The team isn't wild about Michael Fassbender's idea for uniforms.

NEXT GOAL WINS

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

REV. TAIKA WAITITI

(not even bothering with Samoan accent)

There is an amazing movie called "Next Goal Wins." It won several awards and has a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. This is not that film.

INT. AMERICAN SOCCER FEDERATION HQ

Coach MICHAEL FASSBENDER sits before his BOSSES.

REV. TAIKA WAITITI (V.O.)

This one is more "What if Ted Lasso was an unlikable asshole?"

ELISABETH MOSS

Michael, as both your boss and your soon-to-be-ex-wife, it pains me to tell you that you're fired.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

(barely bothering with Dutch accent)

What? How?

ELISABETH MOSS

You've just had too many angry outbursts on the field. Which is nothing like the real Coach Rongen, who was fired for losing.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

No, I mean, how is it that you're allowed to be my boss AND my estranged wife AND dating my other boss? We're not FIFA, we have standards!

ELISABETH MOSS

Doesn't matter, none of that part actually happened.

ARMIE HAMMER

Now, upon hearing this news, you're going to awkwardly stumble through all five stages of grief in a row. A joke that “The Simpsons” already did better.

He DOES. It takes FOREVER.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

This whole movie isn't going to be as overstuffed with cheap, awkward jokes like that, is it?

It IS.

ARMIE HAMMER

Cheer up, Michael, we're sending you to coach the terrible American Samoan team. They might have never even scored, but they practice cannibalism there!

ELISABETH MOSS

Uh, they haven't done that for a while now.

ARMIE HAMMER

What? Well screw this!

ARMIE is recast with WILL ARNETT.

MICHAEL flies on HAWAIIAN AIRLINES PRODUCT PLACEMENT to AMERICAN SAMOA, a tiny US territory in the South Pacific that they filmed in to keep it accurate.

Just kidding, they shot it in HAWAII.

EXT. BUT ALSO INT. BECAUSE IT'S A BUILDING WITHOUT WALLS- PAGO PAGO AIRPORT

MICHAEL is assaulted (but not in the ARMIE HAMMER SENSE) with a TV CAMERA by OSCAR KIGHTLEY.

OSCAR KIGHTLEY

Hey, passenger! You're on "Who's on the Plane?" which is definitely nothing like a real show that aired on local TV when a certain Abridged Script author lived here!

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

Outta my way, I have a soccer team to coach!

OSCAR KNIGHTLEY

(putting down camera)

Oh! Hey, coach! I'm Oscar, the team manager! Let me take you to meet your team in another long, awkward gag.

He DOES. MICHAEL rolls his eyes and gets on the COOL BUS THAT IS A HEAVILY MODIFIED PICKUP TRUCK. GOOGLE "AIGA BUS," THEY'RE PRETTY NEAT. He moves into his APARTMENT and listens to VOICEMAILS from his DAUGHTER, KAITLYN DEVER, while DRINKING HEAVILY.

EXT. SOCCER FIELD. OR PITCH. WHATEVER.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

OK, everyone, I'm Michael Fassbender and I am going to-

A bell starts RINGING. Everyone but MICHAEL stops and bows their heads.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

What's going on?

OSCAR KNIGHTLEY

(whispering)

It's sa. A very real sacred time where everyone stops to pray until they ring the bell again.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

I'm not religious, what do I do?

OSCAR KNIGHTLEY

Stand there for another awkward joke.

He DOES. The bell finally RINGS again. KAIMINA arrives.

KAIMINA

Sorry I'm late, got caught up by sa.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

Hey, what's with her?

OSCAR KNIGHTLEY

Kaimina? She's late because she's on island time, same as everyone else.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

Not that, the other thing!

OSCAR KNIGHTLEY

Oh, she's fa’afafine, a real traditional Samoan third gender. Basically a trans woman. She's a great player who...

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

What's their deadname?

OSCAR KNIGHTLEY

Johnny. But don't-

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

Hey JOHNNY! What are your genitals?

KAIMINA slams MICHAEL to the ground.

KAIMINA

That's for making Coach Rongen look like an intolerant jerk! The real one was supportive of Jaiyah!

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

(still on ground)

Red...card?

EXT. A BEACH 10X THE SIZE OF ANY ON THE REAL ISLAND

MICHAEL stares out over the water next to OSCAR.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

This team's the worst! I should just quit and go back home.

OSCAR KNIGHTLEY

No, the team's like this tin can...

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

A realistic depiction of the runaway litter problem on this island?

OSCAR KNIGHTLEY

No, it's...

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

Trash?

OSCAR KNIGHTLEY

Well, yes, it seems worthless, but if I gather enough of them, I can exchange them for a small amount of cash! Recruit enough good players and you'll have a team that's technically worth something!

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

(smacks forehead)

Recruit good players? What an idea!

OSCAR KNIGHTLEY

And maybe also get to know the players and the island a bit.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

No way, this movie's all about me, the one white guy on the team!

EXT. ROAD

MICHAEL is drinking and driving before Officer SEMU FILIPO pulls him over.

SEMU FILIPO

You were going above the 20 MPH islandwide speed limit. It's 20 because the real limit of 25 isn't funny enough, I guess.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

I'm not getting a DUI?

SEMU FILIPO

Are you kidding? You're the celebrity from that plane show and this place is as crooked as it gets!

He kicks a soda can off a road sign and into a trash can.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

Hey, you're pretty good! Wanna play for the national soccer team?

SEMU FILIPO

Quid pro quo? You're starting to fit right in, uso!

INT. MICHAEL'S APARTMENT

MICHAEL is listening to more KAITLYN DEVER VOICEMAILS when KAIMINA knocks on the door.

KAIMINA

I came here to apologize to you, even though it should definitely be the other way around.

They go for LUNCH by the shore.

KAIMINA

We all have day jobs because being on the soccer team doesn't pay anything. I'm going to college in Hawaii and coming home during breaks. There's not a lot of opportunities here for young people so a lot of us join the military or find work off-island.

This is the most we learn about the individual PLAYERS or AMERICAN SAMOANS in the WHOLE MOVIE.

MICHAEL learns that the old goalie, ULI LATUKEFU, was actually pretty good, but was one of several players who QUIT because NO ONE BELIEVED IN THEM or SOME BULLSHIT LIKE THAT.

INT. A STORE THAT ISN'T GRUNGY OR CHINESE-OWNED ENOUGH TO BE REALISTIC TO THE ISLAND

ULI is stocking fridges when MICHAEL approaches him.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

Uli, come be the goalie again!

ULI LATUKEFU

No.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

Pleeeeaaaase?

ULI LATUKEFU

No, I let in 31 goals in one game! There's more dignity in stocking Coors Light!

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

Come on, the real goalie never even quit the team to begin with! That was way more inspiring!

ULI LATUKEFU

No!

EXT. SOCCER FIELD

The FIELD has large product-placement banners for THE REAL TELECOM COMPANY OF THE ISLAND, even though 99.9% of the AUDIENCE can NEVER USE IT.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

OK, listen up! It's just a few days before the World Cup qualifiers, so we're going to try this new strategy called "having formations and plays." But first, let's run up that huge mountain together!

They start to run towards it, before OSCAR gets hit by a BUS, but not THE KIND WE'VE ALREADY ESTABLISHED THAT THE ISLAND HAS. He is FINE because it's just another THROWAWAY AWKWARD GAG.

EXT. MOUNTAINTOP

They RUN up to the top of a VERY HAWAIIAN MOUNTAIN that sort of resembles the top of MT. ALAVA if you have NO IDEA WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.

BEULAH KOALE

Ah, this is the sacred place where our ancestors defeated the Tongan invaders so long ago!

(THE EDITING ROOM cannot verify anything beyond TONGANS invading SAMOA, because expecting ANYONE to have details on the history of COLONIZED PEOPLE before European contact is LAUGHABLE.)

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

(panting)

Yeah guys, it's...

He FAINTS from dehydration.

KAIMINA

Quick, get him to the hospital!

SEMU FILIPO

Nah, cooling him off in the ocean would give us baptism symbolism!

KAIMINA

Good point! Also, LBJ Hospital sucks!

They treat MICHAEL'S dehydration with SALT WATER. He wakes up and suddenly likes and respects the TEAM, and even attends CHURCH with them so that REV. TAIKA WAITITI can make another appearance before they fly to INDEPENDENT SAMOA for WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS.

INT. FALEOLO AIRPORT, APIA, SAMOA

The TEAM runs into the TONGAN TEAM.

TONGAN PLAYER

Eww, American Samoans!

They HISS at each other. No, REALLY.

TONGAN PLAYER

Go be ranked last somewhere else!

SEMU FILIPO

Why don't you go and have a less stupid face?

EVERYONE

OOOOOH!

TONGAN PLAYER

You win this round, but you won't on the field tomorrow!

They part ways, HISSING again.

INT. FANCY-FOR-SAMOA LOUNGE

MICHAEL attempts to mingle with the SOCCER ELITES OF THE RUGBY PART OF THE WORLD.

RANDOM AUSTRALIAN PLAYER

You're coaching American Samoa? Crikey, I personally scored five of those 31 goals for Australia against them, and I was just their equipment manager!

MICHAEL slips away, but immediately runs into WILL ARNETT and ELISABETH MOSS.

WILL ARNETT

Michael Bluth! I mean, Michael Fassbender! Fancy seeing you here!

They clink VAILIMA BEERS, almost as pointless of a PRODUCT PLACEMENT as the TELECOM one.

WILL ARNETT

I'll let you in on a little secret: The American Samoan team sucks so much that we're going to disband them. They're just not worth the budget of $10 worth of used soccer balls that we give them every year.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

What? But I've liked them for almost a whole week now!

WILL ARNETT

It's okay, we'll just hook you up with a cushy job back home that we couldn't get you before for some reason.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

(to ELISABETH)

Wanna go drink and lie on the field tonight?

ELISABETH MOSS

OK, but that's it! I'm not your team's goalie, I don't let just anything in!

They go drink on the FIELD. MICHAEL alludes to it having been a few years, but is actually talking about SOMETHING ELSE.

INT. SOCCER LOCKER ROOM

It's GAME DAY. MICHAEL brings in ULI LATUKEFU.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

Uli just happened to be on this island, and now he's willing to be the goalie again!

EVERYONE CHEERS.

OSCAR KNIGHTLEY

But wait, he can rejoin the team on game day? It's been years! Don't they need to work together first?

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

Nope.

EVERYONE CHEERS again. There is soft sobbing from the BATHROOM. MICHAEL enters to find KAIMINA crying.

KAIMINA

Go away! I went off my hormone treatment to give me an athletic boost, but now I feel ugly!

OSCAR KNIGHTLEY

(poking head in)

The real Jaiyah wasn't even taking hormones yet!

KAIMINA

Not now!

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

Aww, you're not ugly!

KAIMINA

(perks up)

Wow, thanks, that was all I needed!

She runs off to the FIELD.

KAIMINA

Let's destroy those Tongans!

The TEAM gets DESTROYED by the TONGANS.

INT. SOCCER LOCKER ROOM- BETWEEN HALVES

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

Ugh, we're down by a whole point! This team is hopeless! I should just quit in the middle of the game and fly home, because all my character development has vanished!

OSCAR KNIGHTLEY

I know the problem: You're too hard on everyone!

SEMU FILIPO

Yeah, you put too much pressure on us! The worst-performing team in the world is just that way because we're not relaxed enough!

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

Look, there is one island in the world where the people aren't relaxed enough, and that is Manhattan!

BEULAH KOALE

Everyone needs to try and have fun out there, just relax! It's a World Cup qualifier, not a little league game!

KAIMINA

Michael, if you've been hiding a deep vulnerability, now's the time to reveal it and connect to the team better.

MICHAEL exhales deeply.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

My daughter was killed several years ago in a car accident.

M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN

That's right, Kaitlyn Dever has been DEAD ALL ALONG!

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

I was a jerk to Kaimina at first because she reminded me of her, my blond, cis daughter from Virginia. I've always blamed myself for her death.

Everyone is QUIET.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

Now let's try and go have a little fun out there!

The team CHEERS and heads out to the PITCH.

EXT. TOURNAMENT FIELD

The team continues to SUCK briefly, but then gets BETTER. BEULAH shoots on the goal, and it...barely rolls in. OSCAR stands in the stands.

OSCAR KNIGHTLEY

WE SCORED! OHHH MYYY GOOODDDDDDDDDD!

He FAINTS.

INT. MEDICAL TENT

BEULAH KOALE

Dad, wake up!

OSCAR KNIGHTLEY

Wha...what happened?

BEULAH KOALE

You passed out from...heat stroke.

OSCAR KNIGHTLEY

What a relief! I thought the rest of the hundred or so awkward gags had to be cut in the abridged version of this movie! How's the game going?

BEULAH KOALE

Oh, it's over. I'm now going to tell you the climactic part of the movie in a series of flashbacks instead of actually showing them to you.

OSCAR KNIGHTLEY

Ugh, just abridge it for me!

BEULAH KOALE

Kaimina scored another goal, then I caused a penalty. Tonga took the penalty shot, but Uli blocked it. There were five minutes of stoppage time because American audiences know about that now, and then we won!

OSCAR KNIGHTLEY

WE ACTUALLY WON?!

BEULAH KOALE

And then we lost the next one against Samoa, so we're not going to the World Cup or anything.

OSCAR KNIGHTLEY

Had to cut out that boring tie against the Cook Islands, I see. But still! We actually won a game!

INT. TEAM CELEBRATION

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

I'm proud to announce that I'll be staying on as your coach!

EVERYONE LAUGHS.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

Yeah, I'll be leaving, but not to take that cushy job that Will Arnett promised me, because it was introduced in a bad light. Also, I'm religious or something now.

We are treated to CREDITS FOOTAGE of the REAL-LIFE VERSIONS OF THE CHARACTERS as is OBLIGATORY to every movie based on REAL PEOPLE. It's from the WAY BETTER 2014 DOCUMENTARY. SERIOUSLY, GO WATCH THAT INSTEAD.

REV. TAIKA WAITITI

And now I will have another awkward joke about trying and failing to walk on water for the post-credits stinger.

This is the PERFECT way to end a movie that has been DROWNING in TOO MANY AWKWARD JOKES.

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