Riding in Cars with Boys

Infobox Film
name = Riding in Cars with Boys

caption = movie poster
imdb_id = 0200027
director = Penny Marshall
writer = Beverly D'Onofrio (book)
Morgan Ward (screenplay)
starring = Drew Barrymore
Steve Zahn
Brittany Murphy
James Woods
producer = Julie Ansell
James L. Brooks
Sara Colleton
Laurence Mark
Richard Sakai
music = Hans Zimmer
Heitor Pereira
cinematography = Miroslav Ondrícek
editing = Lawrence Jordan
Richard Marks
distributor = Sony Pictures
released = October 19, 2001
runtime = 132 min.
language = English
budget = US$48,000,000, (estimated)

"Riding in Cars with Boys" is a 2001 film based on the autobiography of the same name by Beverly D'Onofrio, about a woman who overcame difficulties including being a teen mother to earning a master's degree from the span of 1961 to 1986. It stars Drew Barrymore, Steve Zahn, Brittany Murphy, and James Woods. It was directed by Penny Marshall and co-produced by Beverly D'Onofrio herself, though many details from the book and film differ.


Beverly D'Onofrio ( Barrymore ) is a beautiful, intelligent teenager growing up in the 1960s. The movie starts with her asking her father for a bra for Christmas when she is about 10 or 11. He tells her no telling her to keep her mind on books, not boys. The movie then shifts to Bev as a 14 or 15 year old teenager heading to a party with her friends, Kay & Tina. At the time, Bev had a crush on jock, Sky Barister. She writes him an extremely heartfelt poem telling him of her feeligs for him. He reads it aloud in front of his friends who all make fun of her. Bev runs, sobbing, into the bathroom where she meets Ray Hasik who had come to the party with Fay's boyfriend, Bobby. They start talking and when Bev tells Ray about what Sky did he storms down the stairs " to tell him not to say stuff about you. " He storms downstairs and shoves Sky and they start fighting. He dunks down when Sky punches him, causing Sky to break his hand on his head. Bev, Ray, Bobby, and Fay are chased out of the house by Sky's friends. They drive to a secluded make out spot where Fay and Bobby begin making out in the backseat. Ray and Bev begin to talk where Bev finds out that Ray doesn't go to school and is in a sense alone. His father had gotten drunk and died a few years ago, his brother had been sent to jail, and his mother didn't want him hanging out with his sister because she thought he was a bad influence. Bev, feeling bad for Ray, begins making out with him. However, the car load of teenagers is caught by Bev's father, the police chief.

A few weeks later, Bev finds out that she is pregnant with Ray's baby. She is frantic and asks Fay for advice. She tells her to tell Ray before she tells her parents. She tells Ray that she is pregnant and tells him about her plan to move to NYC and work as a writer and take care of the baby. Ray, however, proposes to Bev. Bev, far from being smitten, is a bit repulsed. She doesn't have the courage to tell her parents directly so she writes her parents a letter and leaves it in the mailbox before she goes to school. That night her mother decides that she will continue to go to school until she starts to show so she can get her high school equivalency. Then she will marry Ray, get a job as a secretary, and live in the rec room in her parents home. When Bev tells her parents of her plan they are horrified that she doesn't want to get married. Her father, Leo, is so upset he begins to cry because he feels that Bev has shamed him. Bev feels so bad that she has upset her father that she agrees to marry Ray.

The wedding begins as one of the worst days of Bev's life. Her family all feel so ashamed that Bev has gotten herself pregnant that they hardly speak to her and shun her in a sense, even though it is her own wedding. After Bev's father makes a speech, in which he doesn't try at all to hide how ashamed of his daughter he is, Fay goes up to make a speech in which she tells everyone that she to is pregnant and that if they are all going to shun Bev then they will haev to shun her as well. Fay tells Bev that she and Bobby are going to be married right before he leaves for his first tour of duty in Vietnam. Bev becomes excited and declares right then and there that they each are going to have girls and that they were both going to be just like them. After the wedding, Ray brings Bev to their new house which Ray was helped to get by Bev's dad.

Throughout their pregnancies, Bev & Fay remain extremely close however because of their pregnancies they miss out on a lot of things such as the Junior Prom. Ray works as a mechanic to support his new family, however is untrustworthy and always forgets his responsibilities, most of the time to go out drinking with his buddies. When Bev misses her appointment at the clinic because Ray forgot to come home and bring her, she locks him out of the house. Ray punches a hole through the glass and unlocks the door, causing his wrist to begin bleeding. Bev's mother, who comes over to help Bev clean and take care of the house, rushes Ray to sink to clean off his wrist while telling Bev to got to the bathroom to get peroxide and towels. As she is in the bathroom, she starts to scream. Her mother rushes in to see the Bev's water had broke. They rush her to the hospital where she gives birth to a baby boy whom they later name Jason. Her mother and father coo over the baby, however her father refuses to congratulate her. Right before the nurse is about to hand Bev the baby, Ray promises not to drink anymore and that he will always be there for her and the baby. However, when the nurse hands Bev the baby she is shocked to discover that the baby is a boy because she had been so sure that she had had a girl. She is so shocked and disappointed that she begins to cry.

It is later discovered that Fay gave birth to a girl whom she names Amelia. While Fay dropped out of school to raise her daughter, Bev refuses to do so. She works hard to raise her son as well as get perfect grades so that she can attend college. The challenge is difficult and Jason is often left in the care of his grandmother, who still helps Bev, maintain the house so that Bev can study. Ray takes care of Jason also but more as buddy and playmate than anything else. By the time Jason is three, he has grown extremely close to his father and grandparents while he tries and tries to form a bond with his mother who is at times to busy to notice. By that time, Fay is divorced from Bobby because Bobby has met a woman named Monsoon on his tour of duty. Bev applies for a schoolarship which, if she gets it, will enable her to go to college. On the day of her interview for the schoolarship she gets all dressed up and excited. She goes to drop Jason off with Ray where Ray works however his boss informs Bev that Ray haden't shown up for work at all and that Ray comes and goes as he pleases most of the time. With no other choice, Bev takes Jason with her for the interview. The scholarship interviewer is impressed with her application, however be believes that because Bev is a mother she would become to distracted to finish college so she doesn't get it.She gets a job at a fast food restaurant to support her family however deep down she is despressed and feels trapped in her life. A few months after she is rejected for the scholarship she takes Jason over to Fay's parents house so that Fay's mother can take Jason and Amelia to the movies to give Fay & Bev a break. However, Fay's mother doesn't really like Bev and secretly blames her for her daughter's situation. While at the house, Fay & Bev take an xtc ( a pill which is a mix of caffine, crack, and heroin ). This lightens them up and makes them extremely giddy to say the least. So giddy in fact, that Bev calls Fays mother an "ice crotch" to her face. Fay's mother becomes mad and takes Amelia to the movies without Jason. When Jason sits down next to Bev she tells him to go find something to do. Once he leaves, Bev confeses to Fay that she is scared that she might not love Jason. Fay tells Bev that that is absolutely ridiculous and says that she loves Jason so much that if she realized how much she loved him she would die. It is at that momement that Jason, who had been wandering the back yard and climbed up the pool ladder, fell in. Jason yells for help causing Bev to jump up and run to the pool where she is able to pull Jason, who had begun to sink, back up. Bev begins to cry as she realizes that she has been a terrible mother and promises Jason that she is going to become a better mother.

On Jason's next birthday ( his fourth or fifth )Bev goes all out and throws him a huge party. All the kids from the neighborhood come over as do her and Ray's friends. She is showing Fay the cake that she baked and decorated for Jason when a handsome young man comes up to her and says hi. She is unaware of who he is until he tells her that hes Tommy, one of her friends from high school who had always had a crush on her however she had been to wrapped up in her life to notice. He tells her that he just returned from Berkeley and had spent that he had spent the last few years traveling the country and was about to head back west for school. However, he wanted to talk to her first but then Tina, another one of Bev's friends from school, comes to visit. Tommy tells Bev to go visit and he would talk to her later. Tina tells Bev that she can't stay long but she just wanted to tell her that she was engaged to her boyfriend, Kevin, and that they were moving to NYC where Kevin had got her into college at NYU. Bev can't help but feel jealous as she sees other people fullfillig her dream that she has wanted for so long. Later on that night, when the party is over, Tommy comes back to talk to Bev. He tells that she doesn't deserve to be where she was because she was so much smarter and deserved to be doing something better. He convinces her that she should move out to California because there she can go to college because it is payed for by the state. Bev doesn't think that Ray would go for it but Tommy tells her to consider it and to let him know soon because his classes start up soon. Bev begs Ray to move out to California and he agrees. One night Ray leaves to get baby asprin for Jason and doesn't come home. The next morning Bev gets a call from her mother to hurry over. Bev and Jason hurry over where Ray confeses that he is addicted to heroin and that he had been spending all their savings on heroin, even the money meant for the asprin was spent on a fix. Her father tells Bev to let him and her mother take Jason for a while so she can focus on helping her husbend. Bev refuses saying that she will take care of her own child herself. However, the task of taking care of her son and her heroin addicted husbend is impossible. Ray's withdrawel symtoms are terrible and Bev bounces back and forth every night to calm her husbend and take care of her son. She wakes up on the couch one morning to find that Ray had left sometime during the night. When he returns during that night, he asks Bev if he can use a small amout of heroin " not enoough to get him high but keep him sane." He also promises that he will get a good job and turn their lives around. Bev, however, refuses saying that if Ray stays then he will ruin their lives. She tells Ray that the best thing for Jason would be to leave. Ray goes and says a tearfull good-bye to Jason and tells him how much he loves him. Jason is heartbroken and wants to leave with Ray. Ray gets on his motorcycle and drives away as Jason chases him down the road a little ways sobbing. This is the beginning of Jason's resentment toward his mother.

After Ray leaves, times become harder for Bev & Jason. Bev works a double shift during the day and attends night school. Jason, even though he is about 7, has to take care of the shopping, cooking, and cleaning. They have very little and have only enough to get by with none left over to save to start a better life. Ray's old friend, Lizard, comes over one night with a color tv for Jason and a bit a unique job offer for Bev. He offers to let her $200 an hour if he can use her oven to dry weed. He at first, refuses, but then realizes that she could save up this money to start a new life in NY. She knows how much Fay wants to start a new life so she tells her about the plan and offers to split the money with her. On the day, they dry weed they keep Jason and Amelia outside and tell them that if anyone asks for them they should tell them that they went to the store. Jason, resentful and angry at his mother, yells and throws snowballs at the door.Amelia tells Jason how angry she is toward her father for leaving her mother and for wanting her to call his new wife, " Mother Monsoon. " It is then that Leo, Bev's father, shows up with a winter coat for Jason. Amelia tells him that their mothers are at the store and he believes them. He is about to leave when Jason tells his grandfather that their mothers are inside drying weed.

Despite the fact that Bev is his daughter, he arrests her and Fay for drying weed. Bev, however, makes bail. She returns home to her house completely trashed and all the money that she had saved up for moving to NY gone. Fay tells her that she used the money to bail Bev out. When Bev asked who bailed her out, she said it was her wealthy older brother, Dennis. Then she tells Bev some startling news. Dennis asked Fay & Amelia to move out to Arizonia with him. He said that he would pay for their food and living expenses to but under one condition. That she not speak to or see Bev again. Fay refused the offer but Bev told her to take it because she knew how bad Fay wanted to get out as well. A few days later, Bev & Fay share a tearful good-bye as do Amelia and Jason. On the drive back home, Jason asks Bev if he can tell her something. She says yes and he admits to telling his grandfather that they drying weed. Bev pulled the car over to the side of the road and began yelling at Jason and blaming him for Fay & Amelia leaving and for everything else that went wrong in their lives.

This story is shown in a series of flashbacks that occured when Jason, who is 20, is driving his mother from NY to CT to see his father again. The reason is because Bev has now written a book entitled, Riding in Cars With Boys, which is an autobiography of her life. However, it doesn't have a chance of being published unless Ray approves it. Throughout the car ride down, Jason tries to work up the courage to tell his mother that he wants to transfer from NYU to Indiana University so that he can be with Amelia whom he loves. She has no idea that he even had feelings for Amelia. When Jason tries to tell his mother that he wants to transfer schools she won't even hear his reasons. She refuses to let him go. They arrive at his father's house which is nothing more than a trailor in a crummy part of town that he shares with his girlfriend ( or wife ) Shirley. Ray, by this point, now looks the appearance of a heroin addict. His teeth are yellowed and his eyes and face are sunken in. He doesn't recognize either Bev nor Jason until Bev tells him who they are. He is surprised if not excited to see them. Bev explains to Ray about the book and he agrees to sign the papers when Shirely steps in and demands $100,000 for Ray to sign the papers. Bev is furious and storms out of the house with Jason following her. She and Jason get in an argument and she storms off. It is then that Ray, who is pretending to take the garbage out, comes out and beckons Jason over. He tells Jason that he was upset for years that he left until a few years before when he receieved a letter from Bev telling him about how wonderfull Jason turned out. He tells Jason how he feels that staying away was the best thing he could have done in his life. He then gives Jason a hug and slips the signed papers into his pocket along with one of Jason's first teeth he ever lost.

Jason finds his mother and tells her that Ray signed the papers. They then have a heart to heart where they get all their feelings and resentments out in the open. Bev tells Jason that he wasen't what went wrong with her life but rather he was what saved her. When Jason tells her of how he loves Amelia, she tells him to take the car and head to Indiana immediately or otherwise he would never go. Jason doesn't want to leave his mother but she assures him she has a ride home. Soon after Jason leaves, Bev's father shows up and gives her a ride home. On the car ride home, they don't speak at first but then they begin to sing " All I Have to Do Is Dream" by the Everly Brothers which was the song that they used to sing together when she was very little. In the singing of that song, they put aside everything that happened in the past and are starting over.


*Most of the set including the police station and Beverly's apartment were all abandoned buildings on the campus of Upsala College in East Orange, New Jersey.

*Portions of the movie were shot in Tuckahoe, New York and Mount Vernon, New York

*The exterior of the wedding scene was shot at a Protestant church, the Clarkstown Reformed Church, in West Nyack, New York. For the filming, the church exterior was dressed up to resemble a Catholic church. The wedding hall sequence was filmed inside the church's annex known as The Fellowship House.

*The real life Beverly and Jason D'Onofrio appear in the movie as guests at Beverly's wedding. They can be seen sitting directly behind Barrymore in the wedding scene.

*When the rights were purchased in 1989 by James L. Brooks, Debra Winger and Cher were considered for the lead.

*The double for Beverly's son was a local New jersey native named Jordon who was in 4 scenes because of the real actor's sickness.

*The actor that plays Jason, Adam Garcia, is about 1 year and 8 months older than Drew Barrymore, who plays his mother.

External links

*imdb title|id=0200027|title=Riding in Cars with Boys
* [http://movies.about.com/library/weekly/aa101501a.htm Interviews with the cast]

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