The blank screen flashes in an instant to Manhattan at night, a bird’s eye view lit up in all its gargantuan majesty, and we get to glide through the peaks of the skyscrapers for a moment, closing in on a rooftop terrace where a lone figure surveys the city. He wears a yellow silk bathrobe with a fuzzy, red lining and it matches his curly, windblown hair.
The camera swirls and dive bombs him until he’s right in the foreground, the door to his apartment behind him filled with the silhouette of a skulking man in a wide-brimmed hat. The focus shifts and it’s Al Pacino in the bathrobe – no makeup but wearing a bright red clown wig, his eyes tired and hollow, a glass of scotch in his hand.
He cracks a mirthless smile before the figure behind him speaks. “McDonald.”
Pacino says, “You got to be kidding me. The hell took you so long?”
A pistol cocks. Pacino’s face does some superacting. The figure says, “You know what they say about servin’ it cold.”
By now Pacino is Ronald McDonald, burdened by many years and terrible secrets. He takes a long drink and finishes with his lip in a snarl and demands, “Well you came all the way up here. What are you waiting for you pansy motherfu…”
Three gunshots, then a fourth and then a long pause before a fifth. The screen goes blank again for a dark moment, then the bass drops on that half techno/half Gregorian chant kind of thing, where it’s like monks and a mixing board.
Cut to a street scene, flashing cop cars and a crowd of gawkers, and a yellow Hummer pulls up with them, a police strobe on top of it. A hulking figure in a long tan coat starts to get out of it, but we can’t see who it is.
Voiceover: “In a world where jesters are kings…”
A shot of the bathrobe-clad body from above, a chalk outline around it, crime scene technicians milling about. Cut to a briefcase on a desk, swinging open – it’s full of cash.
Brooklyn Voice off screen: “Guess we can rule out robbery, hey Sarge?”
Cut to a shadowy corridor across the room, taken up by a bulky figure in a long coat, turning toward the camera.
Back to another tech at a kitchen counter. He holds up an empty McDonald’s bag, peering into it and then turning his head up to the camera really slowly.
Voiceover: “…And the mighty, have fallen…”
Cut to a dingy bar, where a man with a great big cheeseburger for a head slouches over a rocks glass while a burly man in an apron lectures him. “You ain’t the Mayor no more, McCheese, so I’ll tell you when you had enough. And I’m looking at your tab and you had enough!”
Close up of McCheese his eyelids heavy, a pickle sticking out of his lips like a big, green tongue. His voice slurs. “At least I was something once. The hell you ever done? Huh, tough guy? The hell you ever done?”
Voiceover: “…One man must face a nemesis from his own disgraced past…”
Cut back to crime scene, the lab techs poking through several more bags of McDonalds scattered across a table. The tech’s voice is offscreen: “French fries, Chicken McNuggets, Apple pies. Even some Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, chief. Doubles.”
Cut to the corridor where the bulky figure turns and it’s Grimace in a long tan coat, played by Eminem in what Rolling Stone Magazine calls “a brilliant, groundbreaking performance.”
“Everything but the hamburgers,” Grimace says, his eyes narrow and gleaming in the shadows. “If I didn’t know better…”
Voiceover: “…And another will test the boundaries of honor…”
Cut to a twenty year-old newspaper with the headline “Hamburglar Killed In Factory Explosion, Witnesses Say.”
Cut to a five foot bird opening her front door, her smile freezing as the same raspy voice from the terrace hisses, “Hello, Birdie.”
Cut to Grimace standing over her body in his tan coat, his hands in his pockets, more crime scene guys moving around behind him. He bends and unfolds a piece of paper stabbed to the yellow body with a letter opener – it says, COME OUT AND PLAY.
Grimace stands and points at someone off camera. “You. Find out what rock that son of a bitch McCheese crawled under, and kick it over.”
Voiceover: “…Together they will learn if the glory of the past…”
McCheese walking down the street at night. A voiceover of phone conversation snippets.
“It’s Birdie. I need you to come in.”
“So you’re saying the two killings are connected?”
“They say lightning don’t strike twice, Hoss.”
Cut to Grimace in a parking garage. He blasts a forty ounce bottle against the concrete wall and gets in McCheese’s face. “Yo, it ain’t never gonna be the same again, Dawg! This ain’t no merry-go-round! The years don’t come back around, yo? This is it, this is where we’re at!”
Voiceover: “…is enough to fight the demons of the future.”
A woman’s voice off camera: “No! No it can’t be! You’re dead!”
Grimace and McCheese running through a cemetery with flashlights at night. A quick scene in a strip bar. Grimace firing a gun on a shooting range.
Then McCheese from above, slumped over Birdie’s corpse, raising his arms as he lifts his head and screams “Hamburglar!”
Then it turns out the techno monk music was really the prelude to an actual Eminem song from the soundtrack, the rough kind about stepping up to fools and being broke and kicking ass, not the ones about his kids. It really kicks in and plays over the following series of quick scenes:
Voiceover: “This summer.”
A speeding ambulance drives up a handy ramp and crashes into a ferris wheel, exploding in a clowd of sparks.
Grimace and McCheese with their shirts off, brawling in an alley. McCheese gets punched in slow motion and ketchup slops out of his mouth like spit.
Heather Graham poses in profile in front of a sofa, where McCheese sits watching her with a drink in his hand and really wide shades. Her dress drops to the floor.
The Fry Guys mixin’ and scratchin’ with their ball caps sideways while Grimace busts some rhymes at the House of Blues, the crowd dancing and waving in perfect sync with the soundtrack.
Voiceover: “Johnny Depp.”
McCheese getting out of the shower, appearing curious about the camera but not alarmed or shy.
The Hamburglar curled around a ceiling fixture over a security guard’s head as he opens a warehouse door and flicks on the lights, frowning around. “Is anybody here?”
McCheese leaping through a cloud of shattering glass with two pistols, firing them both and going, “Aaaaarrrrrrrgggghhhh!”
Michael Caine dressed as Colonel Sanders, grabbing McCheese by the collar in a darkened parking lot and whispering, “You have no idea how deep this thing goes!”
McCheese and Grimace diving off a yacht just before it explodes.
Heather Graham slapping Grimace in a restaurant, and then he swings his head back to her, leering.
Grimace and McCheese fistbumping each other on the steps of the Courthouse.
Grimace doing chin ups.
McCheese swordfighting with the Hamburglar on the Statue of Liberty’s torch.
A close up of the Hamburglar, who turns out to be played by Kevin Spacey: “We could have ruled McDonaldland, McCheese!”
A close-up of a timer at eight seconds, then seven, then six.
McCheese and Grimace skiing down a mountain with machine gun fire peppering the snow behind them.
Voiceover: “Al Pacino.”
Ronald McDonald wear salmon-tinted shades in some kind of flashback scene, playing cards with Grimace. He slaps down a full house and smiles big.
McCheese clearing off a bar top with a pool cue and screaming, “Someone’s whacking Mickey D’s characters and I want to know who it is!”
Voiceover: “And Michael Caine.”
Colonel Sanders standing at the trunk of a canary yellow Cadillac, loading a shotgun, pumping in a round.
The screen goes blank and the music stops. Nothing happens for three full seconds. Then Hamburglar’s voice whispers, “What’s it gonna be, McCheese?”
Then the screen is filled with a .44 Magnum pointing at us. The focus shifts to McCheese behind it, holding the gun in three point position with his finger curled around the trigger. He says, “You want fries with that?”
Three gunshots, the screen goes blank and almost quiet except for a low, static hum.
Then the Eminem song kicks back in, and turns out to work the name “McCheese” into the title.
The Way of McCheese