Judge David Johnson learned how to spearfish.
The spear's the thing.
The following script is inspired by the documentary Gone to Baja: Spearfishing 101 with Dale Pearson, a fifty-minute long instructional video on the basics of freediving spearfishing. Host and guide Dale Pearson takes the audience through the preparation and execution of spearfishing, from selecting the right equipment to the proper uses of the speargun, even to the gutting and cleaning of the fish. Interviews with fishermen, guides, clients, and vendors populate the program, and are buttressed by actual underwater footage of the hunt.
DVD Verdict is proud to present this exclusive first peek of the script for a feature film, based on this documentary. Currently, it is being shopped around to high-level studio magnates in Southeast Asia, with the tentative title Gone to Baja: Blood in the Water. The cast represents a wish-list for producers and should only be considered rumor.
Just remember: you heard about this at DVD Verdict first!
GONE TO BAJA: BLOOD IN THE WATER
SCENE 1: Night. A boat floats quietly at sea. A lone lantern illuminates a solitary man. He is putting on a rubber wetsuit and toying with a speargun. A nearby radio crackles to life.
DALE: (on the radio) Hey, Tom. Let's go. It's dark out. That's enough spearfishing for one day.
TOM: Look Dale, I need to bag one more before I head in. I'm behind on my catch.
DALE: Tom! You know it's not safe to spearfish in Maimed Man's Bay at night. How many times --
TOM: I know, I know, I don't need to be lectured to. You see, not all of us are as accomplished as the legendary Dale Pearson. Remember I don't have all those gold medals from the World Spearfishing Championships.
DALE: Oh, please. You've been drinking again, haven't you?
TOM: This conversation is finished Dale. I'm diving one more time—(slurps beer from a can)—and that's final. (Tom pulls the mask over his face, and checks his speargun.)
DALE: Tom! Tom!
(Tom turns off the radio, turns on his shoulder-mounted lamp, takes a deep breath, and dives off of the side of the boat, disappearing beneath the inky blackness of the water. After several moments, the water froths, faint crimson stains the surface, and all is quiet…)
SCENE 2: "Three Weeks Later" A Ferrari with two passengers pull into the parking lot of "Rifle International Spearguns." DALE and ERIC get out of the car and enter the store. Inside, the store is deserted, save for a man behind the counter. He looks up.
JAY: Dale? Eric? What are you doing here?
DALE: (approaching the counter): I think you know, Jay.
JAY: (looking at Eric, frowning): Mack. I was depending on you to put a stop to all of this.
ERIC: Sorry Jay. But when the man is committed to something, he follows through.
DALE: Jay, I know what you're going to day, so don't even bother. I came here for one thing: the SSG.
JAY (shaking his head): Not going to happen, Dale.
DALE: I'm not leaving without the SSG, Jay. I have work to do and that gun is the only thing that will help me. You know that.
JAY: The only thing I know is that the most gifted spearfisherman that I've ever seen—heck, that I've ever heard of!—is hell-bent on a suicide mission.
ERIC: Jay, trust me, there's no point --
JAY: What happened to that soft-spoken kid I used to know, huh? The son of the great Hal Pearson? The boy I gave that Fisher Price "My First Speargun" to? Do you remember that day, Dale?
DALE: I don't have time for this!
JAY: I remember that day! That kid's eyes grew the size of dinner plates when he saw that gun. That kid knew what his destiny would be. What would that kid say now, huh Dale? What would he say?!
DALE: I'll tell you what he'd say, Jay. He'd say, "I'm not a kid anymore, I'm a grown man, who is on a mission, and I need help from you…not you from twenty years go, but you, now, and I've changed, or rather, I will change in twenty years, so you—the you in twenty years that is—needs to help me. That's the grown-up me by the way."
JAY: I'm sorry Dale, but you're not getting the SSG. (turns and leaves)
DALE: Jay! Come back here! Damn you! Damn you to Hell!
ERIC: Dale, let's go, it's no use.
(DALE frowns deeply then whips around, stomping outside, kicking gravel in agitation.)
DALE: Damn it to Hell!!
(A shape sneaks out from the shadows. It's JULIE and she's carrying a long case.)
DALE: (turns, shocked) Julie? Wha—? I thought you were in San Juan.
JULIE: I came back to help Dad with some store renovations. I overheard your conversation. Is it true, Dale? You're going back to Maimed Man's Bay?
DALE: It's true. I need to find what killed Tom.
ERIC: Hi Julie.
JULIE: But you've already looked! You didn't find anything that could have killed him! Besides, you never even found the body!
DALE: Does that mean I have to give up? Julie, Tom was my second cousin! I owe it to him, to Uncle Fabian and Aunt Sarsaparilla, to all the spearfishermen out there who want to follow their dreams!
ERIC: Hi Julie.
JULIE: Spare me your spearfishing idealism Dale. We both know why you're going back out there. Spearfishing isn't a sport to you, it's a competitive diversion done for enjoyment!
DALE: What do you want Julie?
JULIE: I want you to not go.
DALE: I don't care what you don't want. I'm going.
(JULE stares into DALE'S eyes for several seconds.)
JULIE: I can see there's nothing I can do to dissuade you. So the only thing I can do is give you this. (she hands him the case) I just hope it's enough to save your life. (She turns and leaves, disappearing into the shop. DALE looks at the case. On it, stenciled underneath a bright Warning! sign is "Super Spear-Gun.")
SCENE 3: ERIC and DALE are in the car, on the road, heading for an unknown destination.
ERIC: Okay, you got the SSG. Now what? Off to Maimed Man's Bay?
DALE: Not yet. I have to make one more stop.
SCENE 4: The Ferrari pulls up to a run-down shanty, covered in vines, its yard almost totally overgrown. A dumpy Volkswagen bus sits in the driveway. DALE and ERIC climb out of the car and walk to the front door. Before they can knock, the door flies open and a short Hispanic man walks out.
DAGNINO: I knew you would come.
DALE: Don Octavio Dagnino. It's been a long time.
DAGNINO: What do you need?
DALE: Do you even have to ask?
ERIC: Hi Don Octavio Dagnino.
DAGNINO: You're going to go after what killed Tom, right? And I'm assuming you've already been to see Jay, so that means --
DALE: Yes. I have the SSG.
DAGNINO: That's a serious piece of equipment. Can you handle it?
DALE: What do you think? You're the only man to have ever successfully used it.
DAGNINO: (thinks for a moment) I think you have to be crazy to even consider pulling the trigger on that gun. I think I lost my right big toe using it. I also think you're going to try and use it no matter what. And if you do without my help, you're going to kill someone. Fine. I'll help.
(Cut to training montage.)
DALE: Thanks Don. I think I'm ready.
SCENE 5: Maimed Man's Bay. DALE and ERIC are on a rented boat, prepping for departure.
ERIC: Well I guess this is it.
DALE: I guess so. (looks at the SSG) I'm not going to leave until I've had my revenge. There's no turning back now. It's now or never. This is where the rubber meets the road. I've had all I can't take and I can't take no more Now is the winter of—(ERIC'S cell phone rings)
ERIC: Hello? Yes. I see. (hangs up, turns to DALE) Tom's body just washed up near one of the fish canneries. He was impaled on his own speargun.
ERIC: So, uh what do you want to do?
DALE: (pauses) Go home I guess.
(Fade to black. Ending text crawl: "Brought to you by the Council on the Prevention of Drunken Freediving Spearfishing.")
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