OK, so here’s my idea for a movie: a Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland-style comedy about happy, energetic high school kids who put on a math conference to bring money to their hometown. Janet, a young girl science whiz, moves to a small South Carolina town and immediately befriends an outgoing, enterprising boy in the gifted program named Curt. Janet’s mom is played by Carla from Top Chef. Mom’s a mathematician, but she’s recovering from a long illness and hasn’t worked in years. They want to help the mom’s flagging career and bring some excitement to the sleepy little town of Lost Creek. The two come up with a scheme to put on their own math conference. Curt earns extra money in the bindery at a local printing company, so he prints up flyers and surreptitiously sneaks them into the latest issue of a prominent math journal. Janet logs on to her mom’s e-mail account and sends mail out to her mom’s contacts spreading rumors of rival mathematicians who are presenting new papers. The kids then tell the mayor and city council about the exciting conference coming to town. There’s not enough hotel space for all the participants, so they recruit parents to pretend that they’re running B&Bs. For some fun cross-cultural humor, we can have a bunch of rednecks using their pickup trucks as taxicabs to take attendees from the little airport into town. Other characters include a young Indian who runs the town’s gas station for his father, but who was a brilliant mathematician back in India and a bitter, beaten-down old teacher reinvigorated by the academic energy and town enthusiasm. More to come in a later post.