Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Lost in America (1985)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Lost in America (1985)

In Albert Brooks' funny road-trip comedy about Los Angeles yuppies finding the 'American dream' - a couple gave up their upwardly mobile, workaholic lives to 'drop-out' in exchange for a free-spirited, Easy Rider-inspired road-trip in a Winnebago motorhome:

  • the early scene of neurotic adman David Howard's (writer/director Albert Brooks) last day at work when he had a long telephone conversation with Mercedes dealer Hans (Hans Wagner) about buying one of the luxury vehicles; when negotiating about the total price, the dealer replied that everything was included in the price ($44,420), and he would have to add only one thing: "Just leather, that's all you'd have to add, nothing else"; David was astounded: "Really?...It doesn't come with leather?" - the dealer specified: "It's what they call Mercedes leather"; David asked about the inferior leather: "What would that be?" - and he was told: "It's a very thick vinyl, a beautiful seat"
  • the scene of David's firing in executive Paul Dunn's (Michael Greene) office, after eight years of service, when he was offered a transfer to New York rather than a promotion to the position of senior vice-president, and he refused to take no for an answer; when his boss tried to reason with him: "Look, I know you're upset, and I can appreciate it. And I'm gonna forget what you said a few minutes ago. I'm sure you don't want to blow eight years with this company" - David audaciously replied: ("F--k you!); the boss simply answered: "David, you're fired!"; David went on a rampage: ("Fired? Oh, I'm fired! Oh, this is great. How dare you? I want my eight years back! I've wasted my youth for you. I'm wasted! I'm over. Come on. I want 'em back! I'm gonna stand in this office until you give them back to me! Better than that, I'm gonna start taking things home with me. I want your clock, right behind you. Give me that clock!")
  • the sequence of David's conversation immediately after with ditzy wife Linda (Julie Hagerty) about his firing, and his urging of her to quit her job too: ("Quit your job...I did, you do it!...Well, I didn't really quit, but I got fired but it was the same thing. Linda, you were right! No more 'Responsible David'. I'm free. I was responsibly blind, honey. I was a dead man...I'm giving you credit for saving my life....Linda, they were jacking me off. I was on the road to nowhere. Do you know the road? It's a nowhere road. It goes nowhere! You're on it! You don't know it? It's a nowhere road. It just goes around in a circle. It's the carrot on the stick, and the watch when you're 70")
  • the upwardly mobile, workaholic couple's dropping out of society after selling their house, and combining their assets to create a comfortable 'nest-egg' of $100,000; and their drive out of Los Angeles to Las Vegas in a recreational vehicle Winnebago for a road trip, while David chowed-down on a micro-waved melted cheese sandwich: ("The further we get from LA, the better it tastes") - and his nervousness about their plan to remarry: ("I'm nervous, but I can't wait to marry you....Clara says that the Silver Bell Chapel is the cutest one...We'll get there at 10:30, do it, and then we're on our way. Las Vegas here we come!")
  • the sequence of Linda's disastrous night-long experience at a roulette table in Las Vegas' Desert Inn casino (gambling on # 22: "Twenty-two, twenty-two, come on back to me, come on back to me!") when she had gambled away their nest-egg - to David's dismay: ("Say it! Say it! Say 'I lost the nest-egg.' Go on, say it!")
  • David's painful begging and unconvincing proposal to the casino manager (Garry Marshall) to get their money back: ("As the boldest experiment in advertising history, you give us our money back....Give us our money back. Think of the publicity...You gave my wife and I our money back because you reviewed our situation, and you realized that we dropped out of society, and we, we, we weren't just gamblers. And we made a mistake and you gave our money back. Do you know -- you couldn't get a room in this place in ten years....You keep all the money. It's just that, that that my wife and I aren't gamblers. That's what I'm saying. That's the distinction....We represent the people who have taken the chance and we made a mistake. And the Desert Inn corrects it and gives it back. There's a warm feeling here...In the campaign, you make a clear distinction between the bold - who would be my wife and I - and then all the other schmucks who come here to see Wayne Newton....This costs you nothing. To give us our money back is nothing. You would be the one who would benefit")
  • the central scene of the couple's complete and utter meltdown and self-destruction at the Hoover Dam, when they both stood on the edge of the railing looking down, and David suggested: ("Nice dam, huh? Do you want to go first, or should I?") - and then he ranted and raved at her about their impoverishment: ("You took my nest-egg and you broke it all over the Desert Inn. You filled up the casino with yolk....I was sleeping....Don't treat me like I'm an insane patient, please! ...Out here? Out where? We live here. Get used to the cement, honey. This is our house, forever! This is it. We found ourselves. Boy, did we find ourselves in the middle of nowhere, with nothing!")
The Couple's Meltdown at Hoover Dam
  • inside the recreational vehicle, David's lengthy description of the concept of the sacred 'nest-egg' principle to Linda: ("Oh, God. I guess this was my fault. That's what I'm thinking. Maybe I just didn't explain the nest egg well enough. If you had understood, you know, it's a very sacred thing, the nest egg, and if you'd understood the Nest Egg Principle, as we will now call it, in the first of many lectures that you will have to get, because if we are to ever acquire another nest egg, we both have to understand what it means. The egg is a protector, like a god, and we sit under the nest egg, and we are protected by it. Without it? No protection! Want me to go on? It pours rain. Hey, the rain drops on the egg and falls off the side. Without the egg? Wet! It's over. But you didn't understand it and that's why we're where we are"); Linda briefly responded: ("I understood the nest egg"); David continued: ("Oh, please. Do me a favor. Don't use the word. You may not use that word. It's off limits to you! Only those in this house who understand nest egg may use it! And don't use any part of it, either. Don't use 'nest.' Don't use 'egg.' You're out in the forest you can point: 'The bird lives in a round stick.' And, and, and you have things over easy with toast!")
  • David's interview with an employment agency in a small Arizona town for a job, when the obnoxious, cynical counselor reminded him he had already been fired from a high-paying $100,000 job, and that he wouldn't be interested in a lowly job: ("You couldn't change your life on a $100 thousand dollars?...What I do have, you wouldn't be interested in....Coming from your position and your salary you wouldn't be interested in it"); when David asked about the salary, the counselor joked: ("A hundred thousand dollars!...It pays $5.50 an hour plus benefits"); David persisted, asking about the existence of "a box of higher-paying jobs," when the counselor sarcastically replied: ("Oh, I know, you mean the $100,000 box!")
  • the last view of David working as a school crossing guard and being taunted by obnoxious school kids on bikes

Negotiating with a Mercedes Car Dealer

David's Firing: "I want my eight years back!"

David to Linda: "Quit your job!"

Leaving Los Angeles in a Winnebago

Linda's Disastrous Night at a Vegas Roulette Table

David Begging Casino Manager To Return Gambling Money

David's 'Nest-Egg Principle' Speech to Linda

Interview at a Small-Town Employment Agency

David as a School Crossing Guard


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