Though you may not yet know his name, Niles “Pop” Goodrich could soon be the most influential writer in Hollywood. For years, he’s been polishing his debut screenplay, and though it’s not exactly what he had in mind when he began the process, he has every confidence the final draft is better than 90% of scripts that see the green light.
“I think I offer a unique perspective,” he says. “No one’s ever seen a movie like mine before.”
The screenplay, a semi-autobiographical tell-all Goodrich describes as “brutally honest,” follows the journey of a struggling writer looking for love and meaning in a cruel, uncaring world. Hounded by the fear of rejection, one man presses on, and takes on society with a laptop and a Starbucks Gold Card.
“You get free refills in the same visit. No one cares if you stay all day.”
Goodrich considers himself a strong feminist, and has crafted the unattainable objects of his protagonist’s affections into people in their own rights. They see straight through his attempts at impressing them, even his charming self-deprecation. “Women are beautiful, and they’re smart,” Goodrich tells me. “They’re able to put their sexual instincts on hold to get done what they need to get done. I wish I could do that.”
Goodrich and interviewer share a meaningful stare. CUT TO:
INT. BEDROOM, NIGHT.
Two bodies violently wrestle under the blankets.
Oh Niles, you’re such a good lover!
I think it’s important to focus on a woman’s pleasure above all else. People tell me I should be a masseuse because I have great hands, but I think my tongue is better.
Though he was early, he leered at his watch. He was only a little early, just enough to make sure he was there first. He liked to be first.
Around the cafe, he saw people, though he couldn’t focus on their faces. None of them were her, and that was all he cared about right now. Everyone else seemed dumb. He heard excerpts of conversation, “You look good for someone on death row.” Half-hearted jokes just to break up the monotony of their one-note lives.
“You’ll be fine, just tell them you’re mentally disabled.”
“Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I don’t respect a good boobie.”
He tried to stop listening, but every word of inane banter grabbed him by the scruff and smacked him around. It was unavoidable. People speak loudly in public because everyone else speaks loudly. He couldn’t help but hear people talk about themselves, saying whatever they assumed their friends wanted to hear. Probably quotes from some movie they’d seen together. All they did was validate each other. One by one, they laughed, turn by turn, though no one ever said anything worth acknowledging.
She arrived right on time, and he assured her he hadn’t been waiting long. Points for magnanimity, he reckoned. As she told him about traffic, he listened attentively. She wasn’t interesting, but she loved to talk. Each nod of his head added a tally to his implicit superiority. The less he spoke, the smarter he seemed, and she began to love him, he could tell. Her face was made of love, and it was all directed at him. Sweet, merciful, stupid love. Something within him moved, but no one could tell.
He came first. He always came first. He loved to be first.