At certain points in time, when my brain won’t wrap around the next portion of what I actually want to write (i.e. my novel that keeps throwing me creative curve-balls), I take a break from trying to squeeze words from the turnip and I turn my attention onto something short and potentially fun to write. It is healthy to give yourself writing challenges frequently, as it promotes fresh thought and it gives you a great reason to keep writing. If you get lucky, sometimes you can even write something that is pretty good and could possibly be fleshed out into a whole new project (or possibly folded into a project you are already working on). Today, I found myself pondering what it would be like to have 2 absolute beginners trying to pitch an original idea… only to come up snake eyes. In the process, I thought of a bunch of Bruce Willis flicks (cuz he’s made a lot of tremendously entertaining movies), and what if one of our lovable rookies kept pitching goofball versions of Bruno movies. The following is what came from that thought experiment:
“RETARDO BRUCE WILLIS MAD LIBS”
Writer’s Note: I apologize for the formatting, WordPress clearly hates standard screenplay format… I did the best I could to make it still script like. Please enjoy!
INT. JIMMY’S APARTMENT – MIDNIGHT
Jimmy’s apartment is sparse. There is very little in the way of furniture, decorations or other such embellishments. There is a beat up couch, a well-worn recliner, a long rectangular cardboard box (used as a coffee table) and 2 movie posters neatly framed on the wall. Jimmy is a middle-aged male, sitting on the couch and drinking coffee. He’s dressed simply with a nerdy shirt and a pair of faded denim jeans on, no shoes or socks. Paige, a late twenties female, is lying back on the recliner with a notepad and pen in hand. She is sporting a nerdy t-shirt and a pair of comfortable shorts, no shoes but with cute socks on. It is clear from the look on their faces that they have been there way too long.
JIMMY: So, what have we got so far?
–Paige glances down at the notepad and an expression of utter disbelief rolls across her face. There is no reasonable explanation as to why there is so little written down on the pad.
PAIGE: Well… we established that we wanted to write a movie, with a strong female lead. Lots of plot twists. Possibly sci-fi-ish?
PAIGE: …and that’s about it.
JIMMY: And how long have we been at this?
–Paige checks her watch and does a bit of quick math in her head.
PAIGE: 4 hours, 23 minutes and 9 seconds. Give or take second or so.
JIMMY: Is that all? Then we’re right on track.
PAIGE: We are?
JIMMY: Oh yeah! We’re gonna catch our big idea right now. We just gotta start riffing some ideas, bounce them back and forth. Throw some shit against the wall and see what sticks.
JIMMY: Ok, I’ll start.
–Jimmy places his coffee on the cardboard table, and pops up too attention. Moving his arms around and snapping his fingers, he starts to lay it down.
JIMMY: She’s a fun loving, song singing cat burglar who just got out of the clink after serving a lengthy sentence. Loves cappuccinos, would nearly kill for them. She wants to clean up her act and go straight, but is black mailed into stealing fine art pieces from all over the world. It’s a big mess involving a corrupt corporation, the CIA, and the Vatican. Ultimately, the bad guys are looking for pieces to some ancient device that will allow them to make gold, thusly destroying the global economy, unless she can figure out a way to stop them.
PAIGE: You do realize that you just recited the entire plot, beat for beat, for the movie Hudson Hawk.
JIMMY: Really? Well, it’s not like anybody saw that movie anyway…
PAIGE: BEEP! Wrong answer. Try again.
–Jimmy sits back and thinks for a beat, then hops off of the couch fully energized ready to spin another yarn.
JIMMY: Ok. Ok. Alright. Here we go: she’s a down on her luck taxi driver, doesn’t speak to her family nor have any friends. She’s ex-military, hardcore, and not very approachable, but she’s not too shy to talk, very quick witted. She happens upon a fare that is being hunted down by a couple different factions, and to make matters worse this passenger doesn’t speak English, so there’s a language barrier. Lots of comedy potential here. Then, they go on a whirlwind adventure to exotic locations, evading the bad guys and trying to unravel the mystery of the unknown passenger. Ultimately, they figure out the riddle using the power of love and save the planet, because the crux of the story is an extinction level event.
–Paige’s eye starts to develop a slight twitch.
PAIGE: That’s the Fifth Element, and yes people saw it in theaters. It was very popular.
JIMMY: Are you sure that was Fifth Element?
–Paige shoots Jimmy a wicked glance.
JIMMY: Ok. Ok. Sheesh…it was very similar.
PAIGE: Look, it’s late and I’m just not sure that this is working out. I know we wanted to write a script together, and we’ve been friends forever, but maybe this just isn’t meant to be.
JIMMY: Ok. Before you throw in the towel, I’ve got one more idea to slide on past ya. You’re gonna love this one. She’s a detective, a good one, but a bit of a pain in the ass. It’s the holidays, and she’s taking some time off to visit her estranged spouse and their kids. Hoping to rekindle the fire, she has brought some presents with her and is going to a fancy office party to see her significant other for the first time in months. Upon getting there, all hell breaks loose as European terrorists, most likely Germans, take everyone hostage as they attempt to crack open a corporate safe full of hundreds of millions of bearer bonds. Unequipped and jet lagged, she has to pull it together, use her wits, and her proclivity for violence to save the hostages, take back the building and win the affection of her spouse back.
PAIGE: For fuck’s sake, that’s Die Hard. Motherfucker, you know that’s Die Hard. Say it!
JIMMY: It’s vaguely reminiscent of Die Hard.
PAIGE: No it is not reminiscent. IT IS DIE HARD! Matter of fact, these have all been gender-swapped versions of Bruce Willis movies. Do you have a boner for him or something?
–Jimmy kinda looks around a bit nervously.
JIMMY: NO! Psssh. No. Heh. I mean, I don’t know. Maybe…
JIMMY: Yes. Yes I do. He makes excellent movies.
–Paige stands up and tosses the pen and notepad on the cardboard box.
PAIGE: That explains sooooooooo much. Ok, you know what? We’re done here. I love you Jimmy, but I’m a 3 striker. It’s over and done. Finito. Done-zo.
–Jimmy dives down onto his knees, begging Paige to stay.
JIMMY: Please, Paige. You can’t go. Not yet. We can still figure this out.
PAIGE: Figure what out? We’ve got nothing. Just a whole lot of Bruno flicks getting ripped off. I know we want to become filmmakers, but maybe we just don’t have what it takes.
–Jimmy jumps to his feet and gets in Paige’s face.
JIMMY: NO! We swore, we fucking pinky swore that we would become like Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Rodriguez sold his body to science to finance the filming of his first film, El Mariachi. Tarantino worked in a video store for chump change until he could finally find financing to make Reservoir Dogs. But you know what they both had? They had a script. Now, if we can come up with a script too, we can figure out how to sell our bodies to get the film made. Don’t you want to sell your body for the sake of the movie? I know I want to sell my body. I’ll sell it all day and all night long, if it’ll get this movie made.
–Paige looks at Jimmy with equal parts disbelief and wonder. She grabs the notepad and pen are starts pacing.
PAIGE: Fine. We’ll write the stupid script to this stupid movie. We just need a plot.
–She pauses a beat.
PAIGE: You know what? Fuck it! You love him so much, let’s just roll with it. Let’s play Retardo Bruce Willis Mad Libs and Frankenstein us a stupid ass script together.
–Paige carefully scans the notes she has written
PAIGE: Ok. She was a detective, now recently out of the hoosegow, trying to make an honest living as an Uber driver, because let’s face it, they have no standards. She loves singing songs, would probably kill to do so. She gets brought into a global conspiracy when her estranged husband asks her to pick him and drive him around the city. He has multiple stops to make, because he is a notorious cat burglar working for the Vatican to steal back priceless religious relics. The CIA, being fed information by a corrupt corporation, plants the story that they the husband and wife are European terrorists, most likely German, and that they are planning to steal hundreds of millions of bearer bonds. The Vatican catches wind of this rumor, and sends competing singing cat burglars to steal the religious artifacts. The fate of the planet hangs in the balance, as the artifacts all come together to bring about an arcane device that kickstarts the rapture. Getting over their petty differences, she and her estranged husband reconcile over a tender duet, just as the rapture is stopped, but not before all of the evil corporate scum and CIA dudes are sent to Hell. The end.
JIMMY: I love you.
PAIGE: I know. Everyone does. I have chemistry with everyone. It’s a character flaw that I’m desperately working on.
JIMMY: Don’t you change a single thing about yourself. Up top!
–Jimmy and Paige high five over their new stupid ass script outline.
JIMMY: (In a high pitched voice) Nailed it!