Around two weeks ago, What We Do Is Secret, a biopic on the seminal punk band The Germs, came to The Belcourt and left just a few days later. Though it looks pretty awful, I still wanted to see it, but wasn’t in town to catch it. I was actually in The Germs' hometown of L.A. the entire time it was screening. And, while the life of Darby Crash is certainly more than cinematic, what about Nashville, eh? Is Nashville going to be our only claim to movie fame?. I dunno about you losers, but Seth Graves can’t sit around in this three-horse town forever waiting for Music City to catch up to his speed. I’ve got plans, schemes, and dreams to remember. So I’m abandoning Music Row for Hollywood Blvd., and I’m bringing Nashville with me. My first three screenplays are based on the life, times, crimes, mishaps and fictitious adventures of Nashville’s favorite sons and daughters. I’ve adapted the stories of Music City’s most popular bands into big budget Hollywood films and stocked them with A-list directors and actors. Ignoring the advice of my agent, I’ve posted them here for your entertainment, trusting that you won’t steal them for yourselves. Enjoy!
The Pets Are Alright!
In this heart-warming family film to be directed by Richard Linklater, a ragtag group of young, aspiring musicians have big dreams of one day making it big while playing Yeah Yeah Yeahs covers in their parents’ garage. Of course, it’s little more than a dream.... That is, until one Saturday morning, when neighbor, alcoholic and washed-up A&R rep Lenny Squiggs (played by Billy Bob Thornton) overhears the group while leaving the house for an early morning liquor run. Lenny gets an old familiar tingle in his bones, not unlike the one he felt when he heard O-Town for the first time in 1997. Squiggs takes it upon himself to whip the group into a shape through a series of grueling practices, wacky hijinks and awkward antics—leading the audience to wonder if the gang will ever get it together in time for the big showcase. A touching moment in the third act reveals Squiggs is actually Jemina Pearl’s (Dakota Fanning) father, exposing his true motive for taking the band under his wing. The climax comes when the band has made the semi-finals of the Battle of the Bands showcase. Up against the notoriously audacious Totally Snake (real cameo by Totally Snake), Squiggs pulls a last minute trick play, switching instruments between bassist Jonas Stein (Joe Jonas) and guitarist Nathan Vasquez (Nick Jonas). The stunt is so crazy it actually works, as audience member and indie rock godfather Thurston Moore (played by Kim Gordon) greets the band after the show and tells them he wants to sign them to his Ecstatic Peace! label.
Cameron Crowe directs this inspiring story of a trio of working-class youths who make a name for themselves playing darkly melodic punk rock on the outskirts of town. When Wally Friction (Philip Baker Hall)—singer Matt Friction’s grandfather (Adrian Greenier is attached to play Matt), the only person who ever believed in them—passes away and leaves the band a small sum of money, the band sees to it his support isn’t in vain. They buy a church van, release an EP and embark on a DIY U.S. tour. Their single “All the Cool Girls Are Twelve” is an instant college radio hit, and soon the boys find themselves in the offices of Geffen Records. Their debut, Teenage Confetti is nothing short of a smash and the band sees fame, fortune, women and temptation around every corner. Inevitably, the excess starts to buffer their once tightly-knit friendships. The band spends a year recording their next album, The Cruel and Shallow Money Trench—a de facto sequel to the Kinks’ Lola vs. Powerman that rages against the corruption and greed of the music industry. During recording, Matt's artistic and creative talents are often buried beneath his arrogance, leading to arguments between him and band manager Doc Matthews (Tommy Lee Jones). At one point, drummer Bob Ferrari (Shia LeBouf) tells Matt he doesn't understand what he's looking for, to which Matt responds that he wants to be great. Bob replies "We're not great. We're just some kids from Nashville." Matt makes it clear that if the band cannot be great, then there is no reason to ever play music again.
The new album is an ambitious culmination of all that Matt had ever hoped to accomplish with his music, different from anything that anyone else had ever done before. However, the record company finds it controversial and considers it too dark and obscure. It is rejected, shelved, and not to be released. In the early morning hours after Geffen refuses to release the new album, Matt's car crashes through the railing of the Demonbreun Bridge. Matt's body is never found, and he is declared dead.
Fast forward 20 years later where former band members are all grown up, working regular jobs and supporting families. Though Jon Decious (Matthew McConaughey) and Ferrari (played now by Phillip Seymour Hoffman) have lost touch, a chance run-in at the Inglewood Kroger leads to discussion of finally releasing the band’s lost album in memory of their former band mate. The guys use their life savings to purchase the master tapes and perform the piece in its entirety backing up tracks from the master tape of Matt Friction’s vocals. The concert is surprisingly packed as the band’s cult audience has come out of the woodwork and fills the seats of the Ryman Auditorium. The performance goes off without a hitch until the vocal tracks malfunction, undermining the entire point of the show. While an awkward silence fills the room and the stagehands attempt to fix things, a startling, familiar voice comes echoing from the back of the hall. All eyes turn towards a tall, thin silhouette. It walks forward into the spotlight where it is immediately recognized as a much older Matt Friction (Johnny Depp). Friction steps onto the stage, picks up his old guitar and rocks out one more time with the band. The film closes on a shot of the long lost Friction smiling warmly, knowing that his work that was misunderstood so many years ago is finally being appreciated.
I intend on talking Robert Rodriguez into perfecting the technique he initially experimented with in Sin City, and shooting this film entirely in front of a green screen. This action-packed, half-animated epic is based on the best-selling graphic novel originally penned (and illustrated) by yours truly. The Brotherhood tells the story of two siblings out to avenge the death of their parents with the raw power of rock 'n' roll. After being orphaned in the streets of Nashville at an early age, Jamin Orrall (Elijah Wood) and Jake Orrall (Shane West) are taken in by a half-crazed sewer dweller (played by Dave Cloud). It is there he teaches the boys the fundamentals of guitar and drums, but dies himself before the boys actually learn to play. During one of the band’s numerous house show performances, a foot soldier for the evil Swedish guitar virtuoso Ingemar Anckarström recognizes the boys and alerts his leader they are alive and carrying on the tradition that led to their parents’ assassination. Flashbacks reveal that the boys’ father, Robert Ellis Orrall, was pioneering a new wave of minimalist, bare-bones rock 'n' roll—a style that involved no expertise or technical skill whatsoever, but rather relied on simple, droning, repetitive stoner riffs and guitars with only three strings. Feeling simultaneously threatened and enraged at this kind of musical blasphemy, Anckarström uses a killer, rapid fire guitar lick (played with a pick attached to the end of a power drill) to slaughter both the boys' parents and send a message to Orrall’s disciples.
A series of small battles and some old-fashioned noir-style detective work lead the brothers to the Phrygian Fortress, where Anckarström is waiting for them. A classic battle of the bands ensues as the brothers JEFF fight their nemesis to the death. Ultimately, Anckarström’s complex motifs, recurring codas, puzzling tempo changes and high-speed octatonic scales fly completely over the Orralls’ heads. On the other hand, JEFF’s guttural dirges fire like heat-seeking missiles into Anckarström’s oversized groin, shattering his sacred studded cod piece and forcing him to relinquish his powers unto Jake and Jamin. The brothers will now use these skills for absolutely nothing and continue spreading their doctrine of simplicity, playing shows with their sidekicks MEEMAW every other day.
Feel free to leave your own script ideas below and I'll be sure to pitch 'em when I get to Tinsel Town.