It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books

Synopsis: A nameless young character goes into travels to the country, meeting some acquaintances and strangers as well, having banal conversations, dedicating his existence into daily mundane activities. Richard Linklater presents an unconventional narrative, barely composed of dialogue and consisting in observing life and actions.
85 min



I'm back in Missoula.

Just got back from Seattle... yesterday.

Just got back from summer school.

Glad to get that over with.

And I just got your tape too.

That was-- was good, 'cause I was

wondering what had happened to you.

Sounds like, uh... like you aren't

in the best of spirits these days.

Like, you're just - I don't know...

kind of up and down

about, just, things.

You sound like

you're kind of bumming about -

bumming out about the prospect

of another semester of school...

which I guess you guys

will be starting pretty soon.

School doesn't start here

for another few weeks.

My folks want me to get a job

till then, but, uh, f*** that.

I don't think that's gonna happen.

The only thing I feel like doing is, uh...

I don't know.

I was thinking maybe if you wanted

to blow off school or somethin'...

you could come up here for a while

and, uh, hang out.

It's pretty nice up here.

It's good hiking weather.

Could maybe--

There's a big concrete dam

up on the side of the mountain.

Maybe we could hike up there

or somethin'.

I'll probably have to spend some time

with Linda, but, uh...

I don't know.

I got a roommate who's, uh--

He's into-- He's up for doing anything,

just about anything.

He's into hanging out.


Linda has a friend too.

Maybe we can, uh...

Maybe we can all do somethin'... together.

I don't know.

Maybe you should just go to school.

How long you think that'll be?

- About five minutes.

- Okay.


[Footsteps Approaching]

[Girl Speaking, Indistinct]

[Boy Speaking, Indistinct]

- [Gun Hammer Clicks]

- [Tires Screeching]

- [Bells Chiming]

- [Gunshot]

[Chiming Continues]

[Bell Dinging]

[Brakes Screeching]

[Man On P.A.] Smoking is permitted

only in the rear 24 seats of coach cars.

Smoking is not permitted at all in the diner

or in the center section...

of the upper lounge and the lower--

I mean, the table area

of the lower lounge.

Pipes, cigars and clove cigarettes are

permitted only in private accommodations.

[Man Continues, Indistinct]

We also ask that you not move

from car to car.

Shoes are required at all times

while moving about the train.

We also ask the parents of small children

not to leave them unattended.

[Continues, Indistinct]

We also ask that you please do not open the

lower vents, doors or windows at any time.

For your convenience, each coach

has a trash receptacle at either end...

and one in the center of each car.

Toilets are located on the lower level

of all coaches and sleepers.

[Man On P.A.] May I have

your attention, please? Amtrak 3414...

[Continues, Indistinct]

[Radio Chatter]


And I'll pull the other end off.

[Man #2]

How about 30, Tom?

[Chatter Continues]


- [Man] That was, uh, to Willaston.

- [Man #2] Yeah.


[Chatter Continues]

[Man] I'll give this information.

One of the doctors was describing to me--

- So how are things going in Austin?

- Well, you know, same old sh*t.

Parents pissed 'cause you're not

going to school?

Yeah, they're pissed, but, um,

I haven't really told 'em yet.

- Yeah.

- Guess I'll send 'em a postcard...

or somethin' like that.

Doubt they're too worried

about it, though.

Anything particular you want

to do in Missoula?

No, not really.

Whatever's goin' on.

What is goin' on?

Uh, I don't know.

I guess we could, uh...

We could rent some movies.

It's kind of nice out.

We could, uh, you know...

We could do somethin' outside.

Hmm. Any shot of us gettin' up to Glacier

like you mentioned?

Uh, actually...

yeah, if we could, uh,

scam my girlfriend's car off of her.

I don't think she'd be into goin'

too much herself, but, uh...

She doesn't really like to hike or anything.

And that, uh, friend of hers

you mentioned?

Yeah, we might be able

to get her to drive up there with us.

- Yeah?

- Yeah.

- Where are we goin'?

- [Indistinct]

- What's that?

- Uh, a chicken place.

- Chicken?

- Well, they got a bar menu.

- Oh.

- We might get other food there.

So, we're goin' out tonight?

- What's there to do?

- Drink a lot of beer, dude.

We could get, uh, you know...

something to eat downstairs,

you know, and, um...

Um, and then maybe go out

to Top Hat later on.


Hey, those big mountains--

I'll tell you what you

do have.

You have nice air,

you have mountains and you have Luke's.

- That's all you have.

- There's a lot of people out.

- So you have to take advantage of that.

- Yeah.

- Want to go to Luke's?

- Luke's?

- You want to go to Luke's?

- Let's go to Luke's.

Hey, check this out. This guy--

This guy just, uh-- He just met--

He just got through reading

"The Metamorphosis," right?

He meets Kafka. And they're talking

about writing and everything...

and he says, and the author

says to Kafka -

they're just talking about writing,

what he writes--

He says,

"I'm disturbed by the light, the factory...

"the houses, the windows over the way,

most of all, by the light.

The light distracts my attention".

And then Kafka says...

"Perhaps it distracts one

from the darkness within.

"It is good when the light

overpowers one.

"If it were not for these horrible

sleepless nights, I would never write at all.

But they always recall me again

to my own dark solitude".

Then the author says,

"Is he not himself, the unfortunate bug?"


That's pretty-- pretty stupid.

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Richard Linklater

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 May 2024. <'s_impossible_to_learn_to_plow_by_reading_books_11055>.

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