"Boys, boys, boys... you could draw a thousand pictures and never quite capture all the meanings of the word."

Ahh... there's the girls now.

Deems Urquhart, on set in Snohomish.

The screenplay that started it all.

Log Line: The Trouble with Boys and Girls is a story about the nature of conflict and gender rivalries as told through the eyes of children on the playground

A stylistic blend of The Little Rascals, Stand by Me, and The Twilight Zone, The Trouble with Boys and Girls is like an attempt to remember the events and feelings behind an old black and white photograph. Picture the silvery, faded image of five boys and five girls on a playground in summer, innocent looks of childhood giving way to the confusion and uncertainty of adolescence...

A feud pitting the boys against the girls erupts in a small town with the arrival of older and seemingly wiser Liza (Katrina Athmann.) Preferring things the way they were when everyone got along, Tommy (Nathan Daynes) retreats to an alley where he can be alone to play his old harmonica. This draws notice from Liza who is intrigued by his solitary nature.

From this curiosity, Tommy and Liza develop a secret friendship. What begins as a series of flirtatious arguments grows into a sincere ongoing dialogue about the nature of their gender rivalry that is the heart of the story. But with Tommy's recent absence breeding suspicion among the boys and Liza leading the feud in public, their friendship must stay hidden.

Driven on by wounds from her mysterious past, Liza creates a monster of her own in Abbey (Alice Moore), who goes from quiet follower to zealous leader in the war against the boys. Unwilling to be shown up by the girls, the boys fight back and a full-fledged turf battle develops over their childhood playground.

Powerless to stop the fighting and confused about his friendship with Liza, Tommy's withdraws to the refuge of his alley and harmonica. While playing random notes on his “mouth harp,” Tommy experiences a kind of recurring trance which transports him into a dream-like reality. There he meets a man (Deems Urquhart) who is always working away at a typewriter. He offers guidance to Tommy during brief visits that are always underscored by a nostalgic, jazzy tune playing on an old phonograph. Inspired by these experiences, Tommy unconsciously learns the tune on his harmonica and eventually shares it with Liza as a sign of trust.

Meanwhile, the conflict is getting worse. Willy's guinea pig is dead. Abbey's party is sabotaged. Tink's bike is missing. Enna has fallen off the monkey bars. And just as Tommy and Liza's friendship is solidifying, Abbey discovers them together. But instead of simply revealing what she knows, she devises a contest whereby Tommy and Liza are pitted against each other in a race. The winner will secure ownership of the playground for the boys or the girls.

On the day of the race, out of sight of the others, Tommy attempts to follow the advice of the man at the typewriter and convinces Liza that they should end the race in a deliberate tie. In the final stretch, however, Liza gives in to the suspicious stares of the girls and pulls ahead to win, betraying their agreement.

Ostracized by the boys for his failure, Tommy must overcome his anger and shock. Full of guilt, Liza retreats from the girls in an attempt to reconcile her troubled past. The two must find the courage of forgiveness and honesty before meeting in an uncanny resolution. At an empty dance hall, they must put the most vulnerable aspect of their friendship on display for all to see.

the Trouble with Boys and Girls
(formerly THE LAST the end)
Directed by: Jesse P. Howard
All rights reserved, Home Movies ©2003

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    If you want the plot and story line of the film to be a surprise, READ NO FURTHER -This page reveals the entire plot.

  • "...The film is a dreamlike, magical realist allegory about the nature of conflict and gender rivalries as told through the eyes of children on the playground..." - Kevin Dreyfuss, IndieWIRE

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    This page was created by Todd Howard of Howard MultiMedia