George Ruben, a man out of step with the 21st century, is pathologically nostalgic for things that used to be and never will again. He sets out obsessively to chronicle these items in an opus he dubs The Obselidia.
On his quest to catalogue critically endangered occupations, George meets the beautiful Sophie, a cinema projectionist who works at a local art house movie theater. Sophie's a vivacious free spirit, who lives life in the moment and rarely stops to look back. She romantically believes that nothing is obsolete so long as someone loves it.
New to LA and a little lonely after breaking up with her long-time boyfriend, Sophie pursues a friendship with George. She allows him to interview her about her own work for The Obselidia -- and she becomes fascinated by this guy who's quite unlike anyone she's ever met. He doesn't use a computer, he doesn't own a car, and he seems so earnest and sincere.
When Sophie learns that George is planning a trip out to Death Valley, via public transport, in order to interview a maverick scientist, Lewis Fordham, who is predicting the eminent end of the world, she steps in and insists that she drive him.