"Mm hm, yeah. Yes, I'm sure the 'Martha' thing looked less stupid on paper. Look man, you have to get over this already."


"Mm hm, yeah. Yes, I'm sure the 'Martha' thing looked less stupid on paper. Look man, you have to get over this already."

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

The Abridged Script

INT. BOSTON APARTMENT BUILDING

CASEY AFFLECK, looking about as friendly and joyous as a CAT’S PUCKERED ASSHOLE, is carrying out his duties as a JANITOR.

ATTRACTIVE TENANT

(batting eyelashes)

Oh Mr. Affleck, you’re so big and strong, or at least not as weedy and scraggly-looking as you used to be. Watching you clean the feces out of a clogged toilet gets me so turned on!

CASEY AFFLECK

(grumbles)

(leaves)

After work he heads to a BAR to get HAMMERED.

ATTRACTIVE GIRL AT BAR

(batting eyelashes)

Hey there, sullen stranger staring moodily at nothing and determinedly drinking himself into oblivion, wanna make out?

CASEY AFFLECK

Wow, it would seem that nothing draws the ladies like suicidal depression. Sorry ma’am, I’ve already got a date this evening with DIRECTIONLESS INCOHERENT RAAAAGE

He gets into a RANDOM FISTFIGHT, which fortunately doesn’t result in either his arrest or anything happening to his pretty face.

CASEY AFFLECK

Okay then, now that we’ve established what a miserable self-destructive shit I am, I guess it’s about time for an inciting incident which will set me on an inspirational journey where I’ll learn to feel love and joy again.

C.J. WILSON

(on phone)

Hey Casey, your brother just dropped dead. Please come by to deal with his funeral and corpse and so forth.

CASEY AFFLECK

...Well that’s one way to go. What happened, did he read the reviews for Live By Night and have an aneurysm?

C.J. WILSON

Not that brother!

INT. HOSPITAL

CASEY returns to his home town of MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA (where are the hyphens, movie title? Hmmm?) to view the body of his brother, KYLE CHANDLER.

C.J. WILSON

So Kyle finally succumbed to his heart condition.

CASEY AFFLECK

Yeah, he had congestive heart failure and it killed him. That’s about as straightforward as story information can get, we require no further elucidation of

INT. FLASHBACK HOSPITAL, EIGHT YEARS EARLIER

In the PAST, CASEY is with a hospitalized KYLE.

DOCTOR

Kyle, you have congestive heart failure.

CASEY AFFLECK

Oh come on, seriously?

DOCTOR

This is a heart disease which will one day cause you to drop dead.

CASEY AFFLECK

There is no reason for this scene to exist.

KYLE CHANDLER

Hey, my character’s surname is Chandler too! Is there a joke in that?

(thinks)

I feel like there ought to be a joke in that.

(thinks)

CASEY AFFLECK

Seriously guys, if we’re going to do a flashback it should be for something that needs fleshing out, like why I turned into such a bitter washout-

INT. CASEY’S HOME BEFORE HE WAS A BITTER WASHOUT

In another part of the PAST, CASEY is not yet a BITTER WASHOUT.

CASEY AFFLECK

Ah! Now this is more like it. So are we gonna get any clues as to what happened to me that made me an asshole?

MICHELLE WILLIAMS

Welcome home, honey! I’m the beautiful wife that later-you doesn’t have!

CASEY AFFLECK

Well that’s not promising.

ADORABLE LITTLE GIRL #1

Daddy’s home! We love you, daddy!

ADORABLE LITTLE GIRL #2

It’s such a great world in which to be a currently-alive person, daddy!

CASEY AFFLECK

Uh oh.

MICHELLE WILLIAMS

Speaking of alive, I should go check on our baby, who has also not met with any kind of tragic demise.

CASEY AFFLECK

FUCK. This is gonna be BLEEEAAAK.

INT. LAWYER’S OFFICE

Back in the present day, CASEY meets with KYLE’S LAWYER.

KYLE’S LAWYER

Casey, you’ve been appointed the legal guardian of Lucas Hedges, Kyle’s teenage son. It seems that, knowing he was liable to drop dead at any moment, he decided the best person to whom he could entrust his only child was a violent, unstable drunk.

CASEY AFFLECK

Wait wait wait, that’s the plot of this highly acclaimed, award-winning drama? Surly bachelor winds up having to raise a kid? Otherwise known as Standard Sitcom Premise #37B?

KYLE’S LAWYER

Yep. Really your super-tragic backstory is the only real thing keeping this from being a low-budget Raising Helen. So we should probably jump back into the flashbacks quick smart.

CASEY AFFLECK

Wait, do we have to, everything points to the next one being a MAJOR fucking buzzkill-

INT. POLICE STATION

CASEY’S HOME has just BURNED TO THE GROUND. The SOUNDTRACK blares a constant stream of Tragedy Music to let us know that CASEY is SAD.

POLICE OFFICER

Well Casey, your kids are all dead. And not in a fun Mel Gibson-style let’s-go-get-revenge way, they were killed by your drunken mistake and this is all your fault.

CASEY AFFLECK

Aw hey, I can still get revenge if I really want to.

(grabs cop’s gun)

I’VE GOT YOU NOW, AFFLECK!

(tries to blow his brains out)

(IN FRONT OF HIS FATHER)

(WHAT THE FUCK, CASEY)

INT. HIGH SCHOOL, PRESENT DAY

CASEY AFFLECK

Well THAT was a fun scene. Oh well, come on nephew Lucas Hedges, let’s go to Boston to live in my one-room basement hovel.

LUCAS HEDGES

Fuck that! Why can’t you move here, the place where your life imploded? Just because half the people here hate you and this whole town is nothing but PSTD triggers, I don’t see why I should be the one who moves. My dad’s broken-down boat is here! And my girlfriend! And my other, simultaneous girlfriend!

CASEY AFFLECK

Wow, whiny, insensitive AND shamelessly cheating on two separate girlfriends? At least I waited until I had a traumatic past before I started acting like an asshole.

LUCAS HEDGES

Speaking of the two hot girls who I’m sleeping with, I’m off to go sleep with one of them now, so I need you to do me a solid and distract her hot mom who has a crush on you.

CASEY AFFLECK

Seriously, why are all the grumpy, tired-looking males in our family so irresistible to women?

CASEY and LUCAS have a bunch of scenes where they deal with the FUNERAL, and ARGUE about where LUCAS is going to LIVE, and get LUCAS all kinds of LAID, and ARGUE about where LUCAS is going to LIVE, and ARGUE about where LUCAS is going to LIVE.

LUCAS HEDGES

I CAN’T leave here! Dad’s BOAT is here! That honestly appears to be my main overriding concern, that I not leave the BOAT! If only there were some way of relocating a boat to a coastal city twenty miles away...

CASEY AFFLECK

Forget about the boat, Lucas. Kyle’s will didn’t allocate any money for a new engine.

KYLE CHANDLER

(running in)

Well of course not, I don’t deal in ship parts, only basic supplies like rope and whatnot!

(grins)

CASEY AFFLECK

...?

KYLE CHANDLER

You know, like - a ship chandler, who sells ship supplies? CHANDLER? I was going for a play on words.

CASEY AFFLECK

Dude, you’re not even alive in these parts of the movie. What the hell are you doing.

KYLE CHANDLER

There IS a joke here. I AM going to find it.

(stomps off)

LUCAS HEDGES

...Anyway, why can’t I live with C.J. Wilson? I mean it seems like that’s gonna happen eventually, because otherwise it’s like, what is he in this movie for. Actually, who is he anyway?

CASEY AFFLECK

True, C.J. is just some guy hanging around in various scenes clearly waiting for a plot-related reason to exist, but we’re sitting on that for later, so no dice.

LUCAS HEDGES

Fine then, what about my mother, why can’t I go live with her?

CASEY AFFLECK

No, that’s unacceptable! Your mother used to be a mentally unbalanced drunk! You’re far better off with me, a guy who currently IS a mentally unbalanced drunk. With anger management issues and suicidal tendencies.

LUCAS HEDGES

Nuts to you! I’m going to go give Mom’s place a try, even though you’re completely set in your objection and I have no way of overruling you.

INT. LUCAS’S MOM’S HOUSE

LUCAS goes to visit his mother, GRETCHEN MOL.

LUCAS HEDGES

Hi Mom! I know we have a rocky past, but I’m here to make a sincere effort to see if we can rekindle the bond between us. So where’s your new husband?

MATTHEW BRODERICK

That’d be me, a distracting, incongruous cameo by a depressingly old and washed-up Matthew Broderick!

LUCAS HEDGES

(pause)

Well fuck THIS shit.

(leaves)

EXT. STREET

Later, CASEY is walking around when he runs into MICHELLE, who is dressed as a GIANT TACO.

MICHELLE WILLIAMS

Casey, I’m worried about you.

(collides with lamppost)

I know I said some terrible things after the fire, but that was wrong of me, and seeing you-

(purse stolen by chimp)

-so hollow and heartbroken, not being able to move on with your life, is-

(hit in face with cream pie)

Okay, what the hell is all this bullshit? Nothing like this happens in this scene in the actual movie!

(pelican lands on head)

CASEY AFFLECK

Hey, do you have any idea how hard it is to drag any humor out of this fucking movie? This thing is brutal! It’s Ordinary People multiplied by Amour. It’s like if the beginning of Up and the end of Jurassic Bark had a baby. They’re technically not supposed to even screen it in buildings with more that two stories, just in case the entire audience goes to throw themselves off the roof! This thing is as hard to parody as Deadpool, for completely opposite reasons!

(slips on banana peel)

(lands in wagon full of manure)

MICHELLE WILLIAMS

Then why bother abridging it? It’s not like anybody cares about this movie. It’s a sober, two-and-a-half hour independent drama about grief, nobody watches that kind of pretentious Sundance bullshit.

CASEY AFFLECK

The Academy does. I’m trying for an Oscar.

MICHELLE WILLIAMS

Seriously? You? Do you really think screen legend Denzel Washington is going to lose an Academy Award to The Spare Affleck?

CASEY AFFLECK

Hey, if Jen from Dawson’s Creek can be up to four nominations, clearly anything’s possible.

INT. LUCAS’S HOUSE

CASEY sits LUCAS down for one final conversation about where LUCAS is going to LIVE.

CASEY AFFLECK

So we’ve finally given C.J. his plot purpose and he’s decided to adopt you.

LUCAS HEDGES

Adopt? Er, all I really need is a place to stay for the next couple of years, adoption seems like massive overkill.

CASEY AFFLECK

I know, right? In fact it seems kind of insensitive to adopt a kid when his dead father is literally not even in the ground yet.

LUCAS HEDGES

But couldn’t you change your mind about moving here? I really want to live with you, despite our open and mutual antagonism pretty much the whole movie long.

CASEY AFFLECK

I wish I could, but I just can’t get past my grief. I’ve tried and I’ve tried, but I’m just incapable of healing and moving on.

LUCAS HEDGES

Well that sucks.

CASEY AFFLECK

But hey, if you ever want to visit me in Boston, I’ve moved out of my self-punishing cell-like apartment and furnished a second room for you, as a sign that I’m starting to heal and move on!

LUCAS HEDGES

...Huh?

CASEY AFFLECK

It’s a weirdly abrupt reversal, I know, but we’re at the end of the movie and we need to cram in a note of hope, to limit how many audience members deliberately drive off a bridge on the way home.

(gets up)

All right, so now that everything’s as resolved as they ever get in self-satisfied artsy affairs like this, I guess there’s nothing left to say but-

KYLE CHANDLER

(running in)

Could dead men BE any more heavier than broken hearts?

(pause)

Geddit?

CASEY AFFLECK

Give it up, man.

END.

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