Submitted by Tornado Dragon

Recognizing Veronica’s (Anita Kopacz) talents as a painter and jewelry maker, Ish (Ishmael Butler) eventually encourages her to apply to the Cooper Union School of Art, and she gets an interview scheduled with them. A few days later, she decides to accompany Ish and Oz (Bonz Malone) on an impromptu camping trip that they are taking, and when Ish asks her about her interview since the trip overlaps it, she tells him that she has rescheduled it for next week. However, on the last day of the trip, Veronica admits to Ish that she never rescheduled her interview and tells him that she just isn’t cut out for school. Disappointed, Ish tells her that he wanted to see her go there because he doesn’t want her to waste her life, but she replies with irritation that she doesn’t feel like she is wasting her life. She then asks him why he doesn’t go to college himself if it is so important to him, and she soon brings up how she found out that he had dropped out of Columbia University a while back. When she asks him why he did that, he answers that dropping out is all he has ever been good at. When the trio get back to Brooklyn later that day, Ish breaks up with Veronica.

While Ish and Oz are hanging out in their apartment sometime later, Oz – having had an epiphany while on the trip – tells Ish that he has grown tired of living like they do; they are both almost 30 years old, and they have no money, no real possessions, and nothing to be proud of. Ish reminds him that they agreed that they wouldn’t take the “9-to-5” path in life and do their own thing, but Oz tells him that his priorities have changed and he doesn’t want to run from that anymore. Thinking that Oz is accusing him of having run from that way of life himself, Ish asks Oz what HE has ever run from, and Oz yells that he has been taking the easy way out of everything ever since they were kids. He then brings up some examples of this, mainly that Ish gave up playing guitar just because his father (Reg E. Cathey) made him practice five days a week and that he dropped out of Columbia just because he didn’t have the courage to tell his father that he didn’t want to be a lawyer.

The next morning, while Ish is staring at his guitar and deep in thought, his mother (Stephanie Berry) calls him and asks him to come over to her house so he can hang up a picture for her. While he is doing the job, he accidentally breaks a vase his mother had recently purchased and gets chewed out by his father for it, and when he later returns home, he smashes his guitar in anger and also breaks a couple of his father’s records that he borrowed. However, upon taking a look at his Jimi Hendrix album, he spares it from destruction and goes back to thinking deeply again. The next day, he visits his father again, and after apologizing to him for breaking his records, he explains to him that he wants to forget about attending school (at least for the foreseeable future) and seriously pursue a career as a musician. Accepting his decision, his father fishes out an old electric guitar that he used to play and gives it to him, but Ish tells him that he can’t take it and explains that he has a better idea. While all of this transpires, Oz gets a job at a small restaurant as a short order cook (he has excellent cooking skills due to watching a lot of cooking shows on the PBS channel), and he also pays a visit to the loan shark, Wolfy (Adrian Martinez), to try to settle his gambling debt with him. In the end, Wolfy agrees to erase the debt on the condition that Oz marry his unattractive cousin, Mariela (Michelle Navarrette), and Oz reluctantly accepts. The following morning, Oz visits the mother of his estranged girlfriend, Tanisha (Dedra McCord-Ware), and for the first time in a long time, he gets to see the daughter that he had with Tanisha and enjoys some quality time with her.

We then see Ish reconciling with Veronica, and he shows her a mural that he painted for her that features her favorite singer, Celia Cruz (he had promised to paint it for her after she had seen a drawing of it in his sketchbook back during the camping trip and loved it). Later on, while he is sitting with her in his apartment and trying to write some songs, he has trouble coming up with anything good, so she tells him that he needs some inspiration and decides to play some music to help him with this. She pops a tape into his cassette player, and a funky beat comes on that catches his attention, so he checks the tape and discovers that it was created by his and Oz’s mutual friend, Junie (Andre Royo), whom they believed was a lame hip-hop singer. He winds up listening to every song on the tape and enjoys every one of them. A couple of hours later, Ish visits Oz while he is at work and tells him that he really wants to finally get their band up and running, but Oz tells him that he has no interest in doing that, explaining that the band was never really his dream and that all he wants to do is focus on being a cook and supporting his daughter, plus he is about to become a married man. Ish then goes to Smokey’s (Stu “Large” Riley) thrift store looking to buy the record that he has had his eye on for a long time, but Smokey informs him that he sold it yesterday. Though Ish is disappointed about this, he gets some good advice from Smokey on how to pick a good name for his band: Instead of trying to find something that’s hip, he should focus on the unique quality that defines who he is to the world. Some days later, while Ish is helping Oz prepare for his wedding, Oz presents him with the record he wanted, having bought it for him as a way of saying thanks to him for all their years of friendship.

Oz marries Mariela, and at the reception, Ish makes a toast to Oz for being a great friend. Afterwards, he takes the stage with his new band – who are called Men Without Jobs and has Ish’s father and Junie as two of its members – and they give their first-ever performance.

01 hours 48 minutes