Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A Grand Don’t Come For Free: The Movie

The following is my submission for Anomalous Material’s latest Pitch Your Movie blogathon. The event involves all the participants of the second Hollywood Fantasy Draft.

A Grand Don’t Come For Free

Chris Hemsworth – Mike
Emily Blunt – Simone
Andrew Garfield – Dan
Mehcad Brooks – Scott
Mila Kunis – Allison
Ben Mendelsohn - Sully
Lennie James - Mumbles
Melanie Laurent - Ramona
Robert Kayinsky – Man in shirt and tie.

Directed by Steve McQueen (Hunger), and loosely adapted from both the A Grand Don’t Come For Free concept album and the Everything is Borrowed album by the British artist known as The Streets, A Grand Don’t Come For Free is a look at the life of one twenty-something year-old living in Birmingham UK. Trying his best to navigate life, friends, and love, Mike soon learns that losing a grand is the best thing that could have ever happen to him.

Act 1 – “It Was Supposed to Be So Easy”

Mike is a wannabe petty gangster in his late twenties. With no steady job Mike makes most of his money through various cons schemes. When Mike is not out conning unsuspecting bar patrons, he is spending the money he gets on gambling, booze, drugs, and nights at the club. Mike lives in a small house that is cluttered with empty beer cans and a slew of envelopes with the words “past due” and “last notice” on them. At the beginning of the film we see Mike and his friends drinking at his place talking about an upcoming soccer match and his date with Simone that night. Mike’s closest friends consist of Dan, Mike’s childhood friend; Scott, a stoner who still lives at home with his folks; and Allison, a single mother who spends more time partying than she does taking care of her boy Nathan. The day starts to go downhill for Mike when he realizes that the thousand dollars he set aside to pay a local loan shark, Sully, has gone missing. After tearing his house apart, Mike decides to withdraw some more money while he is out returning a DVD at the local video store. After waiting forever behind a slow woman at the ATM, Mike sees that he does not have enough money in his account to pay his debt.

Strapped for cash, Mike pulls a quick con at a nearby grocery store to cover him for the rest of the day and his date with Simone. At her day job, working at the JD’s Sports store with Dan, Simone often looks like she is coping with a hangover from the night before. On this night though, Mike is taken aback by how pretty Simone is when she puts in a bit of effort. Mike and Simone hit it off instantly, they chat about everything from Simone’s relationship with her mother to Mike suspecting that one of his friends might have stolen the thousand dollars. They get lost in conversation for hours and close the restaurant. Things pick up between Mike and Simone rather quickly and they are practically inseparable for the next few weeks and he finds himself spending all his time at Simone’s place.

Blissfully in love, and forgetting all about Sully, Mike dips into the money he has been swindling out of people to buy Simone things, such as a new coat, and taking her out to clubs. It is only when Scott mentions that Sully’s boys have been looking for him that Mike remembers his outstanding debt. Mike and Dan head down to the bookie shop to see if they can buy Mike more time to get the cash. Fortunately for Mike, Sully is tending to other business (i.e. killing a former worker who has been leaking information to Interpol). Mike promises Sully’s second in command, Mumbles, that he will have the money in a week plus interest. Mumbles informs him that the debt is now two grand. Before leaving the shop Dan encourages Mike to place a bet on the soccer match on television. Mike is hesitant at first but ultimately changes his mind when considers that he could possibly win enough money to clear his debts with Sully once and for all. Plus the match looks like a sure thing as his team is up by two goals. Unfortunately, a last minute substitution changes the courses of the match and Mike’s team ends up losing by a penalty kick. His debt has now gone up an extra two hundred dollars.

Act 2 – “Blinded by the Lights”

Still unable to raise enough money to pay Sully, Mike is starting to get stressed as the deadline approaches. Mike and Simone also seem to be arguing a lot more these days. To take his mind off of things he decides a night out with his friends is in order. After slipping in a small baggie of drugs past the bouncer Mike does a few lines of cocaine to loosen up a bit. While waiting for Simone to show up after work, Mike decides to take a few shots at the bar with Allison and talk about things going on in their lives. An hour later, an extremely drunk Mike wonders why Simone has not returned his text. Believing he is hallucinating due to the drugs, Mike start seeing distorted images at the club. One of those images is a woman who looks like Simone kissing another man. Another image is of Scott and Dan getting into an argument. Scott appears to be trying to stop Dan from talking to Mike. Confused and in need of air, Mike and Allison step outside for a quick smoke. Mike wanders off while Allison is trying to get a light from the bouncer. Wandering aimlessly Mike accidently crashes a wedding and gets into a fight with some of the wedding guest. Luckily Allison finds him and takes him home before the cops show up.

The next day, hung over and bruised, Mike heads to McDonalds for a bite to eat. While at the restaurant he sees an attractive woman standing in line with a guy wearing a simple white shirt and black tie. Unable to take his eyes of the woman, Mike does not notice that Mumbles and Sully have entered the restaurant. Mumbles puts his hand on Mikes shoulder and grabs him tightly. Sully walks up to the woman and starts to kiss her. The man in the white shirt gets the hint and takes off. Sully introduces the woman as his girlfriend Ramona. Sully then tells Mike that he has been more than patient but it is now time for him to pay up. Not having the funds needed, Mike offers up his services as a con artist to Sully. Hardly impressed with this offer, Sully motions for Mumbles to take Mike out back and teach him a lesson. As they head out the door Ramona pipes up about having a solution to fix everything. Ramona request that Mike be her new errand boy as Sully killed her last one. Reluctant at first, Sully agrees and tells Mike that after working for Ramona, he will have wished that Sully killed him when he had the chance.

Sully informs Mike that his first assignment is to keep Ramona occupied at the park for a few moments while Sully and Mumbles conducts business nearby. Sully clearly instructs Mike that he is not to leave Ramona’s side at all cost. While walking to the park, Ramona informs Mike that she and the man in the white shirt are actually undercover Interpol agents building a case against Sully and his links in organized crime. Flashing her Interpol badge, Ramona informs Mike to go home and keep away from the bookie shop for the rest of the day as a major Interpol raid is going to happen later that night.

Act 3 –“Everything Is Borrowed”

Still in shock from what he had just learned, and unable to get a hold of Simone, Mike heads over to Scott’s house to tell him everything. At the apartment Mike notices, Simone’s coat over the arm rest of Scott’s chair. Mike questions Scott about the jacket but Scott pretends to be intensely watching something on television. Irritated Mike starts to piece together his hallucinations at the club and Simone’s distant behavior over the last few weeks. Mike accuses Scott of fooling around with his girlfriend, but is stunned to hear Scott say that it has been Dan. As luck would have it, Dan walks in a ten minutes later to pick up the coat. Not seeing Mike sitting at the table in disbelief, Dan mentions that he and Simone, who is waiting in the car, are going to the pub for a few pints. Before Dan can finish his sentence, Mike lunges at him and punches him in the face. As Dan falls to the ground, Mike starts wailing on him. If it wasn’t for Scott pulling him off of Dan, Mike would have killed him. As Mike leaves he gives a startled Simone a cold look as he walks by Dan’s car.

A few weeks later Mike, who has not left his house since the events at Scott’s house, lets Scott, Allison and her son Nathan into his place. Scott apologies for not telling Mike sooner but admits that he was in a tough spot since he was friends with both of them. Mike forgives him and they all sit around chatting for a bit. Mike tells them both that he has been doing a lot of thinking and plans to start making something of his life. The incident with Sully opened his eyes to how low his life had gotten. After a while, Scott leaves and Nathan falls asleep on the couch. Mike and Allison continue to talk until 2 am. The next morning Mike wakes up optimistic for the first time in a long time. Allison is asleep upstairs and Mike gets Nathan some cereal. Suddenly there is a knock on the door and Mike opens it to see the repo men on his doorstep. As the men take all of his stuff away, Mike spots an envelope behind the television set. There, in all its glory, is the grand that Mike had thought he lost several weeks ago. The film ends with Allison, Nathan and Mike on the street watching the repo men load their truck. Allison extends her hand to Mike indicating that he is welcome to come home with her. With only the clothes on his back and a grand in his hand, Mike smiles and confidently takes Allison’s hand and walks toward a new life.

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