The 1998 movie Armageddon starred Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck as deep-sea oil drillers deployed by NASA and the military to embed a nuclear device 800 feet inside an asteroid heading straight for Earth. The device would split the asteroid into two parts, with both halves just narrowly missing our planet, saving us from a true armageddon.
It's one thing for the world to be destroyed -- but for the 405 to be out of service for an entire weekend takes things to a whole new level.
In that spirit, we present highlights from the screenplay for Armageddon 2: Carmageddon, the unproduced sequel, coming this weekend to a freeway near you.
Scene 1: NASA headquarters, Washington, D.C. Among a huge bank of empty computer terminals, our heroes sit in front of their screens, and stare into space. Not space as in outer space. Just normal space.
Ben Affleck: "Now that the shuttle program is ending, ain't so much left for us to do here."
Bruce Willis: "Barely anything on my screen. Just this little speck of dust."
Ben grabs his trusty can of computer dust remover spray, and takes a look.
Ben: "Friend, that ain't no speck of dust."
Bruce: "It's not?"
Ben: "Nope. That's a tiny asteroid, heading straight for the 405."
Bruce: "Oh no. And on one of the busiest summer weekends of the year."
Bruce: "We'd better find a way to implant a nuclear device deep within the asteroid that, when ignited, will split the asteroid in two halves that will land on either side of the highway, enabling continued safe travel across the Sepulveda Pass."
Ben: "Indeed. If not for us, then for all of the people who were planning to go to the Getty and pretend they like art."
Bruce: "We'd better get started."
Scene 2: The Department of Motor Vehicles. Los Angeles, California. Our third hero, Billy Bob Thornton, takes care of a customer.
Customer: "I need to renew my driver's license."
Billy Bob Thornton: "You've been waiting in the wrong line."
Customer: "This is the only line."
Billy Bob: "And it's the wrong line. Next."
BEN and BRUCE step up to the counter.
Ben: "Hi. We're from NASA, trying to embed a nuclear device inside an asteroid headed for the 405. And we needed someone on the inside."
Bruce: "Someone with real knowledge of the rules of the road, and, uh, where the highway is."
Ben: "Someone gruff and creepy on the outside, but warm and surprisingly intelligent once you get to know him."
Billy Bob: "Sounds like I'd be perfect."
Bruce: "We think you would. Will you join us as a member of the Carmadillos?"
Billy Bob: "Sure. I'm about to go on break anyway."
Ben: "Great, let's go put a nuclear device inside an asteroid."
Billy Bob: "Can we stop for lunch first?"
Scene 3: Somewhere in space. Inside the Department of Motor Vehicles's fanciest shuttle, Ben, Bruce, Billy Bob, and a half-dozen additional team members who won't be alive long enough for us to give them names get ready to complete the mission.
Billy Bob: "So there's the asteroid. How about the six of you go do this thing?"
Ben: "Yeah, the six of you. Without names. Just exit the spacecraft, insert the device, and we'll be on our way."
Bruce: "Yep, the six of you. That's a good idea. You'll be fine. Go."
The six team members reluctantly leave the spacecraft. They insert the nuclear device into the asteroid and then immediately die of a mysterious space disease.
Ben: "That was close."
Billy Bob: "But they died for their country."
Bruce: "Well, their city, really. They died for a small stretch of highway that runs through their city."
Billy Bob: "Yes. Brave men. They will be missed."
Scene 4: Sunset and Sepulveda. Our team stares into the sky.
Ben: "So are we ready to detonate the bomb?"
Billy Bob: "Absolutely. We've cleared the 405 from the 10 to the 101 just in case. Surface streets are at a standstill. The 5, the 2, the 710, the 134, all completely backed up. No one in the city is moving anywhere."
Bruce: "So basically there's no change from the usual traffic situation."
Billy Bob: "Yeah, no measurable difference."
Ben: "Just before we do this, should we discuss whether there might in fact be a benefit to letting the asteroid destroy the 405? It's a terrible road. Everybody hates it. If this gave us an excuse to redesign the whole system from scratch--"
Bruce: "Shut up. We're detonating the bomb. We only have seconds left before it hits."
Billy Bob: "Yep. Bomb detonated."
They watch the sky as the asteroid splits in half.
Bruce: "It worked. Both halves are clearing room for the 405-- and just in time."
Billy Bob: "Wait-- The asteroid split, but both halves are still headed straight for the ground. The highway may be saved, but the entire remainder of West L.A. will be destroyed by the impact."
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Billy Bob: "But the highway's going to be okay."
Bruce: "And that's the important thing."
The asteroid touches ground. The western half of Los Angeles is completely destroyed, except for the 405, which remains standing. Carmageddon averted. Roll credits. End of movie.
Jeremy Blachman is the author of Anonymous Lawyer (Henry Holt, 2006) and has been published online at McSweeney's and elsewhere. Follow him at jeremyblachman.com and @jeremyblachman and follow us at @LAWeeklyArts.