I finally did it! To get an idea for a title, I did what Tigs and I usually do to come up with website or song title ideas, I opened iTunes and clicked shuffle all, random, and then combined the titles of the next two tracks. First track I got was Black Flag’s “Can’t Decide,” and the second was, I shit you not, “Say Yes” by Elliott Smith. So from Evelyn’s 13,000 songs on this computer, I say that’s pretty weird. So I decided to write a weird movie. Here it is. Not sure if you’ll have fun reading it, but I had a fucking blast writing it the last hour.
Can’t Decide, Say Yes
Movie opens with a guy standing in a foot of snow. He’s not wearing any pants. He has boxers on. The camera backs up and you see he’s standing on the edge of 110-foot cliff. There are icebergs floating around below him. He takes a deep breath and leaps. In mid air, the frame freezes like they do in the beginnings of a lot of movies.
“My name is Roger and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been doing shit like this.”
While he’s talking there’s a montage of Roger doing crazy stuff, in chronological order of course. He’s 7 and lighting fireworks that are attached to the back of his Radio Flyer wagon. He’s 10 and in the middle of class he runs across the room, smashes out the window like in all those Simpsons scenes, and his classmates run to the window of the 2nd floor to see he’s taking a bow safely behind a pile of mattresses he put there earlier. He’s 15 and his band is playing the school battle of the bands and he climbs up on the gym rafters and stage dives with his guitar. He’s 21 and fighting an alligator in a swamp with a bowie knife in his hand. He’s scaling the sides of buildings in weird European countries. He’s getting married in mid-air as he’s jumping out of a plane over a really turquoise blue Caribbean sea. He’s throwing Molotov cocktails in Egypt. He’s tossed overboard while he’s a longshoreman in Alaska. He’s surfing on the top of a car driving around a James Bond-like curve somewhere in Eastern Europe.
Beck’s “E-Pro,” only the really catchy guitar chorus part, plays in the background.
“I grew up in a regular town in Delaware to a big family. My parents are boring. My dad is an accountant. My mom is an accountant. My older brother is an accountant. My four older sisters are accountants. My dad wanted me to be an accountant like everyone else, but I couldn’t. When I graduated from high school, I left. I went to Europe and I’ve had hundreds of jobs and hundreds of friends and I’ve lived out of a backpack my entire life. I’ve been married twice, my first wife I met in South Africa. My second wife I met in Australia. I’m divorced now. I have no kids. I’m 38 years old and I’m bored.”
Cuts back to him swimming past a penguin in Greenland. He climbs aboard a boat and says to a guy with a huge gray beard that doesn’t speak any English, “I’m done with all this. Take me home, Paddy.”
The boat, which shouldn’t be able to make the trip to Delaware, makes it there. Even though it’s July in Delaware, the boat is covered in ice and Paddy is wearing a parka. There’s a penguin or puffin on Paddy’s shoulder. The boat pulls up to a dock and Roger gets off and shakes Paddy’s hand, waves goodbye and walks up into a backyard full of people. It’s his family’s beach house and they are having a barbecue. There are litters of kids, his nieces and nephews, running around, with just as many little yippy dogs. No one recognizes him. One of the men threatens him. A few of the ladies, and one of the men, scream in horror. Dogs bark. He’s got a big beard and is wearing shabby clothing. He hasn’t talked to any of them in more than a decade and he hasn’t seen any of them in two decades, since he was 18.
“It’s me,” Roger says.
Everyone looks at him and doesn’t say a word. We cut to him inside the house explaining where he’s been, another montage, except this one is a nice one with Burt Bacharact playing behind it because he tones down all the crazy shit.
Everyone is asking a million questions. How many languages does he speak? 5. What was that big scar on his forehead? Shark. What was Paris like? Nice. Are the pyramids big? Yes.
His mother is hugging and kissing him and saying how much she missed him. His brother and sisters are introducing him to all their kids and their husbands. Each daughter has at least four kids. They all have weird names and they are almost all something-and-a-half.
His father doesn’t say a word. While everyone’s talking at him, Roger walks away to the back porch to say hello to his dad. His dad doesn’t say anything. Roger tells him he’s done all these amazing, crazy, fun things and lived spontaneously his whole life, but his biggest regret was never settling down and following in the family tradition. All he ever wanted in his life was to be happy being a normal guy with a wife and kids and a steady, easy job, who cared about football games and Nascar and talking about politics. He tells his dad he thinks he’s having a mid-life crisis.
His dad gets him a job in the mailroom at ING, where almost everyone in his family works. He’s the weird guy at work, but everyone likes talking to him because he’s more interesting than everybody else at ING. He meets a girl of course. She’s never left the United States, of course, and she’s in her mid-30s. She’s jealous of all the places Roger’s been, but knows he doesn’t like talking about it all that much. They watch House of Cards and other TV shows together and he talks about House of Cards and other TV shows with his co-workers at ING. He marries the girl, Judy. She gets pregnant. Roger works his way up from the mail room and goes to school at night to get his CPA and eventually becomes an accountant. He enjoys talking about “Those damn politicians” and the weather and traffic.
Roger has completely turned into a righteous member of his family. He talks with Judy about how great it feels to set his mind to something and achieve it. Everything is great. He makes hilarious jokes at backyard barbecues and everyone laughs. His nieces and nephews climb all over him. His mother and father love and adore him and all is right with the world.
Then one day he’s sitting in his backyard. He’s looking out at the ocean. His dog is sitting next to him and his kids are playing nearby. The crappy little boat, the one that drove him from Greenland to Delaware even though that’s probably impossible, cruises by. He sees Paddy, the guy with the big gray beard who speaks no English, driving the boat. Paddy gives a creepy little wave.
That night he can’t stop thinking about it. He’s sitting in his living room, on the second floor of his house, with his hands on his knees and his whole family around because it’s his father’s 75th birthday. With all of his siblings and in-laws and their million kids running around watching Roger’s dad open presents in the living room, Roger runs across the room. He smashes out the window like in all those Simpsons scenes and his entire family, including all the dogs, run to he window and look below in horror. With the camera on their faces, the screen goes black.
“Get Off My Cloud,” by the Rolling Stones, with that great drum into, kicks in.