"'A dumb, slightly annoying pile of glop'? Well, fuck you too, Peter Sobczynski!"


"'A dumb, slightly annoying pile of glop'? Well, fuck you too, Peter Sobczynski!"

THE NOTEBOOK

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. NICEST NURSING HOME EVER

JAMES GARNER visits GENA ROWLANDS.

JAMES GARNER

How’s you, baby? I brought this movie’s title justification and I’m going to read it to you for six straight hours.

GENA ROWLANDS

I’m here for a reason necessitating copious quantities of pills, right?

JAMES GARNER

Most likely.

GENA ROWLANDS

Not copious enough.

(downs fifth of bourbon)

JAMES GARNER

“Once upon a time, in a land called Idyllic North Carolina Town #37B...”

EXT. IDYLLIC NORTH CAROLINA TOWN #37B

RYAN GOSLING spots RACHEL MCADAMS at a carnival with SOME GUY and stalks approaches her.

RYAN GOSLING

(actual line)

You wanna dance with me?

RACHEL MCADAMS

Get away from me, you psycho. I’ll take Some Guy’s pornstache over your Hollywood grubbiness any day.

She and SOME GUY get on the FERRIS WHEEL. RYAN jumps into their SEAT.

RYAN GOSLING

Date me.

RACHEL MCADAMS

No.

RYAN GOSLING

Date me.

RACHEL MCADAMS

No!

RYAN GOSLING

Date me!

RACHEL MCADAMS

NO!

RYAN GOSLING

DATE ME!

RACHEL MCADAMS

God, FINE! You’re lucky Some Guy is completely inconsequential.

SOME GUY

(yanked off-screen with comically large hook)

JAMES GARNER

“So Rachel dated Ryan, despite the fact that his nuts would be inside his ribcage if he didn’t look like Ryan Gosling. It was a magical summer of poetry, swimmin’ holes, and not having sex.”

INT. DECREPIT HOUSE

RYAN leads RACHEL inside.

RYAN GOSLING

I’m going to restore this house to its proper grandeur. You know, from when slave owners lived here.

RACHEL MCADAMS

HOLY CATS THAT GETS ME DTF.

They DON'T HAVE SEX. RYAN’s friend KEVIN CONNOLLY runs in.

KEVIN CONNOLLY

Dude! Rachel’s parents are freaking the fuck out! She was supposed to be home at 11 and it’s already 11:01!... Oh, uh, sorry to interrupt, buddy.

RYAN GOSLING

(through gritted teeth)

You didn't.

INT. RACHEL'S HOUSE

JOAN ALLEN lectures RACHEL.

JOAN ALLEN

I forbid you from seeing that boy. You might get a disease! Or a fetus! Or worst of all – a lower income tax bracket!

RYAN GOSLING

She’s right, Rachel. You’re a perfect vanilla porcelain angel and I, despite being honest, hardworking and cheek-pinchingly adorable, am obviously scummier than the tub drain in a Cambodian brothel.

RACHEL MCADAMS

You can’t leave! I danced in a third-class bar full of drunk Irishmen for you!

RYAN GOSLING

For the last time, I am NOT Leonardo DiCaprio. Now dump me.

RACHEL MCADAMS

No.

RYAN GOSLING

Dump me.

RACHEL MCADAMS

No!

RYAN GOSLING

Dump me!

RACHEL MCADAMS

NO!

RYAN GOSLING

DUMP ME!

RACHEL MCADAMS

YOU ASSHOLE!!!

INT. THE NEXT YEAR

RYAN writes LETTERS.

JAMES GARNER

“For the next 365 days, out of either love or mental breakdown, Ryan gave himself writer’s cramp to distract from his blue balls.”

JOAN intercepts the LETTERS.

JAMES GARNER

“Joan hoarded his letters to Rachel instead of just burning them, thinking she might one day need last-minute redemption.”

RACHEL tends to a FULL-BODY CAST with the face of JAMES MARSDEN while dressed in a UNIFORM straight out of NIGHT SHIFT NURSES 2.

JAMES GARNER

“And Rachel gave the boyfriends in the audience something to look at, finally.”

JAMES MARSDEN

Helloooooooo, nurse.

RACHEL MCADAMS

Yeah, good luck getting any part of your anatomy to work again. The best you can hope for is a sponge bath.

JAMES MARSDEN

Really? Sweet.

He recovers and stalks asks RACHEL out.

RACHEL MCADAMS

Welp, I never heard from Ryan and you’re pretty hot when you’re not jacked up to hell, so I’ll give you a shot.

JAMES MARSDEN

You should, because I’m exactly the kind of guy your parents want you to marry. You have no choice but to do just that.

RACHEL MCADAMS

Seriously? That’s your proposal?

JAMES MARSDEN

Bitch, do you want a diamond the size of a kumquat or not?

RACHEL MCADAMS

Yes! Yes, James, of course I do!

JAMES GARNER

“But he was James Marsden, so you know where this is going.”

INT. NICEST NURSING HOME EVER

JAMES turns a PAGE.

GENA ROWLANDS

I’m actually getting into this story. So when do they cross the Fire Swamp and get captured by the six-fingered guy?

JAMES GARNER

For the last time, I am NOT Peter Falk.

EXT. RYAN’S TOTALLY SLAVE-OWNIN’ DREAM HOUSE

RYAN deals with his ANGUISH by humping JAMIE BROWN.

JAMIE BROWN

So you want to go out and do stuff? I mean, I dig staying in and being called “Rachel” all night, but we haven’t even had a seafood shack scene yet.

RYAN GOSLING

No. Put on this strawberry-blond wig and pearls and let’s get busy.

JAMIE BROWN

Fuck that.

(leaves)

JAMES GARNER

"And so Ryan consigned himself to a lifetime of jerking off and sobbing, and you're supposed to love him for that."

INT. THE CITY

EVERY WOMAN IN TOWN gushes over RACHEL’S WEDDING DRESS.

NATTERING HEN #1

You’re going to have SO much sex with James after he sees this!

NATTERING HEN #2

Have you seen the papers? Your wedding is the most important thing to happen in South Carolina in the 40s!

RACHEL looks at the PAPER, where she sees that RYAN’S TOTALLY SLAVE-OWNIN’ DREAM HOUSE is the SECOND-MOST IMPORTANT THING to happen in SOUTH CAROLINA in the 40S. She goes to see JAMES, who works with MONEY instead of BUILDING THINGS and is therefore AWFUL.

RACHEL MCADAMS

James, I think I’ll take up painting again. Did you know I like to paint?

JAMES MARSDEN

No. But you’ve never brought it up since we started dating despite probably having tons of free time. Plus you only did it, like, once before you sponge-bathed me.

RACHEL MCADAMS

You don’t understand me. I’m going to the town where the guy I didn’t have sex with one summer just built his Dream House.

JAMES MARSDEN

I’m only going to question this for five seconds. You do you, honey.

RACHEL MCADAMS

I’ll just stop at the store on the way and buy him a housewarming present. Since we’re on the subject, I’ll get him a doormat!

EXT. RYAN’S TOTALLY SLAVE-OWNIN’ DREAM HOUSE

RACHEL drives up.

RACHEL MCADAMS

So I read about your Dream House and it made my panties twitch.

RYAN GOSLING

I can’t believe it’s you, Rachel! Seven years of barely acknowledging the existence of other women was worth it!

RACHEL MCADAMS

I know how we can make up for lost time...

They have SEX, right? RIGHT?!

EXT. ROWBOAT

WRONG.

RYAN GOSLING

This wasn’t what I meant when I said I had a long piece of wood.

It RAINS.

RACHEL MCADAMS

Well, this wasn’t what I meant when I said I was totally wet for you. Also, why didn’t you write me?

RYAN GOSLING

I did! Do you know how difficult it is to come up with material for 365 full-length love letters? Between that and the jerking off, it’s a miracle I can row this thing!

RACHEL MCADAMS

Oh, shut up and get us an MTV Movie Award for Best kiss me!

He DOES. Then they have TONS AND TONS OF SEX, plus PANCAKES. Then JOAN shows up.

JOAN ALLEN

Rachel, you must come home. James has a mind to make sad faces at you.

RACHEL MCADAMS

No! Anything but that!

JOAN ALLEN

I've decided not to lecture you, for when I was your age, I myself didn’t have sex with a poor boy.

RACHEL MCADAMS

(pauses)

And?

JOAN ALLEN

What do you mean, and? Doesn’t this make up for the mail tampering?

18 U.S. CODE § 1708

Nope.

JOAN is sentenced to FOUR YEARS IN JAIL.

RYAN GOSLING

So, Rachel, who’s it gonna be? The handsome, witty, successful guy who loves you for some reason, or the unemployed stalker with no life outside of you?

RACHEL MCADAMS

Well, the script says I love James, but those were some kickass pancakes.

RYAN GOSLING

Choose me.

RACHEL MCADAMS

I don't know.

RYAN GOSLING

Choose me.

RACHEL MCADAMS

I don't know!

RYAN GOSLING

Choose me!

RACHEL MCADAMS

I DON'T KNOW!

RYAN GOSLING

CHOOSE ME!

And so on into INFINITY.

INT. NICEST NURSING HOME EVER

JAMES closes the NOTEBOOK.

GENA ROWLANDS

Wait! It’s coming back! I’m Rachel and you’re Ryan and I chose you!

JAMES GARNER

That’s right! And now we can have a much better love story than that hellstorm of Sparks clichés I’ve been reciting!

GENA ROWLANDS

Time’s up. Have we met?

JAMES GARNER

FUCK MY FUCKING LIFE

INT. GENA'S BEDROOM

JAMES tiptoes in.

JAMES GARNER

Gena? I came to see if you’ll recognize me before Nicholas Sparks literally punches the entire audience in the tear ducts.

GENA ROWLANDS

Yes, conveniently enough. But I need to ask you something, James.

JAMES GARNER

What is it, Gena?

GENA ROWLANDS

Do you think we have a better love story than Twilight?

JAMES GARNER

We sure do, honey. We sure do.

They tenderly and lovingly CROAK.

END

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