Writing in “The Visit”

Writing in “The Visit”

by Adam Huddleston

Here is a past blog from 2015.

This past Friday my wife, her father, and I went to the matinee showing of “The Visit”.  We are all fans of horror and this film looked to be pretty scary.  Afterward, the main topic of conversation amongst us, other than the twist ending which the film’s writer/director M. Night Shyamalan is known for, was the writing in the movie.

As horror movies go, the plot was average to a bit above average, but in my opinion the dialogue was one of the film’s highlights.  It had the perfect mix of humor and terror.  The young boy in the movie, played by Ed Oxenbould, steals the show with his lines; especially when he substitutes profanity with the names of female pop singers.  The grandparents in the film deliver equally strong performances with their portrayals of loving caretakers that get creepier as the movie progresses.  

Kudos to Mr. Shyamalan for a wonderful job with the writing.  If you are a fan of horror, I recommend seeing this film when you get a chance.

Gone Fishing’

Gone Fishin’

Movie Review


Gone Fishin’ is one of my favorite comedies. All they ever wanted to do is just go fishin’!

Joe Waters (Pesci) and Gus Green (Glover) are bumbling yet happy best friends who live modestly in Newark, New Jersey and have known each other since childhood. They share the hobby of fishing and win a stay in the Florida Everglades to go angling, but promise to return home in time for Thanksgiving.

On the way, however, while stopping at a bar, they meet an Englishman, Martin (Brimble), who discreetly steals Joe’s car keys and leaves. Joe and Gus are forced to push their boat down the road until they are met by two women, Rita (Arquette) and Angie (Whitfield), who are after Martin and offer them a lift. During the ride, a bump causes the boat to disconnect from the car, leaving Joe and Gus stranded yet again, and the boat is accidentally hooked to a train and pulled away along with their beer and supplies. Joe and Gus hitch a ride with two men, but on the way, they see their car at a gas station and investigate. Joe goes to confront Martin inside the bathroom, but backs down when he catches Martin loading a gun. Joe and Gus flee the petrol station in their car, and discover a blood-stained knife in the dashboard.

Joe and Gus stay at a trailer park for the night, and while watching a documentary on television, they learn that Martin is actually Dekker Massey, a wanted criminal who has conned several women out of their riches and is implied to have stabbed his last victim to death and hidden her money and jewelry somewhere. The presenters offer a bounty for Dekker’s capture, and Joe and Gus decide to turn in the knife after their fishing trip. Meanwhile, Dekker begins hunting Joe and Gus down.

Following a recommendation by the trailer park owner, Joe and Gus visit Phil Beasly’s boatyard and rent a speedboat, but end up breaking almost every gadget on the boat, losing the knife and wrecking the boatyard by accident. Distraught, they decide to return home early, but end up with a flat tire. While getting the spare tire from the trunk, Joe discovers a map that leads to Dekker’s fortune. They book a room in a nearby hotel, and while having dinner, they are found by Rita and Angie, who question them about Dekker and reveal that they are after him because Rita’s mother was one of Dekker’s victims. Joe and Gus promise to bring Dekker to justice, but that night, Gus sleepwalks and starts a fire in the hotel, destroying their suite and the map. They only barely manage to escape undetected, though their car breaks down on the road and Joe is struck by lightning while they try to fix it. Instead of killing him, the lightning boosts Joe’s memory and he is able to lead the way to the cave where Dekker hid his fortune. Despite an altercation with an alligator, they retrieve the treasure and escape, but are accosted by Dekker. At gunpoint, Dekker forces them to push Joe’s car into the swamp and ties them up inside a sheriff’s office, intending to flee the country with the treasure.

After Dekker leaves, however, Joe and Gus are found and freed by their idol, Billy “Catch” Pool (Nelson), and they set out to stop Dekker. After a long chase across the swamp, Joe and Gus find and capture Dekker moments before his escape via plane and hand him over to the police. Though they claim the reward money, Joe and Gus are forced to spend it mostly on the damages they caused during their trip.

—   Wikipedia


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Hollywood in the Desert

Hollywood in the Desert

Natalie Bright


The Old Tucson movie set continues to be recognized as the pre-eminent film location in the Southwest, after its construction in 1939. Hollywood legends have walked the streets from John Wayne, Dean Martin, Glen Ford, Elizabeth Taylor, and many others. It was the location for the show High Chaparral, which aired from 1967 to 1971 staring Cameron Mitchell and Mark Slade, among others. Films, television shows, commercials, and even music videos, have been filmed here. If you are a fan of westerns, as I am, plan a visit to the site. Located about a 30 minutes drive from Tuscon, Arizona there are also eateries, shops, and a great shoot-out performance with stunt men.  For more pictures about my recent trip to Tuscon to attend the Western Writers of American convention, go to my Instagram @natsgrams.



Lynnette Jalufka


One of my top all-time movies is the original animated Beauty and the Beast from 1991. (I haven’t seen the live action version and don’t care to.) It retells the familiar theme of seeing past one’s looks into the beauty inside.

Belle wants nothing more than adventure far from her everyday life. When her father is taken prisoner in an enchanted castle ruled by a hideous beast, she offers to become Beast’s prisoner instead. Belle doesn’t know that Beast must learn to love someone and have that person return his love before the last petal of a magic rose falls. If he doesn’t, he will be a beast forever. Step by step, they grow closer together until the handsome Gaston, who wants to marry Belle for her beauty, attacks the castle.

Engaging characters, great animation, and awesome music make this movie come alive. I love the scene where Beast dances with Belle in her golden dress. If you haven’t seen it in while or at all, rent it, stream it, check it out of the library. It’s well worth watching. I shed a tear the last time I saw it.


The Quiet Man

Outtakes 389


The Quiet Man

By Cait Collins


I truly love some of the older movies.  One of my favorites is The Quiet Man.  Set in Ireland, the movie follows boxer, Sean Thornton (John Wayne), as he returns to the land once owned by his family.  Sean is seeking peace following the tragic death of his opponent during a boxing match. He meets spinster, Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O’Hara), and learns that courting in Ireland is much different from the more progressive USA.  The road to marriage and wedded bliss is rocky, but when Sean finally confronts his brother-in-law, Mary Kate softens and the love story takes a turn for the better.

The Irish music and the gorgeous scenery add to the story.  This is a movie I watch as often as I can catch it on TV. The movie was so popular it spawned a Western spin-off…McClintock.  Loved that one, too.

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If a Man Answers

If a Man Answers is a 1962 American romantic comedy film directed by Henry Levin and stars then real-life husband-and-wife Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee. It was produced by Ross Hunter Productions, Inc, shot in Eastman color, and distributed by Universal-International. The screenplay was written by Richard Morris from a novel by Winifred Wolfe.

Chantal Stacy (Sandra Dee) is the daughter of Germaine Stacy (Micheline Presle), a former French showgirl, and John Stacy (John Lund), a conservative Boston antiques dealer, who met in Paris. Chantal was the product of their “soufflé-and-beans romance.” Her father worries about her French part getting pregnant, before her Boston part gets married; a foghorn sounds every time a man gets too close to her.

Her father gets a promotion and the family moves to New York City. Chantal gets picked up on Fifth Avenue by Eugene “Gene” Wright (Bobby Darin), a photographer who invites her to model for him. During Chantal’s first shoot, her father shows up to the set, punches Gene, after seeing the skimpy outfit Chantal is modeling in, and takes his daughter home. Chantal admits to her mother that she likes Gene and wants to continue modeling for him without John’s interference; with her mother’s advice, she marries Gene. However, now that she is his wife, Gene refuses to let Chantal model, effectively making her a housewife.

Shortly after their marriage, Chantal’s college friend Tina (Stefanie Powers) arrives in New York. A spoiled rich girl, she goes after Gene, and he responds positively to Tina’s flirting tactics, making Chantal starts to become nervous about her marriage. When Chantal is at a loss, her mother gives her a book on “How To Train Man’s Best Friend” and advises Chantal that many men aren’t treated as well as pets. She begins to use the dog-training techniques from the book on her husband and to her delight, the results are astounding. Germaine later explains that the book was not really for Chantel to train her husband to obey her like a dog but rather, it has been teaching her how to live with her husband.


Look this one up, It’s worth a watch!

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Rory C. Keel



Lynnette Jalufka

One of my favorite movies is National Treasure, partly because I like history. It’s a heart-pounding race to find the greatest fortune ever put together, the Knights Templar Treasure. Ben Gates is obsessed with it; his family was entrusted with a clue to its whereabouts since the American Revolution. But when he discovers the clue leads to another one hidden in the Declaration of Independence, he and his ruthless partner, Ian, split ways. Ben is left with an agonizing decision: to save the Declaration, he must steal it before Ian does.

The movie is a fun ride with the clues leading through American history. It keeps you on the edge of your seat. Grab some popcorn and enjoy.


The Scarlet Pimpernel


The Scarlet Pimpernel

By Nandy Ekle

I am not normally a fan of romance stories, but if they include captivating characters in clever adventures, danger, intrigue, and fun little sword fight, I’m all in.

The Scarlet Pimpernel is a movie that is all that and more. It’s an older movie (I hesitate to use the word “old” as it dates me) that’s based on a book written by Baronnes Emmuska Orcszy. I have read the book, and, really and truly, this is one time I like the movie better. Anthony Andrews plays Sir Percy Blakeney, Jane Seymour plays Marguerite St. Just, and Ian McKellen plays Chauvelin. A brilliant cast.

The story is set in the French Revolution. Sir Percy is part of the British aristocracy, and has a lot of close friends in the French aristocracy, including King Louis and Queen Marie Antoinette. It’s not hidden from us that he plays a double role as the Scarlet Pimpernel in freeing as many French “Aristos” as he can. He and his band of friends are shallow-minded pompous aristocrats during the day, but plan daring and dangerous ploys by night.

When Sir Percy meets Marguerite, he falls instantly in love and woos her with lavish attention and gifts. However, she has a past with Chauvelin, who is a member of the Committee of Public Safety, and in charge of beheading the “aristos”. 

The story is presented with all the period costumes and landscapes, and ends with a fun little sword fight. Look for this movie and enjoy.


The Hobbit Movie Review

The Hobbit Movie Review

by Adam Huddleston

A few days ago, my son and I watched the first of the recent Hobbit movies, “An Unexpected Journey”.  I was extremely proud of him for finishing the book and excited to begin viewing the films with him.  I had seen the movies when they first came out, but that was admittedly several years ago.  

My first observation of the film is that the writers attempted to include much of the exact dialogue from the novel.  A lot of our favorite lines made the movie and that is always enjoyable.  Another thing I noticed is that the film makers did a fairly decent job of making Bilbo the main character.  However, it did irk me that they really pushed the character of Thorin Oakenshild.  I understand that he is important to the tale, but it seemed that the movie focuses a bit too much on him.

Another failure of the film is it’s overabundance of CGI special effects.  When done correctly, computer-generated images blend in perfectly with the scene and are not noticeable.  When not, they stand out like a sore thumb.  For example, the groups’ escape from the goblins near the end of the film is so scattered and cluttered, I had a difficult time distinguishing what was happening.  

Overall, the film is a good effort at capturing Tolkien’s tale in live-action, however, it could have been done much cleaner.  Still, if you are a fan of the story and/or fantasy films, I would recommend giving “An Unexpected Journey” a once over.  


Outtakes 388



By Cait Collins


Having worked for Disney part time for five years, I developed a deep respect for the animation teams that created the magic we saw on the screen.  I can truthfully say the hours I spent on stage in the new Disney Store in Amarillo were some of the most fulfilling work hours I ever experienced.

Walt Disney believed in the magic of movies.  I recall his black and white television show from the fifties.  The weekly forays into Adventure Land, Fantasy Land and Tomorrow Land were anticipated. We were living in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  My Dad and some of the other fathers would load kids into cars and take us to the base theater on Saturdays for the matinees.  The innovation and skills of the animation and live action teams entertained my friends and me.

Disney has always been a leader in technology and storytelling.  While I loved the animated movies, I relished his live-action movies.  The recent release of Aladdin is further evidence of the studio’s commitment to innovation and storytelling.  Guy Ritchie led the cast and crew to the Middle East and into the lives of a young man struggling to survive and a princess who wanted freedom.  Theirs is a love story told against the backdrop of the ancient city of Agrabah skillfully created by scene and set designers. The viewer is there in the streets of an old city, in the Arabian desserts, in the Cave of Wonders, and the waters of the bays right along with Aladdin, Jasmine and the Genie. We are a part of the story and not merely an audience.

The music is pure magic, incorporating the Howard Ashman/Alan Menken lyrics and score from the animated movie Aladdin with new music from La La Land songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Pasek and Paul gave Jasmine her voice with a new song. Her song.

The staging and costumes are magnificent. The cast skillfully selected from actors and actresses of ethnic cultures that cemented the look of an ancient kingdom.  Mena Massoud’s portrayal of Aladdin as a charming street rat longing to escape his world is perfect. Naomi Scott brings Jasmine from a voiceless woman to a leader. Marwan Kenzari’s Jafar is deliciously evil. Dalia, Jasmine’s handmaiden, played by Nasim Pedrad, has just the right spunk.  She’s loyal, wanting only the best for Jasmine.

Will Smith’s portrayal of the Genie is magic. He brings just the right combination of mystic, wish granting, and humanity to the character.  Genie is a teacher, leader, confidant, and father figure. His performance is deserving of an Oscar.

Aladdin is not just a kid’s movie.  The story can take us back to the times in our lives where we were unsure, lonely, and searching for who we really are.  It reminds us that dreams are the seeds of finding ourselves.  It doesn’t matter if you’re five or fifty, Aladdin will take you on a journey from a dream to fulfillment.  It’s one movie you don’t want to miss.