DON'T STOP BELIEVING

a screenplay
by Dean Cameron

 
 

 'Don't Stop Believing
 
     

 

     
 

 DARKNESS:


The opening bass/piano line to the Journey song "Don't Stop Believing" is HEARD.

Club noise. A local club. The song kicks in and we

SMASH UP:


INT. EL JEFE'S MARGUERITAVILLE - NIGHT

Way close on the mug of JEF STEIN, lead singer of JEF STEIN'S OSAGE. A top 40 cover band here at "The 'Ville" as the regulars call it.

JEF
(to audience)

Hey everybody! I'm Jef Stein and this is Jef Stein's Osage! We're glad y'all could make it out here tonight to hear us. If you're new, make sure you get on our mailing list; see Serena, she'll sign your ass up. Here's another one you all know, I'm sure and it features my main man, Bret, on guitar. DON'T STOP BELIEVIN', people!!!!

And we're off. The song. You've heard it a bazillion times. When there's no one else in the car, you turn it up.

Jef's way into singing it. He's a little too old and a little too heavy, but hey, he makes a good living here and he and Serena have a nice arrangement. He sings the hell out of it.

BRET, the guitar player, and our hero, lays into the solo as it comes up. He's pretty damned good. Too good. That's why we're making a little movie about him, okay?


INT. BRET'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Bret grunts as he ejaculates. Long nailed hands scratch his back. He rolls off the girl. She has intense ASH - After Sex Hair.

Bret methodically begins setting his alarm clock for 5am.

ANGELA
What are you doing?

BRET
I've gotta get up early tomorrow.

ANGELA
Oh... You didn't say anything about...

BRET
I'm sorry, I thought I did. Jef's car is in the shop and I gotta take him down there... It's a long story. You mind getting up that early?


SMASH CUT:


INT. BRET'S APARTMENT - MOMENTS LATER

The sound of a door slamming shut is HEARD. It worked. Bret grins and unplugs the clock. He reaches for his remote and turns on his TV. MTV blares. Bret reaches for his guitar.


INT. BRET'S APARTMENT - MORNING

The SCREECH of a CROW is HEARD. It's like a high pitched buzzsaw right in your ear. Deafening. Horrid. Exactly the sound someone doesn't want to hear at eight in the morning.

Bret is sprawled on his bed. Pillow over his head, trying to not hear the CROW. It's impossible.

He gets out of bed and opens his sliding glass door.

BRET'S POV - CROW

It's there. On a wire. Taunting him.

CROW
CAW!CAW!CAW!

BRET
Fuck off, crow.

CROW
CAW!CAW!CAW!

Bret makes wild "shoo" gestures at the Crow.


EXT. BRET'S APARTMENT - SAME

Bret, in his speedo brief underwear, looking like a madman trying to shoo the Crow away.

We get a good look at him, finally. He's pale, pale, pale. In bad shape. He's almost "aging rocker". It's going to be too late, very, very, soon. Again. That's why we're making this little movie about him.


INT. JEF'S CONDO - DAY

Jef tools around his condo in some sweats and a custom tank top that looked good about six years ago. At this moment, he's looking down the neck of a guitar. Bret sits in a corner, doing bong hits.

JEF
(re:guitar)
Yeah, man. That's real good, dude. You did it up real nice. Good action and shit. Real nice. Yeah. Real nice.

Bret exhales.

BRET
Y'know, Jef. We should toss in some originals. I've got like, shit, like a ton of 'em.

JEF
Dude. Ray would shit. You know that.

BRET
But like, one a night. They're as good as any Journey song.

JEF
Yeah, right.

BRET
No, man. Really.

He hands Jef the bong. Jef loads it up.

JEF
Man. I told Serena that I'd quit messin' with this shit...

Jef takes an impossibly long hit. He holds it throughout.

BRET
We gotta do an original. Just one, dude. Okay? Like, first or second song, when no one's there.

JEF
(exhaling)
Dude. Look at me. I had a deal, dude. It sucked. They just fuck you over and over and over again. The only good thing that came of it was Serena and this condo. I still got lawyer fees up the yingyang. Trust me, you don't wanna chase that carrot.

BRET
No, I know, but...


INT. BRET'S TOYOTA PICKUP - DRIVING

Bret drives along, eating fast food. His stage clothes hang from the side handle above the passenger door.


INT. EL JEFE'S MARGUERITAVILLE - NIGHT

It's the last song once again. "Don't Stop Believin'" A repeat of the opening scene.

JEF
(to audience)
Hey everybody! I'm Jef Stein and this is Jef Stein's Osage! We're glad y'all could make it out here tonight to hear us. If you're new, make sure you get on our mailing list; see Serena, she'll sign your ass up. Here's another one you all know, I'm sure and it features my main man, Bret, on guitar. DON'T STOP BELIEVIN', people!!!!

Bret does his little bow and rips into the solo.


INT. BRET'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Bret grunts as he ejaculates. He rolls off the girl. It's a different GIRL. Same ASH - After Sex Hair.

Bret begins setting his clock.

LYDIA
What are you doing?

BRET
Oh, I thought I told you? I have to catch a flight to San Francisco tomorrow morning.

LYDIA
What time?

BRET
I've got to get up at 5 am.

LYDIA
That's in like two hours.

Bret shrugs.

LYDIA (CONT'D)
I was hoping to sleep here tonight.

BRET
That'd be fine, but I've gotta get up to get that flight at five.


SMASH CUT:


INT. BRET'S APARTMENT - MOMENTS LATER

The door shuts. Bret grins. Mission accomplished. Like clockwork, he turns on the TV, grabs the guitar and sits back.


INT. BRET'S APARTMENT - NEXT MORNING

The evil CAW!CAW! of the CROW is HEARD. Each caw is like a gunshot going off in Bret's ear.

CROW
CAW!CAW!

Bret opens his sliding door.

BRET
Go away, you fucking crow.

CROW
CAW!CAW!CAW!

BRET
I'm trying to fucking sleep, you fucking crow.

The crow is silent. Bret, satisfied at a job well done, returns to bed.

As his head hits his pillow:

CROW
CAW!CAW!CAW!


EXT. BRET'S APARTMENT - DAY

Bret is handing his rent check to his LANDLORD, MR. ABSACARIAN. Bret looks beat.

MR. ABSACARIAN
Like clockwork.

BRET
Oh. Good. Hey.

MR. ABSACARIAN
Yeah?

BRET
You hear that bird in the morning?

MR. ABSACARIAN
In the morning?

BRET
Yeah, like around ten or so?

MR. ABSACARIAN
That's morning?

BRET
I work late, dude.

MR. ABSACARIAN
Ten is morning?

BRET
Have you heard that big bird?

MR. ABSACARIAN
Work? You play that guitar. That's work?

BRET
Does that bird wake you up, too?

MR. ABSACARIAN
How is that work?

BRET
Okay. Just wondering. It's real loud.


EXT. PARKING LOT - NIGHT

Bret loads his guitars into his Toyota Pick-Up.

JEF
Dude. You okay?

BRET
Sure.

JEF
What's up?

BRET
Nothing, dude.

JEF
That chick fuck you over? Fuckin' bitch...

BRET
What chick?

JEF
Oh.

BRET
Oh. Her. Fuck no. There's this bird. It's fucked.

JEF
A what?

BRET
It's this stupid bird. It's nothing. Keeps waking me up.


SMASH CUT:


INT. BRET'S APARTMENT - MORNING

Bret moans, pillows over his head.

CROW
CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CA W!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW! CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CA W!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!


INT. BRET'S APARTMENT - DAY
Bret sits in a chair. He looks like shit. It's later in the day. The clock reads 1pm.

Bret's eyes begin to droop and shut. Peace for a moment, then:

CROW
CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!

Bret jumps to his feet and hurls his door open.

BRET
You fucking bird. I'm gonna fucking fuck you, you fuck!


INT. EL JEFE'S MARGUERITAVILLE - NIGHT

The band is on a break. Bret talks conspiratorially to Jef.

BRET
I've had some extra time and I was thinking. You know what'd be cool. If I played different solos than what's on the record. Wouldn't that be cool?

JEF
Have a tic-tac, dude.


INT. BRET'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

We're close on Bret's face. Pulling back, REVEAL: There is yet another GIRL on top of him. Riding him. Bret is somewhere else. The girl stops.

TANYA
Is there a problem or something?

BRET
No one believes me, but there's this crow. It's like... It's like it's teasing me and shit.


INT. BRET'S APARTMENT - MOMENTS LATER

The door closes. Bret's alone. He doesn't want to be.


INT. EL JEFE'S MARGUERITAVILLE - NIGHT

They're in the middle of Don't Stop Believin'. As the solo section comes up, an ashen, sleep-deprived Bret approaches the mic and begins SINGING the guitar solo.


EXT. PARKING LOT - NIGHT

Bret is getting a dressing down from Jef Stein. The other members of Jef Stein's Osage stand around.

JEF
...I mean like, what's up with that, dude? People don't come to El Jefe's Margueritaville to hear you sing the guitar solo. They come here to hear you play the thing, dude...

BRET
Seemed like the thing to do. I'm sorry. There's this crow...

JEF
What?

BRET
Nothing.

JEF
Dude.

BRET
I know.

JEF
You got it? You cool?

BRET
Dude. I'm cool. Won't happen again, bud.

They do the cool guy hug. "I love ya, but I'm hittin' ya."


INT. BRET'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

LORI a girl with ASH is getting dressed.

LORI
...and if I don't get home, little SooSoo is gonna miss me.

BRET
I guess. You can't call someone to feed it or something?

LORI
She won't eat unless I'm there.

BRET
It's so late, though.

LORI
I don't mind. I live pretty close.

BRET
I thought you lived up in L.A.

LORI
Well. It's freeway close. You know?

BRET
Yeah, I guess. SooSoo's pretty important, huh.

LORI
SooSoo's my BABY!!!

BRET
I used to have a cat when I was a kid.

LORI
Oh. I've got to go. I'm sorry.


DARKNESS:

Over this the voice of the SALESMAN is HEARD.

SALESMAN (O.S)
You just pump it up a couple of times, depending on how far you want it to go...

The HISS of a PELLET GUN being pumped is HEARD.


INT. SPORTING GOODS GUN DEPT. - DAY

The SALESMAN is pumping up the pellet gun pistol. He holds it over his head and dry FIRES. Psheeoow.

SALESMAN
One pump for every fifty feet.

BRET
This won't kill it will it?

SALESMAN
No way. You keep it down to a couple of pumps. You'll scare it away.

He hands the pistol to Bret.

SALESMAN (CONT'D)
How's Jef doing?

BRET
How you know Jef?

Bret sights down the barrel.

SALESMAN
Went to high school with him. I even have a Divine Ampage record.

BRET
Cool.

SALESMAN
Y'all still out at The Ville?

BRET
Yep.

Bret dry fires the pistol.


INT. BRET'S APARTMENT - MORNING

Bret drools on his pillow in blissful slumber until:

CROW
CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CA W!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW! CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!CAW!

Bret sits up, wild eyed.

Bret jumps out of bed in his tiger striped speedo underwear and grabs a brown paper bag. He rips it open and removes the Pellet Gun Pistol.

BRET
(muttering)
Okay, you fucker. I'm gonna teach you to fuckin' wake me up. Fuck.

He pumps the pistol a couple of times.


EXT. BRET'S BALCONY - SAME

Bret stands on his balcony. He aims the pistol at the Crow.

BRET
Enough, you dickhead. I need to fuckin' sleep, dickwad.

THE CROW

On a power line. Staring at Bret. Cawing.

CROW
Fuck you too, loser.

BRET

Looks up from squinting down the sight.

BRET
What?


ANOTHER ANGLE

A distracted Bret fires the Pellet Pistol. The Crow flies off.

Music SWELLS. Victory for Bret. Bret watches the crow as it flies away.


INT. BRET'S APARTMENT - SAME

Bret's bed beckons to him. It looks so comfortable and warm and lovely.

Bret falls, exhausted, onto his bed.


FADE OUT:

DARKNESS

Over this, Jef Stein's closing rap is HEARD. The song we all know and love begins. Something's off, though. Something is very wrong.

JEF (V.O.)
Hey everybody! I'm Jef Stein and this is Jef Stein's Osage! We're glad y'all could make it out here tonight to hear us. If you're new, make sure you get on our mailing list; see Serena, she'll sign your ass up. Here's another one you all know, I'm sure and it features my main man, Bret, on guitar. DON'T STOP BELIEVIN', people!!!!


EXT. RESIDENTIAL STREET - DUSK/MAGIC HOUR

Bret, looking rested and refreshed, walks down his street carrying his two guitar cases, on his way to work.

It's a beautiful day. Bret breathes in the fresh air as he nears his car.

Something catches his eye.


DOLLY OVER

We can barely make out something on the hood of Bret's Toyota Pick-Up. It's big, black, feathery and dead. Bret drops his guitar cases. He stops in his tracks.

Bret looks around. He quickens his pace towards his pickup truck.

If you couldn't see that it's the Crow on his car before, you can now.

Bret drops to his knees next to his pickup truck.

In the b.g. Mr. Absacarian exits his apartment.

Bret weeps against the side of his truck as other neighbors exit their homes.

BRET
(sobbing)
I'm so sorry...

As we stay on his pain. The solo section of The Song arrives.

Dig that crazy guitar solo, kids. It's a new interpretation from the bowels of hell. It rocks so hard.

SMASH TO BLACK:


THE END

 
     

 

 

 "Don't Stop Believing," Screenplay ©1998 by Dean Cameron
 
     
 

 Original Graphic ©1998 by Jim Davis-Rosenthal
 

 

 

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