I try my hand at writing an Oscar Winner

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So, the Oscars were last night. Moonlight took home Best Picture, and it was inspirational and emotional and all that jazz. That’s all well and good, but it’s time to look ahead, and the 2018 Best Picture race is wide open. Well, I think it’s time I throw my hat in the ring. To give myself the greatest chance to win and Oscar (because that’s all that matters), I’ve studied previous winners and found some common plot points and themes that many share. Let’s see, the Academy usually gravitates towards unfortunate people. Mob movies typically do well. Musicals always have a shot. A tragic fall can help. I’m on the phone with Jennifer Hudson to get a powerhouse original song. Hmmm, I think I’ve got something here. Because I appreciate you, I’ll reveal some here to get the buzz going. So, I present a few select scenes from the upcoming film Carmine’s. I’ve already started writing my acceptance speech, and I’ll be sure to mention each and every one of you*.

(*I’m only going to thank myself for coming up with such a good idea).

 

CARMINE’S

Written by

Brian

EXT. CITY STREET-NIGHT

CHRIS and HEATHER are walking on the sidewalk, looking for a place to eat. They’ve been searching for a while now, and tensions are running high. A dimly lit Italian restaurant is on the horizon.

CHRIS

Alright, you’ve shot down the last five places we’ve walked by. So either you pick a place or we’re going to KFC.

HEATHER

Alright, sassy, jeez. Well if you want to eat so bad, let’s just go there.

CHRIS

Carmine’s? Seriously?

HEATHER

So I’m the one being picky? What’s the problem? It looks nice and cozy.

CHRIS

That’s because no one’s inside. No one’s ever been inside. That place has been open for like, 20 years and never had one customer.

HEATHER

Well, there must be a reason they’ve been open 20 years. I’m tired of walking around, so I’m going to eat there.

CHRIS

(rolls eyes) Fine. I’ll join you. We better get a free meal for being the first customers.

FADE OUT

MAIN TITLE SEQUENCE

EXT. SUBURB STREET-DAY

Pan downwards on a two story colonial as Smash Mouth’s “Story of my Life” plays. Sprinklers are going off as paperboy throws newspaper at house.

Cut to kitchen table. MARCO, a late 20s/early 30s Italian American, is glumly eating cereal. VALENTINA, his mother, is busily cleaning the kitchen.

VALENTINA

Marco, look at the time! You’ll be late for work!

MARCO

Mom, I got laid off. Again.

VALENTINA

(stops what she’s doing) From Waste Management?

MARCO

Mom, I haven’t worked for Waste Management in two years. I was at the hospital, remember?

VALENTINA

Oh, I’m sorry sweetheart. How many times is this, now?

MARCO

(mumbling) Five in the last five years.

VALENTINA

You’ve just had some bad luck is all. You know, this is why I say–

MARCO

I should have finished college, I know. It’s hard to finish when you get kicked out because someone with the same name got caught in a plagiarism scandal and the school expels you by accident.

VALENTINA

You could have gone somewhere else–

MARCO looks at his mother with sad eyes, and she gets the hint to back off

VALENTINA

Why don’t I ask your Uncle Dino if he can get you a job? You know he’s got the shipping company. And soft drink distribution company. And that restaurant–

MARCO

Please don’t. I don’t want to work for Uncle Dino. You know I hate being around him.

VALENTINA

You just hate all his body guards, is all. Here, I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll ask your Uncle Dino. You go out and look for a job. And we’ll see who gets one first.

MARCO

But–

VALENTINA

Listen, Marco, you know I love you with all my heart. But you’ve been living at home for a while now. Say what you will about him, but Dino knows how to be successful. I think you might learn something from him. Who knows, you make a little bit of money, too.

MARCO sighs and accepts his fate.

.

.

.

INT. CARMINE’S RESTAURANT-DAY

MARCO walks into an empty restaurant. DINO and three GOONS are sitting at a table near the kitchen doors in the back.

DINO

Marco, my boy, so good to see you!

DINO gets up to meet MARCO. DINO hugs an uncomfortable MARCO and gives him a kiss on the cheek.

DINO

Sit down, sit down. Anything I can get you? Food? Drink? I know you like the pasta fagioli.

MARCO

(sitting) No, thanks. I ate on the way over.

DINO

Nonsense. Paul, get him some soup.

MARCO

Oh, okay–

One of the GOONS goes to the kitchen.

DINO

I’m glad you came, Marco. Your mother told me you’ve been down on your luck lately.

MARCO

I’m just kind of…in between jobs right now.

DINO

Either way, it’s good you came to me. You’re my blood, and it’s time I start looking out for you. I didn’t think you had any interest in joining the family business, though.

MARCO

Yeah, I never really wanted to work at a restaurant before…

PAUL puts bowl of soup in front of MARCO

DINO

(looking sideways at GOONS) Err, right… Good news is, you won’t be busing tables or any of that nonsense. I want you to be the new manager of Carmine’s.

MARCO

(stunned) Did you say manager? But-but I don’t have any experience–

DINO

Ahh, this place practically runs itself, don’t worry. Listen, our family’s run this restaurant for as long as it’s been here. I’ve got a lot on my plate, and I am getting older. I think it’s time someone else takes over the place.

MARCO

Obviously I appreciate this, but I wouldn’t even know where to start. I can hardly do my own taxes, how am I going to run a restaurant?

DINO

You won’t be alone, Marco. Alfonso is still here to run the books. I’ll have my guys write up some instructions on the do’s and don’ts. You’ll be fine.

MARCO

If you really trust me to do it. I mean, Carmine’s has been around a while…

DINO

Marco, it’s an easy job. You sign a few papers, you talk to some guests, you take home a check. I think you’ll find this to be a very low-stress environment.

MARCO

I don’t want to mess up, though. I mean, I hardly see anyone in here anymore. How can I get business back up? What if we have to close?

DINO

(laughing) Marco, don’t you worry about that. Business is fine just the way it is, and as long as I’m around, this place’ll never shut down.

.

.

.

INT. CARMINE’S-NIGHT

MARCO has been on the job for a little over a week, and he’s starting to get the hang of it. Every night the same three or four regulars come in. Tonight, he’s making his rounds and comes to LUKA, an intimidating mob-boss looking older guy.

LUKA

Marco, how are you?

MARCO

(shaking hands) I’m doing well, Luka, how about yourself?

LUKA

I can’t complain. It was good of your uncle to give you Carmine’s. He’s a good man, your uncle.

MARCO

Oh, I know. I’m very grateful.

LUKA

So, how’re you liking it so far?

MARCO

I gotta tell you, it’s easier than I expected. I’m worried about the bottom line, though. We get deliveries all day long, and we only get a few customers a day.

LUKA

(chokes on his meal a little) I wouldn’t worry too much about those shipments, Marco. I’m sure Alfonso’s got them covered. And there’s something to be said for creating a family–

The door opens and two mid 20s WOMEN come inside. The REGULARS look immediately uncomfortable with the new faces. MARCO, on the other hand, is excited

MARCO

(walking over to greet them) Welcome to Carmine’s! Table for two?

WOMAN #1

Yes, please.

WOMAN #2

We’ve been looking forward to coming here all week. Our friend Heather told us about this place and we can’t wait to try it!

MARCO

Well, we’re thrilled to have you. Here, right this way.

CUT TO: Success montage. Word of mouth and Yelp reviews spread like wildfire as Carmine’s exploded in popularity. The dining room is full every night and, soon enough, there’s a waiting list to get in. It’s place to go to be seen. The REGULARS still get their usual tables, but don’t like the added attention one bit. Newspapers and local TV interview MARCO, who stays humble but still accepts all the credit for the newfound success.

.

.

.

INT. DIMLY LIT ROOM-NIGHT

DINO, LUKA, and many other high-ranking MAFIOSOS are sitting around a table. A few bottles of scotch are being passed around and at least half of them are smoking cigars.

LUKA

Dino, what are we gonna do about this? We can’t have this many people at Carmine’s! The TV station was there the other day, for crying out loud! What if they start poking around?

DINO

I understand your concern, but there’s really no need to worry yet. We’ve got plenty of time before we need to make any kind of move.

MAFIOSO #1

That nephew of yours is going to bring down the entire operation! Doesn’t he know what we’ve got stored in there?

DINO

No, he doesn’t. My sister asked me not to get him involved with our real business.

MAFIOSO #2

Then why is he running Carmine’s?!?!

MAFIOSO #3

Should I send my guys after him?

DINO

(defensive) Listen, the kid’s a screw up, alright! He’s a good kid but a screw up. I thought it’d be an easy thing for him to do. How was I supposed to know he’d do something good for once?

DINO’S goon PAUL runs into the room.

PAUL

Apologies, sirs, but we may have a problem. The boys from the 83rd Precinct just pulled up to Carmine’s for dinner. I can’t be certain, but Officer Smith almost always brings his dog with him everywhere he goes.

All eyes turn to DINO. LUKA slams his fist on the table.

LUKA

(growling) Dino you’d better find a solution to this right fuc–

DINO

It’s okay, Luka. (sighs) I don’t think he realizes it, but he’s the legal owner of Carmine’s. His dearly departed father was the original owner, and when he passed, his will gave Carmine’s to Marco. I never changed it because I figured it’d be a good out to have. Now that he’s officially both the manager and owner, he’ll take the fall. It pains me to throw the boy under the bus, but we should be able to skate by on this.

MAFIOSO #1

What about all the money we’ll lose?

DINO

We’ll make it back. Besides, this might be a good thing. It was always foolish to have such an important part of the operation be in a place where this could happen. We’ll come out of this fine in the long run.

.

.

.

INT. HOLDING CELL-DAY

MARCO and his LAWYER are sitting in a holding cell at the 83rd Precinct. Officer Smith did, in fact, bring his drug sniffing dog with him, and he started barking the second they pulled up. Thirty minutes later, the police had found the multiple tons of cocaine in Carmine’s kitchen and apprehended MARCO. The trial moved quickly.

LAWYER

It’s not looking good, Marco. I can’t get you out of prison time–

MARCO

How can this happen? I had no idea what was going on! Why don’t they believe me?

LAWYER

Well, it’s tough when you’ve been the legal owner for a few years, now. And they’ll never believe you didn’t know anything.

MARCO

But I didn’t! I knew Uncle Dino had some shady business, but I didn’t think it was a massive drug front. I can’t believe he’d sell me out like this.

LAWYER

I mean, he is a mob boss. Did you think he’d take the fall for you or something?

MARCO

I don’t know. I just can’t believe this is happening.

LAWYER

Well, as I was saying, I can’t save you from prison, but I might be able to get you to a white collar prison upstate. But you’ll have to start off in a real prison. I was able to save you from maximum security, at least.

MARCO

Gee, thanks. God, I’ve got to be the most unlucky guy of all time.

.

.

.

INT. PRISON CAFETIERIA-DAY

It’s MARCO’S first day in jail, and he just got first first tray of food. He finds an empty table and sits down. Across the room, BIG ED and his BOYS are watching intently. When MARCO is almost done eating, BIG ED approaches with a couple BOYS.

BIG ED

(sitting down across from MARCO) Haven’t seen you here before.

MARCO

Yeah, it’s my first day.

BIG ED

Ha! Some fresh meat, then! So what’d you do?

MARCO

I got framed for my uncle’s drug running operation.

BIG ED

Framed, eh? Well, we were all framed, too. Right boys?

BOYS all boisterously agree.

BIG ED

I can tell you’re a little lost. I’d be happy to take you under my wing and show you the ropes. Even offer you protection from some of the more…aggressive inmates.

MARCO

Really? What’s the catch?

BIG ED gives BOY #1 a nod. BOY #1 picks up some utensils and starts hitting them against the table to the tune of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.”

BIG ED

(singing) The club isn’t the best place to find a lover
So the bar is where I go
Me and my friends at the table doing shots
Drinking fast and then we talk slow

BOYS

Mmmm

BIG ED

(singing) You come over and start up a conversation with just me
And trust me I’ll give it a chance now
Take my hand, stop
Put Van The Man on the jukebox
And then we start to dance
And now I’m singing like

Boy, you know I want your love
Your love was handmade for somebody like me
Come on now, follow my lead
I may be crazy, don’t mind me
Say, boy, let’s not talk too much
Grab on my waist and put that body on me
Come on now, follow my lead
Come, come on now, follow my lead

BOYS

Mmmm

BIG ED

(singing) I’m in love with the shape of you
We push and pull like a magnet do
Although my heart is falling too
I’m in love with your body
And last night you were in my room
And now my bedsheets smell like you
Every day discovering something brand new
I’m in love with your body

BOYS

(singing) Oh I oh I oh I oh I

BIG ED

(singing) I’m in love with your body

BOYS

(singing) Oh I oh I oh I oh I

BIG ED

(singing) I’m in love with your body

BOYS and MARCO

(singing) Oh I oh I oh I oh I

BIG ED

(singing) I’m in love with your body
Every day discovering something brand new
I’m in love with the shape of you

That’s all I’ll give you for now. I haven’t quite worked out the ending yet, but it’s gonna be big. The studios are all lining up to get the rights, and Joe Pesci agreed to be in it in some way the second I said the word mob. Oscars 2018, here I come!

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