Southland Tales review 40 of 52.

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This week I’ll be concluding my comparing and contrasting of the various Southland Tales timelines as I examine The Mechanicals, the third installment of the Southland Tales prequels.

Here we go:

  • We start out with both stories being on the same page as they introduce Mandy Moore and her relationship with the Rock. She worried because the Rock has been missing for five days. She says the last time she saw The Rock was at a celebrity scavenger hunt.  
     
  • The stories remain the same as we flashback to the scavenger hunt where the Rock was last seen by his wife and her family. The only difference is that John Larroquette says that they are very close to getting the numbers to win the state of California. He goes on to add that this would be the first time that a republican presidential candid would win California, in the graphic novel he say since 1984, while the screenplay he says since 1988.
     
  • In both story lines we hang out with Janeane Garofalo. In the graphic novel she is talking with Kevin Smith questioning who this dead burn body is. In the screenplay Janeane Garofalo is more concerned with the Treer truck that has gone missing.
     
  • At this point the stories seem to make a pretty significant split. In the graphic novel Seann William Scott and Cheri Oteri are at the café. Seann William Scott has given up on eating because he can’t shit. He wants Cheri Oteri to take him and his “brother” to the hospital. Meanwhile in the screenplay the Rock is still getting his magic tattoo, while Sarah Michelle Gellar and Will Sasso run into Cheri Oteri and Seann William Scott as the Neo-Marxist rally winds down. They then run into Amy Poehler and Harris Wood.
     
  • The graphic novel then introduces us to Kenny and goes into his back story. The screenplay however jumps to a scene that establishes that Nana Mae does not trust the Baron.
     
  • The graphic novel then jumps back to Seann William Scott and Cheri Oteri at the café where they meet up with Amy Poehler and Harris Wood and discuss the plan. The graphic novel goes on to have Will Sasso reading The Power. We then transition into The Power. The screenplay however seems to have given up on transitioning into The Power.
     
  • The section of The Power script in the graphic novel goes into more details about how Sarah Michelle Gellar gained her psychic abilities after surviving a plane accident. I believe this is the plane from Donnie Darko. The story also follows the farting baby as he rapidly ages while growing other powers.

I’m starting to get a little lost here. Things are so different at this point that I’m not sure whether the two stories are branching off into two separate directions, or if one storyline is just ahead of the other and maybe they will eventually sync up again.

  • In the screenplay the Rock has just received his magic tattoo as Bai Ling explains the significance of the tattoo, and that the Rock is a chosen on. Meanwhile in the graphic novel Will Sasso is snapped back to reality by the phone ringing. It’s Bai Ling. She just wants to confirm that they have the Rock.
     
  • The screenplay then has Will Sasso talking with Amy Poehler and Harris Wood. Will Sasso is struck with an idea that will bring down USIdent.

    Alright, the stories are kind of close here. The main differences are that Will Sasso is not there in the graphic and Amy Poehler and Harris Wood come up with the idea to bring down USIdent.

    Amy and Harris discuss the plan that plays out in the Southland Tales movie where they fake their domestic dispute. In the  graphic novel the domestic dispute idea come from Will Sasso stealing the idea from The Power.
     
  • The graphic novel jumps to the opening of the first USIdent facility in the Southland.  At this point the screenplay cuts to an interview with Nana Mae and Bobby Frost. They discuss the wars that are taking place and inform us that they believe this escalation of turmoil in the world will lead to the second coming of Christ.
     
  • The graphic novel goes back to the Neo-Marxist’s hideout with the two Seanns and Cheri Oteri. They go into more details about fluid karma as a drug. While this is going on in the graphic novel, the screenplay shows us Janeane Garofalo as she discusses the weird anomalies that are taking place around Lake Mead. The graphic novel cuts to Janeane Garofalo talking to Kevin Smith, but mention nothing about Lake Mead.
     
  • The graphic novel has a brief cut away to Seann William Scott as he, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler and Harris Wood continue to hang out in the café. It then goes on to follow Nana Mae and Bobby Frost as they travel to their interview. I’m guessing it’s the same interview that took place earlier in the screenplay.
     
  • Both the stories sync up for a brief moment while the Baron asks Serpentine where the Rock is.
     
  • Ah, this is where the screenplay transitions into the story of The Power and again the Rock is reading the script to get into character. The Rock is snapped back to reality before getting too far into the story.
     
  • The screenplay then goes on to share the same information as to how Sarah Michelle Gellar got her psychic abilities only in the screenplay it takes place in the Southland Tales world, where as in the graphic novel this takes place in the world of The Power.
     
  • The graphic novel then goes into the interview with Nana Mae and Bobby Frost that takes place earlier in the screenplay.
     
  • The graphic novel then has the Rock having sex with Sarah Michelle Gellar. I'm not sure if this is where the video in the Southland Tales movie comes from or not.
     
  • While this is happening in the graphic novel, the screenplay goes into more detail about the plane accident, that I believe is the plane from Donnie Darko, and Sarah Michelle Gellar’s involvement.
     
  • Then the graphic novel introduces the link between Seann William Scott and Justine Timberlake, as Cheri Oteri talks to Seann William Scott as if she’s brainwashing him solidifying the back story that the group has created for him.
     
  • The screenplay then backtracks as Seann William Scott decides he’s not going to eat anymore because he can't shit and Cheri Oteri goes into more details about Seann’s mission.

    Meanwhile over at Will Sasso’s house Will starts to implement the plan to have the Rock go on a ride along with Seann William Scott. The screenplay then backtracks again as Amy Poelher and Harris Wood inform Seann William Scott of the game plan.
     
  • While this is happening in the screenplay, the graphic novel introduces Justin Timberlake’s back story including how he met Seann William Scott over in Iraq. The screenplay actually syncs up at this point as it also goes into Justin Timberlake’s story. The screenplay goes way more into Justin Timberlake and Seann William Scott’s friendship. The graphic novel has a quick cut away to Kevin Smith still hung up on the mysterious Donnie Darko flight, then comes back to share more information about Seann William Scott and Justin Timberlake’s friendship.
     
  • Both stories then go into how Seann William Scott and Justin Timberlake got involved with the fluid karma drug experiments to get out of the war.
     
  • The graphic novel has a quick cut away that going into more details about how they mine for fluid karma, then both stories sync up to tell the story of the friendly fire incident between Seann William Scott and Justin Timberlake.
     
  • In the graphic novel we find ourselves at an auction where they are offering up severed thumbs.
     
  • Both stories sync up as the Rock heads out to take a walk to clear his mind.
     
  • Earlier in the graphic novel as they're explaining Sarah Michelle Gellar’s psychic abilities, we a shown a bunch of letter. Sarah Michelle Gellar quickly unscrambles the letters to come up with the name Martin Kefauver. In the screenplay it’s Kevin Smith who unscrambles the letters to come up with a name.
     
  • We then visit all the character in both stories as they wind down this portion of the story and set up the starting point of the Southland Tales movie.
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  • The end.

This week was pretty rough.

Two weeks ago when I broke down the two part ones of the prequel series I notice slight differences, some major differences at times but the two stories follow a similar path.

 Last week while breaking down the two part twos, I found that there were very little difference.

This week however the two part threes tell a lot of the same information only the order is all mixed up. I’m in no way saying that’s a bad thing, it just lead to a lot of confusion when information that I thought was left out would appear twenty pages later in a different order.

Again I find these differences very interesting especially if you look at the screenplay as one reality while the graphic novel is a separate reality. Whether or not that’s intentional, that’s how I choose to look at it.

It’s now 7:30 in the pm on Tuesday November 19th, and I’m about to fire up the Cannes Cut of Southland Tales for the 40th time.

Wow only 12 left to go!

See you next week!

Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.