Inventing the Abbotts

Synopsis: In the 1950s, brothers Jacey (Billy Crudup) and Doug Holt (Joaquin Phoenix), who come from the poorer side of their sleepy Midwestern town, vie for the affections of the wealthy, lovely Abbott sisters. Lady-killer Jacey alternates between Eleanor (Jennifer Connelly) and Alice (Joanna Going), wanting simply to break the hearts of rich young women. But sensitive Doug has a real romance with Pamela (Liv Tyler), which Jacey and the Abbott patriarch, Lloyd (Will Patton), both frown upon.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Production: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
 
IMDB:
6.4
Metacritic:
49
Rotten Tomatoes:
31%
R
Year:
1997
110 min
675 Views


FADE IN:

1EXT. ABBOTT HOME - STREET (HALEY, ILLINOIS) - DAY(LATE SPRING, 1957)

OPENING CREDITS ROLL over a TENT MONTAGE -- ASSORTED

ANGLES of a group of men hard at work erecting a largestriped "big-top" style canvas tent, INCLUDING: The longsteel stakes being sledge-hammered into the lawn,

practiced hands rapidly rigging the lines, the tallcenter poles being leveraged upright, the heavy rolled-upsections of canvas being maneuvered into position, andENDING WITH the canvas being hoisted up the poles as thetent assumes its full and finished form.

1

NEW ANGLE - TENT

-- on the front yard of the Abbott mansion. The

residence is on Main Street, four blocks from where the

commercial district begins. The mature, over-archingtrees makes this street of prosperous houses a grandpromenade.

2EXT. ABBOTT HOME - STREET - DAY 2

JACEY HOLT and DOUG HOLT walk along the sidewalk on theirway to school. Jacey is seventeen; he's as handsome andseemingly self-confident as his younger brother isrumpled and impulsive. Doug is fifteen, a popularculture chameleon who takes on the colors and

affectations of whomever his "hero" is at the moment

(which presently happens to be Elvis Presley).

Jacey stops and stares with open-faced misery at the tenton the Abbott's front yard (the installation of the tentindicates that the Abbott's are having yet another of themany parties they throw every year).

DOUG:

Didn't get invited, huh?

JACEY:

Go to hell.

DOUG:

Who cares? I'm not going and Igot invited.

JACEY:

Who invited you?

(CONTINUED)

INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 2.

2CONTINUED:

DOUG:

Pam, I guess. I don't know.

Didn't open the envelope. I mean,

come on, every time an Abbott girl

gets her period they have some

party.

JACEY:

Oh, shut up.

DOUG:

Kotex parties, Kotex party hats,

pin the Kotex on the...

JACEY:

Shut up!

Jacey swats Doug's school books out from under his arm -Doug

charges his brother to retaliate but they are rudelyinterrupted by a CAR HORN. They scurry out of the way asLLOYD ABBOTT pulls his 1957 Cadillac out of the drivewayand cruises down the street. Lloyd is a well-dressedand-

fed man in his mid-forties. A Midwestern burgher, heexudes the status he enjoys as one of the preeminentpillars of this community. Doug is embarrassed byLloyd's passing, but Jacey evidently experiences a deeperhumiliation -- he gives Doug a glance of betrayal, turnsand walks down the block.

3 OMITTED 3

4INT. HIGH SCHOOL - CORRIDOR - DAY (SHORT TIME LATER) 4

ELEANOR ABBOTT gathers some books from her locker.

Eleanor is sixteen, outgoing, sarcastic, and verypopular. She is the middle of the three Abbott

daughters. Eleanor closes her locker, turns and

discovers Jacey standing behind her. He follows her down

the busy hall.

JACEY:

I tried to call you last night but

the line was busy.

ELEANOR:

No it wasn't.

(CONTINUED)

INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 3.

4CONTINUED:

JACEY:

It was busy all night.

ELEANOR:

Maybe you had the wrong number?

JACEY:

Are you mad at me?

ELEANOR:

No. Are you mad at me?

JACEY:

No. Who said I was?

ELEANOR:

I did.

JACEY:

I just wanted to talk to you last

night.

ELEANOR:

We can talk tonight at the party.

JACEY:

I wasn't invited.

ELEANOR:

Yes, you were.

JACEY:

No, I wasn't.

ELEANOR:

Well, now you are. But if you're

mad at me you don't have to come.

She gives him a sultry smile, turns and glides into aclassroom as the BELL RINGS. The corridor is quicklyvacated by all but Jacey -- he savors the aftertaste ofEleanor's smile.

5 EXT. HOLT HOME - EVENING (MAGIC HOUR) 5

ESTABLISHING ANGLE of the modest two-story clapboardhouse in a working class neighborhood. A home-made pingpong

table takes up so much room in the detached garagethat it forced the eviction of the family car, a 1950Plymouth coupe, which is parked nearby on the driveway.

The garage doors are open and the garage light is on.

We hear (V.O.) DOUG SINGING bits and pieces of"Heartbreak Hotel" in his best Elvis fashion.

INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 3A/4.

6 INT. HOLT HOME - BATHROOM - EVENING (MAGIC HOUR) 6

Doug stands in front of the bathroom mirror (wearing acoat and tie) still singing "Heartbreak Hotel" while hecarefully draws sideburns on his face with a wide-nib penand a bottle of India ink. Jacey's reflection appears inthe mirror behind Doug -- he's wearing a coat and tie too.

Jacey does a pained take on Doug's handiwork:

JACEY:

Oh, Christ!

7 INT. DINING ROOM - EVENING (MAGIC HOURMINUTES LATER) 7

HELEN HOLT is seated at the dining table. She was

grading a stack of spelling tests with a red pencil whenJacey and Doug came in to ask her to adjudicate thematter at hand. She is an attractive but unostentatious

woman without interest in appearing to be anything otherthan what she is: a forty-one-year-old widow raising twoteenage sons on a school teacher's salary. (She teachessecond grade at Haley Elementary School.)

JACEY:

He has to wash it off, Mother.

You cannot let him go to the party

unless he washes it off.

DOUG:

It'll look worse if I wash it.

It's India ink, it'll turn gray,

it'll look like dirt.

JACEY:

He looks like such a clown and he

doesn't even know it! He doesn't

get how things work in this town.

I thought you weren't even going

to the party?

DOUG:

Changed my mind.

HELEN:

Doug, you do understand that you

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Ken Hixon

Ken Hixon is a screenwriter whose films include Welcome to the Rileys, City by the Sea, Inventing the Abbotts, Incident at Deception Ridge, Morgan Stewart's Coming Home, and Grandview, U.S.A.. more…

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