An Essential Trilogy: Davis Drinks

Part One: So? Another? Three old friends sit at a bar. Davis finishes his drink and asks, “So? Another?” They nod.

Part Two: Not Drunk. Davis, alone at a bar with empty glasses all around, orders a drink. The bartender asks if he is all right. His reply is simply: “Not drunk.”

Part Three: Just One More. Davis stands at a bar. A remote wilderness can be seen out the window behind him. He calls out to the bartender, “Just one more.” He is refused.

Davis Trilogy Part Three: Baller

Baller: If the bugs don’t get you, insanity will.

Davis leaves behind his easy-going university lifestyle to journey into the Canadian wilderness and a summer job of planting trees.

The learning curve is painful; the mosquitoes and black flies are a constant plague, the weather is by turns baking hot and miserably wet, and the specter of snakes, bears and cougars lurk at every turn. Davis is barely able to make $5 a day at the outset, while his pot-smoking pal Max concedes immediate defeat, hiding in his tent. The sole respite to the torturous work is the communal hot tub where everyone strips naked to drink, pontificate and listen to killer music, all the while dreaming of a better day.

Davis toils on, slowly discovering an inner strength. The repetitive routine of planting trees puts him into a meditative state where he can consider his place in the world, made all the more poignant as he surveys the stripped and burned hillside juxtaposed against the stunning beauty of the surrounding mountains. 20140804_095349The crew finally gets a day off and celebrates their brief freedom in town with drunken antics, after which things take a number of turns for the worse, including Davis’ van getting wrecked. Davis grinds through his angst and exhaustion and, after a late-night rendezvous with the foreman’s girlfriend, goes back to town and gets into a conflict with a group of locals who accuse him of stealing their jobs. Elmer, a mysterious and spiritual planter Davis had only seen from afar, comes to the rescue by defeating their burly leader in an arm-wrestling duel.

Davis returns to work, relentlessly planting, breaking the camp’s record, shortly after which a forest fire appears on the horizon. The foreman insists that the crew stay to make as much money as possible, but Davis and his friends escape this madness by driving directly through the smoke and onto a music festival.

Davis Trilogy Part Two: Paint

Paint: Everything works out for the best. Or not.

Davis, atop an extension ladder as he scrapes paint from a gas station sign, loses his balance in a gust of wind. Hanging on for his life, he tries to reflect on the loss of his recently deceased father but just curses to himself instead until finally rescued. He drives off with a co-worker to the next job and they talk idly, neither one of them approaching the topic of the death of Davis’ father. Instead they banter on about to getting drugs and beer for that evening’s frat party.

They arrive at an office building and Davis zones out while he paints a back hallway, daydreaming in vivid detail the moment he arrived at the hospital to find his father dead. 20150820_162547Davis races off from his work, through campus, getting to his student radio show on time, while Ellen, a girl who Davis has had a crush on from afar, arrives as an intern. Davis blunders all attempts at communications, returns to his radio booth and drifts off again, remembering his final, painful visits with his father at the hospital. He finishes the radio show and shows up, already half drunk, at the frat party where his step-brother tells him that he is not wanted at their father’s funeral the next day.

High on mushrooms, Davis dissolves into a mess, blacking out and then wandering off until he runs into Ellen. He awkwardly blathers on about her beauty and then finally about his father, impulsively inviting her to the funeral before falling asleep on her couch. _mg_3062He wakes up late, and running across campus again, gets to the funeral at last moment where he sits in the back. Mr. Heaney, an old friend of his father’s, gives Davis life advice while sharing a bottle of scotch whiskey. Davis falls asleep, dreaming of his father, to wake as his step-family is leaving the church.

Davis returns to the gas station, back to the drudgery of scraping paint, when Ellen appears and offers to help.

Davis Trilogy Part One: Just Weird

Just Weird: Because you can’t be anyone else.

Expelled from boarding school, Davis moves in with his father and step-family. His step-brother, a world-class swimmer, is indifferent to his presence while his step-mother and step-sister treat him with outright disdain. His new school, a strict all-boys institution, is no refuge, but rather a breeding ground for bullies and malcontents. Davis learns of a compulsory public speaking competition from a pair of misfits, Eugene and Erdley, both of whom he befriends over hashish and an obsession with music lyrics.screenshot-8

Davis joins a film club, led by a stunning young film teacher, Ms. Geisner, and shortly after takes a job delivering newspapers in her neighborhood. Davis gets into a series of problems – including an evening of pyromania ending in Erdley getting badly burned – until, in an ironic turn, Martha is fired from her job for smoking pot, leading her parents to take her with them to her brother’s swim meet in Northern Ontario.

Left alone in the house, Davis sneaks into a party at Ms. Geisner’s house where he gets drunk and, after watching Ms. Geisner dance to The B-52’s Rock Lobster, confesses his love for her. It ends badly. He wakes, miserably hungover, realizing the public speaking contest is in today’s assembly. Instead of his practiced speech, he decides to recite Rock Lobsterscreenshot-9Initially unsure, he gains confidence and ends up screaming the final lines, which is received with great enthusiasm by the student body and outrage by the administration. It appears that Davis is to be expelled yet again, until his father meets with the head of school and promises to help finance a new swimming pool.

“Swiss Family Robinson” Stripped from “Paint”

Just finishing the third draft of Paint, the second part of a trilogy of coming-of-age screenplays, and this scene had to be switched out: DAVIS, coming down off a bad mushroom trip, is sitting with his crush, ELLEN.

DAVIS: Let’s watch Swiss Family Robinson.

ELLEN: Really? It’s the Disney film, right?

DAVIS: I love that film.

ELLEN: You watch it with your father?

DAVIS: No. (Pause) I don’t know. He read us the book. I remember that. He sat in his old rocking chair. It creaked as he stretched back, the light over his shoulder.

ELLEN inserts the tape and sits on the other side of the couch.

DAVIS: He had a deep voice. It was good for the book.

Dramatic orchestral music plays on the television. A ship drifts across the screen in a hurricane winds and high seas.Screenshot (37)

DAVIS: (Watching the film intently) I had my first existential moment watching this film.

ELLEN: (Sleepy) Yeah?

DAVIS: When they finish the tree house and they take the mother upstairs. (Pause) It was so amazing, so perfect. It looked like a perfect place. Screenshot (31)DAVIS: (Looking at ELLEN, who sleepily looks back) And then it wasn’t. It was the opposite. It was fake or something. I don’t know. I had to the leave the room. My step-mother made me go to bed because she thought I was sick.

The Swiss Family Robinson is revealed trapped below decks, yelling for help but still looking orderly and respectable. The ship grounds out on a rock.

DAVIS: (Pause, sighing deeply) You don’t remember doing something amazing as a kid – your absolute favorite thing in the world – and then feeling like it was pointless? You thought it was this thing. And then it isn’t.

DAVIS continues to watch the film.

MR. ROBINSON (On Television): Hans, help your mother!

HANS: If I had been captain, I would have fought the pirates instead of running into storm. Screenshot (28)The Swiss Family Robinson climbs to the top of the ship’s decks and sees that the ship is grounded near an island.

Close up on DAVIS as he watches intently.

MR. ROBINSON (On Television): At least we’re not too far from land.

MRS. ROBINSON: Then there’s hope.

 FRITZ: Maybe we could build a raft. There’s enough wood.

DAVIS: Of course they can build a raft! Of course they can.

Smiling, DAVIS looks over at ELLEN and sees that she is asleep. He stares at her naked shoulder, moves forward and looks as if he is about to kiss it when she opens her eyes.

ELLEN: Just watch your movie.

DAVIS awkwardly looks back at the television screen.

KEVIN ROBINSON: Look what I found! The captain’s dogs! Are they glad to see me!

The Robinson Family begins to cut barrels and wood and construct a raft to go to shore.

DAVIS looks around at ELLEN again, who looks angelic in her sleep, and considers touching her shoulder again, but pulls the blanket over her instead. He turns back to the film and watches as a raft is built and lowered into the ocean from the ship. DAVIS falls asleep.