NOTE: This spoiler sent in by Anonymous who says... "This film is based on a true crime. The killer's real name is Jesse James Hollywood if you want to look up the story.
The film is set in California.
In the first shot we see Sonny Truelove (Bruce Willis) being interviewed by a reporter and talking about his son Johnny (Emilie Hirsch). The reporter brings up the fact that Johnny was a big drug dealer in California, which Sonny plays down.
We then cut back to 1999. We see Johnny at his house with Frankie (Justin Timberlake), Elvis (Shawn Hatosy), and a few other friends. We learn that Frankie does in fact deal drugs, and Elvis works for him as an errand boy and house cleaner to pay off his debt to him. All of them like to act very "gangsta."
Johnny goes to meet with his father Sonny and their friend Cosmo (Harry Dean Stanton). His father is his supplier and arranges an exchange to deliver him drugs to sell. We then see Jake Mazursky (Ben Foster), who is a neo-Nazi skinhead and drug addict, dropping by his family's house because he needs to borrow some money from his parents. His father and stepmother (Sharon Stone) are fed up with his behavior and refuse. He storms out but his 15 year-old brother Zack (Anton Yelchin) runs after him and asks to hang out with him. He cares about his little brother and tells him he'll talk to him later.
Later that night Johnny and his friends are hanging around at his house getting drunk and stoned, and Frankie makes a point of insulting Elvis, saying that he's Johnny's lap dog and will do anything he tells him to. Then Jake stops by to see Johnny. Jake owes Johnny money, and he tries to explain to Johnny that he would have had his money, but a scam he was trying to do went south and he can't. They end up fighting, and Johnny's friends have to break them up. Jake storms out of the house.
Later on, Jake is at his apartment with his girlfriend when Zack drops by. They give him pot and alcohol while he complains that his life is boring and his mother controls his life. Jake tells him to no worry and that he is lucky his mother cares about him. Their mother calls and demands that Jake bring Zack home. Jake (while very drunk) drives Zack home and Zack stumbles through the doorway with his parents noting that he's drunk and high.
We see Johnny, Sonny, Frankie and a few others eating in a restaurant where Jake's girlfriend is a waitress. They're very rude to her and when she brings them the check, Johnny offers to pay it, but all he does is write a threatening note on it for her to tell her boyfriend that he better pay up.
We then see Jake working as a telemarketer. He's called into the boss' office who tells him that his parole officer has contacted him and that he has to take a drug test. Jake won't so he's fired and is furious about it. That night he and a couple of his friends break into Johnny's house. He decides to hide rather than confront them all and they steal his TV and trash the place.
The next day Frankie stops by and sees that Johnny is packing up the house. He's says he's gonna move because Jake knows where he lives. He tells Elvis to finish packing up the house and moving his stuff while he, Frankie and his friend Tiko (Fernando Vargas) go to Palm Springs for a few days. They go to Jake's apartment, but he's not there, so they break his window and leave.
We then see Zack getting out of bed and his parents are waiting for him to yell at him because they found a bong in his apartment. He says he needs to get dressed. He goes back upstairs, gets dressed, and sneaks out of his bedroom window. As he's walking along the road, Johnny and his friends are driving by and they recognize him. Johnny tells them to jump out of the car and grab him, which they do. Two people see this and caption appears beneath them noting that they're witnesses #1 and #2. (They do this throughout the movie)
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They drive to Palm Springs and Johnny tells them they need someplace to stay and watch Zack. They decide to go to a friend of Frankie's apartment. They take Zack to a back room and tie him up with tape. Frankie's friend asks them what on earth is going on and Johnny pulls a gun and tells them to be quiet. Frankie's friend leaves and tell them that they had better be gone when he gets back. By that evening they taken the tape off Zack's mouth and he's playing video games with his hands still tied. Johnny tells Frankie that he has to go back home to contact Jake and tell him that they're going to ransom Zack for the money he owes him and take care of other business. He tells Frankie to watch Zack. They decide that Frankie will go to his dad's house with Zack untied and tell him that he's his friend.
As they're walking to his house, Frankie stops by a liquor store to get some beer. Zack stays outside, but doesn't run away. When Frankie comes out, he says that Zack can go home if he wants, and that he'll tell some lie to Johnny about it. Zack says that he'll hang around because he doesn't want to get his brother in trouble. They arrive at Frankie's house, and his father is drunk and on the couch with two half naked women. Zack, who's been pretty sheltered, is entertained by the whole scene.
That night Jake stops by his parents' house who are upset because they can't find Zack. They don't know if he's in trouble or if he ran off because he's mad at them. Zack's mother is already frantic. Jake says that he'll go and look for him. He stops by a party and asks where Johnny is. They don't know but he ends up getting in a fight and beating up a bunch of people there. He tells them all to tell Johnny that he's looking for him.
The next morning Frankie's dad wakes him up before he goes to work telling him to clean up the house. Frankie takes Zack outside and shows him that his father grows all of their own vegetables, including weed. He has to tend to the garden and take care of the marijuana plants. He then calls his friends Susan and Pick, and invites them over to smoke weed. They show up with two of their friends, including Julie, who Zack is attracted to. Johnny calls Frankie telling him they need to meet, and Frankie asks Pick to watch Zack, telling him the truth behind the kidnapping. After Frankie leaves, Pick tells Susan, who becomes angry while Julie and her friend don't really care. Zack tells him that it's no big deal, and that his brother will pay the money and it'll all be over.
Frankie meets Johnny, and Johnny tells him that he's hasn't called Jake and told him about the kidnapping. Johnny says that he doesn't know what to do and "jokingly" offers Frankie $2500 to kill Zack, which he quickly refuses. Frankie then suggests that they just butter Zack up and pretend to be his friend and show him a good time in Palm Springs. Then they can convince him to tell his parents that he ran away. Johnny agrees and that night they have a party at Frankie's house. Zack is having a good time flirting with Julie, and Johnny asks Zack if he's OK and apologizes for mixing him up in the mess. He promises that they'll take Zack home tomorrow. That night Susan tries to tell her mother about the kidnapping, but she ignores her. (There's a continuing theme that the parents are either clueless and/or don't care)
The next morning Johnny calls Jake at his parent's house, who have contacted the police. Jake takes the phone and tells Johnny that he knows he kidnapped his brother and he's gonna kill him if the cops don't get him first. Johnny then makes a call to his lawyer and asks him what would hypothetically happen if someone took another person because the person's brother owed him money. His lawyer explains that it is kidnapping and it would carry a life sentence. Frankie asks him what they're going to do about Zack because he can't keep him at his Dad's place. Johnny tells him they'll take care of it tonight and goes back home. Susan tells Frankie that she's worried about Zack, and he promises her that Zack will be OK. He borrows an SUV from a friend of his without telling him why, and arranges for Elvis to go up to Palm Springs to kill Zack while Johnny goes out with his girlfriend for her birthday.
That night Frankie has a party at a hotel. Julie brings a friend, and together, they have a threesome with Zack. Johnny calls Frankie and tells him that he's on his way to pick up Zack, and Frankie ends the party. Elvis arrives, and Frankie asks what's going on, and Elvis shows him his gun. Frankie is upset, but he still takes Elvis to his house where they get some shovels. They go back to the hotel, and Frankie gets out of the car, saying that he refuses to dig the grave. Pick is still at the hotel, so Elvis takes him to a deserted area to dig the grave. Frankie tries to convince Zack to leave the hotel room for cigarettes or to go on a walk, but he says he doesn't feel like leaving. They then go back to the hotel and Elvis tells Frankie that he needs to come along. He tells him that he's already guilty of kidnapping and if they take Zack back, they'll all get life in prison.
Meanwhile, Johnny is dropping his girlfriend off at her house, and his father, lawyer, and Cosmo are waiting for him. Sonny tries to convince Johnny to return the kid, and put most of the blame on his friends. His lawyer promises that he'll only do two years, but Johnny denies that he's done anything and tells them that he's not going to jail. He keeps telling Johnny to make a phone call and call it off, but he won't. Elvis tells Zack that he's here to take him home. Frankie, Elvis, Pick and Zack are all in the car. Zack is rambling about going home and tells him that he'll never rat on them and will say that he just ran away or something.
They then go back to the deserted area. Pick refuses to watch and goes back into the car. Zack is starting to get scared, but Frankie convinces him that they're just meeting someone to drive him home. They go up on a hill and Zack sees the dug hole and starts to cry and get scared. Frankie keeps trying to calm him down, and even convinces him to let him tie him up, telling Zack that he swears he'll be OK. After he tapes his hands and mouth, Elvis hits him on the head with a shovel, then shoots him.
We then cut ahead to the future and see Zack's mother being interviewed in a mental hospital. She's put on a lot of weight and tells them that she's tried to kill herself 3 times. She's emotionally distraught and Sharon Stone is very good in this scene.
Susan confronts Frankie at his house because she's read in the paper that Zack was killed. He denies that he was involved, and she tells him that he'd better have a good lawyer.
The police pick up Elvis. We see Johnny on the run with his girlfriend. They've changed their hair and he's traded in his car. They're in a hotel room, and have a fight because she wants to have sex but he can't. He leaves to get more cigarettes, and the cops find the room while he's out. Johnny sneaks away and meets up with his friend Buzz (Lucas Haas).
He tells us in an interview that he agreed to drive him to Canada, but then Johnny freaked out as they got to the border, so they turned around and drove to Mexico, but Johnny got scared again and they end up going back to California.
Johnny goes to meet with Cosmo.
We then see Sonny and Cosmo being interviewed, and the reporter accuses them of helping Johnny to leave the country, which they deny.
We then see that Tiko got sentenced (I can't remember to how many years), Pick, who was a minor, was sentenced to a juvenile detention center until he's 25. Frankie got life in prison. Elvis is on death row.
Johnny was on the run until 2005, when Interpol arrested him in Portugal. He's awaiting trial and if convicted, will get the death penalty.