, it's still early in the
semester and you can do well

but it's going to be up to
you to decide to participate.

You're totally right.

I mean, I love TV so y'know I think
I'm gonna do really well in this class.

I'm excited to see what you can do.

Ok! Well I gotta go. The water's awesome.

You're a surfer?

No. I windsurf.

Actually you should come
out some time and I'll teach you.

I'd love that.


Oh my god, Blake!

Hi Sierra.

You're not sweaty at all.

No I'm not a sweater.

Is that the word we use for that - sweater?

That's so interesting.

And you're also not a sweater
in that you're completely hairless.

Yes that is true.

What are you doing here?

I'm sorry, that sounds so rude.

Come. Join me for a drink.

Excuse me, may I have another wine glass?

And do you have Snapple? I'd love that.

So...Blake, I presume you're here for a conference?

No. I'm here.

Teaching. Since the beginning of the semester.

Did I hear about this?


No. I've been very busy.

I should have called you,
we could have gone to dinner.

No this was wonderful. I love having
you wheeling into my field of vision.

I'm getting so mellow.

Oh you are?

Here. Have some of my Snapple.


Labor Day 1992
Sky Forest, California

So how was your year?

We've got drinks!

- Hey Blake!
- Hi Otto. Hi Tristan.

Tristan! When did you get here?

Andie! I haven't seen you in forever.

What is this drink? It's delicious.


I had wanted to make a
Peruvian drink called chilcano.

So I brought a bottle of pisco back.

But the general store here didn't have ginger ale.

- Or limes, right?
- Or limes.

So we're using Crystal Pepsi.

We're calling it a "Chill-Cano."


So Andie you're doing field work around here, right?

I hear it's about tree spirits.

Is that a Comp Lit thing?

Not exactly.

Correct me if I'm wrong but as I
understand it you're doing kind of an

ethnographic study on the
local peoples' belief in tree spirits.


No, it's more of an ecological project.

My dissertation is my attempt to

create a comprehensive account
of what tree spirits are really all about

and what they have to say to us.

I'm working with mediums, and shamans,
and I'm doing my own psychic research.

That's very interdisciplinary.

I'm also learning how to waterski.

What have you learned so far?

Speed it up.

Slow it down.

Around one more time!

Tris, do you feel safe in Los Angeles?

I was at UCLA last year, so
I was pretty far from everything.

I know - and I know you know
the rioters weren't just blacks but...

when you first heard about it...
for a minute did you think like...

Here it is: The Race War.

Here it is: The Race War.

Right, and I was thinking, if it's never happened
why do we even know what the race war is?

Because it's happening already.

It started from - whenever - the moment we first invented
race and it's been spitting out little race wars ever since.

Hey guys, want some Rum Raisin
ice cream? It's Haagen Dazs.

No, thanks.

No, thanks.

It's just like the atomic bomb. The moment we
split the atom the nuclear holocaust came into being.

and ever since it's been manifesting whether through events
like Hiroshima or non-events like the Cuban Missile Crisis.

People think that just because
the USSR fell it's over but...

you can't un-invent something.

So it's not good news to realize
that race is a social construct.

That won't stop the race war from creating the riots or Tipper Gore.

It's just like atomic technology.
Once it's invented it's real.


Man, this was a great weekend.

Yeah. Really mellow.

You guys ready?

Should we wake Andie?

No, let her sleep.

Rosh Hashanah 1992
Gainesville, Florida

I don't know Kells.

What do you think about alternate universes?

What would be cool about alternative universes

is questioning the extent to which evolutionary and
human history had to happen the way it happened.

It seems like the past could've gone different ways

but because we only know one history

we can't know the extent to which the way
happenings happened to happen had to happen

or whether they could've happened other ways.

Could life be entirely different molecularly? Cellularly?

Are there molecules other than
DNA that could serve as suitable replicators?

Could dogs have evolved to create
technological societies instead of humans?

What? No.

In a classic alternate universe humans
are still recognizable humans.

Just history can be different.

But isn't that an arbitrary distinction?

The same elements of chance that

rule our decisions are the
same elements of chance that

determine our biology.

Do humans have to be the same as us
genetically, molecularly, perceptually?

Or are there alternatives?

So how are things at the third floor lab?

Oh I'm the basement now actually.

They've um - I'm heading the
experimental animal behavior project.

Hey! Good for you!

Is that how you know Joel?


He's in charge of the cats.

You should come by sometime
and see what were doing.

Yeah. I'll come by before my
students come back from break.

Oh, right.

You ready?

Thanksgiving 1992
Beaumont, Texas

What's she doing here?

You mean your stalker?

Yeah, she came here looking for you.

Then she said she was really tired cause she
was on a lot of crystal so we let her take a nap.

I thought she said her name was Crystal.

I don't know but wouldn't
crystal make you really awake?

That's her M.O. She's always pretending
to pass out hoping that someone will get

handsy with her.

So what kind of pies did you decide on?

I'm making an apple with brandy, pecan, chocolate cream

and I'm trying to make Dad's pumpkin pie.

Cool. I'm gonna take a shower.

I think I'm handsy.


Isn't that when you like to

for during sex?

I don't think that's what that's called.

I'm so embarrassed.

Not at all.

Hey guys

what are we going to do with all this extra nutmeg?

I heard you can smoke nutmeg to get high.

Is that true?

Malcolm X did it.


What are you guys doing?

We're smoking all this nutmeg to get high.

You know what's a way to get smashed?

You soak a tampon in vodka
hen you stick it up your vagina.

You guys out here?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yeah so I go meet these dudes from the
jeans company at a café or whatever.

And they bring me these bags of jeans and they're
always like "What do you think about these jeans?"

and "What do your friends think?"

I don't know. But they keep giving me jeans

and like 100 bucks. So, I'll take it.

So you're conducting field research?

I don't know. Maybe.

Are those the bags of jeans?

Yeah...wanna go fuck around with some jeans?

Those jeans are fly!

You're a student?

I'm a professor.

So you have to wear a suit?

No, I can wear whatever I want.


Then... do a spin.

So cute.

You know, distressed jeans
are actually more comfortable!

Hey guys, check out the new thing.

Oh wow.

Those are very elegant.

I love them.

Thank you.

Do you ever sell these jeans?



I wanna show you something.

Pies are ready!

All of them?

Yes, they've been cooling.

You guys. My friend Sierra is
making out with Cal's little brother.

Which one?

I'm right here.

Oh so Tim! He's the baby.

Is it alright we didn't... that I...

No expectations. I mean, I'm always
down for like a strong makeout sesh, but

my sex is something I hold on to.

I admire that.

Christmas 1992
Sky Forest, California

So... how's your research going?

I thought the challenge would be
even finding and talking to a tree spirit but

in fact the problem is that there are too many.

There are multiple tree spirits and vine spirits

and the forest is full of trees. So...

I'm having a real hard time focusing
on what this project can or should be.

Now it seems everyone wants -
everyone insists I speak to the Pony Elders. And...

I just don't know if that's supposed to
be within the scope of the project. And...

the professor who's been supporting and
advising me has suddenly left the department. So...

the environment is more or less hostile.

Honestly, I'm having some real doubts
about my ability to do this kind of work.

I think I'm a lazy person.

I go to do research and
I get bored and distracted easily.

And it's not like I'd rather be doing
anything else. This is what I want to be doing!

and I... just might not be hardworking

or smart enough to do it.

I think the spirit project's worthwhile but
I think somebody else should be doing it.

Yeah, but you know no one
but you would ever be doing this.

I know.

It's just now I have to
take out another student loan.

And that is so... depressing.

Christmas 1992
Selfoss, Iceland

There's a hot spring

not far from here.

And they say

if you climb into the spring

completely nude

in the middle of the night

and meditate

and concentrate

on the base of your spine

then your spine will grow

down into the roots

and you will commune

with the spirits.

I don't believe you.
with the spirits.

I don't believe you.

President's Day, 1993
en route to Sugarbush

I can't wait to hit the slopes.

Me, I'm excited for the hot tub.

I'm excited for the sauna.


I'm so stressed.

May we have some mustard?


Who are you talking to?

Oh god.

Thank you.

Meet us over there!

What are you guys drinking?


Oh, there's way too
much sugar in milkshakes.

Teens need a lot of sugar.

I'm Ramona.



Hi Meena. Joel.

I'm Kelley.

Come on guys, you're being anti-social.

Kennedy, don't be such a lez.

Why aren't your friends talking to us?

Well, they're graduate students -

What's that?

Isn't that when you don't finish high school
and you go back to take classes at night?


That's more like graduate student.

We're going to the bathroom.

Don't go anywhere.

Hold this for me, ok?

So if Krystal's dad asks, we'll be at
my house babysitting my brother Derrick

because my rents are out of town.

And the beauty of it is, they are.

Pump it up!

Awww yeah!

Ramona, come dance!

We're discussing college stuff.

I like your foreign guy.

I know, right?

We dare you to take off your shirts.

No way! People will see us.

It's 3:30 in the morning, there's no one around.

Drive-thru's on the other side and the guy's asleep -

It's no big deal.

Well if it's no big deal,
one of you should go first.

Yeah let's see those pecs, Blake.

Yeah. It's whatever.


He's so ripped.

I wish I could get a closer look.

Well, I dare you to come over here.

It's our turn.

Let's see what all y'all got goin' on.

It's no thang.

Ok. Now you guys.

Guys, huddle up.

Krystal will go this round.

My bra is terrible.

Fine, so don't do it. Jesus Christ.



Ok. What's a big enough dare for us to do

that you all lose your tops in one round?

Uno momento.

Kelley, Joel, will you please kiss

on the mouth.

Oh snap.

For 30 seconds.

I'll be Swatching you.


I'm getting a boner.


So Blake, how do you wrap your package?

Your joint.

Boxers of briefs?

Or boxer briefs?

What are those?

Aren't they for Europeans?

Show me all your tapes.

They're for any man
who cares about looking fresh.



Oh god, it's so stupid.

What's the Kronos Quartet?

So what are we all talking about?

We're discussing boxer briefs.

Great. I assume we've all seen
the Marky Mark commercials?

Oh wow! I was just about to say that.

They're very important ads.

Blake, this is something we should all get behind.

Suzanne Vega wrote the song about it.

She wrote it about the one from Seinfeld.


Yeah dude.

She was at Barnard College right up the street.

Do you guys have to be somewhere tonight?

Um... I think we're cool.

Yeah I already went and called... Stacey...
and told her we'd get in tomorrow.

Oh man.

Say something in your language.

Y'know, I am always mesmerized by
all the many constellations you can see

when you're outside of the city.

I don't know what that means.

Hey I thought we'd bust out
the weed - get things moving.

That is not a way to get things sexy.

Yo bro, toss me a mineral water.

You want a mineral water?

So that's wonderful, you're
on a coed naked basketball team?

What? Oh my god, no! What!

This is like a shirt.

So if you look in the back it says

"Coed Naked Basketball: Around the Rim and In."
So if you look in the back it says

"Coed Naked Basketball: Around the Rim and In."

And I also have "Coed Naked Soccer"

"Go Hard for 90 Minutes."

And there's lacrosse, um,
"Ruff, Tuff, and in the Buff."

- And they let you wear these to school?

Sha' right. No. Like last quarter this girl Vanessa
wore one and she almost got sent home.

Oh my god, Krystal, remember last
year when Eric wore that stupid shirt?

This kid Eric wore this shirt that said "Fuck Bush"

and he got suspended.

- Oh really?

- balls...

Yeah, Eric is so... stupid.

And why is that stupid?

- balls.

Yeah, no... I get...

I believe in the right to express yourself...

- Like put your ball in the hole.

but "Fuck Bush." What is that?

And there are other students who need to concentrate

- I have the best idea for a shirt. For golf right...

And they can't concentrate

- Put your ball in the hole!

It's distracting.

Come on Meena, we gotta plan.

So we're thinking we should move this party.

Yeah, find someplace more private.

Right - 'k come on y'all let's split into cars!

It's so remote.

Guys, what kind of kisser are you
and what kind of kisser do you like?

It's your question. You go first.

Well, I like it when he lightly touches the
bottom of my front teeth with his tongue


oh god...


Well, there's this one guy.


Julian, you don't know him.

And he has this one kiss.

And we were kissing once, and,
I swear to God, it made me cum.

I like kisses that start hard and then
like the mouth opens and they get soft.

What about you, Blake?

I used to be very strong with my kisses

and I wanted to control the whole kiss.

But now I've matured
and like more give and take.

Suck on this.

Suck my cock.

Yo girls! What's up?


Yo Kennedy!

You guys up to?

Oh just hanging around with these college
guys, talking college stuff. They're like geniuses!



Alright. We'll catch you guys later.


Come on guys! We gotta go to practice.

Later you guys.

It's been real!


Spring Break 1993
Great Neck, New York

Hey baby, wanna shoot some hoops?


You sure?

Hey Cal, wanna shoot some hoops?

I could shoot a hoop or two.

Down at the park?

Nah man.

Too many teens.

Shoot for ball?

Do or die.


Ahhh. You see that? Improvisation.

See that - you create rules. I fly above those rules.

I'm Charles Mingus. Mingus Mingus Mingus!

Jazz rhythm.

See, I slip by you like a ghost.

That's my world. Your world is a
European mentality. You think this is war.

Levitation my friend. Improvisation.
That's my game. That's the new game.

You're stuck in this white basketball thing.
It's beyond that. It's beyond territories now.

This is the new world. Michael Jordan,
man, floating above it.

Jordan may say that all he wants.
But you know what Jordan does?

Jordan hits jump shots.

He shoots the ball just
like Bird, like Cousy, like Jerry West.

Jordan didn't need to improvise anymore because he had position.

Just like I do now.

And that's why I'm beating you
with a beer in my hand.

It's out it's out it's out!

You know you can't escape me

Ooh darlin cuz you'll always be my baby.

See you gotta do your homework.

Yours is a European mentality.
Boundaries, frontiers.

Guess what? All of a sudden some blackness
comes to the situation: Michael Jordan.

Flies over those boundaries!
That's music. It knows no boundaries.

Oh snap. My brother's gonna join us.

Spring Break 1993
Aix en Provence, France

I'm so mellow.

Waiter, another carafe please.

And an espresso.

What kind of wine is this?

What kind of wine is this?


It's red.

It's very good.

I like wines of color.

Are you tourists?

We're students.

In college?

We're getting our - um -"terminal degree."

You're both dying?

No, we're fine.

We're going to visit my fiancé.

It's really beautiful out here.


It's so mellow.

I am so mellow.

Oh my god. I'm so mellow!

Hey Joel

with you getting married and all, do you
ever worry about giving up on the single life?

God no.

I'm parched.

I'm still parched.
I gotta go to the source.

The source?


Are we close to the source?

I mean shit, we're in France, right?

I bet Stacey can take us to the source.

Did you hear that?


No seriously. What was that?

Pull the fuck over!

See? It's fucked.

Better safe than sorry.

Hey Stacey!

Perfect timing.

I just opened a bottle.

I'm sorry, I'm very drunk. Is this mixed doubles?

Stacey, your wine is the best wine in Europe.


Summer Break 1993
Baja, Mexico

Saw another dead seal today.
Freaked me out.

Because of sharks?

Jesus no. I hadn't even thought of that!

Man, I'm so glad the school year's over.

And like thank god I got the funding to
come back here and work with you again.

I mean, this is definitely the highlight of my year.

And, no offense, part of that is you,

but the other part is just getting away
from the lab, and Florida, and all that.

This is like my only chance to think.

And I know that I think for a living

but I don't really.

When I'm in the lab,
my thinking is so narrow.

It's just work.

There's a terrific book by John Brinckerhoff Jackson,
Discovering the Vernacular Landscape

where he talks about "psychedelic sports"
as being like a new thing.

So that's like you've got traditional sports,
and tennis is the classic example

where there's like a "court"
and rules and points, right?

So now in the 20th century these new sports
start to take over where there's none of those things.

Y'know skiing, um, skateboarding

and the point of these psychedelic sports
is the exhilaration of moving through space.

And of like navigating a disorienting environment.

I need vacations.

And not just for my psychic health
but for my work too.

I mean that I can't write "I need to go boogie
boarding" on my grants is like a problem.

I thought skiing would do it,
but that trip was not that.

On the way we had this weird night
with some teenagers at a drive-thru.

So, there was a lot of awkwardness
among the boys... and Stacey.

Actually I got to ski a lot but I didn't get into it.

I didn't get that rush.

Y'know that moment when the environment
becomes charged, and it opens up your faculties

and I'm talking like mind and body

and you become attuned to different possibilities.

I think having a disorienting experience like
that can make your thinking more expansive.

Like afterwards.

It's funny, the drive-thru was kind of that experience.

Like in the way that moments
and gestures became intensified

and we had to act like different people.

But whatever.
Boogie boarding now is really crucial.

And working out here
with you, it's such a great reminder

Biology doesn't limit our possibilities.

Biology is proof that history isn't over.

And that what we call rules or laws
only describe what's come before.

The future is undetermined.

Thank you.

Are you ready?