These new road paving techniques seem a tad extreme.

VOLCANO

The Abridged Script

EXT. LOS ANGELES - 1997

TOMMY LEE JONES, director of the OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, spends time with his 13 year old daughter, GABY HOFFMANN.

TOMMY LEE JONES

Boy, it sure is rough getting along with my moody, rebellious, teenage daughter.

GABY HOFFMANN

I tooooold you Dad, I don't eat in the morning! Also, I want a nose ring, which is probably the least upsetting piercing I could get. Gosh, aren't I difficult?

TOMMY LEE JONES

Actually you are, because as we will soon find out, you are the most poorly written 13 year old ever. You lack basic human survival skills, and I will have to save your ass constantly.

Suddenly an EARTHQUAKE HAPPENS!

INT. SCIENCE PLACE

Two SEISMOLOGISTS argue over who will speak to the NEWS.

NERDY DUDE SEISMOLOGIST

You've got to get up there and tell the public about the earthquake!

NERDY CHICK SEISMOLOGIST

I can't, I'm just a geek! I'll get up there and piss my pants!

NERDY DUDE SEISMOLOGIST

So will I! No one wants to listen to us! If only there was a cool, camera-ready scientist! Please God not Denise Richards.

NOT NERDY GEOLOGIST ANNE HECHE

Never fear, a blonde, photogenic person is here!

BOTH NERDY SEISMOLOGISTS

(swoon)

EXT. MACARTHUR PARK - LA

TOMMY and his associate, DON CHEADLE, learn that seven storm drain workers were BURNED ALIVE by a mysterious YELLOW GAS that NEVER SHOWS UP AGAIN.

TOMMY LEE JONES

Well, this seems to be a new emergency of some kind. How are the people in charge handling this?

DON CHEADLE

How do you think?

DAYTON CALLIE

It's not Public Works' fault! We checked the storm drain and whatever gas that was totally disappeared. See? Problem no here no more!

JOHN CARROLL LYNCH

It's not the MTA's fault either! Therefore, I will not shut down any subway trains. If Thomas the Tank Engine himself wants to go under this park, then choo choo, motherfucker!

TOMMY LEE JONES

These men came out looking like burnt hot dogs. Won't you shut it down for safety reasons until we figure out what happened?

JOHN CARROLL LYNCH

(genuinely perplexed)

But... but... how will people get home?

TOMMY LEE JONES

UUHHH put more busses on the street like you normally do when trains are down? Do I have to do everyone's job here?

Apparently, YES. He and NOBLE GUY WHO DIES LATER go down into the storm drain ALONE because STUBBORN WORKAHOLIC TOMMY LEE JONES needs answers now, damnit! They find a big VENT in the ground and almost die!

DON CHEADLE

What the hell happened?

NOBLE GUY

There's a steam vent with hot yellow fire stuff coming out of it! Good thing we were down there at the exact time it decided to blow!

TOMMY LEE JONES

Someone get me a scientist! And not one of those nerdy ones. Get me a blonde!

EXT. BEVERLY CENTER

We are treated to a small subplot where rich douchebag JOHN CORBETT nags his wife, DR. JAQUELINE KIM about working with POOR PEOPLE EEEEWWWWW!!! This scene merely exists to show us the cool new LUXURY HIGH RISE BUILDING JOHN BUILT which you will totally need to remember later. But it also reminds us that THEY ARE RICH and YOU ARE ALL UNWASHED POORSIES.

EXT. MACARTHUR PARK

ANNE arrives with NERDY CHICK SEISMOLOGIST LAURIE LATHEM, and explains things to TOMMY.

ANNE HECHE

So seven workers got Harvey Dent-ified in the storm drain, the temperature in the lake rose 10 degrees without anyone even pissing in it, and the La Brea Tar Pits down the street are boiling and stink more than usual. Yep, it's definitely volcanic activity.

TOMMY LEE JONES

Ooooh I get it, because of the San Andreas fault line! See? I know science!

LAURIE LATHEM

ACKSHUALLY, the San Andreas is a transform fault whereas most volcanoes occur in hot spots or subduction zones. So really, the likelihood of a volcano in Los Angeles is slim to none. At least Dante's Peak was set in a volcanic area-

ANNE HECHE

Quiet nerd, I'm flirtin' here! So, will you let me go down there and take samples? Not to be cliche, but you know every disaster movie starts with a scientist being ignored.

TOMMY LEE JONES

No way. You're just a shill for Big Natural Disaster and I'm not buying it. Now where is Superman? Maybe he can fix the fault line like he did back in the '70s.

(leaves)

ANNE HECHE

Well fuck him! You and I will go down there tomorrow!

LAURIE LATHEM

You just said you think it's volcanic activity. Wouldn't this require more planning? We could die!

ANNE HECHE

Not if you've got second billing you won't!

EXT. MACARTHUR PARK - 5AM

ANNE and LAURIE go into the storm drain dressed in CHEAP ASTRONAUT COSTUMES FROM PARTY CITY when another earthquake happens!

THE VENT

(sensing humans near it)

WHO DISTURBS MY SLUMBER?

LAURIE falls through the VENT. Then, lava JUMPS UP, GRABS LAURIE, SUCKS HER BACK DOWN, then DISAPPEARS COMPLETELY!

ANNE HECHE

What, no lion roars like in Twister? If we're going to be this goofy we might as well go all out.

LAURIE'S GHOST

(singing)

MacArthur Park is melting in the dark. All the sweet red lava flowing down...

EXT. ABOVE GROUND

Meanwhile, TOMMY and GABY drive down WILSHIRE BOULEVARD and witness ash, rock, and LAVA BOMBS falling from the sky. TOMMY turns his head slightly to the left, and it is only THEN he notices the GINORMOUS PILLAR OF SMOKE COMING OUT OF THE TAR PITS, which they are 20 FEET AWAY FROM.

TOMMY LEE JONES

Everything is on fire, I've got to help! You stay in the car, honey. You'll be safe here. Unless one of those meteors hit you of course.

TOMMY tries to save others but then GABY needs help. He ends up leaving two fireman who were in MORTAL PERRIL to go save GABY, who couldn't walk away from SLOW MOVING LAVA or TRY TO PUT OUT THE SMALL FIRE ON HER PANTS.

GABY HOFFMANN

Okay but my dad did leave me twenty feet away from the exploding tar pits so I'm not the only idiot around here!

GABY ends up getting burned but luckily DR. JACQUELINE KIM is there.

JACQUELINE KIM

Per your dad's orders, everyone is being diverted to Cedars-Sinai Hospital, which is about five minutes from what seems to be an active volcano. This doesn't seem smart at all.

GABY HOFFMANN

Right, and the hospital is next to that new tower your husband built so I'm sure this isn't foreshadowing anything.

EXT. WILSHIRE BOULEVARD

POLICE and FIREMAN arrive as LAVA pours onto the boulevard. ANNE finds TOMMY.

ANNE HECHE

I didn't kill my science partner!

TOMMY LEE JONES

I don't care! Now how do we stop this thing?

ANNE HECHE

Umm, WE DONT. Sheesh, do you guys try to stop hurricanes too?

TOMMY LEE JONES

I know, we'll overturn a bus!

ANNE HECHE

.......

TOMMY LEE JONES

It might divert some of the lava!

ANNE HECHE

It just took out a firetruck a minute ago! You think a bus is going to work?

They overturn a bus, which later accomplishes... something. The two of them find themselves trapped between the overturned bus, the lava, and a fallen BURNING TREE.

ANNE HECHE

Gee, if only there were five dozen fireman around to put out the tree fire!

They ESCAPE by hanging from a firetruck ladder, horizontally swinging 20 feet above MOLTEN LAVA and yes this is more goofiness but just be thankful they're not GABY.

INT. SUBWAY TUNNEL

JOHN CARROLL LYNCH and his MTA TEAM find people in a stranded subway car, because the train's emergency exit system is PURE SHIT.

JOHN CARROLL LYNCH

Guess that's my bad...

OTHER MTA GUY

Look, lava!

JOHN CARROLL LYNCH

Oh no! You save the other passengers. I must save the driver, even as the floor is melting under me! Thank goodness my Nikes will save me!

(looks into camera)

Nike, the official sponsor of "The Floor is Lava" game.

JOHN tries to jump out of the train, only to fall short and land in the LAVA. While he's MELTING, he somehow has the STRENGTH, BALANCE, and NON-FRIED-TO-SHIT NERVOUS SYSTEM to throw the DRIVER to safety. This scene should be tragic but it is in fact, HILARIOUS.

JOHN CARROLL LYNCH

Oh, what a world, what a world!

EXT. WILSHIRE BOULEVARD

TOMMY & CO. are still dealing with their own HOT version of THE BLOB, which is made even worse by the OBNOXIOUS AMOUNT OF REPORTERS NARRATING THIS WHOLE THING.

ANNE HECHE

Why are the fireman shooting their hoses way offscreen, seemingly into the middle of the lava? Shouldn't they spray the lava directly in front of them?

TOMMY LEE JONES

I'm guessing we shot these scenes and the visual effects came after, and they don't really match up.

They meet police chief KEITH DAVID.

KEITH DAVID

We're bringing in 8 trucks full of concrete traffic K-rails, as well as 500 helicopters full of water. All in fifteen minutes! This kind of manpower would sure come in handy if say, the entire continent of Australia were to ever catch fire.

TOMMY LEE JONES

Great! All of that should be enough to stop this thing!

ANNE HECHE

what

KEITH DAVID

It worked! The lava is subsiding, the volcano stopped!

ANNE HECHE

(scientist brain breaking)

WHAAAAT!?

After a brief celebration, and a heartwarming subplot about overcoming RACISM, ANNE finds a new problem.

ANNE HECHE

The amount of ash still falling means we're not out of the woods yet. Speaking of which, ash is basically shards of glass. Shouldn't we all be dead of bleeding lungs right now?

TOMMY LEE JONES

(making a snow angel)

Actually it's just newspaper. I can read the Ziggy comics in your hair.

ANNE HECHE

Regardless, lava is moving through the subway lines now, and it's going to erupt under... wait for it... Cedars-Sinai Hospital!

TOMMY LEE JONES

No! That's where Gaby is!

KEITH DAVID

Yeah, and the thousand other people you sent there, genius.

TOMMY LEE JONES

Don, new plan. Before the lava blows up the street, we'll blow up the street! We'll bring in tons of dynamite and create a trench that leads into the Pacific. And to block the lava, what the hell, let's demolish a building!

DON CHEADLE

We at O.E.M. must have an ungodly amount of power. How much time do we have to do all this?

TOMMY LEE JONES

About a half hour.

DON CHEADLE

Go fuck yourself.

EXT. BEVERLY CENTER

GABY finds use for herself by babysitting two BRATS.

GABY HOFFMANN

Oh no, the little boy with the worst ADR ever has run off! I can't leave him alone, so I'll go after him and leave the other kid alone!

She finds the boy on the street just as TOMMY starts the DEMOLITION. She realizes she is in the direct path of the FALLING BUILDING and JUST FUCKING STANDS THERE AGAIN WHAT THE HELL!?!?

TOMMY LEE JONES

Time for my dramatic hero run! I'll grab her and the boy and retreat back into the building they came out of! Because my daughter has the brain of a potted plant and couldn't think of it herself!

TOMMY gets there just in time and the building CRASHES TAKING OUT MULTIPLE BUILDINGS AROUND IT KILLING HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY DID THIS IN 20 MINUTES and everything works out!

DON CHEADLE

Does anyone else think it would have been 1000% more satisfying to see Corbett's reaction to this?

TOMMY LEE JONES

In any case, problem solved everyone! We saved the day! Also, Don, get Gaby a 24 hour security guard to follow her for the rest of her life.

DON CHEADLE

Got it. And what would a '90s disaster movie be without... a dog everyone cares about more than the humans!

ANNE HECHE

Did you drive to Tommy's house, pick up his dog and bring it to a disaster site? That's crazy.

DON CHEADLE

Like wandering the desert, talking about aliens crazy?

ANNE HECHE

Don't push it.

KEITH DAVID

Hey little boy, let's wrap this all up. Can you tell me what your parents look like, even though everyone is covered in dust? And please, whatever you say next, make it as cheesy and schmaltzy as possible.

LITTLE BOY

Look at their faces. They all look the same!

THE BOY and his friend GAL GADOT come together and sing IMAGINE as everyone's EYES ROLL OUT OF THEIR SOCKETS.

END

This script was made possible thanks to the support of Patrons like [email protected].

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