When the lights go dim and you're sitting in the dark with your popcorn -- that's the magic time that Ruby Miller loves best. And then the music creeps in, and the lion roars, or maybe the moon kid goes fishing.... For Ruby, age twelve and a half, movies are better than real life. The ones she writes, why, those are the best of all. Those stories work out. The dads in her movies always show up when they've promised. The moms don't hold on to secrets. The little brothers don't curl up with sorrow over some missing stuffed animal. All right, it's Ruby's fault he's missing. But the terrible red-painted graffiti on the concrete riverbanks -- it that her fault too? She's blamed for it. And here she is on a chain gang with two stupid classmates -- the Dumb and Dumber of the Hayes Middle School -- doing community service to make up for it. If she were writing the script, the setup would be intriguing, the middle exciting, and the ending a complete and happy surprise. She has seven pages ready for Spielberg. But real life keeps interrupting.