Author's Note: There is a lot about the music for the
soundtrack written in this script. This is one of my 'things'
as a screenwriter and hopefully as a director. I envision
many scenes in my movies playing out like music videos. I
feel this is a very interesting medium which hasn't been
exposed inside of films themselves... Music as dialogue,
basically... and I pay very careful attention to the music
that is playing in different scenes. The music is practically
half of the story a lot of the time. Most movies just have
background music that is basically just become signage to
tell you how to feel, but I want music in my work to "show"
you the emotions. So, that's why I have filled you in so much
on songs which I haven't secured the rights to or anything
yet, but which I would hope to have in my movie.
EXT. A GRADESCHOOL'S SCHOOLYARD, LARGE
Music: Band: 'Four Tet' - song: 'A Joy' from their album
'Everything Ecstatic' The music is erratic and wobbling
setting the scene as a kind of sprawl of youth against
asphalt, this flashback against the playing of children.
Children play, show from various interesting angles,
different games, hopscotch, kickball, kids throwing the ball
When the claps and drums come in on music soundtrack, we see
girls playing games where they do the hand claps together.
Boys hang out by a fence near a kickball field marked on the
When the musical tones come in, we meet a young boy, JUSTIN
MACKIE, our main character, age 11 or so.
Justin walks up to some girls who are walking like they own
They start to talk to each other, smartasstically, like
little kids, so, like it's nothing at all, but they're also
intimidated by each other and that whole confusing mess of
When the bass drops out, Justin looks like he is plotting
The static-y part of the music comes in and Justin sort of
lunges at one of the girls and kisses her on the cheek. There
is a soft 'beep' in the song at this point where his lips
meet her cheek.
We see a teacher from the school's step's see this happening
and we know she is coming to chastise Justin.
Then there is a sort of denouement in the song, a sort of
windchime part, where the teacher policing the schoolyard
leads Justin inside, strong by his arm, Justin looking back
at the girl at times.
BACK IN THE CLASSROOM
The song continues in the windchime motif. The grade is back
in their appointed class.
It is near Halloween which is apparent from the bulletin
The students are going to be making paper skeletons with semi
articulate limbs thanks to folding pins.
Justin is being chastised however and is disallowed from
He sits at his row with his head down on his desk, and cries.
The camera shows various aspects of the scene, then tries to
curl up in Justin's arms from the outside, fading into the
PLAYING IN TRAFFIC
EXT. CITY NEIGHBORHOOD STREET. MINIMAL TRAFFIC, QUAINT.
The song continues, when the soft drums come back in, it is
like a dream sequence, the colors too vivid, the sky enormous
and blue, four teenagers are playing near a street, smoking
cigarettes and daring each other to do things.
Throw rocks out into the street.
Punch one of the other boys.
They lay down in the middle of the street until a car comes.
Shots of the sky through their eyes.
INT. JUSTIN'S HIGH SCHOOL, LUNCHTIME BY VENDING MACH.
A quick flash to a kid kicking Justin in the ass, hard.
They're fifteen years old. The kid has caused him to drop his
ice cream cone.
It turns into a verbal argument (mute on soundtrack, still
just music). Show the camera lens at acute angles
intersecting the arguers points of view, looking at the
other. And wide views as well. The kid who kicked him is
obviously a jackass and a bully, who has done this at other
times and to other people.
Justin grabs the kid's shirt and throws him up against a
Justin doesn't want to really hurt the kid, just get him to
stop hurting other people. He tries to scare him sort of,
obviously the "stronger" (and at this point, angrier) of the
two. The song gets chaotic at this point, and there is a
small release at the end (and end of the song) where Justin
lets the kid go.
PUNK ROCK SHOW
INT. HIGH SCHOOL GYM... DECORATED FOR BATL. OF BANDS
FADE IMM. INTO
It is a live punk rock concert, SOUND (of same) FADING IN:
Justin and friends playing a rock show, age 17/18...
VOICE PLAYING OVER THE SPEAKERS :
"It takes a fucking sledgehammer to
the head to get to anybody these
days, you've got to physically hit
people over the head and..."
COUNTER VOICE OVER SPEAKERS:
"There's as much power in a true
spoken word as there is in a
NEW VOICE OVER SPEAKERS, WILLIAM
"The answer is simple."
They play a loud opening chord on this and you can tell they
are young and good and alive. The banner in the background
has their bandname: Broken Hearts Brigade
When loud opening chord strikes: NUCLEAR BLAST VIDEO ON
SCREEN BEHIND THEM (HIROSHIMA IF POSSIBLE) ACCOMPANIED BY
NOISE OF HUGE EXPLOSION, with the outline of a heart around
THIS IS / TRANSITION TO: Main title
(coming in on black background, then over the below action;
lower left hand corner in white spray spotted letters)
TINA INTERVIEW BOOKEND BEGINNING
INT. TINA'S HOUSE. COUCH BY A WINDOW
Onscreen it says: "Five Years from Now - Before"
Justin sits, leg splayed up onto self on couch
CLOSEUP on Justin's face viewed through Tina's camerawork.
(Tina is filming Justin on a home video camera, some little
intimacy from a long time ago. Justin looks young and
awkward. Shy of being on camera.)
Also show Tina with the camera. Back and forth.
"So Justin, tell Me a little bit
CLOSEUP zooming around his face slightly shakily.
"Oh man, what are you doing?"
DRIVING IN / TINA ON THE PHONE
EXT/INT. CAR DRIVING INTO ST. LOUIS FROM EAST
Fall Weather, Cloudy, blanketed white gray sky, like you're
driving through the bottom of the ocean, still with the
window cracked, cigarette flailing out every few seconds to
spit at the world
Music starts: Band: 'HEADLIGHTS' - Song: 'YOUR OLD STREET' -
from their album 'Kill Them With Kindness'
"Down your old street Kids are laughing like no one is weak
Was that what you thought you need To be inspired again?
Like you once were Like you once were Like you once were
You've got to move until day It's just another day Make a
break for it Turn to all the clocks On the wall Smash 'em
down So you have to crawl On your hands and knees On your
hands and knees On your hands and knees Just to tell time
Just look outside There's a space between all of those cars
Drive through your mind They're on their way to care of The
important things The important things All those important
things That you've got to do To get by Down your old street
Kids are laughing like no one is weak Was that what you
thought you'd need To be inspired again? Like you once were
Like you once were Like you once were You've got to move On
Violin / Viola opening part from song
Hiroshima was proclaimed a City of
Peace in 1949, four years after it
was attacked with a nuclear weapon,
to end World War II. Hmn. Maybe if
we drop enough bombs, we'll have
Cars on highway.
Through front windshield, we see headlights coming in window
from other side of highway.
Shot of back of the car.
Car has bumper stickers as follows:
"God is awesome."
"Don't make me shoot you."
"I don't have an other car."
"Iron Age Tattoos"
"I honk for honking's sake"
"The Matrix Has You"
Shot of Justin in the car / LYRICS start:
"Down your old street
Kids are laughing like no one is weak
Was that what you thought you'd need
To be inspired again
Like you once were?
Like you once were
Like you once were
You've got to move--"
JUSTIN'S CELL PHONE is ringing.
(The tone is They Might Be Giants 'I want to thank you for
putting me back in my snail shell' from their song 'Snail
He turns the music down, fumbling in the couch-like
front seat for his phone among packs of cigarettes,
a couple of CD folders and his knapsack.
Justin answers the phone.
CUT TO a blip of Tina on the other end, sitting in her
basement on a large, comfortable couch.
(Like Justin's subconscious has her embedded behind his
eyelids when he blinks, at least when he's on his way to the
city she lives in, the city he used to live in.)
CUT INSTANTLY BACK TO JUSTIN
Like none of this is a factor in anything, Justin speaks into
phone like it's either his best friend or no one.
(A Camera Shot from outside his driver side window, like
we're sort of leaning INTO him the way he's leaning on the
car door ledge, wind whipping by:)
TINA IN HER BASEMENT/HER PARENT'S BASEMENT
Full time now, her curled up with her feet under her, facing
a little to the left of the couch, toward a light source, the
camera facing toward her at the opposite angle.
She seems to be poised as if she's trying to lean through the
phone and enter Justin's car.
She is not particularly excited or happy looking, but more
like she takes it for granted Justin has done something wrong
which she will have to correct.
She is speaking like she is putting a joke over on him, and
knows he'll be cool with it, or rather assumes... an
infinitesimal pinch of lust in her voice.
Justin answers in a low tone, almost depressed and lethargic,
but still within normal conversation levels.
"Oh hey. It's you."
"I hear you're back in town."
Justin checks his watch, looks at the skyline, like an inside
joke with himself, St. Louis city clearly visible.
"Yeah, not yet."
Justin, sort of sighing forward, like he knows he's in for
something coming up while he's in town.
"I'm in town, I'm in town."
Tina, standing up, with her cordless phone, going to the
window but not consciously.
"So are you going to see me? How
long will you be here."
Thinking for a second, then answering like a sailor answering
a captain after they've just survived a near deadly storm but
there's still this mutiny business (with a no breath sigh.)
"For the foreseeable future. And
"I just felt like seeing this city
again. It's one of mine."
Tina like a little kid setting up her own playdate.
"Aren't they all, Justin Mackie.
Man of the world."
Justin, Remembering how the two of them used to say "finish
him" from the video game 'Mortal Combat' they played one time
when he went on vacation with her family.
"Listen, I'm about to get into a
Tina smiles like he's being silly but also like she doesn't
understand, but not stupid looking
The moon out of Tina's window, her hand on the curtain.
"It's when you get into a car
accident on purpose. Anyway, call
me later. How did you even get this
Split screen diagonally. Tina on the left, Justin on the
"I'm "No, wait, I
(Justin, looking uncomfortable)
"I'll… talk to you."
Justin is putting in a new CD as he says this.
As he hangs up the song "Cross Your Heart" by 'Communique',
just starts on the stereo, loud.
"Still life, refracted light from the backs of your eyelids.
You'd eat your stomach out. Where's your pride when you need
it? Sad bright eyes Are cherry blossoms. Your true love Will
never wake up Sad bright eyes Are cherry blossoms. Your true
love Will never wake up Ultra violence, without a bit of
Stockholm Syndrome. You'd be free now.
You dilletante, you went and crossed your heart. Sad bright
eyes Are cherry blossoms. Your true love Will never wake up
Sad bright eyes Are cherry blossoms. Your true love Will
never wake up It was in a dream, I melted into green. You'll
never reflect now, you'll never reflect them again. Cherry
Blossom. Cross your heart and hope to die."
TRANSITION TO SCENE:
ST. LOUIS, I'M BACK - MONTAGE
POV from inside the car.
Shot from the side of the car, then the side but slightly
behind the car, then catching up, to get a feeling of forward
Lyrics "your true love" shot of Justin checking rear view -
eyes looking back
Shots of St. Louis city - the Indian statue by Cherokee ave.
"ultra violence" LYRIC WITH SHOT OF Police station with side
mirror FROM INSIDE CAR VISIBLE
While music is still playing He drives through the University
City 'Loop' area, looking for people he knows.
He sees some kids in front of the record store, pulls over
and says hi to them from his car.
You can see they're saying,
"Well, I'm in
town, so we should get together"
Maybe giving each other their numbers.
PARKING IN FRONT OF HIS PARENTS HOUSE.
He has to reach out the window to the outside handle to open
his car door.
He cuts the engine at the exact end of the song.
"I love it when that happens."
SCENE: JUSTIN'S PARENT'S HOUSE EXTERIOR
He is at his parent's house, A lowslung small quaint house on
some street with sort of medium/heavy traffic, getting out of
the car, cardigan, button up shirt, chucks, getting suitcases
out of the trunk.
He trudges up the steps, happily wearily, glad to be home.
JUSTIN'S MOM answers the door, wearing a sweatshirt and
jeans, not low class, sort of homely as if the word didn't
have negative connotations.
She is a moderately attractive middle aged woman, an I
wouldn't-go-so-far-as-tall brunette, she seems to be on the
curving verge of some ethnicity where all nationality
She is overaged for her age, but looks hearty and healthy,
healthier than other women her age.
JUSTIN'S PARENTS' HOUSE INT.
JUSTIN'S MOM (SOUNDING HAPPY AND
Justin Enters the house with a suitcase and his knapsack.
JUSTIN'S DAD is visible through the shot over Justin's
shoulder, walking through the living room.
"Hi Mom. Hi Dad."
The house looks like a middle class family economically, if
there is such a thing, with quirks that are not tacky, but
There's a poster of dinosaurs from a national geographic or
something on one of the living room walls.
There's a frame with some documents and newspaper stories
from some relative's life event, or life.
Parents are still sort of greeting Justin at the door.
How was your trip?
Justin (Putting his stuff down, shaking off the long drive.
Med. Close up on Justin looking around the room.
His father is cutting an onion.
His mother is looking into his face while sitting on the wood
framed love seat with a white knit blanket thrown over it,
hands folded in lap.
Cold. Strange. Calm. With-- (like
he's about to add something like
"pockets of beautiful fantastic
fireworks children were setting off
on the side of every road, the
entire trip, through every state.")
But before he CAN ADD THIS-- His mother spills her soda.
"Hold on just a sec."
Justin's Mom goes down the hallway to get a towel.
"So it wasn't too bad?"
"No, not really. (like he means it,
They both look into the TV like they're still looking at each
other. view from the side of the tv, it's light flickering up
His face, bending towards a look over at his mother but eyes
not leaving the tv.
'What's this you're watching?"
His mom Looks glad to have something to talk about, sort of
"It's a new show called 'Survivor.
A "reality" show."
(she puts "reality" in air-quotes.)
"What do they do, they have like
trials and they just have to
survive? That's crazy."
Closeup of her face. she says it like she's telling it to a
girl scout troop she fends for in her mind.
"There's more to survival than just
(Shifting on his feet, turning toward the kitchen which is
off to the side of the living room from the front door)
"How bout you Dad? You a Survivor?"
Justin's father looks like a cross between an economist and a
used car salesman.
He is "handsome" but by no standard known to any 'normal'
He wears brown slacks and a white work shirt, and thick
glasses that do not make him look slothy, but rather sharp.
He looks like he would have gone bald if his hair hadn't held
on so well.
He walks like he knows everything he is doing, from the
movement of his legs to the growth of his fingernails.
He's putting out a cigarette he's just finished.
"I'm a… (he clears his throat with
a quick grumble) human ashtray."
Not sarcastically against anything.
All this Justin dialogue
Understated like a free cool hand
"Good to be home. How's my room?"
MOM (SAYING IT WHILE SHE'S FOCUSED ON
THE TELEVISION, BUT NOT
"It's the same. Just with an
exercise bike in the corner."
JUSTIN (A TAD SARCASTICALLY BUT WITH
SOME STRANGE BREW OF HUMOR… THE
ABSURDITY OF IT):
"Great. Well, I'm gonna get
CUT TO: JUSTIN'S ROOM
Music: 'SCOUT NIBLETT' - song - 'LULLABY FOR SCOUT IN 10
YEARS'' from the album 'Kidnapped by Neptune' playing while
Justin's getting situated in his room and remembering his
room, revisiting everything.
"are you still a chauffeur drivin' your body around are you
still a hunter for yourself 'cause honey, if you're still
around honey, if you're still around is there someone to hold
you tightly in their arms if there's no one then drink a
glass with me and show me what you said right now 'cause
honey, if you're still around honey, if you're still around
is there someone to hold tightly in their arms if there's no
one then drink a glass with me and show me what you said
right now 'cause honey, if you're still around honey, if
you're still around honey, if you're still around honey, if
you're still around honey, if you're still around honey, if
you're still around"
He puts down his bag in his room…
He puts his suitcases by the dressers…
He traces the room… remembering… sometimes with his hands,
paging through books, reading the writing on the wall and on
the back of the door.
The room is large.
There's a bed against a corner, nicely made but not
There's a large desk with a desk lamp, a Superman statuette,
one of those nice ones you can order or buy for like 45
dollars, a serious but young superman.
There are bookshelves filled with books, overflowing with
books, good books.
There're posters on the walls, for the band 'Radiohead' (the
hail to the theif album art poster), for the movie Pulp
Fiction, one of a vampire girl.
There's a framed charcoal drawing of a pair of converse all
star tennis shoes.
On the wall the following many phrases are written, Sort of
spread out top to bottom as follows (The camera goes over all
of these while the music is playing):
"Save your own world."
"Conceive World Love" (with image of
sperm swimming toward planet earth)
"OFFICIAL PARTY SLOGANS"
"Luke, look on the bright side"
"Love is all you need" (highlighted in red),
"I know this is Eden."
"Through Music All Things Are Possible"
"The problem arises in that to study any aspect of the
mysteries the investigator must himself become a part of the
"I call it squalor rock... it's, um... crunchy."
"If you're disappointed, it's your fault [for real]"
"Keep your distance from the center of the universe."
"Fire a spread across her bow."
"Find what you love and make it home."
"I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't
let anybody tell you different."
"Opening line: Get off your knees."
"United States of thirst"
"The road to heaven is paved with missed opportunities."
"Perfection is a character flaw."
"I have a present. It is the present."
"Fear is the past tense of truth."
"Saddam Hussein, you will be missed."
"Do the Mambo-tango as often as possible."
"Revenge is the Purest of hearts."
Very large, with other quotes intermeshed, : "I WANT TO
"They don't even know what it is to be a fan... To just love
some, silly little piece of music, so much... that it...
"The future is out there."
"Do you believe in rock and roll?"
"If it ain't broke, don't break it."
on a postcard for superman: "My immortality is a dream. and I
am its dreamer."
"My heart is on the attack."
"Gladys, get a life."
"Day of days."
"They're just books. And I'm a flower. Not a ghost orchid."
"Be not estranged from the disaster we felt deeply on
"Don't betray your doubt."
"Oh do not ask what is it, let us go and make our visit."
"The road of the righteous." ,
on an image of some saints: "Life is a preposition, living is
a proposition. Nouns are grounds. Make love to the core, on
the warm earth, beneath the molten sky."
"If I could capture just one train of thought, I would ride
it out forever, you would never see me stop."