Script File

Grandpa Party


Logline: Surrounded by sickness, boredom and death in a retirement center, Sam gives a voice to his generation and becomes a viral video rap star at 82.

Michigan, small town. Sam is 82, a retired journalist, trapped in a wheelchair and writing on his laptop. He lives in a guest house that he built in the back of his old house. Now that house is populated by his son, Jake and his divorced daughter, Katie, her three kids - 12 year old, Melissa, 8 year old Donnie and 2 year old Cindy. Things are rough for the family; they are barely getting by. Sam tries to help with the children, but has his own moments of desperation, as he suffers of short term amnesia, osteoporosis, wears diapers, and needs his oxygen. Katie and Jake work and the household is run by Bella, a sweet Latina lady. The kids love their grandpa: Melissa likes dancing, Donnie loves Eminem, and Cindy wants to listen to grandpa's stories.

One day Sam forgets to turn off the stove and he almost burns the house down while the children are there. Bella tells Katie who looks upset. The next day Katie and Jake sit down with their father. They tell him that they are going to move him into a retirement home. His social security will cover most of the cost, and they could rent out the guest house to help with the mortgage. But this is my house, Sam complains. Katie reminds him that he almost burned down the house. Sam tries to convince them that his new poetry book will be picked up by a publisher and that will pay well. They’ve heard it all before.

Two days later Sam is being wheeled to the car, his house and family left behind. Sam and Katie drive in silence to Sunset Grove Retirement Center. He is wheeled into what he perceives as prison. There are all sort of “inmates”, men and women in their wheelchairs or canes some playing puzzles, some cards, some bingo, some are watching TV. The head nurse is Mr. Bo, a 6 foot 2 muscular Jamaican American, who takes them on the tour. The nurse shows him to the room. Katie brings in his clothes and computer. Sam is looking out of the window. Katie, starts crying. “I hope one day you will forgive me”, and leaves. Sam looks out of the window “I won't”.

The next few weeks Sam goes through the humdrum routine of the facility where everything looks the same. He meets several people, through them he sees all the ugly facets of old age: diabetes, arthritis, incontinence, dementia, Parkinson's, glaucoma, cataracts, respiratory diseases, osteoporosis, cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and depression. Sam feels alone. But one day a beautiful young nurse, Hannah, brightens his day. She reminds him of his daughter when she was young. He continues to keep to himself as he learns the ropes and life routine in the home. One of his acquaintances tells him he wants to give him something the next day. When Sam goes to find him the next day, the room is empty; an empty room means only one thing at Sunset Grove. On the bed there is a brown paper covered book with Sam’s name on it. He reads the book called “One day at a time”. We hear him repeating passages: “find goals, set them, fall in love, cherish the light, think in the dark, it's not over, and there is always a reason to fight for”.

Sam seeks out Carl, a black white haired man in his mid 80's who also keeps to himself. He lures him into his room and asks Carl what he did for a living. Carl says he worked in Detroit programming machines at a Ford plant for over 30 years. He has been at Sunset Grove for only 6 moths, and he’s seen 12 people die and the room be filled the very next day by another sweet old man or lady. Carl describes how visitors wane, “We are the forgotten, with just time in our hands”. He talks about how much he misses his granddaughter, Emma.

As Sam and Carl bond, things at Sunset Grove go awry: Crazy Fred, an old man with Alzheimer’s threatens to kill himself, Maisy Adams gets lost in the woods for hours, Larry rebels against food and starts a fight with the nurses.

Sam wakes up Carl in the middle of the night. “Are we dead?” he asks him. Carl can see that Sam is suffering from a breakdown. “What do you need”. Sam tells him he needs his help to set up a studio and buy some loops or music. “OK, why?”, Carl wonders. Sam says he wants to rap. Carl bursts into laughter. Sam wheels himself down the corridor, Carl's laughter still being heard in the background.

The next day another room goes empty. Sam stays in his room. He can't write. He goes back to the room that is now occupied by a very old lady who can hardly stay awake. Her daughter promises to be back next Sunday, and leaves crying. Sam walks back to his room and finds an envelope. He opens the letter. “I will need $3000 to set you up with a recording studio and 2 good songs. Carl. PS We are still in the living business”.

The next weeks pass in setting up the studio in a broom closet and training. Sam is ordered around by Carl to learn from the greatest. Sam tries to rap to Tupac, Eminem, Ice Cube, Easy E, but fails. He puts in the hard work at night, improves and finally raps his own lyrics.

Carl and Sam continue to record, as the loud music and the failed efforts become the talk of the facility. One day Sam gets offended by a comment by Bo and then finds out that everyone is making fun of him. Sam asks a nurse to take all the equipment and throw it in a storage room. Carl comes in and tries to inspire him, but Sam has made up his mind.

We see Carl at the closet computer with some parts of Sam's rap, editing them together, exporting the track, and transferring it to a memory stick. He finishes writing a letter, folds it and puts in an envelope with the memory stick.

Sam passes the next days in frustration. He fights with another man. He locks himself in a room. He tries to hang himself and fails. On the floor, he is curled up crying. A visitor comes to see Sam. It's a young director, Terry who wants to shoot a video to his song Grandpa Party, a story about getting old. Sam understands who is behind this and confronts Carl telling him that it's over. Carl, in an inspiring speech tells Sam that he likes this creative craziness, it's made him feel alive again. And that's the only emotion he wants to cling to.

A montage of Sam rapping, Carl recording and editing, Terry and his young crew shooting the music video at the nursing home. The video goes on line. One of the filmmakers says he is going to try to promote it. After three days, the video has only 72 views and almost that many nasty comments. Hannah finds the video and starts promoting it through her social media.

Katie and his grandchildren visit Sam. They seem quite silent. Katie tells the kids to head to the car. She tells Sam that they are going to lose the house. Before exiting, Sam tells her he forgives her. He actually thanks her. Now he has a goal, to escape this home.
The next day Sam goes to talk to Carl and is in shock! Carl's room is empty. Sam seems devastated. He doesn't feel like eating, socializing, sleeping. There is a buzz around Sunset Grove, and Nurse Hannah informs him that the video has 34 million views. Sam doesn't care, and locks himself in his room.

The next morning the phone rings. It's Carl's son, who offers to pick Sam up so he can attend the memorial service for Carl. After the service, Sam is approached by Carl's granddaughter, Emma who says all her friends at school have seen the video. Sam asks her if she can hold a beat. She starts giving him the rhythm. Sam raps his heart out, the truest words we have heard him rhyme. Some mourners gather around him, some start shaking their heads to the beat.

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