Keane & Drew Argue About Time Travel

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FADE IN:

INSERT TITLE: The following is based on actual events. All
dialogue is quoted verbatim. All action is presented exactly
as it happened.

EXT. COFFEE HOUSE – NIGHT

The seats overflow with PATRONS, young and hip, their faces
lit by smartphones and tablets.

There’s heavy foot traffic. A rainbow of skinny jeans and
bandanas. Every face is a pin cushion full of piercings.
Every arm is a blur of sleeve tattoos. One side of the
Patrons’ heads are shaved. The other sides are bleached or
dyed jet-black.

DRIVERS lay on their HORNS. The gridlock stretches across
the windows. A SUBWOOFER blares. The bass sends ripples
through the coffee cups.

A fist SLAMS down on the metal. A tray lifts up, ashes burst
into the air. They land on an iPad on the other end of the
table. It’s owner lifts it up to his face.

DREW, unshaven, unkempt, looks like he’s been 29 for a long
time, blows the ashes from his precious tech. He reaches
into his pocket, produces a keychain light, and checks the
ports for signs of damage.

A napkin falls over the side of the table and glides to the
ground. It’s covered in dotted lines and X’s.

SUPER: KEANE AND DREW ARGUE ABOUT TIME TRAVEL

KEANE, a bearded bear of a man in thick vanity glasses, shakes
his head, oblivious to the ashes on his hand.

KEANE
It makes perfect sense. The reason
the Marty Mcfly playing guitar phases
in and out, is that his fate is
uncertain. Someone has cut in on
his parents’ first dance and his
father still has to prove himself.
This doesn’t effect the Marty in the
rafters because he already knows how
the event goes down.

Drew shakes his head as he slides his keychain back into his
pocket.

DREW
So the temporal distortion in Back
to the Future, which allows Marty to
witness his own undoing, is based
entirely on his own perception?

KEANE
That’s metaphysics. Put a cat in a
box. Say there’s a fifty percent
chance of there being a poison pellet
in its food dish. To the observer,
who can’t see inside the box, the
cat is at once dead and alive.

DREW
That’s because no one’s looking at
it. Reality solidifies the moment
you peep into that box.

Drew stretches his fingers, waves them before his eyes. He
flips his palm back and forth like he’s having an acid
flashback.

DREW
Marty looks clean through his own
hand.

Keane tightens his grip around his cup. He squeezes, coffee
seeps out of the the lid. It sizzles on his skin. He doesn’t
notice.

KEANE
That’s the temporal distortion caused
by the time paradox.

Drew SCOFFS, rolls his eyes.

DREW
This is the flaw in the singular
timeline theory. If there’s only one
timeline then Marty either undoes
his parents’ relationship or he
repairs it. He’s either born or he
isn’t.

Drew makes claws of his hands.

DREW
He’s not going to get real time feed
back, just for the sake of drama.
That Keane, is a plot hole big enough
to fly a Delorean through…

Drew performs a drum roll down the table.

DREW
You owe me fifty-bucks.

Keane pops the lid off his cup, slams it against the table.
Coffee splashes against the window. A COLLEGE STUDENT ducks
to avoid getting doused, despite the fact the she’s on the
other side of the glass.

Drew jumps back. He holds his iPad to his chest, a mother
protecting a newborn.

Keane throws the chair out from behind him. He waves his
mangled coffee cop in Drew’s face as if it were a broken
bottle.

KEANE
I will cut you.

The last few drops trickle out of the cup.

Drew throws his hands up.

DREW
Fine how about we double or nothing.
Give you a chance to win some of
your money back.

Keane takes his seat, takes a long sing from his empty cup.

KEANE
What about the Terminator franchise?

Drew raises his eyebrow. He starts tapping on his screen.

DREW
Does the timeline from the Sarah
Connor Chronicles count?

Keane shakes his head.

DREW
What about T2 3D: Battle Across Time,
screened exclusively at the Universal
Theme Park in Orlando?

Keane shakes his head.

KEANE
Just the core canon.

Keane plucks Drew’s iPad from his hands and slides it beneath
his chair.

KEANE
And no cheating this time.

DREW
Fine.

Drew rubs his hands together.

DREW
In Terminator 3, the T-850 tells
John that he’s the model that killed
him in the future.

Drew Squints poking at the air.

DREW
I’m not sure if I got the tense right.
Killed him? Kills him? Will kill
him?

Drew shakes the thought out of his head.

DREW
The T-850 says he was able to get so
close to John because of his
resemblance to the T-800 from
John’s…

Drew makes quotes with his fingers.

DREW
Boyhood experience.

Keane gives this a reserved nod.

DREW
John’s wife Katherine subdued the T-
850 and reprogrammed it to protect
John in the past. If this is true
then John has to accept his death
sentence in the future in order to
protect himself in the past.

Keane folds his arm, leans back in his seat. He smirks, not
the least bit impressed.

KEANE
John met Katherine shortly before
the events of T2. They made out at a
party, or something. He stood her up
when the attack by the T-1000 forced
him to flee. Nevertheless, fate
brought them together in Terminator
3. This epiphany is what forces
John to accept his fate. Time has a
way of course correcting itself. Now
you owe me one-hundred dollars.

Drew rubs his temples.

DREW
You quoted a line from Lost, that’s
an immediate disqualification.

Keane reaches into his back pocket and draws a stamp card.
Keane grabs Drew by the collar and holds the card to his
throat.

DREW (gulping)
That’s mildly itchy.

KEANE
I will murder you to death, with a
barrage of slicing, so help me God.

DREW
I had no idea you were so devout.

KEANE
I am about my money. So where is
it?

Drew’s wallet falls out his back pocket. It dangles from a
chain. There’s nothing inside the billfold.

DREW (smiling)
Best two out of three.

Keane bites his lip, shakes his head. That’s not good enough.
He raises Drew up by his collar.

KEANE
I want to hear you say it. I want to
hear you say that the X-Men timeline
can be repaired by Days of Future
Past.

Drew shuts his eyes tight.

DREW
I can’t. It can’t be done. There’s
no way to enjoy those films in one
sitting.

Keane presses his cardboard shiv ever deeper into Drew’s
adam’s apple.

DREW
How could Professor X be paralyzed
in First Class then be up and walking
in Wolverine, and then again in
flashback from The Last Stand? How
could Emma Frost be a full grown
woman in First Class and a teenager
in Wolverine? How could Hank Mccoy
turn himself into a big blue beast
in First Class, then change back
into a human in X2, and then go back
into the beast in The Last Stand?

Keane attempts to lift Drew off his feet. With Keane being
the shorter of the two, he succeeds in raising Drew’s collar
to his eyes.

KEANE
Because Professor X sends Wolverine’s
conciseness to the past to fix all
that.

DREW
But didn’t Professor X die in The
Last Stand?

KEANE
He transferred his conciseness to a
new body before he died, which was
confirmed by the post credit teaser
at the end of that movie, and by his
appearance at the end of The
Wolverine.

Drew shakes his head.

DREW
But he’s back in his wheelchair in
the teaser at the end of The
Wolverine. If his mind is in a fresh
body, then how come he can’t walk
again? The people running that
franchise must have gotten their
continuity tips from Highlander 2.

Keane backs Drew into the window. The Patron on the other
side of the window shoots up. She spills her drink on her
laptop. Keane grits his teeth, stares daggers at Drew.

KEANE
Did you pack your umbrella this
morning?

DREW (inhaling)
Why?

KEANE
Because it’s about to be raining
blood.

Drew squints, confused.

DREW
But if it was my blood then I wouldn’t
need an umbrella, because my head
would still be dry.

KEANE (nodding)
Not with the spatter pattern I have
in mind, like there’s an arc to it.
So what I said makes sense.

VOICE (grizzled) (O.S.)
No. No it doesn’t.

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Keane turns to face OLDER KEANE. This aged, battled hardened
Keane emerges from a trash can. The spike of his helmet
impales a sesame seed bun. Relish has stuck to the leather
straps that make up his armor. A grey line runs through his
beard to his hair, like a skunk. He brushes the lettuce off
of his shoulder spikes.

His finger comes back coated in ketchup. He licks it clean.

OLDER KEANE (licking)
In the future, screenwriters try to
resolve every plot hole with an
alteration of the timeline. It worked
for J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek so now
every franchise does it.

Older Keane freezes. He stares off into the middle distance,
a soldier forced to recall a traumatic event. His eyes glaze
over.

OLDER KEANE (fighting tears)
They rope Schwarzenegger back into
the Terminator series for a fifth
outing. Accept this time he plays
the person the T-800 was modeled
after and John Conner has to travel
back in time to save him.

Younger Keane is frozen with his mouth a gap.

Drew uses the distraction to move out of the range of Keane’s
lethal stamp card.

DREW
Did they get Christian Bale to reprise
his role as John Conner?

Tears stream down Older Keane’s dirt incrusted cheeks. He
hides his face in his fingerless gloves.

OLDER KEANE
No they didn’t. They got Ben Affleck
instead.

DREW (shrugging)
No, dear Jesus, why? I mean, I think
he’d do a great job writing and
directing a Terminator movie, but as
John Conner himself, no.

Keane is so shaken by the appearance of his older self that
he lets the stamp card fall from his hand and flutter to the
ground. He taps Drew on the shoulder.

KEANE
Why aren’t you more concerned with
the sudden appearance of me from the
future.

Drew holds his hand to his brow. He looks to Keane then to
Older Keane, then back to Keane.

DREW
That’s not you. That’s Bruce Willis.
Anyone who sees even a passing
resemblance to you needs to have
their eyes examined.

A REDHEAD and her LANKY BOYFRIEND in skinny jean, walk by.
The Redhead gives Older Keane a double take. She whispers
into her boyfriend’s ear.

REDHEAD
Is that Joseph Gordon-Levitt?

Her Lanky Boyfriend nods, lifts his phone and takes a
snapshot.

DREW
So Bruce, what’s the most accurate
representation of time travel in
cinema? Is it Primer, Donnie Darko,
or Source Code?

Old Keane reaches under his shoulder plates. He pulls out a
White Castle Wrapper, dripping with juices. He attempts to
pat the sweat from his brow, only to have the burger juices
run into his eyes.

OLDER KEANE
Have you ever seen Bill and Ted’s
Bogus Journey?

Keane and Drew exchange looks.

DREW
Ingmar Bergman’s Bill and Ted’s Bogus
Journey; the greatest cinematic
achievement of all time? Oh yes,
I’m familiar with it.

Keane shrugs.

KEANE
I’m still waiting for the Criterion
Collection version.

Old Keane nods to his younger self, remembering this fact.
He turns to Drew.

OLDER KEANE
You might want plug your ears.
There’s spoilers-a-plenty coming.

Keane doesn’t take his older self’s advice. Older Keane
turns back to Drew.

OLDER KEANE
You know how at the end Bill and Ted
plant all those traps to thwart the
tyrant De Nomolos? They toy with
him. They let him believe his victory
has afforded him the opportunity to
go back in time and plant the weapons
he’ll need to defeat them. Then he
fires his gun and a banner shoots
out.

Drew gives this the slow nod of a historian recalling the
proudest moment in his people’s past.

DREW
Wyld Stallyns Rule.

Older Keane makes a fist, confirming that these words will
be just as true in the future as they are today.

OLDER KEANE
Bill says that only the victor can
go back and plant the traps. He and
his compatriot Ted came up with the
idea first. They anticipated De
Nomolos’s responses. That my friends
is the most accurate depiction of
time travel in the history of the
silver screen.

There’s a flash of lightning. Chairs fall over. Loose copies
of the City Pages flutter through the air like a flock of
pigeons.

VOICE (O.S.)
If that’s true, then how does De
Nomolos produce a gun out of thin
air, or can Bill and Ted create the
illusion of a temporal distortion
too?

Everyone turns to see OLDER DREW, hair slicked back, dons a
pair of wrap around shades, dressed from head to toe in
leather.

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OLDER DREW
Don’t get me wrong, I pray at the
alter of Bill and Ted, but they
couldn’t even write their own music.
They had to steal God Gave Rock and
Roll to You from Kiss.

Younger Keane looks to Younger Drew lounging in jeans and a
t-shirt, then back to Older Drew, a biker without a bike.

KEANE
So you go full Terminator in the
future, then?

Older Drew Shakes his head with the grace of a machine.

OLDER DREW
No, I’m a leather daddy now.

Keane turns to find younger Drew rubbing his stubble.

DREW
That makes sense.

KEANE
Fine, I take it you’ve come back to
tell us what the most accurate
cinematic depiction of time travel
was, or is, or whatever the hell.

Keane raises his crushed coffee cup in a threatening manner.

KEANE
And if you say Time Cop I swear I’m
going to shove these grounds so far
up your urethra your kidney stones
will turn to coffee beans.

Both of the Drew’s share a bewildered look.

DREW
He still doesn’t know what words
mean in the future, does he?

Older Drew shakes his head. Then he looks back to Keane.

OLDER DREW
No, the most accurate depiction of
time travel in a motion picture is
Twelve Monkeys.

Young Drew throws his hands up.

DREW
Of course. It’s the only one with a
strict adherence to a single timeline.
His allies from the future don’t
bother to go back in time until he
pinpoints the source of the outbreak.

Drew points to Keane. He SNAPS his fingers.

DREW
I hear snapping, but I’m not seeing
my hundred dollars.

Older Keane coughs in Older Drew’s direction.

OLDER DREW
Actually you owe him, upwards of a
hundred-thousand dollars. The only
reason we’re back here is that I
kind of told him that you had it.

Both Keanes smile. They rest their hands behind their heads
in unison.

Drew throws his chair into the ground. It bounces back and
hits him in the chin. He falls on his ass. Blood trickles
down his chin forming a cleft.

Older Drew rubs his chin. A scar runs right down the middle.
He approaches his younger self. He reaches into his leather
jacket, and produces a big floppy fist. Older Drew holds
the fist out to Younger Drew. Younger Drew waves the floppy
limb away.

DREW
What did you bet against?

Older Drew shakes his head. He slides his floppy fist back
into his breast pocket.

OLDER DREW
You don’t want to know.

DREW
I’d like to know the rock solid
timeline that’s got us so deep in
the red.

Old Keane’s smile widens, to reveal a mouth full of platinum.
His front teeth twinkle.

OLDER DREW
Austin Powers.

OLDER KEANE
Yeah, baby.

Drew slaps his forehead.

FADE OUT:

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2 thoughts on “Keane & Drew Argue About Time Travel”

  1. Excellent writeup. Begs for continuing discussion, but unfortunately such discussion is best had in the setting used above; namely, in a hipster time travel cafe. This really begs for real time voice communications enhanced by the beverage of the speaker’s choice. All I’ve got access to right now is the latter, but that’s enough for me to at least throw down one of my two cents.

    Time travel scenarios generally disappoint those who like to flow chart or mind map them out. Follow the wire diagram long enough and they either end up falling apart and/or turning into a piece of multiverse madness. Drew’s got love for 12 Monkeys because it adheres to a single timeline without crumbling. For the most part, I agree (I would have to see it again to be sure if the tiny thing bugging me is even real). Introduce more timelines and things become easier to explain (still not foolproof), but you also run the risk of cheapening the overall experience. The viewer might wonder which reality he or she should truly be invested in. Surely not all of them, right? How many billions of possible realities could there be because of the interference of even one time traveler?

    Time travel is better used as a setting and mobilizer for the characters, much like the cafe above. Take Sliders (may God rest its soul). Sure, it’s not a time travel series, but it deals with a potentially unlimited number of realities. It didn’t crush underneath its own weight (at least as long as the original cast was involved) because the sliding gimmick, while cool, was just a mechanism to allow the main characters a unique way to adventure, learn about themselves, grow to care about each other, and generally develop. There was some nerdy science stuff in the first episode and scattered throughout, and it was great, but I never found myself trying to rules lawyer the continuity to death. Why? Because it did a good enough job. The characters and their struggles had me reeled in, and my suspension of disbelief coasted along, enjoying the ride.

    Any time travel series that forgets the story and tries to be too into the science and mechanics of time travel itself will fail for one other reason: time travel is a bunch of bunk. It’s cool to think about, and it’s definitely neat to imagine doing, but it ultimately makes no sense and will leave you frustrated beyond belief when you have nothing else to latch onto (e.g., characters you care about).

    This is, of course, unless you are an ACTUAL time traveler. But that’s a different story for a different blog.

    Like

  2. Kiss’ 1991 “God Gave Rock N’ Rock to You II” is actually a reworking of a 1973 Argent song (thus the “II” in the title). And who’s to say Wyld Stallyns didn’t visit some alternate timeline where they only exist in fiction and gave them the song to give to Kiss to put on the soundtrack of the film version of their second adventure/bogus journey.

    Like

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