If you're gonna overclock your PC, you might as well not fuck around.


If you're gonna overclock your PC, you might as well not fuck around.

PROJECT ALMANAC

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. HANGAR

JONNY WESTON is a BLANDLY HANDSOME, BUFF AND ATHLETIC TEEN who looks like he just stepped out of an AMERICAN EAGLE OUTFITTERS - wait, he sometimes wears glasses? Sorry, start over.

JONNY WESTON is a LAME DATELESS NERD LOSER, filming a demonstration of some kind of GEEK TOY he’s built to try and get into SPAZ COLLEGE.

JONNY WESTON

Thanks for helping me film my MIT application, sis!

VIRGINIA GARDNER

No problem! Later maybe I could film you opening your acceptance letter.

JONNY WESTON

Sure, sounds good.

VIRGINIA GARDNER

And after that I could film you just sitting at lunch with your nerd friends, chatting about shit!

JONNY WESTON

Huh? Why?

VIRGINIA GARDNER

And then I could just follow you around, watch you get shot down by girls, drive home from school, you know, just every random thing you do.

JONNY WESTON

Aw fuck. Found footage movie?

VIRGINIA GARDNER

Found footage movie. Eventually we’ll have a bunch of science experiments to justify it, but for now you’re just going to have to assume I’m a crazy person who’s creepily obsessed with her big brother.

JONNY WESTON

Ugh, fine, let’s just get on with it.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL

VIRGINIA films JONNY going to SCHOOL with his NERD PALS SAM LERNER and ALLEN EVANGELISTA.

SAM LERNER

Shame MIT will only give you a partial scholarship, dude. Oh, maybe they’d be impressed enough to give you full tuition if you filmed yourself, say, hitting on Sofia Black-D’Elia? That hot girl you have a crush on but have been too shy to talk to? That’s her over there. Look.

(camera establishes Sofia Black-D’Elia)

(she’s Jonny’s love interest)

(look)

JONNY WESTON

Smooth expositioning there, man. Just seamless.

SAM LERNER

Well the whole idea is that her social circle is like a million miles away from yours, so we can’t exactly have Virginia’s camera go right up to her and introduce her more organically, can we.

JONNY WESTON

Gee, it’s almost as if the inherent limitations of this genre far outweigh the supposed benefits.

ALLEN EVANGELISTA

Dude, you’re not going to just rag on the found footage thing all script, are you?

JONNY WESTON

Only until the plot gives us something to work with. Seriously, the first twenty minutes of this movie could easily be replaced with a title card saying “PLEASE STAND BY FOR TIME TRAVEL”.

ALLEN EVANGELISTA

Well let’s just skip ahead for fuck’s sake.

INT. JONNY’S HOUSE

JONNY finds HIS DAD’S OLD CAMCORDER and watches some footage from his SEVENTH BIRTHDAY PARTY.

JONNY WESTON

You are now watching camcorder footage of me watching camcorder footage. This genre just keeps getting further stuck up its own-

(story finally starts)

What the hell? A brief reflection of my current-day self shows up in this old video!

VIRGINIA GARDNER

Where?

JONNY WESTON

There, see? That two seconds of a tiny out-of-focus guy there? His broadly generic facial features look like they could be the same as mine!

VIRGINIA GARDNER

Somehow I’m not convinced.

JONNY WESTON

Come on, he’s even wearing my shirt! What are the chances of somebody else wearing a plain grey shirt with no distinguishing characteristics whatsoever?

SAM LERNER

Looks like he’s flicking the basement light switch. Let’s check it out.

(pause)

And yes, this means the thing that prompts us to build the time machine is us seeing a thing you already did with the time machine, but just let it go. If you can’t handle a simple paradox, you’ll never make it through the rampant contradictory bullshit that’s coming.

JONNY, VIRGINIA, SAM and ALLEN head down into the BASEMENT where they find a SECRET COMPARTMENT full of SCIENCE.

JONNY WESTON

Woah, according to this my dad worked for DARPA! ...Who, I guess, let him take home extremely dangerous and top-secret experimental technology to tinker with in his basement.

SAM LERNER

Check it out, it’s all his notes on a thing called “Project X”-

JONNY WESTON

Stop. We’re not THAT shitty a found footage movie. Try again.

SAM LERNER

Okay, it’s called uh, “Project Almanac”. Holy shit, it’s a time travel experiment! Your dad left us a functional flux capacitor, plus a detailed manual on how to build and run the complete device. Basically it’s like we’ve ordered a time machine from IKEA.

ALLEN EVANGELISTA

Well let’s do the most sensible thing to do with a powerful experimental device you found sealed away in some basement: just turn that fucker on and see what happens!

They grab a bunch of batteries and turn on the FLUX CAPACITOR. Everyone’s hair stands on end and all the metal objects in the room start going nuts, but nothing goes back in time.

JONNY WESTON

Oh my God, that was so awesome I’m not even concerned about the high likelihood that we all just exposed ourselves to massive doses of some form of electromagnetic radiation!

SAM LERNER

We should totally finish building this super-advanced billion-dollar government research project time machine, using - I’m not kidding here - parts pried out of an XBox console.

JONNY WESTON

(actual line)

From now on, film everything!

VIRGINIA GARDNER

Is that a joke? I don’t think I’d stop filming things if my camera came alive and started kicking me in the teeth.

JONNY WESTON

I know, but for some reason I got worried that now that the “building a time machine” stuff that a sane person might actually decide to film has begun, you’d actually cut down on filming so much that the ensuing footage would just look like a lazy inventing montage.

(pause)

A montage with a song over it, no less.

They build a complete version of the TIME MACHINE and TURN IT ON. Stuff starts LEVITATING, but nothing goes back in time.

JONNY WESTON

Shit, we need some liquid hydrogen to make it work. Ooh, I have an illegal plan. Virginia, cut the camera.

VIRGINIA GARDNER

Of course. But when we actually steal the hydrogen, I should bring my camera then and film the crime itself, right?

JONNY WESTON

Sounds logical to me.

They go and steal some LIQUID HYDROGEN, upgrade the TIME MACHINE and TURN IT ON. Stuff FLIES AROUND and batteries EXPLODE, but nothing goes back in time.

JONNY WESTON

Damn! We need a special kind of car battery. I’ll go to AutoZone tomorrow and-

ALLEN EVANGELISTA

OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE, SOMEBODY SEND SOMETHING BACK IN TIME BEFORE I COMPLETELY LOSE MY SHIT.

JONNY WESTON

Uh, what I meant was, look, Sofia just pulled up to a party next door and her car has the exact type of battery we need! I’ll just go up to her and convince her to park in our driveway, having briefly and mysteriously gained the ability to talk to her without having a panic attack.

He DOES THIS and they attach her BATTERY to the TIME MACHINE with JUMPER LEADS. But she notices the weird goings-on and bursts in on their experiment as the TIME MACHINE is powering up.

SOFIA BLACK-D’ELIA

Holy crap, what’s going on?

JONNY WESTON

See that toy car there? We’re sending it one minute into the past!

SOFIA BLACK-D’ELIA

But it’s just sitting in place. So it’ll go back in time to exactly where its past self will already be sitting. What happens when it tries to occupy the same space as itself?

The car ZAPS TWO HOURS BACK IN TIME, knocking out all the ELECTRONICS on the BLOCK (uh - except for camcorders, of course), and winds up stuck HALFWAY INSIDE A CONCRETE WALL.

SAM LERNER

Since the actual movie never offers any explanation as to why the hell that happened, let’s just say the answer to your question is: that.

JONNY WESTON

Okay then, after spending several weeks creating a room-sized, barely functional version of the time machine, I’m now going to miniaturize it into a perfectly-working version that fits into a backpack. Overnight.

SOFIA BLACK-D’ELIA

Great! And then the next experiment will be sending humans back in time, right?

JONNY WESTON

Um... what? No. What? Are you fucking crazy?

SOFIA BLACK-D’ELIA

Well we’ve had a successful test of the device, so-

JONNY WESTON

“Successful”? The car went more than a HUNDRED TIMES further back in time than we wanted it to, and ended up MERGED WITH THE FUCKING WALL. That’s all the proof you need that an as-yet-untested redesign of the machine can work safely on five fully-grown people?

SOFIA BLACK-D’ELIA

But we’ve already seen the footage of you back at your seventh birthday party, so we know we’ll be fine! ...One of us at least.

JONNY WESTON

Who’s to say I don’t have like eight new malignant tumors in that footage? Seriously, why should I go along with your preposterously idiotic plan?

SOFIA BLACK-D’ELIA

(has nice boobs)

JONNY WESTON

You make a compelling argument.

EXT. STREET

JONNY, SOFIA, VIRGINIA, SAM and ALLEN all get together and send themselves ONE DAY back in time.

JONNY WESTON

Yow, that was deafening! But it is neat how Virginia’s camera was able to capture the ringing in our ears somehow.

They head over to SAM’S PLACE and sneak into his room to see YESTERDAY SAM sleeping. But then he WAKES UP and when both SAMS see each other they both start flickering out of existence! They rush PRESENT SAM out of the room.

SAM LERNER

What. The. FUCK. That makes NO FUCKING SENSE WHATSOEVER. I can almost, ALMOST justify the future me disappearing, because like, past me was freaked out enough to not wind up going back in time or something. But WHY WOULD SEEING YOUR FUTURE SELF MAKE YOU CEASE TO EXIST?!

JONNY WESTON

Because paradoxes... chaos theory and uh... quantum? Look, we’d better just not try and explain it. There are some concepts just too profoundly stupid for even the most convoluted of technobabble.

ALLEN EVANGELISTA

So where next in our first time travel adven-

An ORDINARY BORDER COLLIE runs up to them, barking!

VIRGINIA GARDNER

OH HOLY FUCK A HOUSEPET! RUN AWAY!

SAM LERNER

FLEE! FLEE THE PAAAAST!

They return to the PRESENT.

JONNY WESTON

Okay, sweet. So now let’s start using the time machine to improve our lives. Eventually I’d like to go back ten years and prevent our dad’s tragic death, but in the meantime let’s go make changes to the past few weeks. Changes that will be completely nullified when I finally do go back and drastically alter the past decade of our lives.

VIRGINIA GARDNER

I can go get revenge on some bullies!

JONNY WESTON

Wait, what? You, the model-gorgeous blonde, are the target of bullying?

VIRGINIA GARDNER

Yeah, I don’t get it either. They keep calling me weird names like “Psycho Camera Girl” and “Brother-Stalking Nut Job”. What does that even mean?

SAM LERNER

That’s great guys, but first let’s use this ultra-powerful reality-warping device so I can go retake a single oral chemistry exam.

INT. SCHOOL

After VIRGINIA convinces PAST SAM not to go to class, FUTURE SAM goes to the exam in his place.

SAM LERNER

Hello teacher, allow me to start answering the question you’re about to ask, before you actually start asking it. Nothing suspicious about that!

TEACHER

All right, and my next question is-

SAM LERNER

Holy fuck, you mean this important exam is more than one question long?! We gotta come back and try again!

JONNY WESTON

Man, that means there’ll be THREE versions of us running around. And we’ll have to try and distract SECOND you so that now THIRD you can take the test, all while being careful that none of us bump into ourselves and then nonsensically stop existing-

SAM LERNER

No, it’s fine, the first time traveling usses won’t be there when the second time traveling usses arrive. And then when I fuck up again, the third time traveling usses won’t have to worry about any prior versions of ourselves being here except for the original usses living this day the first time around.

JONNY WESTON

So when we go back in time we just overwrite our own actions from that time, except when we don’t?

SAM LERNER

Just keep watching, this is NOTHING.

SAM passes the TEST. VIRGINIA gets some LAME REVENGE against some LAME BULLIES. Then ALLEN goes and buys them all a WINNING LOTTERY TICKET! But it turns out he screwed up one of the numbers.

ALLEN EVANGELISTA

Fuck it, I’m not going back again. We’ll just make do with two million bucks instead of fifty.

SAM LERNER

WHAT?! We went back an extra three times so I could get a good grade in an exam, but we can’t be bothered to go back one lousy time for FORTY-EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS?! Our priorities are officially fucked!

They get their MONEY and spend the next few weeks acting like MATERIALISTIC RICH DOUCHEBAGS. Then JONNY surprises them with a trip back three months to hang BACKSTAGE at LOLLAPALOOZA, or in other words continue to act like MATERIALISTIC RICH DOUCHEBAGS.

JONNY WESTON

Hey Sofia, I got Imagine Dragons to dedicate a song to you somehow! Now let’s run out on stage during a song like obnoxious idiots, which the band will be totally cool with!

SOFIA BLACK-D’ELIA

(waving Jonny in with air traffic wands)

This is great, Jonny! It’s been such a ROMANTIC and MAGICAL day! A great day for LOVERS to FALL IN LOVE, wouldn’t you say? MAKING OUT.

(spells out “DO ME” with Semaphore flags)

JONNY WESTON

Yyyyeah, uh, on an unrelated topic, you know what’s underrated I think? Spinelessness!

SOFIA BLACK-D’ELIA

BZZZ, WRONG. Instant fail. You may have proven yourself to be adventurous, original and impossibly brilliant over the past few weeks, and up until this moment were giving me one of the best days of my life, but you just committed your first error so now my ladyparts are closed to you for all times.

JONNY WESTON

Oh no, it’s exactly how a dateless loser believes relationships work!

They go back to the PRESENT, and for the following few weeks SOFIA treats JONNY like a PILE OF ROTTING FISH.

JONNY WESTON

Fuck it, I gotta sneak back in time by myself, to secretly fix this. And FILM MYSELF DOING IT, of course.

JONNY goes back to LOLLAPALOOZA again for makeout opportunity, take two!

SOFIA BLACK-D’ELIA

(waving Jonny in with air traffic wands)

This is great, Jonny! It’s been-

JONNY WESTON

Such a ROMANTIC and MAGICAL day? A great day for LOVERS to fall in LOVE, wouldn’t you say? Nothing less suspicious than when a known time traveler starts anticipating every thing you say and do, right? MAKING OUT.

(inhales Sofia’s face)

VIRGINIA GARDNER

Wait, WAIT. See how we’ve changed the timeline so that now, with this camera, I’m NOT filming Jonny striking out disastrously? So where the fuck did we get that particular bit of found footage, HM? It got ERASED. From TIME.

JONNY returns to the PRESENT, and finds that SOFIA is now DATING HIM.

JONNY WESTON

Score! ...Wait, no, that doesn’t work. If she’s been dating me for weeks, that must mean there was a real, live version of me who existed and went on those dates. Where the hell is that guy?

SOFIA BLACK-D’ELIA

Look, it’s simple. When you went back to Lollapalooza again, somehow the original version of you from that day must have stopped existing, started existing again when you returned to this point of time, then dated me for several weeks until you arrived back in the present just now, at which point he vanished forever.

JONNY WESTON

That’s confusing, wildly inconsistent and nonsensical, but as long as I’m getting laid I’ll take it!

ALLEN EVANGELISTA

Bad news though, Jonny. Our time travel antics have changed it so that our high school basketball team lost the big game.

JONNY WESTON

Oh well, so there’s a little splash damage-

ALLEN EVANGELISTA

Also your mom’s unemployed.

JONNY WESTON

Huh. But we still won the lottery, so-

ALLEN EVANGELISTA

And our chemistry teacher got fired. And there’s been robberies. Fires! A plane crash! Canada sunk into the ocean! Only that last part was a joke, the rest is actually in the movie!

JONNY WESTON

Well this is beyond ridiculous. How did this mess get started?

ALLEN EVANGELISTA

We did it when we caused that power failure! A car lost its headlights and hit our star basketball player at the party next door-

JONNY WESTON

The power failure? Hang on, we didn’t go back in time and cause the power failure, it happened in our present. Why are we acting like this is a big corruption of the timeline when we never even lived in a version of events where they won that game?

ALLEN EVANGELISTA

I don’t know, but we should still fix things. We need to go back and prevent ourselves from ever finding the flux capacitor-

JONNY WESTON

OR: we could just push the basketballer out of the way of the car and everything would be fine PLUS we’d still be rich and popular and I’d have a girlfriend and a time machine.

ALLEN EVANGELISTA

I’m going to reject that plan even though it obviously makes the most sense.

JONNY WESTON

Fine then, I’ll just go do it by myself!

He goes BACK IN TIME, stops the CAR ACCIDENT then COMES BACK.

SAM LERNER

What a terrific plane-crash-free present we live in, Jonny! Except for poor Allen who’s in a coma we’ll never explain.

JONNY WESTON

Fuck! I’ll just go back and fix that too then.

He goes BACK IN TIME, but when he comes back ASHTON KUTCHER has no ARMS OR LEGS!

JONNY WESTON

FUCK! One more try!

He goes BACK IN TIME again, but then he returns to find that NED FLANDERS RULES THE WORLD!

JONNY WESTON

AAARGH! COME ON!

He goes BACK AGAIN, but this time SOFIA runs into him while he’s leaving, and accidentally comes BACK with him.

SOFIA BLACK-D’ELIA

Jonny, you’ve been making secret solo time trips?

JONNY WESTON

Yeah, and while I could easily get away with just mentioning the thing with the plane crashes and the car accidents, I’m going to go ahead and confess to the Lollapalooza thing for no reason. Sorry.

SOFIA BLACK-D’ELIA

Oh Jonny, why did you have to betray me like that? Didn’t you know I’ve actually been attracted to you since we first met?

JONNY WESTON

Say what now? You were attracted to the socially incompetent loser who never spoke to you? Your contempt for me at the beginning of the movie would beg to differ.

SOFIA BLACK-D’ELIA

I know, it doesn’t add up, but it does take this unapologetic geek fantasy to its logical extreme.

Suddenly, PAST SOFIA shows up and runs into JONNY and FUTURE SOFIA.

JONNY WESTON

Oh my God, this is exactly like that one fantasy of mine.

Both SOFIAS malfunction and blink out of existence.

JONNY WESTON

...That wasn’t it. Damnit!

JONNY goes WAY THE FUCK BACK IN TIME.

INT. BASEMENT, TEN YEARS AGO

JONNY goes into his BASEMENT during his SEVENTH BIRTHDAY PARTY. He runs into his DAD, GARY WEEKS.

GARY WEEKS

Oh my God, son! You used the time machine!

JONNY WESTON

Yeah. But it turns out you can’t fix the past. There’s no second chances.

GARY WEEKS

...Uh oh. I don’t suppose there’s any reason you came all the way back to this particular date to speak to me regretfully about not being able to fix the past, is there?

JONNY WESTON

Oh no. Nothing special about this date, nosirree. Now you say goodbye to your son and go to that emergency meeting. Drive safely. Or don’t, whatever.

GARY WEEKS

Well fuck.

(leaves)

JONNY WESTON

And now I’ll destroy the flux capacitor so that I never build the time machine in the first place. That’s right, me visiting my own seventh birthday, the thing that caused me to make the time machine, is the thing that causes me to never make the time machine. Just had to get one last piece of illogical bullshit in before I

(stops existing)

INT. JONNY’S HOUSE

Back before any TIME TRAVEL takes place, JONNY finds his DAD’S OLD CAMCORDER. And his DAD’S... OTHER, IDENTICAL OLD CAMCORDER?

JONNY WESTON

Holy crap, this second camcorder contains footage of us here, now, finding the first camcorder! MIND BLOWN!

VIRGINIA GARDNER

So who exactly brought the second camcorder up from the basement to the attic and cued up the tape to this awfully convenient bit of footage which, remember, wasn't even filmed on that camera?

JONNY WESTON

I think the more pressing question is why the second camcorder exists at all. If the time-traveling version of myself disappeared into nothingness because he'd prevented his own timeline from happening, shouldn't the camera he was carrying around have also disappeared, according to the exact same logic?

VIRGINIA GARDNER

Dude, shut up! If you point out that none of the found footage from this found footage film should even exist, then-

The ENTIRE MOVIE vanishes in a puff of logic. Humanity is spared!

END.

This script was made possible thanks to the support of Patrons like Lief Theorine.

If you'd like to support the site, please check out our Patreon page where pledging can earn you access to an ad-free version of the site, early access to scripts, exclusive scripts, and other cool shit.

Discussion