We open in a deserted alley at night. Two thuggish-looking teens -- one bearing a crow bar -- prowl around a car. As the thuggier-looking boy (black shirt with cut-off sleeves, an eyebrow piercing) raises his hand to smash the car's window, he expositions, "If I don't teach you this, who will?" Self-identified big bad big brother, "Trey," hops in the car, while the cleaner-cut of the two -- who resembles Russell Crowe and is named, we find out through his brother's constant yelling, "Ryan" -- says he doesn't know. As Trey gently coaxes Ryan into the car by yelling, "Quit bein' a little bitch!," a police car drives past on a cross street, then peels backwards -- sirens on -- toward the brothers. Ryan makes a series of conflicted faces before finally deciding to jump into the car with Trey, who is already driving away. As we cut between flashes of the car chase and of Ryan's troubled face, we see that he may or may not have a cold, as snot appears to be running down his nose. Surprisingly, that plot point goes nowhere. Instead, the car chase concludes with a crash in which no one is hurt, but Trey and Ryan are cornered.
Shots of metal bars and handcuffs lead us to Ryan -- now wearing a fetching blue jumpsuit -- as he is led into a gated room, where wait Peter Gallagher and his magnificent eyebrows. He looks up from his paperwork and introduces himself as "Sandy Cohen," Ryan's court-appointed public defender. Ryan visibly appraises him, and Sandy points out that he could "do worse." He is all about Ryan's welfare, but Ryan is more concerned about his brother until Sandy explains that since Trey is over eighteen, stole a car, and possessed the criminal's triple threat of a gun, drugs, and priors, he's looking at jail time. But Sandy doesn't care about Trey! He cares about Ryan! A lot! Perhaps excessively! Perhaps excessively in a potential child molester sort of way! In any case, it's Ryan's first time "in lockup," and Sandy assumes that Ryan's not planning on coming back. He shuffles through Ryan's file, reading aloud about his "okay" grades, suspensions for fighting, and three "bouts of truancy." He raises his eyebrows -- for any other actor, the equivalent of springing from his seat, waving his arms in the air, running in circles, and yelling "Whoopee!" -- as he sees that Ryan scored in the 98th percentile on his SATs. He suggests that if Ryan starts going to classes, he can consider college. Ryan scoffs at the thought, causing Sandy to exclaim, "Dude, I'm on your side!" Peter Gallagher, incidentally, should never again use the word "dude." Ryan dolefully looks into the distance as he emotionlessly drones that modern medicine is advancing to the point where the average life span is a hundred years, but that Social Security will run out in 2025, so people will have to work until they're eighty; he doesn't want to commit to anything too soon. ["The average life span is a hundred years? Doubtful. Yes, this is the ridiculous plot point I'm focusing on. Sorry." -- Wing Chun] Sandy laughs, before somberly explaining that he can plead Ryan's offense down to a misdemeanor, but that Ryan should "know this": stealing a car because his brother told him to is "stupid and it's weak, and those are two things [Ryan] can't afford to be anymore." Ryan snaps, "Two more things!" Sandy responds that if Ryan wants to change that, he needs to get over his crappy life, before expositioning that he and Ryan are "cut from the same deck"; Sandy grew up poor in the Bronx with no father and a working mother, and was "pissed off and stupid." Ryan snits, "And look at you now," before sneaking a grin at Sandy. I'm not sure how it helps the scene, but it's a cute grin, all right. Sandy cocks his brilliant eyebrows and says that a smart kid like Ryan needs a plan and a dream, but Ryan counters that "having a dream doesn't make you smart. Knowing it won't come true...that does."