Starring: Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, Colin Ford, Maggie Elizabeth Jones, Angus Macfadyen, Elle Fanning, Patrick Fugit, John Michael Higgins, Carla Gallo, J.B. Smoove, Stephanie Szostak, Michael Panes, Kym Whitley
Comedy-drama written and directed by Cameron Crowe loosely based on memoir of the same name by Benjamin Mee. The story takes us through the struggles of a family touched by grief when they lose their mother and then deciding to make a drastic change by moving to a new home that comes with a zoo and finding a new way of living and the running theme of the story is about taking a leap of faith toward life altering changes.
Our Favorite Quotes:'I'm a big fan of people being exactly who they are.' - Kelly Foster (We Bought a Zoo) Click To Tweet 'Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery, and I promise you something great will come of it.' - Benjamin Mee (We Bought a Zoo) Click To Tweet
Best Quotes (Total Quotes: 100)
Dylan Mee: [voice over] My dad is a writer who specialized in adventure.
[we see footage of Benjamin talking into the camera surrounded by killer bees]
Benjamin Mee: This is Benjamin Mee, I am surrounded by hundreds, probably thousands of killer bees. If I wasn’t wearing this suit I would be dead in an instant.
Dylan Mee: [voice over] He interviewed dangerous dictators.
[we see footage of Benjamin interviewing a dictator]
Dylan Mee: [voice over] He even flew into the center of hurricane Charlie. It was a category four storm.
[we see footage of Benjamin in a helicopter headed into the eye of a category 4 hurricane]
Dylan Mee: [voice over] He knew the ins and outs of strange and exotic adventure, backwards and forwards. But nothing prepared him for this one.
[Benjamin is rushing around in the morning, trying to get his children ready for school; in the car on the way to school Benjamin argues with Dylan]
Benjamin Mee: Look, I’m the one who gets the emails about your lack of effort, man. Okay? You either know where the book is or you don’t.
Dylan Mee: Dad, it’s whatever. Looks I’ll know it when I get to school.
Benjamin Mee: You know what? ‘Whatever’ is the laziest word of the twentieth century, alright? I’m, I’ve had it with whatever! I don’t want to hear it again in this century, ever again. ‘Whatever’ is over!
Rosie Mee: He says it all the time. He won’t have anything left to say in this century.
Benjamin Mee: I’m not letting you out of the car until I get a new word. You know, you gotta focus, man. If you focus as much on your homework as you do on your artwork, you’d have it all. But as it is?
Dylan Mee: Dad, I finished the Seventh Tower.
Benjamin Mee: You’re going to get an F!
[there’s silence in the car for a moment before Dylan speaks]
Dylan Mee: Pernicious.
Benjamin Mee: Thank you! Good word.
Dylan Mee: Dad, nobody’s going to give an F to a kid whose mom died six months ago.
Rosie Mee: What does pren, peren, pernicious mean?
Benjamin Mee: Uh, causing insidious harm or ruin. Causing damage.
[after dropping his kids off at school one of the other mom’s approaches Benjamin]
Shea Seger: I thought maybe lasagna. Dinner for three.
Benjamin Mee: Great, thank you.
[Benjamin goes to take lasagna dish but Shea stops him and pulls him close]
Shea Seger: Or four.
Benjamin Mee: You know, my brother is actually coming for dinner tonight, so that’s perfect. And I’ll get the dish back to you within a week.
Shea Seger: In time. In time.
Benjamin Mee: In time then. Thank you.
[he walks off]
Duncan Mee: Benjamin, I’ve arrived at a thought.
Benjamin Mee: Tell me, Dunc.
Duncan Mee: I believe you should court the girl we met at Jamba Juice. She’s a stunner.
Benjamin Mee: She keeps calling me to go hiking.
Duncan Mee: Benjamin, hike her.
Benjamin Mee: Is she a stunner? I mean, is that what they call a stunner now? I mean, what do I know? I was spoiled, I had the real thing.
Duncan Mee: Well, what else do we have around here?
[he looks around for a coffee shop and looks across the road and the coffee shop]
Duncan Mee: Little Dom’s?
[Benjamin looks upset and turns away]
Benjamin Mee: No.
Duncan Mee: Hey.
Benjamin Mee: No. No.
Duncan Mee: Look, the world is going to get very small if you don’t go to any of the places where you and Katherine use to go.
Benjamin Mee: I met her there.
Duncan Mee: Ah, man. I’m sorry, that’s right.
Benjamin Mee: It’s alright, man.
Duncan Mee: Look, you gotta let a little sun light in. Okay? Human interaction is a good thing. Take it from a guy who spent six months on a commercial fishing boat in Bali trying to find himself.
Duncan Mee: Alright? Yeah. You know what I found? I missed people. So just do me a favor, attempt to start over.
Benjamin Mee: I shall try to start over.
[doing a fake Chinese voice and bowing]
Duncan Mee: You’re handsome!
Benjamin Mee: And so are you!
[Duncan hugs Benjamin]
Duncan Mee: I love you, my brother.
Benjamin Mee: I love you too, man.
Duncan Mee: You’re a good guy.
[as he walks away]
Duncan Mee: Sunlight. Human interaction.
Benjamin Mee: Got it!
Duncan Mee: Joy.
[Benjamin is in his editor’s office, pitching a new story]
Benjamin Mee: Alright, McGinty, so get this. I go to the volcano eruption site and I take the kids, and I write about the end of the world, from the point of view of the generation that’s going to save it. And we do a whole thing about how life is elemental and all the software and laptops and apps in the world aren’t going to change that, and we call it, you ready? iPocalypse.
[McGinty looks unimpressed]
Delbert McGinty: Wow. Just wow.
Benjamin Mee: It’s good, right? I mean, I think it could be a series. Like, uh, like the killer bees.
Delbert McGinty: That is bold stuff.
Benjamin Mee: You’re not going to say yes, are you?
Delbert McGinty: No. Listen, I think we should give you an online column. That way you’ll be protected. This is the way we live now. If the paper goes down or gets sold, you’ll still be safe. You’ll be viral.
Benjamin Mee: Don’t keep me around out of…
Delbert McGinty: I am not!
Benjamin Mee: Out of sympathy. I mean, I, I hate sympathy. I’m sick of sympathy.
Delbert McGinty: I know.
Delbert McGinty: You know what? Bad things happen, you just keep going.
Benjamin Mee: I quit.
[Benjamin walks out of McGinty’s office]
Delbert McGinty: Benjamin. You lost your wife, man! In some quarters sympathy would be considered the appropriate response.
Benjamin Mee: No, I’m not going to sit around here and spin my wheels and live in a state of sponsored pity.
Delbert McGinty: Please! Let me lay you off, so you can get the benefit.
Benjamin Mee: That’s more sympathy! No! I quite! And I love you. And those patched elbows.
Delbert McGinty: You’re killing me.
Benjamin Mee: I’ll miss you.
Delbert McGinty: Text me.
[Benjamin and Dylan sit in the principal’s office as Dylan has stolen money]
Benjamin Mee: Classy. Real classy.
Dylan Mee: They left the cash box right on the counter. It’s kind of their fault, if you think about it.
Benjamin Mee: That’s three suspensions in one semester. That’s gotta be some kind of record.
Dylan Mee: Yeah, well. Maybe I’ll get a prize.
Benjamin Mee: Could you possibly be making a joke right now? Because…
[he stops as the squeaky noise coming from the open window gets louder]
Benjamin Mee: Jesus, that is annoying!
[he gets up to and tries to fix the window]
Dylan Mee: Dad, stop.
Benjamin Mee: I can fix it.
[referring to the principal]
Dylan Mee: Here he comes!
[the principal walks into his office and looks over at Benjamin trying to fix the window]
Benjamin Mee: Frame’s a little loose. I…Just give me one second.
Principal: I’m fine with my squeaky window, Mr. Mee. In fact, I rather enjoy it.
Principal: Besides today’s theft, there’s a darkness here that we need deal with. Mr. Deveraux, Dylan’s art teacher, wanted you to see his wall mural.
[he motions for Benjamin to follow him]
Principal: We encourage creativity at the school.
[showing Benjamin the other student’s paintings]
Principal: There’s a nice treatment of the word ‘love’. A whimsical portraiture of recycling. A hard hitting expose about world peace. Here’s the great Bob Marley, although we don’t endorse all that he stood for. Sunflowers. And guess which one is your son’s?
[we see Dylan has done a gory painting of a decapitation]
Principal: We’re a three strike school, Mr. Mee. And today was his fourth strike. I’m sorry, we have to expel Dylan. But, as one parent to another, I, I would examine his inner life.
[as they are leaving Dylan’s school]
Dylan Mee: You think he was expelling me for my artwork.
Benjamin Mee: I can almost live with the artwork. I mean, if Charles Manson needed a personal muralist, you’d be the guy. But no, he didn’t expel you because of the artwork. He expelled you because you stole. You stole! Breaks my heart.
[Benjamin opens his fridge to place the lasagna dish Shea had given to him earlier and we see his fridge if packed with lasagna dishes]
Benjamin Mee: Always lasagna.
Rosie Mee: Dad, someday you’re going to have to eat some of that lasagna.
Benjamin Mee: Honey
Rosie Mee: Or throw it away.
Benjamin Mee: Hey Rosie, am I doing anything right?
Rosie Mee: You’re handsomer than the other dads. Lots of them don’t have hair, so that’s good.
Benjamin Mee: Awesome. I’m going to take baldness off my list of things to worry about.
Rosie Mee: Good.
[as Benjamin and Rosie go house hunting with their real estate agent]
Mr. Stevens: It’s a new day for you, Mr. Mee. We have a full day of house hunting planned and I’ll think you’ll be very excited at what’s available.
Benjamin Mee: We just want new. We want new, new everything, new opportunities, new schools. Just new.
Mr. Stevens: In the current economic environment you’re going to find that now the buyer is not the king.
Benjamin Mee: What I’m hoping for is like a big back yard, substantial. You know, just rolling hills.
Mr. Stevens: It’s going to be very hard to find rolling hills in the city. It’s not available.
Benjamin Mee: Then stationary hills.
Benjamin Mee: The hills don’t have to roll, alright honey?
[Rosie nods her head]
Benjamin Mee: Just new.
Mr. Stevens: You know what? It’s all about new. People love new. I love new. Hell, I’m new! Excuse my language, but I’m new. Hell, I’m new!
Benjamin Mee: I’m glad you’re excited about it.
Mr. Stevens: I know. I’m excited about new stuff. New, is the new old.
Benjamin Mee: New.
Mr. Stevens: New, new, new!
Rosie Mee: I like you.
Mr. Stevens: I like you too, Rosie.
Rosie Mee: I wish Dylan had come with us, this is fun.
Mr. Stevens: Oh, I wish Dylan were here too! The more the merrier! That’s what I always say, right?
Rosie Mee: My mommy died.
Mr. Stevens: Oh, wow! My condolences go out to you and your family, Mr. Mee. Oh, wow.
Benjamin Mee: Sweetheart, Mr. Stevens is a stranger honey. He didn’t know mommy.
Rosie Mee: I know, but he should have.
Mr. Stevens: Oh, oh, oh, oh! Just knowing you, Rosie, right now, I, I, I love your mom. Uh, I love her. I picture, I picture your face on a grown lady.
Benjamin Mee: How long have you been doing this job?
Mr. Stevens: First day, it’s my first day!
Benjamin Mee: Really?
Mr. Stevens: Yeah! First day. So, our adventure begins.
[after seeing house after house, Rosie shows Benjamin a listing for an 18-acre home in the country]
Benjamin Mee: I mean, what we do with eighteen acres?
Mr. Stevens: Well, let me be honest with you. Rosemoor property has some challenges.
Benjamin Mee: Well, what doesn’t?
Mr. Stevens: True, but this situation, I’m going to go for the word ‘unique’.
[as they drive up to the property]
Benjamin Mee: Wait a second. Is that it?
Mr. Stevens: Yes.
Benjamin Mee: Rosie.
Mr. Stevens: And, uh, look.
[both Benjamin and Rosie are captivated by it as they drive up]
[as they walk towards Rosemoor house]
Benjamin Mee: You don’t have to take a picture, Rosie.
Rosie Mee: Why not?
Benjamin Mee: We’re going to live here.
Mr. Stevens: Oh, Mr. Mee, we have to talk. Okay? Let’s not rush into things.
[as they look around the house]
Mr. Stevens: Right now, I think we’re jumping the gun.
Benjamin Mee: This is exactly what we’ve been looking for.
Mr. Stevens: Uh…let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s, uh…let’s just take it all in first. Don’t take a gift that’s not given to you yet now.
Benjamin Mee: This place is perfect. Why didn’t you mention it earlier?
Mr. Stevens: Well, it’s a bit complicated.
Benjamin Mee: Complicated is okay. Complicated can be great. We love complicated, right?
Rosie Mee: Mm-hmm.
Benjamin Mee: What’s so complicated about this place?
Mr. Stevens: Well, you see, it’s, uh, it’s, uh…
Benjamin Mee: What is it?
[Stevens starts laughing nervously]
Mr. Stevens: It has complications to it, Mr. Mee. And, uh…
[suddenly they hear a loud noise of a lion roaring]
Mr. Stevens: It’s a zoo.
Benjamin Mee: A zoo.
Mr. Stevens: It’s a zoo.
Rosie Mee: Yay!
Mr. Stevens: Yay.
[they go down to see the lion on the property]
Mr. Stevens: This was a fully functional zoo until two years ago, they were shut down. The state’s been maintaining for it now, you know, just to keep it up, keep it going.
Benjamin Mee: I mean, could I, uh, you know, buy the property and then just relocate animals?
Mr. Stevens: Well, actually, the state that’s selling the property with a stipulation that whoever comes one board and buys the property, has got to care and maintain these endangered animals.
Benjamin Mee: Oh, come on.
Mr. Stevens: And then there’s the remaining staff on board and, you know. If someone doesn’t buy this property soon, these animals will probably have to be, uh…
[both Stevens and Benjamin look at Rosie]
Benjamin Mee: Well, thanks. I mean, I don’t know anything about animals, zoos. I mean, it’s, uh…
Mr. Stevens: It is.
Benjamin Mee: It is what it is.
Mr. Stevens: It is what it is. Sometimes you don’t know what it is until you see what it is. You know? Once you see what it is, then you can figure out…is…it is what it is. You understand?
Benjamin Mee: No, but we can move on.
Mr. Stevens: Yeah.
[as Benjamin decides that he can’t look after a zoo]
Benjamin Mee: It’s just…it’s just too bad. So we keep on looking.
Mr. Stevens: Yeah.
Benjamin Mee: Right, Rosie?
[they look back and see that Rosie is missing]
Benjamin Mee: Oh, God. Great, I keep her home from school for one day and she gets eaten.
[they look around for Rosie and find her playing with birds and feeding them]
Benjamin Mee: Boy, it’s a shame. Can’t just…
[as Benjamin watches how happy Rosie is he realizes he’s going to buy the property]
[after Benjamin has told Duncan that he’s decided to buy a zoo]
Duncan Mee: I said human interaction. This is what happens when people have a, you know what, occur in their lives. They wake up one day and they say, ‘I’m going to quit my job and try something completely different with my life.’ But then they wake up another day and they say to themselves, ‘thank God, my older brother didn’t let me dad’s inheritance by buying a broken down zoo, in the country, nine miles from the nearest Target store.
Benjamin Mee: But maybe my older brother didn’t see this place.
Benjamin Mee: Look, this is…this is simple destiny. The place makes seventy five percent of its revenue in the summer time. If I can have this place back up by the end of June, right? I’ll be open by July. It’s only February right now, it’s a lot of work but I think I can do it. Duncan, you should have seen Rosie.
Duncan Mee: Look, do…I’m begging you, do what other people do, go to Vegas, lose a little bit of money. Or do what I did when Sheila left me.
Benjamin Mee: Start handicapping horses.
Duncan Mee: Well, that was a little misguided.
Benjamin Mee: Go into commercial surfing business and call myself Captain Dunc. Start cliff diving in Acapulco at the age of thirty eight.
Duncan Mee: I miss Sheila, man.
Benjamin Mee: I know, man, I know.
Duncan Mee: Alright, forget that! Forget all that. Don’t do what I did. Travel the stages of grief, yet stop just before zebra’s get involved.
Benjamin Mee: It’s only two zebra’s.
Duncan Mee: Uh-huh.
Benjamin Mee: And a lion, and a jaguar and forty seven other species, seven of which are endangered and all of them are saved the second we make this deal. The kids are going to be so psyched.
Duncan Mee: Really? Psyched. Are they really going to be psyched?
[after Benjamin tells Dylan about wanting to buy the zoo]
Dylan Mee: You’re freaking kidding me! It’s a zoo!
Benjamin Mee: Well, yeah. Look, these animals need somebody to rescue them.
Dylan Mee: The…the animals need to be resc…?! Dad, my friends are here! My whole life is here!
Benjamin Mee: Man, you got expelled! Alright? What am I going to do? What am I suppose…what am I…am I going to home school you?
Dylan Mee: No!
Benjamin Mee: Right! So what did we talk about? A new place, a new start.
Dylan Mee: This is what you want. It’s not what I want!
Benjamin Mee: What?
Dylan Mee: It’s a zoo. I’m moving to a zoo.
[he turns and walks off and Benjamin looks at Rosie]
Rosie Mee: We bought a zoo!
Benjamin Mee: Yes, we did. We did buy a zoo. Give me some fork.
[the hit their forks together]
[Benjamin and Rosie are getting rid of old clothes]
Benjamin Mee: Alright, let’s let this shirt start over! Okay, two more left.
[he throws the shirt into a box and takes out another shirt out of the closet]
Benjamin Mee: Oh, a good one. Oldie but a goodie. What do you think?
[he shows the shirt to Rosie]
Rosie Mee: Mommy used to wear that sometimes.
Benjamin Mee: She did. This was, uh, it started out as mine, but, uh, she kind of adopted it. But it’s got rips and everything everywhere. Tough to give some of these things away, right?
[he looks at Rosie]
Benjamin Mee: Keep it?
Rosie Mee: It’s time. Let that sweatshirt start over.
Benjamin Mee: Let it start over. Okay.
[he throws the shirt in the box and turns back to the closet]
Benjamin Mee: This is it, the last item.
[he takes out the item from the closet and shows Rosie a small stuffed toy monkey]
Rosie Mee: Never! That we’re keeping.
Benjamin Mee: Okay.
[after the Mee family moves into the zoo, the head zookeeper Kelly introduces the other zookeepers and then Benjamin awkwardly introduces his family]
Benjamin Mee: Uh, this is Rosie, my daughter. And my big boy, Dylan. And our dog, Leon. And this is our zoo now, I guess. And love the house, smells and all.
[looking at Rosie]
Benjamin Mee: Right?
[there’s an awkward silence]
Benjamin Mee: So I would like to declare us all modern day adventurers. And sponsors of animal greatness.
[everyone seems amused and less than impressed]
Benjamin Mee: Okay, terrific let’s go.
[as Kelly and the other zookeepers give the Mee family the tour of the zoo they stop to look at their bear]
Kelly Foster: This is Buster, he’s our six hundred fifty pound North American Grizzly. He was seven seventy, but, uh, but he’s been stressed out. You know, he’s moody. We had him on Paxil, but we can’t afford it, so he’s occasionally depressed. He can still rip your arm off though.
Benjamin Mee: Hey there, Buster. Are you missin’ the meds?
[suddenly the bear roars in response]
Benjamin Mee: Woh!
[as the Mee family are getting a tour of the zoo, the stop and look at some tigers]
Rosie Mee: I thought they would roar like a lion.
Kelly Foster: No, no, tigers and lions are very different. Tigers don’t growl or roar, they chuff. Like a, uh…
[Kelly makes a chuffing noise and Rosie imitates the noise]
Kelly Foster: Yeah, when you chuff at them they chuff back.
[Kelly turns to the tigers and starts making chuffing noises at them]
Kelly Foster: Try, go on.
[Rosie makes chuffing noise at the tigers at the same time Benjamin tries to make a chuffing noise but this embarrasses Dylan]
Dylan Mee: Oh, my God!
[to Rosie pointing out one of the tigers]
Kelly Foster: That guy there, that’s Spar. He’s our oldest, he’s seventeen. He’s a Bengal tiger. You know tigers have a special sensors in the front of their two inch canines. They can actually detect the pulse in your aorta. So when they attack, they bite you, take your pulse with their teeth, reposition those suckers and boom! There goes your carotid.
Rosie Mee: Wow!
Kelly Foster: Yeah.
Kelly Foster: So there’s a few decisions you’ll have to make straight away, Ben. Uh…
Benjamin Mee: Benjamin. Ben was my dad.
Kelly Foster: Spar, you just met the tiger, he’s going to need some special care so we have a large animal vet coming from San Diego. It’s just that he’s a fortune to get here and, uh…
Benjamin Mee: That’s okay, I’ll pay.
Kelly Foster: Well, no. I…He’s also very old, so the truth is we don’t really know how much longer he’s got and I…
Benjamin Mee: Just step it up. What else do we have?
Kelly Foster: Rickety posts. uh, deep rock in tortoises, a weak enclosure between the jaguars and the tigers, they don’t get along. Um…
Benjamin Mee: Okay, why don’t we start with the, uh, posts.
Kelly Foster: Okay.
Benjamin Mee: The posts and the cages.
Kelly Foster: Posts and…what? They’re not called cages, they’re called enclosures. They haven’t been cages in like a century. My brief marriage, that was a cage.
Benjamin Mee: Not mine.
Kelly Foster: I have a question for you. You’re some random guy from the city, no one in the zoo community has ever heard of you. You know nothing about animals and you moved into a dump. I mean, what kind of regular person just up and buys a place like this? Especially somebody with kids. Why?
[Benjamin doesn’t reply]
Kelly Foster: You have no idea what we’ve been dealing with here. We used to have three times the staff, they all quit. I’m twenty eight, I never go out, I’m here every day. My girlfriends, they text me, they’re out living their lives meeting guys named Brett, and I’m here shoveling shit. Bear shit! I’m pathetic! I had to move back in with my mother. No one gets paid, Ben…jamin. We need somebody who can really take charge of this place, or else we and all these animals are gone.
Benjamin Mee: So your question is?
Kelly Foster: Why did you buy this place?
[Benjamin pauses moment before replying]
Benjamin Mee: Why not?
[he smiles and turns to carry on their tour of the zoo]
Benjamin Mee: Coming?
[Benjamin decides to build a new enclosure for the porcupines, he starts talking to them but they get agitated and Benjamin jumps and falls over the fence hurting himself]
Robin Jones: Listen, you’re not talking to them correctly yet, boss. You gotta be real with them.
[hurt and angry, Benjamin turns to the porcupine]
Benjamin Mee: I’m never talking to you again! You little asshole!
Robin Jones: Now you’re talking to him. There you go.
[as Duncan helps Benjamin with renovating the zoo]
Duncan Mee: It’s great, I get it. This whole spiritual journey. We’re all in cages, man. I love it. But, uh, at the risk of stating the obvious, you’re insane. Okay? You’re drilling yourself into insane debt.
[Benjamin looks up and notices Kelly and she looks over at him]
Kelly Foster: You good?
Benjamin Mee: Huh? Yeah, all good. Thanks.
[Kelly walks off and gets on with her work]
Duncan Mee: Who’s that?
Benjamin Mee: That’s Kelly.
Duncan Mee: Holy shit! Okay, here’s the revised Duncan plan. Dump the animals, keep Kelly. That’s true joy.
Benjamin Mee: It’s about Rosie, man. She is happy here.
Duncan Mee: Rosie is seven, just make her a nice zoo screensaver and she’ll be just as happy.
Benjamin Mee: I’m trying to give them an authentic American experience.
Duncan Mee: And it ends with you authentically living on my valor couch with your two children. I see you working in a field in Bolivia for angry men with large mustaches.
[to the ostrich coming towards him]
Duncan Mee: Hey, back off!
[Dylan is drawing when Lily finds him and brings him a sandwich]
Lily Miska: How did you get the nose bleed?
Dylan Mee: I, uh, slipped on the roof and banged it.
Lily Miska: It’s a weird house.
Dylan Mee: Yeah.
[she sits down next to him, watching him draw]
Lily Miska: I like your drawing.
Dylan Mee: Thanks.
Lily Miska: It’s a little dark. Where’s the sun?
Dylan Mee: There’s not sun at the end of the world, that I’m aware of.
Lily Miska: I’m off at four.
[Dylan’s looks at her confused]
Dylan Mee: Cool.
Lily Miska: So I’ll come back every day at four fifteen and bring you a sandwich.
Dylan Mee: That’s okay.
Lily Miska: Well, bye.
Dylan Mee: Bye.
[as Rosie and Dylan are shucking ears of corn getting their dinner ready]
Benjamin Mee: Hi, guys. I forgot to buy butter.
[Rosie and Dylan look disappointed]
Benjamin Mee: How important is butter to this meal tonight? We’re going to take a vote. And remember, it’s nine miles each way to the grocery store. Nine miles. Nine miles there, nine miles back. So I think the question we need to ask ourselves as a family, is butter worth your dad driving eighteen miles right now, today? Let’s vote.
[next scene shows Benjamin driving home from the grocery store, with Dylan waiting for him on the front porch]
[to Dylan; after Benjamin has driven to the grocery store for butter]
Benjamin Mee: Eighteen miles, for butter. But I’m just telling Kelly here that she’s gotta…she’s gotta go have some time to herself, so just tell me what, uh, you know, just give me a list of what to do and I’ll do it.
Kelly Foster: You sure?
Benjamin Mee: Yeah. We got it.
Kelly Foster: Um, okay. Spar has a new medication, so just make sure that this gets in his food, that he eats it all. Uh, turn off the lights in the garage. Oh, the garage, um, there is a new shipment of exotic snakes, so just leave them in the travel crates and I’ll put them in exhibit in the morning. Oh, and the monkey’s need fruit as well.
Benjamin Mee: Go home. Go out. Go to the city. Go find your girlfriends.
Kelly Foster: I think I’ll just find my pillow.
[she turns to leave]
Kelly Foster: Alright. Good night.
Benjamin Mee: Good night.
[suddenly Kelly turns as she remembers something]
Kelly Foster: Ooh! Um, that thing! You wanted me to remember that thing, and I…
Benjamin Mee: Go home.
Kelly Foster: Okay.
[she smiles and turns to leave and Benjamin watches as she walks to her car]
[after Kelly leaves, Benjamin walks to the house]
Benjamin Mee: Nine point two miles. So technically, that’s eighteen point four miles for butter.
Dylan Mee: You know I found some, right?
[as they try to give Spar his medication]
Rosie Mee: He looks tired, dad.
Benjamin Mee: He’s going to be okay.
Benjamin Mee: Isn’t that right, buddy?
[Spar does a quite chuff]
Benjamin Mee: See that? He likes us.
Rosie Mee: Dylan really loves you, you know?
[Benjamin looks at her in surprise]
Benjamin Mee: I know.
Rosie Mee: He’s just mad that his friends don’t visit him here. He thought they would all visit, but nobody came.
Benjamin Mee: Well, they will.
[as Benjamin is tucking Rosie in for the night he sees she got his old sweatshirt that his wife used to wear under her bed cover]
Benjamin Mee: Now, what do we have here? It’s our old friend, huh? I didn’t think this one was going to make the trip.
Rosie Mee: Did mama hurt a lot before she had to leave us?
Benjamin Mee: Um, well. Uh, do you remember the night that, uh, we were tucking you in and you asked mommy that?
[Rosie shakes her head]
Benjamin Mee: No?
Rosie Mee: No.
Benjamin Mee: Well, she said, uh, she said that it looked worse than it felt, remember? She said that sometimes people look really sick, but they don’t feel really sick. Do you feel like you can’t see her?
[we see Dylan is hovering outside Rosie’s door, listening to their conversation]
Rosie Mee: Yeah.
Benjamin Mee: You feel like you can’t hear her voice?
Rosie Mee: No. But I know what to do, catch her spirit.
Benjamin Mee: Catch her spirit, that’s right.
Rosie Mee: Here we go.
Benjamin Mee: Okay, go for it.
[Rosie reaches out her hands to “catch her spirit”]
Benjamin Mee: There you go, then put it in your heart. Hold it there. Can you see her?
Rosie Mee: Yeah.
Benjamin Mee: Yeah. She’s never far away.
[Rosie also gives Benjamin her mom’s spirit]
Rosie Mee: Right there.
Benjamin Mee: That’s right. Mom will always be in your heart and my shoulder.
[they both laugh and Dylan wipes away a tear as he watches them]
[as they are doing their morning routine of getting ready]
Benjamin Mee: Did you even read that book?
Dylan Mee: You’re funny with everyone else, but never with me. Which I find funny.
Benjamin Mee: Yeah. You know what I find funny? I gotta drive you forty thousand miles to school.
[hands Rosie her lunch pack]
Benjamin Mee: And don’t think I don’t notice you just changed the subject.
Rosie Mee: Dylan likes Lily.
Dylan Mee: Please, she’s way younger than me! She’s twelve. It doesn’t work like that.
Rosie Mee: She’s about a foot taller.
Dylan Mee: Don’t be a tiny person.
[after they discover their yard is covered in snakes and everyone is helping them to pick them up]
Benjamin Mee: How could this even happen, man? I don’t even know how you did this.
Dylan Mee: Dad, there’s nothing you could say to me that’s more harsh than what I’m saying to myself.
Benjamin Mee: Oh, I disagree! I just want you to be happy, man. Unless you don’t want to be happy!
Dylan Mee: What is so great about being happy?!
Benjamin Mee: That’s your happy.
Dylan Mee: I’m sorry I messed up the box of snakes! Whatever!
[he kicks a bucket and one of the snakes]
Rosie Mee: You’re not supposed to say that in this century.
Dylan Mee: He’s so patronizing to me!
Benjamin Mee: Nice word, hot shot!
Dylan Mee: Yeah. Whatever!
[Dylan goes back into the house and slams the door shut, then snake crawls across Rosie’s foot and she screams]
[as Kelly is showing Benjamin how to do several zoo-type things]
Kelly Foster: Hey, I’m pretty sure this is none of my business. But I, uh, I noticed that your kid really pushes your buttons and you give him a lot of rope. I did not appreciate the way he kicked that Garter snake.
[referring to Kelly carrying a heavy carcass]
Benjamin Mee: I feel like I should be, uh, helping you here.
Kelly Foster: It’s all good.
Benjamin Mee: Yeah, look, he’s fourteen and he went through something that no kid should ever have to go through, so giving him a little bit of a leeway. Look, honestly I don’t know. I’m trying to figure it out. There’s no manual for what happened. I mean, a minute ago he was into paper airplane and now he’s into portraits of decapitations, and they’re really good.
Kelly Foster: Yeah, well, what do I know? I still live with my mother and I’m not good with people.
Kelly Foster: You’re doing very well. You know, I expected you to be heading for the hills by now.
Benjamin Mee: Well, we got through today.
Kelly Foster: Yeah, we got through today.
[when the zoo inspector gives then a surprise visit]
Benjamin Mee: Our inspection happens, uh, a week before we open, uh, according to my information. So I’ve asked for June 30th, which would get us open by July 7th, seven-seven.
Walter Ferris: I’m here for a pop by, Mr. Mee.
Benjamin Mee: Great. Let’s, uh, schedule a pop by. We’ve only just really arrived here, Mr. Ferris.
Walter Ferris: A pop by, Mr. Mee, by its very definition, a surprise. I’ll be taking notes in preparation for the actual inspection.
Benjamin Mee: As will I.
[they both get their notebooks out at the same time]
Walter Ferris: Now we’re responsible for the upkeep, not just the granting of licenses. Welcome to the business of live animal maintenance, Mr. Mee. It’s a real fun party.
Walter Ferris: Where’s your zookeeper?
[Kelly steps forward]
Kelly Foster: That’s me, Kelly
[Ferris looks Kelly up and down]
Walter Ferris: Hello, Kelly. I had you down as an assistant. No formal training?
Kelly Foster: I moved up.
[Ferris gives a knowing look to Benjamin]
Walter Ferris: Oh. Now why would you buy this place? I just can’t get a…
[he brings his hand up and clenches it as if trying to open a handle on a door]
Walter Ferris: …handle on it.
Walter Ferris: I see one of these tigers is seventeen years of age?
Benjamin Mee: Yeah. It’s Spar, right here. He had a recent bout with kidney disease, that’s in remission. Now we’re just dealing with a little bit of hip dysplasia.
Walter Ferris: Maybe you begin to draw up an end of life plan? Part of the humane care of an animal is preparing for the inevitable.
Benjamin Mee: It’s fine, we had the vet come out from San Diego, took a look at him. So we’re all good there.
Walter Ferris: The end game on a big cat could be very costly.
Benjamin Mee: I understand, but we’re not there yet. Thank you, for your concern.
Walter Ferris: I guess I just don’t understand how you can call this place home.
Benjamin Mee: You know what? Like this. It’s our home.
[as Ferris drives off]
Benjamin Mee: Okay, he gave us twelve top priority items, two medium priority, we have one month. How much of this can we get done in one?
[just then MacCready who was locked in a room comes out and runs after Ferris’s truck as he drives off yelling after him]
Benjamin Mee: How much is this going to cost?
Robin Jones: Uh, I’m going to have to take a look around. You know, go through in an itemized way, but you’re going to have to put some more skin in the game, boss.
Benjamin Mee: How much?
Robin Jones: I’d say you’re looking at about fifty here. Maybe a buck.
[Benjamin looks shocked]
Benjamin Mee: Okay.
Rosie Mee: A dollar fifty? I have that.
Benjamin Mee: Good. Go get it, we’re going to need it.
Rosie Mee: Good.
[Rosie runs off to get her money]
Benjamin Mee: Okay. Okay. Okay. Uh, I’m just going to take a little walk and wrap my brain around this.
[he walks off]
Robin Jones: Well, Ferris lusts you.
Kelly Foster: I’m not taking one for the team, if that’s what you’re getting after.
Robin Jones: I’m not getting after anything like that. No way. It’s a shame about the new boss though. He just got here and he’s already thinking of quitting.
Kelly Foster: Why are you saying that?
[he gestures towards Benjamin in the distance, who is doubled over, breathing heavily]
Robin Jones: That is the posture of a quitting man.
[Kelly and Robin watch as Benjamin kicks over a barrel in anger, but picks it up a moment later, making Kelly smile, He waves at them and walks off]
[Benjamin is driving Dylan home]
Benjamin Mee: It’s the wrong day for this to be happening, man. I got your sister sick home from school. And you, I mean, how do they send someone home early for moodiness?
Dylan Mee: I don’t know. It’s a sensitive school.
[as they stop at a stop sign, they suddenly notice Buster the bear walking up to their car and they both sit still in shock]
[as Benjamin and the zookeepers go looking for Buster, Benjamin finds Buster standing peacefully in an open meadow and he slowly approaches Buster]
Benjamin Mee: Hey, Buster. Now let’s just hang out, pretend we’re at the zoo.
[Buster comes towards Benjamin]
Benjamin Mee: Buster, this is a big gun and I don’t want to shoot you.
[Buster gets close and suddenly swats Benjamin’s gun away with one paw]
Benjamin Mee: Holy shit!
[Buster roars in Benjamin’s face, covering him in spit and just then, one of the zookeepers shoots Buster with a dart, knocking him out]
[after Buster has been knocked out, the zookeepers praise Benjamin]
Peter MacCready: He was toying with you, my boy. That’s what they do, before you become chips and salsa.
Benjamin Mee: I saw him up here on the hill, by himself, utterly free.
Peter MacCready: You were blessed.
Benjamin Mee: I want to make his enclosure bigger.
[MacCready looks questioningly at Benjamin]
Benjamin Mee: I mean it. Much bigger.
Peter MacCready: You’re the man. You’re the man who just stared down a seven hundred fifty pound North American grizzly.
[Dylan and Lily are lying on the roof, and she has a flashlight pointed to the sky]
Lily Miska: Do you hear that sound? Those are lemurs, they’re primates. They sound like people laughing in the distance.
Dylan Mee: They freak me out.
[Kelly and Benjamin are walking on the grounds of the zoo at night]
Benjamin Mee: I’m worried Lily’s going to hurt Dylan.
Kelly Foster: Well, I think it’s going to be the other way round.
Benjamin Mee: How do you figure that?
Kelly Foster: Cause she’s a farm girl, Ben…jamin. And, uh, he’s like this exotic creature from the city.
Benjamin Mee: Exotic? My son?
Kelly Foster: Yes.
Benjamin Mee: I was afraid you thought he was a little bit of a jerk.
Kelly Foster: I’m guessing that Rosie is more like your wife and Dylan is more like you, and that’s why you’re so hard on him.
Benjamin Mee: I want you to know, I think you’re incredibly pretty. Please don’t take offense if I don’t hit on you.
Kelly Foster: I’d be offended if you did.
Benjamin Mee: Good.
Kelly Foster: I’m a big fan of people being exactly who they are.
Benjamin Mee: Exactly!
Kelly Foster: So we think alike.
Benjamin Mee: We do.
Kelly Foster: And, uh, if I wanted to be kissed by you, you wouldn’t have a choice.
Benjamin Mee: Thank you, I think. I don’t doubt that. What are we just saying?
Kelly Foster: I don’t know.
Benjamin Mee: Okay.
[Benjamin looks round as he listens to the various noises the animals are making at night]
Kelly Foster: It’s a lot to take on, all of us. I’ll see you tomorrow, alright?
[Rhonda, the zoo secretary, gathers all the zookeepers together to tell them that Benjamin is broke]
Rhonda Blair: It hurts me to tell you this. I’ve been checking his bills, the zoo account is empty. He has no more money. He has no idea what he’s doing. He is going to end up selling this place to somebody for cheap, for the land alone. That’s right, Robin! I am warning you now, behind that front, is a front! Benjamin Mee is a fraud!
[after Benjamin finds a deposit box slip in his old sweatshirt that his wife used to wear]
Duncan Mee: You know what she did for you?
Benjamin Mee: I think so.
Duncan Mee: She knew exactly what you would do. You’d make a bad investment, need to start over and have to have a cushion. This is your cushion. Eighty four thousand dollars, man!
Benjamin Mee: Oh, my God.
Duncan Mee: Eighty four thousand dollars.
[Duncan opens the letter that Katherine had left for Benjamin and reads it]
Duncan Mee: She’s still looking out for you, man. She calls it your ‘Circus Money’.
Benjamin Mee: Circus money, yeah.
[Duncan keeps on reading Katherine’s letter]
Duncan Mee: Oh, this next part’s kind of hurtful.
Benjamin Mee: Yeah.
Duncan Mee: It says, listen to your heart not your brother.
Benjamin Mee: I know, I read that. She loved you, man.
Duncan Mee: She used three exclamation marks.
Benjamin Mee: She loved you.
Duncan Mee: Fine. I can see why still carry the torch.
[referring to the money his wife has left him]
Benjamin Mee: With eighty four thousand dollars, we cut a few corners, but I know we can make the inspection.
Duncan Mee: No, Benji. Here’s what she’s saying, you’re free. You realize that? Listen, Benji, you did it, man. You went to the circus, you changed Dylan and Rosie’s lives, they’re going to have those memories for ever. But staying here and going down in flames, that’s not what Katherine wanted. She wanted you to be free. This money is your ticket out, and if you won’t listen to your brother, the accountant, then listen to your wife, who clearly planned a financial future for you.
Benjamin Mee: Okay.
[as Lily takes Dylan his daily sandwich]
Lily Miska: I hear you may not be staying here much longer.
Dylan Mee: Seriously?
Lily Miska: Yeah. But if you still want to be friends, you know, I’ll still be your friend. I mean, there’s still cars and all.
Dylan Mee: Well, yeah, of course. But are you for real with this?
[Lily nods her head]
Dylan Mee: Oh, yes! This is fantastic! I’m going home! I can see my friends.
[Lily looks devastated]
Lily Miska: Hey listen, I gotta go. Don’t tell anybody what I heard, okay?
[she gets up and walks off]
Dylan Mee: Sure. Thanks! You don’t have to leave so fast.
[Lily keeps on walking and begins to cry]
[after Benjamin finds out that Rhonda has been telling the others that he’s going to sell, he gathers the zookeepers to give them a speech]
Benjamin Mee: Well, I want to say, it has been an amazing experience here. Each of you, I’ve come to know in some small way. But the financial climate being what it is, um… I think none of us thought, well…I don’t know how to say this.
[he looks at Duncan, who gives him an encouraging look]
Benjamin Mee: I’ve been an adventure addict my whole life, um…with no big regard for cost. Um…with… well, with no regard for cost. Basically I was just an observer and a writer, but this is my first real adventure. And I just want to say that it’s been the best one of all, because it’s personal. And thanks to my Katherine…
[he pauses for a moment and then holds up the package from Katherine]
Benjamin Mee: The money came through. So, I don’t know what you’ve heard, but I am able to say, though I don’t have a lot, I do have enough to get us by and if you stick with me, I will give this everything. But I will need everything from you and we’re going to reopen this zoo. This is the best job in the world, and it’s going to take everything to make it work. So don’t….don’t give up on our adventure.
[after Benjamin finishes reading Katherine’s letter]
Kelly Foster: Well, that’s good enough for me.
Lily Miska: Me too.
Robin Jones: Done, man!
[they start cheering and clapping but Duncan looks upset at Benjamin’s decision]
Benjamin Mee: Circus money, man! Our adventure is just beginning.
Duncan Mee: That’s not what I meant!
Benjamin Mee: I know.
[he looks over at Rhonda]
Benjamin Mee: And Rhonda, I wish you the best in Mexico.
Rhonda Blair: I don’t speak Spanish.
Benjamin Mee: Adios.
[at they shop for zoo items at Home Depot]
Rosie Mee: How come you don’t tell stories anymore?
Benjamin Mee: Well, because we’re living the story.
Rosie Mee: I wish we could tell mom that.
Benjamin Mee: You don’t think mom knows?
Rosie Mee: I know she knows.
Benjamin Mee: Me too.
[Benjamin is installing new bulbs in Spar’s enclosure]
Benjamin Mee: want to hear something crazy? I think we’re going to be okay.
[he sees Spar is not eating his food]
Benjamin Mee: Come on, man. We talked about this, you gotta eat that food. It’s got all the meds. You know, there’s a major buzz waitin’ for you inside that meat. You’re neurotransmitters are going to be firin’ all the way to the moon and back. You’ll be dating seven year olds. Have every house cat from here to El Cajon. Buddy, if you don’t eat the food, and you don’t get your meds in you…
[Spar makes chuffing noises as Benjamin talks]
Benjamin Mee: It all goes downhill very fast. I’m telling you the truth. Trust me. Come on, man. We’re almost there. You gotta stick with me. We got our opening day coming up
[Benjamin notices Kelly is watching him talk to Spar decides to leave and walks off; as he passes Kelly]
Benjamin Mee: He’s fine. He’s okay
[as Spar is stuck on a tall rock in his enclosure and won’t come down]
Kelly Foster: He got up there, he can’t come down.
Benjamin Mee: Okay, can we use the ladder?
Kelly Foster: We tried luring him with food. He’s gotta come down from there, he’s gotta eat his food, he’s gotta drink water, he’s gotta take his medication, he’s dehydrated. I mean, we gotta get him into the enclosure.
Benjamin Mee: Alright, are the other two inside?
Kelly Foster: Benjamin!
Benjamin Mee: Look, if he moves to attack me at least he’ll be moving, right? He’s slow, I can outrun him.
Kelly Foster: It’s not a bullfight.
Robin Jones: Benjamin, I think it’s time.
Benjamin Mee: For what?
Robin Jones: He’s ready. Let’s call the vet. You’re the owner, you have to okay this.
[Benjamin looks over at Spar]
Benjamin Mee: No, man. Look, this doesn’t feel right.
Kelly Foster: Benjamin, it never feels right.
[after they get Spar down from the rock, Benjamin walks off embarrassed as he’d yelled out he didn’t want to drag them out here but he was desperate, Kelly follows him]
Kelly Foster: Benjamin?
Benjamin Mee: Hey, look. I’m feeling really lack of privacy right now. Like, maybe we’re all a bit in each other’s pockets.
Kelly Foster: Can’t you see he’s eyes? He’s suffering, man. He’s in a lot of pain. I can’t stand to watch it. I know him.
Benjamin Mee: Yeah, I know him.
Kelly Foster: I see it! Hey! Hey! He’s in so much pain. They can’t tell you, but they show you, they show you.
Benjamin Mee: Well, hang on. What is all this cheering about then? He’s okay.
Kelly Foster: It’s going to happen.
Benjamin Mee: He’s better.
Kelly Foster: It’s going to happen.
Benjamin Mee: Don’t repeat…every time I say it.
Kelly Foster: It’s going to happen! You’ve never done this before, you don’t know how this goes.
Benjamin Mee: I know exactly how this goes.
Kelly Foster: And I’d like you to tell me about that sometime, but this is a rookie mistake. I’ve been with him for thirteen years. You can’t see how selfish this is to extend this? Come on. Come on. You’re too smart not too.
Benjamin Mee: I’m saying just let him live for a couple more weeks. Get him some medicine! Invest in a little bit of hope!
Kelly Foster: I can’t stand by and watch this happen. I’m not going to do it.
Benjamin Mee: Well, it’s not up to you.
Kelly Foster: It’s going happen.
Kelly Foster: Don’t make me get angry!
Benjamin Mee: Oh, cause that would just be so terrible! If you got angry!
Kelly Foster: You know what the right thing to do is! I’m so disappointed in you.
[she walks off]
Benjamin Mee: You don’t even know me well enough to say that!
[Kelly goes to the Mee house to help the kids with dinner and bed as Benjamin hasn’t returned home]
Kelly Foster: You miss Lily?
Dylan Mee: Hey?
Kelly Foster: I bet you put all your feelings into your drawings, huh?
Dylan Mee: Not really. I guess, I just can’t talk to girls that well.
Kelly Foster: Well, talking to girls is easy. They’ll tell you everything. Secret to talking is listening.
[Kelly waits on the porch for Benjamin to arrive home, when he arrives he sits next to her and holds her hand for a second]
Benjamin Mee: I thought if I came out here it would stop. Back home every place reminded me of her. Philippe’s on third street, Balboa park, Little Dom’s the coffee shop, that…that’s a big one. I mean the air, the way it smelled in May and August because those were the months her favorite bushes grew flowers all over our neighborhood. There all triggers, man. Then it got better for a while. I mean, it…it did, out here. But the funny thing is that it just turns out that she’s here too. I mean I go to Home Depot, I go to the nine miles away Target.
Kelly Foster: We need a new store.
[they both laugh]
Benjamin Mee: And seriously, I’m avoiding half the isles. Condiments. Pastries, forget about it. She loved red kites and blueberry pop tarts. I mean, who doesn’t, right?
Kelly Foster: Who doesn’t.
[referring to his wife]
Benjamin Mee: If only I could talk to her about getting over her.
Kelly Foster: Yeah.
Benjamin Mee: Most of all it’s the kids, they’re the biggest triggers of all. I mean, Dylan, his eyes. You know, I’ve only seen that expression in somebody’s eyes once in my life. And the way he just drives me nuts, he makes me crazy. Denies me, frustrates me, and all the time just looking back at me with her eyes and none of her lightness.
[we see Dylan is in his room, overhearing Benjamin’s conversation with Kelly]
Benjamin Mee: What I figured out is that when you love somebody that much, that hard, that long, you can never get away from them, no matter where you go. And that only comes once in a lifetime. Just can’t get a…
[he clenches his fist as if trying to open a handle on a door, imitating Walter Ferris]
Benjamin Mee: …handle on it.
Benjamin Mee: I cannot let go.
[Kelly pats him on the knee]
Kelly Foster: I can. Sleep well, Benjamin. Sweet dreams.
[she gets up and leaves]
[after Kelly leaves, Benjamin walks into the house and sees Dylan is waiting on the stairs]
Dylan Mee: I get it now, okay? I get why you can’t stand me!
Benjamin Mee: Okay. Alright.
Dylan Mee: No! At least now I know the real reason why you hate me! Look, I heard you admit to her, like you were talking about cornflakes. You hate me!
Benjamin Mee: I hate you? Wait a second! Okay, we’ve had some problems, man. But we’re figuring it out, okay?
Dylan Mee: No, that is bullshit! Admit it! You wish I wasn’t here! With that expression in my eyes? I heard you!
Benjamin Mee: Hold on! Enough with the drama! Alright? Knock it off! You misheard me!
Dylan Mee: I can’t stand it here! Can’t you see that?
Benjamin Mee: No! But thank you for telling me, again! I keep forgetting, it’s all about you! Why don’t I just pack us up. We’ll just…we’ll just go on the road together. We could be hobos.
Dylan Mee: Because you wasted all our money! Some of that belonged to me, dad!
Benjamin Mee: I didn’t waste our money. I thought you liked it here. And I’m sorry, I thought your friends would come out and visit you, man. I…I…I called them all myself and I invited ’em. And I’m sorry, I thought you and Lily were friends! I thought…I thought…I thought…I thought this was…! I mean, I thought you liked me! I thought this was a dream come true for us!
Dylan Mee: It’s your dream! You can’t force a dream onto someone else, dad!
Benjamin Mee: Yes, I can! I can force a dream on you!
Dylan Mee: Why are you yelling?
Benjamin Mee: Because it’s a good dream! And it’s got cool animals in it and some pretty great people too! And because I’m your father and I’m the only one you’ve got, and the line of people in this world who really care about you ends here! So stop mopping around this place, man. And pick up a shovel and dig a hole! Do something! You just sit here and feel sorry for yourself, man! Help me with your sister. Help me, dammit!
Dylan Mee: Help me, dammit! Help me!
Benjamin Mee: I’m sorry that your mother got sick when she did. Believe me. I’m sorry that you didn’t get more of a childhood, man. That’s just how that one went. But we live with a seven year old girl who still believes in the Easter Bunny. What are we going to do?
Dylan Mee: You never ask me how I’m doin’. You never even taught me how to shave.
[Dylan turns and starts walking towards his room]
Benjamin Mee: You want to know how to shave?
[Dylan goes into his room and slams the door shut in Benjamin’s face]
Benjamin Mee: I would love to teach you how to shave! Let’s shave.
[just then Rosie comes out of her room]
Rosie Mee: What about the Easter Bunny?
[Benjamin is sitting opposite Spar’s enclosure, sadly looking at Spar when Dylan finds him there and joins him]
Benjamin Mee: What happened with you and Lily?
Dylan Mee: I don’t know. I guess I didn’t listen to something she told me or something. I mean I liked her. It’s like you embarrass yourself if you say something and you embarrass yourself if you don’t.
[they both smile]
Benjamin Mee: I like it when you talk. You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery, and I promise you something great will come of it.
Dylan Mee: I never know what to say to you.
Benjamin Mee: I’m the same way. Why don’t we tell each other what wished the other guy would say?
[they both smile]
Dylan Mee: I’m sorry I brought you out to the sticks.
Benjamin Mee: You’re a great dad.
[they both laugh, then look at Spar as he lies down in his enclosure]
Dylan Mee: You did your best, dad. He know that.
[as Benjamin puts up a remembrance plaque at the tiger enclosure of Spar]
Benjamin Mee: That looks good, buddy. You in your prime. You would have done the same for me. Why not?
Benjamin Mee: Oh, hey! I need you for a second. I gotta borrow your artist eye.
Dylan Mee: Sure.
Benjamin Mee: You gotta tell me what you think about this.
[he opens a poster and Dylan sees that Benjamin has used Dylan’s tiger drawing as their new logo]
Benjamin Mee: Not bad, huh?
Dylan Mee: Where are you putting this?
Benjamin Mee: I don’t know. I was thinking maybe, everywhere.
Dylan Mee: I’m your fan, man. Don’t you know that by now?
[as Duncan arrives]
Benjamin Mee: Could somebody just get my tranq gun? My brother can’t take no for an answer.
Duncan Mee: No one here bro. I talked to MacCready.
[looking at the children]
Duncan Mee: Hello children. I asked whether you guys needed any help. In the trunk of this car is haddock, two hundred pounds worth.
[he opens the trunk of his car]
Duncan Mee: For Bruno.
Benjamin Mee: Buster.
Duncan Mee: Whatever!
Benjamin Mee: You serious?
Duncan Mee: No. Serious is the smell in that car. I started questioning my entire being back there on the four-o-five. It was like altered states, I saw an iguana and a dwarf Indian.
[they walk towards the trunk of his car and Benjamin opens the box containing the haddock]
Benjamin Mee: Wow, Dunc.
Duncan Mee: Alright. Come on. We got an inspection tomorrow.
Benjamin Mee: So we do.
Duncan Mee: So we do.
[referring to Duncan as they watch him walk by, dressed in a ridiculous farmers outfit]
Benjamin Mee: Did I look like that?
Peter MacCready: Worse.
Benjamin Mee: Wow, it’s humiliating. You seem really calm.
Peter MacCready: Uh-huh.
Benjamin Mee: Have you been drinking?
Peter MacCready: All night long.
Benjamin Mee: Thanks for that.
Peter MacCready: Anytime.
[on the morning of the inspection, Benjamin gives everyone at the zoo a pep talk]
Benjamin Mee: Okay. Well, this is it. Um…I want everyone to stay off their walkies. If anybody has any problems, I don’t want to hear about it until after Walter Ferris has gone. Got it? Alright, here we go. Here’s to us.
[as Ferris arrives for the inspection]
Benjamin Mee: Mr. Ferris, welcome back to the Rosemoor Animal Park Adventure.
Walter Ferris: It’s an adventure now?
Benjamin Mee: Well, to be precise, sir. It always was.
[Ferris looks over at MacCready]
Walter Ferris: Hello, MacCready.
Peter MacCready: Hello.
[they shake hands]
Walter Ferris: How are you?
Peter MacCready: On my best behavior.
Walter Ferris: I like the jump suit.
Peter MacCready: Love the tie.
Walter Ferris: Thank you.
[after Kelly discovers Solomon’s enclosure gate won’t lock, she uses her radio, against Benjamin’s explicit direction, to ask MacCready to meet her there]
Peter MacCready: What’s up?
Kelly Foster: The lock is broken and I feel like the only way…oh, God. The only way to fix it is to do it from the inside.
[after hearing Kelly over the radio Ferris starts heading towards Solomon’s enclosure]
Peter MacCready: I made this lock.
Kelly Foster: We’re going to fail this inspection!
Peter MacCready: Calm down. We’re not going to fail it.
Kelly Foster: We’re going to fail this inspection.
Peter MacCready: Calm down.
Kelly Foster: Yes, I am.
Peter MacCready: What are you going to do to help?
Kelly Foster: I’m going to distract him from the other side of this enclosure and…and you’re not going to get eaten!
[Kelly tries to distract Solomon as MacCready tries to fix the lock from inside the enclosure, but Solomon turns towards MacCready]
Kelly Foster: Don’t turn around! Don’t turn around! Turn around! Turn around!
[MacCready turns around as Solomon approaches him]
Peter MacCready: You don’t want me! I am filled with Scotch and bitterness and impure thoughts!
[Solomon doesn’t moves but just stares at MacCready]
Kelly Foster: I can hear Ferris right now! MacCready!
[MacCready quickly fixes the gate lock]
Peter MacCready: Got it!
[he goes out of the enclosure and quickly locks it as Ferris approaches them]
[everyone gathers as Ferris is about to make his final signature for approving or disapproving the opening of the zoom, when Rosie interrupts]
Rosie Mee: Hey, mister. Everybody says you’re a dick. I don’t know what that means, but I don’t believe it.
[Ferris glares at everyone and then makes his final signature]
Walter Ferris: I don’t think it’s going to work. But good luck.
[everyone cheers and Ferris turns to leave but Benjamin stops him]
Benjamin Mee: Listen, I want to see you here opening day.
Walter Ferris: I don’t fraternize, Mr. Mee. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of reports.
[as they celebrate in the zoo bar]
Benjamin Mee: What happens if nobody comes?
Duncan Mee: What?
Benjamin Mee: What happen if literally we did this whole thing for nothing?
Duncan Mee: Come on. Give me a break. You’ve come this far, huh?
[to Benjamin; as they celebrate the approval of zoo opening]
Duncan Mee: Let me say this one more time, buddy. I like the animals, but I love the humans. You do something for the right reasons, nothing can stop you.
[just then they hear the noise of a thunder and it starts raining heavily]
[after Dylan notices the light-up letters on the Jaguar Restaurant, “If You Love Me Let Me Know”, he runs to Lily’s house, muttering to himself “twenty seconds” and knocks on her window]
Dylan Mee: Look, am I nuts to say that I missed you like crazy a lot? A lot!
[she shakes her no]
Dylan Mee: Plus, I wasn’t names after Bob Dylan. I was named after a dog named Dylan.
Lily Miska: I don’t even care. Who cares? Sorry about the rain.
Dylan Mee: I love it! I love your hair! I love your sign! Lily, I love you!
[Lily looks at him with happy tears in her eyes and they hug through her window]
[on 7th July, the opening day, Benjamin wakes up to find the sun is shining, the entire staff get dressed in their uniforms and gather at the zoo gates as Dylan gives a speech]
Benjamin Mee: Okay. Well, we all know that I stink at speeches, so I won’t even try. If Katherine were here she would have come up with something really funny and clever for me to say, I’d have taken full credit. It’s not about where an adventure ends, cause that’s not what an adventure’s about. So anything that happens from here on out is a bonus. And I love you guys.
Peter MacCready: Okay, let’s open the gates.
[MacCready cuts the ribbon at the gates]
Peter MacCready: It’s a zoo!
[they all cheer and clap]
Duncan Mee: Yes, it is!
[as they wait by the zoo gates for people to come to the zoo]
Rosie Mee: What time is it?
Duncan Mee: Ten-o-two.
Dylan Mee: They should be here.
Benjamin Mee: Patience, my son. Patience.
Duncan Mee: No, he’s right, they should be here.
Benjamin Mee: Look, maybe it’s supposed to be this way. I don’t know, maybe it’s supposed to take a while.
Dylan Mee: Dad, something’s wrong.
[Dylan start running down the road]
Benjamin Mee: Dylan.
Dylan Mee: Something’s wrong!
[as they all run down the road they find a tree has fallen in the storm and it’s blocking the road to the zoo]
Dylan Mee: The tree fell down in the rain last night. The couldn’t have gotten through even if they were here.
[they step over the tree and are shocked to find that there are cars and people as far as they can see waiting to get into the zoo]
Benjamin Mee: Welcome! Come on! Come on! We’re open!
[the crowd of people cheer and clap and the zoo staff help them climb over the tree]
[Kelly in the ticket booth looking for more tickets when Benjamin joins her]
Kelly Foster: We’re out of tickets.
Benjamin Mee: I know! I know! I ordered early for, uh…August. I have, uh…
[he looks around for the tickets and finds them]
Benjamin Mee: Yep, got ’em.
[they suddenly find themselves very close to each other]
Kelly Foster: I got a big crush on you and I just can’t get a…
[she imitates opening a handle on a door]
Kelly Foster: …handle on it.
[suddenly she kisses Benjamin]
Kelly Foster: Congratulations.
Benjamin Mee: Congratulations to you.
[he then kisses her]
Kelly Foster: And if we’re stand near each other on New Year’s we can do this again sometime.
Benjamin Mee: I look forward to New Year’s.
[Kelly gets up and leaves the booth]
[Kelly and Lily watch from a bench as Benjamin is taking pictures with Rosie and Dylan, joking and laughing and being a happy family]
Lily Miska: If you had to choose between people and animals, really quick, how would you choose?
[Kelly just smiles as she watches the Mee family and Lily laughs]
Lily Miska: Me too. People!
[they both laugh]
Kelly Foster: Goofball!
[Benjamin and Duncan stand together, watching the people enjoy the zoo]
Benjamin Mee: We bought a zoo.
Duncan Mee: We did that.
Benjamin Mee: Do you remember what you told me when I was a kid?
Duncan Mee: You only have to be courageous for twenty seconds.
Benjamin Mee: It has guided me my entire life.
[Benjamin takes Dylan and Rosie to Little Dom’s and shows them the table where Katherine was sitting when they first met]
Benjamin Mee: Now, hang on. Stop. She was…right there. This is the moment where both of you became a possibility.
Rosie Mee: I love that you’re telling stories again.
Benjamin Mee: This is the story before the story. This is where you…
[puts his hand on Dylan’s shoulder]
Benjamin Mee: …and you, begin. Because this is where I met your mom. She was sitting right there on that chair.
[he points to the chair]
Benjamin Mee: Hang on.
[Benjamin runs outside Little Dom’s and talks to kids through the window]
Benjamin Mee: Hey! So, I was walking by…and I saw…I literally stopped! Like this! Just stopped! And went, ‘Oh, my God! That is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my entire life!’ But I’ve never done anything like this. I never gone and talked to a total stranger before. But she was right there, and so I thought to myself, twenty seconds. Right?
[he looks at his watch]
Benjamin Mee: Go.
[he runs back into the coffee shop]
Benjamin Mee: Now I’m in the restaurant, and I’m terrified, thinking about leaving. I can actually touch her, she’s right there. She still hasn’t seen me, and I still have fifteen seconds of courage left. I’m going for it. Bravery.
[Benjamin walks up to the table Katherine would have sat at]
Benjamin Mee: Here’s what I said.
Dylan Mee: What?
Benjamin Mee: I said, ‘Excuse me.’
[we see Katherine turn to him, and then all three of them see Katherine sitting there, looking at them]
Dylan Mee: Hi, mom.
Rosie Mee: Hi, mommy.
[last lines, we see Benjamin speak to Katherine as they first meet]
Benjamin Mee: Why would an amazing woman like you, even talk to someone like me?
[we see Katherine smile and say]
Katherine Mee: Why not?
[as movie ends we see postscript saying, ‘Rosemoor Animal Park is a real zoo in England, owned by the Mee family. They are open year round. Benjamin and his two children still live there. Next year, they would like to add giraffes.’]
Total Quotes: 100