Movie Rating:

This entry has a rating of 3

Mud

MUD

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

EXT. MISSISSIPPI RIVER - ARKANSAS

TYE SHERIDAN and JACOB LOFLAND are TWO BESTEST FRIENDS who are in a MOTORBOAT headed to A DESERTED ISLAND in the MISSISSIPPI RIVER.

TYE SHERIDAN

You should've seen my parents this morning. They were expressing their heartfelt love for each other while openly and respectfully discussing any and all disagreements that arose. It was beautiful and inspiring.

JACOB LOFLAND

Funny you should say that. I woke up today feeling incredibly blessed that my parents are alive and well.

TYE SHERIDAN

Wait, isn't this a Southern coming-of-age drama film?

JACOB LOFLAND

Oh great, then I guess our family lives are the exact opposite of all that.

(checks script)

Yep, my parents are dead and yours are living a strained lie whilst passive-aggressively heading for an unspoken divorce.

They reach the ISLAND and walk into the FOREST.

JACOB LOFLAND

Look at this, my character's name is Neckbone. I sure hope that isn't incredibly obvious foreshadowing.

TYE SHERIDAN

No, you want to see some foreshadowing? Check out that pool of deadly snakes that the camera is taking great pains to establish.

To ACCENTUATE the SUBTLETY of this FORESHADOWING, JACOB tosses a ROCK into the POOL. Further into the FOREST, they find A BOAT stuck in A TREE.

TYE SHERIDAN

Hmm, that's probably a foreshadowing metaphor for man's hubris in the face of denial.

JACOB LOFLAND

(checks script)

Nope, it's just a boat stuck in a tree.

When they get back to their MOTORBOAT, MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY appears OUT OF FUCKING NOWHERE.

TYE SHERIDAN

Whoa, what are you doing here? As we just discovered for ourselves, this is a Southern coming-of-age drama film.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY

Haven't you been paying attention? I'm trying to ditch my smarmy romcom image by taking on more dirty and gritty roles. I chose this one based on the fact that my character's name is Mud. Mud is dirty and made from grit, right?

JACOB LOFLAND

Thanks, that means Neckbone is no longer the most ridiculous name in this movie.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY

Now I will freely rely on the disarming charisma and nonchalant demeanour that has previously typecast me to assure you boys that I'm a good guy, even though I'm a fugitive from the law.

TYE SHERIDAN

What totally relatable yet incontestably felonious thing did you do?

JACOB LOFLAND

And what utterly reprehensible and more-evil-than-you individual did you do it to?

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY

I killed the man who beat up Reese Witherspoon, the love of my life. Naturally he turned out to be the relative of someone influential and spiteful, since a cycle of revenge is a shockingly original plot device.

TYE SHERIDAN

I will help you because I have a feeling your trust and honest friendship will have a formative influence on my upbringing.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY

Great! Please ignore the fact that our very first interaction consisted of me playfully misleading you by doubling back on my footprints.

TYE and JACOB start bringing MATTHEW FOOD but not CIGARETTES, since he can MAGICALLY REPLENISH THOSE.

INT. TYE'S HOUSEBOAT - ARKANSAS

Upon returning HOME, TYE is greeted by his PARENTS, RAY MCKINNON and SARAH PAULSON.

RAY MCKINNON

Hello, son. Pay no mind to your mother's incessant rambling. I've found that burying my head in a newspaper helps to cancel out the noise.

SARAH PAULSON

My life here is so unfulfilling! I am voicing a legitimate grievance here!

AWKWARD SILENCE

(smiles, winks)

Meanwhile...

INT. JACOB'S HOUSENOTABOAT - ARKANSAS

JACOB returns home to his UNCLE, who is played by MICHAEL SHANNON. UH-OH.

JACOB LOFLAND

Hey uncle. Do you have any concrete idea when you'll start beating me up as a matter of course or do you tend to just explode over trivial matters or at random intervals?

MICHAEL SHANNON

Oh for fuck's sake. Look, I'm not always psychotic or unhinged, I can also play decent, salt-of-the-earth human beings, okay? The worst thing that's been implied about me so far is that I boogie in the butt without asking permission first.

JACOB cracks a JOKE and EVERYBODY HOLDS THEIR BREATH. MICHAEL simply CHUCKLES and whips out A GUITAR. WHEW.

EXT. MOTEL - ARKANSAS

The next day, TYE and JACOB notice REESE WITHERSPOON walking around with a SOLEMN YET WISTFUL EXPRESSION on her FACE.

TYE SHERIDAN

Hey look, based on a convenient identifying mark, I recognise the lady Matthew was talking about over there. Let's follow her all surreptitious-like.

They follow REESE to her MOTEL, where they see her getting BEAT UP by PAUL SPARKS.

TYE SHERIDAN

A lady in trouble! I must intervene!

TYE lunges at PAUL and gets PUNCHED in the FACE. JACOB stops the FIGHT by claiming they're there to SELL FISH.

PAUL SPARKS

That sounds patently ridiculous, but this is the Deep South. Door-to-door fish selling could totally be a thing people do around here.

(shows photo of Matthew)

Have you boys seen this man? He usually does schmaltzy romantic comedies and can't ever seem to keep his shirt on.

JACOB LOFLAND

I can honestly say we have not.

PAUL SPARKS

Well, let me know if you see him anywhere. He killed my brother, so I've got loads of people watching this town to flush him out. Should you boys suspiciously show up here again and repeatedly talk with Reese, that won't raise any red flags though.

TYE SHERIDAN

How am I going to explain this shiner to my parents? Oh wait, they're too involved with their own difficulties to concern themselves with me anyways. They haven't even noticed me sneaking out all the time.

PAUL SPARKS

Yeah, sorry for decking you. I have to be a massive prick who hits both women and children so the audience will not just excuse Matthew's felonious act, but fervently cheer it on.

(snarls, leaves)

REESE WITHERSPOON

Thanks for saving me! Wait, why does this situation feel so familiar?

TYE SHERIDAN

We know about Matthew and how he protected you from some grade-A asshole.

REESE WITHERSPOON

Did he also mention that I kept going back to that grade-A asshole until I finally had to stop because he was killed? I think that ought to make my current attachment to Matthew somewhat more questionable. But don't mind all that and tell him I still love him.

On their way back, TYE and JACOB see BONNIE STURDIVANT being harassed by SOME JERK.

TYE SHERIDAN

A lady in trouble! I must intervene!

TYE ELBOWS the JERK right in his JERK FACE.

BONNIE STURDIVANT

Thanks for using excessive violence to save me when I didn't really need any saving, Tye!

TYE SHERIDAN

Excuse me while I naively fall head over heels for you. Wait, why does this situation feel so familiar?

JACOB LOFLAND

You haven't figured it out yet? You just defended a romantic interest from an abusive third party, just like Matthew did. Your character arc is obviously going to match his backstory beat for beat.

BONNIE STURDIVANT

Hey Tye, call me! I'm in the phonebook, which is a directory containing an alphabetical list of telephone subscribers and their numbers.

EXT. DESERTED ISLAND - ARKANSAS

TYE and JACOB head back to the ISLAND to visit MATTHEW.

TYE SHERIDAN

Hey Matthew, why don't you dump some more of your backstory on us? We can then run around to confirm it with the people involved and report back anything new we learn. That ought to cover the entire middle part of the movie if we repeat that process three or four times.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY

Oh well let's see. I was bitten by a snake once and Reese only narrowly managed to save my life.

TYE SHERIDAN

And one of the very first shots in the movie showed a pool of snakes. Wonderful. I might as well get ahead of things and go stumble into it right now.

JACOB LOFLAND

Wait, look. Matthew's got a tattoo of a snake on his arm. Maybe you're only being metaphorically bitten by him.

TYE SHERIDAN

One can only hope. Anyways, we saw Reese in town and she says she still loves you, but the brother of that scumbag you killed is looking for you.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY

Fuck, that guy's really dangerous. I should ask you boys to stop associating with me so as not to put you at risk any further than I already have.

(beat)

Ooorrr how about you help me get this boat out of the tree and repair it? I'll be able to escape my responsibilities and I'll let you have this pistol as a reward.

TYE SHERIDAN

Father figure of the year award, right here.

JACOB LOFLAND

Repairing that boat sounds like a lot of work. I'm not sure we'll have enough fuel to transport all the necessary parts.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY

Then we'll do it in a montage without addressing that last part in any way.

TYE SHERIDAN

Jacob, you do most of that while I spend some more time developing my character by going out on a date with Bonnie.

JACOB LOFLAND

Can't I get in on some of that character development? Ooh, I know! Maybe we can have a fight over all of this. Anything to give our friendship a bit of forward momentum.

TYE SHERIDAN

Nah, you just continue running in place whilst answering any practical needs Matthew and I have. Hey, can I borrow your motorcycle real quick?

TYE goes on A DATE with BONNIE and she KISSES HIM GUH-HYUK.

INT. MOTEL - ARKANSAS

TYE has arranged to meet with REESE.

TYE SHERIDAN

Matthew is building a boat out of spare parts and wants to take you with him as part of a half-assed plan to go float somewhere I guess.

REESE WITHERSPOON

That sounds like a very valid and justifiable reason to abandon him, but I think I'll do that by randomly hooking up with some other guy instead.

TYE SHERIDAN

But you came to this town specifically to find Matthew and stuck around even when you got savagely beat up!

REESE WITHERSPOON

I'm afraid the women in this movie only exist to disappoint the men, so all I can offer is a solemn yet wistful expression.

On the way back, TYE notices BONNIE with ANOTHER GUY. He goes over to PUNCH HIM and immediately THE ENTIRE TOWN GATHERS.

TYE SHERIDAN

What are you doing?

BONNIE STURDIVANT

It appears you're no longer just mirroring Matthew's backstory, you're catching up to his current arc as well. I must rip out your little heart and crush it before your eyes!

TYE SHERIDAN

But when I asked you to be my girlfriend, you smiled knowingly and kissed me on both lips!

BONNIE STURDIVANT

And you took that as a yes? Gawd, what is it with boys these days? Be gone, you filthy nebbish. I'm not even going to be solemn or wistful about it.

TYE SHERIDAN

I am torn asunder. I must go take this out on Matthew.

EXT. DESERTED ISLAND - ARKANSAS

TYE rushes up to MATTHEW and starts POUNDING ON HIS BARE CHEST in THE SINGLE SHIRTLESS SCENE MATTHEW negotiated into his CONTRACT.

TYE SHERIDAN

You lied to me! You kept talking about your true love, but I just saw Reese casually smooching with some random guy! And the exact same thing then happened with my true and genuine love of maybe two days!

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY

Even though you basically just dropped a depressing bombshell on me, I will first and foremost concern myself with having wronged you. I'm sorry, Tye, but that's the way things go sometimes and you just have to deal with it.

TYE SHERIDAN

Deal with it? You're working on a naive and childlike plan to run away from your problems while the events of the past few days have forced me to muster a maturity beyond my years! Fuck it, I guess I should be lucky the snake bite foreshadowing was metaphorical after all!

TYE runs off and FALLS INTO THE POOL OF DEADLY SNAKES ANYWAY!

TYE SHERIDAN

FUCK!

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY

I must get him to the hospital! Hey Jacob, can I borrow your motorcycle real quick?

JACOB LOFLAND

Yes, I'm still here, everyone!

EXT. HOSPITAL - ARKANSAS

After MATTHEW gets TYE to the HOSPITAL, he is NOTICED by an ORDERLY. Rather than LEAVE TOWN IMMEDIATELY, he decides to VISIT REESE'S MOTEL. They GAZE at each other FROM ACROSS THE STREET.

REESE WITHERSPOON

Whoa, I'm actually convinced that you're dealing with the painful emotional struggle of leaving me.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY

Actually, it's just really challenging for me to have this little interaction with a romantic interest, which is ironically conducive to my acting performance in this narrative context.

MATTHEW UNCLENCHES his TREMBLING FISTS enough to manage A SAD LITTLE WAVE before HEADING OFF.

INT. TYE'S HOUSEBOAT - ARKANSAS

TYE wakes up to his PARENTS watching over him.

RAY MCKINNON

Son, you have some explaining to do, by which I mean we will never ask you about any of this.

SARAH PAULSON

Just go back to sleep and don't worry about a thing.

RAY MCKINNON

Also, your mother is divorcing me and we're being evicted because she owns this houseboat. Well, goodnight!

When RAY and SARAH leave, MATTHEW sticks his HEAD through the WINDOW.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY

Hey Tye, I wanted to say goodbye before taking off and apologise for involving you in all this. I promise I won't do any of that ever again oh hey look Paul followed me here!

PAUL SPARKS

Yes, I'm here to kill you and everyone within twenty feet of you! Rather than make this a personal one-on-one fight, I've hired a bunch of nameless hitmen to circle the houseboat and pad out this climactic shootout! That seemed to work wonders for L.A. Confidential.

MATTHEW protects TYE and starts SHOOTING at the HITMEN. He hits and kills THE MOVIE'S TONE.

RAY MCKINNON

(gets shot in the shoulder)

Agh! Tye, what's going on so we can not ask you about it later?

MATTHEW kills ALL THE HITMEN but is then CORNERED by PAUL. He FIRES just as MATTHEW dives into THE WATER.

PAUL SPARKS

Alright, I think I made that shot just ambiguous enough for an open ending.

PAUL is suddenly SHOT by SAM SHEPARD, who is ALSO IN THIS MOVIE.

EXT. APARTMENT BLOCK - ARKANSAS

TYE is moving into A NEW PLACE.

RAY MCKINNON

Everything that happened, and we're still not discussing it, really made Sarah and me realise what truly matters in life. We have set aside our differences and rediscovered --

(checks script)

Or no wait, we did get divorced and now we're forced to live in this drab apartment block.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY

It's not all bad, I'm still alive! Michael Shannon and Sam Shepard saved me, which was apparently their entire purpose in this movie.

TYE SHERIDAN

So the bad guys are dead, the good guys all live, and I have a renewed yet still naive faith in love because some girl just smiled at me. This is an unusually upbeat ending. Oh well, I guess this performance will be a major boost for my burgeoning acting career. Now all I have to do is avoid being typecast.

TYE is then cast as A TROUBLED SOUTHERN TEENAGER who is TAKEN UNDER THE WING of A MAN WITH A CRIMINAL PAST played by NICOLAS CAGE in a MOVIE titled after HIS CHARACTER'S THREE-LETTER NAME. SERIOUSLY, LOOK IT UP.

END