Back in the day I was fiddling around with short movie scripts (I love reading movie scripts) and since Jalopnik was my favourite website, I thought why not insert the writers of Jalopnik into a pre-apocalyptic story where fuel is about to cut short for commercial use, thus effectively ending the world of driving internal combustion engine-equipped cars wherever you wanted.
Incidentally it only features writers that no longer write for Jalopnik, so as Thanksgiving coming up in the US, I'd like to thank the staff of Jalopnik for all their work, including their past collaborators, too.
Enjoy (if you can):
DRIVE INTO THE SUNSET - A JALOPNIK STORY (original script)
OPENING SHOT - EXT. DAY FADING IN
A lonely road in a desert-like area. Empty as a Lexus's soulchamber. No vegetation apart from some bushes. An abandoned gas-station can be seen somewhere in the distance. It's dry. So dry that J.R. Ewing would break down and cry upon seeing it. Only wind's blowing. It is Mad Max's territory. But Max is dead. Real dead. In fact he never existed. But this is real. We ponder on this image suggesting that the world has become somewhat dead. Vitality is missing. Title card appears: "SOMEWHERE IN NEVADA" As it fades out we hear some ancient noise. A noise this land has not heard of for decades. A noise meaning life. Or rather something larger than life. It's getting louder and transforms into a definite roar. As we start to realize what the roar might be... ...a sunfire Dodge Demon rips into frame with its V8 thunder. We have a very good look at the car until it disappears from frame.
INT. CAR - DAY
A man in his early 40s at the wheel driving into the vanishing point seemingly without destination. He wears sunglasses like police officers do and has a white T-shirt with a pack of Camel tucked into the left sleeve. He has a cigarette in his mouth without being lit. He is VERY alone but he has a name i.e. WES There are a bunch of stuff lying around in the car of which we get to know him a little bit. Some old fast-food paperbags from the early 2000s, wrenches at the passenger seat, a toy car in the open glove box fixing an old newspaper cutout saying: "Jalopnik vs. GM". Old memories. But old memories last as the world we know it. Bruce Springsteen tunes in on the AM frequency letting everybody know he was born in the USA. Wes travels. We keep up with him. We have a long look at his face showing no emotions at all. Bruce becomes annoying. Very annoying. As Wes would hear our thoughts he lets himself a little grin and reaches down to switch station. Static sounds fill the passenger area as Wes searches for some different tune. A radio announcer's voice comes weakly through the air and Wes turns it up. We cannot hear much of the talk but it feels very important. He listens very carefully, but eventually he gives up the fight as the V8 sound covers every other noise possible. He reaches for a box of matches. He manages to light his cigarette while fixing the steering wheel with his left knee. Throws out the match and takes a good sip from the cigarette. We travel on with the radio announcer's voice. Suddenly Wes looks down on the radio. Something was said. Like the news of a relative's sudden death. Wes steps on the break hard.
EXT. DAY - THE ROAD
The Demon's wheels screeching as it comes to a full stop. Engine stops running. Camera pans down to cockpit as Wes still holding the steering wheel pointing all his attention to the radio announcer's voice.
...earlier this morning. All communications were cut short and interrupted for indefinite terms, however it suggests the end of further negotiation attempts between the two oil companies. As it was pointed before, no more fossil fuel will be available for the public for the remaining resources will cover military needs in the future on global level. This marks a historical event in human history as energy needs were largely covered by fossil materials...
Wes opens the door and steps out of the car. We don't hear the radio announcer's voice. We only hear the end coming. He looks into the distance taking his sunglasses off. He knows it's all over. Stunned and broken. We all knew it would come but never really believed it. He walks a few steps forward as it made any difference. But it doesn't. A few beats as he gazes into infinity and eventually he turns around jumps into the car. An ignition and the beast comes alive again. Highrevving and the car makes a U-turn accompanied with tiresmoke leaving thick stripes on the ground. We know it's late. We know he's gotta hurry. We know it's the last chance. But we just don't know what for. As the car disappears...
FADE OUT INT. NIGHT - COMPLETE DARKNESS
We hear steps. Someone's coming. Door opens. Steps continue. A big CLANK! as a metal can being kicked over in the dark. Soft but angry mumble in the darkness. Steps continue. We hear fiddling with a chain. A few beat and a garage door is being rolled up. As moonshine's weak light reaches into the garage we realize we are sitting in a car looking out of the facility. Man fixing the garage door steps out to the street. He wears a shirt, fashionable trousers and shoes. Camera pans around to frame his face with the car behind. It is...
...in his early 40s again. And it is written all over his face. He heard it too. It's done. He is disappointed but somehow excited. Looks back at the car. It is a white Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV shining.
CUT TO: GARAGE EXT. - NIGHT
Sound of ignition as a four-banger comes alive with lively rapidity. Headlights cut through the darkness and the car rolls out of its shelter and races out of frame. Dogs barking. Several cuts as it rushes through the empty streets of Budapest as an aerial shot reveals in a zooming in that the there are jerrycans lying on the backseat.
INT. HOTEL ROOM - DAY
Hot day. A man lying on the bed drinking sake. Sweating. Suit and shirt unbuttoned. Moaning. He's... RAY. Still a young fella but feels a lot older than he actually is. Breathing slowly. Had a very bad night. Like Bruce Willis after saving the world again. The problem is the world hasn't been saved. Then he finally forces himself to stand up. He has a will at least. Wavers through the room going around the bed. Parks down by the window staring down...
CUT TO: THE STREETS OF TOKYO
The roads are packed with people. Everybody's on foot. Some electric scooters. It feels like Exodus. It's not, actually. It's only a day like the others in the past few years. Cars slowly disappeared through the times up to the point they were virtually completely gone... and will never return.
RAY'S FACE LEANING OVER THE WINDOW
CUT TO: THE STREETS OF TOKYO AGAIN
EXT. WES ON THE ROAD - SUNSET
The V8 is screaming as Wes puts the metal to the pedal. Gotta be there before sunset. Gotta go. The sense of urge is killing. Wes's every nerve is concentrated on the road only to be brought out of balance by a warning signal on the dashboard: fuel's running lean. Wes pushes harder...
CUT TO: EXT. ROAD DUSK
The Demon's slowing down begging for some juice. Coughing and trying as it slowly loses all kinetic energy. Comes to a full stop. A beat.
INT. WES AT THE WHEEL
Holding on the steering wheel tight. He can't believe it. Just not today! But again, this is real. Quiet. Moment. Sadness. Finally he releases the steering wheel. All tension's gone. Leans back and turns on the radio. The Spaniels' 'Goodnight Sweetheart' fills the air. Wes grins in irony as he falls asleep.
EXT. ROAD - MORNING
Wes walks on the road as the car's burning behind with the song still played on. A sign by the road says: "San Francisco 10 miles". We see him walking away until the song is over.
EXT. ITALIAN ROAD - DAY
Peter driving on the spaghetti lines in the hillside with the perfect confidence being lonely on the roads. Several cuts on the sunny location that feels like Top Gear at its best. No wonder Mr. Ripley killed for this sight.
Bang! Puncture in the worst moment. Car spins several times. Peter countersteers wildly while braking. Car finally stops. As the engine stalls we hear nothing but metal parts cracking via cooling. Peter's sweating and pale. Beat. Peter sighs. Gets out of the car and looks around the wheels. 4. Stops at the flat one. Looks at it close. There's nothing he can do about it. Stands up and looks around. There's a village in the not too long distance down in the valley and fortunately he's right on top of a hill. No other choice left he gets back into the car and starts descending on the road.
EXT. VILLAGE MAIN STREET - DAY
Peter rolling in slowly followed by a group of children cheering. Other people start gathering around the car as it comes to a stop. No word can be made out of the confusion partly because it's Italian but one thing's for sure: everyone is ultimately happy upon this phenomenon. Some people are pointing at the flat tire. Peter attempts to negotiate with the people without result for they cannot make themselves understood respectively. He then is being pushed through the street with a man handling the steering wheel from the outside.
INT. BICYCLE-REPAIR SHOP - DAY
Small garage in the street. The owner looks up from the daily newspaper upon hearing the crowd approaching. He cannot believe what he sees as the Alfa is being pushed into the garage. Stands up from the chair and moves towards the car. The crowd gets silent. Peter wants to say something but the owner turns to the man handling the steering wheel.
(subtitled) What's this?
I can see that, but what is it doing here?
Got a flat tire. You could repair it.
(Amazed. Beat.) Are you saying that it was actually moving?
(Stunned. Reaches out a hand to the man.) Mauro.
(Shakes hands with Mauro.) Peter.
(Heavily gesticulating trying to make himself understood) ...come?
Eeeer... Hungary? ...eeer...
No, no, no, no... go?
Ah! (draws a circle into the air) Targa Florio.
The crowd looks impressed. Mauro looks upon them and urges everybody but Peter out of the shop. As he closes the door we
TITLE CARD: AN HOUR LATER INT. GARAGE - DAY
Mauro is done with repairing. Smiles and seems very pleased. Peter is impressed, too. Reaches to his pocket. Mauro grabs his arm in motion. He looks dead serious. Peter looks questioningly on Mauro. Beat.
Peter waits as he is scrutineering Mauro's face. Mauro's lines getting softer. Starts smiling again.
Peter understands. Nods. Seeing an Alfa moving in Italy these days is almost a divine moment to these people. Mauro releases his arm and steps back. Peter sits back in the car. Mauro goes back to the entrance and opens the entryway.
EXT. STREET - DAY
Huge crowd gathered around the shop. Peter looks back and is amazed.
(shouting in extasy) GO!
The crowd starts applauding as Peter starts the Alfa. He reverses out of the shop between walls of people. The cheering doesn't stop even after the car is gone. Only Mauro seems sad...
RAY'S SAD AND HUNGOVER FACE IN THE ELEVATOR
Ray still looks pretty bad but a little better than the last time we left him.
EXT. STREET - DAY
Ray wandering. Several cuts on the city as Ray passes it.
EXT. HARBOR - SUNSET
Ray heads for a container that seemingly has been there for several years among many others, completely untouched. Pulls a set of keys from his pocket and opens the locks. Removes all the chains. Some big secret is to be revealed. But do not be afraid - it sure is a car. Ray opens up the door and enters. We cannot see what's in there we just hear him fiddling around - doors, hood opening, slamming, some moaning due to using muscle power. Then everything goes silent. Sound of ignition. Once. Twice. Three times. And by the 4th time it fires up! A straight-6. And behold a mighty second-gen. BMW M5 rolling out of the container. Ray still being tired. Waits. Getting into the zone. Focusing on the flat harbor lying in front of him. Slowly puts it into first gear. Left foot still on the clutch pedal he revs the engine. Waits until it gets warm. Beat. Suddenly he releases the horsepowers. A burnout transforms into acceleration. He sets off racing through the facility avoiding various obstacles. He's brave or senseless, we are not so sure. 7. Various cuts to different parts of the abandoned harbor. We cannot see the car, just hear it as it revs, brakes, screeches. The BMW slides into frame and stops. Ray at the steering wheel still looks pale but his arms are shaking. He starts smiling and bursts into laughing. Leans on the steering wheels and laughs heavily. The horn goes on. We pan up to see the sun finally set.
CUT TO: EXT. ITALIAN ROAD
Peter watching a similar sunset on a mountain road leaning to the Alfa's side. Bittersweet moment, it's over. He pets the car's side and starts walking.
EXT. SAN FRANCISCO STREET
Wes walking around the hills and valleys. Looks pretty tired. Stops on the top of the hill road and looks down. Stares down there for a very long time. As the camera zooms down we see two children chasing each other on the streets of San Francisco on bikes as Lalo Schifrin's Bullitt theme fades in slowly. We watch this scene for a long time. Then we have a look at Wes. He smiles. The world is not dead ultimately.
SLAM TO BLACK.