Friday, February 13, 2009

Pimp My TV: Dave Stinton's entry

(CAPTION: Los Angeles, CA. 1988.)

(The Hollywood Sign is viewed from the sky on a bright, hazy Los Angeles afternoon. We hear a solo trumpet playing a soothing light jazz riff.)

Tinsel Town. We’ve seen the glitter. We’ve seen the glamour. But who can bear to look upon what’s behind it?

(The view spins 180 degrees and zooms in, and we are at ground level behind the Hollywood sign. Graffiti and garbage abound. But we become aware of the source of the music: a dapper man in a white linen suit playing the trumpet. He finishes his solo and gazes out on the landscape below.)

(An URCHIN’s voice startles him.)

Man, you’re just like Gabriel!

(The MAN looks down at the URCHIN and grins a pearly, crooked grin.)



While all eyes are on the stars…

(The darkness is pierced by several bright lights aimed directly at the camera.)

…only the most hardened journalists can truly see them.

(Television cameras swivel into place. We are on a soundstage. The MAN sits at a news desk next to a WOMAN. Behind them is a backdrop of Los Angeles at night. A PRODUCER counts down the seconds and cues them.)

Good evening, I’m John Tesh.

And I’m Mary Hart. Paul Hogan takes a break from the set of “Crocodile Dundee II” to have a chat with us…

When Hollywood’s most sacred institution is threatened…

(Cut to JOHN TESH on the phone in his coffee-cup strewn news office.)

Chevy Chase is planning to rig the Oscars?

(Cut to CHEVY CHASE standing forlorn, holding a bouquet of flowers in the rain. GLENN CLOSE walks away from him, having just rejected his romantic advances.)

…only one news team can set things right before the credits roll.

(Cut to ROBIN LEACH at a payphone in a parking garage.)

John, this is bigger than you. It’s bigger than me. Stay out of it!

(Cut to the flash of a GUNSHOT in a darkened corporate office. CHEVY CHASE approaches the dying body of a man he just shot. He picks up the man’s briefcase, and we see the PriceWaterhouse logo emblazoned on it.)

Glenn, listen to me. I’m hosting this year. You deserve that award for “Fatal Attraction.” And I can make it happen for you.

(Cut to a closeup of a horrified GLENN CLOSE.)

You’re insane.

(Cut to JOHN TESH hunched over his glass of Tab in a jazz club in between sets. His trumpet rests on the bar. MARY HART is seated next to him.)

I’m sorry, Mary. You just can’t fight something like this. Hollywood one, John Tesh zero.

I can’t even look at you.

(MARY HART gets up and leaves. JOHN TESH glares at his reflection in the mirror behind the bar.)

(Cut to the soundstage. JOHN TESH and MARY HART are on camera.)

(tears in her eyes)
Our top story tonight: my partner John Tesh is a filthy coward.

What the hell is she doing?

(The monitors all cut to test patterns as MARY HART stands and storms away. JOHN TESH buries his face in his hands.)

(Pulse-pounding percussive music over a series of quick cuts:
Overhead shot of a traffic jam of limos.
Blood pooling in a handprint in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
CHEVY CHASE sliding down a giant Oscar statuette.
JOHN TESH kicking over a television camera.
CELEBRITIES on the red carpet grinning in a hail of flashbulbs.
JOHN TESH and MARY HART clinging to each other on a windy night.
A team of DANCERS rehearsing their Oscar number.
MARY HART brandishing a tarnished Oscar like a weapon.
CHEVY CHASE grappling with GLENN CLOSE in a darkened mansion.
CHER dropping her wrap to reveal a transparent silk net gown.)

(Music reaches a crescendo and stops suddenly. Cut to backstage at the Shrine Auditorium. CHEVY CHASE, tuxedo rumpled and bowtie askew, holds one arm around MARY HART’s neck. With his other hand, he aims a pistol at JOHN TESH.)

(quiet and furious, through clenched teeth.)
The envelope.
(he cocks the gun.)

(Ba-da Ba-da-da Baaaaah! The familiar theme music bursts forth as the “Entertainment Tonight logo drifts across the screen. Below it, we see a lineup of the cast.)

Josh Brolin as John Tesh.
Amy Adams as Mary Hart.
Casey Affleck as Chevy Chase.
Naomi Watts as Glenn Close.
And featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman as Robin Leach.
“Entertainment Tonight”: the Motion Picture.
To truly see the stars … wait till night falls.


R.A. Porter said...

Great pacing, nice admixture of narration and dialog. You really got the feel of a trailer.

Plus, a killer line for Chevy. "The envelope...please," is genius.

Dave-a-roo said...

Thanks a lot!

And you used the word "admixture," which is awesome. I honestly don't think I've seen anyone use it in normal conversation before.

R.A. Porter said...

See, what you're not considering is that I'm not "normal". ;)

Michael Brownlee said...

Spot. On.

Nicely Done Mr. S.

Kristin T. said...

This is some great, entertaining writing. I've really enjoyed following your blog these past couple of weeks, through Chuck's Blog Mob project.

R.A. Porter said...

Yeah, I think Dave really knocked one out there for a finale.

I'm glad you've enjoyed our writing, Kristin; hope you stay around. :)

Ken Robertson said...

I never thought I'd want to see Josh Brolin as John Tesh take out, well, ANYONE as Chevy Chase...but I do!

Great stuff David...and the casting choices are perfect!