‘Lousy Carter’ Ending Explained & Movie Summary: What Happens At The Funeral?

What becomes of a prodigy who’s too sure of his talents but never brave enough to act upon them? Bob Byington’s Lousy Carter follows the life of a failed literature professor who is content with his failure and doesn’t have any hope for himself. Lousy’s obscurity is not forced on him; it’s rather something of his creation. 


Spoilers Ahead

What Happens In The Movie?

Teaching a class capped at 8 students, Lousy Carter teaches The Great Gatsby, and he’s clearly not the right person for the job. His relationship with his mother is so-so, and his ex-wife occasionally keeps in touch with him. Lousy’s life isn’t anything of importance, and when he’s diagnosed with a terminal illness, his awful behaviour worsens even further. You’d think one would try to right their wrongs when they have a few months left in their life, but not Lousy. The movie invites the audience to take a look at a failed man who can’t be moved, even in fear of death. 


What Is Lousy’s Ambition In Life?

You’d not take Lousy Carter as a person who wants anything from life or has many ambitions. But he had made one animated film 13 years ago, and that’s how he got the job at college. Lousy plans to make another animated project based on Vladimir Nabokov’s Laughter in the Dark. In the book, a middle-aged man falls for an underage girl. Lousy’s new student, Gail, terms it pedophilia to his disapproval. Lousy asks Gail to model for the role of the young woman, seemingly making her feel uncomfortable and unsafe. 

Why Does Nobody Take Lousy Seriously?

To put it in simple words, Lousy is a man-child. His colleague and best friend, Herschel, constantly criticizes him for not being productive or thoughtful enough. Lousy’s mother is in two minds about his actual profession, and his ex-wife thinks he’s a man child and it’s not possible to be in a relationship with him . Lousy never really pays attention to what people close to him think about him. His mediocre existence is keeping him just fine, and Lousy doesn’t need validation from people like most of us do. 


What Happens Between Lousy And Gail?

After Lousy breaks the news of his illness to his wife, Candela, she suggests that he sleep with one of his students. Lousy, being the way he is, takes it seriously. When Gail enrolls in his class, Lousy is more than happy to give her bad grades so that he can see her more. Gail is smart enough to sense Lousy’s futile attempts to get in her pants. Gail can see through Lousy, and she hangs out with him for the movie project he offers her. In a class where Lousy is full of praise for Fitzgerald, Gail goes on to call the novel nothing more than a museum piece. Gail understands that Lousy is not a wise, worldly professor who’d guide her for the better. The only reason she sticks around is probably the fact that she knows his maturity is no greater than hers, and even then, she’s probably smarter. 

Was Lousy Having An Affair With Olivia?

Herschel and Lousy play pickleball to get their occasional workout done. Herschel’s wife, Olivia, seems fonder of Lousy than most people, and the tension between them is extremely obvious. Lousy used a male potency pill to hook up with Olivia, and their dirty little secret is probably the only interesting thing Lousy has going on in his life. Olivia might also be a little unstable, judging by her taste in men. The guilt piles up, and Olivia informs Lousy that she has told Herschel about the affair. Herschel went to the gun store first, but the long queue was too much for him, so he came back and started grilling steaks in the backyard. To calm Herschel down, Olivia said that he was better than Lousy in bed and that this news had only gotten them closer.


How Does Lousy Arrange For His Mother’s Funeral?

Lousy gets a call from the doctor about his mother’s death, and now he has the huge task of arranging a funeral. The doctor offers him various options to get it done. They can shoot the remains into space, or they could scatter the ashes around the Eiffel Tower. For Lousy’s limited budget, the doctor even offers him a discount for a group cremation. Lousy uses the best of his brain to hold the funeral program in a bowling alley. Herschel visits Lousy to tell him that he has set eyes on his sister. 

What Happens At The Funeral?

Lousy gives a long speech about his mother and how she used to lock him up in the closet. She’d give him doses of cough syrup so that he’d pass out. He doesn’t utter one good word about his mother, so much so that even his estranged sister protests in her mother’s defense. Olivia points out that Mrs. Carter was a great art teacher, and she’s the reason Olivia can draw. A certain Dick Anthony from Lousy’s school shows up, asking him to attend the reunion. Lousy doesn’t pay much attention to him and moves on. Dick Anthony has been sending emails and Facebook texts to Lousy for the reunion, but Lousy never once cared about it. 


After the funeral, Lousy sees Herschel and his sister walking out of the hotel, all mushy. Herschel’s tiny revenge is successful, and Lousy isn’t very happy about it. On the way back, his sister blames him for never trying to mend the bridge between her and her mother. Lousy is a narcissist, and he was only too happy to get all the attention from his mother. He accepts that even though he was a pretty comfortable upbringing, he blames his failures on his mother because that’s the only narrative he can hold on to. 

Where Does Fate Take Lousy Carter?

Lousy sells all his furniture and other stuff from his house, thinking these are the last few days of his life. In a turn of events, the doctor informs Lousy that they’ve mixed up his files with a certain William Carter. Lousy isn’t terminally ill; he just has a hernia. A dejected Lousy, who was relieved by the death sentence, is not amused by the news. He finds out that the publisher of “Laughter in the Dark” has agreed to give him the rights. It’d only cost him four hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars. Starting his life again, Lousy and Gail walk into the library when Dick Anthony shoots Lousy down. He apologizes before running away. 


Lousy Carter ends with everyone saying a few pleasant words about him, especially Olivia (that pill did work). A life of negligence and narcissism ended as randomly as it could. Lousy was waiting for his death, and it’s fair to say that Dick Anthony only did him a favor. Lousy’s character never pursues growth or good things, and some men are just like this. It’s a very realistic take on middle-aged men who are too proud to accept themselves as failures. 

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Aniket Mukherjee
Aniket Mukherjee
Aniket is a literature student pursuing his master's degree while trying to comprehend Joyce and Pound. When his head is not shoved in books, he finds solace in cinema and his heart beats for poetry, football, and Adam Sandler in times.

Latest articles