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Trouble with the Curve

TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

EXT. BALL PARK - DAY

CLINT EASTWOOD

Here we are at the ball game, wheee! I love hanging out with my pals. Let's all go out go-karting afterwards, my treat!

CHELCIE ROSS

Er, Clint, your character description says "old, curmudgeonly and standoffish"

CLINT EASTWOOD

NO. Fuck you, NOT AGAIN. I already did In the Line of Fire and Space Cowboys and Blood Work and Million Dollar Baby and Gran Torino and et cetera et cetera I am SICK of this shit.

CHELCIE ROSS

Yeah, well, when you spend the first half of your career baking your skin in the desert sun and not learning any other facial expression than "irritable snarl", you only have yourself to blame when you spend the second half typecast as "grizzled old grouch".

CLINT EASTWOOD

Ugh, fine. Grr, goddamn punk ball players these days, all blurry and indistinct, in my day athletes had to be clearly visible, cadsarnit! Oh wait, maybe my eyesight's going.

ED LAUTER

Have you tried actually opening your eyes more than a twentieth of an inch for once in your life?

CLINT EASTWOOD

(tries, fails)

No, that ain't gonna work. I better see the eye doctor.

INT. OPTOMETRIST'S

OPTOMETRIST

Bad news, Clint, you're going blind.

CLINT EASTWOOD

Oh no, this could end my career as a legendary baseball scout!

OPTOMETRIST

Could end your WHAT? You're like ninety going on a thousand, are you really telling me you're still working? That's amazing, ending your career now is laughably non-tragic.

CLINT EASTWOOD

Oh, really? Damn, that's actually the central conflict of the movie. Maybe my daughter has something more interesting going on.

INT. LAW FIRM

CLINT'S DAUGHTER is AMY ADAMS, so he presumably had her when he was A MILLION.

AMY ADAMS

Okay, I've been devoting all my time to my law career, putting my personal life on hold, and now I'm up for partner of my firm! ...I think I see where this is headed.

BOB GUNTON

Yes, especially considering your partnership is in the hands of me, the bureaucratic asshole from every movie ever. Will you quit just this law firm, or the entire legal profession? Only time will tell!

AMY ADAMS

Since this is playing out in the most formulaic manner possible, I presume my advancement hinges on one major case?

BOB GUNTON

Indeed, and as usual there is one other person in contention for this position only he doesn't deserve it because he's a conniving prick.

AMY ADAMS

Wow, just how deep does the cliche run here? Here's a good test: hey Dad, how would you describe our relationship? Strained, would you say?

CLINT EASTWOOD

Hrm? Fuck off, I'm watching the game.

AMY ADAMS

Hoo boy, we're in for a rough time.

INT. TURNER FIELD

JOHN GOODMAN, MATTHEW LILLARD and ROBERT PATRICK are arguing about whether to draft JOE MASSINGILL.

JOHN GOODMAN

Picking players with math? Computers are dark magic and only the old ways will ever work, nothing must ever change!

MATTHEW LILLARD

But these are the exciting ideas of the future! You're too old and set in your ways, you'll kill this ball club with your stubborn... wait, is this Moneyball?

JOHN GOODMAN

Oh. No, you're right, I think this is the other one.

They hurriedly SWITCH SEATS.

MATTHEW LILLARD

I don't need to know anything about baseball, I just let my software pick players for me, nyeh nyeh nyeh.

JOHN GOODMAN

But you're missing the heart of the game! You're too young and callow, you'll kill this ball club with your inexperience and ignorance! Okay, that's more like it.

(pause)

Clint Eastwood! Out of nowhere, this conversation is completely about him now.

MATTHEW LILLARD

He's old and sucks! He makes maybe one pick a year, and his most recent pick is turning out to be terrible... wow, sorry, I was trying to be a dick there but those were legitimate concerns that just came out of my mouth.

ROBERT PATRICK

Okay, we'll send him to scout Massingill, and reconsider his contract based on how he does there.

JOHN GOODMAN

So... the future of Clint's career hinges on this one big deal? Wow, it's one thing to use a stale plotline, it's something else entirely to use it TWICE IN THE SAME DAMN MOVIE.

INT. AMY'S OFFICE

JOHN GOODMAN

Amy, you've got to go on this trip and help your dad out. His career is at stake! And much better to risk your promising young career than Clint's ancient one that he legitimately can't do anymore.

AMY ADAMS

Sorry, I can't do it.

(pause)

I mean, obviously I will, as it's the plot of the movie, but first I have to stall a bit, establish my reluctance, burn through some audience goodwill, you know.

JOHN GOODMAN

Sure, take your time.

AMY doesn't go with CLINT. Then she DOES.

CLINT EASTWOOD

What the fuck are you here for? Go home.

AMY ADAMS

Nope.

CLINT EASTWOOD

Get lost.

AMY ADAMS

Make me.

CLINT EASTWOOD

I don't want you here.

AMY ADAMS

Tough.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Boy, I hope this isn't going to be the bulk of your repartee for the next hour or so. Because that'd be kind of intolerable.

AMY ADAMS

Who are you?

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

I'm an old friend of Clint's. I played ball professionally for part of a season, but since a career-ending injury I became a scout for the Red Sox.

AMY ADAMS

...But scouts for major ball clubs are seasoned professionals, with either extensive training or distinguished experience on the field, not someone who was in the majors for a picosecond.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Well, it's just a temporary thing. If I do good, next year they'll make me an announcer.

AMY ADAMS

...But announcers for major ball clubs are seasoned professionals, with either extensive training or-

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Look, do you want your generic romantic subplot or not?

They watch JOE MASSINGILL play ball. He is a COCKY ASSWIPE.

CLINT EASTWOOD

Aaand now we know how this is going to play out. As your lame law-partnership subplot already pointed out, jerks don't deserve to succeed.

AMY ADAMS

Does this include rude, verbally abusive jerks who neglect their family and-

CLINT EASTWOOD

NO ONLY SMARMY JERKS GET KARMA, SHUT UP AND LET'S WATCH JOE BE A DICK.

JOE MASSINGILL

Hur hur, I'm so awesome and everybody else is so lame. Watch how awesomely I condescend to that peanut vendor over there. Hey jerkoff, gimme some peanuts with a side order of clumsy foreshadowing!

TOTALLY NOT IMPORTANT CHARACTER JAY GALLOWAY hurls some peanuts into JOE'S CHEST at around NINETY MILES AN HOUR.

JAY GALLOWAY

Now come over here and pay me.

JOE MASSINGILL

Wow. You do know this scene is meant to reveal ME as the raging douchebag, right?

Some BASEBALL is watched. Some BRITTLE DIALOGUE is exchanged. Honestly not much happens for a while. Eventually AMY and JUSTIN wind up on a DATE.

AMY ADAMS

Why did this date include two separate dance scenes?

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Well, you really need to break up my dialogue a bit, otherwise the audience will realise it's pretty much just a bunch of glib remarks strung together.

AMY ADAMS

Yeah, is your kinda-sympathetic backstory the only thing your character has in the way of substance?

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

More or less... but I DO have a lot of facile charm. And if that's not your thing, I also have a whole bunch of additional facile charm.

AMY ADAMS

I'll never understand why the thing that was your biggest Douchebag Warning Sign in The Social Network is supposed to be your main selling point in every other movie you make.

JUSTIN tries to make out with AMY but she SHIES AWAY.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Oh. That's cool, I can wait as long as it takes.

He IMMEDIATELY DISROBES and starts PUTTING THE MOVES ON AGAIN.

AMY ADAMS

What. Just... what.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Hey, what was I going to do, go a whole movie without taking my shirt off? I'm not made of stone!

EXT. BASEBALL GAME

CLINT and AMY watch JOE play baseball. YET AGAIN. JOE does something IMPERFECTLY for THE FIRST TIME IN THE ENTIRE MOVIE.

CLINT EASTWOOD

AHA! Joe may have played absolutely flawlessly the whole week we've been watching him, but I just spotted that he has a slight imperfection with his grip which makes him vulnerable to curve balls but not vulnerable enough to have actually missed a single pitch yet! Even though a good coach could correct the problem in a matter of weeks, my decision is that he can GO FUCK HIMSELF.

AMY ADAMS

But you're nearly blind, how did you spot that?

CLINT EASTWOOD

I heard it. It sounded like someone hitting a curve ball improperly.

AMY ADAMS

...Seriously? Are we sure that's the explanation we want to go with?

CLINT EASTWOOD

What do you want from me, I'm a blind baseball scout. It's either "super hearing" or "he's PSYCHIC".

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

So wait, your advice is to pass on Massingill?

CLINT EASTWOOD

Yessir, you can stake your career on it. I guarantee the Braves won't pick him, even though it's not my decision and I know for a fact that the higher-ups are leaning towards picking him regardless of what I say.

The Red Sox PASS ON JOE, then the Braves PICK HIM ANYWAY.

CLINT EASTWOOD

Huh. Didn't see that one coming.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

YOU WERE SETTING ME UP ALL ALONG! The fact that I believe that makes me an astonishingly bad judge of character, but either way, I lost my job because of you!

AMY ADAMS

Or maybe you shouldn't have directly admitted to your bosses that you had no idea and were just doing what the other scouts said to do? Food for thought.

JUSTIN drives off dickishly.

CLINT EASTWOOD

Well, the club didn't listen to me. I guess this means my career is over.

AMY ADAMS

Why? If you're right about Joe, the club will find out after a couple weeks of training and you'll look like a fucking genius.

CLINT EASTWOOD

Eh, that wouldn't be satisfying to watch, though. We need something more dramatic. More ridiculous. We need to pull some absurd deus ex machina right out of our asses, if possible.

Then AMY sees UNIMPORTANT PEANUT VENDOR JAY GALLOWAY playing catch with his brother, and it turns out he's secretly an INTERNATIONAL LEVEL PITCHER.

AMY ADAMS

Holy shit, I CAN hear it! It also helps that I can see it, with my eyes. Hey Jay, come to Atlanta with me!

JAY GALLOWAY

Jeepers, a completely untrained amateur is playing in his front yard when a random passing scout immediately recruits him for the majors? It's every ten-year-old boy's fantasy, only played dead straight in a movie for grown-ups!

JAY goes to TURNER FIELD and thoroughly schools JOE.

CLINT EASTWOOD

See, I was right after all! Massingill can't hit Galloway's curve ball!

ROBERT PATRICK

He also can't hit his fast ball. Which means that all you've proven is that Jay can pitch, which wasn't even your call. In fact, you didn't even spot it when he made that awesome peanut throw right in front of you. Why should this make me renew your contract?

CLINT EASTWOOD

Because otherwise Matthew Lillard wins and jerks don't deserve to succeed?

ROBERT PATRICK

...Damnit, you've got me there.

CLINT re-signs his contract! Possibly. And AMY quits law to be a sports agent! Probably. And although JUSTIN makes up with AMY his sporting career is still in the shitter! Presumably.

CLINT EASTWOOD

You know, for a movie that spent the entire time obsessing over what happens to the characters' careers, it certainly doesn't seem bothered about actually saying conclusively what DOES happen.

AMY ADAMS

You're hung up on that? I'm just trying to figure out why nobody in this movie had a Georgian accent.

END