Saturday, January 25, 2020

Weekend Post

This is one of those “please indulge me” posts. Like most scriptwriters, I’ve got a drawer full of unproduced screenplays. But now I also have a blog. So if I can’t sell these scripts I can at least occasionally share some of my favorite scenes. Here’s one from a movie I originally wrote in the late 90’s, and have been rewriting ever since. It’s a bittersweet comedy called SATISFACTION and it’s set in the exotic world of Bakersfield radio. (I know what you’re thinking – with that topic and locale how could it NOT sell??? I wonder the same thing.)
Here’s the set up: Barry (picture Jason Alexander) and Jimmy Lizard (picture Zach Galifianakis) were DJ’s together in Bakersfield 30 years ago. Barry left town and the industry and finds himself aimless and depressed. Lizard remained a jock in Bakersfield, playing the same goddamn ten oldies all these years but has a much better attitude about the world…even though he’s now in the hospital battling Leukemia. Barry comes to visit and they have a heart-to-heart.

Y'know, Barry, you lie in bed all day facing your own mortality and listening to oldies, and you start to do a lot of thinking. Stuff you never even worried about before. The existence of God, the meaning of life, that sort of crap. And hopefully you come to some conclusion, something that gives your world a little order. And I'm happy to say I have reached just such a conclusion.


We all spend most of our lives doing stupid shit.

(after a long beat)
That's it?

That's it.

So what's the point?

There's no point. It's just a conclusion. If you take the time we use to do something productive versus the time we spend chasing some girl who doesn't exist or watching "the Amazing Race" the ratio is probably 10-1 Race. Why we're programmed like that? I don't know. I was kinda hopin' being on my deathbed would make me smarter.

C'mon, man, you're not on your deathbed.

Yeah, I know. Just trying to evoke a little sympathy. When I really do go I want it to be at home. On my death futon.

So the point here is to do more with your life. Cut down on the stupid shit.

No, that's not it. Because the stupid shit seems to account for all the fun in life.
But you want a point? Here's a point. Do what makes you happy. I've used my one precious existence to be a fucking disc jockey in Bakerspatch for 32 years, and you know what? I've had a blast. I'm never going to achieve great deeds, or leave a lasting legacy, or even bang those few select women I've always longed for, but Christ, how many of us do? The odds gotta be worse than Leukemia. So you might as well dig on the stupid shit.

(with a smile and nod)
Okay. That's good. Real good.

Maybe the most important words ever written are on that billboard outside of town. "Sun, fun, stay, play".


They sit quietly for a beat. Then:

So who are they?


Those select women you want to nail.

Well, that's a little personal, but...

Lizard lies back and smiles, almost picturing them.

Jessica Alba and Halle Berry.

Alright! Two of the very best.

Jennifer Love Hewitt..

There's more?

Ann Coulter, Jenna Fischer, Linda in accounting...

Linda in accounting?

Bob Harlow's wife, Bonnie Bernstein from ESPN, Cousin Ruth, both Gilmore Girls...

Okay, I think I got it.

Ellen DeGeneres just to see if I can, Sister Mary from church...

And Lizard continues what is sure to be a long long list.


Tim G. said...

Consider yourself indulged. I'll consider my day a little improved because of you. "My death futon" alone was worth the read. My favorite kind of comedy is when futility is funny. Thanks for your posts.

Loosehead said...

Do what makes you happy. Words to live by. Otherwise what is the point.

Like constantly rewriting a conversation you wanted to have with the friend you never had, fine tuning it but never getting it exactly how you want it. Still, if it makes you happy (see line 1)...

Rich Johnson said...

She was only the telegrapher’s daughter....

James said...

Playing Kansas's "Dust in the Wind" a thousand times didn't make any impression at all?

Mike Bloodworth said...

Since the setting is Bakersfield maybe it should be a country station. Then death would seen more like a release.

Here's a suggestion and a request. If you ever want to present this or any other unfinished projects as part of your podcast I'm available to voice a character.
I would get me out of the house and give me a reason to shower and put on pants.
Please consider it.

Ralph C. said...

Re-write it as a two-person play?

Karan G said...

Ken, you're very good a being both profound and funny at the same time. You're a master.

Unknown said...

Nice! Love the snappy patter.

GLOW said...

Betty Gilpin of GLOW has been cast as Ann Coulter in the American Crime Story series about the Clinton impeachment.

Odd casting. Betty Gilpin is beautiful. Ann Coulter looks like Skeletor's sister.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Nice scene. Thanks for posting it.

Although, these days... I have to hope that guy was thinking late in the run of GILMORE GIRLS, because at the beginning Rory was 15.


RareWaves said...

That DID make me laugh. Made me want to read or see more of it. By the way, my wife and I had an Almost Perfect marathon last weekend. That show still makes us laugh. I wonder how many other folks quote lines from the show, like from one of our favorite episodes, "Suites for the Sweet." Like, "Or as Teddy would say, eons." Or, "Are you going to take me... downtown?" Or, "The fact that she's naked doesn't mean she's not a good realtor." Almost 25 years later and we still enjoy the show.

Anonymous said...

No need to go on -

That was brilliant Mr. Levine.

It's got Oscars written all over it.

It'll gross more than "Titanic" and "Avatar" combined.

Gotta wrap this up - I have another appointment right now.

Don't call us - we'll call you.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Great post and timely, too. I haven't been able to sit down since Thanksgiving because of a small health challenge, so thoughts similar to those you expressed here occasionally roll through my mind.

Yea, the stupid shit! It accounts for most of the fun, so far. I'll keep it that way!

Add Betty White (from the '60's) to my personal list...,


Tempus Fidget said...

Ken, it sounds wonderful. I'd love to hear the rest. Hopefully one day I'll see it at a multiplex somewhere.

YEKIMI said...

The same 10 goddamn oldies? Better not let the bosses at IShartRadio find out or they'll cut it to 5.

Tom Galloway said...

Natalie Wood wasn't on the list? : -)

Shocked said...

What the fuck. Kobe Bryant has died.

Rest in Peace.

thomas tucker said...

Very funny- love it! Speaking of Bakersfield, this reminds me of one of the funniest scenes that always makes me laugh out loud- from The End with Burt Reynolds. See below.



Is this
A business trip?

Yeah, it's
A business trip.

Are you taking
Mary Ellen with you?


Then who the hell's
Gonna take care of you?

Don't cuss!

Wish I could go.

Damn it,
Don't say that.

Dad, what's wrong?
Where are you going?


You sound funny.
Like you're going
Someplace awful.

You ever been
To Bakersfield?

Janet said...

Great scene! Made me smile!

A shame it never sold....