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Harpo's Bike (Can't Find My Way Home)

A young ad artist takes a trip to New Orleans on a Harley inherited from his estranged Marine father to prove to his family that the man was having an affair. Instead, he finds a veteran homeless mute - his father's best friend - who thinks he's Harpo Marx.

Kevin Sullivan is a successful graphic artist with a Middle Eastern girlfriend, and he has his own apartment in the city. But growing up resulted in a huge chip on his shoulder that makes Kevin test fate and challenge authority.

When Kevin gets word that his father has died, we find out why. When Kevin returns home for the funeral, we learn that his father was a Marine who never stayed home when Kevin and his sisters were growing up. Instead, the man, who was an abusive alcoholic, would leave town on a vintage Harley that Kevin's mother is now passing off to him.

Kevin also learns that his father's life was a lie. He didn't take long motorcycle trips because he wanted to be apart from his family. He did it because he had gone AWOL during his time stationed in Beirut, and he was running from justice. Kevin finds maps and an address book inside the cargo hold of the bike, and inside the address book is scribbled what seems to be a love note. All clues point to New Orleans.

After Kevin gets fired from his job, he sets out on a quest to prove that his father was having an affair. At least that's his excuse. But when he gets to New Orleans, he finds a homeless veteran mute who roams the streets and pubs dressed like Harpo Marx.

Kevin's father was an avid Marx Bros. fan, so he knows there's a connection. But Harpo won't let Kevin near him. So Kevin follows him. But a wrong turn leads Kevin into the midst of a drug deal, where he accidentally kills an innocent man. Upon fleeing the scene, Kevin crashes the bike and is left injured and helpless. Until Harpo finds him.

Harpo takes care of Kevin. He nurses Kevin back to health and helps him survive on the street, where Kevin wants to keep low because he killed a man. All the while, Kevin tries to understand the connection between Harpo and his father. The two were stationed together in Beirut, and for a while, the fact that Kevin's father had kept in contact with this man makes Kevin feel like his father wasn't such a bad man after all.

Or was he? Evidence shows up that suggests Harpo was being used by his father as a false identity. And the Harley belongs to Harpo, not Kevin's father. Later, Kevin uncovers information about his father that he never thought possible, and one other painful truth - that Kevin is more like his father than he'd ever want to admit.

Script Excerpt
Written by:
Format:
Screenplay
Genres:
Budget:
Low
Starring Roles For:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Teller (of Penn and Teller)
Danny Glover
In the Vein Of:
Big Fish
Reign Over Me
The Fisher King
Posted:
10/29/2003
Updated:
08/01/2020
Author Bio:
Diane studied Film and Video Art/Theory at SUNY Binghamton in New York. She has been a long standing member of The Scriptwriters Network and has been a script reader for several writing competitions and film festivals. Other scripts that have gained her competition recognition include: **AUTUMN BLOOD, PERFECT PROPHET, THE SCHOHARIE, A GOOD SOUL, SPIKE, TURF WAR, PWNED, BLINDSIDED,THE BODY AND BLOOD, ROADSIDE PICNIC, SUPERNATURAL-INTERVENTION, SUPERNATURAL-I GOT YOU BABE and THE CHAIN-FRANCISCO PIZARRO**.

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Contest Results:
Split-Screenplay (Finalist, Top 25 Finalist) [2006]
Big Bear (Semifinalist, Top 10) [2006]
Scriptwriters Network (Semifinalist, '97 Staged Reading Competition) [1997]