The Abridged Script
INT. JIMMY STEWART'S MANSION - 1977
Renowned multi-millionaire JIMMY STEWART is swarmed by reporters at his lavish mansion.
Mr. Stewart! Mr. Stewart! Sources tell us you'll be setting the flimsy excuse for a plot into motion! Please elaborate!
Well I, ah, I sure am looking forward to transporting all these incredibly valuable items on my awesome impressive new 747 jumbo jet! That's right! Also, I'm hoping to meet my grandson, Benji... because I'm gonna DIEE, Benji! I'm gonna DIEEEE!!
Mr. Stewart, are you seriously trying to do a callback to 1948's "Rope" right now? That's pretty fucking random even for this website.
EXT. AIRPORT RUNWAY
The titles BOLDLY PROCLAIM you are watching AIRPORT '77!! They also BOLDLY PROCLAIM all of the stars, and the lesser stars, and not-at-all stars of the film! Then they BOLDLY PROCLAIM who did the CATERING and CAR SERVICES because MAIN TITLES were DIFFERENT THEN!
I'm captain of this flight, because I'm not based on a real-life disaster captain which would force Tom Hanks to travel back in time and play me.
I'm not only Jimmy Stewart's assistant, but also Jack's girlfriend, and crazily enough also age-appropriate! Score one for the 70s!
On the TARMAC, ground crew methodically load up the ENORMOUS 747 full of RENOIRS and OLD CARS and EXPENSIVE WINE and GREEK ANTIQUITIES and BUCKINGHAM PALACE and FORT KNOX.
Inside the AIRPORT, three SUSPICIOUS GUYS set a SUSPICIOUS PLAN into motion that involves SWITCHING BRIEFCASES and FAKE MOUSTACHES AND WIGS HIDDEN IN BATHROOMS which alert the AUDIENCE'S SUSPICIONS!
Why am I wearing this horrible fake wig and moustache anyway? Who am I fooling? If I needed a disguise why wasn't I wearing it when I arrived? Hell, this is 1977 airport security we're dealing with, why not just jam an AK-47 down my pants?
OTHER SUSPICIOUS GUY
I dunno, why did we have to switch briefcases instead of simply starting out with the ones we need? Other than an excuse to stand suspiciously beside each other, of course.
INT. 747 JUMBO JET
We find ourselves in the ECLECTIC ASSORTMENT OF COLOURFUL CHARACTERS SECTION, a staple trope of the mass-transit-disaster genre that will surely be phased out sometime over the next FORTY YEARS.
My boarding pass says I'm playing a good guy but I don't believe it. My philanthropic business is some kind of front for conquering the world, right? Right?
Anyway let me introduce my movie wife Lee Grant. Huh, if we married in real life I guess she would be Lee Lee.
GODDAMMIT I THOUGHT I MARRIED AN EVIL DRACULA MOTHERFUCKER
I'm Jack Lemmon's manly crisis-buddy! I don't really do anything Jack couldn't, but this way there's someone for him to think aloud to.
I have some kind of green gem thingie, or whatever? Eh, I'm just here to add another famous face to the poster.
OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND
I thought that's why I was here.
I'm the only black dude on this entire fucking plane!
M. EMMETT WALSH
I'm a veterinarian! O-ho, guess who's gonna get pressed into service as a human medic, huh? Yup, THAT trope is pretty much old as the dinosaurs.
And I'm Buck fucking Rogers! Crazy, huh?
Before we take off, I'd like to show everyone this schematic of the plane. Check it out, there's offices and lounges and all kinds of groovy shit, even--brace yourselves--a LASER DISC PLAYER WHAAAAAAT
OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND
That's all great, but um, how about bathrooms? Emergency exits? Shit we give a fuck about?
(on LASER DISC hooolyyy shiiiiit!)
Ah, ah, welcome everyone! Here we go! Make sure your seat belts are fastened, and ALSO make sure all the glasses and china and breakable objects scattered all over the damn place are totally UNsecured in any way!
They TAKE OFF, blissfully unconcerned with the potential HAILSTORM OF RAZOR-EDGED CRYSTAL DEATH surrounding them. During the ascent, the passengers are serenaded by a BLIND SINGER who looks strangely like ANDY SAMBERG, which is silly but... are we really sure ANDY SAMBERG didn't somehow travel in time to be in this movie?? ... or that he WON'T?!?
This plane is so full of technological marvels that I'm playing FUCKING PONG, DUDE! That's right, ACTUAL GODDAMN FUCKING PONG, FUCK YOU! Y'know, some day in the year 2042 some snarky asshole is gonna look back on you with your iPhones and iWatches and Google Glass and LAUGH THEIR FUCKING GUTS OUT. Just you fucking wait, you smug fucks.
Meanwhile, HORRIBLE FAKE WIG GUY makes his way to the cockpit and it turns out the CO-PILOT is ANOTHER SUSPICIOUS GUY!
Did you take out the Air Marshal yet?
HORRIBLE FAKE WIG GUY
Yeah. Actually I hit him on the head so hard that he fucking died. I forgot head wounds could mean something back in the 1970s.
Well make sure you go easier on Jack Lemmon, he's the headliner.
They NON-FATALLY KNOCK OUT CAPTAIN JACK and then evilly release CR-7 MILITARY-GRADE KNOCKOUT GAS into the plane which is clearly labelled MILITARY USE ONLY!! Too bad for all the passengers they'd only developed resistance to CIVILIAN-GRADE KNOCKOUT GAS! Within minutes, only the THREE EVIL GUYS remain conscious.
So far our plan's going perfect. Now all that remains is for me to fly under the radar... through the BERMUDA TRIANGLE WHAT THE FUCK, WHOSE IDEA WAS THAT TO FLY THROUGH THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE IN A DECADE WHEN EVERYONE WAS SO OBSESSED WITH HOW EVIL IT WAS
HORRIBLE FAKE WIG GUY
Oh, you'll be fine. Me and Third Evil Guy are going to initiate the next phase of our evil plan, where we stand around staring at fancy paintings in the cargo hold. Toodles!
EXT. RANDOM MILITARY STOCK FOOTAGE
With the 747 vanished from radar, TACTICAL STOCK FOOTAGE COMMAND takes charge of the situation! We see lots of Navy ships! Coast Guard! Such footage!!
INT. BACK IN THE PLANE
The 747 continues to SPEED ALONG barely above the ocean.
(muttering to self)
Just keep calm, buddy. This is gonna work, what are the odds some random oil rig will be directly in
(crashes into oil rig)
The plane CRASHES and begins SINKING! The force of impact sends PEOPLE and HEAVY UNSECURED OBJECTS flying everywhere! During the chaos ANDY SAMBERG is killed, sadly before he could star in EVEN ONE major motion picture. Nope, not even one. The passengers WAKE UP!
Oh no, we've crashed and sunk down to the ocean floor! And nobody seems to remember very gradually passing out beforehand!
That's odd. But we're in a real high-stakes situation now, trapped underwater in a deadly game as we try to outwit our hijackers--
Actually all the hijackers are dead or unconscious, and nobody gives a shit about them, or even realizes we got hijacked at all.
But, like, antagonists make stories interesting and dramatic and shit. Hey, what if we had to create an uneasy alliance with them to survive, never knowing when they would turn on us--
NOPE NOPE NOPE. The "air heist" plot is one million percent done and we've switched to pure Disaster Movie mode. Now let me assess the situation.
CAPTAIN JACK investigates and finds a LEAK by a WINDOW!
Well, that settles it. We're definitely underwater.
Is the leak big enough to stuff Jimmy Stewart's annoying grandson into? Goddamn precocious child actors.
(bears false witness)
Oh, can I remind everyone Jimmy Stewart is fatally ill? Not that it has the slightest bearing on our situation, but the writers seem to think it's important for some reason--
Wait! That noise, I think it's a ship passing overhead! Everyone stare at the noise!
Everyone DROPS EVERYTHING and STARES until the ship has gone, so THAT was productive.
We need a plan. In the cargo hold there's a life raft with a radio beacon on it. If we can get it to the surface--
YES I SHALL HEROICALLY DO THAT! Since I've already gone down with the ship, no reason I can't go up again, and save myself first, right?
OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND
Though the oil rig we smashed into has probably called for help, and we didn't get far since hitting it, so maybe we don't even need to-
I SHALL HELP YOU JACK LEMMON! Sure my character's a wishy-washy moping do-gooder but I'm still Christopher fucking Lee, goddammit.
INT. CARGO HOLD
JACK and CHRISTOPHER find the RAFT, and prepare to open the OUTSIDE DOOR.
Remember, once we trip the locks, water pressure will blow the door inwards with incredible, bone-shattering, pulverizing force, so for God's sake be careful.
Do not fear, Jack. By your side is none other than Scaramanga, Count Dracula, Fu Manchu, and French Patrol Captain at Tavern [uncredited] all rolled into one! We shall surely prevail!
Hm, it doesn't seem to be working. Maybe if I stick my face right in
With the DOOR BURST OPEN and CHRISTOPHER LEE turned into a PANCAKE, JACK manages to reach the SURFACE, activate the BEACON, and be almost immediately RESCUED by the HEROIC U.S. NAVY!
Wow, you guys got here quick. But it can't be that easy, what new plot complication--
Sorry Captain, the "disaster movie" stage is one million percent over now, we're switching to Navy Recruitment Film mode.
The NAVY SEALS spring into action with their FIT, TONED BODIES barely contained within SKIN-TIGHT UNIFORMS that show PLENTY OF MANLY LEG! They immediately set about SECURING THE PLANE and inspiring as many VILLAGE PEOPLE SONGS as possible! JACK LEMMON helps out while NOT SHOWING LEG and, thank you JACK LEMMON.
Lash those straps on tight! We need a firm grip on that long, hard fuselage! Right, now we'll use giant balloons to lift the plane to the surface. On my command... INFLATE! Let's GET IT UP, boys!
Things are going smoothly but one of the lines SNAPS, causing the plane to be KNOCKED AROUND more! At this point roll a D6 for each of LEE GRANT, DARREN MCGAVIN, M. EMMETT WALSH, JOSEPH COTTEN, MAIDIE NORMAN, OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND, ROBERT HOOKS, and GIL GERARD. On a 5 or 6 they are DEAD. Otherwise they SURVIVE!
EXT. NAVY SHIP - MAIN DECK
JACK and BRENDA are brought safely aboard along with that stupid annoying BENJI kid.
Ah, my grandson, we meet at last! Don't worry, everything's all right now, you're safe. Everything's fine. Relax.
(grabs Benji by shoulders)
I'm gonna DIIEEEE, Benji! I'M GONNA DIIEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fuck's sake Granddad, that movie is MULTIPLE decades old. NOBODY CARES.
(stares at camera)