TWO FOR THE MONEY
Final Draft: 10-29-04
EXT. HOME MOVIE - 1982 - DAY
A DAD tosses a baseball to his SON. The boy swings, connects,
sends the ball flying. DAD smiles.
BRANDON LANG'S VOICE
That's me. Five years old. I remember that day. Believe it
or not, I remember that hit. I remember it because of the smile
that spread over my dad's face...
EXT. HOME MOVIE - 1983 - DAY
BRANDON shooting hoops. DAD drinks a Bud, frowns as he misses.
I would've stood there all day to sink one. Just to see that
EXT. HOME MOVIE - 1984 - DAY
BRANDON runs, wears a too-big helmet and pads. A DOG chases
him as DAD throws a football -- long pass -- TIME SLOWS and --
To pop, sports were a religion. To me, it was about purity,
a place where all wrongs could be made right, or at least temporarily
forgotten. I was going to fill the whole house with trophies
for him. There was no doubt in my mind, I was going to make
BRANDON catches the ball. Blinding light, loud CHEERING and
EXT. STADIUM - 1999 - NIGHT
Our eyes adjust to see we're in a STADIUM. It's a night game.
Stands packed. A PLAY CLOCK fills the SCREEN. It's the fourth
quarter. Seven seconds left. Score: CAL WEST 31 / SOUTH WEST
NEVADA UNIVERSITY 27. A bruised and battered UNLV QUARTERBACK
gets a play from the COACH, straps on his helmet as he runs back
to the huddle. The name on the QUARTERBACK'S jersey -- B. LANG.
10 exhausted, desperate faces come close, hang on BRANDON'S
every word --
Last play. Slant red, right back on two. On two, Scottie.
It's a lock. A guaranteed TD. I've already seen it. So relax.
There's nothing to worry about 'cept one thing -- after we win
and they're shoving cameras in your faces, I don't want to hear
any "Hi moms." Guys, it's overdone, the fans are tired of it
and if you have to thank some one you can just thank me. See
you in the end zone.
The teams breaks, approaches the line. Loud CROWD roar.
I'd been a quarterback since pee-wee football. Set high school
records. Won state championships. I wasn't driven by joy, it
wasn't winning as much as terror, pure and simple -- fear of
South West Nevada needs a score. Seven seconds on the clock.
22 yard line. Win or lose, this has been a spectacular season
for Lang. The big question, should he turn pro now or wait until
-- Lang's got the snap--
BRANDON drops back. A GIANT gets a hand on BRANDON'S jersey.
BRANDON pulls free, runs. OPPONENTS charge his way, BRANDON
vaults, sails in the end zone, SCORES. BRANDON rolls on his
back as an OPPOSING PLAYER hurtles in -- mid-air -- unable to
stop as -- 300-plus pounds come crashing onto BRANDON'S leg.
Sickening sound. BRANDON clutches his strangely angled limb.
... My first thought was I can tape it and play next week. Then
TEAMMATES surround BRANDON, many turning from the sight and --
INT. EMERGENCY ROOM ENTRANCE - NIGHT
BRANDON'S wheeled in.
INT. OPERATING ROOM - NIGHT
SURGEONS regard the leg. IVs are hooked up.
What's the rehab time?
The SURGEONS talk between themselves, impressed by the break.
When do I play again?
One DOCTOR examines his x-rays. BRANDON grabs his smock.
The patient's got a question!
Anesthetic haze. A wavy world is melting far, far away.
Football's done, son...
INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY
BRANDON'S in a hospital bed. Big leg cast. IV's in each arm.
Brandon... Brandon, it's me.
BRANDON opens his eyes, focuses on his FATHER (older, cheap suit,
beard stubble, clutching a $2 bouquet of flowers).
You okay? I saw what happened on the tv. Helluva thing that
happening like that.
What are you doing here?
I brought some flowers. From downstairs in the shop.
(pressing the nurse's call button)
No, you gotta go -- where's the nurse?
I'm thinking of getting into a new program, Brandon.
A NURSE comes fast through the door, watches unsure --
Could you get him out, please?
It's okay, we're fine, I'm his father.
Just get out!
BRANDON tries to rise, IV'S coming loose. The NURSE takes his
DAD'S arm, leads him out to the hall.
(pulling away, straightening)
He didn't recognize me. Must be all the drugs and all. Boy's
been through a lot.
(handing the NURSE the flowers)
If you could put these in some water and leave 'em in his room.
Before they die.
BRANDON'S DAD nods thanks, departs down the corridor and --
EXT. TRACT HOME - DAY
Vegas desert. It's raining. A SWNU car pulls up. The COACH
helps BRANDON out, on crutches now. A middle-aged WOMAN and
a TEENAGE BOY stand under a rusty awning, waiting to greet him.
It doesn't rain much in the desert. Maybe it was that, or maybe
the look on my mother's face, or how fast coach left after getting
me up the steps, but I swore then and there -- no matter what,
I'd get back -- I would play again...
INT. UNLV WEIGHT ROOM - 1997 - DAY
Off-season. The room's packed. Loud hip hop plays. BRANDON
limps in on a cane. Back slaps. ("B's back!" "The man!")
EXT. SOUTH WEST NEVADA UNIVERSITY TRACK - DAY
Sprinters dart by. Here comes BRANDON. Several months have
passed. Big ass brace on his leg. A GIRL'S TRACK TEAM bounds
past like a herd of gazelles. BRANDON presses on, possessed.
EXT. PRACTICE FIELD - DAY
The TEAM'S practicing for a new season. BRANDON'S on the sideline,
flanked by the COACH and TEAM DOCTOR.
Doc told me it would take years to heal. One bad hit and it'd
be over. But the team needed me and I had to play to get drafted.
I figured I'd take a chance...
BRANDON looks at the field, the PLAYERS, the empty stands and--
EXT. SOUTH WEST NEVADA UNIVERSITY STADIUM - 1997 - DAY
CROWDED arena. Electrifying scene. BRANDON'S suited on the
sidelines. Kick-off. A SWNU PLAYER returns the ball.
Every minute of recovery I'd dreamt about this moment. There
were NFL scouts in the stands. I knew what happened next.
BRANDON leads his team onto the field. Into the huddle --
Let's ease back into it with our bread
and butter -- TD first play. We're going
deep. Split right. Deep two on three!
(coming up to the line)
Red 38! Red 28! Set! Set--
BRANDON drops back. Blitz. Brandon about to throw when one
of his own LINEMEN is knocked into him and -- BRANDON'S off balance.
Too much pressure on that leg and in one horrible moment...
it buckles. BRANDON falls. The play whistled dead.
...It was over. I could've gone out with class, a gritty smile
and a little wave to the crowd from a stretcher, instead I opted
to go psycho on national tv.
The PLAYER who hit him leans down to help. BRANDON grabs his
face mask, starts punching. Pure rage. A REFEREE steps in and
BRANDON slugs him, slams his face in the turf. LINEMEN yank
BRANDON off as the bloody REF struggles to get free and --
TV SCREEN -- jim rome sports show
A highlight reel plays a tape of the incident -- BRANDON seen
struggling with PLAYERS as the roughed-up REF crawls away --
Welcome to the jungle! Hey clones, do you believe this idiot?!
That cannot happen! This is college football, not the ultimate
fighting championship! What we have here is too much muscle
and not enough brain mass -- this is why we need a life-time
ban! Make an example out of him! Because the sport deserves
better than this! Talk to me!
CAMERA PUSHES IN -- ECU on the TV as we hear --
It made all the highlight films. People wrote editorials. Overnight
I became the poster boy for the "Dark Side of Sports."
The college yanked my scholarship and I was kicked out of school.
The ref piled on, pressed charges. My probation included counseling.
INT. PSYCHIATRIST'S OFFICE - DAY
A PSYCHIATRIST faces BRANDON. A clock ticks in the corner.
Who did the referee represent, Brandon?
He represented the nearest guy I could grab.
... Let's try again.
INT. WINDOWLESS OFFICE - PRESENT DAY - DAY
CAMERA moves ceiling level above a dreary space. Passing over
cramped cubicles. Murmer of voices from each one. EMPLOYEES
seen, all reading phone copy into taping devices. Sex lines,
astrology and get-rich-quick schemes are heard.
Football wasn't a sport, it was my life. Maybe I couldn't play
anymore but I couldn't leave. So I went with it,
rode it out. Then one day, and it didn't
take long, I woke up at the bottom, and I liked it so much, I
stayed for six years.
THE CAMERA stops above BRANDON. Older. Scruffier. He sits
in his cubicle under a flickering flourescent light, tossing
a weathered football as he reads copy into a recording device.
--You've reached the Jessica Simpson hot line! Jessica's going
to tell you all about Nick's surprise birthday party and her
rockin' new panty line at Wal-Mart, but first, here's a little
fan trivia to win a VIP Gold Package back stage pass to Jessica's
Omnicon Hotels Summer Tour--
A bull-like BOSS appears at BRANDON'S cubicle entry --
Got a job for you, Lang.
I'm in the middle of taping.
Bauer's sick, can't update his betting line. You know anything
... Yeah, a little.
INT. NEIGHBORING CUBICLE - OFFICE - MINUTE LATER
BRANDON enters a co-worker's cluttered cubicle.
900 numbers, audio text, the racket had a lot of names.
Brandon sits at his co-worker's desk. He picks up the text copy
sitting beside the recording device, looks it over --
This guy's gig was sports handicapping. Predicting winners for
people who bet. I was supposed to just record his picks.
The thing was, I didn't agree with them.
Brandon starts changing game selections, re-writing the copy.
My picks went 9-and-1 that weekend. By football season, the
job was mine...
INT. BRANDON'S NEW CUBICLE - SEVERAL MONTHS LATER - DAY
A football is seen, rising and falling from BRANDON'S cubicle.
He tosses the football as he records a new update --
--Kansas City is 7-1 against the point spread versus division
opponents coming off a Monday night game. Take K.C. minus the
six points. Call tomorrow for my pro football game of the year
-- Tampa Bay versus Oakland. That's 900-656-3100. This is Brandon
Lang saying good night and good luck everybody.
BRANDON pops the tape. Dons an old UNLV windbreaker. He shoulders
a beat-up bike, walks up front, hands the tape to his BOSS.
BOSS hands back a paycheck. Regarding the amount --
I went 9-2 in pro football Sunday and hit my third straight Monday
That's what you get paid for.
I want a raise to 12 bucks an hour.
I don't make 12 an hour.
You're not picking 75 percent.
If you're so good then bet your own games, get rich and send
me a postcard
from the Riviera.
BOSS pops BRANDON'S tape in a multi-line answering system and--
EXT. LAS VEGAS - DAY
BRANDON rides a beat-up bike through downtown.
INT. CASINO - DAY
BRANDON maneuvers through a bustling casino, enters the SPORTS
BETTING ROOM. He goes to a rack of printed bettling lines for
the weekend games, pockets a printed sheet, sees a SUPERVISOR.
Hey Stu, where's the action this weekend?
We're getting big money on Tampa/Oakland. Everyone's jumping
on Tampa Bay.
That game's gonna be won by coaching, Stu. Gruden put that Tampa
Bay team together before he came to Oakland, right? He knows
every weakness of that team and every strength. He knows Brown
only likes to catch over his left shoulder and he'll have him
double-teamed to the right. He knows Gannon always throws on
a 3-step drop and the linebackers will take away the middle of
the field. Gannon'll be intercepted at least 4 times on Sunday.
(STU staring at him, pained look)
...You got sucked into Tampa, didn't you?
(STU manages a nod)
Stu, how many times do I have to bail you out? All right, listen,
forget the point spread. Oakland's going to win outright. Bet
the money line and bet big.
EXT. BRANDON'S HOUSE - NIGHT
BRANDON rides up. His younger brother, DENNY (18, Metallica
t-shirt) and some FRIENDS work on an old, bondo-pocked muscle
car in the garage.
I scrounged some old headers, B! Check it out!
DENNY turns the key. The car rumbles to life. He revs the bored-out
engine, flashes a shit eating grin.
... Awesome dude. That's a righteous ride, Denny.
INT. BRANDON'S HOUSE - NIGHT
MOM'S readying for work, dressed in croupier attire, searching
for something as BRANDON enters.
I'm late. Dinner's in the oven.
Where the hell's my lucky crucifix?
BRANDON reaches to a key rack, hands it to her. She dons it.
Thank God. A man won 5600 at my table last night. Tipped me
out in color. I gave it to Denny, help him with college.
BRANDON nods, downs a carton of milk. MOM about to go.
Mail came, letter for you, from Chicago.
You just tried out last week. They got back to you quick. That's
a good sign.
BRANDON opens it. Reads. Words pop out: "Arena Football League"..."We
regret to inform you"..."but based on your performance"..."staff
At least they kicked me a cap.
INT. BRANDON'S ROOM - NIGHT
Filled with exercise equipment. BRANDON pins the letter to a
wall covered by dozens of rejections -- National Football League
-- Canadian Football League -- Arena Football League. BRANDON
changes into shorts. And now we see, he's in amazing shape.
Could maybe still play pro. But that two foot scar running
the length of his leg makes you wonder. As BRANDON pumps it
out we realize he still has a dream of coming back, a dream we
sense by his intensity is fast slipping away and --
EXT. LAS VEGAS - DAWN
BRANDON pedals to work when his cell phone rings. Answering:
Congratulations! You went 9-2 last Sunday! 20-4 college! Picking
77 percent winners since opening weekend! I've been following
you! I'm a big fan, Brandon! A big fan.
How'd you get this number? If you want picks, call my 900 line.
What I want, Brandon, is for you to come to New York and work
Who is this?
This is Walter Abrams. I don't know if you know me but I run
the biggest sports service in the country. Hell, I started the
industry. Ask around. Ask anyone,
even that reprobate boss of yours. It's
my job to keep track of who's doing what and what you're doing
should be rewarded.
Focus, Brandon. Focus. One day you'll
look back, see this was one of life's defining moments. Allow
me to paint a picture for you. Right now I'm getting a massage,
looking out my window at the greatest city in the world and all
I'm asking you to do is come up with a number. Write down what
you make now, cross it out and write what you should be making
and then toss in how much it'll take to get you to fly here first
class and come work for me -- did I mention free room and board
-- and speak up when you've got something to share.
(aside to MASSEUSE)
Right there. Yeah. Deeper. Yes. Fuck that hurts.
Do me a favor and lose my number, I gotta go to work.
BRANDON hangs up and --
INT. BRANDON'S CUBICLE DAY
BRANDON hefts the bike down the hall, reaches his cubicle to
find his phone ringing. Picking up --
It's me again.
This is a joke, right?
A joke can be the ultimate intellectual pursuit sometimes. This?
This is just a job offer. In your top drawer there's an envelope
with your name on it.
BRANDON opens the drawer, pulls an envelope and a ticket.
That's travel cash and an airline ticket. It's not a magic trick,
Brandon. I paid someone to put it there, who incidentally
said the place reminded him of a Turkish prison. I don't have
to tell you you're
wasting your time there, Brandon, unless
this is a part time gig -- unless you're
planning some kinda "comeback," in which
case I request you use a fraction of your
talents and weigh the odds of that dream becoming reality. Two
leg fractures? Passed on by every conceivable team in the league?
Any chump can make that call, and anyone who clears the boards
the way you do week in and week out should live in a penthouse
on Park Avenue -- which is not for you to construe I'm offering
that to start, but keep these stats up working for me and I'll
have you in one in less than a year. Unless of course you're
a village kind of guy...
BRANDON glances at the old faded football in his back pack.
Run the numbers, do the math. Hold on a sec--
Muzak. BRANDON juggles the phone, searching, finds a pay stub.
Amount: $275.00 a week. BRANDON crosses it out, writes $1000.
He crosses that out, writes $1500. BRANDON pulls a quarter,
flips it. The coin bounces, spins, falls and--
EXT. JFK MOVING WALKWAY - DAY
BRANDON hefts a duffel bag -- sees an ASIAN DRIVER, chauffeur
uniform, mirrored shades, holding a sign reading B. LANG and
INT. MOVING LIMO - DAY
BRANDON eyes a basket of croissants and juice, grabs a danish,
takes a bite, sees the DRIVER watching in the mirror.
I'm gonna pay. I'll pay you--
--Pay me? Pay Walter. His car. I'm Milton, I drive for him.
I thought it was a service.
(moving to the jump seat, seeing MILTON is driving very fast)
So what's the deal with this guy? You work for him a long time?
Oh yeah, going on two weeks.
(off BRANDON'S look)
I was bike messenger. Walter's driver hit me with his car.
I lie on ground, make it look worse than is, big car, you
know maybe get some money. Driver call me name, I call him name,
he take swing -- big son of a bitch -- so I kick his ass.
(slicing the air with his hands)
Walter get out. I say his driver can't drive, he say you're
right. I say damn right. He ask if I can, I say hell yeah.
He take hat off driver, give it to me.
Every day with Walter is...
EXT. BROOKLYN HEIGHTS BROWNSTONE - DAY
Five stories. Next to the Brooklyn Bridge. Manhattan rises
across the East River. The limo pulls up. BRANDON steps out,
regards the structure. Exhaust fans dot the second floor. Satellite
dishes on the roof. Security cameras everywhere.
INT. BROWNSTONE - TOP FLOOR - DAY
BRANDON follows MILTON through a large, wildly furnished apartment.
They pass an large library dominated by rows of bleacher seats
from the old Polo Grounds. A hot dog stand sits outside a wine
cellar. Toys tell us there's a child in the house. A cha-cha
plays from a stereo. MILTON stops at a set of doors. About
to knock when --
Bring him in!
INT. WALTER ABRAMS' OFFICE - DAY
WALTER smokes a cigarette, talking on the phone as an ASSISTANT
in a separate, adjoining space handles four ringing phones.
Across the room, a large wall is filled with TVS, each turned
to a different channel, no sound.
I'll hire the trainers too... Well run it by them, you won't
know until you try... So, they can stay the night. I'll put
'em up at the Plaza, nice suite, park view... Okay double it...
Triple it... Everything's about money. Look, on Sunday, my daughter,
an angel, turns six, it's not likely to happen again. She
loves elephants. Your circus has 10,
I only want one, my little girl's happiness is in your hands.
(beat, icy edge)
I don't need parenting advice from a guy
who doubles as a clown. I want an
elephant and I'll pay. What'll it take to grease your wheels
and get one this weekend? Hello?... Hello?" Fuck wad!
(intercom his ASSISTANT, furious)
Find Ringling Brothers! Get me on the horn with someone who
WALTER sees BRANDON. Something new. Full focus. He removes
the headset. Dons his glasses. Circles around.
Whoa, look at you. The Marlboro man.
(feeling his bicep)
Jesus you're in great shape.
I've been in better.
(assessing BRANDON as he speaks--)
Modesty's not a virtue, it's a vice, as evil as vanity. There
are rules to
success, Brandon, and this is rule number one, know what you
know and know what you don't know and know I gotta know everything
you know as soon as you know it, if not sooner! Smile. C'mon!
What the hell is that? I said smile. Bigger. Hungrier. More
teeth. Ever sell before?
If you can sell you'll never starve. Ever speak in public?
Perform? Anything like that?
I played quarterback in college. Division one.
I know, I'm talking about not in uniform.
I used to sing at church.
Oh really? So you're religious?
I don't know. I guess.
Certain things, you either are or you aren't. Which is it?
When I was a kid I thought I wanted to be a pastor... obviously
not now. I mean, yeah, I believe in God.
Relax. What do I care? Besides, it's against the law to hire
based on religious orientation. You're not a republican are
you? Just kidding.
(silent beat, staring at him)
You're scaring me son. What's with the deer-caught-in-headlights
vibe? You were a quarterback for God's sake. A leader.
That was six years ago.
C'mon, you won three conference titles at a major university.
You think I went to college? I'm autodidactic. Big word, huh?
Know what it means? Self-taught. Partially by reading, sure,
but mostly by keeping my eyes open and asking a lot of stupid
fucking questions. I swear to God I'm looking at myself 30 years
ago. A taller, more athletic version maybe, but the resemblance
WALTER crushes out the cigarette, sprays air freshener.
I'm not supposed to smoke any more, among other things. It's
bad for my condition. So before I die, did you do anything other
than the sports phone in Vegas?
Just the 900 number recordings, it was full time, I mean we got
10 bucks a call.
Chump change, Brandon. We're angling for bigger fish here.
You see, the networks don't talk about it and Uncle Sam can't
tax it, but sports gambling is a 200-billion-dollar-a-year-business.
These gamblers have needs, Brandon. Come Monday morning, after
a losing weekend, a lot of them have big needs.
WALTER presses a button and the TVS fill with football games.
That's every pro game played last Sunday.
Do you know why Monday Night's the most watched game of the week?
It's because Monday's the last chance bettors have to climb
out of the hole before paying their bookies on Tuesday. Sports
betting's illegal in 49 states, including this one, but what
we do is 100% legal -- it's exactly the same as a stock broker,
only instead of touting stocks, we advise people on how to bet.
We make the big money off our client list. You see, when a
client wins with our advice we take a percentage, which they
gladly give to keep getting our picks. When they lose we get
zip. So the object here, my tall, athletic, religious friend
-- is to win.
WALTER clicks a control and his face fills the wall of tvs.
Phone numbers and messages ("FOOTBALL SELECTIONS!" COLLEGE AND
PRO!" "BASKETBALL PICKS!") flash on the screens. It's a high-octane
infomercial for sports gamblers.
Hello -- this is Walter Abrams and welcome to The Sports Advisors
and week three in professional football. After a nice five day
vacation on my yacht I can't be any more ready than I am right
now. Studying the mismatches this weekend I can only conclude
they're giving my handicappers a license to steal. I want you
to take out a blank
Tv walter con'd
check right now -- go on, do it -- and write in as much you want
to cash it for on Tuesday, that's how much money we're making
for you this weekend. Year in, year out, no stock matches our
return, and for the first time in the history of the company
I'm releasing our three-team college and pro parlays absolutely
free! That's right. This is why in a business with a higher
turnover rate than Leona Helmsley's maid staff we're still going
strong after 28 years! I'm giving these picks away. 800-238-6648.
1-800-BET-ON-IT. Absolutely free. We're looking at a big money
weekend so let's get right into it with our panel of experts--
(freeze frames himself, to BRANDON)
My cable show. Tapes Thursday, airs Saturday and Sunday morning.
Nationwide. Hell I need a new barber. The man should
be shot. Look at my hair in the back.
How'd you afford that yacht if the picks are free?
There is no yacht. Good, keep asking question. Next.
You didn't answer about the free picks.
I know. What else?
What's on the second floor?
That's where we print the money. Any more?
No, that clears up pretty much everything.
Great. Welcome aboard. We got some good stuff to work with.
Ringling Brothers on one.
Ever have a manicure?
Me? No. Why?
Because you need one. Besides, there's a girl you gotta meet.
Really? What's she like?
Beautiful, you'll like her--
(answering the phone)
--This Barnum or Bailey?
INT. HIGH-END, BROOKLYN SALON - DAY
TONI MORROW looks into CAMERA, styles an attractive, 30-ish WOMAN'S
hair as the WOMAN regards her face in a mirror --
I'm just thinking of doing some work around the eyes. Tighten
it up a bit. A lift here, look, see these lines?
I see a beautiful woman. What are you --all of 35? I have a
girlfriend, she was stunning, went in to "tighten it up a bit"
and came out with a permanent smile. Even when she cries she
looks like she's laughing. Another, she's on her third eye lift.
Her skin's so tight, I swear, if you put an egg shell on her
butt she'd look like a baby bird.
I'm just thinking of a tune-up.
Oh yeah, first it's a tune-up, then it's something else, and
one day you'll come teetering in with your new 36Cs and a stretched
face and you won't be able to say how unhappy you are because
of all the collagen they shot in your lips.
Do youself a favor. Skip the surgery and get a shrink, work
on the inside.
Easy for you to say. You used to model.
The other WOMEN CUSTOMERS listening nearby nod in agreement.
Oh yeah, that's true. Those were the good days. Sometimes I
like to just curl up on the ledge with my box of retouched photos
and reminisce about rehab.
Tightly wound today, aren't we?
I guess. Must be the coffee talking.
(handing her a fashion magazine)
Here, read a fashion magazine. Feel more insecure about yourself.
TONI walks through the shop, checks her watch, passes a row of
WOMEN getting lunch-hour nail jobs. BRANDON'S squeezed in among
them. Only guy there. Cotton between his toes post-pedicure.
Hunched and uncomfortable as the WOMEN around him discuss boyfriends
I'm Toni. Walter said you'd stop by.
Nice to meet you.
(immediately, re: the pedicure)
This was his idea.
He makes all his employees do this?
Once. Before they start work.
I've never had my nails done before.
I can see that.
(putting his hands in water)
Strong hands. Nice. Do you drink?
No thanks. I'm fine.
No, do you drink?
Alcohol. Are you a drinker?
I've been pretty focused on staying in shape. I mean a beer
once in a while.
What about gambling?
What about it?
Look, I'm sorry, I'm pressed for time.
(stopping work, regarding him)
I asked do you bet. Are you a bettor?
Really? Why not?
BRANDON meets her gaze. Gears turning. She's hitting on him.
Toni, huh? Are you here full-time?
It's my shop, I better be. Why don't you gamble?
Well I'll tell you, Toni. I bet on something once. Risked everything
I had and lost.
I swore I'd never do it again.
You're sticking to that story?
Hey, we just met. I sure wouldn't want to start our relationship
off by lying.
Well Walter could definitely use someone with a little resolve
in his life.
Ya know, Toni, this is my first time in town. I'm not used to
how fast things run around here. I'm wondering if you'd like
to have dinner tonight? Let's get
to know each other without so many people around.
... He didn't tell you.
Brandon, Walter and I are married.
What? Walter just said I was meeting a woman. He acted like...
Walter's got a weird sense of humor.
Look, he has a big, bright, beautiful spirit, you'll love working
for him, but he's held together by meetings. If it has "anonymous"
at the end, Walter goes. He has to. He also has to be very
careful who he let's into his life. In most ways, Walter's
brilliant -- but he can be bullshitted and I can't. So he sends
'em over to me before he hires 'em.
You're kidding me? Coming here... the manicure... this was an
How'd I do?
Except for an illegal forward pass,
perfect, flying colors. Congratulations. I'm late for my next
TONI walks away, glances back, smiles and --
EXT. BROWNSTONE - DAY
BROWNSTONE. CAMERA favors the ground floor windows.
The apartment on the first floor is yours. You have satellite
tv, a gym, you want to relax there's a jacuzzi tub the size of
a kiddie pool.
INT. BROWNSTONE - FIRST FLOOR - DAY
900 number office. A phone and a computer on an empty desk.
Two TVs mounted on the wall. WALTER shows BRANDON around.
I'm starting you on the 900 numbers, same gig you did in Vegas.
You'll make your picks and record them every day, once a day
Monday through Friday and five times a day on weekends. Each
call's worth 25 bucks a shot. Right now we get a few dozen hits
a week. We should be doing triple that. I'm sending down some
test copy. Before you record it, a little advice.
BRANDON sits. Regards the phone --
Your pitch sucks, it doesn't exist. The pieces are there, we
just gotta bust you out.
From now on you have a new name -- John Anthony, "The Million
Hold on. What's wrong with Brandon Lang?
Brandon Lang is still at home with his mother. You're selling
a lifestyle here, and John's livin' large. John's got a direct
line to God and for a measly 25 bucks a call you're gonna let
the world's losers listen in.
INT. BROWNSTONE - 900 NUMBER OFFICE - NIGHT
BRANDON studies the copy. He pops in a CD, hits record, reads
into a mike --
Hello sports fans! This is John Anthony in the Big Apple with
my big money picks! The action starts Saturday with college
ball and our first matchup, Michigan against Indiana--
EXT. BROWNSTONE - DAY
The upstairs window flies open and a CD sails out.
INT. WALTER'S OFFICE - SAME TIME - DAY
WALTER turns from the window, faces BRANDON.
What's your sales pitch?
What's my sales pitch? 77 percent's my sales pitch.
Stats aren't enough! These are gamblers
you're talking to, people ready to risk what they can't afford
for what they can't have! You're selling the world's rarest
Certainty in an uncertain world!
INT. BROWNSTONE - 900 NUMBER OFFICE - NIGHT
BRANDON back at the mike. Groping for a delivery.
John Anthony here, ready to make all your betting dreams come
true! Call now and let me win for you! The point spread in
the Indiana/Michigan game's up to four, making that game a gimme--
INT. BROWNSTONE - WALTER'S OFFICE - DAY
Another CD sails out. WALTER staring at BRANDON --
What is that shit? You spent 6 years bouncing from one dead-end
job to another. Riding to work on a frigging bicycle. Were
you making some kind of statement? What the hell were you afraid
I wasn't afraid of anything. I was working my ass off, trying
to get back in the game.
You are back in the game! Convince me you belong here!
INT. BROWNSTONE - DOWNSTAIRS GYM - NIGHT
BRANDON pumping it out. Music pounds on a stereo. BRANDON watches
himself in the mirror, muscles straining. He suddenly slams
the bar down, goes down the hall, grabs the mike, reads from
the copy and --
This is John Anthony here, and from Wall Street to Tokyo to Hollywood,
all your big money stays and plays with me! Winning consistently's
the name of this game and I always remain the same, winners on
a consistent basis, 77 percent winners! So sit back and relax
because it's a scud attack this weekend and I'm shelling your
INT. BROWNSTONE - DAY
BRANDON bounding up to WALTER'S office.
Game one of my three-team parlay is Michigan hosting Indiana;
the big boys at Michigan are just 2-7 against the spread as a
double-digit home favorite and with arch rival Wisconsin on deck
next week, Indiana will catch them looking ahead! Take Indiana
plus the 16 points! It's a lock!
INT. WALTER'S OFFICE - DAY
WALTER listening to the CD. BRANDON watching him.
You want more? John Anthony's the man with a plan to make you
money! Game two goes to Florida and North Carolina! I don't
care how many points you gotta lay with Florida, lay it! They'll
win by 50!
WALTER pops the CD, heads for the window.
C'mon! First too little, then too much --
It's a start.
Tell me what you want.
No. What do you want, Brandon? That's what this is about!
WALTER stops. Steadies himself. He pulls a prescription vial.
Sits. Passing, pained look.
Walter? Are you okay?
... Huh?... It's nothing.
(popping a pill from the vial, beat, taking another)
... Small one.
Should I call someone?
Not unless they got a spare heart. I'm okay.
WALTER finds a cigarette. Lights it. Savors the first drag.
What are you doing?
Courage wants to laugh.
EXT. BROOKLYN BRIDGE - MORNING
BRANDON riding his bike hard across the Brooklyn Bridge. Wearing
earphones while he listens to a radio sports show.
RADIO ANNOUNCER/keith jackson vO
--Talking about college defenses you have to include Oklahoma.
The Okie boys are 2nd-ranked going into this weekend and facing
an offensive powerhouse in Oregon.
That game and more coming up after the break.
A commerical's heard as BRANDON pedals away, glances up and --surreal
sight -- Brandon hurtling at an ELEPHANT'S ASS -- he swerves
-- looks back at the TRAINER walking the pachyderm across the
city span and --
INT. BRANDON'S APARTMENT - DAY
A TV SCREEN FILLS FRAME. A COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME starts. ANNOUNCERS
riff a MEDLEY of analysis and scores.
PULL BACK TO SHOW -- BRANDON comes out of the shower, towel around
his waist, putting on a clean shirt. Through a ground floor
window the boardwalk can be seen. A child's party is in progress.
The elephant ambles by wearing a birthday hat, the bemused TRAINER
walking beside him. TONI and WALTER are seen arm-in-arm with
their 6-year-old daughter, JULIA. WALTER crosses the lawn, looks
through the window.
BRANDON'S switching between football games blaring from the tv.
A radio blasts scores and updates. WALTER knocks on the window,
mouths "How we doing?" BRANDON grabs a betting sheet, writes
something, holds it up -- 0 and 9. WALTER scowls. BRANDON realizes
it's upside down, flips it to read -- 6 and 0. WALTER kisses
the glass and --
EXT. BROWNSTONE - SAME TIME - DAY
WALTER catches up to TONI, walks through the party with her.
He's a machine, all he does is work out and pick winners. Talk
about fit. Go take a peek, see him with his shirt off. I did.
He's a serious side of beef.
Enjoy your daughter's party.
Check him out, you know you want to.
Get out of your head, Walter. It's a bad neighborhood.
TONI kisses him, walks with WALTER through the party and --
EXT. BROWNSTONE ROOF - DUSK
Satellite dishes aim at the sky. ANNOUNCER CHATTER continues
OVER, giving non-stop COLLEGE football scores. BRANDON comes
down the street, carries a bag of take-out.
BRANDON'S POV -- a second floor window opens as someone blows
cigarette smoke into the night. Activity seen inside before
the window shuts. BRANDON left staring and --
EXT. PARK SLOPE - NIGHT
BRANDON rides a bike. Wears headphones. Sunday's NFL scores
coming in now. BRANDON'S reactions indicate he's doing well.
INT. WALTER'S OFFICE - NIGHT
WALTER writing on a call sheet -- 375 calls at $25/85 at $50!"
The city's seen through WALTER'S office window. NFL ANNOUNCER
CHATTER subsides as scores filter in. WALTER flipping through
BRANDON'S betting sheets, smile spreading over his face and --
INT. N.Y.C. RESTAURANT - NIGHT
Loud. Crowded. High-end. WALTER, TONI and BRANDON at a table,
I'll have the bruketta and the -- this, with the pasta.
(takes the menus, departs)
Very good, and may I say, sir, an excellent choice.
It's bruchetta. Like little pizzas without the cheese.
Don't worry about it. Anyone goes 20 for 24 in college football,
12 for 14 pro can call it whatever he wants. Ever drink a thousand
dollar bottle of wine? Steward!
It's a waste, Walter. He hardly drinks.
It's a celebration. Just because he's out with a couple of reformed
drunks doesn't mean he can't enjoy himself.
I was a lot of things, Walter, but I was never a drunk.
Actually, truth be told, I've never had a 12 dollar bottle of
He thinks we're fighting.
No. I just, this place is great.
--Watch out, Walter, he's a fixer.
175 calls on the 900 number.
Did you call home? Let 'em know how you did? How you're doing?
I will tomorrow. My mom works nights at the casino, she'll sleep
Are you close with your parents?
He's very close. They sound terrific.
Is your name Brandon?
Oh, they're great. We talk all the time.
What're they like?
Mom's terrific. Amazing lady. I got a little brother, Denny,
going to college next year. Complete motor head. Dad's a...
well he's a sports nut. He was, I mean, it all came from that.
Kid grew up with the frigging Cleavers...
INT. RESTAURANT - LATER
WALTER, TONI and BRANDON finish dessert.
I should've ordered two.
What'd the doctor say, Walter?
Oh yeah, I've been meaning to tell you. I had a check-up yesterday.
he was very concerned. He sat me down, looked me in the eye
and said, "Walter, who do you like in the Buffalo/Oakland game?"
WALTER laughs. He reaches to Toni's plate, lifts a dessert pitcher.
You didn't touch the sauce.
Neither should you, Walter.
I read chocolate's good for you.
I'm not raising a kid alone.
Don't get dramatic, Toni. In biblical times you'd just move
in with my brother Morty.
TONI shoots him a look and WALTER quickly sets down the sauce.
--Wow. What a meal. Do you feel good, Brandon? Content?
Yeah, I can tell. Don't be. Ever. One week's over, another
begins. The past is merely a prologue. In this job you have
to push the envelope every day.
BRANDON glances at a nearby table, catches the eye of a stunning
GIRL sandwiched between two middle-aged, overweight MEN. WALTER
catches the eye contact before she looks away. The GIRL seems
bored as the two big men heartily chow down.
Look at that. Beauty and the beasts. What do you think of her,
Cute doesn't half cover it. The girl's gorgeous. And bored
out of her mind. Waiting for some young buck to save her from
those two gorillas. Check it out. She's eyeing you again, Brandon.
So are the two guys she's with.
I'll bet you 10-to-1 on a 1000 you can't pick her up, cash, if
you leave with her.
C'mon Walter. You might as well go to Atlantic City and open
a house account. You know you can't gamble.
Who's gambling? It's a challenge. If Brandon leaves with her
I give him ten thousand dollars, that's probably more than he
made last year. If not, he gives me a grand, which I'll give
I don't bet, Walter.
(glancing over, look from the GIRL)
... But I do love a challenge.
All right. Before you bust a move, just one thing...
(talks across the table, addressing the MODEL and the two MEN)
Excuse me, I don't mean to interrupt but
I have to know what's going on here.
You're drop dead gorgeous and your dates
look like they haven't missed a meal
since Christ died. Seriously, you
two are eating like you have a date
with the electric chair. What's the story with you three? I'm
not gonna sleep if I don't know. Lemme guess. Garment district.
The Hardy boys make lingerie and you're a model. That
it? Close? Sprechenzee English? Sit down, sit down -- I'm
just joking. I better stop before I get stabbed with a fork.
(turning back, TONI staring at him)
What the hell was that?
I'll send over a bottle of champagne.
You'll pick up their check.
The voice of reason. She's right. I owe 'em a meal. Hey --
here we go, Brandon, your girlfriend's going to the bathroom.
The GIRL glides by their table. Heads up a flight of stairs.
Well get moving, slick.
After that introduction?
Hey, I just raised the bar. C'mon, kid. John Anthony could
Beat. BRANDON looks from WALTER to TONI.
I'd prefer Brandon...
BRANDON smiles. He walks through the restaurant, up the stairs
as the WOMEN'S ROOM door opens and the GIRL emerges before him.
She regards BRANDON. Jaded, disintested air.
I just want to get to know you.
You just want to get into my pants.
I want to get into your mind, your heart, your soul. I don't
see you wearing any pants in this equation.
Beat. This could go either way before -- the GIRL smiles.
I'm Brandon. What's your name?
Alexandria. Beautiful name for a beautiful girl.
BRANDON leans in close, talking too low now for us to hear.
Selling hard. ALEXANDRIA laughs at something he says and --
INT. MOVING CAB - NIGHT
BRANDON and the GIRL all over each other and --
INT. GIRL'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
40th floor of a luxury high rise. In the darkness, BRANDON'S
seen naked on a big bed, GIRL straddling him, body rising and
falling, pace quickening, back arching. BRANDON looks up --GIRL
silhouetted against the floor-to-ceiling windows -- city spires
sparkling all around and --
INT. BROWNSTONE BACK STAIRWELL - DAY
WALTER and BRANDON reach the second floor landing, stand outside
a solid steel door.
Everything you've ever done's been leading up to this moment.
Put your ear to the door. Hear that? It's the sound of possibilities.
The din of greatness.
WALTER turns the knob, BRANDON nearly tumbles through and --
INT. BROWNSTONE SECOND FLOOR - DAY
Another world. A dozen SALESMEN work in a large room. Phones
ring. FAXES churn. Numbers are called out. A half-dozen GIRLS
stroll the space, deliver betting and tip sheets.
We use the 800 number and free tips to bait the hook. Then the
bounced to our sales staff.
(stopping at the front desk, talking to a pretty Brooklyn GIRL)
You're looking lovely today, Tammy. Give it up baby, you know
what I need.
TAMMY smiles, hands WALTER a long list of names and numbers.
WALTER studies the sheet as he walks BRANDON through the room.
This is the day's phone sheet, it's a list of everyone who's
called. Only way to keep track of the action. All leads equal
BRANDON'S POV -- walking by SALESMEN doing their thing. The
first is a chain smoker, battering ram tone. This is SOUTHIE.
Did I not tell you that game was going over the total? Now stop
holding back and let's make some serious dough...
What's our game plan this week? Look, Mr. Mitch, collect from
your bookie, wire our pitiful frigging share and then we'll discuss
the goddamn game plan.
The second MAN'S HERBIE. Slight. Polite. Soothing tone.
Trust me, we're going to turn all this around... I'm aware last
weekend was difficult... Well of course I do, that's a substantial
(cupping the phone, to WALTER)
--He's a bit miffed about our picks
Fuck him if he can't take a joke.
You're telling me that all this is legal?
It better be. Five of these guys are off-duty cops. We're just
advising people how to bet, not making the bets for 'em.
C'mon, I want you to hear our best salesman, Reggie Hawks.
--It says here your minimum bet's five grand, so let's be honest
now, can you
move 50 large on this game or not?... I don't have time for
this shit, Jimmy. I
know you're a loser, because if you
were such a big winner you wouldn't have paid money to call me
today. Vegas is calling, I'm putting you on hold.
What's up big Wally, you slummin' today!
This the new kid?
Brandon Lang, meet Reggie.
You're the QB that went off on the refs.
(BRANDON shamefully nods)
--Yeah, but you covered! Shit, as much money as the refs cost
us every year, that was pure. Totally crystal. Hell, I like
you already. Even if you did get the best office.
(re: an item on the sports ticker)
Barker's not playing this weekend?
No, he's in the middle of renegotiating. It's a tantrum, he'll
WALTER and REGGIE exchange a glance, they can use that and --
ANGLE ON -- TWO GLASSED-IN OFFICES overlooking the sales room.
One office is crammed with clutter, bears a prominent KEEP
OUT sign on the door. Inside, a big, bearded MAN wolfs a breakfast
burrito, scours the sports pages. In the other office sits a
suited, studious-looking MAN in his 30s, talking on a headset--
INT. OFFICE OVERLOOKING SALES ROOM - SAME TIME - DAY
JERRY SYKES types stats into a computer as he fields a call.
Three other computer screens flash football info and data.
Large, complex wall graphs chart esoteric team trends. A framed
promotional picture shows JERRY standing in a bank vault, the
banner type below reading "Jerry 'The Source' Sykes, Creator
of The Sykes Sports Wagering System."
(typing on a computer as he speaks)
--I know it's a new stadium, I'm asking if they used Astroturf
or Astroplay?... Astroplay, it has a rubber silica base, like
ground up tires... Look, I don't have time to explain abrasion
indexes and resistance scales to you, trust me, it makes a big
(looking through the glass, seeing WALTER showing BRANDON around)
So bribe a security guard, sneak in with the grounds crew, do
what you have to -- this is what I pay you for.
INT. ENCLOSED OFFICE - SECOND FLOOR - DAY
WALTER and BRANDON enter. It's spacious. Nicely appointed.
A glass partition overlooks the sales room.
I had three guys who picked games. I fired one last weekend.
I'm giving you his job. This is your office. From here out
your picks are going straight to our biggest customers. How
do you like it?
What's not to like?
JERRY SYKES appears at the door. Fast glance at BRANDON, attention
to WALTER --
The Miami/New York point spread shifted a half tick up to 10.
What do you think?
Miami's still a lock. The win/loss ratios and RPI ratings are
off the charts. I'm keeping it on my sheet.
Jerry's our top handicapper, came to me straight out of grad
school. Jerry, meet the new kid in town.
Whoa, phone guy makes good. Big jump from the 900 numbers.
Watch out you don't get a nose bleed. Just kidding, best of
luck, I gotta get back to work.
Pleasure meeting you. By the way, Jerry, New York's gonna win
straight up. They always play the fish tight. Tonight it's
foregone, they win outright.
Really? Listen up, stick to college, sonny. You have to work
up to pro ball around here. Nice try though.
(watching JERRY walk away)
I got three guys who can handicap and 20 who can sell but I never
had one who could do both, not really, not until now.
You mean me?
Not you. John Anthony.
John Anthony doesn't exist.
That's a shock 'cause I'm standing in his office and you're sitting
in his chair!
Look, making predictions is one thing -- but pushing people to
bet, it's not me.
Pushing people? Get real, this country was built on gambling.
Look at Wall Street -- one big casino. The state spends millions
hawking the lottery. If people want to pay for advice on who
to bet, who are we to say no? Stop being selfish, spread the
word! Check your bible, Brandon, tis better to give than receive.
You got a whole room full of salesmen.
Big bettors don't want to talk to a middle man, they want to
speak to the guy making the picks -- and you're picking 80 percent
What's the matter? Gonna lose your purity? C'mon, what do you
think selling is? We're just talking a few well-timed phrases.
Let's start with an easy one. A throw-away. "I don't want
your money, I want your bookie's fucking money?"
I don't want your money --
--Jesus, don't start that shit again. Sell me.
I don't want your money, I want your bookie's money!
What happened to the fuck?
Nothing, I just don't talk like that.
I can't have someone working for me who can't say fuck.
It's not that I can't. Why do I have to?
Because there's no other fucking word that can convey the precise
feeling and fucking flavor of life's various predicaments and
certain concepts the way a well-placed fuck can. Fuck is your
friend. Fuck can be your best friend.
I'm happy for you and your friend, Walter, but I'm not using
Chaucer used it 600 years ago. It was good enough for him.
(calling out to the SALESMEN)
--this fucking guy has a problem saying fuck!
A chorus of "Fuck yous" fill the air.
C'mon, repeat after me -- fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. Fuck he,
fuck she, fuck me, fuck them, fuck me -- try it.
It's not me. Let it go.
Backbone. Almost as good. We'll keep working on the other thing...
So, you really like New York in tonight's game?
EXT. MANHATTAN - MID-DAY
Looking down Fifth. Thousands of heads in a hurry to get somewhere.
Here comes BRANDON and WALTER.
Where are we going?
Continue your education.
INT. MANHATTAN APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY
A dozen people fill an upscale living room. Doorbell. A well
dressed WOMAN answers. WALTER and BRANDON stand before her.
We're here for the gambler's anonymous meeting...
INT. MANHATTAN APARTMENT - DAY
The GROUP sit in a circle, listen as a BUSINESSMAN, near tears,
gives his testimony.
...I mean you'd think with two mortgages out, repo guys staking
out my car, my job on the line and my wife threatening to leave,
you'd think I'd have the goddamn brains to stop, instead of staying
in the chase, doubling down, which of course is what I did...
I know I'm sick because I keep thinking if I just pulled that
game out then I got a lock on the parlay and I'm flush going
into Monday night and--
(breaking down, unable to continue)
... It's a disease, Leon.
Admitting you have a problem is the first
Then I guess I'm doing pretty good because I got one big fucking
Someone claps. Everyone joins in. LEON smiles. Warm beat.
WALTER suddenly stands. BRANDON watches, concerned.
My name's Walter. I'm new to the group.
Hi. I've been going to meetings like this for 18 years. Once
a week, every Friday night, for 18 years. This, my friends,
is my 936th consecutive meeting.
Thank you. Thanks. And my hand to God, I haven't been to a
track, casino or bet a game that whole time. Not a cent.
(murmurs of approval)
I've listened to thousands of sob stories by people like Leon
here, and I gotta say, Leon -- if I learned one thing it's that
gambling is not your problem.
Not even close. You're a lemon. Like a bad car, there's something
inherently defective in you. And you. And me! All of us here
-- we're lemons! Big, juicy, acidic, ice-tea flavoring lemons!
We look like everyone else but we're defective because when
most people make a bet they want to win, while we, the degenerate
gamblers of the world, we're subconsciously playing to lose.
All humans like going to the edge of the abyss, but what makes
us different is we go all the way and hurl ourselves off into
the void! And we like doing it so much we do it time after time
after time! Me? I always felt most alive when they were raking
away the chips, and every one here knows what I'm talking about.
People like us, even when we win, it's just a matter of time
before we give it all back. But when we lose, and I mean the
kind of loss that makes your asshole pucker to the size of a
decimal point, there's a moment when you're standing there and
you've just recreated the worst possible nightmare this side
of malignant cancer for the 20th goddamn time and you suddenly
realize -- hey, I'm still here, I'm still breathing, I'm still
alive! In order to really live you have to be aware of your
own mortality -- and a losing bet of a certain size is one of
the best ways
I know of getting that feeling. When you win, you defy death,
but when you lose,
you survive it, and that's remarkable!
Us lemons, we fuck shit up on purpose! We need to constantly
that we're alive! Gambling's not the problem, Leon, your fucked
up need to feel something, to convince yourself you exist, to
test what's really real, that's the problem!
Hey! You're the guy I see on tv every weekend selling betting
... Yeah. So?
This guy peddles a tout service on tv.
Check the charter, buddy, we all left our jobs at the door.
You gonna toss an ex-alcoholic bartender out of an AA meeting?
Hey, didn't you come with this jerk?
... No, I mean, we walked in together --
(handing out business cards)
-- My card -- we're topping 80 percent this season -- put it
in your wallet, in case you fall off the wagon --
INT. APARTMENT ELEVATOR - DAY
WALTER and BRANDON riding down in silence. Finally --
What the fuck was that?!
... What'd you just say?
You heard me! I said what was that?
No, you said "What the fuck?" That's what you said.
That was great! It was all worth it! Don't you see? I felt
your anger because of that one word! Well done! I'm proud of
you! The progress you're making Brandon, I gotta say, it's exhilerating!
INT. SALESROOM - DAY
Cacophony of calls. Building buzz. College football games play
in the BG. The big, bearded MAN exits his pack-rat cluttered
work space, strides to the office coffee machine, pours a quick
cup. BRANDON approaches, extends a hand.
Hey, I stopped by to say hi, I'm Brandon.
(averting his gaze, walking past)
I'm picking now with you and Jerry.
(ducking back into his office)
The MAN shuts the door, leaves BRANDON looking at the KEEP OUT
sign. SOUTHIE stops for a coffee, has seen the exchange.
Don't take it personal. Chuck's got a condition, get's anxious
CHUCK closes his blinds, blocks out his glassed-in walls and--
INT. BRANDON'S OFFICE - DAY
BRANDON'S poring over sports pages and injury reports when
TAMMY enters his office, sits on his desk, extends a lead sheet.
His name's Amir, he's a dime bettor. Owns a dry cleaners. We
got him for the subscription. He's on line three.
(leans in, gives BRANDON a kiss)
Walter wanted your first call to be special. Go get 'em tiger.
Amir, my man, John Anthony here!
INT. NEW JERSEY DRY CLEANER - DAY
A MIDDLE EASTERN MAN (ratty t-shirt, beard stubble, sleepless
look) stands in the back of a low-end dry cleaners.
Today's your day, Amir! It's a Pamplona thing, I'm running wild
in the streets this weekend! Starting with the hottest Saturday
of my life! How much can you lay with your bookie? 20 large?
You crazy? No way. I was betting a thousand a game but... Look,
I saw an ad. I was just calling to see--
--Amir, this is my lock of a lifetime! Texas plus the six points!
They win by two touchdowns!
Really? I like Oklahoma in that game.
(looks up, sees WALTER watching)
Oklahoma huh? Okay... well considering that, I like Texas even
I shouldn't have called. Thank you for--
--Amir, buddy, I'm talking about banging out the biggest win
of your life.
WALTER crosses, whispers to BRANDON. Into the phone:
Hold on, I got Vegas on the line.
There's only one thing you have to know about any of our clients
-- they're all in the hole. The second they pick up the phone,
wham! Right to the point! You're above them! Let 'em feel
it! More confidence! More John Anthony!
(punches speaker phone)
Amir, what's your favorite drink?
Favorite drink? I dunno, Pina Colada.
Tomorrow we gotta get you a new drink. But for now, this is
what you're gonna do. First, you're going to bet 20 large on
Texas, then you're going to put on a
Hawaiian shirt, whip up your sweet little rum concoction with
the orange slice and
the cherry, turn on the game and play
with the little umbrella while you sit
back and watch Texas tear those Okies a
new asshole -- and when you call me back
after winning 20 G's the first thing out out of your mouth will
be words every fratboy knows -- "Thank you, sir, may I have another!"
... What about payment?
Good question. What about it?
Well how much is this going to cost me?
We take a percentage if WE win, Amir -- not exactly your problem
of late, is it?
What if I don't pay?
It's simple, you don't get any more picks. Comprende? So make
the bet, make the drink and let's roll this into
INT. BRANDON'S OFFICE - NIGHT
BRANDON jamming, using a phone headset.
To hell with power ratings -- McNab lost his dog yesterday!
Hunting accident. Everyone knows you don't mess with a man who
just lost his dog! Take Atlanta plus the points and send me
ten thou Western Union by tomorrow, Stan -- let's ride this wave
(punching a new call)
Denny! Sorry to keep you on hold, bro... Hell yeah it takes
little phone, huh? Now I got something else for ya, Green Bay
against Minnesota, take the Cheesheads... That's right -- go
to a sports book and put 500 hundred on 'em... So I'll send you
the money to bet... Don't worry about it, just JPEG your big
brother a smile when you win.
INT. SALES ROOM - DAY
WALTER paces like a hyped-up Ahab as his SALESMEN jam.
Billy, thanks for the 15,000 Fed Ex. What're you up, 160 or something?
Did you ever go 12-2 betting college football before? Didn't
think so. Now, Greenbay--Dallas--Cleveland--100,000 across the
board, got it?
The fuck do you care how he does it? And where the hell's our
30 grand for hitting that 3-team college parlay last night?
(sipping a cup of tea)
Do this, call your off-shore sports book right now and put the
whole 100,000 on Green Bay-Dallas-Cleveland, it's called a three-team
parlay and pays 6-1. I do appreciate the 40,000 you sent us
today, but let me assure you we've only just begun to make serious
INT. WALTER'S OFFICE - DAY
NFL GAMES fill the TV screens. Theme music, announcers and action
create a frenetic pace.
SAME SHOT. LATER. Sunday sports start winding down and --
SAME SHOT. LATER. All the screens are dark save one, where
the last game of the day finally ends in overtime and --
INT. BRANDON'S OFFICE - NIGHT
BRANDON pulls the headset, heads out to the water fountain.
SALESMEN work the phones, glance at him as he passes.
... Hey -- great job.
INT. WALTER'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
TONI in the kitchen cooking pasta. Moving fast. BRANDON sits
in the living room, watches JULIA ride WALTER like a horse.
Music on the stereo.
WALTER crawls around the room, stops before BRANDON, grins.
10-2 in pro football? 85 percent for the weekend? Jesus, you're
WALTER whinnies like a horse, keeps crawling. BRANDON goes into
the kitchen. TONI cooking at the stove, referring to a daily
planner, talking on the phone.
Monday's no good because I take Julia to ballet. Tuesday I work
late at the salon. Wednesday's a maybe if I can move a couple
clients to after six but I'll have to check. I really want to
come in with him. Listen, I have to call you back tomorrow.
(grabbing a pot about to boil over)
What's all the commotion?
The doctor, thank God, put Walter,on an exercise program. I
want to be there the first time he goes. Make sure the trainer
understands Walter's aversion to consistency.
Aversion to consistency?
He's always been that way.
Well that's consistent.
CLOSE ON -- WALTER watches from the living room -- sees TONI
and BRANDON laughing, enjoying each other and --
INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
WALTER, TONI and BRANDON relaxing after dinner.
Life is fucking... good.
(burp, regarding BRANDON)
Let's talk about making it better.
Duck, Brandon, here it comes.
I've been tracking you since last year.
Don't let him steamroll you.
--Can I get the damn thing out? I want to put John Anthony on
tv this week.
That's me. You mean me.
That's right. You, John Anthony. You're one in the same.
Go on -- get to the good part, Walter.
Hold on. Before I say another word, understand -- you do this
thing, Brandon, and from here out you gotta eat, sleep, shit,
breathe, walk, talk and fart John
Anthony. It's not just a new persona.
You can't play it. You gotta live it. That's how this works.
The only way it works. You have to sell it all the way.
Think it over, Brandon, don't decide now.
It sounds like a promotion.
Bet your ass it is. Five-star.
Well that's a thoughtful response. Here I was, worried you'd
rush your decision.
It's the only move. For six years I've been living on Ramen
noodles. For the
first time in a long time I've got something going. If that
means I gotta do a little acting, fine.
Living, not acting. You understand that as of right now Brandon
Lang with his fettucini knee and his self-fucking pity is as
flat dead as Donald Trump's hair and John "I-can-walk-on-fucking-water"
Anthony has taken his place?
Listen to what he's asking you, Brandon.
She's right. There's no going back. I mean that. This is gonna
cost me. I'm talking about building an empire around you. Do
you understand that?
... Should I wait a little to create some tension? Of course
I understand, I'm John Fucking Anthony. I've got the crystal
INT. TONI'S SALON - DAY
BRANDON'S FACE FILLS SCREEN. Scissors come in, start cutting.
TONI begins bringing John Anthony to life. BRANDON chatting
her up in the chair, TONI laughing at something he says and --
INT. BARNEY'S MEN'S STORE - DAY
BRANDON (new haircut) stands in private room, modeling a suit.
WALTER nearby, looks through racks of clothes with a SALESMAN.
INT. MERCEDES DEALERSHIP - DAY
BRANDON (new haircut, new suit) walks through the showroom as
WALTER talks with a DEALER.
I need a new car for my friend.
Do you have any credit?
Walter, do you trust him?
With my wife naked.
(calling to BRANDON)
In that case, which one do you want?
BRANDON comes over, runs his hand over a sleek, silver SL500.
I think he likes that one.
EXT. SIXTH AVENUE BAR - DAY
The silver SL500 pulls to the curb. License plate reading "900
KING." A pair of $500 shoes emerge. BRANDON stands on the sidewalk
as the DOORMAN comes up, eyes the car.
I'll watch it for you.
(seeing the license plate)
What's "900 King?"
(handing him a card)
I don't lose.
BRANDON heads into the bar, meets WALTER and a group of HEAVY
HITTERS outside. John ANTHONY instantly comes alive and --
INT. TV PRODUCTION HOUSE - NIGHT
BRANDON and WALTER sitting side-by-side, getting made-up.
MAKE-UP ARTIST/to brandon
You're sweating a lot honey.
BRANDON nervously regards himself in the mirror. WALTER sees.
I'm scared shitless.
Don't worry about your lines, it's all scripted. You've been
here before, kid, just think of it like a football game.
This is different.
There's no opponent.
Perfect, then you're a lock to win.
INT. TV PRODUCTION HOUSE - NIGHT
The CAMERA TRACKS to a talk show-like set dominated by a triangular
table, three chairs and a backdrop bearing a sports-themed logo
and the words - THE SPORTS ADVISORS. BRANDON sits between WALTER
and JERRY, increasingly nervous as the CAMERAS push close. CHUCK
arrives, loud suit, takes a seat at the end of the table, head
down, averting eye contact with everyone.
30 seconds. Walter, we're not getting your audio.
(fumbling with a clipped on mike)
Something's wrong here.
(leaning over, plugging in a wire)
Your lead's loose, I got it. I'm talking to the tech guys about
JERRY looks at BRANDON, staring anxiously at the teleprompter.
John Anthony, huh? All I see's another wannabee in a 1000-dollar
suit. Word to
the wise, save the clothes you came in.
Five, four, three, two, one--
(NOTE: WALTER and the PANEL follow text from a teleprompter.)
Welcome to this week's edition of The Sports Advisors! America's
premier sports information program with myself, Walter Abrams,
Jerry Sykes, Chuck Adler and a truly gifted newcomer to the
Sports Advisor panel, a substantial find -- John Anthony! We're
entering week six in pro football! This is when the cream rises
to the top! This is when things get hot! It's oven mitt time!
This is big-time ball season so let's get right into it with
the Wizard of Odds -- Jerry "The Source" Sykes! Jerry, what's
the Sykes System predicting for this weekend?
Walter, my patented computer models tell me we're looking at
nothing less than the perfect storm of betting opportunities.
But first, last week I cashed in a big-time call on on Chicago
as an outright winner over Indianapolis -- making it my 8th straight
top selection winner right here on this tv show! This Sunday
I have 5 match-ups I absolutely love, including Miami at New
York! Stats, rankings, records, weather, the Sykes System uses
42 proven indexs to eliminate the guesswork from sports wagering.
Without my patented, computer-based picks you have a better
chance of seeing God knocking on your door with five strippers
and a bag of Bolivian cocaine than winning on your own! Call
me for my five games! Absolutely free -- 800-238-6648!
Our experts know how to read between the lines, we know how to
analyze a point spread, we're not pulling rabbits out of
a hat here. Certainly not Chuck Adler --
(turning to CHUCK)
Chuck, you'd probably eat that rabbit if you got your hands on
(coming suddenly, wildly alive)
Hell yes -- with a side order of fried bookmaker!!! I'm the
grim reaper of bookmakers! I've put more bookies out of business
than the I.R.S.! How many gamblers did I bail out last weekend
with my game of the year! Denver, a 10-
point underdog beating Cincinatti by two touchdowns! A $100
bettor made $10,000!
A $500 bettor made $50,000! I've got six games on Sunday I'm
releasing absolutely free! These games are a burial! A blow-out!
A human lock! You can bet your children's unborn children's
children on these six games -- ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!
(finger in his ear)
Holy Christ, I forgot my earplugs. Take a break before you blow
a gasket, we'll get back to you after my hearing returns. Saturday
comes before Sunday and looking at this Saturday's college match-ups
is the last but certainly not least member of The Sports Advisors
-- John Anthony!
(reading off the teleprompter)
--John Anthony here, the Million Dollar Man with the billion
dollar plan! From Wall Street to Tokyo to Hollywood, all your
big money stays and plays with me!
(beat, processing this, suddenly going off the teleprompter script)
--Someone wrote some great stuff for me here but the "Million
Dollar Man," I dunno, it sounds kinda small somehow. I mean
maybe if you change that M in million to a Z I could get behind
it. They tried all sorts of names, wanted to call me the Magic
Man -- but picking 80 percent winners sounds pretty scientific
to me. So let's just call me John. I was a quarterback. And
every QB knows the key to victory is anticipating -- the ability
to see the future and react to it. That is what I do, that's
the truth, and what do they say about the truth, Walter?
... It bites you on the ass?
Not in my case. You tell us, Jerry.
It sets you free?
That's right, but with me it makes you M-O-N-EE! I'm picking
80 percent, is that
unbelievable? Well it used to be. I know the leagues! I know
the players! I
know the game! I'm your friend on the field! Your insider on
the outside! You can't do what I do if you haven't been there!
Played at the level I have! Maybe you'll get lucky -- guess
right once in a while -- but these match- ups won't be called
consistently by anything other than experience! Forget trends!
Throw out every system you possess! Keep your friends but toss
their opinions out the window! It's time to change I-would-if-I-could
to I-can-and-I-am! You wanna know who I like -- call that little
number at the bottom of your screen!
BRANDON continues. CAMERA on WALTER, watching proudly and --
INT. WALTER AND TONI'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
WALTER walks down the dim hall, looks in on JULIA, sleeping.
INT. WALTER AND TONI'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
Dim darkness. Silence. Then someone bumps into something.
Muffled curse. A light goes on. TONI sits up in bed, sees WALTER
fully dressed, across the room, holding his shoes.
I'm not here. Go back to sleep.
It's four in the morning.
(continues to his dresser, manic)
What a show! You should have seen him! I'm sitting there watching
him roll and I swear he made me want to grab a phone and call!
I took the sales boys out to Smith and Wo's. Get 'em primed
weekend. Chuck got drunk, took a swing
at one of the deer heads on the wall.
Just blowing off steam. I'm gonna hire more guys Monday. Put
in more phones. Everything's amping up. It's okay. There's
room. I'll tear down a
few walls, fit another 10 desks down
there easy. I'm gonna do a whole dot-com thing around him!
Oh shit, if I had me when I was his age... I never had a
protege. Someone you hand it all down to. Anything happens
to me, he steps in! Just knowing that, with the thing... I
mean that's just beautiful!
(changing into workout clothes)
What are you doing?
Going for a run. See the sunrise. We're doubling volume this
week. And doubling it again after that. He can pick, he can
sell, he's gonna change things around here. He's the real deal.
Knows sports from the inside. That's how he picks. Guy like
him comes along once in a -- a --
-- 100 years.
Yeah, a lifetime.
Walter, come to bed.
I'm just gonna run the bridge, up Fifth, circle Central Park,
be back in no time.
Get in bed. Lie down next to me. Come on. Come here, Walter.
Just a quick once-around.
Roll on your stomach for a minute.
Just for a sec. I've gotta meet the trainer tomorrow. Told
me to run. Run in place, or from one place to another...
WALTER lays down. TONI gently massages his back. She leans
in, whispers to him. We sense she's done this before.
--I know. Of course you do. This is no time to sleep, Walter...
Can't sleep now... Just because you're so tired... Completely,
totally, utterly exhausted... I'll be here when you get back
run... Right beside you... You go on now, baby, I'll stay right
here... It's okay... Close your eyes... Just for a second before
you leave... I'm not going anywhere... I'll just hold you--
I'll wait right here for you...
TONI'S whisperings become a constant, soothing, mantra. WALTER'S
eyes close. Dressed in sweats and sneakers. Gone. TONI loosens
his laces, covers him with a blanket, slides under the covers.
TONI kills the light. Seen in darkness. Holding WALTER close,
draping a protective arm around and --
INT. SALES ROOM - DAY
A SLEDGE HAMMER smashes through a wall. DELIVERYMEN dolly in
new desks and chairs to accomodate more salesmen. SOUTHIE and
REGGIE at the water fountain, watch the room expand.
You see him this morning? Wearing those suits to work now.
He keeps picking 90 percent I'll press the fuckers for him.
WALTER walks in, stops at the front desk, speaks to TAMMY.
What a weekened! Helluva Christmas bonus if this keeps up.
Where'd you hide the phone sheet?
TAMMY locates the sheet, hands it to him. WALTER studies it,
starts away. He sees something, stops. Walking back --
(to TAMMY, pointing on the sheet)
Who's this? This guy here -- Lang?
I dunno, he said it was personal.
Did Brandon take the call?
He wasn't in.
Don't mention it to him. And don't patch the guy through. Say
Brandon doesn't work here, you can't reach him.
INT. BRANDON'S OFFICE - DAY
BRANDON at his desk, reading The New York Post. JERRY enters.
You know anything about Stokley being out this weekend against
the New York?
A knock would be nice, Jerry.
I'm underwater here, man. Yes or no?
You know something... You hear anything, let me know. That's
how this works.
I'll rush right over. Stat.
All inside information gets shared.
Inside? I've got nothing inside.
F.Y.I. -- we work as a team here, that's the way we do it. I'll
do the same for you. So stop holding out on me, babe.
This wouldn't have anything to do with
you going 30 percent this weekend, would it?
Listen you little shit, I've been doing this six years to your
(entering, to JERRY--)
What are you doing in here? Hit the phones and do some damage
control -- re-write your frigging computer program.
Hey, it was a fucked weekend.
For some people.
There's a 50-dime bettor on line three. Wants to talk to John
His name's Carl. Carl owns a couple dozen McDonalds franchises.
Guy's a gazillionaire. That sign out front might as well be
his bank account.
No no no no no. What'd you mean? I landed that lead! That's
He's raiding my fucking lists!
Your clients are jumping ship you lactose intolerant fuck! Get
outta my sight!
JERRY leaves. BRANDON picks up the phone --
Carl, John Anthony here, how's the fast-food king...? Good--
INT. WALTER AND TONI'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
The door opens. TONI, carrying groceries, and JULIA, dressed
in ballerina clothes enter, walk into the kitchen.
Can we play?
Okay, let me just put the groceries away.
I want to play princess.
So do I. Go put your dress on.
JULIA runs off to her room when TONI suddenly spies a tacky,
woman's jacket draped on a chair. TONI regards it and --
The CAMERA tracks TONI through the apartment. Down the hall.
Voices heard. A man and woman as -- WALTER emerges from his
office with a CALL GIRL. He's pulling bills from his wallet.
Easy 200, huh? Here's something extra for a cab.
Thanks, Walter. Talk to ya.
I can explain.
The CALL GIRL slides by, shows herself out. TONI staring.
No, no, you think she was for me? Are you crazy? No. I just
had her come up to pay her. I got her for John.
I don't give a damn who you got her for! We have a 6-year-old
in the house, Walter! What the hell is going on here?
(looking in, checking the made bed)
Don't bullshit me!
You think I slept with her? C'mon!
Who the hell's John?
Brandon, we all call him John now.
You got Brandon a hooker?
New city, no friends, working all hours.
What the hell are you creating here, Walter?
I don't understand this. I was helping him out, that's all.
Helping him? Really? Like the others before him?
This kid's different, he's different -- wait a minute. This
has nothing to do with you, you know I do business up here.
Why are you so angry?
Are we actually going to have this conversation? Are you completely
You're jealous. Look at you!
Gee, I don't know -- Brandon screwing someone?
You really are fucking crazy, Walter! That never entered my
That's not where those thoughts enter.
TONI goes into the kitchen, slams the door. Calling to her --
You'll be happy to know he didn't sleep with her. I paid her
off just for coming. No pun intended.
WALTER grimaces, clutches his side. WALTER pops one, two --
three pills from a vial, let's them settle as JULIA, princess
clothes, runs down the hall, leaps in his arms. WALTER stifles
the pain of her embrace. Carries her down the hall.
... Julia my jewel, you're getting big angel.
Can we play princess, Daddy?
Course we can. Who am I gonna be?
You're the king, daddy, like always.
INT. SPORTS ADVISORS TV SET - NIGHT
BRANDON practicing John Anthony expressions. A pretty MAKE-UP
ARTIST finishes touching him up.
I made 500 bucks off your picks last week. I was thinking maybe
we could go out later and get a little wild... you can help me
Let's get really wild and you can blow mine.
The GIRL laughs. BRANDON crosses the stage, takes his place
on the set between WALTER and JERRY. CHUCK sits off to the side,
eating a muffin. WALTER looks voer at BRANDON --
Look at you. I like the tan.
Toni put one of those lamps down in my room. The ladies do love
John's up first tonight, Jerry.
John Anthony's leading off tonight.
John Anthony's leading?
Somebody tell the engineer there's an echo in here.
Two years I lead and you bury me in the deck over a few lousy
fucking weekends? The Sykes System's based on percentages --
the long haul.
No, that's called a mutual fund, Jerry.
You gonna sit for this shit?
CHUCK shrugs, finishes his muffin. JERRY turns to WALTER --
... He leads, I'm walking.
JERRY unclips his microphone, stands.
That's baby talk! You need a fucking rattle! Sit down!
(staring him down)
You probably think you know what I'm gonna say... how everything
you got I pay for. Your apartment, your car, your kid's school
-- and it's true. You'd be right. I do. Now I don't know,
Jerry, maybe you break your losing streak, end the shneid, start
winning again and find yourself another job, but then of course
maybe you don't. I don't see you taking that chance. My gut
says you'll walk out of here on principle or even pride but not
on a gamble, a hunch yet. And if you do, fuck it. I give a
shit? The only reason I keep you around is it makes me look
loyal and him--
(pointing at BRANDON)
--look good! Now you got three fucking seconds to stop standing
there like dog
shit on my porch and sit down and shut
the fuck up or you can kiss everything you have goodbye! The
Beat. JERRY sinks into his seat. WALTER turns to BRANDON.
See that? He made the safe play. Me, I would've walked, but
I'm a fucked-up human being. That's the difference between us.
Right there. Jerry's a statistician, I'm a gambler. And you're
not a gambler, not really -- until you bet more than you can
afford to lose.
Five, four, three, two, one --
Welcome to week 7 of pro football!
INT. SPORTS ADVISORS TV SET - BACK HALL - NIGHT
BRANDON done taping, wiping off make-up, talking on his cell
Denny, it's me... What'd I tell ya?... Hey, it's your money,
dude, you won it... Well did you hook it up yet?... Hell yeah,
crank it, let me hear--
INTERCUT - EXT. DENNY AT HOME IN GARAGE - NIGHT
Denny on his cell, crouched under the dash of his car, wiring
a new stereo. He touches two wires and the sound system BOOMS
to life, deafening hip-hop before Denny disconnects the wires.
It's the bomb, B!
Sure sounds like it! I'm heading out with some people, everything
Everything's great. Did dad reach you?
Dad? No, why?
He keeps calling. He saw you on tv, wants to talk to you. I
gave him your work number but he says they won't put him through.
BRANDON'S eye catches WALTER across the set, watching a playback
of the show. TONI enters the studio, kisses WALTER hello and
INT. TV PRODUCTION HOUSE LOBBY - NIGHT
WALTER, BRANDON and TONI exit the stage, enter into the lobby.
I'm starved, there's a new steak house around the corner. You
two split a prime rib, I'll get the porterhouse, we'll whack
Let's walk, you could use the exercise.
Stop worrying. We're set--
(arm around BRANDON)
--I got the next Jimmy the Greek here! I'm serious! Nostra-fucking-damus
was a novelty act next to this guy!
Let me ask you something, Walter.
Have you been blocking any of my calls?
Of course. You don't need distractions, there's a lot of crazies
Does that include my father?
You're asking, I'll tell you... Yeah.
Son of a bitch -- for how long?
Week or so.
EXT. TV PRODUCTION HOUSE BUILDING - NIGHT
WALTER and TONI trail BRANDON down the lamp-lit sidewalk.
Hold on, Brandon, if I didn't block his calls would you've talked
to him? Honestly.
That's not the point!
Then what exactly is the point, Brandon? What's the full story
here? What's the deal with your old man?
You tell it, you seem to know.
--I only know pieces. I was trying to spare you from something.
(stopping under a street light)
Spare me? By blocking my calls? There's nothing you can spare
me from. He's a drunk. Left when I was 9. I couldn't t compete
with a bottle. End of story.
... That's it? That's the best you can do? Hell, Toni and I'll
match our dysfunctional childhoods against yours
any day of the week. My father, 5-foot-
arms like this, cock the size of a hebrew national -- if I even
looked at him wrong he knocked me across the room like LaMotta.
He yelled so much, until I was five I thought my name was asshole.
Tell him about you, Toni. Well go on --
I didn't have a great home-life either.
"Great?" Tell him about the uncle--
--He gets the idea.
Don't sugarcoat this shit, you were abused by everybody but the
family pet, isn't that right, honey?
Your father was a drunk, a jerk -- so what? It happens. I'm
glad I blew him off. Know why? Because what you need is a new
image of a man. How 'bout me?
That's a really scary thought.
If not me, then pick someone else. It's all in your head! The
shit that happened to you, to Toni, to me -- you know what it
is? Just that, shit that happened.
It's not who we are. After
all the therapy and the analysis and the meetings and the --
aaahhhh! -- the one thing I know--
(yelling to the sky)
--WE'RE ALL FUCKED UP! We are all just so fucked up!
Say it! Shout it! Come on, you two -- wallow with me here!
A MAN sticks his head out a window down the street, yells --
I'm trying to sleep, asshole!
Dad! Is that you?
I'll crush you like a beetle!
I love you too! Don't wait up!
WALTER, TONI and BRANDON all laugh. The three of them doubled
over on the dark, deserted street. MAN screaming from above.
The ring of a phone begins bleeding in and --
INT. BRANDON'S OFFICE - DAY
New furniture and sports photos on the walls suggest the passage
of time. BRANDON stands before a mirror, being fitted for a
suit by a TAILOR. He has a cigar in one hand, Coke in the other,
talks into a headset as he watches the TAILOR work.
Are you serious, Amir? You gonna fucking haggle with me over
a measly 50 thousand on the 250 grand I won you this weekend?
EXT. AMIR'S DRY CLEANERS - DAY
AMIR (sharply attired) stands outside his business, leaning against
a brand new, red Ferrari as he talks on the phone.
Don't get me wrong, John. I'm thankful, very much, you're amazing,
it's just that 50 thousand seems slightly steep--
--The first time you call me you're in a hole the size of the
Grand Canyon, you're crying about hocking your fiance's ring
and this weekend you're phoning me from a suite at the Bellagio
that I put you in -- you know what -- I'm cutting you off...
You want to continue with me, I'm tagging on a 10 percent aggravation
tax! Now get to Western Union and shoot me 75 grand by tonight
and we'll kiss and make up.
(hanging up, to the TAILOR)
(the phone rings, picking up--)
John Fucking Anthony, talk to me.
This is... May I please speak to a Brandon Lang?
INT. BRANDON'S VEGAS HOME - DAY
BRANDON'S MOM drinking coffee, talking on the phone
Brandon, is that you?
Are you okay?
Never better. Kicking ass and taking names. Did you get the
money I sent?
Well that's why I'm calling, honey.
Good good good. I talked to Denny. Next month I'm flying you
and him out here. First class. I'll put you up at The Plaza.
You'll love this joint.
It sounds great, Brandon, but the money -- it's too much. Where
did you get it?
I made it. Earned it. Every fucking cent. Put it in Denny's
Listen to you.
It's just how people talk here.
(looking down at the TAILOR, edge)
How many times I gotta say no cuff?
Who's this John Anthony person?
He's me. I'm him.
And he talks like that?
He's pretty fucking salty -- geez, I'm sorry, Mom -- I mean yeah.
Look, the main point is I'm learning a lot here.
Then you should know you can't be two people, Brandon.
I appreciate the concern, Ma, but the checks I've been sending
-- the checks you've been cashing -- those are from John Anthony.
Funny, I thought they were from my son.
WALTER enters, slaps an airline ticket on his desk.
We're going to Puerto Rico!
Gotta put you on hold, Ma.
(pressing a button on the headset)
What's in Puerto Rico?
Since Ricky Martin moved out, all that's left are tourists, cruise
ships and C.M. Novian -- one of the biggest sports bettors in
the world. He just called. Wants to meet you in person! To-day!
Flight leaves Laguardia in 45 minutes.
(activating the headset)
I gotta go, Ma... Ma... Son of a bitch -- my own fucking mother
hung up on me!
EXT. SAN JUAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - NIGHT
An AIRLINER roars in for landing.
INT. AIRLINE TERMINAL - NIGHT
WALTER and BRANDON pass through FRAME.
What do you know about him?
Not much, 'cept for the fact he's a world class prick. Bastard
treated me worse than my Hong Kong tailor. Never once returned
a call. I've been trying to bag this guy for years. Do you
have any idea what this is worth?
No, but I want a bonus if we pull it off.
Look at me. There is no if -- it's only when. This time he
called us, remember? You hooked him. Know that. Sweat that.
Relax, I'll get in character in the car.
WALTER suddenly slows, winces. He angles toward a bathroom.
WALTER grabs for a water fountain, misses, suddenly collapses.
Your vial -- where's your pills, Walter?
WALTER finds the vial, pops it, his chest heaves and the pills
spill on the floor. WALTER looks wide-eyed up at BRANDON, mouths
"Big one." BRANDON frantically loosens WALTER'S shirt. A crowd
gathers. A BUSINESSMAN pulls a cell phone, dials 911.
Hold on, Walter we're getting help! Oh my God. Listen to me.
Walter -- Walter. You're gonna be fine. Hold on!
(to the CROWD)
We need a doctor! Is there a doctor?
Save your strength. Help's coming. Help's coming.
... Do you love me?
Of course I do.
I do. I really do love you.
... How much?
A lot! Now don't talk.
(turning to the CROWD)
We need a doctor!
Several stunned ONLOOKERS run for help. WALTER fading fast.
I believe you. I believe you love me. I love you too... Just
one thing --
Save your strength, Walter.
... Would you love me if this was a joke?
I'm fine. Just practicing...
WALTER smiles. Stands. Brushes himself off. To the CROWD --
I'm okay! Little gas. Must've had too many peanuts on the plane.
The confused ONLOOKERS drift away.
You sick fucking fuck! That was too goddamn fucking far!!!
You weren't listening! You're not paying attention to me! There's
no such thing as too far! Push everything as far as you can!
Push it until it starts pushing back and then push some goddamn
more! Remember that when you're with this guy today!
INT. PUERTO RICAN MANSION - DAY
Palatial. Drapes dance before the open doors. Music plays.
BRANDON and WALTER sit in the living room. Peaceful beat.
I start to die, fuck the hospital, just sit me down, I wanna
A beefy BODYGUARD enters followed by a tan, broad shouldered
MAN of 50. WALTER extends his hand.
Mr. Novian! What can I say? An honor. This is my associate,
MR. NOVIAN nods, settles in a chair. WALTER and BRANDON sit.
You should know I think that most sports services are a complete
scam... However, I hear your boy here's having quite a season.
What's your system?
Our system? Fuck that, what's your system?
Walter laughs. Novian stone-faced, glances at his watch when--
It's a privilege to meet you, Mr. Novian. You have a beautiful
home. Let's start with how much you bet.
A million a game, across the board.
Nice round number, is that our ceiling here? Is that the most
we're working with?
"We're" not doing anything until I hear how you feel about this
Do you rent that yacht out there?
I own it.
Well, sir, that's how I feel about this weekend. That may sound
cocky, I don't care. I didn't come down here to lie.
Do you have inside information?
If I did I wouldn't share that with you. My record speaks for
itself. The truth is I know these teams better than they know
themselves. I'm going 12 for 12 this weekend, and that includes
the Monday Night parlay.
Why should I believe you?
With all due respect, Mr. Novian, you can't afford not to.
I can afford to do any damn thing I please.
Can you? What I'm saying is can you -- can anyone for that matter
-- afford to lose as much as a man like you probably needs to
bet to feel a win? Winning's a funny thing, Mr. Novian... it's
one of those rare commodities on earth money can't buy. Or was,
until you called me.
Charged beat. A tight grin's glued to WALTER'S face.
The price is a quarter million, Mr. Novian -- up-front -- in
addition to a percentage of every game you win.
Fuck you. I never pay anything up front.
And we've never charged it before. But with what you're betting,
250 up front's a bargain. You want this weekend's winners, that's
my offer. Take it or leave it.
... Step outside.
BRANDON and WALTER exchange looks, unsure where this is going.
EXT. NOVIAN'S BALCONY - DAY
NOVIAN and BRANDON regard a group of GIRLS lounging topless by
... Ever pick oranges, Mr. Anthony?
I have, in fact it's how I started.
Builds character. See those girls down there? Pretend they're
oranges and pick some ripe ones. Take 'em upstairs and build
some character. Mr. Abrams and I need to refine the terms.
BRANDON goes to an ice-filled cooler by the door, pulls a bottle
of champagne, carries it dripping down to the pool and--
INT. BRANDON'S OFFICE - DAY
A FOOTBALL BETTING FORM fills FRAME. Two columns of teams seen.
Point spreads penciled in between them. 11 of 12 games checked
off. Monday Night the last to be decided.
PULL BACK TO SHOW -- BRANDON in his office, the unfinished form
before him. A young SALESMAN appears at the door.
They need it, Mr. Anthony.
BRANDON picks up his pen, regards the box for Monday Night --
Seattle or New Orleans? The point spread is Seattle minus 3.
A box beside it is for the over/under. That number is 34.
BRANDON about to pick when he stops, looks up, smiles --
Three questions. What's your mother's name?
What street did you grow up on?
Who do you like Monday night?
I don't know.
That's your job.
I'll do your job tomorrow, today you do mine.
What are you talking about?
Pick one. Stop stalling. You know who's playing. Seattle versus
... I dunno. I guess I like Seattle giving the two points.
(writing on the form)
Over or under?
You can't do that.
Sure I can! Over 34 points or under!
BRANDON checks it off, gives him the finished form.
I'm not handing that in. Like a million dollars is going on
Like a lot more than that. Relax. I think we know I can pick.
Today I'm picking you. The outcome'll be the same.
What if I'm wrong?
Didn't they tell you? There is no if.
INT. WALTER'S OFFICE - NIGHT
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL. Final seconds of a hard-fought game.
The Seattle QUARTERBACK'S driving, completes a long pass to a
RECEIVER who's brought down at the New Orleans 10-yard line.
They score, we win!
AL MICHAELS/vo from tv
--Kuhn's stopped at the 10! Seattle down by three. Two seconds
on the clock. Kuhn suffered a concussion last week and with
that foot injury in the first quarter he has no mobility -- Hanratty
drops back, he's out of the pocket, breaks one tackle, throws
downfield, it's tipped! Raymond's got it! Breaks the plane!
Touch down! Seattle takes it 20 to 17! They win by three!
What a game!
The buzz in the BG explodes as we see -- every EMPLOYEE is packed
into WALTER'S office. Riot of celebration all around.
100 fucking percent!
Champagne corks start popping. Someone hits the remote and the
wall of screens fill with a jamming MTV video. The lights dim.
People start dancing. Cell phones start ringing and --
VARIOUS SALESMEN/into phones
-- Call back tomorrow!
-- Who knows who he likes next week you fucking degenerate!
-- I don't have anything yet!
The YOUNG SALESMAN who made the Monday night and over/under picks
talks excitedly to SOUTHIE and REGGIE.
He kinda mesmerized me, see, and like Spock or something I visualized
Seattle and the over and he wrote it down! Said picking me was
the same as him doing it.
What kinda power is that?
Who fucking cares? He's money.
JERRY SYKES stands nearby, listening. Whoops of excitement as
WALTER jumps up on his desk, starts throwing cash. JERRY moves
through the raucous CROWD, finds BRANDON against a wall, out
of the fray, watching WALTER hurl money in the air.
Congratulations, Brandon... Or should I say John? Either way
it's amazing. I must say I am impressed. Letting salesmen make
your picks? That's balls.
(watching WALTER hurl money)
Best get in there and collect some of this, Jerry. The way you're
picking, you're gonna need some for a rainy day.
Keep talking, sugarmouth. Must feel pretty good to be that plugged
in. You got a good streak going. Well enjoy it while it lasts.
The gambling Gods are a fickle bunch, sooooo easily offended.
BRANDON makes his way through the room, reaches WALTER.
Here, get you teeth fixed. There might be some other businesses
you can make two mill in one weekend, but tell me, someone please
tell me -- where else are you gonna have this much fun?
How much of that big stack's mine?
A one with five zeros behind it.
...A 100 fucking thou? On two million?
You're working out of my shop.
I was thinking of ten percent.
Really? Is that what you were thinking?
I got you Novian.
Nice job, now don't blow it by getting ahead of yourself. I'm
looking beyond the money.
You can afford to, you're holding it all. C'mon, I only want
what's fair, Walter.
WALTER smiles. Wraps an arm around. Puts him in a headlock.
"Fair?" Honey, you don't know what fair is. What's fair is
not giving you the money. Now I'm only gonna say this once.
If you want something from me more than a gazunheidt after a
sneeze you have to do more than think about it. Or ask for it.
You gotta earn it. You gotta fight for it. You gotta rip it
out of my fucking talons. John Anthony would know that. That's
what he'd do. As a matter of fact, next time you come with that
shit, come as John Anthony. 'Cause from now on I'm not talking
to you about money.
BRANDON pulls free. Stunned. Seething. MTV pounds from the
TVs, people dancing all around. TONI walks up.
The big winner. How are you doing?
I'm winning... I'm winning...
BRANDON leaves. WALTER pulls her close, moves with the music.
Dance with me. Close, that's it. I gotta dance with you more.
Listen, I'm thinking of buying a plane. Big one. G-something.
We can just get on it and go, you and me, anywhere in the world,
any time we want. There's a house for sale in the Bahamas with
a runway right beside it. Comes with its own 50-foot boat.
Two for one. What an investment. Anything happens, you and
Jules always have it. Let's go down and check it out. Next
week, just us, barefoot in the sand.
(TONI watching him)
Well say something.
... Are you gambling again, Walter?
What? Oh, c'mon -- hell no.
Look me in the eye and say it.
I am not gambling. Not now, not ever. 18 years clean. That
It's never over, Walter. You know that.
Get a lie detector if you don't believe me. Shoot me with truth
serum. Baby -- we just made two-million dollars. I'm working
miracles here. Now can I enjoy a dance with my wife? Huh?
I swear, it's a shame you can't drink, we need something to kill
that bug up your ass.
TONI smiles. WALTER holds her close, kisses her and --
EXT. BROOKLYN BRIDGE - NIGHT
BRANDON'S Mercedes speeds into the city.
INT. MANHATTAN STRIP CLUB - NIGHT
Big breasts, G-strings, testosterone. BRANDON in a booth with
a topless BLACK GIRL. We can see from his moves it's the Million
Dollar Man talking. Drinking Dom. Flashing cash. He whispers
something to her. She reaches for her top as he grabs the hand
of her topless FRIEND and --
INT. STRIP CLUB - PRIVATE BACK ROOM - NIGHT
DARKNESS. A light goes on, illuminates a cave-like bedroom.
MUSIC from the club rumbles through the space, reduced to a
driving bass beat. The ASIAN GIRL pulls an outrageous wad of
cash from BRANDON'S pocket, tosses it confetti-like in the air
as -- BRANDON, the ASIAN GIRL and the BLACK GIRL fall on the
gold lame sheets. Clothes are peeled off, money sticking to
their bodies, GIRLS clawing the cash from BRANDON'S skin --
(kissing his neck, hands roving)
What's it feel like to do what you do? To win like that?
BRANDON flips her over, leans in from behind.
It's just like sex. You start by massaging the numbers, very
getting a feel, see how they move. Then there's a shift, a plan
forms and you connect to your teams.
(the GIRL moans, reacting to something unseen)
Sunday's like penetration and the games have started and teams
are scoring and
you're inside and you're doing it and
it's doing you, feeling every shift,
every score, every trickle of sweat --
the giving, taking, the long, the short,
excitement growing bigger and bigger--
(BRANDON cupping her breasts)
And it's not an idea or part of you anymore -- it is you, all
of you -- and the crowd's roaring and the clock's
ticking and you know everything except
how it'll end and and then you've won -- over and over and over
and it's like one, big, huge, insane, weekend-long orgasm.
(totally turned on, kissing him)
Nice job description.
BRANDON presses her below FRAME, naked ASIAN GIRL climbing on
top as the sound of APPLAUSE is heard, building in volume and--
INT. BROWNSTONE SALESROOM - DAY
25 SALESMEN stand on their desks, clapping, as BRANDON passes
through on the way to his office. Only it's John Anthony who's
strutting through the room, high-fiving SALESMEN, kissing the
GIRLS, a tanned, tailored, magnetic presence and --
INT. BROWNSTONE - BRANDON'S OFFICE - MORNING
WALTER waits within, standing at the window overlooking the sales
room as BRANDON enters.
Know what time it is?
(glance at his watch)
--Wrong. It's time to press, my friend. We're yanking out all
the stops. When you're winning -- you press.
BRANDON rummaging a closet, produces a set of golf clubs.
What are you doing?
I have a 10:30 tee time at Wingfoot with a client, that Howell
guy. Don't call me unless the lines change.
The salmon are running! You're staying right here and fielding
calls. You're not going off to play golf and have fun.
Fun? Senor, you have obviously never played Wingfoot.
Stop screwing around, you got a lot to do before this weekend.
I'm not asking you if I can leave, Walter -- I'm telling you
that's how it is, understood? You want my picks, hell I'll make
BRANDON sits, starts filling out the week's betting form.
Whoa -- hold on -- slow down -- today's only Tuesday, you have
I don't need it.
Hey -- we're gonna be advising somewhere in the neighborhood
of 20 million dollars this week.
You're really gonna make your picks now? No study? No analysis?
Just like that?
I'm in the zone, Walter. Locked in. You want my picks, I might
as well do it now!
Washington at Miami giving 8, Washington!
Saint Louis at K.C. getting 12 -- K.C. by three touchdowns!
Pittsburgh at Philly giving 3 -- Philly, another blow out!
(handing WALTER the finished form)
There they are, unless you want next weekend's picks too. You're
welcome to join me, Walter, it's a beautiful track.
... Okay, fine. Take a break. Go play golf. We'll put the
picks on ice and look 'em over tomorrow.
I won't be in tomorrow.
Then the next day!
But BRANDON'S gone. WALTER considers what's just occured, regards
the finished betting form. He dons his glasses and begin examining
BRANDON'S picks and --
EXT. OUTSIDE THE BROWNSTONE - DAY
BRANDON loads his golf clubs in the Mercedes, spies TONI coming
down the front steps.
Where're you headed?
Some of us have to work.
Come on, get in. I'll give you a lift.
ANGLE ON -- upper brownstone window. WALTER looks down. Watches
TONI'S legs swing into BRANDON'S sports car and --
INT. MOVING MERCEDES - DAY
BRANDON speeds fast down a street. Uncomfortable beat.
Some ride, huh? Feel that? Feel that?
Slow down, Brandon.
Why? This car was made to go fast.
Not with me in it.
C'mon, Toni, loosen up.
(goosing the gas, laughing)
Let me ask you something. When you're not at the shop, or running
Julia to play dates or keeping Walter from losing his mind, which
I know is a full-time job,
what do you do for you, Toni?
I stay busy.
That's not what I asked.
Yes it is.
What do you do for you, Toni, for yourself.
"What do I do for myself?" If you drove past my salon and went
two blocks down Prospect Street you would have found me 20 years
ago with a needle in my arm. I was a 5-bag a day junkie. I
would have sold Julia to get high. Keeping it all on track,
that's what I do for myself.
That's not living, Toni. That's just maintaining. You cashed
What the hell does that mean? Are we talking perfection here?
Well, nobody's perfect... except me last weekend going 14 and
BRANDON pulls up outside her shop. TONI regards him.
Yeah, that's living.
Hell yeah. You oughta try it some time.
(stepping from the car)
Thanks for the ride, John...
TONI enters her shop and --
INT. WALTER'S OFFICE - DAY
Eight football games are winding down, another four starting.
Favor one of the TV SCREENS. A network sports update. CHRIS
BERMAN motor-mouthing a one-minute list of results.
-- Big loss for Washington, going down 24-12 in Miami. Saint
Louis upsets K.C., 34-14. And another Sunday surprise, Philly
trounces Pittsburgh, 23-10.
CHRIS BERMAN continues with the scores as -- a PENCIL runs down
BRANDON'S betting sheet -- checking off results -- loss -- loss
-- loss -- loss -- loss -- the pencil pauses -- suddenly snaps
from the pressure of the person's hand and -- WALTER stares at
BRANDON, seated on the sofa, watching the tvs. It's obvious
they're getting killed.
I'm gonna go work out.
Sit down! You're watching every game! Every second of every
minute of every game! Don't even think of leaving!
INT. WALTER'S OFFICE - NIGHT
All but one tv is dark. The last game ends and a remote control
suddenly shatters the screen. WALTER paces the office. BRANDON
still on the sofa. No one else in the room. A wall clock reads
12:19 AM. WALTER picks up BRANDON'S betting sheet, holds it
like a dead fish.
... How do you go 3 and 11? Wanna know how -- you make Sunday's
picks on Tuesday! It rained in Cincinatti! Two starting QBs
didn't play! You're a handicapper, not a psychic!
There's still Monday night and the parlay.
Fuck Monday night! Fuck the parlay!
You were pissed at me, right? The commission thing?
I don't know.
You fucked with me, right? Joke's on me, right? The money thing.
Okay, I think we're on dangerous ground here but I'm giving
you a bump, 10 percent. Now what about Monday night's game?
You want to look over that pick? Because everyone's gonna double
down to climb out of the fucking hole you put 'em in.
Monday night's fine.
You'd bet your mother's house on it?
I don't bet.
If you did?
I like the pick, Walter.
On your mother's house or not?
With my mother in it.
INT. UPPER EAST SIDE BAR - NIGHT
Up-scale. BRANDON sits at the end of the rail, empty glasses
lined before him, watching a wall TV with the sound off. Monday
Night Football's on. His glazed expression suggests it's been
a long three hours. PATRONS around him socialize, laugh, enjoy
the bar's oasis-like vibe. But for BRANDON, it's just him and
the game as -- a GIRL approaches, big smile.
Oh my God -- Brandon!
BRANDON glances up, quickly goes back to watching the game.
Oh come on, I know you remember -- two weeks ago, Aqua -- I'm
(eyes glued to the game)
This is like such a concidence. I live right around the corner.
This is my neighborhood bar.
She sits beside him, signals the bartender.
(back to BRANDON)
So listen, my office is renting out a loft this weekend, really
fun group, it's gonna be a big blow-out, a PR thing -- music,
open bar. Wednesday night, I want you to come, I mean I'd really
love to hook up.
POV BRANDON -- flurry of action on the TV. Final seconds. BRANDON
lasered on the screen.
(leaning in, laughing)
Earth to Brandon, you're blowing it.
The BARTENDER steps in front of the TV to deliver her drink --
BRANDON jumps from his seat so he can see -- flurry of action
on the screen -- the game ends -- the final score flashes and--
(pounding the bar)
HEATHER taken aback, pulls away.
Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!!!
HEATHER quickly leaves. Other PATRONS react. BRANDON in his
own world of pain. BARTENDER eyeing him now. BRANDON throws
down the rest of his drink, trying to steady himself. His beeper
suddenly sounds. He looks and --
WALTER'S NAME scrolls across the screen. BRANDON wipes the sweat
from his brow. Mind racing. Trying to understand. BRANDON's
cell phone rings. He checks the number, picks up --
Denny! Hey -- yeah, I'm in a bar.... Of course in New York,
I own this town. What's going on -- you okay?... Tonight's game?
You took my picks? How much?...
All of it? That was for your college you dumb ass! Denny, I
gave you one game -- goddamn it you should have told me you were
following my picks!
(pacing the rail)
All right, listen. Does Mom know?... Okay, good. Don't say
anything. I've got next weekend wired. I'll win it all back
for you and more. Understand? Now I'll call you Friday with
who to take. It's all gonna work out. I gotta go, talk to
BRANDON hangs up. Straightens. Strides out of the bar and --
INT. BRANDON'S OFFICE - DAY
BRANDON'S a man absorbed. The office is filled with sports pages
from every newspaper in the country. Injury reports. Power
ratings. BRANDON studying everything and --
-- A dozen rapid-fire kick-offs fill the SCREEN -- RECEIVERS
catch passes, OTHERS drop them spectacularly -- RUNNING BACKS
brilliantly juke tackles, score -- QUARTERBACKS are slammed from
behind, stripped of the ball -- kicks miss goal posts by inches
-- PLAYERS are carried off on stretchers -- footballs sail through
RECEIVERS'S hands, their fingers clawing empty air -- scoreboards
blink outcomes, stadium lights flare and --
EXT. CHELSEA PIERS - MANHATTAN - NIGHT
Similar lights illuminate a driving range on the Hudson River.
EXT. DRIVING RANGE -- TOP TIER - NIGHT
BRANDON smacks one to the 250 sign, about to hit another and
Helluva swing. Great game. Sport of kings, right? Or is that
What are you doing here?
Southie told me where you were.
I had to get out. Clear my head.
(teeing one up)
Well talk to me. How'd we do?
You haven't seen the scores?
Nope. That's how I wanted it. Just make the picks and get the
Highest sales volume ever. Take a guess.
I think we kicked ass.
It was amazing.
I told you. Last week was nothing.
BRANDON smacks a drive, watches it soar --
You're right, nothing compared to how much we lost today!
... What'd I go?
I have an idea. I give you a few glimpses of what happened here
today and you take a stab.
Just give me the numbers, Walter.
You don't like that game. Too bad. Woulda been fun. Grown
men crying on the phone. Wives screaming in the background.
Three salespeople quit 'cause they couldn't take the pressure!
No. When you lose 10 out of 12, fuck doesn't quite cover it.
What would be more appropriate is something like "Holy Fucking
Shit!" Or "My Fucking God." Or "Jesus Fucking Christ!"
Enough. I get the idea, Walter.
You're right. I mean 2 for 12 on our biggest volume weekend
-- what the hell's left to say? Except maybe keep the phone
number and switch it over to a fucking suicide hotline!
BRANDON hefts the golf bag, walks away. Yelling after him --
Tomorrow morning, Brandon! Bright and early! We start in all
over again! No getting off! I'm gonna ride you until you're
more sick of me than losing! Turn it around and we avoid a lot
EXT. BROOKLYN PARK - EARLY MORNING
Gloomy fog. A few PEOPLE heading home from work. BRANDON riding
his bike, pedaling fast when a MAN suddenly steps out, flash
of something in his hand, jamming it in the spokes and --BRANDON
wipes out, over the handlebars -- hard to the ground --
Son of a bitch... What the fuck--
Mr. Novian wants to see you. Now.
(seeing a gun in his waistband)
... Tell him to call.
You tell him.
BRANDON looks, sees NOVIAN nearby.
I didn't recognize you without the suit, John.
This is my time off. It's how I clear my head. You want to
talk, pick a time.
Or should I call you Brandon? Someone costs you 18 mill, you
do some research.
I know more than your name, Brandon. I know where you're from.
Where your family lives. Hell, I just came from Vegas. Your
Mom, sweet lady... dealt me three blackjacks in a row.
Where's the cocky motherfucker who came to my house?
The BODYGUARD grabs his arm. Iron grip.
Feel that? I hate the cold. Winter's coming. Water's getting
What the fuck is this about? If you don't like my picks, use
Oh, I'm not using you again. That's already decided. And I
can't get my money back. It's gone. No, I came for an apology.
The BODYGUARD holds him tight. Light fading. No one around.
Look me in the eye and say you're sorry. Say it so as to make
me believe you mean it.
Cold gust. NOVIAN closes the distance between them.
You flew to New York for--
... I'm sorry.
I don't accept it. Not good enough. Try again.
I don't know what you want me to say. I'm sorry. I am. I'm
I am very, very sorry. That's a lot of money.
Not even close.
This isn't going to work. I'll have to get satisfaction somehow
Look, I'm not it -- I...
NOVIAN inches from BRANDON. Unbuttons his coat. Sound of a
zipper. BRANDON glances down, sees Novian reach into his fly.
BRANDON jumps. The BODYGUARD holds him. NOVIAN comes close.
BRANDON struggles, very unsure where this might be going and--
He squirms -- enduring something -- trickling water heard --
NOVIAN staring right at BRANDON -- finishes pissing on BRANDON'S
leg. NOVIAN motions his BODYGUARD to let go and the men walk
off. BRANDON stands there. Alone in the gloom and --
INT. STUDIO PRODUCTION SET - NIGHT
WALTER, BRANDON, JERRY and CHUCK at the desk, waiting for the
weekly taping to start. WALTER jots notes. JERRY leans over.
I scored you the new mikes, Walter. No wires to mess with.
What do you think?
Listen, I think I should lead off. I have some really strong
You got a good hole, Jerry. Stay in it.
C'mon, I went 8 for 12 last weekend. I'm hot. I'm feeling it.
WALTER doesn't respond, continues working. JERRY fumes.
What am I, wood?
You got one good weekend under your belt, don't push it.
One weekend? The Sykes System revolutionized this industry.
(pulling a newspaper, showing a full-page ad for JOHN ANTHONY)
Explain something to me, where's my fucking ad?
Take a hike.
You heard me. You're fired. Goodbye.
I'm not fired, you need me more than ever.
Beat it, you cut-rate parasite!
In six years my worst weekend was never as bad as any of his
last three weeks!
Get out! You don't work for me anymore!
What the hell are you doing, Walter? C'mon, man -- it's me,
Jerry. These other guys come and go.
(pointing at BRANDON)
Not this one! That's true talent! I'm firing your ass 'cause
you don't see it and I can't explain it to you!
Think what you're fucking doing!
I am! You couldn't pick your fucking nose without a computer!
You're small! You belong in a can! Show some self-respect!
It's over, Jerry -- leave!
Beat. BRANDON watches as JERRY gathers his things, walks off.
... Fuck him where he flosses. Asshole doesn't understand I'm
building an empire around you. Finish the countdown, we got
a big weekend to get to! Let's go, chop chop!
INT. BRANDON'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
A BUDWEISER COMMERCIAL fills FRAME --
PULL BACK TO SHOW -- BRANDON in bed, under the covers, peeking
at the tv over a remote. The sports wrap-up comes on, scores
flashing on the screen. No clue how he did until his phone rings.
Then his cell vibrates. BRANDON gets out of bed. Fully dressed.
Buries the phone under the mattress. He turns off the cell,
but within seconds it starts vibrating again. BRANDON sinks
into a corner. Knock at the door. BRANDON doesn't move. Another
knock and --
Intercut -- toni in the hall, talking through the door
It's me, Brandon. Can I come in?
No. It's not a good time. What do you need?
I need to talk to you, it's important.
BRANDON lost, doesn't answer.
You need to get out, Brandon. You need to go.
I gotta pick a winner is what I gotta do. I gotta get back on
It won't matter. You could go 100-and-0 and it won't be enough
-- it'll never be enough. He'll ride you into the ground.
I gotta figure this out.
I'll figure it out...
TONI leans her head against the door, exasperated, spent and--
EXT. UPPER EAST SIDE - MANHATTAN - NIGHT
BRANDON, suit and tie, stands in the lobby of an apartment high-rise,
speaks on a house phone. An unsmiling DOORMAN watches nearby.
Alex, it's Brandon. Hey, it's been awhile but I never got your
number that night. I was in the neighborhood so I thought I'd
take a chance and stop by.
INT. LUXURY HIGH-RISE APARTMENT BUILDING - LOBBY - NIGHT
The DOORMAN stands at the entrance, watches BRANDON wait. ALEX
appears, beautiful as the night BRANDON picked her up in the
restaurant. Her demeanor, however, is far from friendly as she
exits the elevator.
Man, you got a Doberman for a doorman.
What are you doing here?
I came by to take you out for a late dinner and a couple of killer
bottles of wine. C'mon. We'll go back to that place where we
Are you out of your fucking mind?
(stepping close for emphasis)
I live in this building, asshole. It's home. I don't like creeps
coming around unannounced. Lurking around outside.
What the hell's gotten into you? What about that night?
Let me make this real clear so this shit doesn't happen again.
You mean nothing to me. Oh wait, I take that back -- you meant
5000 bucks. Your friend set it up.
(already heading back inside)
Don't fucking bother me again.
EXT. MANHATTAN - DAWN
Pale sunrise over the East River.
INT. SALES ROOM - DAWN
BRANDON, suit and tie, walks through the silent, empty room.
INT. BRANDON'S OFFICE - DAWN
BRANDON sits at his desk. Staring out at the city. His phone
rings. Again. Again. Finally pressing speaker phone --
Intercut - amir in payphone beside N.J. Turnpike - dawn
I'm wiped out, John...
My business... My house... My credit...
No, now listen to me -- we got a big weekend coming up, buddy
Still you talk like this. Who the fuck are you, like this is
some kind of game. I was betting a few thousand a Sunday when
I called you. You pushed me. Every call. All the time with
your talk... I lost $380,000 this weekend... I was going to get
married... I had a life...
BRANDON staring at the phone, barely holding it together, sees
TAMMY standing there -- holding the day's newspapers, hearing
the conversation on speaker.
No words now, huh? No more money to squeeze so you shut up.
How do you fucking live with yourself?
Click. Amir hangs up. Crushing beat. TAMMY staring at him.
Fuck him if he can't take a joke.
TAMMY puts the day's newspapers on his desk, leaves. BRANDON
glances down, something catches his eye. BRANDON pulls a newspaper
from the pile -- finds himself staring at a full-page ad for
JOHN ANTHONY. Big smile. Copy advertising "The Million Dollar
Man!" and --
INT. BRANDON'S APARTMENT - EARLY MORNING
BRANDON paces the dim space. Sits on the bench press. Leans
back on the board. He stares up at the weights. Moves the weight
pin to 250... and slowly starts to lift. One rep. Two. Three.
Four. A bad of sweat forms. BRANDON throws off the jacket.
Pulls off the tie. Removes his shirt and shoes. He resumes
lifting, grim determination -- the weights rising over and over
and over -- faster and faster and --
INT. WALTER'S APARTMENT - MORNING
BRANDON, t-shirt and sweats, approaches WALTER'S office, bursts
through the door --
I know what the problem is!
BRANDON freezes. WALTER watches two MEN unload stacks of money
from a briefcase, pile them on his desk.
I'll come back later.
No! C'mon in. We're done here. Right fellas? All through?
You want a bite before you go? Something to drink?
The two MEN leave. WALTER lights a cigarette.
Who were they?
We need a bat light or something, you know a signal I can shoot
up at the
clouds and no matter where you are you
can look up and you'll know I need you. Maybe that would work.
'Cause last night I must've beeped you a hundred times.
Who were they?
They're from the Salvation Army. How the hell does someone go
1-for-8? A fucking monkey tossing darts could do better!
What's with the money, Walter?
(coming around the desk)
I have a plan. From now on we take your picks and reverse everything!
Like a Twilight Zone episode where everything's the opposite!
You say black we go white! A is B! Lose becomes win!
(staring at the pile of cash)
How much is that?
(sweeping the pile to the floor)
How much is what? Oh, that -- 275,000 dollars!
What happened to the two mill, all the other money?
I was carrying twice that in red ink before you showed up. The
last few weeks I thought keep the pressure off. He'll come around.
Climb out on his own. Now I figure fuck it! Time to turn on
the lights! Let him see the toilet he's drowning us all in!
Maybe that'll shake him up! So what do you want to know? I
got three mortgages on this house, I'm gambling again and to
cover my losses I just got a loan from a guy who works out of
a bar on a 106th and Broadway! All this -- everything you see
around you --
is smoke and mirrors! I shoulda been a magician!
... What'd you say when you came in? You were in a good mood
when you walked through the door and you said something.
You're betting my picks?
You went 82 and 11! You were picking 80 percent -- how could
I fucking not!? Trouble is I bet heavy after you went a hundred
percent and rode you right into the fucking toilet! One decent
weekend and I would have been set for life! One decent weekend!
BRANDON stares at him, stunned.
"I know what the problem is!" That's it! You came in with a
big smile and said, "I know what the problem is!"
... I'm Brandon Lang, Walter. Brandon's the one who played sports.
Brandon's the one who can pick games. I lost touch with him
-- myself. It wasn't an act, man. I became John Anthony. But
he's not me. If I go back to being Brandon--
--You can pick again! Of course!
All you gotta do is go back to being Brandon! Talk like Brandon!
Eat like Brandon! Forget John Anthony! Burn the suits! It's
all my fault. I see that now. I pushed you into something you
weren't. I took the golden goose and tried to turn it into a
duck. We're winding down the season. There's only two games
this weekend. Two winners and two over/unders. That's all we
need. You crunch the numbers, sprinkle in a little Brandon magic,
we get the sales people burning up the phones and come Monday
we go four for four going into the big game! Right? Huh? Let's
something to eat! Go to Smith and Wo's!
No thanks. I'll stay here. Eat light.
(kneeling down, stacking the cash)
The Brandon thing! What am I thinking trying to get you to go
out? What would Brandon eat for lunch? Peanut butter and jelly?
Ramen noodles? What?
(on the floor, helping him)
I'll get something.
You want anything shipped from home? Your bed? Clothes? Porno
No, I'm fine.
Thanks anyway. Maybe later...
Because it's important.
Pressure doesn't help.
God forgive me, you're an artist. I fucked with that. Two little
winners and a couple of over/unders. That's all we need. You
could phone it in. Two's nothing. Not for you. Not for Brandon.
Right, Brandon? Isn't that right?
BRANDON stands. Looks down at WALTER, unable to hide the desperation
behind his frozen smile and --
MONTAGE OF BRANDON WORKING THROUGH THE WEEk
--BRANDON closes the blinds in his office, blocks the view --BRANDON
works out, watching ESPN -- the SALES STAFF sit idle at their
desks, playing cards -- a pick sheet fills FRAME, shows New
York versus Atlanta, Tenessee versus Kansas City and an over/under
beneath each game -- WALTER waits in the SALES ROOM, edgy, pacing
when BRANDON emerges holding the sheet -- all eyes on him --
WALTER approaches --
These are the winners?
That's who I like.
Brandon made these picks?
You're looking at him.
(regarding the picks, to the room)
New York and the under, Tenessee and the under! Sell 'em hard!
INT. WALTER'S OFFICE - DAY
SALES STAFF crowd into the room. WALTER and BRANDON sit side-by-side.
Seconds before kickoff of the New York/Atlanta game. JULIA
climbs into WALTER'S lap, holding her puppy.
Can I watch, daddy?
Sure, Angel. I need you to root for me.
(pointing at ATLANTA)
They're the bad guys. Atlanta. We want the blue team. New
York. They have to win by more than five points. And root for
a low score. Both teams have to make less than 42 points total.
New York and under 42 points.
Why do we like the blue team?
Because Brandon likes them.
JULIA looks at BRANDON, smiles. BRANDON'S barely holding up
here, forces himself to find a smile in return.
THE TV FILLS FRAME. New York kicks off. An Atlanta RECEIVER
takes it back for a 60 yard return. We start cutting from the
game to BRANDON, to WALTER, the SALESPEOPLE, JULIA, all reacting
as the betting Gods raise hopes one play, dash them the next.
Play after play. Tide going for New York one minute, Atlanta
the next. Tension in the room building. Everyone crowds the
TVs as New York defends a 10 point lead with a minute left.
37 points on the board. Only an Atlanta TD can lose the two
bets and they're 80 yards from scoring. A few high fives as
Atlanta fumbles on a run, recover the ball for a five yard loss.
Backed up to their own end zone. Two plays left. WALTER excited,
things going their way and --
BRANDON starting to breath again and -- Atlanta tries a final
hail mary, ball coming down into a crowd -- time runs out as
a New York PLAYER swats it and an Atlanta RECEIVER pulls it down
-- running hard -- open to the end zone -- the room freezes --
a New York PLAYER grabs hold -- trying to bring him the bastard
down but the Atlanta RUNNER is strong and just makes it in for
the score -- game over -- and Atlanta hasn't won but they've
killed the point spread and pushed the game over -- nobody speaks
-- the second game comes on right on the heels of the first and
now Tennessee is kicking off to Kansas City and we're on the
roller coaster all over again -- SALES PEOPLE start drifting
from the room and they've pushed their clients huge on these
games and their cell phones are ringing and WALTER'S just staring
at the screens and BRANDON'S dying and --
INT. WALTER'S OFFICE - LATER - NIGHT
WALTER and BRANDON alone in the room. Sound of the ANNOUNCERS
as Atlanta get trounced by Denver. Not even close. Well over
42 total points scored. The game ends. All four bets lost.
A commercial comes on. Horrible stillness.
...I'm finished. I'm done.
I can't do this anymore, Walter. I can't sleep at night. I
You're not gonna sit there and tell me you're ending this because
you have a little indigestion or some insomnia.
It's a lot more than that.
I made it very clear before we started what the stakes were.
Walter, it's over. What use could John Anthony be to you now?
Only an idiot would follow him after the streak I've been on.
Wrong! Hot streaks go cold, cold streaks go hot. Bettors will
climb back aboard.
They know you! And when your luck turns they'll remember you
went 80 percent for half the season! We'll make it all back
on the last game and by next year they'll forget everything.
Who said anything about next year?
Sports betting's year-round.
I'm not doing this next year.
You made a career choice! I bankrolled it!
Let him go, Walter.
WALTER and BRANDON turn, see TONI at the door.
Of course you stick up for him!
Who's side are you on?
I didn't realize I had to choose.
Look, you got a magnificent gift. Own that. So you strike out
sometimes, big deal, you're swinging for the fences. You're
a champion, Brandon. A champion goes down 186 times but gets
up 187. I'm not letting you stay down. This isn't about you
or me or Toni, this transcends that -- this is metaphysical,
this is cosmic, this is eternal -- this is God... Besides, we
have a contract.
You can't own someone, Walter.
I created the hottest sports tout this country's ever seen!
I plugged him, took out full page ads, built a show around him,
hooked him up with every major client I have and I will be goddamned
if he's going to walk out the door and take all that with him!
Why the hell am I even explaining this to you! This is between
me and him! Get out!
Don't talk to her like that.
I need you to tell me how to talk to my wife? When I'm talking
you'll shut your fucking toilet!
INT. WALTER AND TONI'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
BRANDON comes down the hall. TONI and WALTER heard yelling through
the office door. BRANDON hesitates, walks out and --
INT. BRANDON'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
Dim darkness. A distant siren bleeds in as --
BRANDON'S POV. His eyes open. WALTER'S face fills FRAME.
What time is it?
Five in the morning. Listen, I gotta fly to Vegas to meet with
some clients. Hand holding thing. Keep 'em on board for the
final game. Because you can do this thing, Brandon. End of
the season's the perfect place to turn this streak around. I'll
be back to you out to dinner. Get you back in the groove. 9:30.
Nobu. Gotta catch my flight. See you tonight. Look sharp.
We're turning it around.
WALTER backs out, kills the lights. Darkness returns and --
INT. NOBU - NIGHT
BRANDON alone at a table, sipping a sake when TONI, evening dress,
sits next to him.
Hey, I didn't know you were coming.
Walter was delayed, he's coming back in the morning. Asked if
I'd fill in.
That's funny, he didn't call me. You look great.
Julia did her ballet recital today. God she was beautiful.
... He's betting again.
BRANDON regards her.
I can't believe I'm here again. I saw it coming. I just...
I just couldn't stop it.
He won't stop on his own. He can't.
I gotta win one more game.
You can't fix this, Brandon.
After Sunday's game I'm taking off...
EXT. BROWNSTONE STEPS - NIGHT
A cab pulls up. BRANDON and TONI emerge. BRANDON looks around
as they start up the steps. Both reach for their keys, regard
It's still early. Come in for a while.
I don't think so.
She leans in to kiss him on the cheek and -- BRANDON suddenly
shifts. Their lips meet. A casual goodbye suddenly grows in
intensity as neither tries to part. Seconds ticking by. Things
getting heated. TONI tries to pull away.
BRANDON comes close, whispers something. He unlocks the door.
She hesitates before BRANDON takes her hand, leads her into his
dark apartment and --
EXT. BROOKLYN BRIDGE - SAME TIME
A cold wind blows off the river. Whips through the cables of
the span. A match flares. WALTER'S face is lit briefly by the
flame. He stands on the bridge walkway, looking down at the
brownstone and --
EXT. WALTER AND TONI'S APARTMENT - DAY
Gray, winter day. View of a snow-covered window sill --
INT. WALTER AND TONI'S APARTMENT - DAY
WALTER'S FACE fills a shaky HOME VIDEO VIEWFINDER, video coming
close to show WALTER opening a book-size present -- removing
a beautifully framed photo of TONI and JULIA.
Look at that. With the leaves and all. This goes on my desk.
Quick PAN to TONI -- sitting near the fireplace, fire blazing.
KNOCK at the door --
I'll get it.
JULIA hands the CAMERA to WALTER. VIDEO CAMERA view of JULIA
and the puppy running to the door, opening it and --
There he is. C'mon in. We're having a little celebration.
Toni and I were married 12 years ago today.
Congratulations, I didn't know.
Sit down. I want you to be part of this.
Okay angel, give Mommy my gift.
WALTER aims the CAMERA as JULIA hands TONI a small gift box.
TONI opens it, reveals a set of very expensive earrings.
Relax, I had some saved. Put 'em on, lemme see.
TONI puts the earrings on.
Beautiful. God I got good taste.
TONI stares into the CAMERA as WALTER PANS to BRANDON --
I saw something else, I couldn't help myself. Here, Brandon
-- for you.
WALTER hands BRANDON a small black case. BRANDON unsure, looks
at TONI, opens it -- produces a very expensive watch.
It's a Chopard. Designed for car racing. Guy won six times
at LeMans wearing it. Put it on, maybe you'll start winning.
I can't take this.
It's too much.
For what? You're family, Brandon. We all love each other, right?
I'm like a father, you're like my son -- gee, sorry Toni, but
I guess that makes you his mother.
WALTER PANS to TONI, staring at the fire. Strained silence.
What? Somebody fart or something?
TONI starts taking off the earrings.
Leave 'em on.
They're for evening.
Good, wear 'em to bed tonight.
(VIDEO CAMERA back on BRANDON)
Who do you think'll win the big game?
Turn it off.
Better yet, don't say anything. Surprise me. We'll break it
when we do the live show. Take your time, Brandon. Enjoy yourself.
Give Walter a smile.
WALTER ZOOMS IN -- BRANDON staring back at us and --
EXT. TIMES SQUARE NEWS STAND - DAY
BRANDON loads up on newspapers and sports magazines and --
INT. BRANDON'S APARTMENT - DAY
BRANDON surrounded by a sea of sports pages, comentary, ratings.
He looks up at a blaring TV and --
THE TV FILLS FRAME -- TIME CUT as various sports shows come on
back-to-back -- each providing a wealth of competing Superbowl
predictions and analysis.
CAMERA TIGHTENS ON THE SCREEN AND WE SEE, for every hopped-up
SPORTSCASTER who picks Denver, an equally assured COUNTERPART
chooses New York. One after another. No consensus at all. Airwaves
awash in past-season stats -- regular season stats -- post-season
stats -- all of it blending into an overwhelming, mind-numbing,
jarring blather of pure disagreement and --
INT. TV PRODUCTION STUDIO BATHROOM - NIGHT
BRANDON, suit and tie, splashes water on his face, stares at
himself in the mirror. He pulls reams of stats and newspaper
reports from his pocket, regards the Superbowl pick sheet. Blank
space for the winner. Blank space for the over/under. BRANDON
fumbling with his sheets of data, desperately searching for an
answer when he suddenly hurls it all in the trash. Kicks the
can. Kicks it again.
60 seconds till we go live, Mr. Anthony!
BRANDON looks over. The unfinished pick sheet lies crumpled
by the toilet. He smooths it. Pulls a coin.
Heads, New York. Tails Denver.
He flips the coin. Palms it. Heads. BRANDON checks the box.
Heads, over. Tails, under.
BRANDON flips again, lets the coin hit the floor, watches it
spin, slowly come to a stop, drop to its side and --
INT. TV PRODUCTION STUDIO - NIGHT
BRANDON sits at the set. Looks over at CHUCK, in his own world,
working something from his teeth. BRANDON Slides the pick sheet
Wanna know about the picks?
New York minus the two-and-a-half points and the over, what should
I flipped a coin to decide.
Five, four, three, two, one --
Hello everybody and welcome to the big weekend! John Anthony's
just given me tremendous news about his assessment! Let me say
to all of you who've used our service and those of you thinking
of using it for the first time -- never before in the history
of this industry has an offer been made like the one I'm about
to present to you now! I am so confident of John Anthony's picks
for this Sunday, so sure of the skills he's brought to bear and
so anxious to get you on the phone and dialing the toll free
number on your screen that for the first time in sports service
history I will guarantee our picks this weekend! What's that
mean? Tell us how much you're betting with your bookie. You
lose, we cover! That's right! Risk free! Lock Of The Millenium!
Now let's go to the oracle, God's gift -- John Anthony!
BRANDON'S face fills the monitor. Completely off-guard.
... Wow. What an offer. The phones'll be flooded.
We're that sure! John, rundown the pitfalls facing the average
bettor. I mean a game this huge, all the added dynamics, without
your expertise most bettors might as well just... flip a coin,
am I right?
(tapping into it)
That's right, Walter! Last game of the year ladies and gentlemen!
Come Sunday you're either ending the season a winner or a loser!
It's crunch time! The last action on the way out the door!
And I am absolutely, 1000-percent sure that I, John Anthony,
will end the season ahead of the game!
EXT. TV PRODUCTION STUDIO - NIGHT
The studio doors open. WALTER exits. BRANDON right beside.
You can't guarantee they'll win! It's insane!
You think? Well I say if you can flip a coin to pick, I can
guarantee the game!
What if you lose?
Fuck it, I'm ruined anyway.
At least cap it out!
(turning to him)
Can't you feel it, Brandon?
I don't know what you're talking about.
I think you do. The best part of the best drug in the world
isn't the high.
The best part is the time just before you take it! The dice
are dancing on the
table. Between now when they stop -- that's the greatest high
in the world!
INT. SALES OFFICE - DAY
Mayhem. Loud and crowded. They can't answer the phones fast
enough. A big screen TV is set up in front. The Superbowl pre-game
show is seen coming to an end. SALESMEN machine-gun last minute
calls. Scribble like mad.
Win, we get a piece! Lose, we cover! It ain't rocket science!
Take New York minus two and the over! 42 points! It's an iron-clad
lock! How much you betting with your book?
Our reputation's the guarantee! 28 years in the business, we're
not going anywhere! Bet this game big!
(yelling toward the windows)
Can we please get some air in here!
INT. BRANDON'S OFFICE - DAY
BRANDON, suit and tie, looks through the glass at the feeding
frenzy. He closes the blinds. Goes to the closet. Hangs up
his jacket. Removes his tie and --
INT. SALES OFFICE - NIGHT
Kick-off is seconds away. WALTER and the SALES STAFF gather
around the set, turn up the sound.
1ST TV ANNOUNCER
New York wins the toss and elects to receive.
Some bettor somewhere just made some money.
That's it! No more calls! Kill the phones! Kill 'em now --
The ringing stops. All eyes on game as the two teams line up
for kick-off. WALTER before the tv. Laughing with SALESMEN.
INT. BRANDON'S OFFICE - SAME TIME - NIGHT
TONI alone. View across the hall into the office. BRANDON enters,
wearing his UNLV jacket and faded jeans.
(to BRANDON, re: WALTER)
Look at him. Dead man walking, should be getting last rites.
Hours away from losing everything, but Walter -- he's having
the time of his life.
Maybe he thinks he already did lose everything.
WALL OF TVS, the ball's kicked and the game begins -- the SALESROOM
explodes in cheers after a good play -- PLAYERS collide -- a
fumble bounces across the field -- SALESMEN clamber atop desks
for a better view -- WALTER in agony after an interception, a
moment later elated when a flag brings the play back -- the score
board FILLS FRAME, New York trails 14/7 at the half and --
PULL BACK TO SHOW -- the tension level in the room is suddenly
suspended. We're in the eye of the storm. WALTER like a fighter
between rounds. BRANDON appears.
Hold onto that coin you flipped. Game keeps up like this I'll
have to borrow it.
It's not over yet, Walter. I wouldn't change my bet.
INT. BRANDON'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
BRANDON packs things into a duffel bag. The Superbowl's on tv.
The sound's off. Play's resumed. BRANDON removes the watch.
Sets it on a nightstand beside an envelope and the Mercedes
keys. Picks up a plane ticket and --
EXT. BROWNSTONE - NIGHT
BRANDON comes down the steps, carrying his bag, dressed the same
as the day he came. BRANDON starts down the sidewalk. Flags
a cab. It stops. He opens the door, about to get in when a
cheer from the SALES ROOM makes him look up and --
POV BRANDON -- TONI looks down from a window. Frozen beat.
She turns away. BRANDON climbs in the cab, drives off and --
INT. SALES OFFICE - NIGHT
Fourth quarter. Superbowl blaring from the tv. New York's driving.
Minutes left. The SALES STAFF are screaming at the set, climbing
over each other to get a better view and New York suddenly scores
and the room erupts and WALTER'S right in the middle of it, looks
Where the hell's Brandon?
INT. BRANDON'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
The door's ajar. WALTER rushes in.
You're missing the game! We're back in it! A New York touchdown
and we win both bets!
Walter walks back to the bedroom. The tv's on. WALTER pauses
to watch another play, about to leave when he spies the Rolex
on the nightstand, envelope beside it. WALTER picks up the letter.
Sees his name on the outside. He opens it, reads. TONI appears
in the BG. WALTER turns.
... He left.
And you didn't you tell me?
He asked me not to.
Just like that? No goodbye?
I'm sure it's in the letter.
I'm sure it is... I wonder what's not in here?
What do you mean?
What do you mean, what do I mean? When it comes to Brandon you
seem to have all the answers.
He had enough. He wanted his life back.
He said that to you?
Yeah, loud and clear, by leaving.
I think it's something else.
Yeah, tell me.
ON -- the TV. New York's driving. Game reaching a head. A
clock in the corner counts down the final two minutes.
You have no idea, huh?
You're missing the game.
No I'm not. This is the game.
INT. JFK AIRLINE TERMINAL - NIGHT
BRANDON travels down an escalator and --
INT. BRANDON'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
TONI at the door. WALTER approaches.
Something was bothering him. I mean sure, maybe he was homesick.
Or I was thinking maybe he had such, you know, deep feelings
for me he couldn't face saying goodbye. What a minute. I just
thought of something. Just came to me. Out of the blue. What
about this? Maybe Brandon left without telling me because --
(full volume, in her face)
You let him fuck you!
ON -- TV. A New York RECEIVER catches a long bomb. Nailed at
the 20. Clock down to a minute 30. No time to huddle and --
Do you deny it?
Do I have to?
I know you did!
Really? Another "lock of the year?"
I saw you, Toni! I saw you go into his room that night! This
room! With him! I never went to Vegas!
INT. JFK AIRLINE TERMINAL - NIGHT
BRANDON walks through FRAME. PASSENGERS rush for flights and--
INT. BRANDON'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
TONI and WALTER in the middle of it --
You mean you lied to me about the trip!
Don't talk to me about lying!
I guess you had the whole thing planned?
Don't make this about me!
Put me out there on a tray!
Yeah, I put the tray out there -- but you didn't have to shove
an apple in your mouth and jump on it! On him!
ON -- New York throws a pass. Blocked. 45 seconds left --
You played me!
You're damn right I did!
... Brandon was right. Son of a bitch!
You don't deny it!
Best pick he ever made.
What the hell are you talking about?
INT. JFK AIRPORT BAR - NIGHT
PASSENGERS watch the Superbowl on a tv over the bar. Final seconds.
BRANDON appears. Stands outside. CROWD of people around the
set, it looks like the last play and --
INT. BRANDON'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
TONI before WALTER. Inches away --
You were gambling with me that night, Walter. Brandon knew it.
Knew you. He told me he was sure you were watching somehow.
So he asked me in to spend the night, put on a show. I didn't
believe him -- I mean after all we've been through -- but I figured
what the hell.
He slipped out the back,
didn't even stay here. And you... you were in such a good mood
the next day. I figured he must have been wrong. Otherwise
why wouldn't you confront us? Confront me?
CLOSE ON -- TV. Last play. No time left. The New York QUARTERBACK
drops back, about to be sacked, starts to run --
INT. SALESROOM - NIGHT
The room's at fever pitch, everyone screaming at the TV and --
INT. BRANDON'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
WALTER still as a statue. Game in the BG. TONI rolling --
And now I find out you've been thinking ever since then that
we did sleep together? Living with it like that? Looking at
me like that? You sick fuck! You wanted to lose! You set us
up! Like I was something you just toss on the table! Only we
booked your bet, Walter!
Brandon and me. The two of us, who evidentally love you more
than you love yourself. Your fantasy's to end up alone with
nothing! Well I won't let that happen to you! Understand?
I will never let that happen! This is it! We're all we have,
Walter! All we're ever gonna have! You and me, we're all that's
WALTER stands there, staring at her. Tears streaming down his
face and --
INT. JFK AIRPORT BAR - NIGHT
CAMERA on the tv. Blaring the game. Bar going crazy as the
New York QUARTERBACK runs for the end zone. Juking LINEMEN.
Dodging tackles. Nearing the goal. A last-second block clears
a lane and the QUARTERBACK barrels by, dives -- a hit -- a fumble
on the goal line -- a beat -- a replay -- a REFEREE signaling
a touchdown -- and the game's over -- and New York has won, but
more importantly they've covered the spread and --
BRANDON walks down the corridor, his cell rings. Answering --
Hey, hey the big winner. What's going on?
Nothing much... the usual.
C'mon, I know it's rough, it's supposed to be. A friend turned
me on to the place. She said it's the best.
Where are you headed?
I don't know, but I got an airport full of planes to choose from.
Does your mom know I'm in rehab?
Yeah, I told her.
Great pick on New York. It's like I always said, you don't bet
quarterbacks and receivers--
(finishing his words)
--You bet the offensive line. I remember. That's exactly what
I was thinking about, pop.
(excitement creeping in)
No kidding! Wow. Helluva game, huh? Boy, that opening drive
was a beaut, the way they drove like that, six first downs --
you shoulda seen me, Brandon -- I'm screaming at the tv...
BRANDON smiles as he listens to his DAD talk. The loud sound
of a jet taking off fills the terminal as BRANDON walks down
the corridor and --
ext. Elementary school playground - day
A dozen 9-year-old PEE-WEE FOOTBALL PLAYERS, barely able to move
in over-sized gear, are lined for practice. BRANDON, coach's
whistle, faces them.
We're up against a tough team today, toughest on our schedule.
But you're ready for it. You're prepared. Most important I
want you to go out there and have some fun. Enjoy yourselves.
Keep it loose. Because you can't make me any more proud of
you than I already am. Team cheer, bring it in --
The KIDS gather close, thrust their hands in the center --
Go get 'em!
The KIDS scramble across the field, other TEAM seen suited and
ready. PARENTS on the sideline. One of BRANDON'S tiny TEAMMATES
hangs back, approaches BRANDON.
You really think we can win today, Coach?
... I'd bet on it.
BRANDON drapes an arm over the KID, walks him to the game --
CAMERA lifting higher --
And higher --
And that's it.