Little Miss Sunshine

2006 film by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

Little Miss Sunshine is a 2006 Academy Award-winning dramatic comedy film about a dysfunctional family going to a childrens' beauty pageant for one of the children, Olive. Traveling together in a Volkswagen Type 2 mini-bus each of them discover certain aspects of their lives that they could not see beforehand and how to relate to one another.

This 2006 film was directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. It was written by Michael Arndt.

A family on the verge of a breakdown taglines


Sheryl: [after Frank tried to commit suicide] I'm so glad you're still here.
Frank: Well, that makes one of us.

[Dwayne fetches Frank for dinner and, with sign language, instructs him to come]
Frank: What, dinner? What you don't talk anymore?
[Dwayne shakes his head]
Frank: Why not?
[Dwayne rolls his eyes]
Frank: You can talk, but you choose not to.
[Dwayne points to painting of Nietzsche]
Frank: Is that Nietzsche? You don't speak because of Friedrich Nietzsche?
[Dwayne walks off unemotionally]
Frank: Far out.

Frank: Who do you hang out with? [long pause] No one?
[Dwayne writes "I hate everyone" on his notepad]
Frank: What about your family?
[Dwayne underlines "everyone"]

Olive: Hi, Uncle Frank!
Frank: Oh, hey, Olive. Wow, you're getting big, almost like a real person.

[Edwin is complaining about the family having chicken for dinner]
Edwin: What’s that? Chicken? Every night it's the fucking chicken! Holy God Almighty! Is it possible, just once, we could get something to eat for dinner around here that's not the goddamned fucking chicken?
Richard: Whenever you are ready to cook your own food, you're more than welcome to it.
Edwin: Well, at Sunset Manor, ya know...
Richard: If you liked Sunset Manor so much, you shouldn't have gotten yourself kicked out of there, right?

[Discussing Frank’s attempted suicide]
Olive: Why did you want to kill yourself?
Richard: No don’t answer the question Frank.
Sheryl: Richard..
Richard: Don’t answer it. He’s not going to answer the question.
Frank: I wanted to kill myself because I was very unhappy..
Richard: He’s sick! He is a sick man! He’s sick in his head!
Sheryl: Richard!
Richard: I’m sorry I don’t think it’s an appropriate conversation for a seven year-old.
Sheryl: Well she’s going to find out anyway.
Richard: Okay.
Sheryl: Go on Frank.
Olive: Why were you unhappy?
Frank: There were a lot of reasons, mainly though I fell in love with someone who didn't love me back.
Olive: Who?
Frank: One of my grad students. I was very much in love with him.
Olive: Him? It was a boy? You fell in love with a boy?
Frank: Yes, I did. Very much so.
Olive: That's silly.
Frank: Yes you're right. It was very, very silly.
Edwin: [under his breath] There's another word for it.
Richard: Dad.
Olive: So that's when you tried to kill yourself.
Frank: Well, no, the boy that I was in love with fell in love with another man: Larry Sugarman.
Sheryl: Who's Larry Sugarman?
Frank: Larry Sugarman is perhaps the second most highly regarded Proust scholar in the U.S.
Richard: Who's number one?
Frank: That would be me, Rich.
Olive: So that’s when..
Frank: No, uh, what happened was I was a bit upset so I said somethings that I shouldn’t have said, and did some things that I shouldn’t have done and subsequently I was fired from my job and forced to move out of my apartment and into a motel.
Edwin: [blows his nose]
Olive: And that’s when you..
Frank: Well, no. Actually all of that was okay what happened was two days ago the MacArthur Foundation in its infinite wisdom awarded a genius grant to Larry Sugarman. And that’s when I..
Edwin: Decided to check-out early.
Frank: Yes. Yes. And I failed at that as well.

Frank: [speaking about Richards obsessiveness with winning] Is he always like this?
[Dwayne nods head]
Frank: How can you stand it?

Olive: I practice everyday.
Frank: Well, then, good luck.
Richard: It's not about luck, Frank. Luck is the name losers give to their own failings. It's about wanting to win.

Cindy: [Sheryl's sister on answering machine] The girl who won had to forfeit her crown. I don't know why, something about diet pills. But anyway, now she has a place in the state contest.

[after being persuaded to go on the trip, Dwayne writes]
Frank: [reading Dwayne's writing] "Ok, but I'm not going to have any fun." Yeah, well, we're all with you on that one, Dwayne.

Edwin: I'm not driving.
Sheryl: Well, Grandpa doesn't have to come.
Edwin: What? I coached her. I gave her the moves.

Dwayne [writes] Please don't kill yourself tonight.
Frank: Not on your watch; I wouldn't do that to you.
Dwayne [writes] Welcome to Hell.
Frank: Thank you, Dwayne. Coming from you, that means a lot. Goodnight.

Edwin: Jesus, I'm tired. I'm so fucking tired. Do you know how tired I am? If some girl came up to me, begged me to fuck her, I couldn't do it. That's how tired I am.
Richard: Dad? Uh, watch the language, huh?
Edwin: She's listening to music. Olive, I'll give you a million dollars if you turn around. [Olive is still listening to music while Richard and Sheryl looked at her] See?
Richard: All right. But the rest of us.
Edwin: Oh, the rest of you. [turns to Dwayne] Can I give you some advice?
Dwayne: [shakes head "no"]
Edwin: Well, I'm going to give it to you, anyway. I don't want you making the same mistakes I made when I was young.
Richard: Can't wait to hear this.
Edwin: Dwayne, that's your name, right? Dwayne? This is the voice of experience talking. Are you listening? Fuck a lot of women, Dwayne.
Richard: Hey. Dad!
Edwin: Not just one woman. A lot of women.
Richard: That's enough, all right?
Edwin: Are you getting any?
Richard: Dad!
Edwin: You can tell me, Dwayne. Are you getting any?
Richard: Come on, please.
Dwayne: [shakes his head no]
Grandpa: No? Jesus. You're what, 15? My God, man!
Richard: Dad!
Edwin: You should be getting that young stuff.
Richard: Dad. Dad! Hey!
Edwin: That young stuff is the best in the world. That young stuff is the best stuff in the whole world!
Richard: Hey, Dad, that's enough! Stop it!
Edwin: Will you kindly not interrupt me, Richard?! [turns to Dwayne] See, right now you're jailbait. They're jailbait. It's perfect. I mean, you hit 18, man, you're talking about three to five.
Richard: Hey, I will pull this truck over right now!
Edwin: So pull the truck over! You’re not going to shut me up! Fuck you! I can say what I want. I still got Nazi bullets in my ass!
Richard: Ah, the Nazi bullets!
Edwin: You're as bad as those fuckers at Sunset Manor.
[Richard smacks his hand on the steering wheel and the horn toots]
Frank: What happened at Sunset Manor?
Sheryl: Frank, don't encourage him.
Edwin: What happened? I'll tell you what happened. I paid my money. They took my money. I should be able to do what the fuck I want!
Sheryl: [to Frank] He started snorting heroin.
Frank: [to Edwin] You started snorting heroin?
Edwin: [in response to Frank] I'm old!
Frank: Well, that stuff will kill you.
Edwin: What am I, an idiot? [to Dwayne] And don't you start taking that shit. When you're young, you're crazy to do that stuff.
Frank: [to Edwin] Well, what about you?
Edwin: [to Frank] What about me? I'm old! When you're old, you're crazy not to do it.
Sheryl: We've tried. Believe me. The intervention was a fiasco. He's worse than a two-year-old.
Richard: Can we please talk about something else?
Frank: I take it you didn't like it at Sunset Manor?
Sheryl: Frank.
Edwin: Are you kidding me? It was a fucking paradise. They got a pool, they got golf; now I'm stuck with Mr. Happy here, sleeping on a fucking sofa. Look, I know you're a homo and all, but maybe you can appreciate this. You go to one of those places, there's four women for every guy. Can you imagine what that's like?
Frank: You must have been very busy.
Edwin: Whoa. I had second degree burns on my Johnson, I kid you not.
Frank: Really?
Edwin: Forget about it.
Olive: [takes off her headphones] What are you talking about?
Edwin: Politics.
Olive: Oh. [Puts her headphones back on]
Edwin: [to Dwayne] Fuck a lotta women, kid. I've got no reason to lie to you. Not just one woman. A lotta women.

Frank: Actually, Olive, "a la mode" in French translates as "in the fashion". A la mode. "Mode" is derived from latin "modus" do or proper...
Richard: Frank, shut up.

Frank: No one gets left behind! No one gets left behind! Outstanding soldier! [saluting Dwayne] Outstanding!

Richard: I feel sorry for you.
Frank: [sarcastically] You do?
Richard: Sarcasm is the refuge of losers.
Frank: [sarcastically] It is? Really?
Richard: Sarcasm is losers trying to bring winners down to their level and that's step four in the program.
Frank: [sarcastically] Thank you for opening my eyes to what a loser I am! How much do I owe you for those pearls of wisdom?
Richard: Oh, that one's on the house!
Sheryl: Guys, stop it, stop it!
Frank: He started it!

Sheryl: What happened?
Richard: I'll tell you when I regain consciousness.

Olive: Grandpa, am I pretty?
Edwin: Olive, you are the most beautiful girl in the whole world.
Olive: You're just saying that.
Edwin: No! I'm madly in love with you and it's not because of your brains or your personality. It's because you're beautiful, inside and out.

Olive: Grandpa?
Edwin: Yeah?
Olive: [tearfully] I don't wanna be a loser.
Edwin: You're not a loser. Where'd you get the idea you're a loser?
Olive: [breaking down] Because... Daddy hates losers.
Grandpa: Whoa whoa whoa, back up a minute. D'you know what a loser is? A real loser is someone who's so afraid of not winning, they don't even try. Now you're trying, right?
Olive: [tearfully] Yeah?
Edwin: Well then you're not a loser! We're gonna have fun tomorrow, right?
Olive: [more cheerfully] Yeah. [takes her glasses off; wipes her eyes]
Edwin: We can tell 'em all to go to hell.

Olive: Mom? Dad?
Richard: [half asleep] What is it, hon?
Olive: Grandpa won't wake up.

Olive: [going over eye test pamphlets] Mom, Dwayne's got 20/20 vision!
Sheryl: I bet he does.
Olive: Now, let's see if you're colorblind.
[Olive opens the pamphlet]
Olive: What's the letter in the circle?
[Dwayne looks confused]
Olive: The letter in the circle?
Frank: Can you see a letter, Dwayne?
Olive: It's an A. See? Right there?
Frank: It's bright green.
[Dwayne scribbles anxiously on his notepad - "What?"]
Frank: Dwayne, I think you might be colorblind.
[pause, Dwayne holds up his notepad again - "What?"]
Frank: You can't fly jets if you're colorblind.
[Dwayne immediately falls into an emotional breakdown; Frank, Olive and Sheryl all yell for Richard to pull over the vehicle; Dwayne springs from the stopped van into an empty field]
Dwayne: [yelling] FUCK!!!!!! FUCK!!!!! [he collapses, screaming and sobbing, after breaking his nine-month vow of silence]
Sheryl: What happened?
Frank: He's colorblind. He can't fly.
Sheryl: Oh, Jesus. Oh, no. [waits several moments, then approaches Dwayne] Dwayne? Dwayne, honey, I'm sorry. Dwayne, come on. We have to go.
Dwayne: I'm not going.
Sheryl: Dwayne.
Dwayne: I said I'm not, okay? I don't care, I'm not getting on that bus again.
Sheryl: Dwayne, for better or worse, we're your family.
Dwayne: [stands up] No, you're not my family, okay? I don't want to be your family! I hate you fucking people! I hate you! [points to Sheryl, Richard, and Frank as he shouts] Divorce, bankrupt, suicide?! You're fucking losers! You are losers!
Sheryl: [whispers] Dwayne.
Dwayne: [begins to cry again] No, please just leave me here, Mom. Okay? Please, please. Please just leave me here.

Olive: Do you eat ice cream?
Miss California: Yes. My favorite is Cherry Chocolate Garcia, except technically I think it's a frozen yogurt.

Dwayne: I wish I could just sleep until I was eighteen and skip all of this, high school, everything.
Frank: Do you know who Marcel Proust is?
Dwayne: He's the guy you teach.
Frank: Yeah. French writer. Total loser. Never had a real job. Unrequited love affairs. Gay. Spent 20 years writing a book almost no one reads. But he's also probably the greatest writer since Shakespeare. Anyway, he, uh, he gets down to the end of his life, and he looks back and decides that all those years he suffered, those were the best years of his life, 'cause they made him who he was. All those years he was happy? You know, total waste. Didn't learn a thing. So, if you sleep until you're 18-- ah, think of the suffering you're gonna miss. I mean high school? High school-- those are your prime suffering years. You don't get better suffering than that. "

Pageant Assistant Pam: [Dwayne walks swiftly by] Are you authorized to be backstage?
Dwayne: [emotionless; without stopping] No.

Dwayne: Hey, where are the dressing rooms?
Contestant: Are you even allowed back here?
Dwayne: Just tell me where the dressing rooms are!

Olive: I'd like to dedicate this to my grandpa, who showed me these moves.
Pageant MC: Aww, that is so sweet.
[Audience applauds]
Pageant MC: Is he here? Where's your grandpa right now?
Olive: In the trunk of our car.

Pageant Official Jenkins: [outraged at Olive's talent act] What is your daughter doing?
Richard: She's kickin' ass, that's what she's doing.

Frank: Do you want to go back?
Dwayne: Not really. [long pause] Yeah, we should go back.

Sheryl: "We have to let Olive be Olive."

Audience member: [once Olive is done dancing] YEAH! ALRIGHT!

Officer Martinez: Okay, you're out. On the condition that you never enter your daughter in a beauty pageant in the state of California, ever again... ever.
Frank: I think we can live with that.


  • Welcome to hell
  • Where's Olive?
  • A family on the verge of a breakdown
  • Everyone just pretend to be normal


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