The Abridged Script
EXT. A DESERT - THE 1950S
We are introduced to all the major characters when they were STRAPPING YOUNG BUCKS in the AIR FORCE. Unfortunately they are overdubbed with the voices of the OLD ACTORS, so the whole flashback opening is just CREEPY AS ALL HELL.
YOUNG TOMMY LEE JONES
(with ancient Tommy Lee Jones's voice)
Boy, do we sound crotchety. And by that I mean we sound like we've been possessed by crotch demons.
(howling with the ache of centuries)
MAKE ROOM!! MAKE ROOOOM!!!
YOUNG CLINT EASTWOOD
(with ancient Clint's voice)
Goddammit, they're sending a chimp into space instead of us. This will piss me off to no end for the next forty-odd years.
INT. THE PRESENT
CLINT EASTWOOD is still really pissed off.
He is visited by LOREN DEAN and MARCIA GAY HARDEN.
I am a young guy, and therefore deserving of everyone's contempt and ridicule. But I must ask you to help NASA solve a blatantly contrived emergency.
MARCIA GAY HARDEN
You're not a team player, Clint Eastwood. Maybe someday you'll learn to be a team player.
The NASA DIRECTORS and JAMES CROMWELL are trying to come up with a plan.
So this satellite is going to burn up in the atmosphere. That's a shame.
Well, it's actually a really dangerous satellite.
Oh geez! We'd better send up our most qualified astronauts right away!
Um, not that dangerous, then. It's just barely dangerous enough to send up a special mission, but innocuous enough that we can send a bunch of out-of-shape geezers.
We're still better off with our own...
Oh yeah, and the satellite has a design system that only Clint Eastwood understands.
Well surely we have files of our own on this satellite?
Er, but... it's Russian! Yeah, that's it! Look, we even have a stereotypical Russian general here left over from propagandistic 80s movies!
Da. Satellite go boom soon. Terribly sorry.
This is just too fucked up. So you're saying this whole situation has been painstakingly engineered to create a flimsy artificial premise whereby we might just conceivably go against all official protocol and send a cranky old fucker into outer space? Didn't anyone figure out John Glenn was just a big publicity stunt?
Actually it's four old fuckers. Look, I've brought Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, and James Garner. Zany, huh?
DONALD SUTHERLAND pops his teeth in and out. TOMMY LEE JONES wrinkles furiously. JAMES GARNER blends into the background and pockets his cheque.
For some reason my character is evil, so I will oppose this scheme to get Clint into space. Besides, I hear he's not a team player.
We'll show all of you. We'll do all the training and pass the necessary physical tests to go into space.
There follows a MONTAGE of the four old guys being REALLY OUT OF SHAPE and COMPLAINING a lot about how OUT OF SHAPE they all are.
Well, geez, they're obviously not fit enough.
Fuck you all. It's my goddamn movie so we're going to space anyway.
Fuck you too! We've sat here over an hour watching this garbage, waiting for any plot of interest. We KNOW you're going to space, and you're telling us this satellite isn't that dangerous anyway, so why the hell are we supposed to be watching?
But we do all these great senior citizen jokes. Check out Sutherland's teeth.
Just go to fucking outer space already!
INT. LOCKER ROOM
MARCIA GAY HARDEN walks in and sees TOMMY LEE JONES naked. Strangely, she does not RUN IN TERROR, but becomes AROUSED by his saggy and wrinkled ass.
MARCIA GAY HARDEN
I am so flustered to see you naked, as well as being terribly embarrassed by my underwritten part.
TOMMY LEE JONES
I've just learned that I have terminal cancer. Also, my wife died a while back, and the only dream left to me is to see outer space.
MARCIA GAY HARDEN
Wow, I sure hope that a gallant sacrifice isn't required on this space mission.
At long fucking last the OLD GUYS go to SPACE, along with LOREN DEAN and another YOUNG GUY.
INT. SHUTTLE - LOW EARTH ORBIT
Well, there's the just-barely-above-not-dangerous satellite.
Suddenly, the SATELLITE sprouts DEATH BEAMS and NUCLEAR LASERS and HYPNO-RAYS and the like!
Oh no! It really is colossally dangerous! How suspenseful!
Gee, and it only took an hour and a half. Well, let's see you deal with this, then.
Suddenly, the two YOUNG GUYS fuck things up in some incoherent way that results in LOUD NOISES, RAPID EDITING, and BAD CGI EFFECTS. When it's over only the OLD GUYS are left standing and somehow the situation has gotten worse, only we're not sure how.
Looks like someone will have to gallantly sacrifice himself.
Everyone looks at TOMMY LEE JONES.
TOMMY LEE JONES
Okay, okay, I get the hint, I'll go.
Thanks, Tommy. I mean, I could prove that I'm a real team player by sacrificing myself instead, but that's why I made sure your character had cancer and a dead wife.
TOMMY LEE JONES sacrifices himself to save Earth, if you can call a guy with nothing to live for losing his few remaining days before succumbing to a horrible disease while saving billions of lives and becoming a hero forever, a sacrifice.
Meanwhile the remaining characters have to LAND the shuttle which has, of course, been terribly damaged.
I can still prove I'm a team player, by doing everything myself while you guys stand around and watch me.
Okay, even though James and I might choose to parachute to safety we'll just sit here and watch you save the day. Right, James?.... James?
Sorry, I was in my trailer. Is the movie done yet?
CLINT EASTWOOD lands the SHUTTLE and saves the day!
Whew. Thank God we had OLD GUYS to help us! Goddamn those YOUNG GUYS!!
But when we started the movie THEY were young guys, too! Does that mean their grievances about when they were fucked over as young guys are bullshit? Or is the real message that they're just selfish bastards that feel they should be allowed to do whatever they want?