Join the Hoover family on a hilarious and heartwarming journey to Little Miss Sunshine, where success isn’t just about winning.
There are many things in life that can bring a family together. For the Hoovers, it was their daughter Olive’s dream of becoming a beauty queen that brought them to embark on a road trip from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Redondo Beach, California. However, their family is anything but conventional. A failed self-help guru, Richard, is desperate to turn his life around by helping others. Sheryl, his wife, is struggling to keep the family together while dealing with her own personal issues. Their daughter Olive is quirky and adorable, with a dream of competing in a beauty pageant. Dwayne, the silent teenage son, is filled with angst and communicates via notepad. Finally, there’s Grandpa, a heroin addict who’s just been released from a rehab center, to join them on this road trip.
Chapter 1: The Dysfunctional Family
Richard Hoover’s life was a mess. His self-help business had failed, his marriage was on the rocks, and his teenage son, Dwayne, was hostile towards him. Add to that his father-in-law’s sudden release from a rehab center, and you had the perfect recipe for chaos. Yet, amidst all the pandemonium, Olive’s dream of becoming a beauty queen shone like a beacon of hope.
It was a hot summer day when Richard packed up the old VW bus and prepared to hit the road. He’d been looking forward to the trip for weeks, hoping that it would be an opportunity to bond with his family and take his mind off his own problems. Sheryl, on the other hand, was feeling anything but excited. Running around, trying to pack and get everyone organized, she was already overwhelmed by the thought of spending days on the road with her dysfunctional family. As for Grandpa, he couldn’t wait to get out of his nursing home and join the adventure.
Dwayne, the mute teenager, sat at the back of the bus, ignoring everyone and scribbling furiously on his notepad. Olive, meanwhile, was ecstatic. She was sitting in the middle seat, dressed in her best dress, clutching her pageant trophy, and dreaming of taking home the grand prize in California.
As the bus hit the road, the tension in the air was palpable. Richard was determined to make the trip as smooth as possible, taking charge of the driving and navigation. Sheryl was trying to keep the peace and manage everyone’s expectations. Olive was singing her heart out, oblivious to the chaos around her. And Grandpa, well, he was snorting heroin in the back of the bus.
The first leg of the journey went smoothly. They drove through the desert, listening to the radio and chatting about trivial things. However, as the hours passed, the cracks in their relationships started to show. Richard was getting agitated by Sheryl’s constant nagging, Grandpa’s drug use, and Dwayne’s hostile silence. Sheryl, on the other hand, was stressed out by everything, from the heat to the broken air conditioning.
As they drove through the desert, the VW bus started to sputter and cough. Richard, who had neglected to get it serviced before the trip, cursed under his breath. The family was stranded on the side of the road, with nothing but the scorching sun and sand dunes for miles around. Sheryl sat inside, fanning herself with a magazine, while Richard tinkered with the engine. Dwayne got out of the bus and started to walk aimlessly into the desert. And Olive, ever the optimist, practiced her dance routine beside the bus, hoping to impress the judges at the pageant.
After what seemed like hours, they managed to get the bus running again and continued on their journey. However, the incident left a deep sense of unease hanging over them. Richard was embarrassed by his lack of preparedness and felt like a failure as a father and husband. Sheryl was resentful of Richard’s behavior and frustrated by the whole situation. Olive, meanwhile, continued to dream of becoming a beauty queen, oblivious to the chaos around her.
As they drove further, the family’s quirks and idiosyncrasies became more apparent. Grandpa was snorting heroin in the backseat, cursing and swearing at anyone who dared to cross him. Dwayne scribbled furiously on his notepad, avoiding any interaction with his family members. Richard tried to maintain a cheerful facade, but his self-doubt was starting to become more apparent. And Sheryl, she tried to hold everything together, but it was becoming increasingly clear that she was on the verge of a breakdown.
Despite everything, Olive remained the glue that held the family together. Her innocence and enthusiasm were infectious, and her dream of becoming a beauty queen gave them all a sense of purpose. As they drove into the night, Richard vowed to make the trip work, to bring his family together, and to help his daughter achieve her dream.
Little did he know that their journey was only just beginning. The road ahead was long, and it was going to be filled with unexpected twists and turns. But, for now, they drove on into the night, hoping that their family adventure would be everything they’d hoped for.
Chapter 2: The Road Trip Begins
The sun was beating down on the Hoover family as they piled into their old VW bus, ready to embark on their journey to California. Richard, the dad, was in the driver’s seat, while Sheryl, the mom, kept a watchful eye on the GPS. Grandpa, who had just been kicked out of a nursing home for snorting heroin, was sprawled out on the back seat, muttering to himself. Dwayne, the teenage son who communicated solely by writing on a small notepad, was sitting next to Olive, their youngest daughter, who was practicing her dance routine for the upcoming beauty pageant.
As they drove down the highway, tensions started to rise. Grandpa would occasionally let out a string of curse words or start snoring loudly, while Richard and Sheryl bickered over the best route to take. Meanwhile, Dwayne sat in silence, listening to his headphones and staring out the window.
After a few hours on the road, they noticed that the bus was starting to make strange noises. Richard pulled over to the side of the road and popped the hood, trying to diagnose the problem.
“Looks like the carburetor’s acting up again,” he muttered, wiping his greasy hands on a rag. “We’re gonna have to find a mechanic or something.”
Sheryl sighed and looked at the GPS. “There’s a town about 20 miles from here. Maybe we can find someone there to fix it.”
They finally made it to the town, which was small and dusty, with a few run-down buildings and a gas station. Richard parked the bus and they all piled out, stretching their legs and taking in the sights.
As they walked down the street, they noticed a small diner with a sign that read “Home Cookin'”. They decided to stop in for lunch and maybe ask around for a mechanic.
Inside the diner, they were greeted by a friendly waitress who looked them up and down.
“Y’all look like you’ve been on the road for a while,” she said, smiling. “What can I get for ya?”
They ordered burgers and fries, and while they waited for their food, Richard struck up a conversation with the waitress.
“Say, you wouldn’t happen to know of a decent mechanic in town, would ya?” he asked.
The waitress thought for a moment. “Well, there’s old Joe down the road. He’s a bit of a character, but he knows his way around an engine. You might wanna go check him out.”
Richard thanked her and finished his burger. They paid their bill and went back out to the bus.
They found Joe’s garage a few blocks down, a ramshackle building with rusted tools scattered around the yard. Joe himself was an elderly man with a scruffy beard and a stained shirt.
“Whaddya want?” he grumbled, noticing the Hoovers’ approach.
“We’ve got some trouble with our carburetor,” Richard said, trying to be polite. “You think you can take a look at it?”
Joe scratched his beard and squinted at the bus. “I suppose I could. Won’t be cheap, though.”
They agreed on a price and Joe got to work on the engine. While they waited, the family explored the town a bit more, stopping at a small park with a rusty swing set.
Olive, always the optimist, started to sing and dance on the swings.
“Guys, come on!” she yelled, grinning. “Let’s have some fun!”
Dwayne, who was always distant and cold, reluctantly joined in. Sheryl and Richard followed suit, laughing and swinging alongside their children.
For a few brief moments, they forgot their troubles and simply enjoyed each other’s company.
Eventually, Joe called to them from his garage. “All done! Should run like new now.”
They thanked him and piled back into the bus, which indeed ran smoother than before. As they drove off, Olive asked, “Can we stop and get some ice cream?”
The rest of the family groaned, but Richard eventually relented, pulling into a small ice cream stand on the side of the road.
As they licked their cones and Olive chattered excitedly about the beauty pageant, they all began to feel a sense of camaraderie and unity, despite their differences.
But as they got back on the highway, the bus let out a loud screech and started to smoke.
“Oh no,” Sheryl groaned. “Not again.”
Richard pulled over to the side of the road and popped the hood, cursing under his breath.
Grandpa, who had been dozing, suddenly sat upright. “I got an idea!” he exclaimed, grinning.
He pulled out a bag of heroin from his pocket and offered it to Richard. “Here, this’ll make you forget all your troubles.”
The family cried out in protest, shocked and horrified at Grandpa’s behavior.
Angrily, Richard shoved the bag of heroin back into Grandpa’s pocket. “We don’t need drugs to solve our problems,” he said. “We need to stick together and figure this out.”
And with that, the family got back to work, determined to overcome any obstacle that came their way.
Little did they know, the real challenges were still ahead of them on their road trip to California.
Chapter 3: A Pit Stop at Grandpa’s
The family had been on the road for days, and tensions were high. Grandpa had been snorting heroin and swearing, and the VW bus had broken down several times. They finally made it to Grandpa’s friend’s house, where they planned to spend the night and make repairs to the van.
As soon as they arrived, Grandpa took out his stash and began snorting lines. He was already high when they got there, and he was completely out of control. His friend tried to calm him down, but Grandpa wasn’t having it. He started making lewd comments and getting aggressive with everyone in the room. The family tried to ignore him, but it was impossible.
“Grandpa, please stop!” Olive pleaded, but the old man just laughed at her.
“You think you’re so cute, don’t you? Well, let me tell you something. In the real world, cute doesn’t mean a damn thing.”
Richard tried to intervene, but Grandpa pushed him away. “Get your hands off of me, you worthless piece of shit!” he screamed.
The family was at a loss. They had no idea how to handle Grandpa’s behavior. They tried to reason with him, but he was too far gone. After several hours of this, Sheryl finally suggested they go to bed and deal with Grandpa in the morning.
But things only got worse. In the middle of the night, Grandpa woke up and went to the bathroom. When he didn’t come back out, Sheryl went to check on him. She found him lying on the floor, unresponsive. He had overdosed on heroin.
The family panicked, not sure what to do. They called an ambulance, but it was too late. Grandpa was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The family was devastated. They had lost their patriarch, and they had no idea how to deal with the situation. They spent the next few days making arrangements for his funeral and trying to come to terms with their loss.
At the funeral, Richard had a breakdown. He had been holding everything in, and it all came pouring out. He cried and screamed, blaming himself for Grandpa’s death. Sheryl tried to comfort him, but it was no use. Dwayne just sat there, silent as ever, unable to express his grief.
Olive didn’t quite understand what was happening. She knew that Grandpa was gone, but she didn’t fully grasp the gravity of the situation. She just wanted things to go back to the way they were before.
After the funeral, the family had to decide what to do with Grandpa’s body. Sheryl suggested they scatter his ashes in the ocean, but Richard had a different idea.
“Let’s take him with us to the pageant,” he said. “Grandpa would have wanted to be there for Olive.”
The rest of the family was hesitant, but Richard was insistent. So they loaded Grandpa’s urn into the van, and they continued on their journey, with a newfound sense of sorrow.
As they drove, the family struggled to come to terms with what had happened. Richard was still wracked with guilt, and Sheryl was trying to hold everything together. Dwayne was lost in his own thoughts, and Olive was just happy to be with her family.
They arrived in California, and Olive prepared for her beauty pageant. But the competition was no longer the focus of their attention. They were all still grieving, and they didn’t know how to move on.
As they sat in the audience, watching Olive perform, they couldn’t help but think of Grandpa. He should have been there with them, cheering Olive on. But instead, all they had was his urn, a constant reminder of their loss.
The family was still reeling from Grandpa’s death, but they had to keep going. They had to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward, even when it seemed impossible. And so, with heavy hearts, they continued on their journey, unsure of what the future held.
Chapter 4: Meeting the Competitors
The Hoover family had finally arrived in California, and it was time for little Olive to compete in the beauty pageant. As they checked into their hotel, they could only hope that everything would go well. The family had been through so much already, with Grandpa’s death and the breakdown of their van. They needed a win, and Olive was their only hope.
The hotel was filled with pageant competitors, their families, and the judges. The girls were all dolled up, wearing makeup, and outfits that showed off their legs. The parents were equally as well-dressed, with the mothers donning big hairdos and the fathers in suits. The Hoovers, on the other hand, were a stark contrast, with Sheryl in sweatpants and Richard in a Hawaiian shirt.
As the family made their way to Olive’s room, they could hear the sounds of music and laughter coming from the other rooms. They were nervous, but Olive was determined as ever. She had her heart set on winning the pageant, and nothing was going to stop her.
The next day, the family headed to the pageant. As they walked in, the girls were all practicing their routines, with the stage set up like a miniature beauty pageant. Olive watched as the other competitors practiced their moves, studying them carefully. She was a little intimidated by the other girls, who all seemed so confident and put together.
The arrogance of Little Miss Orange County caught Richard’s attention. He went to introduce himself and sell her his self-help program. But she was not impressed and made it clear that she didn’t need him or his program. Richard was taken aback, realizing his program was not the universal solution he thought it was.
As the competition began, Olive was nervous, but she went out on stage with a big smile on her face. She did her routine flawlessly, twirling around and waving at the judges. The audience was cheering, and the family could see Olive’s confidence building. They knew she had a chance of winning.
But when the judges announced the results and Olive’s name was not called, the family was heartbroken. They couldn’t believe it. Olive had worked so hard, and yet it seemed like the other girls had been chosen simply because of their looks and poise.
As the family left the pageant, they were despondent. Richard was angry and blamed the judges for not recognizing Olive’s talents. He started to argue with Sheryl, and Dwayne retreated into himself, not wanting to take part in the family’s bickering.
But things weren’t over yet. As they were leaving the pageant, the family encountered a group of people protesting against the pageant, calling it demeaning and sexist. The protesters were holding signs that read “No More Beauty Pageants” and “Beauty Comes From Within.” Olive, who was still dressed in her pageant outfit, approached them with confusion.
“Why are you protesting?” she asked.
“Because beauty pageants are wrong,” one of the protesters replied. “They make girls think that their worth is based on their looks, and that’s not true.”
Olive listened carefully, trying to make sense of what they were saying. But she couldn’t help feeling defensive about her own participation in the pageant.
“But I like being in the pageant,” she said. “I like dressing up and performing.”
“That’s okay,” the protester said. “But you should remember that you’re more than just your looks. You’re smart, and talented, and kind. You don’t need to prove anything to anyone.”
The Hoovers were taken aback by the protesters’ words. They had never thought about the pageant in that way before. They realized that maybe the protesters had a point, and that they had been too focused on Olive’s appearance.
As they returned to their hotel room, the family was quiet. They sat together, contemplating what they had learned. Olive was the first to break the silence.
“I didn’t win the pageant, but I still had fun,” she said. “And I’m still special, right?”
The family smiled at her.
“Of course, Olive,” Sheryl said. “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to us.”
The family hugged, and Richard apologized for his behavior. He realized that he had put too much pressure on Olive and that it was time to let her be a kid.
The family left the pageant with a newfound appreciation for their daughter’s uniqueness. They had learned that it was okay for Olive to want to be a beauty queen, but that she should also be proud of her other qualities. It was a lesson they would never forget.
Chapter 5: The Family Standoff
The sun was setting as the Hoover family left the beauty pageant. Olive was exhausted but still beaming with joy at the thought of her performance. She was a little disappointed that she didn’t win, but she was proud of herself nonetheless. She had made friends with the other girls, and that was a victory in her eyes.
Richard, on the other hand, was seething with anger. He couldn’t believe that his daughter was robbed of the title. He had poured his heart and soul into helping her prepare for the pageant, and now it all seemed like a waste. He couldn’t fathom how Little Miss Orange County could have won.
Sheryl, sensing Richard’s frustration, tried to calm him down. “It’s okay, honey,” she said. “Olive did her best, and that’s all that matters. We should be proud of her.”
But Richard wouldn’t hear it. “No, it’s not okay,” he spat. “I can’t believe we drove all this way for nothing. We’re a bunch of losers.”
Dwayne, who had been silent the entire trip, finally spoke up. “Stop it, Dad,” he said. “It’s not Olive’s fault she didn’t win. She did great. And we’re not losers.”
Richard turned to face Dwayne, his eyes blazing with fury. “And what do you know about winning, huh?” he sneered. “You’ve been moping around this whole trip, not saying a word, and now you think you can tell me what’s what?”
Dwayne’s face darkened, and he looked like he was about to say something, but he just stared at Richard for a moment before turning back to face the window.
Olive could sense the tension in the air, and she didn’t know what to do. She had never seen her dad so angry before, and it scared her. She started to cry quietly, hoping that no one would notice.
But Sheryl noticed. She reached over and stroked Olive’s hair, whispering soothing words in her ear. She then turned to Richard. “Please, honey, let’s just try to enjoy the rest of the trip. We’re a family, and we should be having fun together.”
Richard softened a bit but still looked angry. “Fine,” he said. “But I’m driving.”
They got back in the VW bus, and Richard took the wheel. Dwayne put on his headphones and stared out the window, lost in his thoughts. Olive fell asleep, snuggled against her mom’s shoulder. Grandpa was passed out in the back, snoring loudly.
The silence was only broken by the sound of the engine and the occasional sigh or sniffle. Richard was fuming, and Sheryl was trying her best to keep the peace. She knew that Richard was disappointed, but she didn’t want their family vacation to be ruined.
As they drove, Richard’s anger slowly started to dissipate. He looked over at his wife and daughter and felt a twinge of guilt. He knew he had been too hard on them, especially Olive, who had done nothing wrong. He reached over and squeezed Sheryl’s hand. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I shouldn’t have acted like that. I’m just upset.”
Sheryl smiled at him. “It’s okay,” she said. “We all get upset sometimes. But we’re a family, and we need to stick together.”
Richard nodded and focused on the road. As they drove, the sun began to set, and the sky turned a deep shade of orange and pink. The scenery changed from sprawling cityscapes to rolling hills and fields of crops. The air was crisp and cool, and they could hear the crickets chirping in the distance.
Eventually, they came to a stop at a small diner on the side of the road. They all piled out of the bus, stretching their legs and taking in the fresh air. The diner was quaint, with red vinyl booths and a jukebox playing oldies hits. They sat down and ordered burgers and fries, and Richard even bought Olive a milkshake.
As they ate, they all talked about their day. Olive talked excitedly about her new friends, and Sheryl shared stories about her own childhood. Richard was still a bit sullen, but he tried his best to participate. Grandpa, who had woken up from his nap, regaled them with stories from his past, some of which seemed too wild to be true.
But as they finished their meal and got back on the road, the tension started to rise again. Richard couldn’t let go of his frustration, and Dwayne was still brooding in the back. They drove in silence for a while until Dwayne spoke up.
“I want to go to flight school,” he said, his voice barely above a whisper.
Richard turned around, surprised. “What?”
“I want to be a pilot,” Dwayne repeated. “I’ve wanted to for a long time, but I never said anything because I didn’t think you’d approve.”
Richard was taken aback. He had always assumed that Dwayne would follow in his footsteps and become a motivational speaker or businessman. The thought of his son becoming a pilot seemed so foreign to him. But then he looked at his son, who had always been distant and uncommunicative, and saw something he had never seen before: passion.
“I had no idea,” Richard said. “But that’s great, son. That’s really great.”
Dwayne smiled, and Richard turned back around, feeling a glimmer of hope. Maybe their family wasn’t as dysfunctional as he had thought. Maybe they could still come together and support each other, despite their differences.
But when they arrived at their motel for the night, Richard’s hope was dashed again. As they settled into their rooms, Richard decided to check his voicemail. He listened to the message and then threw his phone across the room, shattering it.
“What’s wrong?” Sheryl asked.
“It’s my business partner,” Richard said, his face twisted in anger. “He’s backing out of the deal. We’re going to lose everything.”
Sheryl’s heart sank. She knew how much Richard had put into his business, and the thought of losing it all was devastating. She tried to comfort him, but he was beyond consolation.
Dwayne and Olive watched as their parents fought, both aware that their family was on the brink of falling apart. They had come on this trip to support Olive, but now it seemed like they were only tearing each other down.
As they all went to bed that night, each lost in their own thoughts, they couldn’t help but wonder if they would ever be able to find their way back to each other.
Chapter 6: The Final Leg of the Trip
The Hoover family was on the last leg of their road trip to California. They were heading to Dwayne’s dream college, but the VW bus was struggling to keep up. They stopped at a gas station to refuel, and that’s when they met the man who would change their lives.
He was a middle-aged man with a gray beard and a defeated look on his face. He was sitting on the curb, staring off into space. Grandpa approached him and struck up a conversation. The man revealed that he had lost his job, his wife, and his house. He was alone and didn’t see a reason to continue living. Grandpa saw a kindred spirit in the man and invited him to join them on their trip.
The family was hesitant at first but quickly warmed up to him as he shared his story. They learned he was a former professor and had a love for literature. Olive, being the curious little girl she was, asked him to teach her something. He obliged and taught her a poem by Walt Whitman. Olive recited it beautifully, and everyone was impressed by her talent.
As they continued on their journey, they stopped at a diner for lunch. The man sat with Olive and taught her some more poetry. Dwayne, who had been silently observing this whole time, finally spoke up. He told the man about his dream of becoming a pilot and how his family didn’t support him. The man encouraged him and told him to never give up on his dreams.
As they got back on the road, the VW bus struggled even more. They were in the middle of nowhere, with no cell service, and the nearest mechanic was hours away. They pushed the bus along the deserted road, hoping to make it to the college in time.
The man revealed that he had some mechanical expertise and offered to help fix the bus. He crawled underneath and tinkered with the engine, and to everyone’s surprise, the bus started up. They all cheered, and the man smiled, happy to have made a difference.
As they approached the college, the family was ecstatic. Dwayne was on cloud nine, and Olive was excited to explore the campus.
But as they pulled into the parking lot, the bus sputtered and stalled. They were stuck, and there was no way they’d make it to the admissions office on time. The man came up with an idea. He told Dwayne to get into the driver’s seat and pretend to fly the bus like a plane. They all got behind the bus and pushed it forward, as Dwayne made airplane noises.
They made it to the admissions office, just in the nick of time. Dwayne ran in to submit his application, and the rest of the family waited outside. They heard Dwayne’s name called, and they all cheered as he came out with an acceptance letter in hand. He was over the moon, and the family hugged each other, relieved and ecstatic.
As they got back into the VW bus, the man revealed that he had a surprise for everyone. He handed each of them an envelope, and when they opened them, they found plane tickets to fly home. The family was shocked and grateful. They hugged the man, and he told them that he had found a new sense of purpose in life. He was going to go back to teaching and helping others.
As they boarded the plane, Olive revealed something she had been keeping secret. She confessed that she didn’t win the beauty pageant. Everyone was surprised and disappointed. But then Richard, the ever-optimistic father, pulled out his phone and showed them a video. It was a video of Olive’s performance, and they all watched in amazement as the judges announced that Little Miss Orange County had been disqualified due to cheating. Olive had won the beauty pageant after all.
The family cheered and hugged Olive, proud of her achievement. They landed back home, happy, and united. They had all grown and learned so much about each other on this trip, and they were all better for it. The VW bus may have broken down, but it led them to new friends, new experiences, and new dreams.
Chapter 7: The Olive Revelation
The Hoover family was ecstatic; they had finally made it to Dwayne’s dream college. However, the feeling of euphoria subsided when they realized their VW bus was in dire need of repair. They pushed the van to the finish line and made it to the campus. Dwayne was ecstatic, but Richard was still sulking about his business’s failure.
Sheryl tried to cheer him up by reminding him that they were a family, and their strong bond was all that mattered. She urged Richard to watch the video of Olive’s performance at the beauty pageant. Richard was hesitant at first, but he gave in to Sheryl’s request.
The family gathered around the laptop, and they played the video. They watched in awe as Olive stole the show with her innocence and charm. The audience roared with applause as Olive danced her way into their hearts. However, the judges announced that Little Miss Orange County had won the title, and the audience was unhappy.
The family watched as Olive accepted the second prize with a big smile on her face. But then, the judges announced that Little Miss Orange County was disqualified for using steroids, and Olive was declared the winner!
The Hoover family jumped up in joy, and Olive screamed with delight. Grandpa’s spirit could be felt in the air as the family finally achieved a long-awaited victory. They hugged each other tightly, and Richard apologized for his behavior and promised to be a better father.
Sheryl was overjoyed and proud of her family as they celebrated their win. Dwayne was thrilled for Olive and had finally found his voice, expressing his desire to become a pilot. Olive was ecstatic and had achieved her dream of becoming a beauty queen. She thanked her family for all their support and love.
As the night drew to a close, the Hoover family was sitting around the campfire, roasting marshmallows. They talked about their journey and how they had overcome their differences. They realized that no matter what, they would always be there for each other. They sang songs and shared stories of their past adventures.
As the sun started to rise, the family packed their bags and headed back to Albuquerque. The VW bus was repaired, and it was running smoothly. The Hoover family was happy and united, and their journey had taught them the true meaning of family.
The end of Little Miss Sunshine was only the beginning of a new chapter in the Hoover family’s life. They were ready to face any challenges and obstacles; they knew they could overcome them together. The Little Miss Sunshine title was just a small victory in comparison to what they had achieved as a family.
Some scenes from the movie Little Miss Sunshine written by A.I.
EXT. HOOVER FAMILY HOME – DAY
The Hoover family’s home is a dilapidated two-story house with peeling paint, overgrown grass, and a rusted VW bus parked in the driveway.
INT. HOOVER FAMILY LIVING ROOM – DAY
Richard Hoover, 40s, sits at the kitchen table, surrounded by self-help books and motivational posters. He types furiously on his laptop, trying to save his failing business, Richard’s Nine Steps to Success.
Sheryl Hoover, 30s, comes downstairs, looking stressed carrying a baby.
Richard, can you help me with the baby? I’ve got to run to the store.
I’m busy. Can’t you see that?
Sheryl rolls her eyes, hands the baby to Richard and walks out.
Richard mutters to himself and returns to typing.
INT. HOOVER FAMILY BEDROOM – DAY
Grandpa, 70s, lays in bed, snorting heroin from a makeshift spoon. He chuckles to himself as he watches a wrestling match on TV.
Dwayne, 16, sits on his bed, his face buried in a notepad.
I hate everyone.
Grandpa takes notice of Dwayne’s action.
What’s with the notepad?
I’m taking a vow of silence.
Ha! That’ll show ’em.
INT. HOOVER FAMILY LIVING ROOM – DAY
Olive, 7, twirls around in her makeshift beauty pageant dress. She strikes a pose in front of Richard.
Dad, do you think I’m pretty enough to win a beauty pageant?
Of course you are, honey. Daddy will make sure of it.
Sheryl enters the house, carrying the groceries.
We’re leaving for California in the morning.
Richard looks up from his laptop, surprised.
What do you mean?
Olive’s got a beauty pageant to compete in.
Richard scoffs and shakes his head.
Another one of your crazy ideas.
Sheryl glares at Richard, then heads to the kitchen to start dinner.
INT. HOOVER FAMILY’S VW BUS – DAY
Sheryl, the mom, is driving the VW bus while Richard, the dad, is navigating. Grandpa is in the back snorting heroin, and Dwayne is wearing headphones and reading a book.
Richard, why did you insist on taking this old van? It’s falling apart!
It adds character to our journey. We can’t compete with those fancy RVs.
Hey, anyone got a spare needle? I’m all out!
(looking up from book)
Can we please stop at the gas station? I need to stretch my legs.
We can’t stop every five minutes, Dwayne. We need to make it to California in time for Olive’s pageant.
What if the van breaks down? We should have just flown.
Suddenly, the van starts sputtering and shaking.
Oh no! Pull over, Sheryl!
Sheryl pulls over to the side of the road as the van comes to a halt.
(stroking his chin)
I think the engine’s shot, folks.
Looks like we’ll have to walk the rest of the way.
I guess we have no choice.
The family gets out of the van and starts walking down the highway. Olive skips along, excited for the adventure.
This is ridiculous. We’re never going to make it in time.
Relax, sonny. Life’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey.
(rolling his eyes)
Can we please just focus on getting there?
The family continues on their journey, not knowing the surprises and challenges that lie ahead.
EXT. GRANDPA’S FRIEND’S HOUSE – DAY
The VW bus pulls up to a small rundown house. Sheryl and Richard help Grandpa out of the car while Dwayne and Olive sit inside, not wanting to get involved.
INT. GRANDPA’S FRIEND’S HOUSE – DAY
The family is greeted by an old friend of Grandpa’s, who is surprised to see him. Sheryl and Richard explain that Grandpa was kicked out of his nursing home and they’re taking him to California for Olive’s beauty pageant.
The friend is sympathetic and offers them a place to stay for the night. Grandpa immediately heads to the bathroom to use drugs.
Later that night, the family gathers in the living room. Grandpa is high and rambling, and Dwayne is still silent. Olive is asleep on the couch, her pageant dress laid out on the armrest.
Suddenly, Grandpa’s breathing becomes labored, and he slumps over in his chair. The family rushes to his side, but he’s gone.
Sheryl and Richard start to panic, not knowing what to do with the body. Dwayne finally speaks up, telling them they should take him to California and bury him there.
The family packs up the VW bus and leaves in the middle of the night, Grandpa’s body in the back.
INT. VW BUS – NIGHT
The family drives in silence, all feeling the weight of Grandpa’s death. Dwayne stares out the window, deep in thought.
I want to be a pilot.
Richard looks at him, surprised.
I want to be a pilot. I’ve been studying for the exam and I think I can pass.
Richard is taken aback but proud of his son. They have a moment of connection, while Sheryl sobs softly in the front seat.
The VW bus pulls off the highway and into the desert. The family finds a spot to bury Grandpa, and they gather around the grave.
We loved him, didn’t we?
Yeah. Yeah, we did.
Dwayne tosses a flower into the grave, and Olive follows suit. Sheryl and Richard exchange a look, knowing that they have to stay strong for the rest of the journey.
INT. PAGEANT DRESSING ROOM – DAY
The room is filled with young girls, some crying, others being prepped by their mothers. Olive sits in front of a mirror, looking nervous. Her family huddles around her.
You’re going to do great, Olive! We’re all here for you!
I’m not so sure…
(trying to be comforting)
Just remember what we talked about, Olive. You’re a winner no matter what happens.
Sheryl hands Olive a spritz of hairspray and a mirror to check herself out. Olive looks at herself with a frown.
I’m not pretty like the other girls…
You don’t need to be pretty to win. You’re unique. And that’s what makes you amazing.
Richard nods, smiling.
That’s right Olive. You’ve got a secret weapon- your talent!
Suddenly, there’s a knock on the door. Little Miss Orange County’s mother barges in.
LITTLE MISS ORANGE COUNTY’S MOTHER
Sorry to interrupt, but someone left this behind.
She holds up a pageant DVD. The family looks at each other, confused.
LITTLE MISS ORANGE COUNTY’S MOTHER
It’s the footage of Olive’s talent routine. But don’t worry, dear. We already reported it to the judges and they’re taking care of it.
The family is stunned. Olive looks heartbroken.
How could you do that to a child?!
LITTLE MISS ORANGE COUNTY’S MOTHER
This is a competition, dear. And we’re in it to win it.
The mother and daughter leave, triumphant. The family is left in shock.
FADE TO BLACK.
INT. HOTEL ROOM – DAY
The Hoover family is cramped in a small hotel room after Olive’s disappointing loss at the beauty pageant. Richard paces back and forth, while Sheryl tries to comfort Olive.
Don’t worry, honey. You did your best.
That’s not good enough! We’re all losers, just like me!
Dwayne, sitting on the bed with his headphones in, suddenly rips them out.
Thanks, Dad. Real motivational.
Richard glares at Dwayne, but before he can respond, Frank, Olive’s uncle, bursts into the room.
Guys, I have some news!
The family looks at Frank, intrigued.
Little Miss California got disqualified! That means Olive is now the winner!
Olive jumps up and down, ecstatic. The family can barely contain their excitement.
My baby did it!
But Richard isn’t convinced.
Are you sure this is real, Frank?
Completely legit. And we have the email to prove it.
Richard’s mood suddenly shifts, and he embraces the family.
We did it! We’re winners!
The family breaks out into cheers and group hugs.