The movie takes us back three years. After his mother (Parker) unsuccessfully lobbies to get James admitted to a public school, 14-year-old James-restless and confined to his house by an unexplained ankle bracelet-sleeps, eats, watches TV, and writes in his journal, which he hides under his pillow. Eventually he grows bored and heads out to a convenience store, where, while trying to buy milk, he's suddenly caught up in a shoplifting scheme by foolhardy Crystal (Rosa Salazar). Pretty soon he's snipped his ankle bracelet and flown his mother's coop to pal around with Crystal, drinking, smoking, and hooking up. He takes a job with her drug dealer, Roc (Michael Trotter).