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Home: The Toast

imagesEthan – Did you see Bill Murray recently said the only reason he did that Garfield movie was that he thought I wrote it instead of some schlemiel named Joel Cohen? Not sure why he didn’t just pick up the phone. But it got me thinking — why shouldn’t we do a Garfield pic? Gritty reboot. I sketched out a few scenes. Let’s talk tomorrow.

-Joel

INT – UNKNOWN

We begin on pitch black. A crackling sound steadily grows louder. The camera pulls slowly back to reveal some texture to the blackness. Further back and we see the smooth lip of an unknown object. Further back. We see the surface of what looks like the moon Io, or horrifically burned skin. It bubbles ominously. As we slowly pull back, the object is revealed: a lasagna in a glass dish, cooking in an oven. The camera does not leave the oven, lingering on the dish as we watch the cheese brown and bubble dangerously. A quick, low tone accompanies text centered on the screen.

SUPERIMPOSE: “MONDAY”

CUT TO:

The lasagna, still steaming, is set down on a cheap linoleum floor by two hands encased in floral-print potholders.

CUT TO:

A CAT’s head, shown from behind, as it eats the lasagna

CUT TO:

A bare patch of floor, just as a CAT (off screen) vomits onto it.

CUT TO:

A flash of orange fur as the CAT is shoved into a crate.

CUT TO:

A car door closing as we see the crate inside.

CUT TO:

A bell rings as we see a door opening, and a MAN walking through, carrying the crate. As it closes, we see the word “VETERINARIAN” printed in curved letters on the outside.

———–

urlINT. VET’S EXAMINATION ROOM – DAY

JON, A nondescript man — mid-40s, brow furrowed with anxiety, neither especially attractive or unattractive — stands next to the waist-high examination table. He taps his fingers incessantly. We hear a low moan, human in sound. The camera swings around to the opening of the crate where GARFIELD, a fat orange cat, lies motionless, eyes closed.

 

GARFIELD (V.O.)

It happened again, Jon.

 

JON stops tapping his fingers. He looks up, resigned.

 

JON

I know.

 

GARFIELD (V.O.)

It’s the third time this month.

 

JON

(yelling)

I know!

 

GARFIELD (V.O.)

This can’t keep happen–

 

url-3GARFIELD is interrupted by the door opening. Enter LIZ, 40s, her face lined but attractive. She’s wearing a lab coat and stethoscope, her slim legs visible. She speaks with a thick Midwestern accident.

 

LIZ

Well now you guys are back again, huh? That’s quite a bit in just a short little while isn’t it?

 

LIZ pulls GARFIELD out of the crate.

 

LIZ

What’s going on with you there, big guy? You get into something you shouldn’t again?

 

GARFIELD (V.O.)

What is she talking about, Jon? What the hell is she talking about?

 

JON

(nervous)

Yeah, I’m sorry I don’t know what it is, he just keeps getting places he shouldn’t. Hey, by the way, I saw this —

 

LIZ

(cutting him off)

Well let’s just take a look here and see what we can do for you.

 

LIZ examines GARFIELD. She listens to him breathe with the stethoscope, she presses her fingers into his fur. She makes small “hmm” noises as she looks him over.

 

JON

So, like I was saying I saw that there’s this theater in town that plays these old movies and I was wonder–

 

LIZ

(interrupting)

Jon.

 

JON

Yes?

 

LIZ

I’m concerned about Garfield. He’s sick. Very sick.

 

GARFIELD (V.O.)
Why does this keep happening to me, Jon?

 

———–

INT: JON’S HOUSE – NIGHT

url-4We follow a small, sleek gray kitten through the halls of JON’s house until it reaches the kitchen, where it slowly slides its body alongside GARFIELD, who is tucking into a plate of lasagna.

 

NERMAL (V.O.)

(effete, yet sexy)

I saw him making it. I saw him pour it in.

 

GARFIELD (V.O.)

(over the sound of chewing)

I know it. I know what he did, I know what he’s doing.

 

NERMAL (V.0.)

So why are you eating it?

 

GARFIELD (V.O.)

(choking back a sob as he continues to eat)

Because I have to, Nermal, all right? Because this is what I do. This is who I am. The sun comes up in the morning. Birds fly. Fish swim. I eat the lasagna he puts on the floor. You think I don’t know that I’m dying, that it’s killing me, that he’s killing me? You think I don’t wish every damn time he took this pan out of the oven that I could stay away?

 

Sometimes there are forces, Nermal. Sometimes there are cosmic forces that are bigger than us, that mold us into who we are. Sometimes our future is already drawn. And you can spend your whole life pushing back. But I don’t push back. That’s not who I am. I’m Garfield. I eat the damn lasagna.

 

———–

INT. RESTAURANT – DAY

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 6.05.45 AMLIZ and JON are sitting across from each other in a deep booth at a cheap-looking chain restaurant. LIZ is wearing a heavy sweater and looks deeply uncomfortable. JON is wearing a bowtie, jacket, and shirt that all clash violently with each other. He is eager, with a strong undercurrent of sadness plain on his face. We find them in the middle of a long, awkward pause, and linger there before they speak.

 

JON

Some weather we’re having though.

 

LIZ

(sighing)

Jon, I only agreed to come here because you promised you’d talk to me about what’s going on with Garfield.

 

JON

Probably gonna snow. Those clouds look dangerous.

 

LIZ

You’re hurting him, Jon. Do you have any idea what it’s like to be a pet? To depend on a human being for everything? He loves you, Jon. He loves you, and you’re hurting him. I know what you’re doing, and it can’t go on.

 

JON

Yep. Dangerous.

———–

INT. JON’S LIVING ROOM – NIGHT

 

url-5In a shabbily decorated room with mismatched, outdated furniture, we see a dog sitting on his back legs. He is bright-eyed and happy. His tail thumps leisurely on the floor. He’s panting. We focus on the panting, zooming in so slowly, the movement is almost imperceptible, accompanied by an equally slow rise in volume.

 

CUT TO: SHOT OF GARFIELD

 

GARFIELD (V.O.)

Are you in, Odie?

 

ODIE continues to pant.

 

GARFIELD (V.O.)

I need to know. Right now. In or out?

 

No response. He continues to pant; his tail continues to thump.

 

GARFIELD (V.O.)

You are an unbelievable bastard.

———–

EXT: THE WOODS – DAY

 

Camera opens on the back of ODIE’s head, and we can hear his panting. It’s louder than the low buzz of some kind of heavy machinery, but as we pull back the buzzing becomes louder, until it’s drowning out the panting, until it’s drowning out everything. The camera keeps pulling back until we see a blood-soaked JON using a circular saw to dismember a woman’s body. The camera pans further back until JON disappears among the trees.

 

———–

INT: JON’S BEDROOM – DAY

 

url-6We see JON asleep, while GARFIELD sits on top of him, eyes open, staring, tail slowly curling back and forth, back and forth. JON wakes up with a start.

 

GARFIELD (V.O.)

I’m hungry, Jon.

 

JON

(still groggy)

Huh?

 

GARFIELD (V.O.)

I’m hungry. Why don’t you make me a lasagna, Jon?

 

JON
(suddenly alert)

I’m not making you lasagna any more. I’m done with all that.

 

GARFIELD (V.O.)

But I love lasagna, Jon. It’s delicious.

 

JON

I told you, I’m done. I promise. I swear.

 

GARFIELD (V.O.)

You’re not done Jon. You and I both know you’ll never be done.

———–

INT. MOTEL ROOM – NIGHT

 

images-1JON sits on the edge of a bed in a cheap motel room, legs dangling off the front. He’s wearing nothing but boxer shorts. There’s a painting of a duck on the wall behind him. We hear a TV. The sound and the light on his face changes as he flips through channels with a remote.

 

He hears a noise outside, turns his head sharply. He calms down, and faces the TV again. After a half-minute, he hears another noise, louder this time. He stands up, walks over to the window, and parts the blinds with his fingers. His eyes open wide and he runs toward the bathroom.

 

JON
no no no no no no no no no no no

 

———–

EXT. A TREE LINED SUBURBAN STREET – DAY

 

A car lies smashed into a stop sign, smoke pouring from the engine. The horn is going full blast. As the camera zooms in we see JON, face covered in blood, nodding his head back and forth, his eyes looking nowhere.

 

The camera pans left and we see ODIE’s body slumped in the passenger seat, blood dripping from his ear. We move to the back seat and see NERMAL lying against the back windshield, under a smear of his own blood.

 

The camera pans through the red bloodstain and into the street. As we get further from the car, we start to catch up with GARFIELD, padding away in the opposite direction. As we reach him:

 

GARFIELD (V.O.)

Mondays.

 

The camera stops and he continues to pad away. When he is almost out of our sight, he slows, stumbles, and falls over.

 

FADE TO BLACK

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Jesse Berney is senior editor of Blue Nation Review and a stand-up comedian in Washington, DC. Follow him on Twitter at @jesseberney.

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