Personal Effects

Synopsis: Walter, 24, is a wrestler, competing for a spot on the national team when he learns of his sister's brutal death. He comes home to help his mother; he works out, takes a dead-end job, and goes to the trial of the accused murderer. He becomes friends with Linda, her husband murdered; she's raising a teen son, Clay, who's deaf. Walter gets Clay into wrestling. He accompanies Linda to events at a center where she works. He sees her at the courthouse. They wait for verdicts. Walter's mother takes her daughter's things to a rummage sale. Clay has his father's pistol. How will grief express itself?
Genre: Drama
Director(s): David Hollander
Production: P.E. Productions
  1 nomination.
106 min

I collect goldfish.

I keep them in a small

tank in my bedroom.

Other kids my age like dogs,

if they like animals at all,

but for me, it's goldfish.

I understand them,

living underwater

in a little bowl,

hearing nothing,

just watching things

through glass.

My name is Clay Pietrysk.

I'm basically

your average teenager,

except for the fact

that I've been deaf

since I was born,

and I can't really speak.

Your average teenager,

except for the deaf part,

and the fact that

my father was shot to death

outside a bar in McKees Rocks

a little over a year ago.

But all of this

isn't only about me.

All of this is more about

waiting for someone

you know

will never come back...

about that time

spent waiting...

and the people you meet

in the waiting room.

See, my dad was shot once,

in the stomach.

Walter Blount's sister

was raped, stabbed,

and hit over the head

eight times with a brick.

After she died,

her killer

tried to burn her body.

When that didn't work,

he left her

by the river's edge,

half covered

with a garbage bag.

You're up, Walter.

Feeling peckish?

Try Megabird.

What the cluck?

No. No...

Feeling peckish?

Try Megabird.

We're egg-cited to serv--

What the cluck?

Try Megabird.

Chicken, you're an a**hole.

Don't say that!

Don't-- don't you say that!

That was

an interesting discussion

about how

a grandparent feels.

So many times,

extended family

gets forgotten

or neglected

in favor of spouses

and sons and daughters,

and your pain is just as real,

just as profound.

Thank you

for bringing that up today.

It was good stuff.

It's good stuff...

do I have to stay

for this?


Linda Pietrysk

is going to share

the life

reconstruction book

she made

for her husband Larry.


I really don't like

talking out loud

in front of people, but...

I know Gloria

is going next,

and she said

if I could, she could, so...


I went through

what I could find,

and so I'll just start

from when Larry and I first met,

and this is when he went away

to play A-ball out in Oregon.

Baseball didn't work out,

on account of his drinking,


and, uh...

this is, um,

when our son Clay was born.

When he was alive,

my dad drank a lot

and collected guns.

My dad also had friends

who drank a lot

and collected guns.

One of those friends,

Mark Jankowski,

shot my dad

with one of those guns

after one of those nights


People have different versions

of what happened.

No matter what the story,

I don't really care.

Mark Jankowski killed my dad.

And this is the last picture

I have of Larry.

It's, uh...

Mark is in it, the guy who...

but I kept it


well, it's the last one I have.


Thank you, Linda.

I know that was difficult.

Thank you.

It was good stuff.

Gloria Blount

has finished

the reconstruction


for her daughter.


Well, this is, uh,

the book that I made

for my daughter Annie.

Most of the pictures

have my son Walter in them

because they were...

they're twins, and...

Walter came

along with me today


I asked him to.

He didn't want to come.

Anyway, um...

Annie came first,

and Walter came

eight minutes later.

It was one of the few times

Walter came in second,

and, um...

Annie has

a little girl,

named Beth.

She's five.

She's my granddaughter.

She lives with us now.

And Annie was engaged

to this man named Brice...

see, me and Walter

have things in common,

not just the fact that

people we loved were murdered,

but the fact that we got stuck

with the things

that those people left behind.

Tell me.

No trouble.

What time will you be home?


Love you.

There is simply

no direct evidence

connecting Tom Friedinger

to the murder of Annie Blount.

There's no forensic evidence.

There's no witnesses

to the crime itself,


save for Mr. Friedinger's

communication with the decedent

an hour before

she was abducted and killed.

Yes, he liked to

walk her home at night,

particularly when she was drunk,

which she was that night.

Yes, he gave her presents

and wrote her letters

and sent her flowers,

but that does not mean

that he attacked her that night.

Strong feelings

for the victim

are not enough evidence

upon which to proceed!

Uh, particularly when

you take into account

Miss Blount's


and the number of men

she's been with

in the last few years alone!

Again, your honor,

there simply is

not enough evidence

upon which to proceed.

Me and Walter,

We know how it feels

when a new day begins,

and someone

doesn't show up for it.

We know how it feels.

People need to have

something in common

to keep them close.

Something like a job,

or a hobby, or a sport...

or the wait

for something to change,

for justice...

All rise.

For fairness.

Court is adjourned.

But the wait

can get difficult...

Please bring the motion

to my chambers.

And after a while,

you can't just watch the story

go on without you.

After a while,

you take the story back.

You're not helping us

in there.

The way you sit

in that gallery

and glare

at Friedinger

makes Friedinger seem

even more sympathetic

than he already is.


Walter, he's a fat slob

with a low I.Q.

Who's never caught a break

in his life,

and you know

as well as I do

the evidence we've got

isn't exactly

going to fry him

without the jury

on our side.

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David Hollander

David Hollander (born May 16, 1968) is an American television writer, director and producer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was the creator, screenwriter, and an executive producer of The Guardian, a Pittsburgh-based legal drama which aired on CBS. The series starred Simon Baker. He also created the TNT series Heartland and has been the show runner of the Showtime series Ray Donovan since 2014. Hollander also directed the 2009 film Personal Effects starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Ashton Kutcher and Kathy Bates. Hollander has also served on the faculty of the USC Screenwriting Master's Program from 1995-2000. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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