Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Music from the unrealized film script

Us someones who string together a few words every now and then generally believe that the everyday masterworks we hammer out serve a secondary purpose of preparing us for more terribly ambitious endeavors. We write small because one day we'd like to write big.

So I had this idea for a screenplay! (That was the opening to my query letter; really.) This was long ago; I've since shelved it, chiefly because it didn't feature shape-shifting vampires, it wasn't an ensemble rom-com, and it wouldn't exactly work in 3D. It goes like this: Four Bostonians spend a month in Ireland after one is given an inheritance. That's it. Brush your tongue along your cheek; can you feel the hook in your mouth?

I never determined if the inheritance was a heap of money which was used to purchase a thatched-roof cottage or if the inheritance was a parcel of land with a thatched-roof cottage, or if the inheritance was left by a deceased father or a deceased grandfather or a deceased great-grandaunt who was the concubine of Arthur Guinness. The intended setting was the Irish west coast, simply because I've been to some portion of the west coast on every trip I've taken to Ireland. The candidates for the setting were scribbled down somewhere, possibly on a bar coaster: Clifden, Dingle, Donegal, Kilronan, Kinsale. In the end, Kilronan prevailed, primarily because Inishmore's isolation echoed the isolation of the four protagonists. Each one has skeletons and demons and ghosts he wrestles with; each one is on shaky ground with a loved one back home; each one is horribly clich├ęd. At some point during the 107 minutes of this fucking masterpiece each protagonist is faced with a two-roads-diverged-in-a-yellow-wood moment and forced to choose one path. Some take the road less traveled by and it makes all the difference. Some take the road less traveled by and it makes no difference whatsoever. Some merely throw up in the weeds between the two roads, and then turn around and teeter-totter back to the pub.

Anyway, despite never developing key narrative details and crucial character traits, I knew this flick would include a music montage about two-thirds of the way through and the song would be Van Morrison's "Purple Heather" (all six goddamn minutes of it). The montage would show our protagonists: putting the finishing touches on home improvements (oh yeah, the thatched roof cottage they inherit is a total fixer-upper; I forgot to mention that); making calls to loved ones back in the States on pay phones in the misty rain; sitting in the pub, sharing pints with locals who pretend to have adopted them into their inner circles; ambling down crooked, sheep-strewn rural lanes; standing, hands in pockets, cigarettes dangling from lips, watching the sun set over the ocean and marveling at how the sun doesn't set like that back home.

The montage would be stupid, drawn-out, and poignant, all at the same time. The montage would make you loathe the movie, but also have you make a conscious decision to include more Van Morrison in your life.

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