person_pin It’s National Screenplay for a Weak Third Installment in a Film Trilogy Month Again!

by Joseph S Pete

Published in Issue No. 260 ~ January, 2019

That’s right screenwriters; it’s already NaScreWeaThiInstFiTriMo again.

Get inspired. Get motivated. Get writing. Psych yourself up like anyone who attempts a desperate shortcut that promises immediate results like losing 20 pounds on an all-poutine-and-gravy diet or learning a foreign language in just five minutes by listening to someone mispronounce bonjour at a Tim Hortons in rural Quebec over and over again. You too can pen a screenplay for a weak third installment in a film trilogy in just a month. Think The Godfather: Part III or Spider-Man 3 or The Trip to Spain.
Okay, that Steve Coogan vehicle was delightful and casually aspirational and all kinds of charming and there probably was no actual screenplay to speak of in that shaggy comedic riff-fest but writing often relies on the rule of threes, and a third example eluded us off the cuff, since we’ve really got to crank this thing out like right now.
Sure, we could do more research into the subject matter, but we’ve got to pound out this 120-page screenplay in just a month and have got to get it wrapped up like ASAP. It took us a month just to gather all our mortgage prequalification documents, but that was business, and this is art and art is definitely more urgent because people are totally waiting on tenterhooks for your artistic contribution to the world.
It’s got to be for a truly crappy and underwhelming conclusion to an otherwise artistically impeccable trilogy that will go down in the annals of cinema. (Ha, ha, ha, annals. Wait, strike that. No, leave it in to pad the word count but add a note to edit it out later because seriously.) We’ve got to descend from operatic emoting over Fredo’s heartrending betrayal to Andy Garcia perfunctorily whacking dudes on horseback at a parade. We’ve got to go from Alfred Molina’s soulful, tormented Doc Ock to Thomas Hayden Church pissing away the last grains of goodwill from his revelatory turn in Sideways like sand passing through an hourglass.
How am I supposed to pen this timeless masterpiece when I have to work 13 hours a day and then moonlight as an Uber chauffeur just to keep up with my mortgage and utilities in today’s wintry economic climate and maybe tuck my kids in for the night if I’m lucky? How can I…
SERIOUSLY, WE’VE GOT TO WRITE THIS RIGHT NOW GODDAMNIT! Seriously, where is my Monster Triple Espresso, my Crunk Energy Drink with 10 percent of my daily requirement of B vitamins and a “proprietary energy blend” that prominently features guarana and ginseng? Where is my liquid cocaine? Doesn’t Postmates realize I can sue them if they fail to provide the service I pay for?
Listen, NaScreWeaThiInstFiTriMo is all about disappointing easy marks who expected more but should have known better. The first film was almost great, the second chapter was legitimately great, and the third is an abject failure of a blatant cash grab. Take the cannoli and get the hell out before it all gets as stale as a week-old bagel.
But look, I’ve failed at mostly everything: personal hygiene, maintaining friendships, dancing with anyone other than myself at my own wedding, critiquing restaurants on Yelp, and not completely failing. If failing has taught me one thing, it’s that you should redouble your efforts—just more recklessly, dramatically and futilely than ever before.
Hollywood might reject my idea for Magic Mike 3: Magic Mike in Space. But what does Hollywood know other than how to make billions of dollars from thoughtless popcorn movies featuring archers and rageaholic, green professors who thrash around demi-gods with little effort and somehow unrealistically attained tenure?


account_box More About

Joseph S. Pete is an award-winning journalist, an Iraq War veteran, an Indiana University graduate, a book reviewer, a photographer, and a frequent guest on Lakeshore Public Radio in Merrillville. He is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee who has read his work for the Fictitious series on the iO Theater stage and who was named the poet laureate of Chicago BaconFest, a feat that Geoffrey Chaucer chump never accomplished. His literary or photographic work has appeared in more than 100 journals, including The Tipton Poetry Journal, Chicago Literati, Dogzplot, Proximity Magazine, Stoneboat, The High Window, Synesthesia Literary Journal, Steep Street Journal, Beautiful Losers, New Pop Lit, The Grief Diaries, Gravel, The Offbeat, Oddball Magazine, The Perch Magazine, Bull Men's Fiction, Rising Phoenix Review, Thoughtful Dog, shufPoetry, The Roaring Muse, Prairie Winds, Blue Collar Review, The Rat's Ass Review, Euphemism, Jenny Magazine, Vending Machine Press and elsewhere. His personal brand is wrinkled shirts and failure.