Joe Heath

On a website on the internet there lived a Joe. Not a hot, caffeinated Joe, splashed with cream and a roasty smell, nor yet a cotton-eyed Joe with over-played lyrics and a catchy beat: it was a writer Joe, and that means humor. Or something. Joe Heath writes, directs, films, produces, and acts in short films, sketches, and movie reviews for Minty Pineapple Entertainments. He also writes novels with friends under the name J. Bartholomew Hivemind. Recently he has been writing pop culture articles for The Dipp, an entertainment news website. His work has been featured in the Chattanooga Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival, Ha! Film Fest, Frightening Ass Film Fest, Project Alpha's Short Ends, Culture Smash Nashville, 54 Film Fest, OneCloudFest, and Con Nooga.

Screenplay Type
Film Script
After Abigail Berkeley accidentally hits a hitchhiker, Samantha Poots, they find themselves on the run from Scrabble enthusiast police, a demonic ex-boyfriend, and a surprisingly vicious zebra.
Road Trippy
Logline
After Abigail Berkeley accidentally hits a hitchhiker, Samantha Poots, they find themselves on the run from Scrabble enthusiast police, a demonic ex-boyfriend, and a surprisingly vicious zebra.
My Submission

EXT. DESERT HIGHWAY - NIGHT

An old road sign that reads "Route 66" with an extra spray-painted on "6" stands next to a desert highway. This tranquil scene is disturbed by a car currently on fire screeching to a halt mere inches away from the sign. The door opens and out bursts SAM POOTS, a small woman wearing jeans and a faded concert t-shirt with a tattoo on her arm that reads "Wolves are Murderdogs." She stands silhouetted in the flames.

SAM
This is equal parts sad and awesome.

CUT TO:

ABIGAIL BERKELEY, a perfectly reasonable woman, drives at a perfectly reasonable speed down the highway. She turns on the radio. Static. She scans through the channels. Static. She turns off the radio. Her eyelids droop. She shakes her head.

ABIGAIL
Come on, Abigail. Focus.

The car drifts off the road. She veers back into the lane. She rubs her eyes and opens them in time to see Sam hit the car. Abigail slams on the brakes as Sam rolls off the back.

Abigail gets out and approaches Sam, who lies face down.

ABIGAIL
Miss? Are you okay? I'm going to check your pulse. Is that okay?

Abigail squeezes Sam's wrist, unsure of what she's doing. She checks to see if Sam's breathing. Nothing.

ABIGAIL
Oh god. Ohgodohgodohgod.

She runs around, trying to get a signal on her phone. Nothing. She sits on her back bumper and closes her eyes.

ABIGAIL
Focus, Abigail.

CUT TO:

Abigail buckles Sam into the backseat. She drives off, one hand on the wheel, the other holding her cellphone.

ABIGAIL
Please please please give me a signal.

SAM
Yo, you really shouldn't text and drive.

Abigail screams. The car veers off of the road and sideswipes the guard rail. The passenger side mirror flies off the car.

SAM
Woooooo!

Abigail slams on the brakes and the car stops.

SAM
(giggling)
Are you okay?

ABIGAIL
Am I okay? I thought you were dead!

SAM
Fuck, I'm alive! Have you ever been hit by a car before?

ABIGAIL
No.

SAM
You should! The trick is to go limp. I'm so wired right now! It's like I did three lines of coke! My whole body's just- I'm trembling!

Sam grabs Abigail's hand and moves it to her shoulder.

SAM
Feel it?

Abigail yanks her hand back. Sam winces.

ABIGAIL
We should get you to a hospital.

Sam slams her shoulder into the door. It pops back in socket.

SAM
I'm fine! No hospital!

Abigail looks nauseous.

ABIGAIL
Okay, fine. No hospitals. Does your phone have a signal?

SAM
No signal. No phone. I left it in the fire- I mean, car- I mean, car fire.

ABIGAIL
Car fire?

SAM
Yeah, which is ironic because it was a burner phone. Or it's not ironic? But, like, it's something, though! We need a word for that!

Abigail stares at Sam.

SAM
Sorry, I'm still high off of the adrenaline. And maybe some other stuff.

ABIGAIL
Okay, well, I'll drive you to the nearest town and when we get there you can call a friend or family member or drug dealer or whatever sort of person you have attached to you and have them come get you.

SAM
So you're just going to abandon me.

ABIGAIL
I mean, no, but I have things that I need to do. I can't wait around for you to get picked up, so-

Sam throws her leg over the backseat into the front seat.

ABIGAIL
What are you--

Sam rolls up a pants leg to reveal an ankle monitor.

ABIGAIL
Oh my god!

SAM
See, the tricky part was turning it off. Turning it back on? That's a piece of cake.

ABIGAIL
What are you saying?

Sam climbs the rest of the way over the backseat.

SAM
I'm saying you even think about abandoning me, I turn it on and the cops are on me faster than you can say "Get your hands off me, pigs! I know my rights!" And you? You're aiding and abetting a fugitive. I'm betting you definitely don't have time for that.

ABIGAIL
Where do you want to go?

SAM
I dunno. Where do you wanna go?

ABIGAIL
San Bernardino.

SAM
Who wants to go to that shithole?

ABIGAIL
I do. I have to.

SAM
You have to? Aw, shit, are you a criminal, too? Did I wind up hitching with a psycho killer?

ABIGAIL
No, are you?

SAM
Maybe.

Abigail starts hyperventilating.

SAM
Okay, jeez! No. Just trying to keep an air of mystery.

Abigail's breathing slows down slightly.

ABIGAIL
So what did you do?

SAM
A terrible, naughty, but most importantly, fun thing. But enough about me. Air of mystery. Why do you have to go to San Bernardino?

ABIGAIL
Paperclips.

SAM
Paperclips?

ABIGAIL
Paperclips.

SAM
Stop being better at this air of mystery thing! Explain.

ABIGAIL
I work for a company that makes office supplies. I have an important presentation to give tomorrow. "Practical Paperclips for Practical People." See, I have this marketing idea-

SAM
Wow. Okay. Air of mystery evaporated. Holy shit, that's boring. So is San Bernardino. Let's turn this bad boy around and hit up Vegas!

ABIGAIL
Sorry, no. These paperclips are my life.

SAM
That is truly the saddest thing I've ever heard. Look, we go to Vegas or I turn this on.

Sam taps her ankle monitor. Abigail grips the steering wheel. She very quietly and politely screams.

SAM
Jesus! Calm down. I've never seen anyone with a hard-on for paperclips. Fine, we'll go to San Bernardino, nerd. Just... drive.

Abigail pulls the car back onto the road.

ABIGAIL
Sorry. I've never been a hostage before.

SAM
Look, I'm not keeping you hostage. I'm setting you free.

Abigail makes an unpleasant noise from deep within her.

SAM
Oh, come on! What can I do to make you relax?

ABIGAIL
Tell me what you did to get the ankle monitor.

SAM
I totally killed a dude.

ABIGAIL
Look, I'm not the best with jokes.

SAM
You will be when I'm through with you. This is fun! You're like a project! At the end, I remove your glasses, let down your hair, and then you get to fuck the jock.

ABIGAIL
Maybe you should just turn the monitor back on.

SAM
Okay, rule number one: The monitor only gets turned on if I want it to be turned on. Rule number two: There are no rules.

ABIGAIL
What about rule number one?

SAM
That one was about the monitor. Keep up. Name's Sam, by the way. Sam Poots.

ABIGAIL
Oh.

SAM
What's your name? That's how introductions work.

ABIGAIL
Er, Abigail. Abigail Berkeley.

SAM
Why don't you call yourself Abby? Abby is the name of a cool person.

ABIGAIL
I'm not a cool person.

SAM
Sure you are! You've got a sweet-ass car that's not on fire. You're picking up sexy hitchhikers at night. You've got dealings in San Bernardino. You're worried that I'm a psycho? Shit, man. What kinda guns are you smuggling?

ABIGAIL
I don't have any guns.

SAM
Not even a little one?

ABIGAIL
No.

SAM
Wanna see mine?

Sam pulls out a small revolver. The car swerves.

ABIGAIL
Why do you have a gun?!

SAM
Guns come in handy for all sorts of things. Opening beer cans. Burglary. Killing pigeons. The list goes on.

ABIGAIL
Are you going to kill me?

SAM
Don't worry. If I wanted to kill you, I totally could have already. You don't even have any guns.

Abigail slams on the brakes. Sam smashes into the dashboard into unconsciousness and drops the gun. Abigail speeds off.

ABIGAIL
Okay, calm down. She's concussed. That's the best possible thing you could have hoped for.Well, no, that would be her never getting in the car in the first place. Or already being in San Bernardino. Or your dad-

A neon glow drifts across Abigail's face and distracts her. "Merle's 24-Hour Beef Jerky, Live Snake, and Hardcore Porno Emporium." Abigail pulls in and runs inside.

INT. MERLE'S - NIGHT

Rows of beef jerky are carefully arranged. A row of aquariums line the back of the store, filled with exotic snakes. The pornography is discreetly displayed. MERLE, a burly-looking biker, mans the counter.

ABIGAIL
Do you have a phone?

MERLE
Back past the Teriyaki, take a left at the Gangbangs, and it's right next to the Pythons. Can't miss it.

ABIGAIL
Thank you! You're a lifesaver!

Merle smiles as she heads towards the back.

MERLE
I am a lifesaver. I deserve a break. Think I'll take five and go play with my snake.

Abigail stares unhappily at an old payphone. She digs around in her pockets for change.

SAM
(off-screen)
I can't believe you!

She turns around. Sam, shaking, points a gun at her.

SAM
What were you trying to do? Kill me?

ABIGAIL
No! It just happened! And frankly, that's a lot of indignation coming from the person who was arrested for murder and is pointing a gun at me right now!

SAM
I wasn't arrested for murder! I was under house arrest! You don't get put under house arrest for murder unless you dropped the hottest album of the year!

ABIGAIL
But you said-

SAM
I lied! I lie a lot! It's a thing about me.

ABIGAIL
Okay, so... what did you do?

SAM
I was working for... some guys. And they killed some people. When I found out about it, I was pissed. Which is why I shot their pigeon.

Sam lowers the gun.

SAM
Also I had done a bunch of whippets that day so I was in a weird place.

ABIGAIL
Are you in a weird place now?

Sam looks around at the weird store she's in and shrugs.

ABIGAIL
Are you going to shoot me?

SAM
Pff, I was never gonna shoot you! This thing isn't even loaded!

ABIGAIL
Then give it to me.

Sam pauses for a moment and then hands her the gun.

ABIGAIL
So you're sure it's not loaded?

SAM
Do I look like I'm sure?

ABIGAIL
I'm not sure?

Abigail unintentionally points the gun at Sam, who jumps.

SAM
Me neither! So you should really put that thing down and not be pointing it at a person. Do you even know how to use it?

ABIGAIL
I mean, there's a trigger and-

BAM! Some nearby porno disappears. Abigail shrieks.

SAM
Okay so yeah, you definitely need to put that down now and-

Sam notices something out of the corner of her eye.

SAM
Oh, shit, Abby, get down!

Sam tackles Abigail to the ground as - BAM! - beef jerky wrappers explode around them. They book it out of the store.

Merle perches behind the counter, a shotgun in his hands and a python around his neck. He puts the python in an aquarium.

MERLE
Wait here, Hickory Jalapeño. Daddy's gotta take care of business.

EXT. MERLE'S - NIGHT

Sam jumps into the driver's seat of Abigail's car.

SAM
Keys!

ABIGAIL
What? No!

SAM
Out of the two of us, who do you think is a better getaway driver?

ABIGAIL
The one whose car didn't burn down!

BAM! The driver's side mirror …

Comments

Sina Bowyer Sun, 06/13/2021 - 03:51

Great high concept title with a funny pun. Strong, vibrant contrasting characters in an immediate lift-off inciting incident that forces them to stick together. I love it! Like Thelma and Louise had two strong co-protagonists getting deeper and deeper into a criminal mess, I can only hope and expect that nerdy Abigail will be forced, in fish out of water style, to engage in Mafia-esque counter-manoeuvres as the killers come after them. Snappy as the dialogue is, the only reason this scored 9 instead of 10 is that there is still more scope for toppers to follow jokes, to deliver a domino effect of visual and spoken humour that is unstoppable!

Sina Bowyer Sun, 06/13/2021 - 03:51

Great high concept title with a funny pun. Strong, vibrant contrasting characters in an immediate lift-off inciting incident that forces them to stick together. I love it! Like Thelma and Louise had two strong co-protagonists getting deeper and deeper into a criminal mess, I can only hope and expect that nerdy Abigail will be forced, in fish out of water style, to engage in Mafia-esque counter-manoeuvres as the killers come after them. Snappy as the dialogue is, the only reason this scored 9 instead of 10 is that there is still more scope for toppers to follow jokes, to deliver a domino effect of visual and spoken humour that is unstoppable!

Sina Bowyer Sun, 06/13/2021 - 03:51

Great high concept title with a funny pun. Strong, vibrant contrasting characters in an immediate lift-off inciting incident that forces them to stick together. I love it! Like Thelma and Louise had two strong co-protagonists getting deeper and deeper into a criminal mess, I can only hope and expect that nerdy Abigail will be forced, in fish out of water style, to engage in Mafia-esque counter-manoeuvres as the killers come after them. Snappy as the dialogue is, the only reason this scored 9 instead of 10 is that there is still more scope for toppers to follow jokes, to deliver a domino effect of visual and spoken humour that is unstoppable!

Sina Bowyer Sun, 06/13/2021 - 04:12

Great high concept title with a genre revealing pun. Strong, vibrant contrasting characters in an immediate impact inciting incident (a car crash) that forces them together. I feel like I know them almost immediately. Like Thelma and Louise had two strong co-protagonists getting deeper and deeper into a criminal mess, I can only hope and expect that nerdy Abigail will be forced, in fish out of water style, to engage in farcical Mafia-esque counter-manoeuvres as the killers come after them. By contrast though, this story is more comedy than drama, and might be more aptly described as a comedy thriller, eg Lethal Weapon intersperses car chases and shoot-outs with the tragic-comic rants of an oppositional cop buddy pair. The script feels comfortably nostalgic, as much at home in this era as the present day.

Snappy as the dialogue is, the only reason this scored 9 instead of 10 is that there is still some scope for toppers to layer the jokes, ultimately delivering a domino effect of visual and spoken humour that is unstoppable, while remaining true to these two characters being tested to the absolute limit of their patience and loyalty to one another!

Sina Bowyer Sun, 06/13/2021 - 04:12

Great high concept title with a genre revealing pun. Strong, vibrant contrasting characters in an immediate impact inciting incident (a car crash) that forces them together. I feel like I know them almost immediately. Like Thelma and Louise had two strong co-protagonists getting deeper and deeper into a criminal mess, I can only hope and expect that nerdy Abigail will be forced, in fish out of water style, to engage in farcical Mafia-esque counter-manoeuvres as the killers come after them. By contrast though, this story is more comedy than drama, and might be more aptly described as a comedy thriller, eg Lethal Weapon intersperses car chases and shoot-outs with the tragic-comic rants of an oppositional cop buddy pair. The script feels comfortably nostalgic, as much at home in this era as the present day.

Snappy as the dialogue is, the only reason this scored 9 instead of 10 is that there is still some scope for toppers to layer the jokes, ultimately delivering a domino effect of visual and spoken humour that is unstoppable, while remaining true to these two characters being tested to the absolute limit of their patience and loyalty to one another!

Sina Bowyer Sun, 06/13/2021 - 04:14

Great high concept title with a genre revealing pun. Strong, vibrant contrasting characters in an immediate impact inciting incident (a car crash) that forces them together. I feel like I know them almost immediately. Like Thelma and Louise had two strong co-protagonists getting deeper and deeper into a criminal mess, I can only hope and expect that nerdy Abigail will be forced, in fish out of water style, to engage in farcical Mafia-esque counter-manoeuvres as the killers come after them. By contrast though, this story is more comedy than drama, and might be more aptly described as a comedy thriller, eg Lethal Weapon intersperses car chases and shoot-outs with the tragic-comic rants of an oppositional cop buddy pair. The script feels comfortably nostalgic, as much at home in this era as the present day.

Snappy as the dialogue is, the only reason this scored 9 instead of 10 is that there is still some scope for toppers to layer the jokes, ultimately delivering a domino effect of visual and spoken humour that is unstoppable, while remaining true to these two characters being tested to the absolute limit of their patience and loyalty to one another!

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