Manhattan (1979)

by Jaime Grijalba.

This originally appeared in Wonders in the Dark for their comedy countdown.

          FADE IN                                                          

          EXT. MANHATTAN - MORNING                                         

          Shots of Manhattan: buildings, skyscrapers, a modern             
          snapshot of New York today. People walking down streets          
          looking at their iPhones or looking at cinema markees            
          announcing 3D movies. The music of George Gershwin, of           
          course, fills the atmosphere.                                    

                              JAIME (V.O.)                                 
                    Chapter One. He had never been to                      
                    New York. He just thought about it                     
                    in the most incredible ways,                           
                    thinking of it as a snapshot of                        
                    1979, as Woody Allen had pictured                      
                    it in his film. He idolized it as                      
                    he knew that it was the center of                      
                    the world of contemporary                              
                    culture... No, no, that’s not too                      
                    preachy... Ok, let’s start again.                      
                         (clears throat)                                   
                    Chapter One. He had never been to                      
                    Manhattan, he had never seen it in                     
                    the way that it was in our modern                      
                    days. He, in some stupid way,                          
                    pictured it in black and white, and                    
                    moving alongside to the rythms of                      
                    George Gershwin, when surely the                       
                    reality is more that it was full                       
                    colour at 1080p and surely moving                      
                    along at the screeching and                            
                    disgusting sounds of Skrillex...                       
                    No, no, no, how will I ever do                         
                    justice to this?                                       
                         (clears throat)                                   
                    Chapter One. He had never been to                      
                    New York, he had seen it many times                    
                    in TV, but the portrayal of it by                      
                    Woody Allen, even if it was forced                     
                    into the interiors, the apartments                     
                    and the restaurants. He didn’t care                    
                    or know if those places were real,                     
                    for all he knew, it could’ve been                      
                    filmed in Toronto (tax refunds)...                     
                    what am I doing here? Ok, ok.                          
                         (clears throat)                                   
                    Chapter One. He had never been to                      
                    Manhattan, but that was about to                       

          INT. JFK AIRPORT - NIGHT                                         

          JAIME comes out of some transparent sliding doors from           
          International Police, and so he is received by the inmensity     
          of the John F. Kennedy International Airport. Carrying his       
          inmense luggage, he moves along different seats and people       
          looking at their flights. In the midst of the crowd, Jaime       
          suddenly spots SAM JULIANO waving and smiling at him. Jaime      
          walks up to him, Sam takes one of the bags that Jaime was        
          carrying and they both stroll along towards the exit.            

          EXT. PARKING LOT - NIGHT                                         

          Sam Juliano is putting the luggage in the trunk of a big         
          white van, when he finishes, he approaches Jaime and shakes      
          his hand.                                                        

                              SAM JULIANO                                  
                    It’s a pleasure that you finally                       
                    decide to come for a visit...                          

                    Yes, yes, thanks so much. And it’s                     
                    pronounced "Hi"-"Meh", Jaime.                          

                              SAM JULIANO                                  
                    I always had the doubt, thanks                         

                    No problem.                                            

          Jaime gets on the van, which is completely empty. The cold       
          night of New York is beautiful as from the window of the car     
          its bright stillness dazzles Jaime.                              

          INT. VAN - NIGHT                                                 

          Jaime watches out of the window and sees snapshots of the        
          night life of New York. Suddenly, Sam speaks from the front      
          of the wheel.                                                    

                              SAM JULIANO                                  
                    What do you think Jaime, too tired?                    
                    What do you think about a movie in                     

                    I’d love that!                                         

          The van drives away into Manhattan.                              

          EXT. OUTSIDE AN ART THEATRE - NIGHT                              

          Jaime is standing in the front of a line in the ticket booth     
          of an old arthouse theatre that is showing, according to the     
          markee, a retrospective on famous films of the 70’s. In          
          front of him, Sam Juliano is waiting to buy the tickets.         
          Suddenly, from one end of the street comes strolling DENNIS      
          POLIFRONI that inmediatly runs towards Sam and shakes his        
          hand, Jaime watching him surprised.                              

                              SAM JULIANO                                  
                    I told you I had a surprise, look,                     
                    this is Jaime Grijalba.                                

                              DENNIS POLIFRONI                             
                    Wow, Jaime, this is truly a                            
                    surprise. Nice to meet you.                            

                         (shaking hands with Dennis)                       
                    Nice to meet you too Dennis.                           

                              DENNIS POLIFRONI                             
                    So, what are we watching tonight?                      

                              SAM JULIANO                                  
                    I thought that a little Manhattan                      
                    wouldn’t be too bad for our guest?                     

          Dennis looks to the side and then at Sam.                        

                              DENNIS POLIFRONI                             
                    Really? Are we doing this? It’s not                    
                    even his best movie from the 70’s!                     
                    Not even the second best.                              

                    What are you talking about Dennis?                     

                              SAM JULIANO                                  
                    I do think it’s a good movie, but                      
                    it’s not in my favorites in the                        
                    Woody Allen canon.                                     

                    I’d have to say I’m appalled, you                      
                    guys, two Manhattaneers? Or                            
                    whatever it’s called?                                  

          A moment of silence.                                             

                              SAM JULIANO                                  
                    Jaime, you know we’re both from New                    
                    Jersey, do you?                                        

          Jaime stares to the floor and then looks at the two man,         
          looking directly at him.                                         

                              DENNIS POLIFRONI                             
                    We do live near the city but...                        
                    it’s not like we’re here every day.                    

          Suddenly, Jaime runs off.                                        

          EXT. STREET OF MANHATTAN - NIGHT                                 

          Jaime runs through streets of Manhattan, until he suddenly       
          stops to catch his breath. He’s sorrounded by unknown            
          buildings, he’s completely lost.                                 

                    Oh, shit.                                              

          Suddenly, from a corner, BOB CLARK appears, strolling            
          peacefully down the street. Jaime waves at him, but Bob          
          doesn’t recognice him. Jaime runs up to him.                     

                    Bob, Bob, it’s me, Jaime.                              

                              BOB CLARK                                    

          Bob Clark looks to the side towards another illuminated          

          EXT. ILLUMINATED STREET - NIGHT                                  

          Bob and Jaime are walking down the street, side by side.         

                              BOB CLARK                                    
                    Well, that was stupid.                                 

                    Yeah, I know.                                          

                              BOB CLARK                                    
                    You’ll have to apologize, I guess.                     

                    For sure, I don’t know what came                       
                    over me.                                               

                              BOB CLARK                                    

          Suddenly, someone on a bike passes through, Bob and Jaime        
          look at him and follow him with their eyes.                      

                              BOB CLARK                                    
                    I guess it’s not time to talk you                      
                    about my new series of pieces                          
                    called "the Academy of the                             

                    Wha- what?                                             

                              BOB CLARK                                    
                    You know, film people that I think                     
                    that are overrated, like... Alfred                     
                    Hitchcock, François Truffaut, Woody                    

                    Oh, don’t forget Kubrick, you don’t                    
                    wanna forget Kubrick now that we                       
                    are trashing people.                                   

                              BOB CLARK                                    
                    What do you mean?                                      

                    All the people that you’ve                             
                    mentioned are complete geniuses.                       

                              BOB CLARK                                    
                    Oh, you know...                                        

          Suddenly, Jaime stops. Bob takes a step or two and also          

                         (points to the other end of                       
                         the street)                                       
                    Look at that.                                          

                              BOB CLARK                                    
                         (looks back)                                      
                    Oh my God, you possibly can’t be                       

          Jaime runs off towards the part he pointed at, and Bob,          
          reluctantly, walks behind.                                       

          EXT. VIEW TO QUEENSBORO BRIDGE - NIGHT                           

          Jaime and Bob are sitting at the same bench as in the scene      
          in the film Manhattan, looking at the Queensboro bridge,         
          side by side. They admire the view.                              

                    Boy, this is really a great city. I                    
                    don’t care what anyone says. It’s                      
                    really a knockout, you know.                           

          A car passes by.                                                 

                    This is really gay, is it?                             

                              BOB CLARK                                    
                    Yeah, a bit.                                           

                    You care?                                              

                              BOB CLARK                                    

          Both stand up and start walking back towards the other side      
          of the street.                                                   

          EXT. OUTSIDE AN ART THEATRE - NIGHT                              

          Sam Juliano and Dennis Polifroni are standing looking at         
          every side of the street.                                        

                              SAM JULIANO                                  
                    My God, if that boy gets lost, I                       
                    just don’t wanna think about it.                       

          From one corner, Bob and Jaime appear, Sam and Dennis let        
          out sighs of relief.                                             

                              DENNIS POLIFRONI                             
                    Wow, thanks Bob.                                       

                              BOB CLARK                                    
                    No problem, I found the little rat                     
                    running around, he has something to                    

          Jaime steps up and then looks up towards Sam and Dennis.         

                    I think I did a big mistake and I                      
                    don’t want you to think about me in                    
                    this way. Well... is it too late?                      

                              SAM JULIANO                                  
                    Jesus, you pop up, you don’t call,                     
                    you run away, and you suddenly                         
                    appear. I mean...                                      

          Jaime shakes his head.                                           

                    I made a mistake, what do you want                     
                    me to say? Do you still want to see                    
                    the movie or what?                                     

                              DENNIS POLIFRONI                             
                    Do you want to see the movie?                          

                    Yeah, that’s why I’ve came, that’s                     
                    what it’s all about.                                   

                              SAM JULIANO                                  
                    You really looked bad.                                 

                    It was not on purpose. I mean, I...                    
                    it... it was just how I was looking                    
                    at things at the moment.                               

          Bob Clark approaches the ticket booth and comes back.            

                              BOB CLARK                                    
                    Well, they won’t be seeling any                        
                    more tickets, the movie is already                     

                              SAM JULIANO                                  
                    Well, Jaime, I’m sure it will play                     
                    next week.                                             

                    Next week! Are you kidding?                            

                              DENNIS POLIFRONI                             
                    We’ve gone this long without seeing                    
                    it, what is a week if we still want                    
                    to see it?                                             

                    I mean, in a week lots of things                       
                    can change, screens can get                            
                    diminished, or repeats not                             

                              SAM JULIANO                                  
                    Why couldn’t you have brought this                     
                    up an hour ago? A week is not so                       
                    long, I’m sure they’ll put it up                       
                    again. You have to have a little                       
                    faith in people.                                       

          Jaime looks away one moment, then looks at the three men in      
          front of him, and half-smiles.                                   

          EXT. MANHATTAN - DAWN                                            

          The buildings of modern New York City shine under the light      
          of the rising sun.                                               

                                                             FADE OUT.

Disclaimer: This is pure fiction, the people represented here may or not may talk or act or be like the descriptions made here. Sorry for not delivering something that you might expect regarding the great movie that ‘Manhattan’ truly is, but I wanted to repeat the experiment, and I can’t say that I did a better job, but at least I can say I did it.

How Manhattan made the top 100:

#1 J.D. La France
#2 Pedro Silva
#4 Davis Schleicher
#10 Shubs Laheri
#11 John Greco
#13 Dean Treadway
#18 Allan Fish
#27 Jon Warner
#28 R.D. Finch
#35 Pat Perry
#47 Frank Gallo
#52 Bobby McCartney
#54 Jaime Grijalba
#54 Mark Smith



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