Pie in the Sky

Institute History


PIE IN THE SKY is a comedy that examines the patterns of a young man's sexual life from zero to age twenty-three. It's Charlie Dunlap's journey from his mother's breasts to his first love, to an older love, and finally back to a young woman whom he really loves, but almost loses because he's unable to break the old patterns of his youth.

What patterns? His parents are not so typical. Every time his parents argue, they make love. Later in life, Charlie associates a good fight with sex.

And then there's the confusion. As a small boy he takes regular showers with his mom, but then one day she closes the bathroom door on him with no explanation.

And there's the deep sense of abandonment. One day, his ten year old girlfriend Amy and her family leave his small town with no explanation. But years later, an eighteen year old free spirited Amy returns and Charlie makes love with her for the first time. Moments later, he discovers his Dad having sex with their neighbor, Mrs. Tarnell, in the backseat of the family car. These all add up. He withdraws from Amy.

And there's the traffic patterns. From a young boy, Charlie is mesmerized by the interstate leading through his small town towards Los Angeles. From the overpass, he daily charts the traffic flow, accurately predicting when certain cars pass. It's an interstate he so desperately dreams of getting on and chasing his dreams. He's also obsessed with a Don Quixote-esque city helicopter traffic reporter, Alan Davenport, that he constantly picks up on his radio. He listens for years to Davenport as if it's his Elvis, his hero.

And it's in Los Angeles that a now college educated twenty-two year old Charlie pursues and lands a job as Davenport's gopher. He runs into and is rejected by Amy, who has come to Los Angeles to pursue her dancing career. Charlie finds himself in the shower once again, but this time with an older, more experienced woman who gives him a sexual education. But he's always had it for Amy. They finally reconnect and fall back in love, and shortly thereafter Charlie gets an opportunity to go up in the traffic helicopter and do the traffic himself.

And yet, Davenport's threatened by Charlie's talent and Charlie is fired. Can he bounce back from his trauma? His relationship with Amy suddenly falls apart. Can Charlie break the patterns of his childhood . . . the fears, the insecurities . . . .step up, and get Amy back in his life?

In the last scene, we see Charlie sitting down at a dinner table, next to Amy, who is breast feeding their baby. The baby zooms towards his mother's breast, similar to how Charlie rocketed towards his mother's. Here we go again!

— Geoffrey Gilmore


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