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Some Awesome Things I’ll Likely Never Say

I spend a lot of time writing screenplays. They’re relatively easy for me to write. Hollywood screenplays adhere to strict structural rules which, like the rules for haiku, gives you just enough room to play around while suggesting specific story types.

There are, for example, certain narrative set pieces that only work in a screenplay. The chase scene, for example. You’ll never write a chase scene in a novel. Or, forgive me, you will, but it’ll usually suck. Because nothing makes the action stop dead in its tracks faster than having to take a few sentences to try to diagram exactly how far away the chase and pursuit cars are from each other, how close they are to the old lady cross the intersection, and how fast they’re going. You can do all that with much greater effect in a movie.

Likewise, few movies are about the internal emotional landscapes of damaged individuals who have trouble connecting with the outside world. Those that are are usually dreadfully boring and win Academy Awards for Acting.

Anyway. So screenplays. I write a bunch. Take some ridiculous premise (extra-terrestrial lands in boys backyard) throw in some well-written lines (phone home) shake well, and let sit. It’s kinda like doing Sudoku. I’m unlikely to write anything really good, but there’s a crossword puzzle aspect to trying to write a plot so that the whole thing hangs together in a way that’s at least vaguely coherent.

Which means I spend a lot of time trying to get in the heads of characters in completely ridiculous situations. Unlike writing a novel, where I’m trying to get inside the head of someone in a situation that is, hopefully, completely relateable, with screenplays I’m trying to get in the head of someone who’s trying to, say, diffuse a nuclear bomb before space monkeys can break into the fusion reaction chamber and complete their matter transference device that will allow their space monkey invasion force to teleport to earth.

At a certain point, you try to relate to your own life, try to figure out what *you* would say in this situation. And really, you have no idea. Because…c’mon, space monkeys? You’d be curled in a ball under your bed crying and wetting yourself. And you realize that there’s an entire list of awesome things you’ve heard thousands of times in action movies that you will never, ever, get the chance to say in real life. You know that, in most cases, this is probably for the best, but nonetheless, like Anthony LaPaglia in “So I Married An Axe-Murderer” we really wish *just once* we could hang on to that part of the helicopter…you know that part, that action heroes are always holding onto as the helicopter takes off? Or at lease we wish we knew what that part was called.

So here’s  a list of things that, at age 31, I’m realizing I’m never, ever going to have the opportunity to say in real life. I invite you to add your own in the comments section.

Awesome things I’ll probably never say at this point:

Brace for impact.

Where’s that mutiny you promised me?

The landing zone’s too hot.

We’ll have about ten seconds of useful consciousness before hypoxia sets in.

What does the Geiger counter say?

I don’t care if it’s two million, I still say the job’s too dangerous.

How good is your Morse code?

And to think: you had the jewels the whole time.

Target that explosion and fire.

Man I wish one of us spoke Swahili right now.

It’s a pleasure to see you again, Your Excellency.

Where do we rendezvous with the fleet?

Take as much ammo as you can carry.

No time for anesthetic, doctor, you’ll have to strap me down.

Anyone know how to deactivate the self-destruct sequence?

I doubt that would make it go nuclear.

This is my favorite time of year to see Kathmandu.

They nearly got the drop on me in Cairo

Where’s my evac?

Can you think of anyone who might want to kill you?

You’ll never make it to Marrakesh in time.

Strap yourself in, I’m gonna try to land her with the wheels up.

How long do we have before it blows?

That ought to hold them for a little while.

Unless we get these documents to Andre in two hours, there isn’t going to be a next time.

Toss me the detonators.

That artifact’s more powerful than you can imagine.

You can take the money, but the girl comes with me.

Heave to and prepare to be boarded.

This is even worse than the Slovakian prison.

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