Director – Abe Sylvia
Year – 2010
In 1987 in suburban Oklahoma City, Danielle Edmondston is a troubled and promiscuous high school student. She argues with her mother, Sue-Ann, who is about to marry a Mormon, Ray, and feels out of place in her very conservative small suburban town. Amidst the chaos, she befriends Clarke Walters, a shy, gay classmate. Together, they flee in a car owned by Clarke’s homophobic father, Joseph, and embark on a road trip to Fresno, California, where Danielle expects to find her birth father, Danny Briggs. Meanwhile, Sue-Ann and Clarke’s mother, Peggy, chase after them.
Joseph breaks into Danielle’s house in an attempt to find Clarke, only to find that the entire family has gone on vacation. Joseph is then arrested for breaking into the house. He calls Peggy to bail him out, but Peggy refuses to let him out and insists that she will no longer allow him to harm Clarke for being gay. Joseph, aggravated, has to stay in the cell until a judge can see him.
On the way, Danielle and Clarke pick up a hitchhiker named Joel, who after they stop for rest, has sex with Clarke. Clarke awakens the next morning to find that he is gone, leaving him heartbroken. Clarke blames Danielle for this. After seemingly moving on and returning to the car, it breaks down on the side of the road. Clarke and Danielle continue on foot, trying to rent a car, only to find Joseph has been released from prison and has reported their credit card stolen. Desperate for money, the two enter a bar and Danielle enters a stripping contest. After she is booed profusely, Clarke realizes that it is a biker gay bar. Danielle tells him he must strip instead.
Clarke is cheered as he dances, but is caught by Joseph who enters during this. Danielle collects the prize money, but they are both taken in Joseph’s other car. Clarke provokes his father into pulling the car over to attack him, while he tells Danielle to flee. Danielle manages to make it to a bus station, upset having to had to leave Clarke behind. She finds her father’s house, where she is met by her mother, who asks her to leave. Danielle manages to make it to her father, who kindly rejects her, revealing he has a young daughter.
Sad, Danielle returns home and visits Clarke’s mother, who tells her that Clarke’s father has sent him to military school and has moved into an apartment. Danielle enters the talent show and sings “Don’t Cry Out Loud” by Melissa Manchester, who is Clarke’s favorite singer. As she breaks down singing, Clarke enters dressed in a military uniform. They finish the song together and get into Danielle’s car. Clarke reveals that his mother let him out early and that, in an all-boys school, he became very popular, with some sexual implications, at the same school Clarke also learned how to better defend himself against his abusive father, who his mother finally decided to divorce after getting fed up his cruel and controlling behavior. Danielle, with a less rebellious attitude, and Clarke, now no longer afraid to be himself, drive off into the sunset.