"In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story." - Ben Bova [ more quotes ]

"DROP DEAD GORGEOUS"

Screenplay by

Lona Williams



FADE IN:

EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - MINNESOTA - DAY

Vintage black and white stock footage of some farms and
farmhouses.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - DAY

Color footage of cotton fields passing by. We FREEZE and

FADE TO BLACK.

TITLE WIPES IN:

1995 MARKED THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY
OF THE NATION'S OLDEST BEAUTY CONTEST...
THE SARAH ROSE COSMETICS AMERICAN TEEN PRINCESS PAGEANT
A DOCUMENTARY FILM CREW WAS SENT TO
A SMALL TOWN IN MINNESOTA
TO COMMEMORATE THIS OCCASION.

INT. PAGEANT AUDITORIUM - MOUNT ROSE - DAY

Vintage blue-toned stock footage of a teenage beauty pageant
contestant. LEGS WIPE IN.

MALE PAGEANT ANNOUNCER (O.S.)
Sarah Rose knows you're a beautiful
person....

Blue-toned stock footage of a long row of beauty pageant
contestants on stage.

MALE PAGEANT ANNOUNCER
Sarah Rose knows you have an unusual
talent. Sarah Rose knows you're a
teenage girl.

Blue-toned stock footage of the row of contestants parading
down some steps from the stage as CAMERA TILTS DOWN.

MALE PAGEANT ANNOUNCER
Mmm, and she definitely knows that
you are ready for the ultimate teen
glamour.

ROUSING PATRIOTIC MUSIC. FAST PACED CUTS feature SMILING
TEENAGE CONTESTANTS dancing and waving American flags.
APPLAUSE!

MALE PAGEANT ANNOUNCER
The American Teen Princess Pageant.

Each contestant wears a BANNER ACROSS her dress reading:
AMERICAN TEEN PRINCESS.

MALE PAGEANT ANNOUNCER
And now, a few words...

ANGLE ON

Contestants DROP, ROLL and form a STAR. CHEERS!

MALE PAGEANT ANNOUNCER
...from last year's host, Mr. Adam
West.

ADAM WEST
The American Teen Princess Pageant
has been enriching the lives of
American-made girls since 1945.

TITLES FADE ON SCREEN: Adam West, TV's Batman, then FADE
OUT.

ADAM WEST
The American Teen Princess Pageant
provides personal growth, scholarship,
travel, and you...

Numerous contestants stand up in SHOT and SURROUND ADAM.

ADAM WEST
...might even meet a few celebrities.
At the national level, thousands of
seventeen year-old girls like
yourselves, compete around the country
in places like:

MALE PAGEANT ANNOUNCER (O.S.)
Beautiful Mount Rose, Minnesota.

ADAM WEST
And make it all the way here to
Lincoln, Alabama, to compete for the
title of American Teen Princess.

LIGHTS come UP on the teenaged girls in the pageant as they
pause. As they WAVE AMERICAN FLAGS. Adam West turns back to
the camera.

ADAM WEST
And now, a few words from last year's
host, Mr. Adam West.

Contestants strike a pose around him. THUNDEROUS CANNED
APPLAUSE!

ADAM WEST
(pointing to camera)
So, which one of you will it b --

SCREEN SUDDENLY STATIC.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM - DAY

SCENE FROM "DAYS OF OUR LIVES"

PULL BACK to reveal the VIDEO is on a TV in front of a GROUP
OF SEVENTEEN YEAR-OLD GIRLS, sitting in gym bleachers.

[NOTE: The film is shot documentary style. PEOPLE ARE REAL.
Their lives revolve around this pageant. All speak with a
THICK MINNESOTA ACCENT.]

THREE "CIVIL SERVETTES," the local women's group. [Picture
unattractive Stepford Wives in matching windbreakers] stand
beside GLADYS LEEMAN, 34, president. She STOPS THE VIDEO.

GLADYS LEEMAN
Good God, Iris, you taped your shows
over it.

IRIS
Sorry.

Gladys turns to the GIRLS in the bleachers.

SUPER: MOUNT ROSE, MINNESOTA POPULATION: 5,076

GLADYS LEEMAN
Now ladies, the rest of the tape --
which is now gone forever -- goes on
about startin' this great American
journey we call American Teen
Princess... Yah-so, any of you young
ladies who'd like to start on that
journey, you just come right down
here and sign up. And please... help
yourselves to some coffee and bars...

SMASH EDIT TO:

Gladys seated with middle-aged women.

GLADYS
Showtime.

SUPER: GLADYS LEEMAN, LOCAL CHAIRMAN, PAGEANT ORGANIZING
COMMITTEE.

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
Do you think that most people would
say that teenage beauty pageants are
a good idea?

GLADYS
Oh yah-sure, I know what some of
your big city, no bra wearin', hairy-
legged women's libbers say, "Pageants
are old-fashioned" and, uh, and
"demeaning" to the girls --

IRIS
(jumping in)
What's sick is women dressin' like
men!

Civil Servettes stare at her a beat.

GLADYS
Uh... You betcha, Iris.
(quickly, back to
camera)
Yah -- I think yous boys'll find
that things are different here in
Mount Rose...

Civil Servettes AD-LIB AGREEMENT.

GLADYS
For one thing, y'know, we're God
fearin' folk -- every last one of
us...

Civil Servettes AD-LIB AGREEMENT.

GLADYS
You won't find a back room in our
video store...

Servettes AD-LIB "AMEN. YAH -- YOU BETCHA." etc.

GLADYS
...that filth is better left in the
"Sin Cities."

IRIS
A.k.a. Minneapolis -- St. Paul.

PULL AWAY from MINNEAPOLIS SKYLINE to COUNTRYSIDE.

EXT. QUAINT MAIN STREET

The camera drives down the street.

EXT. PICTURESQUE MIDDLE-CLASS NEIGHBORHOODS

The camera drives down the street.

EXT. SUBURBAN HOUSE

A HAPPY FAMILY raises the AMERICAN FLAG.

EXT. SUBURBAN DRIVEWAY

BURLY GUYS look up from washing a FORD TRUCK.

EXT. TRAILER PARK

Sign next to it reads: "Welcome to Mount Rose, Home of Freda
Klinghagen, Minnesota's Oldest Living Lutheran" complete
with a photo of the extremely old woman smiling and waving.

EXT. CREW VAN

An ELDERLY COUPLE looks in the passenger window of the van.

ELDERLY MAN (MAYOR)
Oh, yah-sure, Freda, yah. She was
the oldest livin' Lutheran. Now she's
dead as a doornail. It's them damn
Shriners who ain't taken that Goddamn
sign down yet -- those lazy sons-a-
bitches... I tells 'em, I tells 'em
every goddamn year, "Take the Goddamn
Freda sign down, you lazy sons-a-
bitches!"

SUPER: MAYOR OF MOUNT ROSE

INT. GLADYS' VAN - DAY

Through the window a family waves to Gladys.

EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY

Two BOYS play basketball in the driveway of their home.

EXT. FRONT LAWN - DAY

SMALL CHILDREN in bathing suits play on a lawn. A boy shoots
his water pistol.

INT. LEEMAN STATION WAGON - AFTERNOON

Civil Servettes and crew are piled in. Gladys drives.

GLADYS
...Today's "To Do" list includes a
trip to the Mall of America. We need
outfits for the "Physical Fitness"
number --

IRIS
Nothin' too showy!

GLADYS
Y'betcha, Iris. We still need a third
judge and we need to think of a theme.

Servettes react with pleasure.

IRIS
Gladys -- Gladys! Look out!

A CAR SWERVES.

GLADYS
Oh, my!
(waving out window)
Hello, Father Donigan! Sidewalks,
sidewalks?

Iris mimes drinking, "glug, glug."

GLADYS
Iris, stop!
(to camera)
It's not his fault. The communal
wine just proves too temptin' for
some of them.

IRIS
That's why we Lutherans use grape
Koolaid for the blood of Christ.

EXT. MALL OF AMERICA

In the vast, already full parking lot, we see Gladys Leeman's
station wagon searching for a parking spot.

IRIS
Oh, there's a parking space over
there. Oh, no, that's just a compact.
Sorry.

GLADYS
You'd think they'd build the parking
lot of America to go with the Mall
of America!

Gladys pulls into a HANDICAPPED SPOT. Servettes and CAMERA
stand outside the car. Iris points at the sign.

IRIS
It's a two-hundred dollar fine!

GLADYS
I said I'd move if a cripple came.
Let's just run in the store and pick
out some outfits.

IRIS
All right, let's go.

EXT. MALL OF AMERICA PARKING LOT

Iris and another Servette start to get out of the car.

GLADYS
Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait!
Wait! I just thought of the theme.

Iris and the Servette stop.

IRIS
Oh! What is it?

GLADYS
"Proud... to be... an... American."

Servettes react with pleasure.

JUMP CUT TO:

INT. MOA PARKING LOT - MOMENTS LATER

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
So what was the theme of the pageant
last year?

GLADYS
Last year? It was, "Buy American."

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
And the year before that?

GLADYS
"U.S.A. is A-okay."

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
Can you remember the theme of your
favorite pageant?

GLADYS
"Can I? I'm Amer-I-Can!" People ask
me where I get this. I don't know,
it's... maybe a gift from God or
somethin'.

INT. MOUNT ROSE HIGH - GYM - DAY

PAN DOWN row of EIGHT GIRLS signing up and eating bars.

SUPER: LOCAL PAGEANT REGISTRATION, MOUNT ROSE HIGH SCHOOL

ANGLE ON

LESLIE MILLER -- sexy/peppy girl in CHEERLEADING UNIFORM.

LESLIE MILLER
...Hi.
(giggles)
I'm Leslie Miller. I'm signin' up
k'cause -- ah, y'know, I always watch
pageants on the TV and my boyfriend
thinks I'll win.

SUPER: CONTESTANT #3, LESLIE MILLER

She makes "gills" on the sides of her head with her hands.

LESLIE MILLER
For my talent, I'm gonna be doing
the..

Two FOOTBALL PLAYERS interrupt: PAT, her boyfriend, and BRETT,
who smiles and gives a nod to Amber. Pat grabs Leslie and
kisses her hard.

LESLIE
Uh, Pat, I'm trying to tell themabout
my... Oh...

Hormones take over and they lock lips again. She wraps her
legs around him. He feels up her ass. They continue groping
as her Washington Monument slips off.

CUT TO:

Leslie waves and blows kisses while performing a cheerleader
chant.

LESLIE MILLER
Hi, Pat! Go, Muskies! Whoo!

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM

AMBER ATKINS -- naturally pretty blonde, sweet as sugar pie,
stares into camera like a deer caught in headlights.

AMBER ATKINS
(suddenly looking
O.C.)
Hi, I -- I'm Amber Atkins and, um,
I'm signin' up k'cause, ah, my two
favorite people in the world competed.
My mom and Diane Sawyer... Course I
hope I end up a little more like
Diane Sawyer than my mom...

She flashes a GRIN, we melt.

INT. FUNERAL HOME/EMBALMING ROOM - DAY

Amber tap-dances as she applies make-up to a MALE CORPSE.

SUPER: CONTESTANT #1, AMBER ATKINS

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
Do you do any of the, uh, embalming?

AMBER
(laughing)
Oh, my God, no. Oh, God. I just do
the hair and makeup on the deceased.

EXT. ROAD - DAY

Amber tap dances at the side of the road as traffic passes.

AMBER (V.O.)
I'm lucky I have an after-school job
where I can practice my talent.

EXT. MOA PARKING LOT - DAY

GLADYS
Oh, yeah, sure. You know, every
pageant is special, but this one is
extra-special to me. When I was
seventeen, I don't know if you know
this, but I was crowned Mount Rose's
American Teen Princess. And this
year... drum roll please, my lovely
daughter, Rebecca Ann Leeman is
competin'.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL REBECCA LEEMAN stands in front of Amber and
addresses the camerman (O.S.).

BECKY
Is this my mark?
(it is)
Hi, I'm Rebecca Leeman. And I believe
this pageant is an important
experience for every young woman.
It, well, it teaches you what's really
important in life, and it has the
power to change you in ways you've
never dreamed of.

INT. GUN RANGE

Becky, in shooting goggles and ear muffs, FIRES a Glock-17
9mm pistol with both hands. Sign on wall reads: "Lutheran
Sisterhood Gun Club." (See Iona in b.g. with an arsenal of
sniper weaponry.)

BECKY
(yelling over noise)
...What?! Klinghagen thinks it'll
all come down to me and Amber?

Becky stops firing and takes off her hear muffs.

BECKY
Well, you have to take everything
Mrs. Klinghagen says with a grain of
salt. Not all your Catholics go to
communion for the wafers, if you
know what I mean...

JUMP CUT TO:

INT. LUTHERAN SISTERHOOD GUN RANGE - LATER

Becky thumbs bullets into her magazine as she talks.

BECKY
...Yah -- my mom gave me this nine-
mil for my thirteenth birthday...

SUPER: CONTESTANT #6, BECKY LEEMAN

I'll always remember what she wrote in the card. "Jesus loves
winners." That's why, no matter what I do...

She shoves the magazine back in her pistol.

BECKY
I aim to win.

She smiles to camera, then violently fires off a few rounds.
Zoom in on the MALE TARGET: several bullet holes in the head.

INT. "NEW YORK, NEW YORK" BEDROOM - DAY

It's all NEW YORK MEMORABILIA. Lisa Swenson -- big bubbly
girl -- sits on her bed.

LISA
Why? Well, uh, it's kind of like
askin', "Why do all the guys chew
Copenhagen?" You know? I mean, if
you're seventeen and you're not a
total fry, it's just what you do.

ETHEL MERMAN's "Everything's Coming Up Roses" PLAYS over
speakers.

SUPER: CONTESTANT #7, LISA SWENSON

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
Have you decided what your talent is
going to be yet?

LISA
I'm gonna sing and dance to, "New
York, New York." See, I fell in love
with The Big Apple last summer when
I was visitin' my brother. He followed
his dream to New York.

PICKS UP 8x10's, shows to camera.

LISA
This is Peter as Liza. This is him
as Madonna. Oh, here's me with him
as Barbara...

INT. "GERMAN SHEPHERD" BEDROOM - DAY

TESS WEINHAUS, wearing an "I love German Shepherds" t-shirt.
The room is filled with German Shepherd paraphernalia.

TESS
Uh... I don't know what my talent's
gonna be yet...

SUPER: CONTESTANT #3, TESS WEINHAUS

TESS
Kenny. Kenny, come. Come, Kenny.

A DACHSHUND enters and jumps on her lap.

TESS
This is Kenny. Spike, my German
Shepherd, went to live with a nice
family on a farm after he attacked
me. It wasn't his fault. I had beef
jerky in my front pocket.
(pulling up shirt)
They re-made my belly with skin from
my butt.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. SCHOOL LIBRARY - DAY

IONA HILDERBRANDT -- librarian, 65+ -- stamps books.

SUPER: IONA HILDERBRANDT, MOUNT ROSE AMERICAN TEEN PRINCESS -
1945

IONA HILDERBRANTDT
(smoked for sixty
years)
I was Mount Rose American Teen
Princess in 1945. We were at war
with the Japs.

ANGLE ON

A vintage B&W photograph of 18-year-old IONA HILDERBRANDT,
looking surprised with hands on cheeks, is being crowned
MOUNT ROSE AMERICAN TEEN PRINCESS by TWO SOLDIERS on a GYM
STAGE.

YOUNG IONA, wearing TIARA, stands with SOLDIERS and WAR
OFFICIALS beside a boiling pot of metal.

IONA HILDERBRANTDT (V.O.)
I didn't even get to keep my damn
tiara.

Iona's about to drop her tiara into a recycling bin.

IONA HILDERBRANTDT
Had to turn it in for scrap.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. MOLLY HOWARD'S LIVING ROOM

MOLLY HOWARD, a large white girl, sits between a JAPANESE
COUPLE, Mr. and Mrs. HOWARD.

SUPER: CONTESTANT #5, MOLLY HOWARD

MR. HOWARD
(heavy accent)
...So we adopt Molly three year ago
when we come to America, to help
acclimate us to American.

MOLLY
(smiling)
To America, Dad.

Mr. Howard laughs.

MRS. HOWARD
She all-American girl. She our
American Teen Princess girl.

MOLLY
Oh, Mom...

The Howard's biological daughter (they renamed her "TINA")
ENTERS FRAME. Although she's the picture of beauty, grace,
talent and charm, she represents their old life.

TINA
(in Japanese)
Excuse me, Father, Mother, when are
we moving back to Tokyo? I can't
stand this place anymore. They put
butter on everything.

MR. HOWARD
(turning, suddenly
angry)
English! English, you stupid little
retard! We America now, Tina!

TINA
(perfect English)
I'm sorry, Dad, but with all due
respect, my name isn't "Tina," it's
Seiko.

MR. HOWARD
Tina! Tina!! TINA!!!

MRS. HOWARD
"Robert," settle down.

MR. HOWARD
(screaming)
AHHHHHH!

Mr. Howard suddenly grabs his chest.

JUMP CUT TO:

INT. MOLLY HOWARD'S LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

Same scene. Mr. Howard is gone.

TINA
Mom, I just finished the third
movement of that concerto I was
working on. I put, like, this techno
beat on this Japanese folk tune --
wanna hear it?

MR. HOWARD
(running down the
hall)
No! We not like to hear it! Go to
your room and shut up!

TINA
Oh, I almost forgot...
(removing envelope
from pocket)
I got my acceptance to Tokyo
University.

MR. HOWARD
What, you deaf? I say shut up --
shut up -- SHUT UP!
(coming at camera)
Cut her outta this!

JUMP CUT TO:

INT. MOLLY HOWARD'S LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

Same scene on couch.

MR. HOWARD
Now Molly, tell movie man what you
talent do.

MOLLY
I'll be line dancin'.

MR. HOWARD
(giving thumbs up)
Country western!

MRS. HOWARD
Clint Black! Ruff!

MR. HOWARD
Hey, what he got I not got?

They all laugh.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM - STAGE

CLOSE ON Michelle Johanson's face.

MICHELLE
...Yah -- I'll be performing a
dramatic monologue.

SUPER: CONTESTANT #2, MICHELLE JOHANSON

MICHELLE
Right now, I'm thinkin' "Othello"
or... "Soylent Green." Lots of girls
make a smooth transition from pageants
into actin', y'know.

SMASH CUT TO:

LOCAL TV COMMERCIAL (VIDEO)

CONNIE, mid-30's, Midwestern attractive, wearing a sash and
tiara, stands in front of a BLUE SCREEN of a FOREST.

CONNIE
Competin' for the title of Minnesota's
American Teen Princess sure was
excitin'. But, I never coulda won
without my...

PULL BACK to reveal a table full of PORK PRODUCTS.

CONNIE
St. Paul Pork Products!

LOCAL TV COMMERCIAL (VIDEO)

SCREEN CHANGES to OUTSIDE FACTORY/STOCK YARDS. Connie now
wears a coat and hat and acts as if it's chilly.

CONNIE
I've been enjoyin' St. Paul Pork
Products for years. I grew up right
next to these stock yards.

SCREEN CHANGES to VIDEO of a SLAUGHTER LINE. PIG CARCASSES
move on hooks. Connie wears a hard hat and blood stained
butcher's apron.

CONNIE
It's still the same family-run
business that Walter and Vera Polarski
started in 1920 when they raised and
slaughtered their first pig.

Connie grabs a HOT DOG from O.C. and takes a bite.

CONNIE
Mmm-mmmm. I just love St. Paul Pork
Products. In fact, I love 'em so
much

LOCAL TV COMMERCIAL (VIDEO)

SLIDE CHANGES to VIDEO of the SAUSAGE LINE. Workers stuff
sausages. Connie wears a white jumpsuit and hairnet.

CONNIE
I work here now!

INT. BETZ LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

MRS. BETZ, a large woman, holds a tray of bars. CREW MEMBERS
REACH IN THE SHOT and help themselves. JANELLE BETZ sits on
the couch, SIGNING EVERYTHING she says.

JANELLE
(slow, due to signing)
...My talent will be an interpretive
dance while I sing, "Through the
Eyes of Love." I have a dream of
spreadin' sign language around the
world... Mom? Would you be so kind?

SUPER: CONTESTANT #8, JANELLE BETZ

JANELLE
Yeah. Well, see, uh, I have a dream
of spreading sign language around
the world.
(to Mrs. Betz)
Mom, would you be so kind.

Mrs. Betz quickly puts down the bars and goes to the piano
where she starts "Through the Eyes of Love." Janelle begins
to gesticulate and sign words in an overly dramatic
performance that looks like a bizarre seizure. SOUND
occasionally DIPS OUT as the BOOM OPERATOR reaches for bars.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM - LATER

TAMMY CURRY -- a cute, jock-type. She wears a LETTER JACKET,
covered with VARSITY SPORTS PATCHES.

TAMMY CURRY
Tammy Curry. I'm signin' up for the
scholarship'n'all.

SMASH CUT TO:

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM

She POINTS to VARIOUS PATCHES on her LETTER JACKET.

TAMMY CURRY
...This one's for Varsity Soccer,
uh, I'm captain.
(pointing)
I run track, and, uh...
(points to small gun
patch)
Right here, I'm the new President of
the Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club...

ANGLE ON

LSGC PRESIDENT logo patch.

TAMMY CURRY
I love that one.

EXT. FARM FIELD

Shot from crew van. Sun is setting behind a lovely field of
green. A John Deere Thresher travels across the burning red
horizon.

DOCUMENTARIAN (V.O.)
Would you say you have a good chance
to win this pageant?

SUPER: CONTESTANT #9, TAMMY CURRY

TAMMY (V.O.)
Yeah, you bet I do. I mean, maybe
other people think I can't win a
beauty pageant. But other people
didn't think I could beat out Becky
Leeman for President of the gun club,
either. And I did. I -- I -- It's
just like Anthony Robbins says, "I'm
a winner. Nobody can stop me but
me!"

KABLOOM! Tammy's John Deere thresher BLOWS UP!

INT. LUTHERAN CHURCH BASEMENT - KITCHEN AREA - NIGHT

CLOSE ON framed school photo of Tammy Curry. PULL BACK to
see her letter jacket -- scorched and torn (Lutheran Gun
Club patch is MISSING) -- and flowers. CONTINUE PULLING BACK
to reveal both are surrounded by buns, bars and coffee on a
long buffet table. A line of somber and repressed Lutherans
help themselves to the food. Servettes stand at the ready.
Gladys and Iris face the camera.

GLADYS
Well, you know, I think everyone's
doing really well considering the
fact that she was so young.

IRIS
It's always hard to see the young
ones called home, especially on an
exploding thresher. It's just so odd
and gross.

GLADYS
You know that sometimes it's hard to
understand God's great plan.

IRIS
Yeah.

Iris pats Gladys on the shoulder.

FEMALE MOURNER #1
May I have a tissue?

GLADYS
But the show must go on.
(she faces Iris)
I gotta get a hold of Ted and ask
him if we can use that barn light as
a spot again. So you watch the Jell-
o salad, okay?

IRIS
All right. Okay.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM - LATER

It's smokey as hell. THREE "FRY" GIRLS and a PREGNANT "FRY"
GIRL -- all with "shelf bangs" -- smoke and drink.

FRY GIRL #1
...Oh, yeah-right. I ain't gonna be
in no goddamn pageant! Look what
happened to that dork-ass farm girl.

PREGNANT FRY GIRL (O.S.)
Tammy Curry?

FRY GIRL #1
Yah -- yah. Everyone says this is a
big accident? She got iced because
she wins everything, and this time
someone didn't want her to win.

PREGNANT FRY GIRL
This pageant's like a roach motel.

FRY GIRL #1
Girls check in, but they don't check
out.

PREGNANT FRY GIRL
Yeah. And they say smokin' is bad
for your health.

FRY GIRL #1
(raising cigarette
into frame)
Yeah.

EXT. OLD TWO STORY HOUSE - ESTABLISHING - DAY

SIGN painted on GARAGE DOOR: "Dance Studio, Downstairs past
the Laundry Room."

CAMERA moves DOWNSTAIRS to converted basement. LISA SWENSON
and two other large "ballerinas" practice at a 2x4/ballet
barre. MOZART plays in the b.g. CHLORIS KLINGHAGEN watches
and smokes. (Picture Betty Davis in her final days.)

CHLORIS
And tendu. Close. Tendu. Close. Tendu.
Close. Plie. And repeat. Suck in the
belly, girls, and tuck in the tushes!

SUPER: CHLORIS KLINGHAGEN, CHOREOGRAPHER

CHLORIS
Close those legs! You look like a
bunch of bowlegged cows! Other side.
And... tendu. Close. Tendu. Close.
Tendu. Close. Plie.

CUT TO:

Chloris smokes and talks to camera. "Ballerinas" practice.

CHLORIS
Yeah, you boys sure picked a good
year. If I was a betting woman, and
there was a line on this in Vegas,
I'd lay down ten-to-one that it all
comes down to Amber Atkins and Becky
Leeman. Oh, sweet Jesus, what a
showdown this could be if Cain and
Abel...

The SOUND RECORDIST enters and Lisa spins out of control,
taking him out. She leans over and comforts him.

LISA
Ow! Oh, God. It's so em -- so
embarrassing.

EST. SHOT - "DAKOTA COUNTY EATING DISORDERS CLINIC" - DAY

MARY (V.O.)
(labored breaths)
My winning... the Mount Rose...

INT. PATIENT'S ROOM - DAY

SMILING ANOREXIC GIRL sits in bed -- a TIARA in what's left
of her hair and a SASH over her hospital gown.

MARY
...American Teen Princess Pageant...

SUPER: MARY JOHANSON, REIGNING MOUNT ROSE AMERICAN TEEN
PRINCESS

MARY
...really changed my life.

The TIARA SLIPS OFF her BALDING HEAD and rolls to the floor.

INT. DAKOTA COUNTY EATING DISORDERS CLINIC - MARY'S ROOM

Amber fixes Mary's hair, carefully brushing her balding head.
Mary smiles, oblivious.

MARY
(labored breaths)
...Amber does my hair... once a week.

AMBER
(flattered and
embarrassed)
Well... it's the least I can do for
the reigning Mount Rose Junior Miss
Amer --

Amber pulls the brush away with a clump of Mary's hair
dangling from it.

AMBER
Oh God...

MARY
What?

AMBER
Huh? Oh... Uh, just a little snarl...

Amber mouths, "Shhh! Don't tell!" to camera as she tries to
pull the clump of hair from the brush.

JUMP CUT TO:

INT. DAKOTA COUNTY EATING DISORDERS CLINIC - MARY'S ROOM

Amber ties the tiara and missing clump of hair to Mary's
head with a ribbon.

AMBER
There we go.

She holds the mirror for Mary.

MARY
(delusional)
Beautiful... Maybe next week... a
perm.

AMBER
Yah... sure...

Amber gives a kind but worried smile to camera. Suddenly,
Becky Leeman enters with a large box of chocolates. She's
fully aware of the cameras from the moment she enters.

BECKY
Hellooo, Little Mary Sunshine!
(pretending to notice
camera)
What?! Oh -- oh my God! Lights!
Camera! And me without a stitch of
make-up on. What are you guys doin'
here?

She's in full make-up.

AMBER
What're you doin' here?

BECKY
Oh, Amber, like you're the only one
who visits Mary.

MARY
(to Becky)
Who are you?

BECKY
(covering)
"Who are you?!" Oh Mary, you kill
me.
(to camera)
She always says that. It's a little
game we play. Every week -- same
dippy little look on her face. "Who
are you -- who are you?" Just like
that.
(in Mary's face)
It's me -- Becky -- and I brought
your favorites.

Becky puts the chocolates on Mary's lap, a few spill.
Throughout the following, Mary slowly reaches for them as if
they're forbidden fruit and she's a very hungry Eve.

AMBER
How nice, Becky, she's anorexic.

Becky roughly puts her hands over Mary's ears, who's now
gently petting the spilled chocolates in her lap.

BECKY
(sotto, reprimanding
tone)
She's skinny, not deaf, Amber.

EXT. TRAILER - LATE AFTERNOON

MONTAGE -- Amber taps around the mobile home community, HOME
FROM SCHOOL -- backpack, Walkman, cool music blaring.

INT. TRAILER - AMBER'S BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER

Amber stands in a room the SIZE OF A CLOSET. Posters, articles
and pictures of great tap dancers and Diane Sawyer cover the
walls.

AMBER
...Dreams? Yah-sure I got 'em...
Sometimes I dream of winnin'... I
dream of gettin' outta Mount Rose
and bein' a big time reporter like
Diane Sawyer. I mean, guys get outta
Mount Rose all the time for hockey
scholarships or prison. But the
pageant's kinda my only chance.

INT. TRAILER - AMBER'S BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER

Amber points to LARGE PAGEANT PHOTO OF DIANE SAWYER - 1963

AMBER
...Yah -- 1963. Her beauty worked
against her when she started as a
reporter in Louisville, her hometown.
Those were different times.

ANNETTE (O.S.)
(yelling, coughing)
Hey, Amber, y'get my smokes?

AMBER
(smiling)
That's my mom.
(yelling)
I'll get 'em in a sec.

ANNETTE ATKINS, Amber's mom -- sexy, but tired -- OPENS THE
DOOR.

ANNETTE
(surprised by cameras)
Oh shit!

AMBER
They're from L.A. They wanted to see
my room and film me for their movie.

ANNETTE
(mock-touched, to
crew)
Oh... How quickly they grow up.
(exiting, smiling)
Hey, if they ask you to take off
your shirt, get the money first.

Annette is gone.

ANNETTE
And go get my smokes!

JUMP CUT TO:

EST. SHOT - LEEMAN FAMILY HOME - DAY

Landscaped grounds surround this lovely two-story.

INT. LEEMAN HOME - VARIOUS ROOMS

Brief "LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH & FAMOUS" montage of Gladys
showing off interiors to the theme from "GONE WITH THE WIND."

INT. LEEMAN HOME - LIVING ROOM - DAY

It looks like a Levitz showroom. Gladys sits stiffly between
Becky and her husband, LESTER -- mid-60's, gruff, "old school"
salesman, drink in hand.

LESTER
...You betcha. S'posed to be colder-
n-a witches tit tonight...

GLADYS
(nervous laugh)
Oh, Lester. He loves his weather,
y'know.

LESTER
(looking to crew,
O.S.)
Hey, ya like it? Open it... Yah --
the globe. Pull at the equator there.

GLADYS
We're not in the showroom, Dear.

Banging and fumbling. A CORKSCREW flies into shot -- CREW
GUY quickly ENTERS SHOT and grabs it.

LESTER
Fits three full-size booze bottles.
The cassette deck pulls outta
Afghanistan, there.

BECKY
(embarrassed)
Mommm...

GLADYS
Lester?

LESTER
Oh, all right
(to camera)
How soon they forget where all this
comes from.

BECKY
Japan.

LESTER
That's enough, young lady.

JUMP CUT TO:

INT. LEEMAN HOME - LIVING ROOM - LATER

GLADYS
"Impartial?" Outside this house I'm
Gladys Leeman, President, Civil
Servettes -- impartial as the day is
long. But we're inside my home now
and I've gotta warn you, I'm wearin'
my "wife apron" and "mom hat." So, I
can safely say that I'm the mother
of the most talented contestant Mount
Rose has ever seen.

JUMP CUT TO:

INT. LEEMAN HOME - LIVING ROOM - LATER

Lester's gone from the couch.

GLADYS
I'll field that one -- Rebecca's
saving her voice.

Becky smiles admiringly at Gladys.

GLADYS
You-betcha, Rebecca's ready. She's
been singin' and dancin' since she
was knee high to a pig's eye.

Lester returns to the couch, large drink in hand.

LESTER
Yah -- she's damn near as good as
that little black fella -- with the
glass eye.

GLADYS
Sammy Davis, Jr., honey.

LESTER
Yeah, yeah, the Jew.

BECKY
Nice one, Dad. He's dead.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM

Same scene. BOYS' WRESTLING TEAM -- tight singlets -- runs
laps around gym -- between Servettes and camera.

GLADYS
...Yah-then, for the "Judges
Interview," each girl has a ten minute
get-together with the judges before
the pageant...

Gladys is distracted by the HARD, YOUNG bodies. All are.

GLADYS
Yes, the Judges Interview... Each
girl has a ten minute get-together
with the judges prior to the pageant.
Then we have the...

A HUNKY WRESTLER, TONY, waves.

GLADYS
Hello, Tony.

TONY
Hey.

GLADYS
"Hey" to the folks.

TONY
Yeah, all right.

IRIS
The Judges Interview.

EXT. DRUGSTORE - MAIN STREET - DAY

JOHN DOUGH -- pharmacist, 30-ish, thin, nervous -- chain
smokes outside the drugstore.

SUPER: JUDGE #1, JOHN DOUGH

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
So you've, uh, you've judged a lot
of pageants over the years?

JOHN
Nope. No. Uh-uh. Never judged a
pageant before in my life. Nope. No
way. Never around young girls. Even
if I was, why would I wanna be,
y'know? I -- I -- I don't get off on
that kinda thing and that's really
why you're askin', right? S-someone
say somethin'?

EXT. HAROLD'S HARDWARE HANK - MAIN STREET - DAY

HAROLD -- owner, late 40's -- stands in front of this grubby
little store front with his MILDLY RETARDED BROTHER, HANK,
who SNIFFS and MUMBLES CONSTANTLY.

SUPER: JUDGE #2, HAROLD VILMES

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
Do you judge the pageant every year?

HAROLD
...Nope. Never judged nothin' afore --

HANK
(pointing at camera)
Are we on "Cops?" Are we on "Cops?"
Are we on "Cops?"

HAROLD
Shut up, Hank. This here's business.

Harold CUFFS Hank.

HANK
Ow, Harold -- Mom said not the head.

HAROLD
Well, Mom's dead, so shut your fly
trap.

HANK
I will if you shut your piehole.

HAROLD
Don't make me kick-ya where the good
Lord split-ya.

Harold raises his hand, Hank FLINCHES and

EXT. HAROLD'S HARDWARE HANK -- LATER

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
So are you excited?

HAROLD
...Oh you betcha! We're happier than
the day Hanky got acquitted. I get
made a judge, then the furniture
store hires us to paint the whole
damn thing.
(removing cap)
We're gonna use the money to get our
mamma a proper headstone. Oh, and
move her out to the cemetery.

Suddenly, Hank runs full speed into the window. BAM! He falls
to the ground inside.

INT. LEEMAN FURNITURE SHOWROOM - DAY

Follow Lester around cheesy room displays. JEAN KANGAS, his
meek, middle-aged secretary follows him everywhere. Lester
CALLS OUT to a YOUNG COUPLE sitting in a dining room.

LESTER
Hey Tim, Carla -- if yous kids don't
try to Jew me down none, I'll throw
in a matchin' hutch.

The COUPLE smiles excitedly.

LESTER
(to camera)
See, that there's my specialty. Don't
pay me less and I'll give ya more.
(sotto)
Secret is, the hutch is included in
the price. Ain't that right, Jean?

Lester smacks Jean on the ass.

SUPER: JUDGE #3, JEAN KANGAS.

LESTER
Take a memo, sweetheart.

EXT. CHLORIS KLINHAGEN HOUSE - GARAGE DOOR

REHEARSAL MONTAGE BEGINS OVER MUSIC.

Contestants run out the side door as if running on stage.
Tess Weinhaus trips and falls, causing a chain reaction.

EXT. CHLORIS KLINHAGEN HOUSE - GARAGE DOOR - LATER

Now contestants run out carrying small wooden step ladders.
As they reach the CHORUS LINE, they set the ladder down and
LEAP FROG over.

SUPER: FIRST DANCE REHEARSAL -- 1 WEEK BEFORE PAGEANT

CHLORIS
Four, five, six, seven. And one.

Tess runs out, sets her ladder down, jumps and hits mid-
crotch. She then slides painfully down to the ground.

CHLORIS
Put that chair away! Get it! Come
on! Get it!

Amber TWIRLS perfectly.

CHLORIS
All right. Let's go. Let's go.

EXT. CHLORIS KLINHAGEN HOUSE - SIDEWALK - CONTINUOUS

PAN ACROSS NEIGHBORS' sitting in lawn chairs, enjoying the
music and the show. END ON JOHN DOUGH, leaning against his
car, smoking and holding a video camera at his side.

EXT. CHLORIS KLINHAGEN'S HOUSE - FRONT LAWN

PAN DOWN row doing a seated chorus line on ladders. Most
suck. Amber and Becky look great. Tess sits on the grass
with a bag of ice on her crotch.

EXT. CHLORIS KLINGHAGEN HOUSE - SIDEWALK

On John Dough, beside his car.

JOHN
I'm just out here watching the young
girls -- contestants -- like the
rest of my friends and neighbors...

John quickly turns and starts to pry the hood open.

ANGLE ON

Pat and Brett watch the girls. Pat admires Amber's moves.

PAT
(re: Amber)
Are you gettin' her? Uh, the third
one, the blonde one.

BRETT
Hey.

PAT
See? Right over there. Right over
there.

Brett slaps Pat on the back.

BRETT
Leave him alone, leave him alone.
It's okay.

EXT. CHLORIS KLINHAGEN'S HOUSE - FRONT LAWN

John, his car hood open, is caught aiming his video camera
at the girls performing a dance. They wear partially
constructed U.S. Monument Headdresses.

JOHN
Oh, this is just a... camera. I keep
it in the glove compartment for car
accidents. Insurance... You guys got
a camera and no one's accusin' you
of anything, right?

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - KITCHEN

Move through kitchen. LUNCH LADIES haul, serve and prepare
food. Pan over to Amber, who's unhappily scraping and spraying
lunch trays as they're dropped off at her window. Becky,
flirting her ass off, comes to the window with Brett, handsome
football player we saw before. Both carry trays.

BECKY
So, Brett, do you wanna go to the
lake with me on Thursday?

BRETT
Um, actually, I got practice on
Thursday.

BECKY
...Yah-well, maybe Friday, then. A
bunch of us were gonna go cow-tippin'.

SUPER: BRETT CLEMMENS, CAPTAIN, MOUNT ROSE HIGH SCHOOL
FOOTBALL TEAM

BRETT
(seeing Amber)
Uh, I -- uh -- I'm kinda busy Friday.

Amber looks up to see Brett looking at her. He smiles. She
smiles. You can feel the attraction. Amber becomes girlishly
self-conscious -- adjusting her rubber apron and brushing
hair out of her eyes with her big rubber gloves.

BRETT
(to Amber)
Hi...

AMBER
Hi.

Becky notices their attraction and goes from flirt to uber-
bitch in a heartbeat.

BECKY
Giver her your tray, Brett. You're
holdin' up the line.

Brett looks at Beck, then at Amber, not wanting to make her
clean his tray.

BRETT
Uh...

BECKY
Give it to her!

AMBER
Here, I'll take it. It's my job.

BRETT
NO...
(looking at Becky)
It's all right. I got it. Don't worry
about it.

He takes the sprayer from a surprised Amber and starts to
clean off his own tray. Becky can't believe his defiance.

AMBER
Well, you're supposed to put it in
the...

Becky THROWS her tray on the counter spraying Amber with
food as she storms off.

BRETT
Oh man, you got leutefisk in your
hair.

AMBER
Then it must be Wednesday.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL LIBRARY

Same scene as "funeral bun" explanation.

IONA
Leutefisk is Cod Fish that's been
salted and soaked in lye for a week
or so. It's best with lots-a butter.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - KITCHEN

Same scene. Brett removes the offending leutefisk.

BRETT
So, uh, I -- I'm not really busy
Friday. I just said that -- y'know.

AMBER
I know.

BRETT
So if, uh, you wanted to do
somethin'...

AMBER/BRETT
Huntin' season.

Shocked at the coincidence, they share a laugh.

BRETT
Well, uh, I'm cuttin' out early today
to do a little duck huntin'... but,
uh, maybe I could call you tonight.

AMBER
Yah-sure, fine... fine.

BRETT
Okay... well, bye.

AMBER
Bye.

Amber smiles, gives a shy little wave -- then, to camera.

AMBER
Oh, God -- you don't think Becky saw
you guys, do you?
(nervously looking
around)
Look, you just shouldn't be in here...

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
It's okay. Doreen gave us hair nets.

AMBER
No, listen.
(whispering as she
exits)
We shouldn't talk here. Stop by my
house tonight, okay?

She looks around and motions them to rush off.

EXT. HIGHWAY NEAR TRAILER PARK - EVENING

From the CREW VAN we pass the crappy trailer homes that are
off the Highway. (Patsy Cline's "King Of The Road" PLAYS on
the radio).

EXT./INT. ATKINS TRAILER - EVENING

Camera approaches the trailer. SIGN on the door reads
"Annette's Family Hair Care."

Inside, the kitchen has been turned into a mini hair salon.
Annette gives Loretta, neighbor, mid-50's -- a bouffant.

LORETTA
What do you mean, they take out her
butt?

ANNETTE
(seeing camera in
window)
Oh, Jesus H. Christ!

LORETTA
Are we on "Cops" again?

ANNETTE
You could be quiet.

LORETTA
Hi.

ANNETTE
Hi.

JUMP CUT TO:

INT. ATKINS TRAILER - MOMENTS LATER

ANNETTE
It's just the guys that are... you
know, makin' the movie about the
pageant. I told you about 'em.

LORETTA
Oh, naw. Hi.

ANNETTE
This here's Loretta.

LORETTA
I tell Annette, I says, "You talk to
me durin' my stories, you might as
well be talkin' to the wall."
(then)
You guys want a beer?

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
No, thank you. Is Amber here?

ANNETTE
No. You just missed her. Amber got
called in to the bone gardens tonight.
You just missed her. She's in a
helluva mood today, anyways.

LORETTA
Say, yous boys been to the Leeman's?

ANNETTE
Loretta, shut it.

LORETTA
Y'know, if you have, you got all the
pictures of the winner you need.

ANNETTE
Shut it up, Loretta.

LORETTA
Oh, Christ, it's true.

Annette begins to comb out Loretta's hair.

LORETTA
(drinking beer)
Let's just say who should win, who
deserves to win is Amber.

ANNETTE
(mumbled to self)
Why don't you paint a big red target
on your ass, Loretta.

LORETTA
She's the prettiest, y'know. The
best damn tapper. The most smartest...

ANNETTE
"Most smartest?" Oh, that's good,
Loretta. Make sure you get a picture
of that. "Most smartest." We're cuttin
you off and sendin' you home.

Annette takes Loretta's beer, starts to push her out.

LORETTA
Well, excuse me, Annette, but I'm
braggin' up your kid, here.
(to crew)
Amber's gonna be the next Diane
Sawyer, y'know...

ANNETTE
I'll be right back. See ya later.

CAMERA follows Annette and Loretta.

ANNETTE
They're makin' a movie, here, goddamn
it.

LORETTA
All right, they're makin' a movie.

ANNETTE
You don't know where this is gonna...

LORETTA
I got a hairdo.

JUMP CUT TO:

EXT./INT. ATKINS TRAILER - EVENING

Loretta holds onto the door frame so Annette can't push her
out.

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
What makes you think that Becky's
going to win?

LORETTA
Why do I think Becky'll win? You're
talkin'...
(to Annette)
Don't pinch!
(back into camera)
You're talkin' 'bout the richest
family in a small town. It's front
page news when one of 'em takes a
shit.
(she laughs hard)
Can one of yous boys give me a ride
home?

ANNETTE
Don't fall for it. She lives two
trailers down.

LORETTA
So? Be real easy.

ANNETTE
Go on home, Loretta. Come on. Go on,
the party's over.

LORETTA
Anyone?

INT. LARSON FUNERAL HOME - HALLWAY - NIGHT

A small sign on the door reads: "EMBALMING - Please Knock!"

PUSH INTO ROOM. Amber, back to us, frantically applies blusher
to an OLD WOMAN. Another BODY, covered with a white sheet,
is on the embalming slab. The top and brim of a HUNTING CAP
can be seen. She TURNS AROUND to see the crew.

AMBER
(surprised)
Ahhh! Je-sus-Christ-on-a-cross!
(catching breath)
Look, number one rule in a funeral
home -- never sneak up on the livin'.
You never know who could have an
embalming needle or skull saw in
their hand. Mr. Larson's son learned
that the hard way -- he's buried
next to my Grandpa!

Amber turns to the slab to continue working. She pulls off
the SHEET to reveal BRETT, handsome football player, still
wearing his hunting plaid.

JUMP CUT TO:

INT. EMBALMING ROOM - LATER

DOCUMENTARIAN

AMBER
(covering real emotions)
Upset about Brett? Nah. Hazard of
the trade. I don't really have time
for guys anyways. It's weird, though.
He took it right between the eyes.
Don't often see that.

EXT. GUN RANGE - DAY

Becky thumbs bullets into a 12-gauge pump shotgun.

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
So you know, Brett just got shot in
the head.

BECKY
(cool as a cucumber)
He did? Well, huntin's dangerous...
So, anyways, my mom gave me this 30-
aught for my sixteenth birthday...

INT. EMBALMING ROOM - LATER

Amber wipes her eyes when Mr. Larson bursts in.

MR. LARSON
Amber, I need Stella now!

SUPER: MR. LARSON, OWNER, LARSON FUNERAL PARLOR

MR. LARSON
The family's steamin' like a cow pie
in July. Said she didn't look nothin'
like the picture they gave you.

Amber turns from Brett and closes the coffin.

AMBER
Sorry. I just thought she might not
wanna meet her Maker lookin' like a
cheap whore.

MR. LARSON
Well, your "cheap whore" is this
family's "lovin' mother."
(pointing at Brett)
The Clemens said to make him look
like he just came from snowmobilin'.
Pink cheeks, and...

AMBER
(starting to mist up)
-- red nose and ears. I know, I know.

Mr. Larson PULLS Stella's coffin out.

INT. EMBALMING ROOM - LATER

An obviously upset Amber puts make-up on Brett.

AMBER
Sorry I couldn't talk today 'cause...
I'm scared, okay?
(deep breath)
I open my locker right after first
period and there's a picture of Tammy
Curry taped inside.

JUMP CUT TO:

INT. EMBALMING ROOM - LATER

Amber holds up a snapshot of a SMILING GIRL on a THRESHER.

AMBER
This was written on back.

She turns the picture over to reveal, "YOU'RE NEXT!"

EXT. MOUNT ROSE - STREET

TWIN OFFICERS lean against their car. One prepares to pack
some snuff.

TWIN OFFICER #1
Oh-yah, helluva way to go, there.
After some extensive investigation,
we figure the Curry girl musta been
drivin' and smokin' and KABLEWEY!

TWIN OFFICER #2
(holding a Skoal tin)
Not enough left of her to fill a
tin.

He puts a pinch between his cheek and gum.

INT. EMBALMING ROOM - LATER

A visibly upset Amber still applies make-up to Brett.

AMBER
Yah-sure, Tammy liked to driver her
dad's thresher -- she said the heavy
vibration helped her think, y'know?
But I know for a fact she only smoked
after a good drive. You ask me or
anyone else who isn't scared to talk
about it -- Tammy was murdered.
(holding back tears)
God, I bet Diane Sawyer never had to
deal with crap like this...
(to crew guy)
Toss me "Caucasian #5," would ya?

A crew guy walks IN FRAME and hands her a make-up jar.

AMBER
Man, I can't wait for fishin'
season...

Mr. Larson bursts in, white as a corpse.

MR. LARSON
Amber...

AMBER
No, don't say it. Another stray bullet
to the head.

She adjusts Brett's red plaid hunting cap.

AMBER
I'm gonna need more caps.

MR. LARSON
You hafta go home. There's some kinda
emergency at the trailer park.

AMBER
Relax, that's my ma's code for, "Bring
home milk and a carton-a Luckys."

MR. LARSON
No. Loretta called. There's been
a... a fire.

She grabs the keys and RUNS OUT.

EXT. TRAILER PARK STREET/INT. HEARSE - NIGHT

Amber drives fast and furious as we come to what's left of
her trailer. All the NEIGHBORS are out drinkin' beers, eatin'
food and watchin' the excitement.

AMBER
Oh my God -- no! Is my mom okay? Was
she home?

Hearse SCREECHES to a halt. We hear a THUD, then MOANS from
in back. Amber jumps out. Camera follows, a la "COPS." It's
pandemonium with fire trucks, neighbors, an ambulance, etc.

AMBER
Mom! Mom!? MOMMMM!

Loretta runs up to Amber as TWO FIREMEN approach.

FIREMAN #1
You family?

LORETTA
No, she's just screamin' "Mom, Mom!"
'cause she's got Tourettes... She's
Annette's kid, dipshit.

AMBER
(to Loretta)
Is Mom okay?

LORETTA
She's alive, sweetie.

AMBER
Where is she?!

LORETTA
She's right over there.

Camera pans over to see a semi-conscious Annette as they
load her stretcher into the ambulance, shut the doors and
start to pull away. Amber runs after them.

AMBER
Mommmm! I'll be right behind you in
the hearse!

LORETTA
Don't let that worry you, Annette!

EST. SHOT - FARMINGTON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL - NIGHT

INT. HOSPITAL - ANNETTE'S ROOM

A DOCTOR, Amber and Loretta stand beside Annette, who's got
an I.V., bandages and her LEFT HAND wrapped and ELEVATED.

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
So, doctor, is this sort of an unusual
injury here?

DOCTOR
Oh you betcha, this was a doozy.
Right now, our chief concern is to
stabilize Annette, then, in surgery,
remove this here.

Removing BANDAGE to reveal BEER CAN, still held in her hand.

AMBER
Oh, Mom, it's so ugly.

ANNETTE
Ruined a brand-new pair of Lee Press-
ons.
(weak)
Well, I sat down for a beer and KA-
BLEWEY! Next thing I know, somethin'
blows through my kitchen window.
Next thing I know, I'm ass up in
Loretta's flower bed.

EXT. TRAILER PARK - DUSK

SHAKY VIDEO of a 15 year-old rocker KID from the NECK

ROCKER KID #1
(Beavis with a MN
accent)
Yah-dude, put another fuckin' book
under it.

ROCKER KID #2 (O.S.)
Don't say "fuckin'." My ma's got the
windows open.

CAMERA MOVES, then steadies. We see all of Rocker Kid #1.
Rocker Kid #2 runs into the shot with his guitar.

ROCKER KID #2
kKay-dude, hurry. We gots like two
fuckin' minutes left on the battery.

ROCKER KID #1
A one... two... one-two-three...

SUDDENLY Annette's' trailer EXPLODES behind them! Rocker
Kids turn to see a BODY (Annette's) FLY through the air.

ROCKER KIDS
SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!!!!

INT. HOSPITAL - ANNETTE'S ROOM

ANNETTE
(to Amber)
I shoved your tap shoes in my jeans
before I was blown outta the house,
Honey. Check with the guy who cut my
pants off. He should have 'em.

AMBER
Mom, uh, about that... I -- I'm --
oh God...

Amber starts to cry and runs out.

ANNETTE
Oh-Jesus-Mary-n-Joseph, she's
pregnant!
(calling after her)
If you are -- come back, sweetie.
Mommy wants to talk, then KILL YOU!

LORETTA
(running after Amber)
Annette, why don't you just see if
there's any beer left in that can
and relax a bit.

INT. HOSPITAL - HALLWAY - NIGHT

Loretta and Amber face off.

LORETTA
You're what?!

AMBER
I -- I'm quittin' the pageant.

LORETTA
I heard you, I was just tryin' to
scare you into changin' your mind.
Oh for Chrissakes, Amber, the woman
clung to your tap shoes while flyin'
through the air like a Goddamn lawn
dart!

AMBER
Oh God, I'm dead...

A candy striper approaches them.

CANDY STRIPER
Hey, lil' Miss Sad-pants and her
friend Serious Sally, how 'bout some
nice cool mints to turn those frowns
upside-down. "S."

LORETTA
(to candy striper)
D'ya think a nice cool mint'd help
if I shoved your head up your ass?

Fear sweeps over the Candy Striper -- she bolts down the
hall! Loretta puts an arm around Amber and starts to walk
down the opposite direction.

AMBER
So, what do I say?

LORETTA
Simple. Just say, "Mom, I know you
sacrificed everything --
relationships, dreams -- your tummy,
ass and thighs -- all to bring me
into this world. All so I could have
tap lessons and be in the pageant --
the same one you were in. But, y'know
what? I'm quittin'." There. Easy as
pie.

AMBER
Oh my God. I'm so dead...

LORETTA
Yeah, you betcha...

INT. HOSPITAL - ANNETTE'S ROOM - NIGHT

Follow Amber in past the now crying candy striper.

ANNETTE
(throwing mints)
Go on! Get out!

AMBER
Mom, look, don't say anything. First
of all, I'm not pregnant.

Amber sits on the bed. Annette grabs her shirt.

AMBER
Mom!

ANNETTE
I ain't lettin' go ktil you tell me
what's up. I'm reaching' a point
where I'd kill someone for the
nicotine on their fingernails.

AMBER
(deep breath)
Okay. Yesterday I... I got this
picture. So I kinda, y'know, I'm
thinkin' no. I'm gonna, I -- I --
I'm gonna quit the pageant.

ANNETTE
What?!

She hits Amber with her beer-canned hand.

AMBER
Ow!

ANNETTE
(to camera)
Would yous boys excuse us a second?
Loretta, you too.

JUMP CUT TO:

INT. HOSPITAL - ANNETTE'S ROOM

SHOT THROUGH the window. Amber paces around Annette's bed.

AMBER
Nice mouth you got there, Mom, but I --
I'm not goin' through this again.

ANNETTE
You're not goin' through this again?
You? You're not the one who knows
how Jiffy Pop feels.

AMBER
Oh, c'mon... First the picture of
Tammy, then Brett Clemens, now this?
It's scary.

ANNETTE
Let me tell you "scary," Amber. Look
at me. Do you wanna look like you
been rode hard and put away wet at
my age? I'm a "lifer" here. Best I
can hope for is to end up in a descent
"raisin ranch" where they'll change
me twice a day.

AMBER
That's it, I'm goin'...

ANNETTE
Honest to God, if I got to do it
over? I'd start walkin' outta this
town the minute I took my first step.
Practically the only thing I wouldn't
do different is have you...

Amber sits on the bed.

AMBER
God I hope that's you and not your
concussion talkin'.

ANNETTE
(smiling)
It's me... I just don't want this to
be the thing you'd do over. This
pageant's your ticket outta here. I
know you can win, Amber.

ANNETTE
C'mere. I love you so much.

AMBER
I love you much.

Annette hugs Amber.

INT. HOSPITAL - HALLWAY - NIGHT

Follow a jubilant Amber and Loretta.

LORETTA
Hell-no, she ain't quittin'.

AMBER
No. Mom said if I did, she'd look up
my dad and marry him.

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
So has your mom kept your dad's life
a secret?

AMBER
No. She never hid the fact that my
dad picked his career over us. What'd
she used to say?

LORETTA
"Once a carnie, always a carnie."

AMBER
Oh-yah.

EXT. MOUNT ROSE STREET - MORNING

The twin officers lean against their car.

TWIN OFFICER #1
The Atkins fire? Foul play? Shit-no.
After some thorough investigatin',
we determined it musta been a bad
wirin'. Mosta them trailer-folk plug
a TV, VCR, crock pot and Fry-daddy
into one outlet and don't think
nothin' of it ktil KABLEWEY!

TWIN OFFICER #2
(taking a pinch of
Skoal)
Not enough left to fill a tin.

INT. HOSPITAL - ANNETTE'S ROOM - DAY

Annette is in bad shape. The candy striper nervously stands
beside her, holding a syringe.

ANNETTE
"Bad wirin'?!" Well, if that ain't
the biggest crock-a-shit ever.
(turning on the candy
striper)
Ooowwww-Jesus! Did K-Mart have a
sale on dull needles?

CANDY STRIPER
I -- I just need one more "do-over."

EXT. MOUNT ROSE V.F.W.

Follow the contestants up to the door.

INT. MOUNT ROSE V.F.W. - MAIN HALL

A smokey room with DRUNKEN VETS at the bar and CONTESTANTS,
in Sunday best, crowded around some tables. They couldn't
seem more out of place.

INT. MOUNT ROSE V.F.W. - MAIN HALL

SUPER: JUDGES INTERVIEWS -- 3 DAYS BEFORE THE PAGEANT

GLADYS
So, remember the three most important
parts of a good interview...

IRIS
Okay, everybody, listen up!

GLADYS
Number one, American Teen Princess'
don't cross their legs like
streetwalkers.

The girls put their knees together.

GLADYS
Excuse me, Miss Penthouse Ninety-
eight, put your knees together.
(contestants laugh)
I could drive a boat show in there.

Gladys paces.

GLADYS
Ankles together. Hands resting lightly
on your laps. Good. Sit up straight.
Smile!

JUMP CUT TO:

INT. MOUNT ROSE V.F.W. - MAIN HALL

GLADYS
All right. Number two: the judges
are as nervous as you are.

V.F.W. - BACK ROOM

JUDGES -- HAROLD, JOHN and JEAN KANGAS (Lester's secretary)
sit at a table, clipboards in front of them, STARING at the
camera. HANKS sits behind them, fidgeting.

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
So are you about ready to start the
judging -- start the interview, there?

JOHN
(after long beat)
Uh, I -- I guess I could answer that.
Yep. We're ready. So, we should
probably get the young girls in here,
then. Y'know, to start the
interviews...

V.F.W. - BACK ROOM

Tess enters, sits, then quickly remembers how to sit. Judges
nervously look at their clipboards -- pencils ready.

HAROLD
(trouble reading)
Uh, "if you could be any tree in the
woods, what kinda tree would you
be?"

TESS
(long pause)
Dogwood.

V.F.W. - BACK ROOM - MONTAGE

ON MOLLY HOWARD, seated.

MOLLY
Bonsai.

V.F.W. - BACK ROOM - MONTAGE

ON LESLIE, seated.

LESLIE
Green?

V.F.W. - BACK ROOM - MONTAGE

ON MICHELLE JOHANSON, seated.

MICHELLE
A tree? I can be any tree you want.
Gimme a minute.

She begins vocal and facial warm-up exercises.

V.F.W. - BACK ROOM - MONTAGE

ON BECKY, seated.

BECKY
One with strong roots in a community
like Mount Rose, a solid Christian
trunk and long leafy branches to
provide shade for handicapped kids
on a hot summer day.

V.F.W. - BACK ROOM - MONTAGE

ON LISA SWENSON, seated, staring for a long beat, then:

LISA
You guys know the retard's pants are
open?
(laughing)
I don't want to see that.

V.F.W. - BACK ROOM - MONTAGE

ON THE JUDGES -- Harold reads, John stares longingly.

HAROLD
"Who would you pick to be president,
dead or alive?"

PAN OVER to Molly Howard.

MOLLY
Uh, Emperor Hirohito.

V.F.W. - BACK ROOM - MONTAGE

ON LESLIE, seated...

LESLIE
Brett Favre!

V.F.W. - BACK ROOM - MONTAGE

ON BECKY, seated.

BECKY
My mother, 'cause she could solve
world hunger with one of her blue-
ribbon rhubarb pies, create world
peace with one of her prayers and
still find time to look beautiful...
for my dad, Lester Leeman.

V.F.W. - BACK ROOM - MONTAGE

John Dough drinks nervously from his water glass.

JOHN
D -- do you like to swim?

The other judges look at him, then at their clipboards trying
to find this question.

V.F.W. - BACK ROOM - MONTAGE

ON LISA SWENSON

LISA
Oh-yah, I love to swim. When I was
in New York, I met Greg Louganis at
one-a my brothers' shows...

V.F.W. - BACK ROOM - MONTAGE

Janelle, sings a long answer. The Judges look at each other
confused and frustrated.

JOHN
What the hell is she trying to say?
(yelling)
Say it!

JANELLE
The ktards pants are completely off!

The Judges turn and look at Hank.

HAROLD
Close up shop. Close up shop, Hank.

HANK
Harold!

HAROLD
Close up shop!

V.F.W. - BACK ROOM - MONTAGE ON HAROLD

HAROLD
You Amber Atkins?

AMBER (O.S.)
Yes. Yes I am. Thank you, hello.

All judges turn a page on their clipboards.

HAROLD
"Name and spell all the United States
in alphabetical order."

PAN OVER to a stunned Amber.

AMBER
Seriously?

HAROLD (O.S.)
Ah-yep.

Amber can't believe what she's hearing.

AMBER
Well, ah... Alabama. A-L-A-B-A-M-A.
Alaska. A-L-A-S-K-A. Arizona. A-R-I-
Z-O-N-A.

V.F.W. - BACK ROOM - MONTAGE

AMBER
West Virginia. W-E-S-T-V-I-R-G-N-I-
A. Wisconsin. W-I-S-C-O-N-S-O-N.
Wyoming. W-Y-O-M-I-N-G.

Pan over to Judges. They can't believe it. Hank CLAPS
retardedly. He loves her.

HAROLD
(looking at others)
Uh-okay, then.

INT. DAKOTA COUNTY EATING DISORDERS CLINIC - MARY'S ROOM

A NURSE now stands beside Mary.

MARY
With two weeks until the pageant...
(continued labored
breaths)
I was practicing my talent. Finishing
my costume, brushing up on current
events, and running eighteen miles a
day on about four hundred calories.
I was ready.

The nurse gives her a hit of oxygen. Mary smiles and gives a
THUMBS UP from behind the oxygen mask.

DRESSING ROOM - HALLWAY

PAN DOWN long, narrow room. A counter, with mirrors and bare
bulbs, cover one wall. Girls set up their areas and change
into their talent costumes.

SUPER: DRESS REHEARSAL - DAY BEFORE THE PAGEANT

IRIS
Coupla things... Gladys wants to be
sure we go in show order today. All
right? So very important. Don't forget
that.

CUT TO:

DRESSING ROOM - HALLWAY

CLOSE ON LESLIE MILLER, in cheerleading uniform, standing
beside small framed photos of her boyfriend on the counter.

LESLIE
(unusually serious)
Oh-yah, really nervous. It's been
about two months. I haven't told my
boyfriend yet. How did you know?

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
I meant, nervous about the pageant?

LESLIE
(suddenly perky)
Oh! Nervous about the pageant! Yah
sure!

She kisses a photo and GIGGLES.

CUT TO:

DRESSING ROOM - HALLWAY

CLOSE ON BECKY holding a sequin-covered poodle skirt and
sweater.

BECKY
There are eight thousand sequins and
fifteen hundred beads on the skirt,
alone. My mom and Mrs. Lopez make
it. She's one of my father's many
Mexican (Me'hee'kan) workers he lifts
from the poverty they know in Mexico
(Me'heek'koe).

CUT TO:

DRESSING ROOM - HALLWAY

CLOSE ON AMBER ATKINS at the far end of the counter.

AMBER
Yah -- my ma's clothes all melted
onto mine forming like this big
polyester meteor in our closet,
y'know? But, in some kinda weird
miracle, our neighbor boy, Kenny
Johanson, found my tap costume on
the roof-a their trailer while he
was settin' coon traps for his dad.
Here's the weird part. It was still
on the hanger.

DRESSING ROOM - HALLWAY

CLOSE ON TESS WEINHAUS wearing "I love German Shepherds"
sweatshirt, standing beside various trinkets.

TESS
And, uh, this is my lucky bolt. They
think it fell from a DC-10. The doctor
said I was lucky the flat side hit
me, um, otherwise it coulda gone
right through my head.
(holds up red tap
dress)
I know, I know, gives me the willies,
too. I guess the explosion...

Janelle Betz, wearing a flowing, nymph-like dress with ballet
slippers, glides up to Amber.

JANELLE
(slow, due to signing)
Amber? Can we switch numbers? I need
to go first.
(smiling to camera)
My cousin just had a deaf baby and I
get to go see it!

AMBER
Yah-sure, eight's my luck number
anyway. Diane Sawyer was number eight
at her local.

JANELLE
Thank you.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM - DAY

ON STAGE "Through the Eyes of Love" plays as Janelle performs
her INTERPRETATIVE DANCE while signing the words. In the
f.g., Gladys appears very serious.

GLADYS
(loud whisper)
I'll be honest. This is a hard time
for me. This is the part of the
pageant when you realize that tomorrow
night, all but one of these girls
will walk out of here a loser. It's
hard for me to know how that must
feel, but I'm sure it doesn't feel
good.

In b.g., a BIG STAGE LIGHT FALLS on Janelle's head. CRASH!
Gladys and CAMERA rush the stage. "Through the Eyes of Love"
continues throughout.

EXT. LORETTA'S TRAILER - PORCH - THAT NIGHT

A very shaken Amber paces.

AMBER
Don't you get it? I was supposed to
go first. I was contestant number
one. That light was meant for my
head. If Janelle hadn't wanted to
change numbers... God, I owe my life
to that deaf baby.

Loretta enters, portable phone and drink in hand.

LORETTA
That was your mom. She wanted you to
have this.

AMBER
(taking drink)
Really, Loretta?

LORETTA
(avoiding eye contact)
You-betcha.

AMBER
My mom wanted me to have this?

LORETTA
Oh, shut up. I thought it might help
you get some sleep.

AMBER
Loretta, never have kids.

LORETTA
Well God-love-ya for thinkin' I still
could.

Loretta pulls a bag out of a closet and hands it to Amber.

LORETTA
Here, your ma did want you to have
this since your other one got toasted
and all.

Amber pulls out an ELEGANT GREEN GOWN.

AMBER
Oh... my... God! It's just like Diane
Sawyer's! 'Course it's not a size
ten, Diane was a little hippy back
then. Oh, thank you! Thank you! Thank
you!

She hugs Loretta.

EXT./INT. HIGH SCHOOL - MAIN ENTRANCE - NIGHT

SUPER: NIGHT OF THE PAGEANT

BANNER: "Welcome to the Mount Rose American Teen Princess
Pageant, sponsored by Sarah Rose COSMETICS." The ENTIRE TOWN
is excitedly entering.

CLOSE ON

Mr. and Mrs. Howard and their daughter Tina, who's embarrassed
and continues to rant as they pass. All three wear T-shirts
with MOLLY'S FACE on them.

MR. HOWARD/MRS. HOWARD
Go Molly! Go! Number one daughter!

Behind them Leslie Miller's boyfriend, PAT, and a group of
ROWDY GUYS approach.

PAT
Whooo! Leslie kicks Teen Princess
ass! Go Muskies!

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM - DAY

STAGE IS DARK. Crowd takes their seats. You can feel the
electricity.

We hear the TAPE of a DRUM ROLL. SPOTLIGHT hits center stage.
Gladys enters wearing a gaudy gown, takes mic. Applause!

GLADYS
Welcome, welcome. Okay, alright,
now. Is this for me or the gown?

Laughter and applause trail off.

GLADYS
Welcome to the Mount Rose American
Teen Princess Pageant. While every
contestant you'll meet tonight is
special and unique, they all have
one thing in common. They're all
"Proud -- to -- be -- an -- American!"

Wild applause! Jazzy patriotic medley tape. Gym doors fly
open and like a Felliniesque Vegas review, CONTESTANTS enter
wearing gowns and U.S. Monument Headdresses. They struggle
to maintain balance as they dance, moving only their arms,
on stage.

CUT TO:

Becky, whose head is built like another president into Mount
Rushmore, is first at the mic. (The "dance" continues behind
each contestant as she steps up to the mic.)

BECKY
I chose Mount Rushmore, because to
live in a country where you can take
an ugly old mountain and put faces
on it, faces of great Americans, who
did so much to make our country super
great, well that makes me -- Rebecca
Leeman -- PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM - MONTAGE

A MONTAGE of OPENING NUMBER INTRODUCTIONS

ON LISA SWENSON

wearing a Statue of Liberty Headdress. (It's a Barbie Doll
that holds an unlit birthday candle.)

LISA
Living in a country where Lady Liberty
keeps her flame burning bright.

She reaches up with a lighter to light the candle. It's hard
to reach and won't light.

LISA
Keeps her flame burning bright...

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM - MONTAGE

ON LESLIE MILLER

as she seductively strokes the sides of her Washington
Monument Headdress.

LESLIE
The Washington Monument...

Guys WHOOP and CHEER O.S.

LESLIE
(enjoying this)
...makes me, Leslie Miller, proud to
be an American.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM - MONTAGE

ON AMBER ATKINS

with a MAP OF THE U.S. HEADDRESS, dances up to the mic.

AMBER
Living in a country where no matter
who you are or where you come from,
you can grow up and become what you've
always dreamed of, makes me, Amber
Atkins, proud to be an American!

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM - MONTAGE

ON MOLLY HOWARD

wearing an Atomic Blast at Hiroshima Headdress.

MOLLY
Atomic power makes me, Molly Howard,
proud to be an Asian-American.

As she steps away from the mic, Tess Weinhaus, wearing a
huge ball of twine headdress, dances up to the mic.

TESS
Uh, this, uh, my Uncle Phil's World's
Largest Ball of Twine, in Bundy
Minnesota, makes me, um, it makes me
proud I'm American -- I kinda
misunderstood the assignment.

The ball of twine falls to the floor and rolls off the stage,
still attached at one end to her head.

BACKSTAGE - DRESSING ROOM

Pandemonium! Contestants change into their "Physical Fitness"
outfits. (T-shirts with red flags, shorts)

Civil Servettes try to help. A LARGE PICTURE of Janelle Betz
sits at her counter space.

IRIS
Okay, okay! Listen-up. Coupla notes
from last night's dress rehearsal.
(off clipboard)
Number one, Gladys says a coupla
yous are gettin' sexy with your hips
durin' the "Physical Fitness"
routine...

AMBER
Oh my God! My -- my tap costume's
gone.

Commotion stops. Becky continues to get ready.

IRIS
Uh, Amber? We're not puttin' on our
Talent costumes. You need to put on
your "Physical Fitness" outfit. And
let's shake a leg, ladies.

AMBER
No, wait. It -- it was here before
the openin' number... wait. What am
I sayin'? I should just ask you,
Becky. Where is it?

Becky freezes, staring daggers at Amber.

BECKY
What?

AMBER
You heard me. Where is it?

The other contestants slowly clear a path between them.

BECKY
If you're gettin' at somethin', you
better just say it.

AMBER
I just did.

BECKY
Well then, you better be willin' to
back it up, 'cause you're talkin'
like crazy.

They start to slowly circle each other -- a cat fight's
brewin'.

AMBER
Oh -- oh, you bring me some of that
snotty attitude, Becky -- bring it
on.

BECKY
Well, as my mother says at Sunday
dinner, "Come and get it," bitch!

AMBER
Oh, I'll "get it." I'll "get it" all
right. I might even take seconds.

They're moving ever closer...

BECKY
If you want seconds, then I'll make
sure it's hot enough for ya.

AMBER
Bitch!

IRIS
(stepping between
them)
Girls! Girls!

BECKY
Give me your stringy-ass hair!

AMBER
I'll get you!

CREW GUY (O.S.)
(barely audible)
Oh God, don't stop 'em now...

BECKY
You're choking my, you fucking bitch!

IRIS
(putting hand over
camera)
Y'know, I -- I don't think yous boys
should, uh, should be in here while
the girls are changin'.

AMBER
I hate her!

IRIS
We all do. Now let's go.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM

Gladys is center stage.

GLADYS
Yah-so how 'bout a big round of
applause for last year's Mount Rose
American Teen Princess, in a farewell
performance. Who could forget her
lip-synching to "Don't Cry Out Loud,"
by Melissa Manchester. And here she
is, Mary Johanson!

Applause! Gladys exits. TAPED MUSIC "It's My Turn." A NURSE
pushes MARY JOHANSON out in her wheelchair, complete with
portable oxygen. Mary wears a gigantic black wig and silver
gown which hangs off her boney body. She moves her lips to
the words as the nurse pushes her emotionally around the
stage.

EXT. GYMNASIUM - HALLWAY

Contestants, in "physical fitness" outfits, wait outside the
double doors, holding freshly painted red, white and blue
step ladders. Becky and Amber stare at each other from
opposite ends of the line.

IRIS
All right, why don't we take up the
stepladders, all right? For the
Physical Fitness number?

BECKY
(picking up her stool)
They're wet.

LISA
Hey, my hands are stuck.

MOLLY
(sniffing)
Uh, I'm kinda dizzy from the fumes.

IRIS
Well, hold 'em away from you so it
doesn't get on the outfits.
(turning to Servettes)
What kinda mental retard paints step
ladders the morning of a pageant.

ON STAGE

Hank is being pulled off stage by Harold. Gladys adjusts her
dress, frazzled.

HANK
(under throughout)
Here come the judge -- pinch, pinch --
here come the judge -- pinch, pinch --
here come the judge...

GLADYS
Get back! Get back, you total retard!

LORETTA
Go Hank!

GLADYS
I'm okay, I'm okay -- dress is fine.
I'm okay... well, our other judges
are Jean Kangas and John Dough...

EXT. GYMNASIUM - HALLWAY

Iris and Servettes go in the gym as Chloris Klinghagen comes
out.

CHLORIS
(loud whisper)
Opening number looked, uh, good.
Solid. But now you're gonna have to
actually dance, so...
(holds up jar of
Vaseline)
Here. Put a dab of this on the old
choppers, ladies. It'll help you
smile. And when they're lookin' at
your teeth -- God willin' -- they
won't be lookin at your feet.

Chloris gives Amber the jar and exits. From the gym, we hear
TAPED PATRIOTIC MUSIC. Contestants CHEER and run in.

"PHYSICAL FITNESS" ROUTINE - PATRIOTIC MUSIC

As cuts of patriotic dance moves progress, the girls have
more and more red, white and blue paint smeared on their
clothes, arms and legs.

Amber's clearly the best.

Taped music ENDS. Contestants, covered with paint, strike a
final pose -- sitting on ladders, standing, kneeling.
Applause.

BACKSTAGE - WALKWAY

Contestants wait anxiously as they pass a can of TURPENTINE
and a RAG to remove paint from their arms and legs.

BECKY
Hurry up.

LESLIE
Okay, guys, I think we all got some.
You just take it off.

AMBER
Here, I didn't get any.

LESLIE
Here, have some.

MICHELLE
Hand me another white one.

LISA
Listen, you guys, don't go into the
bathroom. Tess blew chunks all over.
Man, she ate a big dinner.

BECKY
Maybe she shoulda shoved that lucky
bolt down her throat for desert.

Becky storms off.

AMBER
(sotto, to other girls)
And the winner of the "Spirit" award
goes to...

Girls laugh quietly. Iris pulls a dazed and confused Tess --
big wet spot on her shirt -- through the shot.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM

Iris stands center stage, awkwardly holding the mic.

IRIS
(reading from notecard)
"I'd like to take you back seventeen
years, when a peanut farmer was in
the White House, a group-a boys
callin' themselves 'Queen' topped
the record charts and Gladys Leeman
was Gladys Wood and she was Mount
Rose American Teen Princess!"

Gladys enters wearing sash, tiara and plaid culottes.
Applause. A SLIDE is shown of her at 17.

GLADYS
(taking mic)
Thank you, thank you. You know, I
won the talent contest by sewing
these culottes, Butterick pattern 7-
4-3-2. Can you believe it? They still
fit!

LORETTA
She had a big ass then, she's got a
big ass now.

GLADYS
(pausing for applause)
Thank you, thank you. Our next
contestant is ready, so let's welcome
her: Tess Weinhaus!

APPLAUSE. Tess is pushed on stage.

BACKSTAGE - LEFT

Amber paces. ON STAGE Tess drones on at the mic.

TESS
(in the b.g. throughout)
The beagle is known for it's howl.
"Aaauuuuuhhhh." The Pekinese has
it's own distinctive bark. "Yip,
yip, yip." Not to be confused with
the Chihuahua's, "Yap, yap, yap."
But none can compare to the greatest
bark of all -- the German Shepherd...

AMBER
(to camera, loud
whisper)
...Yah -- it's just gone...
(eyes welling up)
I mean, I -- I just wanna tap, y'know?
I'm not sayin' I'm the best, or that
I'd even win, but shouldn't I at
least get a chance to compete?
(starting to sob)
I just wanted my Mom to see me dance.

CHLORIS KLINGHAGEN enters, small bag in hand.

CHLORIS
(loud whisper)
Amber -- Amber, c'mere.

AMBER
Please, Mrs. K, I got so much Vaseline
on my teeth, I'm gonna be smilin'
for a year.

CHLORIS
No. Here.

Chloris pulls a simple BLACK LEOTARD from the bag.

CHLORIS
It's nothin' special, but talent
like yours doesn't need to hide behind
sequins.

AMBER
Mrs. K --

CHLORIS
You're... you're special and... Ah
hell, go out there and kick some
Leeman ass.

Amber, overcome with joy, gives her a big hug.

CHLORIS
Not so hard, sweetie. I heard
somethin' snap...

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM

ON STAGE: Leslie Miller, in uniform, performs an amazingly
sexy cheer as TWO SINGLET-CLAD WRESTLERS wrestle (One is
boyfriend, Pat.)

LESLIE
Roll him over --
(clap, clap, clap)
Lay him flat
(clap, clap, clap)
Pin his shoulders
(clap, clap, clap)
To the mat
(clap, clap, clap)
Roll him over, lay him flat, pin his
shoulders, to the mat! Yeahhhh!

She JUMPS, KICKS and ends with SPLITS. APPLAUSE!

JUMP CUT TO:

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM - LATER

Michelle Johanson is on stage, sitting on a stool, wearing
all black. She smiles warmly. Then, with one sweep of her
hand across her face, her smile drops. She's dead serious.

MICHELLE
(without emotion)
Fade in... Earth. The year is two-
thousand twenty-four. The question
on everyone's mind: What is... Soylent
Green?

She sweeps her hand back across her face and she's "in
character," pained, near death, and overly dramatic.

BACKSTAGE - LEFT - CONTINUOUS

Amber, now in the leotard, talks to Iris. Michelle performs
from "Soylent Green" in the b.g.

AMBER
(loud whisper)
Mrs. Clark, why are you doing this
to me? Why're you pretendin' you
don't know what's goin' on?

IRIS
Amber, I'm sorry. I really am. But
you know the rules. All talent
costumes hafta be okay'd by Gladys
before the pageant.

AMBER
But, doesn't someone taking your
costume so you can't compete, overrule
that rule?

IRIS
Sorry. I -- I don't make the rules.

AMBER
This, this... This is bullshit!

IRIS
Amber Atkins! That is not American
Teen Princess language!

AMBER
Good, 'cause this isn't an American
Teen Princess Pageant -- it's, it's
Nazi Germany!

Amber storms off.

IRIS
(shaking head)
Where do they get this stuff...

INT. BACKSTAGE

CAMERA FOLLOWS AMBER as she storms over to BACKSTAGE -- RIGHT
where Gladys watches Michelle ON STAGE.

AMBER
Mrs. Leeman?

GLADYS
(turning)
Huh?

AMBER
I -- I'm wearin' this costume. I'm,
uh, I'm gonna do my talent tonight.

GLADYS
Oh really -- I don't think so.
(suddenly aware of
camera)
Uh, Amber, I hate to be the bearer
of bad news, but rules state that a
costume must be okay'd at least a
week in advance. And this...
(pointing to costume)
This is why we have the rule. My
goodness gracious, I couldn't allow
a neckline this low on stage. We
have kids in the audience.

AMBER
But, you -- I mean... It's not my
fault. I -- I... Please? I didn't do
anything wrong...

Amber starts to cry.

MICHELLE
(climaxing)
That's why... I must say...
(raising arm upward)
Soylent Green... is... people.

She doubles over. She's given it all. APPLAUSE.

GLADYS
Oops, that's my cue.

Gladys starts out on stage as Molly Howard, dressed like a
red, white and blue cowboy, runs up next to Amber. She's
twirling toy guns on her fingers.

MOLLY
Wish me luck.

AMBER
(drying her eyes)
Good luck, Molly.

One of Molly's guns flies off her finger. She goes to retrieve
it.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM

Molly is line dancing, occasionally taking "pretend" shots
into the air. It's incredibly repetitive and dull.

BACKSTAGE - CARL'S "LIGHT AND SOUND" BOOTH - CONTINUOUS

As Billy Ray Cyrus' "Achy Breaky Heart" PLAYS in b.g., Carl,
the janitor, sets plastic army figures on fire with a
cigarette lighter.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM

Gladys is center stage. Molly Howard walks off crying, having
just finished her routine. POLITE APPLAUSE. She's still
spinning her guns, again one goes flying.

GLADYS
Thank you, Molly.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL/STAIRWELL - DRESSING AREA

Lisa, top hat, tails, giant "I LOVE NY" button -- and others
try to console a CRYING Amber. Becky continues singing O.S.

LISA
(arm around Amber)
Oh, Amber...

AMBER
(can't catch breath)
I -- I -- I -- I -- I --, j-uh-j-uh-
just wanted to compe-e-e-e-ete.

LISA
I can't believe this is happenin'.
I can't believe she said you
couldn't...

Getting an idea, Lisa starts to take off her jacket.

LISA
Amber? Here.

AMBER
(still sobbing)
"Here," wh-wh-what?

LISA
My jacket. Take it 'cause, y'know, I
got my costume okay'd before the
pageant. You can wear it.

MICHELLE
Oh man, Lisa, I wouldn't do this.

LESLIE
(to Lisa)
They're never gonna let you perform
naked. I asked.

LISA
Shut up, yous guys. Look, Amber, I'm
not gonna win. And let's be honest,
a family only needs one "Liza" and
you know Peter's got much better
legs than me.

AMBER
Your parents'd kill you.

LISA
Oh c'mon, I love 'em, but you know
they only had me 'cause Peter needed
a kidney.

AMBER
Lis, I want to, I really do, but...
Oh, I can't.

LISA
Then do it for Peter. Mrs. Leeman
used to call him a "skinny little
fag" when he'd bag her groceries.
He'd pop his Nancy-belt if his old
jacket somehow, I don't know, got
her back.

AMBER
Yah?

LISA
Oh-you-beccha.

Amber hugs her and takes the jacket.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM - STAGE

Gladys guides Molly off the stage.

GLADYS
Now, it's with overwhelming pride
that I introduce contestant number
six, who also happens to be president
of her class -- two years running --
a member of the honor roll and the
new President of the Lutheran
Sisterhood Gun Club -- Rebecca Ann
Leeman!

STAGE GOES BLACK. SPOT HITS BECKY, who sits at the edge of
the stage, holding a mic. She's head to toe sequins in her
poodle skirt, sweater, saddle shoes, etc.

BECKY
(talking over music)
I don't know how many of you know
this, but I've got a very special
fella in my life -- that's right, I
do... And if nobody minds, I'd like
to sing a little song, just for him.

SPOT FOLLOWS as Becky stands and walks center stage to what
appears to be a COVERED MANNEQUIN. TAPED INTRO TO "I Can't
Take My Eyes Off You."

BECKY
You're just too good to be true.
Can't take my eyes off of you. You'd
be like Heaven to touch. I wanna
hold you so much. At long last love
has arrived and I thank God I'm alive.

Becky removes the sheet, revealing a MANNEQUIN dressed like
JESUS as he appeared on the cross: long hair, beard, crown
of thorns, loincloth. The ARMS ARE STUFFED so they move
freely. (Hands of stigmata.)

BECKY
You're just to good to be true.
Can't take my eyes off of you...

Becky TALK-SINGS -- a la William Shatner's "Rocket Man" --
and DANCES around the Jesus mannequin doing the jitter-bug,
the twist and a slow dance (his arms on her shoulders).

DURING THE SLOW DANCE, THE LOIN CLOTH SLIPS AND BECKY MUST
HOLD IT UP -- GIVING THE APPEARANCE OF GRABBING HIS CROTCH.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM - BACKSTAGE

Iris approaches Lisa who's given her outfit to Amber.

IRIS
C'mon, Lisa. You're up next.

LISA
I quit. And, uh, since my costume,
y'know, was okay'd a month ago? I'm
givin' it to Amber.

Amber breaks a smile.

Taped music ENDS. APPLAUSE. Gladys, mic in hand, joins Becky
for a big hug.

GLADYS
Boy, I'd hate to follow that. Wow!

Becky exits, pulling the wheeled Jesus behind her.

GLADYS
Voice of an angel, that one.

Iris runs self-consciously out on stage, whispers in Gladys'
ear, then runs back off stage.

GLADYS
...Uh, I was just told that contestant
number seven, Lisa Swenson, has quit
the pageant.

CROWD REACTS.

GLADYS
Well, these things happen. At any
rate, we still have one more
contestant -- number eight, Amber
Atkins.

Gladys exits. A taped hip, hot DRUM BEAT starts. Suddenly,
Amber glides into CENTER SPOT. (Now wearing Lisa's costume,
sleeves rolled up.) Her feet burst into an amazing routine.
The loud drum beats seem to fly from her hands and feet as
they punctuate the rhythm. There's no glitz, just unbelievable
skill. It appears effortless as she floats around stage.
Like watching Michael Jackson moon walk for the first time,
you can't take your eyes off her. She concludes, center stage,
with the GREATEST THIRTY SECONDS OF HER LIFE. The audience
goes WILD! Amber takes bow after bow -- they love her. Gladys
enters quickly, mic in hand.

GLADYS
Okay, okay, okay! Well, now, it's
finally time to say good-bye to our
judges, so they can go make the
toughest decision of their lives.

PAN TO JUDGES. They look nervous as hell. A relaxed Hank
sniffs from a paint soaked bag.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - CLASS ROOM - NIGHT

Judges stare nervously at the camera -- clip boards in front
of them. Hank's LOUD BREATHING from the paint soaked bag is
obviously getting on John's nerves.

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
So who get's the crown? How are you
going to figure this all out?

JOHN
Uh, we're gonna, y'know, compare
scores and uh, figure out a-a winner.
'Cause we don't know the winner yet...
I mean, I -- I don't know who Jean
and Harold picked. No idea. Did Gladys
send you in here?

HANK
I know the winner! I know the winner!
I know the winner!

JOHN
No you don't! Shut your goddamn mouth,
you son-of-a-bitch!!

Nerves shot, John suddenly LAUNCHES himself across the table
at Hank.

HAROLD
Wait a second.

JOHN
You shut it! You goddamn retard!

Hank freezes, then starts to wail!

HANK
EE-AAAYEEEE-AAAAYOUIAAAEEEEEEEE!

HAROLD
Come on! Hankey here can't help it
if he was born crazier than a
shithouse rat!

Hank stops crying and goes back to the bag.

JOHN
For fuck's sake, why didn't ya leave
him with a sitter?

Hank begins crying again.

HAROLD
Real nice. You know the sitter's
dead.

DISSOLVE TO:

BACKSTAGE - DRESSING ROOM

Girls, in gowns, sit in silence. Becky and Amber sit at
opposite ends of the room. There's obvious tension.

LESLIE
So, anyone talk to Janelle?

AMBER
Yah -- I brought her some flowers
this morning. She's in the room next
to my mom. She's super happy.

Girls ad-lib SHOCK.

TESS
She's happy?

LESLIE
Why happy?

AMBER
Oh -- the blow to her head made her
deaf...

Girls ad-lib "Oh, I see. Okay-then." etc. Another LONG BEAT
of SILENCE follows. Becky gets up to re-touch her make-up.

BECKY
(losing it)
Oh, good Lord! What're they doin'?
Lettin' the retard count votes?!

Contestants stare at her in shock. Iris enters.

IRIS
It's time, ladies.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM

Judges are back. Gladys is center stage. Girls enter and
form a line behind her. TAPED AMERICAN MEDLEY STARTS.

GLADYS
Welcome back, everyone. Judges. Our
Second Runner-up and winner of a
fifty --

Taped fanfare. Leslie bounds forward, grabs her trophy, stands
to one side.

PAT (O.S.)
You rule, Leslie!

Audience laughs. Leslie waves.

GLADYS
Our next prize, a seventy-five dollar
scholarship --

Audience ad-libs amazement.

GLADYS
...will be awarded to the First Runner-
up.

Taped DRUM ROLL. Contestants (except Becky) take hands. Iris
gives Gladys an envelope and trophy.

GLADYS
And the First Runner-up is --
(opening envelope,
face drops)
Contestant number eight, Amber Atkins.

Ad-lib audience shock and disbelief. Contestants are stunned.
Amber steps forward, humbly takes the trophy and stands beside
Leslie. Audience finally quiets.

GLADYS
And finally, the moment I know I've
been waiting for...

Iris hands Gladys a LARGE TROPHY and envelope. Mary Johanson
is wheeled out wearing sash and tiara.

GLADYS
With a scholarship of five-hundred
dollars, courtesy Leeman Furniture,
and all expenses paid for next weekend
when she'll be competin' for the
title of Minnesota American Teen
Princess...

Taped drum roll. Gladys opens the envelope.

GLADYS
Our new Mount Rose American Teen
Princess is contestant number -- ah
heck, she's my daughter -- number
seven, Rebecca Ann Leeman!

Polite audience applause. Becky rushes forward. Gladys RIPS
the tiara and sash off Mary, places them on Becky.

BECKY
Oh, thank you so much!

AUDIENCE

Loretta and Annette watch on.

ANNETTE
Shit.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - GYM - STAGE

The ELDERLY MAN/MAYOR, from earlier scene, enters and sings
to a tape as Becky takes her victory walk.

ELDERLY MAN/MAYOR
(tune of "Miss America")
"Here she is, Our Mount Rose American
Teen Princess. Look at her, doesn't
she look fine. Our hearts swell big,
as we look at her. Our Mount Rose
American Teen Princess."

EXT./INT. HIGH SCHOOL - LATER

AMBULANCE pulls up. Mary Johanson, unconscious, slumped in
wheelchair, is brought out and put in. Amber and Loretta
wheel Annette out. Paramedics put her in, too.

ANNETTE
We was robbed.

LORETTA
Okay. Take her purse.

AMBER
Bye mom.

ANNETTE
We was robbed.

AMBER
It's okay.

JUMP CUT TO:

EXT. HIGH SCHOOL - MOMENTS LATER

Amber faces camera as ambulance pulls away.

AMBER
Oh, Mom's okay. They're just givin'
her a ride back. She almost blew
outta the back of Loretta's pick-up
on the way over.

LORETTA
Thank God for bunge cords.

JUMP CUT TO:

EXT. HIGH SCHOOL - MOMENTS LATER

AMBER
(tearing up)
...Yah -- well, at least, y'know, I
got to perform. And Mom got to see
me.
(crying)
I guess number eight only worked for
Diane Sawyer...

Loretta puts her arm around Amber. They walk off as Leslie
and Pat approach.

LESLIE
Hey -- hey, I'm Second Runner-up!
Whooo! I got second place!

PAT
Third.

LESLIE
Huh?

Lisa passes by with her parents. They look pissed.

LISA
No, it was worth it. Amber shoulda
won.

LISA'S FATHER
I'll tell ya one thing. Peter never
woulda pulled a shenanigan like that.

LISA
Well, y'know what, dad? Y'know what?
Peter's gay!

She runs off. Her parents stop DEAD IN THEIR TRACKS.

LISA'S FATHER
What?!

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - CLASS ROOM - NIGHT

CLOSE ON BECKY'S FACE. Flashes illuminate it. With each photo
she changes her smile and expression. She loves this.

PULL BACK to reveal two older men, with old-style news
cameras, flash pictures.

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
So, how does it feel to be the new
Mount Rose American Teen Princess,
Becky?

OLDER MEN turn and look at camera, then take out a pen and
note pad.

BECKY
Well, it's all happenin' so fast.
Goodness-gracious, it hardly seems
real, y'know? I mean, I won! I'm the
winner! I'm going to State!

GLADYS
She's the winner and we're going to
state.

INT. MOUNT ROSE HIGH - GIRL'S BATHROOM - DAY

Fry Girl #1 and Pregnant Fry Girl smoke.

FRY GIRL #1
What a surprise. Gladys Leeman's
finally gonna go to State. And she'll
probably ride on Becky's ass all the
way to Nationals, too.

PREGNANT FRY GIRL
I wonder how she's gonna fix that
one.

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
Are you ladies going to the parade
tomorrow?

PREGNANT FRY GIRL
Nah. I think I'm like, due or
somethin'.

MOUNT ROSE MAIN STREET - NEXT DAY

Beautiful sunny day. Lester talks to camera.

LESTER
Ahhh. Beautiful as a whore's ass
today. Eh, boys?

In the b.g., Gladys holds a bullhorn, clipboard and points
to a LARGE SWAN FLOAT.

GLADYS
(into bullhorn)
Hey! Turn that float around. You
think a swan's gonna swim ass first
up Main Street?

LESTER
Yah -- Gladys had me order that swan
special made from Mexico (Me'hee'koe)
in case Becky won. I do a lotta
business with those people. I always
offer to pay 'em in tacos.
(laughing)
Whoo, they love that.

EXT. MOUNT ROSE MAIN STREET - LATER

Entire town lines the road. The Mayor and the Leeman family
stand behind the red ribbon. Parade PARTICIPANTS are lined
up behind them.

MAYOR
(into bullhorn)
Yah -- hello -- hello... shit! How
the fuck do ya work this damn thing,
huh? Oh. Welcome to our first ever
American Teen Princess Parade --
which also happens to be the unveiling
of our new sewer system!

CHEERS! Becky cuts the ribbon. More CHEERS!

MAYOR
Yah -- so, while Becky gets on her
float, then, any questions 'bout the
new sewer? Yah, Clem?

JUMP CUT TO:

EXT. MOUNT ROSE MAIN STREET - LATER

THE PASSING PARADE:

- THREE FAT VETS, dressed as the Revolutionary War trio,
hold American, Minnesota and POW/MIA flags.

- TWO BATON TWIRLERS stand in front of the Mount Rose High
School Band. They play -- way off key.

- JUDGES wave from a convertible. Hank, in passenger's seat,
struggles to get out. His seatbelt prevents it.

- TWO GRUNGY OLD CLOWNS smoke impatiently.

- TWO FAT WHITE MEN, dressed as Indians, sit on scooters.

- FAT MAN drives a riding lawnmower, pulling a flatbed with
A SPEEDBOAT and a FISHING CAMP GROUP.

- FARMER pulls a goat with a sign: "Milk Me for $1.00"

- A BRIGADE of tap dancing BASSOONISTS.

EXT. MOUNT ROSE - STREET

Harold and Hank pull over and park their truck. Harold quickly
gets out, obviously in a hurry, slamming on a pouting Hank.

HAROLD
Let's get this straight right now.
We wouldn't have been late at all if
it wasn't for you.

HANK
I want to have the big bag of little
donuts.

HAROLD
You get nothing, Hank, okay?

HANK
I want to get the big bag of little
donuts.

HAROLD
There's your paint can. The next
time you drink window cleaner, I'm
just gonna leave it in ya.

Harold rushes off for the parade, joining other folks carrying
baskets, lawn chairs and flags on the sidewalk.

JUMP CUT TO:

EXT. MOUNT ROSE STREET - BACK TO DOCUMENTARY CAMERA

PAN OVER to see Gladys helping Becky climb on the swan,
unaware of camera. In b.g., DOCUMENTARY CREW interviews Amber
and Leslie on their convertible behind the swan float.

GLADYS
C'mon, Rebecca, you wanted it. Now
get up there. Ride it side-saddle if
you have to -- like a horse. C'mon,
now.

BECKY
It smells funny. Like gasoline.

GLADYS
Oh for chrissakes, everything smells
like that in Mexico.

BECKY
My dress'll reek.

GLADYS
Listen, little missy, this cost your
dad a pretty penny. Now get your ass
up there and show me some teeth.

EXT. MOUNT ROSE MAIN STREET - LATER

Amber and Leslie, in gowns, look unhappy as they stare
straight ahead, exhaust fumes -- that appear to come from
the swan's ass -- cover them and their old convertible.

LESLIE
Amber, if I die from these fumes,
will you be sure to cover the hickies
on my neck?

AMBER
Yeah...

LESLIE
And the bite marks on my ears?

AMBER
(slowly turning)
Yes...

LESLIE
I know it doesn't matter, but on my
inner thighs.

AMBER
Yes, Leslie!

EXT. MOUNT ROSE MAIN STREET - LATER

Hank rubs his head, then angrily gets out of the truck,
SLAMMING THE DOOR ON ONE OF THE SUSPENDERS ON HIS OVERALLS.
He starts to walk, but can't, eventually leaning out from
the truck -- only moving his arms as if walking.

EXT. MOUNT ROSE SIDE STREET - LATER

Hank, still stuck in the door, is being teased by a GROUP OF
KIDS who poke at him with flags and sticks. ANOTHER LITTLE
KID taunts him with his cotton candy -- keeping it just out
of his reach. Hank bats at them like Frankenstein and the
torch wielding townsfolk.

EXT. MOUNT ROSE SIDE STREET - LATER

Hank, still stuck in the door, holds the little kid by the
back of the shirt in one hand and eats the kid's cotton candy
with the other. The kid struggles to get away. A few BROKEN
FLAGS are scattered on the ground.

HANK
Help... Hank! Help... Hank! Help...
Hank! Help... Hank!

ON SWAN FLOAT. Gladys approaches.

GLADYS
Okay, I designed the float, you know.
And, what's gonna happen here is
that this is going to look like a
glistening lake beneath the swan.

IRIS
Uh, Gladys?

GLADYS
What!

IRIS
We need more bars!

GLADYS
This is -- what?

IRIS
Enid ate a whole pan!

GLADYS
I swear to God she can't do anything
by herself.

EXT. MOUNT ROSE MAIN STREET - LATER

AMBER
(to camera)
Oh-yah, this is exactly how I pictured
it. Chokin' on swan gas.

Suddenly, like a gasoline soaked pinata, it EXPLODES!

Gladys is thrown back. Flames. Screaming. PANDEMONIUM! Becky
doesn't have a chance. She's a pink taffeta BALL OF FIRE.
The swan's back eventually collapses taking Becky into it's
burning belly.

INTERCUT WITH MR. HOWARD'S VIDEO.

Gladys watches in stunned silence as her daughter and only
chance at State go up in flames. Suddenly, she CRACKS!

GLADYS
Oh my God! My Baby! The swan ate my
baby!
(grabbing at burning
float)
Ow-ow-ow! Get up, Rebecca! Get outta
there! We've gotta go to State! Oh
hot!
(she scorches her
blouse)
Oh, damn. I like this blouse. Rebecca!
Get up, angel face. Time to go to
State! Ow-ow-ow!

Eventually, Gladys tries to climb up on the float. Iris pulls
her off.

GLADYS
Get offa me, you cow!

Gladys spins and notices the silent CROWD.

GLADYS
What're you lookin' at? Huh? A whole
God Damn town of losers! That's what
I'm lookin' at!

Crowd reacts. Gladys notices Amber and runs up to her car.

GLADYS
You! You piece-a-shit trailer trash!
This shoulda been you! Damn, I shoulda
killed you when I had the...

The crowd reacts again. Gladys spins, noticing someone.
Lester approaches.

GLADYS
Hey, Ted, sorry. I didn't know your
family was in the garage when I set
it on fire!

LESTER
Gladys! Stop it!

GLADYS
Guess it wasn't a garage sale as
much as it was a bake sale. Ah-
hahahahahahahaha!

Lester tries to pull her away from the crowd.

GLADYS
Let go-a-me, you old bastard!

She grabs a BURNING 2X4 off a float and starts swinging it.

GLADYS
At least you've got another daughter.

CROWD GASPS. Then stunned SILENCE. CAMERA CIRCLES Gladys
and Lester getting reaction shots of the crowd.

LESTER
So help me, Gladys.

GLADYS
Becky was my only shot at state!

LESTER
That's enough!

GLADYS
Let go! Let go of me. Oh my God,
it's COPS!

TWIN OFFICERS, followed by "COPS" TV CREW, run up and
aggressively tackle Gladys. As the struggle on the ground
continues, crew guys go over and shake hands with the "COPS"
crew -- obviously knowing them.

GLADYS
(pointing to Lester)
He sells reproductions! His
furniture's as fake as my orgasms!

The COPS crew begins to mingle with the DOCUMENTARY crew.

SCOTT
Hey, man, how're you doin'?

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
Hi! What's up, Scott? You remember
Bruce, right?

SCOTT
Long time, no see.

DOCUMENTARIAN (O.S.)
Bruce, that's Roy.
(they shake hands)
Roy, Bruce.

EXT. GRAVEYARD - DAY

Lovely hillside. A PASTOR and TOWN FOLK -- heads bowed --
stand beside a FRESH GRAVE.

PASTOR
That's why, dear Lord, it's with
such great sorrow that we turn over
to you a young woman whose dream of
ridin' on a giant swan brought about
her untimely death. Maybe it's your
way of telling us to buy American.

EXT. GRAVEYARD - LATER

The funeral is over. Amber, Loretta, Iris and Servettes
awkwardly face each other beside the grave. Iris takes the
PARTIALLY MELTED TIARA from the headstone.

IRIS
As, uh, actin' President of the Mount
Rose Civil Servettes, it's my duty
since Becky can't fulfill her duties --
'cause she's dead-n-all -- to make
you Mount Rose American Teen Princess.

She puts the TIARA on AMBER. Loretta FLASHES pictures.

MALE REPORTER #1
Turn around and let me see.

EXT. GRAVEYARD - LATER

Annette, Amber (wearing her tiara) and Loretta are leaving
the crowning ceremony. All are happy as they push an extremely
drugged Annette out of the cemetery.

LORETTA
What is wrong with you?

AMBER
I don't know. I just didn't wanna
win like this.

LORETTA
You stop right there. You are a good
person. Good things happen to good
people.

AMBER
Really?

LORETTA
No. It's pure bullshit, sweetie.
You're lucky as hell, so you might
as well enjoy it. Let's get you a
root beer float.

AMBER
Okay.

LORETTA
Do you guys want some shots? I'm
buyin'.

EXT. LORETTA'S TRAILER - DAY

Amber sits on the picnic table. In the b.g., Loretta exits
her trailer with a FED-EX GUY. She pats his buns as he exits.
She approaches Amber with a packet.

AMBER (V.O.)
I never liked her, but she didn't
deserve to die in the belly of a
swan like that. The whole thing's
just kinda sad and lame at the same
time.

LORETTA
(handing over packet)
This came for you, sweetie.

AMBER
Ah! It's from State! Oh my God!

Amber rips it open and holds up a color brochure with COLLEEN
and TERRY in a glamour shot on the cover.

AMBER
(paging through packet)
It's all the stuff I get to do. Oh
my God, oh my God... Okay, okay...
We get a "personal consultation"
with a make-up artist -- Eeeh! Okay,
um, there'll be a choreographer to
the stars and, oh no -- No way. Oh...
My... God!

LORETTA
What? For chrissakes, spit it out.

AMBER
I'll be stayin' overnight at... The
Airport Howard Johnsons!

LORETTA
Right by the airport -- Oh, Amber...

AMBER
There's an indoor swimming pool!
Ahhhh!

Loretta joins in the screaming.

AMBER
Oh crap -- I only got four days. I
gotta practice!

EXT. LORETTA'S TRAILER - MORNING

MONTAGE BEGINS over MUSIC.

Amber emerges from Loretta's trailer, Pop Tart in mouth,
book bag in hand. SMILES. WAVES.

EXT. TRAILER PARK

Taps her way down the road, out of the trailer park.

INT. CAFETERIA - MONTAGE

Amber scrapes trays. PAN DOWN. She wears tap shoes, practices
her routine.

INT. HOSPITAL - MONTAGE - DAY

Amber walks around the room in high heels, balancing a bedpan
on her head.

INT. MORTUARY - MONTAGE

Amber dances around the room, using a suit on a hanger as a
partner. A naked old man is on the embalming slab, a sheet
covering his nasties.

EXT. LORETTA'S TRAILER - NIGHT

In silhouette, Amber taps on the picnic table by the light
of the FULL HARVEST MOON.

DIP TO BLACK:

EXT. AIRPORT HOWARD JOHNSONS - DAY

WHITE LETTERS ON BLACK: "STATE FINALS"

We look up at the towering Howard Johnsons and see a huge
banner which reads: "WELCOME AMERICAN TEEN PRINCESS, FRIED
CLAM PLATTER $9.99." Suddenly, a 747, not more than thirty
feet above the hotel, flies over -- the sound is deafening.

LORETTA
All right, say "Airport Ho-Jo."

AMBER
Airport Ho-Jo!

LORETTA
I got it! Yeah, why don't ya take
a...

Mr. Larson unloads Amber's luggage from the hearse. Loretta
leans against it, arm around Amber, smoking and occasionally
flipping off people who stop to stare at this unusual sight.

AMBER
Loretta, don't do that.

LORETTA
I'm sorry. They're just starin'.

AMBER
I gotta work with these women.

LORETTA
Okay, sweetie, that's all right.
Let's go. Let's go.

INT. HOWARD JOHNSONS - BAR AREA

There's a fake tropical look, with loads of plastic palms,
etc. CAMERA FOLLOWS Amber into area. BANNER: "STATE FINALS -
SPONSORED BY THE MINNESOTA MODELING ACADEMY" Contestants
(25) sit at tables, they seem more mature, more professional.
Amber smiles and gives a little wave. Terry approaches Amber.

TERRY
And you are...

AMBER
Mount Rose American Teen Princess.

TERRY
Funny, you don't look dead.

INT. HOWARD JOHNSONS - BAR AREA - MOMENTS LATER

Colleen and Terry address the assembled contestants.

SUPER: COLLEEN DOUGLAS AND TERRY MACEY -- MINNESOTA AMERICAN
TEEN PRINCESS STATE BOARD AND OWNERS OF THE MINNESOTA MODELING
ACADEMY

COLLEEN
Okay ladies, listen up. I'm Colleen
Douglas and this raving beauty on my
right --

TERRY
I'm a mirror.

COLLEEN
Correction. This spunky monkey on my
right is Terry Macey. And we are
your Minnesota American Teen Princess
State Board.

TERRY
We're also the co-founders of the
Minnesota Modeling Academy.
Applications are at the tiki bar.
We'll wave the fifty dollar
application fee if you list a friend
and put her address.

COLLEEN
That's right.

TERRY
Okay?

COLLEEN
Mm-hm.

INT. HOWARD JOHNSONS - BAR AREA

Loretta, seated at the bar, puts her arm around a man next
to her.

LORETTA
So... you're cute. Oh, I see you're
married.
(to bartender)
You catch this in your mouth, I'll
give you a present. All right? Open
wide...
(she throws the olive)
Oh, God, you got that on the first
try. Come here.

Loretta kisses the bartender.

LORETTA
You are cute.

INT. HOWARD JOHNSONS - COURTYARD STAGE AREA - DAY

TERRY
Due to budgetary cutbacks -- and the
fact that Nationals didn't cough up
a damn nickel this year -- you won't
be stayin' overnight. So pay
attention, you've got about eight
hours until showtime.

INT. HOWARD JOHNSONS - STAGE AREA - DAY

A DISCO BEAT POUNDS from a boom box. Mr. Melchoir, the
choreographer, watches contestants move in fast-paced
crisscrossing formations. Amber is among them. Miss St.
Paul screws up.

MR. MELCHOIR
Remember to count, ladies. Cross on
the left and arms up on eight! On
the beat! On the beat! Keep on it!
Keep movin' it! C'mon, Miss Forest
Lake, take that stick out of your
ass or I will. All right. Very nice.
Now come on, arms out. We're in the
front row. Come on, sell it! That's
very nice. Remember, figure eights,
ladies...

INT. HOWARD JOHNSONS - BAR AREA - MOMENTS LATER

Colleen and Terry smoke and drink at a tall tiki table that's
covered with empties. In the b.g., a pageant worker passes
out PINK BAGS to the contestants. All the while, TWO FAT
KIDS play "Marco Polo" in the pool.

COLLEEN
(tipsy, holding up
glass)
I can sum up our entire philosophy
with this glass. I look at it and
say, "it's half full." Which, in the
beauty pageant biz means, "Where the
hell's my waiter!"

She laughs hard, then spins around in her chair.

COLLEEN
(screaming)
Stop with the fuckin' Marco-Polo
before I rip your fat little heads
off!

INT. HOWARD JOHNSONS - STAGE AREA - AUDIENCE CHAIRS

A very mature Miss Burnsville talks to Amber who is staring
at Miss Burnsville's supernaturally well-supported chest.

MR. MELCHOIR
Miss Burnsville, you're up next...

JUMP CUT TO:

INT. STAGE AREA - AUDIENCE CHAIRS - MOMENTS LATER

Amber sits addressing the camera. Miss Burnsville is gone.

AMBER
Don't tell anyone, but, I have a
little secret weapon of my own.

Amber pulls out a jar of Vaseline from her purse and smiles
innocently.

INT. HOWARD JOHNSONS - BAR AREA - SHELLFISH BUFFET - DAY

Contestants hungrily fill their plates with seafood.

INT. HOWARD JOHNSONS - BAR AREA - SHELLFISH BUFFET

Amber stands beside the buffet, holding only a salad.

AMBER
I don't eat shellfish. Mom always
says, "Don't ever eat nothin' that
can carry its house around with it --
who knows the last time it's been
cleaned." She should know.

JUMP CUT TO:

INT. HOWARD JOHNSONS - BAR AREA

Amber eats at a tall tiki table with Miss Minneapolis.

MISS MINNEAPOLIS
...I've done about thirty-five
pageants. I guess my most memorable
one'd have to be Miss Teen America,
1995. It was in Vegas. My roommate
did Adam West.

SUPER: MR. WEST WAS UNAVAILABLE FOR COMMENT

MISS MINNEAPOLIS
She said he was sooo horny.

Amber stares at her with wide-eyed disbelief.

JUMP CUT TO:

INT. HOWARD JOHNSONS - STAGE AREA - DAY

Amber watches four contestants in a row practice their
talents. All are equally amazing. "THEME from 2001: A SPACE
ODYSSEY" starts. Miss Minneapolis steps ON STAGE -- silver
unitard, silver streamers, silver tap shoes. She starts a
TAP ROUTINE that RIVALS AMBER'S.

AMBER
(whispering to camera)
Oh my God. Look at her, she's awesome.
I should just go home now.

Terry and Colleen stand in front of the stage.

TERRY
Okay, okay, that's enough -- I get
it.

SUDDENLY Miss Minneapolis FREEZES.

MISS MINNEAPOLIS
Oh -- oh my God...
(doubling over in
pain)
I gotta go!

She runs off toward the RESTROOM.

COLLEEN
(calling after her)
Well, you're gonna have to do
somethin' with those nerves before
Nationals. Thirty-million people
aren't gonna wait while you run to
the john.

Other waiting contestants suddenly double over, ad-libbing
"oh no! oh my God!" "I'm gonna puke!" etc. More contestants
grab their bellies.

NEWS FOOTAGE: INT. HOWARD JOHNSONS - MORE FOOTAGE

FEMALE REPORTER
(hand on earpiece)
Today, a beauty pageant turned ugly.
A salmonella dysentery outbreak, now
traced to improperly refrigerated
shellfish, was believed to be the
cause. Joining us now is David
Richardson, a member of the
documentary crew filming the pageant.
He was there when tragedy struck.

TELEVISION SET

CREW GUY
Fuckin' beauty queens blowin' chunks
everywhere. I've never seen anything
like it before, and I live in L.A.
(laughs)
Hey, Ed.

FEMALE REPORTER #2
Can you tell us any thing about the
controversy? Is there a controversy
here? Has there been sabotage?

Follow REPORTER as she runs over to Amber, Colleen and Terry.
All three look dazed. Reporters SHOUT questions.

COLLEEN
(with forced sobriety)
People, people -- wait, wait a minute,
here. Uh, while we haven't ruled out
sabotage from neighboring state
pageants -- Iowa, Wisconsin, North
Dakota...

TERRY
Yeah.

COLLEEN
Dakota.

TERRY
Ohio...

COLLEEN
That bitch from...

TERRY
What?

COLLEEN
Wisconsin.

TERRY
All right, then.

COLLEEN
The bitch.

TERRY
The important thing is that we have
a winner...

PULL BACK TO REVEAL WE'RE:

INT. MOUNT ROSE V.F.W. - BAR - NIGHT

The mayor and other vets, watch Amber on the TV.

COLLEEN (ON T.V.)
And, on behalf of the Minnesota
Modeling Academy, we proudly present
Amber Atkins. Your new Minnesota
American Teen Princess.

The place ERUPTS in CHEER! ON TV: Terry sets a tiara on
Amber's head. FLASHES.

MAYOR
Yah, ain't it just a kick in the
fuckin' ass!?!? I'll be a snake's
prick if tragedy and pageants ain't
got a way of bringin' folks
together...
(directly at camera)
Yous boys tell me when want me to
start, okay?

INT. HIGH SCHOOL - LIBRARY

IONA
Amber?! What-the-hell's goin' on
around here? I'm Mount Rose American
Teen Princess. Where the hell's my
tiara? I bet those sneaky little
Japs took it...

INT. CAFE - CONTINUOUS - NIGHT

Cathy and other townsfolk are glued to a small TV set on the
counter.

FEMALE REPORTER (ON T.V.)
Amber, how do you feel?

AMBER
I, uh... I feel like... I, uh, I
need a shower.

Townsfolk laugh and cheer.

CATHY
Jesus-Mary-n-Joseph I hope Gladys
Leeman hangs herself in her cell
when she hears this.

INT. WOMEN'S PRISON - REC ROOM

ROUGH HAND HELD FOOTAGE. We see Gladys walking around, holding
onto the back of a large black woman's belt.

GLADYS
Uh-huh. No, no. Gosh, no. You know I
still don't want to be on camera...

SUPER: PHONE INTERVIEW WITH GLADYS LEEMAN FROM MINNETONKA
WOMEN'S FACILITY

GLADYS (V.O. ON THE PHONE)
Yah -- I just wanna say -- that little
bitch better watch her back at
Nationals 'cause I'm makin' friends
on the inside... Yah -- friends who
have friends on the outside...

FEMALE PRISONER
Get your sweet ass off the bunk,
Cinnamon.

GLADYS (V.O. ON PHONE)
Gotta go.

Click. DIAL TONE.

EXT. LORETTA'S TRAILER - DAY

Annette (left arm's been amputated and replaced with metal
pincers which she hasn't mastered yet) sits at the picnic
table with Amber and Loretta. Throughout the following,
Annette struggles to open a beer can which keeps flying out
of her pincers. (Handmade "congratulations" posters cover
the lawn and trailer.)

AMBER
I just, I just can't believe it. I'm
Minnesota's American Teen Princess!

LORETTA
Our baby's going to Nationals!
Lincoln, Alabama -- look out!

AMBER
I'm gonna be on TV! Just like Diane
Sawyer.

Annette opens a beer with a new HOOK replacing her hand.

LORETTA
Annette, just use your hand.

ANNETTE
They told me to practice.

AMBER
Okay, ready? Here's the signal I'm
gonna give Ma when I'm on TV.

Amber MIMES inhaling a cigarette and Annette embraces her.

ANNETTE
My little Carol Burnett.

EXT. AIR FIELD

In the middle of a corn field. The "runaway" is a gravel
path cut between rows of corn. A FOUR-SEATER plane is on the
runway, in front of a group of town folk with hand-made "good
luck" signs. Amber (in Minnesota sash and tiara) and the
Mayor stand beside the plane. (NOTE: The plane never moves.)

EXT. AIR FIELD - LATER

MAYOR
(into bullhorn)
Here she is, Minnesota's American
Teen Princess -- soon to be the next
America's American Teen Princess --
our little Amber!

ZOOM IN ON AMBER as PEOPLE cheer Amber on.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. SARAH ROSE COSMETICS, NAT'L HEADQUARTERS - DAY

A giant Sarah Rose Cosmetics logo on the wall greets Amber.

SUPER: SARAH ROSE COSMETICS NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS, LINCOLN,
ALABAMA.

The CONTESTANTS, including Amber, look around for the
directory. It reads: FOR LEASE. A sign at the front of the
building reads: SEIZED.

SUPER: IN ITS FIFTIETH YEAR, SARAH ROSE COSMETICS WAS SEIZED
BY THE IRS FOR TAX EVASION...

As the CAMERA catches the reactions of our contestants --

SUPER: THE SARAH ROSE COSMETICS AMERICAN TEEN PRINCESS PAGEANT
WAS CANCELED...

We STOP on MISS OKLAHOMA. She SCREAMS

SUPER: ...PERMANENTLY

EXT. SARAH ROSE COSMETICS, NAT'L HEADQUARTERS - DAY

As the contestants run out the building...

SUPER: BUT IN ITS PASSING WE ARE INSPIRED BY THE SPIRIT OF
THE MANY YOUNG WOMEN WHO WERE ITS HEART AND SOUL...

Contestants THROW and HURL suitcases and items through the
glass of the building.

SUPER: ...AND BY THE MANY WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN PURSUIT OF
THE TITLE...

The contestants TEAR DOWN the Sarah Rose Logo.

DIP TO BLACK:

EXT. CHASKA SCHOOL OF BEAUTY

A very perky Leslie Miller, with very big hair, stands out
front in a white lab coat. She smiles and waves to camera.

SUPER: LESLIE MILLER ENTERED "THE CHASKA SCHOOL OF BEAUTY"...

EXT. STRIP BAR - NIGHT

A COLOR PHOTO of slightly less perky Leslie, wearing go-go
boots and a smile, dances in a cage.

SUPER: SHE WAS LAST HEARD FROM SOMEWHERE IN THE PHILIPPINES.
IF YOU SEE HER, PLEASE CALL 1-800-X-QUEEN.

DIP TO BLACK:

INT./EXT. HARDWARE HANK

It's a lovely shot of the front window.

SUPER: HAROLD VILMES DIED UNEXPECTEDLY OF LYMES DISEASE FROM
A DEER TICK BITE

Suddenly, HANK, buck naked, runs back and forth past the
window, spanking himself and waving "hi."

SUPER CONT: LEAVING HANK THE STORE.

DIP TO BLACK:

EXT. MOUNT ROSE - STREET

MOLLY HOWARD is being helped into a van with "Lutheran
Children's Orphanage" painted on the side. She looks sad.

SUPER: MOLLY HOWARD RETURNED TO THE "LUTHERAN CHILDREN'S
ORPHANAGE" AFTER HER PARENTS WERE GUNNED DOWN BY A SNIPER
OUTSIDE THE FOOD SHACK.

INT. ROOM - DAY

CLOSE UP of a newspaper photo of Gladys.

SUPER: GLADYS LEEMAN ENTERED A STATE-WIDE PRISON BEAUTY
PAGEANT...

The banner and hat she wears read: MINNESOTA 2ND PLACE, CELL
BLOCK 3.

SUPER: ...SHE CAME IN SECOND.

INSERT: NEWSPAPER HEADLINES

"EX-BEAUTY QUEEN ESCAPES PRISON, VOWS "REVENGE ON MOUNT ROSE"

EXT. MAIN STREET - FOOD SHACK

Gladys, wearing Army Fatigues and brandishing a semi-
automatic rifle aimed at the FOOD SHACK, holds off a S.W.A.T.
team.

GLADYS
Come on out, you little blonde piece
of trailer park trash!

LOCAL NEWSCAST

Female reporter is on the scene of the Gladys Leeman stand-
off outside the food shack. We see Amber, Annette (with hook
hand) and other town folk behind her, watching the action.
"LIVE" flashes on screen.

SUPER: DURING THE SIX-HOUR GLADYS LEEMAN STAND-OFF

FEMALE REPORTER
We are here in the sixth hour of a
shoot-out between Gladys Leeman --

MAN AT FOOD SHACK
Get down!

The female reporter suddenly stiffens and falls over.

SUPER: LOCAL REPORTER PAT MILES WAS STRUCK BY A STRAY POLICE
BULLET.

Amber steps under the police barricade, over Pat's body,
takes the mic and continues the newscast. She's a natural.

AMBER
This is Amber Atkins reporting live
from the Food Shack for... KRLH News.
One of our reporters has just been
shot.

SUPER: AMBER, SHOWING AMAZING POISE UNDER PRESSURE, WAS GIVEN
HER JOB.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. MINNEAPOLIS NEWS STATION

Amber, now looking like a Midwestern news anchor, sits with
a BLOND MALE ANCHOR. A LOGO in B.G. reads: TV WAZB TWIN
CITIES.

BLONDE NEWS ANCHOR
I'm Peter Aitchison.

AMBER
And I'm Amber Atkins for WAZB News.

SUPER: ...was given her job.

AMBER
Good night.

As they smile and laugh, we:

FADE OUT:

THE END

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