FAREWELL ANGELINA: A SHOOTING SCRIPT

 

 

SCENE I: CAGED TITMOUSE                       

How it starts:

The camera FADES IN and we’re staring out a white-glassed window through the horizontal ovals of mesh.  The LIGHTING—STALE, HOSPITALISH. LIFELESS. The slug line reads INTERIOR ATASCADERO STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL, ATASCADERO, CA—A.K.A. LOONY BIN CENTRAL—2004. DAY. Outside we see BLURRY SHAPES moving back and forth, sideways. Some are big—mechanical.  Some are little—humanoid. We see life how the Californian Oak Titmouse sees life. For all those dipshit movie producers and Hollywood agents in the house with no imaginations to speak of, let’s just say everything we see is faraway and twisting slowly like a big, CLUSTERFUCKED KALEIDOSCOPE. Like we’re on some serious fucking X, but nothing is actually all that fucking ecstatic because we’re a fucking titmouse and we’re trapped in this fucking cage.  

In the background we hear a CLAMORING of board games, MURMURED GIBBERISH, and the blare of TV STATIC. Then we hear SHANE OFF-SCREEN.  (Which is also us. Him. We’re Shane. His voice is our voice, and our voice is his. Except at this point, we’re not quite Us-Shane, yet.  This Shane’s doped out of his gourd with Lithium. Has been since he gave up the script rights to the Lethal Weapon movies and walked out halfway into shooting of the sequel. So this is Him-Shane, caged titmouse and volunteer mental patient, Atascadero State Mental Hospital).  

“What was I yesterday, Nurse?”

Shane’s voice is a mix of languid peace and titmouse resignation.  

OFF-SCREEN we hear NURSE ANGIE: IRRITATED SIGH.

“Honey, I been changing bed-pans since three this morning. Why don’t you ask somebody else today. Anybody here’ll tell you the same thing I tell you every other day.”

“Yesterday, Nurse? Yesterday, I thought I was a four-month-old Cambodian boy.”

“That’s just peachy, Mr. Black.”

Nurse Angie, as it turns out, is ANGELINA JOLIE circa 2001 (Tall, slender, and curvy. Waterfall black hair, puckered lips, and nightly masturbation theme to the United States of anyone—man, woman… boy or girl who’s seen Tomb Raider). The one and only Angelina Jolie Voight—only before she gave up eating to save the world and lost her tits. But we don’t know that in this shot. In this shot all we know is OFF-SCREEN, Nurse Angie’s husky, phone-sex voice sounds an awful lot like an actress we know but can’t quite put our finger on. An actress we know we’d like to Kama Sutra fuck while suspended upside down in a love harness and repeatedly calling out the lord’s name in vain.  

But what do we see from our Shane-Camera? The mesh window of our fucking titmouse cage.

EXIT NURSE ANGIE. 

CLOSE-UP OF HUMONGO FAT HEAD. BOB (Forty’ish, Stay-Puft Marshmallow of a man. Profile eerily resembling Alfred Hitchcock with rec-specks and a poorly groomed, black pube-beard.  Breath odor? AQUAFRESH AND CHEETOS).     

“That’s bullshit, man. Yesterday you were the reason Mel Gibson got laid in the eighties.  You were Mr. Lethal fucking Weapon, man.”

That’s our agent, Jackie T.  In real life, Jackie T’s a hundred-pound, coke-head weasel, but for the sake of the movie—this scene and the wet-brained ambiance—we’ll call him “BOB” and we’ll say that Bob is in his mental hospital white terrycloth nightie just like Shane.  

“Four mill’ a script and that was eighty-fucking-seven, man.  We’d be making Tarantino money today. We could’ve ridden that bitch ’til Riggs and Murtaugh were chasin’ hookers at Shady Pines Retirement Home, man.”

In this scene we’re not sure if Bob is a patient in the loony bin “with” Shane or just Shane’s Lithium hallucination of our hundred-pound, coke-head weasel agent visiting Shane. But we roll with it because we’re a caged titmouse and we’re doped to the beak with Lithium.

“But you had to go all limp-dick artistic freedom on me. Had to kill off Riggs in the sequel. Know how much money Mel Gibson made off 3 and 4?”  

FADE OUT.

“Eight fucking trillion dollars, man—that’s how much!” Bob continues on V.O., grown quiet and resigned (Bob’s voice is now a RECENTLY CASTRATED ANGUS CALF). Bob says, “We could’ve ridden that bitch like Seattle Slew, Shano. At least until Mel decided women and Jews were conspiring against his god and his movie career.”

SCENE II: MOVIE TRAILER VOICE-OVER GUY

INT. OFFICE – PARAMOUNT STUDIOS EXECUTIVE IN CHARGE OF CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT – DAY.  We focus in from an OVERHEAD of a pasty, non-Hollywood hand, the forearm hair—antennae-black and splotchy around moles, cigarette burns, and razorblade scars. The hand whips out a white manuscript onto a desk: FLOP!

The camera flashes to a SPLIT-SECOND CLOSE-UP of the top page.  The words—CENTERED, UNDERLINED. BLACK, TWELVE-POINT, COURIER NEW:

FAREWELL ANGELINA

Underneath the title, there are nine lines of RED CHICKEN SCRATCHES.  The kind frizzed-out serial killers write with when they leave notes for overly wry, Hollywood detectives who are hung like John Holmes and warble on like lung cancer.

The camera, playing coy, pulls back from the manuscript and pans down to eye level with a clearly unimpressed, clearly prick of a studio executive, STAN.  (Stan’s hair should be SLICKED BACK like Pat Riley, coach of Magic, Kareem, and the eighties’ Lakers: the single greatest assembly of basketball gods ever assembled. But Stan’s slight FIVE-O’CLOCK SHADOW and ARMANI SUIT should make him the cliché of every scum-sucking Hollywood producer ever to walk the earth). Stan glances down at the manuscript and then back at the camera (Stan’s performance should be unrecognizably subtle and deadpan. Tastefully done. More importantly, Stan’s nose and front two incisors should bear an uncanny resemblance to a sewer rat. Either through PROSTHETIC TEETH or the ACTING OF GARRY SHANDLING).

Stan says nothing. Stares. His eyes say, I fucking hate you peckerwood screenwriters and your peckerwood screenwriters’ guild, but I have to put up with you peckerwoods so I can exploit you for the down payment on my mistress’s bribery Beemer. 

OFF-SCREEN we hear the voice of Shane, screenwriter of Lethal Weapon as well as his latest potential green light: Farewell Angelina. This is Shane, our tragic hero, except this Shane seems different from Caged-Titmouse-Shane, and we can hear it in his voice right away.  Peppy.  Disturbingly peppy.  That douche bag-from-12-Monkeys peppy. So peppy that now we’re not sure if this is Tragic-Hero-Shane any more. Maybe it’s Lithium-Hallucination-Shane.  

Or a new Shane?  

“So here’s the concept.”

MAGNIFYING GLASS CLOSE-UP. CHICKEN SCRATCHES.  Red words fill the screen, pen slashes at a time, as we hear Shane read them on V.O. His best impression of Don La Fontaine, movie trailer voice-over guy. 

“Flash in the pan Hollywood screen-writer…” 

“…turned limp-dick, addict, recluse…”

“…becomes obsessed with writing…” 

“…Kaufmanesque romantic comedy rip-off…” 

“…to woo Angelina Jolie…”

“…into S and M sexual rendezvous…” 

“Parts perfect for Angelina Jolie…” 

“…and limp-dick actor…”

“…possibly Mel Gibson...”  

HEADSHOT. STAN’S PAT RILEY RIP-OFF HAIR CUT

“Do Angelina and Mel have any sex scenes?”        


SCENE III: “FUCK MEL GIBSON”

INT. SHANE’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

A white haze like the interior of a Cheech and Chong car and the slow whoop of a ceiling fan ripples the silence like a mushroom cloud as the camera lens pulls back. As our eyes unblur, a piss yellow glare floods in from a globed light fixture at the center of the fan.

WHOOP, WHOOP, WHOOP. The wooden wings keep time like a metronome.  TICK, TOCK, TICK, TOCK. 

CUE PIANO MUSIC—quiet… British.  But not the Beatles.  Not sad. Plucky.  Eighties adult contemporary, plucky.  Flock of Seagulls? No, too New Wave. Let’s try the Madness, circa 1984. But not the Madness song we know.  No this is not “Our House.” This is different.  Obscure.  Five of us have heard it and we don’t know the words, so we hum-sing-hum along: 

Something, something, tra-la-la-la-la… it must be love / something, something, tra-la-la-la-la, the way I feel / Something, something …about you…you…YOU…/ if you could take away my drugs…/ TOO…too…too…/ I could stop my hallucinations about you…you…YOU…/ It must be love / It must be LUUUUUUUUUUUVVVVVVVVE!

REPEAT CHORUS

The camera pans down to an oval kitchen table. Empty cans of RED BULL, a half-eaten DOMINO’S PIZZA, an empty tube of AQUAFRESH, and a half-full bag of CHEETOS.  Product placement.  Manuscripts of white XEROX PAPER strewn about, inscribed with black typing—COURIER NEW. Not that corny Times New Roman bullshit. Violent RED X’S slash through slugs of words on the pages. The camera leans in on one manuscript covered in huge scribbled letters—ONE-HUNDRED-AND-SIX POINT BOLD:        

“FUCK MEL GIBSON”

The camera, though, doesn’t give a shit about Mel anymore—pulls back and turns down a hallway. The carpet—taupe. Puffy and trendy like Wesley Snipe’s blond mini-afro in Demolition Man, but taupe. The walls are plastered and cream colored. Understated. The lighting, still piss yellow. Our dolly-camera staggers down the hallway toward a door cracked open.  Our dolly-camera is the glory years of Gary Busey on a good night in Vegas.  The door is cream colored—understated.  Through the walls, the sound of typing starts to drown out the piano music. RAPPATAPTAPTAP. RAPPA- TAPTAPTAP. Our typing is twenty dead Sammy Davis’s tap dancing at Caesars. 

 We wedge through the crack in the door, CLOSE-UP, the camera pushes in on the trash trail of crumpled Xerox paper and Red Bull cans to a pair of black businessman socks pulled up to a pair of hairy naked shins. We pull back to a man—mid-thirties, candy striped boxers and a wife-beater.  Wiry arms and chiseled chest like that talentless douche bag from Fight Club, all The first rule of fight club is…. But our tragic hero’s not that douche bag from Fight Club. Our hero has disheveled blue-black, punk-rock hair. Though our hero’s not punk-rock either. Suffice it to say, our hero’s the real muthafuckin’ deal.  The tragic genius—Shane Black of Lethal Weapon fame. The man who refused to sell out and unkill Mel Gibson, aka Detective Martin Riggs, for studio executives who wanted to cash in on box office gold. Fuck yeah!

This Shane is us, too. But he’s not us, too.  This is Pre-Lithium, Post-Haldol Shane. This revelation makes no sense to us right now, though, so we put it out of our minds and go on about our business. This revelation is four-hundred pounds of 1990s Sally Struthers telling us we can save the life of little, bloated, armless Abebe Dibaba for no more than one dollar a day. 

The camera looms in from above our tragic hero’s shoulder as he stoops over his APPLE iBOOK (Product placement).  RAPPATAPTAPTAP Sammy Davis. Then stop. SILENCE.  He flops back in his chair, his hands folded behind his head.  CLOSE ON SHANE’S STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL, BLUE GREEN EYES. Eyes the color of MTV’s Spring Break. The color of the Caribbean off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. Eyes the color of “Take yo’ panties off, bitches!” We follow his stunning blue-green eyes up the cream colored wall to a bulletin board with dark pencil sketches of a caricatured sleek, naked brunette—jet-black waterfall hair covering her ample, perky breasts and puckered, voluptuous lips, colored over with red pen. Pinned up over the caricatured goddess? A scrap of paper with huge red scribbles. The camera pushes in on the scribbles: “Farewell Angelina.”  Oh yeah, that’s going to be the title of Shane’s (our) movie, “a pseudo ‘Making Of’ movie, about making an Angelina Jolie-biopic starring Angelina Jolie so Angelina Jolie can fall in love with our tragic, yet genius and beautiful screenwriter, Shane Black (us), and raise adopted Cambodian babies.” But we don’t know this yet. It’s like Sixth Sense and that red doorknob. We’ll find all this out later on in the “‘Making Of’ Making Of” featurette. So, again, we just take the foreshadowing in this scene like a fat, well-rolled doobie and smoke on. We are a community-joint passed around the circle at Willie Nelson’s basement recording studio.    


CLOSE-UP. SHANE’S EYES. 

Our tragic genius swivels his eyes toward the bed on his left—head slumped toward the carpet at the foot like some cowboy wino named Lefty about to fall off his bar stool in an old spaghetti western.  We follow his eyes again, first to the carpet. CLOSE-UP. A VICKY’S SECRET BLACK LACE BRA.  Then we slide up a slender pair of legs sheened in black thigh-highs to reveal the real life Angelina Jolie © 1998-2002 in the flesh—Emmy and Golden Globe award winning actress—naked from the waist up, sitting on the edge of our tragic genius’s bed. 

CUT TO INT. MAGIC JOHNSON CINEPLEX THEATRES – farewell angelina – NIGHT

The fourteen-to-twenty-two-year-old zit-faced boys are squirming, trying to tuck their two-inch woodies to the side so their girlfriends don’t get any ideas while their twenty-two-to-thirty-year-old girlfriends are simultaneously soaking their panties.

BACK TO INT. SHANE’S APARTMENT

Angelina’s adopted Cambodian baby, MADDOX, is cradled in her arms and suckling from her LEFT BREAST.  This, however, isn’t Angelina Jolie, thirty-six-year-old-aging-mother-domestically partnered-to-that-talentless-douche-bag-from-Fight Club, Seven, Fight Club, 12 Monkeys, Seven, Snatch, Ocean’s 11, 12, 13, Troy, et al. This is the younger, post-Billy-Bob, prime-of-her-sexual-life, less sold-out, more mysterious Angelina Jolie of our hero’s artistic vision—the one he and we are going to write a movie about.  Sort of chic video-game heroine Angelina, meets evil-seductress mail-order bride Angelina with a little naughty heroin-tracked supermodel sexual experimentation mixed in. This Angelina still has her DRAGON TATTOO, kiddies! Angelina’s jaguar-sleek body is pale, white, and beautiful in contrast to the dark skinned baby… to the black dragon tattooed on her left shoulder. Not Hollywood. Not Hollywood at all.  Angelina’s pillowy lip cleavage is supple and puckered and real—not Goldie Hawn.  Not Goldie Hawn at all.  Every part of this scene is natural and perfect—the struggling artist and his muse. Understated. And we are in awe of the writer’s vision, so we say thank you and close our eyes. 

CUE PLUCKY BRITISH PIANO MUSIC.  


SCENE IV: “FUCK ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER”

INT. ATASCADERO LOONY BIN – DAY

Our tragic genius’s profiles the camera like a mug shot as he rocks back and forth on a chair that doesn’t rock.  Picture Vicki Lawrence as a straggly corpse of a man rocking back and forth. A corpse knitting an afghan on Mama’s Family. A grainy white lingers in the scene and all color except the blue-black of the writer’s hair is bleached out of the picture by the morning sun seeping in through the mesh ovals that frame our shot. 

On V.O. we hear Shane (ON SCREEN he doesn’t even move his lips). 

“What was I yesterday?”

Weird, we think.  Is that voice coming from our heads now?

HEADSHOT. BOB.

“Yesterday, you were Mr. Fucking Hollywood Badass, man. Shane fucking Black, BUDDY-COP MOVIE EXTRAORDINAIRE!” 

Bob stoops forward on his chair like a basketball coach lecturing in a timeout, his fat Hitchcockian head, his pubic-haired beard poorly concealing his goitered double chin. His strands of gray balding hair, bobbing up and down in the pallor.  We imagine Gene Hackman as a “before-picture” on a South Beach Diet infomercial but all this time Gene Hackman has Alfred Hitchcock’s head and Bob’s pube-beard.  Weird.     

“Yesterday, you were Quentin Tarantino’s worst fucking nightmare Nah, not even…  You were Tarantino’s characters’ worst fucking nightmare. Lethal Weapon… The Long Kiss Goodnight--You were fucking Tarantino before fucking Tarantino knew how to fucking write bloodbath, man. The Last Boy Scout… do I have to keep going? Last Action Hero… And let me just say, Fuck Last Action Hero!  That was a spec script and a rewrite.  Fuck Arnold Schwarzenegger! Blasphemy what those limp-dicks at Paramount did to that script.  And to put the name Shane Black on the credits like you had something to do with that piece of shit script? Fuckin’ blasphemy, man. You’re fucking Shane Black. You think Mel Gibson would’ve ever been able to pull in a hundred mill. whipping the shit out of Jesus?  That flaccid penis of a human being would’ve been stuck filming those shitty post-apocalyptic dustbowl movies with his mullet and fucking leather chaps for the rest of his life, man.”

“Yesterday I was Angelina’s pet rat, Harry.”

CLOSE-UP. RAT NUZZLED BETWEEN ANGELINA’S ARMS AND PERFECT, VOLUPTUOUS, EXPOSED BREASTS.

Shane on V.O. Slow and languid. Castrated calf, caged titmouse.  “You ever woken up and everything was black…”

CUT TO BLACK SCREEN. 

“…I mean everything was nothing?”

“You gotta get off that A.J. shit, Shano. A week ago, you tell me you’re all hard-up for a comeback.  Eight years a recluse and you’re ready to get back in—get your dick wet.”

“It’s like you’re lying on this big… black… cloud…” SHANE APPEARS, SUPERIMPOSED OVER THE BLACK. “…and you can’t remember which way you got on. Which way to reality?  Which way to dreams?  Which way, which way….?”

“Stay with me, Shano. I’m trying to get you back on track, man.  I mean I was gettin’ all hard just thinking about it last week, man—‘the next great buddy cop movie.’” The words “THE NEXT GREAT BUDDY COP MOVIE” appear in white like a superimposed movie review butchered on a movie trailer. “There hasn’t been a great buddy cop movie to come out of Hollywood since Eddie Murphy tucked his dick between his legs and started braying.” 

“Neon words flash in front of you.” The words flash across the screen like NEON LIGHTNING AGAINST THE NIGHT SKY: “Behind door number one—reality.”

“Fuck reality, Shano! Would’ya just listen to me? Fuck it.”

“Behind door number two—fantasy.”

“And what’s this shit you were telling me yesterday.  A movie about writing a movie for Angelina Jolie?”

“It’s black… all… pitch… black.”

“Don’t get me wrong, Shane, A.J.’s smokin’ hot and if you could get her. But Shano, she ain’t exactly hurtin’ for parts right now.” 

“And then you blink…”

“Shano, Kaufman’s got that whole reality-as-fiction genre locked down. It ain’t you.”

“…where are you?”


SCENE V: GENERAL ZOD, NON, URSA AND KAL EL’S LAST STAND

INT. PARAMOUNT PICTURES - FLASH BACK - FIFTEEN YEARS EARLIER - PRE-PRODUCTION MEETING: LETHAL WEAPON II - DAY.

We look down a long oak table. The same oak conference table used in every movie with a business meeting scene.  On our left, the afternoon sun rays float in like an angled waterfall and wash out most detail from the characters on the left.  We see what looks like the hallucination shadows of Mel Gibson’s TONED DOWN MULLET, Danny Glover’s TRENDY MINI-AFRO PUFF, and director Richard Donner’s FEATHERY GRAY HAIR TURNED GRAYER IN THE LIGHT. They, along with four or five of their agents, sit under the waterfall of light to our left. On our right, outside the waterfall, we see Stan and eight or nine other Stans.  RATS IN ARMANI SUITS SIPPING BOTTLES OF EVIAN.

From the distorted shadow, we see Mel Gibson’s mullet speak in an amalgam of exaggerated BRITISH/IRISH/SCOTTISH/AUSTRIAN/AUSTRALIAN BROGUE.

“Sure I’ll take one for the team on this one, mates. For the sake of the script, crikey, if some poor bah’sterd’s gotta take a bullet, let that bloke be me. Whatever the natural evolution of the character is, mates, I always say.  But this? This, mates? This just don’t ring dinky di for me.  I mean, Riggs carking it? Come on, Riggs is a bloody troppo bah’sterd.  A real wally. And bloody suicidal, too. Too bloody suicidal.  He’s too bloody-troppo-suicidal to die, if you ask me, mate. It don’t feel all apples.”

From the dark side, we see a chorus of affirmative head nods.

From the light, Glover’s mini-afro seconds his partner.

“I’m sittin’ with my bro on this one, bros. It just don’t jive to the character… for me either. Come on, peeps.”

The Stan Clones nod again in affirmation.

Back to the fog, we see the haze of Donner’s feathered gray hair nodding. CUE LONG-WINDED DIRECTORIAL SPEECH. “Gentlemen, it isn’t an easy decision to make—to kill or not to kill. And I’ve been down this road myself. There I was back in seventy-eight, director of a little movie called Superman.” The words FIFTEEN MINUTES LATER flash, SUPERIMPOSED, over the scene. “Sure, I know it sounds like blasphemy, but General Zod, Non, and Ursa—all three—had Kal El’s powers. How could one Superman beat two Supermen and one Superwoman?  He couldn’t. At least, Mario Puzo, Mr. Godfather himself, thought so, and hey, gentlemen, I don’t have to tell you, you write Godfather, who am I to tell you you can’t kill Superman, you know what I mean? But, you know, I got to thinking Mario’s way too after a while.  After all, Superman was too perfect. Too… pardon my language here gentlemen, too fucking un-American to live.  We didn’t deserve him.” CUE DRAMATIC PAUSE. Stans, actors, and entourages scratch their collective chins like they are ten THINKING MAN KNOCK-OFFS looking for just the right expression of knock-off profundity. “And it broke my heart, gentlemen. So much so, I gave up director’s chair in the sequel to sit consultant.  I couldn’t do it myself, gentlemen, I just couldn’t, but I went along with Mario, and so did the studio. But then, out of nowhere it happens, gentlemen.  We’re about to shoot the crystal palace scene where Superman is supposed to sacrifice his own life to save Lois’s ass--to save the world’s ass.  He’s going to freeze himself and the evil Kryptonians in an ice pane and then have Lois shatter them into a million Kryptonian pieces….” TEN MINUTES LATER (SUPER.) “Well, long story short, Chris Reeves comes up to me the morning of the shoot and says he can’t do it.  Says to me, ‘Dick, I can’t do it, man. I just… with everything wrong in the world, Dick? And this shit around us? Dick, we need something to lay our hats on—something that’ll never let us down.  Dick, we need—’ And I stop Chris right there.  He doesn’t even have to finish.” FIVE MINUTES LATER (SUPER.) “And that, gentlemen, is why we went on without Mario and filmed a third and even a fourth Superman… because whether we deserved it or not, we… as Americans needed him.  America needed Superman. And I tell you now, gentlemen, there’s a cold war going on.  There are a million Russians on the other side of the globe just waiting to nuke us off the planet. And Chris Reeves is not getting any younger. Gentleman, look down into your souls, look way down deep where that inner child is running around with his red and blue underoos, where he’s jumping off that couch in a single bound, where he’s saving his action figures’ lives one evil Kryptonian at a time.  Gentlemen, now more than ever, we need that superhero. We need that guy to believe in. We need guys like Riggs and Murtaugh. We need movies like Lethal Weapon.  But most of all, gentlemen. We need Lieutenant Martin Riggs, LAPD.”

SMATTERING OF APPLAUSE.  First the Stans, then the agents, and finally Glover and Mel.  STANDING OVATION.

CUE SUPERMAN THEME: BUMBUHBUH BUMMMM BUM / BUHBUHBUH BUMMMM BUM / BUHBUHBUHHHHHH…

CLOSE-UP. SHANE: slumped, face down on one end of the conference table, his hands folded into his black hair on the back of his head, as if he were praying for the Oak Conference Table Gods to eat him.  We imagine the cool, varnished wood against our faces and we imagine our writing aspirations as a conference table being sawed into sawdust at a sawmill. Sawsaw, saw--that’s all we see or hear. It’s like that scene in every action/comedy where the antagonist slides, spread-eagled, down a conveyor belt where an oversized circular saw blade screeches. Except in this case, our spread legs and crotch are a euphemism for our writing career.   


SCENE VI: KISSKISSBANGBANG

INT. OF ATASCADERO LOONY BIN – DAY

Well now, kiddies, up until this point we’ve been content to focus in on one grainy head shot or the other.  First our tragic genius, then Bob. Then our tragic genius, and back to Bob.  One then the other, one then the other. We’ve seen as the camera sees. Caged titmouse. Clusterfucked kaleidoscope filled with dancing mug shots. Back and forth, back and forth—we’re a thousand tennis snobs with Platinum Cards up our asses at Wimbledon. Forehand, backhand, volley, lob, over-hand smash… to the nuts! But now, kiddies, we must zoom in and follow the little yellow ball. Follow the pudgy, sausage-linked fingers of Bob as he breaks the bubble of our tragic genius. CUE SHANE-CAM as Bob reaches into our reality and pulls out a half-full bottle of LITHIUM (product placement).  Now we fade in as Shane opens his eyes, not so fuzzy this time. More lucent, more colors, and here are two terrycloth-robed figures sitting in one frame and mirrored across a warp. 

“Is this it, Shano? You back on the juice?” Bob is shaking the bottle of pills in our faces like a can of spray paint. Click, click, click. Rattle, rattle, rattle. “That Amazon whore, Angel, give this to you? I told that bitch… I told ya, Shano, we can’t have you dopin’ again. We’re on the comeback trail, buddy. I mean when you’re not looking, I’ve been reading that shit you scribble on your bed sheets. You’ve got some good shit—the next great buddy cop movie.  KissKissBangBang—just like you got scribbled on your arm there.” 

We look down at our pale, blue forearm—clumps of black arm hairs, cigarette burns, moles, razorblade scars, and these large, blue, ink scratches: KISSKISSBANGBANG

“The Hollywood comeback of all time, Shano. Just think about it: I still got my connection at Paramount.  And you? I admit, Shano, I had my doubts what with this latest A.J. obsession, but you still got your mind. Fucking brilliant, man. KissKissBangBang. Mr. Buddy-Cop Movie, Hollywood here we come.”


SCENE VII: “THIS ISN’T FUCKING LIFETIME, DOUCHE BAG”

INT. SHANE’S APARTMENT – DAY. 

REPLAY SCENE III WITH ANGELINA AND MADDOX ON SHANE’S BED.

SPEED IT UP. CUT TO SHANE’S STUNNING, BLUE-GREEN EYES GAZING AT HIS MUSE. 

Still the piss yellow lighting, still the plucky British music. But this time we pull back to show the boom and movie workers surrounding the set. The music grows louder in our ears and we watch as this chiseled, bluish-yellow corpse of a man wobbles from his desk and plops down next to Angelina breast-feeding her adopted baby Maddox. (Wait a minute, we think when we see this scene the second time. This chiseled douche bag isn’t our tragic hero. Is that Just For Men Black Five in his hair? Are those Bausch and Lomb blue-green contacts? This douche bag looks like he’s taken Ephedrine and gone on Atkins for three months just to look FRAIL-YET-STILL-CHISELED, STILL A SEX SYMBOL. No, he looks like… NO!!!  It’s him! It’s… It’s… BRAD….PITT… We shudder loudly in dismay—fffffuuhhhhhhhckkkkk! Where’s fucking Shane? we shout. This is Brad Pitt pretending to be us!) 

CLOSE-UP. BRAD GAZES INTO ANGELINA’S EYES. And Angelina back toward Brad, our douche bag/poser hero, as if to say, Back at’cha, babe. Then in unison, both look down toward the suckling baby, Maddox. Back toward each other. SLOW SMILES, like the eastern sun coming over the Rockies in the morning. And…? And it is officially “A Moment.” Ahhhhhhhhh… 

“Cut! Cut! Cut, cut, fucking cut, goddamnit,” a voice screams from OFF-SCREEN. The voice hammers into our ears like A HUNDRED MOVIE PRODUCERS DYING OF HEART ATTACKS AT THE SAME TIME, then repeated in SHORT STACCATO JACKHAMMER BURSTS as if we have recorded each and every agonizing death gasp and are playing it back on a synthesizer. But it also sounds strangely familiar to us. Like? Like the voice that knocked Hollywood on its collective ass in the late eighties and early nineties with such movies as The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Last Boy Scout, and fucking Lethal Weapon. The voice of a man who, at the peak of his career, left the money, fame, and bitches of Hollywood for the punt-to-the-nuts-of-your-ego that we refer to in the biz as integrity.  A man who, when the depression kicked in and the hallucinations started laughing at him, didn’t give up. Didn’t give in. Pulled himself up by his standard issue (bootstrapless) loony bin slippers, and wrote his life story into the most metafictional, kick-your-testicles-up-to-your-tonsils screenplay Hollywood has ever seen, the screenplay soon to be showing in select cities: Farewell Angelina. Fuck yeah! 

Y’up, this is none other than a modern day Phoenix, a twenty-first century screenwriting Lazarus, this is our tragic hero, Shane fucking Black—Mr. Buddy-Cop Movie, himself.

Only this voice isn’t coming from that limp-dick, scrawny black-haired corpse on the bed. No, the voice we hear is coming from OFF-SCREEN so loudly that it’s almost like this voice—these one hundred movie producers croaking dead simultaneously, repetitively—this voice is so loud it sounds like thoughts coming from our own heads.

CUT TO INT. MAGIC JOHNSON CINEPLEX. FAREWELL ANGELINA – NIGHT.

A hundred fourteen-to-twenty-two-year-old zit-faced boys and a hundred twenty-two-to-thirty-year-old girlfriends stop playing tag-team pocket-pool in their theater seats. They flop back with their hands folded into the hair of the backs of their heads.  In unison, all the boyfriends and girlfriends do their best Keanu Reeves impression: “Whoah!

BACK TO INT. SHANE’S APARTMENT. - DAY

Suddenly the voice becomes man, and the man walks into our shot. “This isn’t fucking Lifetime, douche bag,” the man tells his feeble impostor. “I don’t want you to gaze googlie-eyed at the miracle of birth. This is Angelina fucking Jolie. See the tattoo on her shoulder, Brad? That dragon says, ‘Come here, big boy. Come slay me with that big-dick sword of yours.’”

“But…” Brad says then stops. Brad knows he is a poseur. Knows he has nothing to say to Lazarus, the screenwriter-turned-director/screenwriter to protect the integrity of our vision.  Brad can say or do nothing but watch our true hero.

“This is what I want,” our hero says and promptly hip-checks Brad away from Angelina.  Our hero rips Maddox away from his mother’s teat. Places the FOUR-YEAR-OLD-TURNED-FOUR-MONTH-OLD-NOW-TURNED-FOUR-YEAR-OLD-AGAIN-DO-TO-FILMING-CONSTRAINTS on his feet. “Take five, Maddy. Your mommy and I have to work this scene out.” And the small adopted Cambodian boy smiles, giggles, and runs off to his trailer.  And our hero turns to gaze into Angelina’s stunningly blue-green eyes. And Angelina returns her gaze toward our true hero and his stunningly blue-green eyes. And it seems for a moment as if blue-green has engulfed our entire set. Just as if we were staring out off the coast of Cancun at the horizon where the Caribbean Sea meets the sky. As if this moment had been foretold by Greek Gods played by five white-haired Charlton Hestons in togas.  And Angelina finally closes her eyes on this Caribbean horizon and forgets all about Brad with the colored contact lens and the bad dye job.  The douche bag pretending to be in love with her, pretending to be worthy of her.

Angelina smiles but says nothing. Drops her chin just so much. Waits for our hero to take her round, supple cheekbones into the warm palms of his hands, to pull her pillowy, ample lips to his. She tilts her head toward our hero ever so slightly, as if she were posing for all cameras in the room simultaneously, as if she were posing for all the paparazzi in Europe and the United States, as if she wanted the world to capture this moment, this kiss-yet-to-happen, to capture the profile of her perfect, pale jaw line being eclipsed by the blue-black of our hero’s hair, and… and…
 

SCENE VIII: FAREWELL ANGELINA

INT. ATASCADERO LOONY BIN – DAY

CUE NURSE ANGIE—tall, slender, and curvy. Waterfall-black hair in a white and blue nursing outfit. Everything about her, akin to one word: VOLUPTUOUS.

“Nurse Angie, what was I yesterday?”

“You gotta stop listening that ‘friend’ of yours, Mr. Black.” She makes the exaggerated quotation marks in the air with her fingers when she says friend, so we all know she’s just placating us and our “friends.”

CLOSE-UP – BOB’S CHAIR, SANS BOB SO IT MIGHT APPEAR TO US AS THOUGH THIS WAS ONE OF THOSE “DELUSION MOVIES.”

Hey, hey, hey, wait just one fucking minute, Shane, we say. This isn’t one of those… no, we fucking hate those movies, Shane. Those cheap goddamned David Lynch plot twists. But the stench of AQUAFRESH and CHEETOS still lingers in amongst the stale loony bin air, and haunts us. Just who… what was that guy, Shane?  

“Yesterday you were a handsome young man in his pajamas,” Nurse Angie says, “same as today, Mr. Black. But now it’s meds time, or you won’t be able to watch the afternoon movie.”

“I don’t want to be in movies anymore, Nurse Angie.”  

“You don’t wanna miss the afternoon movie, do you? Seems you took some liking to that girl in yesterday’s movie, now didn’t you Mr. Black?”

CUE BACKGROUND NOISE: BOARD GAMES AND TV STATIC. We slowly pan out of our titmouse kaleidoscope, away from our mesh window, away from Nurse Angie and away from Shane. Finally we see the WIDE ANGLE, the entire first floor of Atascadero Mental Hospital. There are some ten other patients and a couple nurses surrounding our protagonists. Some watching a fuzzy TV, some playing checkers with the help of nurses, but all rocking on chairs that don’t rock. Ten or so blue corpses knitting afghans on Mama’s Family.

“Yesterday, Nurse Angie?” Shane says on V.O.

CUE DRAMATIC PAUSE. CUE BIG FINALE. CUE MONTAGE!

STAN SHAKING HIS RILEY-RIPOFF, SLICKED BACK HAIR AT US.

PARAMOUNT PICTURES’ CONFERENCE ROOM, MEL GIBSON’S MULLET AND GLOVER’S MINI-AFRO SMUGLY NODDING AT EACH OTHER.

STANDING OVATION, PARAMOUNT PICTURES’ CONFERENCE ROOM.

SHANE FACE DOWN ON CONFERENCE TABLE.

ANGELINA SMILING WIDELY, BREAST FEEDING MADDOX ON SHANE’S BED.

SHANE AND ANGELINA KISSING ON SET.

CLOSE-UP - MESH OVALS IN FRONT OF A WHITE GLASSED WINDOW. CLUSTERFUCKED KALEIDOSCOPE.

Finally we push through the mesh that cages us in. We push through the white glass that has been distorting our world. We fly up over the yard, away from our cage and into the sky. In our heads, it seems like we’re floating in the air for hours—floating and floating and floating—but in our shot, it’s mere seconds. We soar until we find ourselves perched upon a BILLBOARD JUST OFF THE FREEWAY when the camera pulls back, just slightly to a CLOSEUP OF OUR CALIFORNIA TITMOUSE PERCHED HIGH UPON A GIANT WHITE BILLBOARD, A GIANT WHITE BILLBOARD THAT SAYS …dundunduhhhh… “GOT MILK?” And bam! There it is, kiddies, everything in our shot is shades of rust and pollution and “Got Milk?” and everything stinks to high-hell of symbolism, the kind of symbolism that smacks you like a stiff prick slap across the kisser, the kind of symbolism that leaves you cold, broke, and butt naked, handcuffed to the headboard of some sleazy motel named the Holly Wood with only your hiked-up black socks, receding hairline, and your flaccid dignity to save you. The kind of symbolism that leaves you wishing you’d have actually written this movie about writing a movie for Angelina Jolie to fall in love with you so you could direct it and she could make out with you—instead of just acting in it like some lame ass douche bag/poser hero who may or may not be married to said Angelina. Yes, that kind of symbolism, kiddies. Fuck yeah!         

SHANE ON V.O. “Yesterday, I was in love.”

CUE PIANO MUSIC. 

CUE THE MADNESS.

“It must be love, love, love / Nothing more, nothing less / Love is the best / Yes, love is the best”

ROLL CREDITS


BONUS SCENE: GO FISH

LETHAL WEAPON II: ALTERNATE ENDING BETWEEN RIGGS AND MURTAUGH. 

“Riggs?”

“I’m a little busy with my twenty gunshot wounds at the moment, buddy.” 

“Riggs, you gonna survive this mess, y’hear me, bro. You gonna survive all them’s bullet holes and you gonna quit all that suicide mumbo jumbo. No more Russian Roulette, y’hear me, bro?”

“I survive this, buddy, and I’m switching to Go Fish.”

“Yeah, I’ll bring the fishing rods, but Riggs…”

“Uh-huh?”

“Promise me one thing.” 

“What’s that, buddy?”

“Don’t you die, bro. We got us some South African fish to fry and a boatload of shiny new Krugerands to commandeer.”

“Hooyah!”

FADE TO BLACK 


Benjamin Drevlow was the winner of the 2006 Many Voices Project and the author of a collection of short stories, Bend With the Knees and Other Love Advice From My Father (New Rivers Press, 2008). His fiction has also appeared in Fiction Southeast, Passages North, and NEAT. He is the fiction editor at BULL: Men’s Fiction, teaches writing at Georgia Southern University, and lives both in Georgia and online at www.thedrevlow-olsonshow.com.