What Happened to Ally Palmer?: The Good Student (2006)

What happened to Ally Palmer?

So my friend picked up this movie and we planned on watching it together. I thought it was one I had seen the end of on TV. The story was of a girl who they think is dead but turns out to be alive and stays with a mortician. The townspeople thinking she was kidnapped when she stayed on purpose.

This wasn’t that movie. It was very interesting and a bit confusing.

So the film starts off as we follow Mr. Gibb, (Tim Daly) history teacher. He lives a sad and boring life-kids don’t respect him at the high school, he has no car, he lives in a dumpy trailer, life is blah.

His neighbor is super interested in him and does all she can to get his attention, but he ignores her.

One night he is watching TV at home and sees a car commercial for Phil Palmer’s used cars, staring his daughter Ally Palmer (Hayden Panettiere). In American Beauty-like fashion, he begins to fantasize about her and watch her.

One student who particularly hates him is Amber (Sarah Steele). She is constantly calling him a pervert and gross old man, even letting him know that she knows what “kind” of videos he rents from her job, the video rental place in town.

Mr. Gibb becomes so enamored with her he stops her after class one day to compliment her and then goes to the car lot to see her, purchasing the first car he spots. And how does he pay for it? He’s got a bunch of money socked away in a suitcase.

One day, Mr. Gibb is after school getting ready to leave when he witnesses an argument between Ally and her boyfriend, Brett (John Gallagher Jr.). She starts yelling “I can’t believe you did this” and sits in the hall crying. Brett is yelling at her angrily and slams his fist into the locker saying that it is her fault and she made him do this.

After Brett leaves, Mr. Gibb comes over and offers to give Ally a ride home. She goes with him and they talk a bit, she telling him that Brett and her were planning on leaving town together but he lost the money. Mr. Gibb gives her her recent test with an A on it. She kisses him in pleasure and then goes into the house.

What?

When she is inside we hear noises and see a masked man with a bowling bag kidnap her.

I know, for real.

Immediately, everyone suspects Mr. Gibb as he was the last one to admit to seeing her. Her dad doesn’t seem that broken up about it as he uses her disappearance to start a sale and makes a ton of money off her. In fact everyone is. Everyone has been selling things from prom tickets to lemonade to “support the search for Ally”.

People call Mr. Gibbs a ton of names and even spray paint pervert on his trailer. Things get worse when a picture of him and Ally kissing gets printed in the paper. Yes, Amber took a picture and put it out as she hates Mr. Gibbs.

Now this made no sense to me, why wasn’t anyone questioning Amber? What was she doing there the day Ally disappeared. And from the angle it was taken from she had to be hiding in the bushes on Ally’s property or in her house. Isn’t that weird? Why does no one care?

So which one is it?

Mr. Gibbs? Obsessed with Ally-could he have kidnapped her as he wanted her?

Phil Palmer, her dad? Was this all a scheme to make a ton of money?

Brett, the boyfriend? He wants money to escape the town, did he do this for ransom?

And run fast

Amber, the outsider? She has always been jealous ay Ally, is this her revenge? Or was it because she hates Mr. Gibbs so, that she wanted to frame him?

The Janitor? He’s creepy and when they show where Ally is being held, it looks school basementlike.

But there is more to all this people than meets the eye. But which one is the kidnapper? The clues could lead to anyone of them, but which are the red herring and which one the real deal?

***SPOLIER ALERT***

So I totally saw the Amber and Phil relationship from the way they talk in the video store. I thought she was going to be the kidnapper as she was there when the photo was taken, she has to be involved or seen something, but the movie didn’t go that way.

Instead the had Mr. Gibbs be the kidnapper which seemed weird to me. If he was gong to kidnap her why did he take her home? Why didn’t he try to establish a better alibi. How could he quickly change into the kidnapper’s clothes when he just saw her 2 mins before. Where did he even get those clothes when we only see him wear one outfit the entire movie. Most people say it was just on the spot that’s why he used a bowling bag, but if it was just on the spot then how did he have the drugs? You can’t be planned out enough to carry something but then working in the moment at the same time.

I think they wanted to pull one over on the audience and went with that twist when it actually makes no sense, And where was he keeping her? How did no one find her?

I thought the execution of the film was good until the end. It completely fell apart for me.

And what is with the title of the film? She has been struggling and finally earned an A. Is that what it means? In fact we know zero about Ally she is hardly in the film except for Mr. Gibbs lusting after her. Other than that we know nothing about what she likes and dislikes.  Its kinda weird.

Uhhhhhhh

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For the previous post, go to They’re Moving From Planet to Planet…After They’ve Consumed Every Natural Resource They Move On…and We’re Next: Independence Day (1999)

For more Hayden Panettiere, go to Don’t F*** With the Original: Scre4m (2011)

For more films with disappearances, go to Have You Seen Megan Hipwell?: The Girl On the Train (2016)

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Have You Seen Megan Hipwell?: The Girl On the Train (2016)

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Have you seen Megan Hipwell?

I first was introduced to the book this film is based on by Goodreads. Everywhere I looked they promoted the book and kept recommending it to me.

They were constantly attacking me trying to get me to read it. That kind of pressure actually made me not want to read it at all.

Want YOu Leave Me Alone

But then I saw the film coming out and decided that I would like to read the book before seeing the film. I figured out who the murderer was, but thought the book was pretty well written.

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So before we start with the film review, let’s give a bit of background on the book. So the theme of the book is that you never really know a person, there is a lot more than meets the eye.

Carnival of Souls Don't know real

So the book is told by three female narrators who are completely unreliable.

1) First we have Rachel Watson. Rachel is bitter, obsessed, and an alcoholic. We want to like her and believe in her, feeling for the wrongs that have been committed against her, but at the same time we can’t trust her. First of all Rachel is an alcoholic who continually blacks out when she gets drunk and never knows what actually happens. Besides that, Rachel admits that she has an overactive imagination so we never know what she does remember or see to really be what she says or whether it is made up in her head.

2) Secondly we have Anna Watson. Anna was a real estate agent by day, party girl by night. When she met Tom Watson, Rachel’s husband at the time, she wanted him; became the other woman; got pregnant and became the new wife. She dislikes Rachel and the disruption she brings as she continually plagues their life. As Anna is willing to do all she can to get rid of Rachel, can we actually believe what she says about her or is it just jealousy?

3) Last we have Megan HipwellMegan says right away that she is a liar and makes things up all the time, no one really knows who she is. Therefore, how can we trust a single sentence she utters? Her story is told in flashbacks, leading up to her disappearance and murder.

So I  decided to see the film, how did it hold up?

It works

Well………………………………………………………………………….

I don't like it 11

I thought the film was pretty horrible. It didn’t capture the thrills of the book, the language and screenplay was horrid; and they just inserted sex everywhere! I was furious! WHO WROTE THIS? It sucked!

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So let’s count down what made this film so bad.

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1) Setting

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So they changed the location from England to New York and I thought that was a bad decision. First of all I’m tired of everything being New York, it is getting kind of boring. Besides that I thought England was a better choice as unlike America, Europe is so centered on trains. I also thought the weather and location added a certain suspense to everything.

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Plus the way the police interact and a lot of mannerisms; didn’t translate over as well to American. I mean there was Rachel’s obsession with her house that is very English, a type of Peril at End House that we have here, but not as strong.

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2) The Language

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The book was well written and crafted well in creating the story. The film, however, was not done well. I can’t believe the person who wrote this was paid any money, it was bad. Just F-bombs; no mystery, no suspense, nothing.

I don't like it 11

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3) Too Much Sex

did not need to see that

They trade out character development and actual plot to just show sex like every ten minutes. None of this was in the book, as it didn’t need that to be a good story. In fact the excessive sex just made the story weaker.

I mean when you watch the trailer they market it like 50 Shades of Gray. That was not what the book was about.

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4) Where was Anna?

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So the book is split between three narrators, the film did well with two but Anna had hardly any character development. In fact she was barely even in the film. Why would they do that? She was a big part of the story?

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5) Surprises Revealed Too Early

really?

really?

So the book is a SUSPENSE. A THRILLER! You aren’t supposed to reveal things right away, they are supposed to be done slowly.

However, this film took all the thrills out early on. If you watch the trailer, the killer is revealed. They tell everything about Rachel’s reason for drinking, Megan’s secrets, etc.

It is like they wanted to do a drama instead of a thriller.

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6) Most of the Casting Choices were Horrible

So I disliked almost every actor they choose to play these characters. What were they thinking? Who was in charge of this? They should be fired.

Scott Hipwell

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In the book Scott was a wealthy IT consultant. He had a lot of money and could support the two of them, have a nice house in the country, and live off having to travel and work like once a week to twice a month. He was kind, handsome, charming, respectable, etc. You wanted to like him because Rachel did. Rachel believed in him and never thought of him being a killer or ever hurting his wife. He had to be someone you felt comfortable with, that way when Rachel realizes she has no idea who this guy really is, just who she imagines him to be, it takes on a real creepy tone.

In this, from the way he [Luke Evans] dresses and acts he seemed abusive and controlling. I never trusted him in the film as straight off the bat he acted and looked like someone who would hurt women. He never appeared trusting, kind, or gentle. He never appeared IT and their home looked barely lived in and worn. It just didn’t work and he didn’t work.

Tom Watson

thegirlonthetrain

So in the book, Rachel describes Tom as being strong, powerful, and having the shoulders that seemed like they could carry all their weights and burdens. He is remarried, but at the same time the way he treats Rachel is almost like Cousin Ashley in Gone With the Wind, keeping her on a string.

In this film, I was surprised that they picked Justin Theroux. He was small and made me think of a weasel. I never thought he seemed comforting or a good husband; he looked like a liar and a cheat the whole time. I thought he was a bad choice, as like Luke Evans, he just couldn’t create a sincere or kind facade.

Anna Watson

thegirlonthetrain

As said before, Anna was supposed to be party girl turned wife. In this she had no character development and the only bit we had was that she loved being a mom and thought it was the best thing any woman could do. We never heard about what she thought about their relationship, her hatred of Rachel, her needs, desires, etc.

Megan Hipwell

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I thought she was okay. They definitely played up the sexual angle, but didn’t focus on everything she went though to be who she was. All she was was a sex addict; not a grieving sister, former drug addict, bankrupt business owner, wife, friend, etc.Megan was much more complicated than just sex.

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The only thing I really liked was Emily Blunt as Rachel. She did extremely well in showing the emotional abuse and effects of alcohol. Good job, Emily!

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to He’s Married to a Corpse. He Has A Corpse Bride!: Corpse Bride (2005)

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For more films on disappearances, go to What Have We Done to Each Other?: Gone Girl (2014)

For more Emily Blunt, go to Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)

For more films based on books, go to That Face-I’ve Seen Her Before…: Let Me Call You Sweetheart (1997)

What Have We Done to Each Other?: Gone Girl (2014)

2014 Gone Girl

What are you thinking? What are you feeling? What have we done to each other? What will we do?

So I am just stating here and now that I will not reveal the end of this movie. It is a great piece of work, with an amazing twist that you must see or read (the book) for yourself. Since it is still out in theaters I do not want to ruin anything for the potential viewer. That being said:

DeanSupernaturalLetsGetStarted

So the book this film is based on came out in 2012 and I was really intrigued by it. I added it to my to-read list and planned on getting around to it. But you readers know how that is.

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So yeah, I hadn’t gotten around to it. However, that all changed this summer. I told you in a previous post that I journeyed out to Wyoming for an internship. There wasn’t a lot to do in the town, and the other interns and I mostly hung out on the weekends. We talked about what there was to do, which was mostly reading or netflixing. (I don’t have netflix so I Amazon Instant Watch or putlocker things). Anyways, one of the interns, Gwen, hadn’t brought anything with her and was asking about where to purchase books. I had brought my kindle and was fine (until it broke). I told her the library was out as I had found out to get a card I would have to pay $20.

outrageous

Then I remembered! There was a bookstore in town called “The Newstand“. But shortly after we arrived it went out of business.

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Yep. I think the only place left in town you could to get books were the Walgreens or the Walmart. They had two thrift stores in town, one was only clothes, the other furniture. It was very different from anyplace I’d lived before.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

Anyways, so one week Gwen starts talking about this book she just bought (I don’t know where. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I ever asked her.) She told us it was Gone Girl. Immediately I was intrigued as I had really wanted to borrow it. I asked for the book and finished it in one day. It was that good.

Can'tputbookdownAnother Chapter

The book is a mystery/suspense/horror. The way it is told is really interesting as it goes back and forth between the present and the past. In the present Nick Dunne’s is trying to figure out and cope with his wife Amy’s disappearance. The past is revealed to us through Amy’s journal, as she details the everything prior to her disappearance. It was an interesting book as it has the same unsettling qualities as Catcher in the Rye or Alias Grace. In Catcher in the Rye, the main character, Holden Caulfield, admits to the reader that he is a liar, leaving one unsure of what in the book is real, and what is a child’s fantasy. Margaret Atwood, author of Alias Grace, does a similar thing in her novel. There are no quotations marks put around the dialogue, leaving the reader very uncertain as to what was said and what was only in the character’s minds. Just like Holden,  Grace Marks leaves us wondering if she is really telling the truth?

Carnival of Souls Don;y know real

Gone Girl isn’t exactly written that way, but it does have some similarities. With Nick, he is described as being somewhat of an a***hole (his word not mine) and having a face that makes himself always look as if he is lying. He is too good looking and charming that you don’t want to trust him (the characters joke that his chin causes you to not trust him.) As you read his accounts you start wondering if there is more than he is telling the reader. You feel as if he is hiding something from you, even though it is told in first person. It makes you wonder what is he hiding? What are his secrets?

Suspense have to know

And then you have Amy. Everything we hear is from what she wrote in a journal. But is it the truth? After all a journal is where you release your emotions. Sometimes you exaggerate or write things down that you would never do, just because it helps destress you. As I mentioned before it is a release. Besides that you don’t write everything down in a journal. After all, that is a lot of work. Most of the time you write down the things that made you upset or happy; never giving the whole picture but a moment. Just a moment. It’s selective in memory. So that begs the question: how much of it can we take as fact? How much is fiction?

Carnival of Souls Don;y know real

So one day I was at the movie theater watching Expendables III. The film finished and I contemplated sneaking in to see another film, but unfortunately the theater I was at was very small (four screens) and the ticket seller and I had had an actual conversation, so he would remember me. Along with that, my “California-ness” showed very strongly as everyone told that I looked very “different” from Wyoming girls.

Yeah I don't understand it either

Yeah I don’t understand it either

So instead I called a cab for a ride home and waited around until it came. As I was waiting, I started watching the screen that showed trailers for upcoming films. I saw one for The Equalizer, but it didn’t really strike me as a “must-see”. After that the trailer for Gone Girl came up.

OMG

I didn’t even know that they were turning the book into a film!!! Fantastic!!! Then I saw the cast list. As you know from an earlier post, I love Ben Affleck. I knew he would be a perfect Nick. Rosamund Pike was great as Jane in Pride and Prejudice (2005) and I was interested to see how she would do this role. I thought Neil Patrick Harris was a great choice as Amy’s ex, as everything I have ever seen him in he has conquered. The only thing I was unsure about was Tyler Perry. But to be honest, any time I see him not playing Madea, it’s a little strange. Anyways, I became excited for the film and couldn’t wait to see it.

excited

And as I mentioned before it was pretty incredible.

Take note Hollywood

Take note Hollywood

What was great about the film was that they followed the book pretty consistently. There are a few changes, but not enough to make you want to string up the director by his thumbs. On a whole the changes didn’t really hurt the film at all. I thought it was amazing how they handled the flashbacks, narrations, and journal entries. I would definitely read the book along with the movie as it has more detail and little things that can’t transfer over to film. I do give one warning though. If you want to be surprised DO NOT READ THE BOOK. The book has this amazing twist, about halfway through, and a killer end. It was a great shock when you read it, but not so much the second time encountering it on the screen. I mean you already know it, so while the rest of the audience is oohing and ahhing over it, you’re just chilling there thinking, knew it.

dean whinchester shrug smile oh well

So if you truly, truly want to be surprised. I would wait to read the book until after seeing the film.

So I’m just going to do a partial review, as I really, really don’t want to spoil too much for anybody.

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Nick Dunne

Nick Dunne Gone Girl Lost Confused

It is the day of the Dunne’s five-year anniversary. And Nick is not very happy.

Darcy P&P OMG Can't Even

You see life hasn’t been a bed of roses for the Dunnes. Nick is from a little town; North Carthage, Missouri. He went to college and moved to New York, and began writing for a magazine. He met Amy at a party and the two later married…but bliss did not last long. He lost his job due to downsizing as the economy tanked. His father is crazy and in a home where he constantly escapes from. And his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Immediately, hearing the news of his mother, he and Amy move back to his hometown much to her displeasure.

Now the relationship was already strained, but after moving to Missouri it becomes much worse. Amy is a New Yorker born and bred and doesn’t do well with places that are not New York.

That particular morning, Nick heads over to the bar that he bought with his twin sister Margot, and the two contemplate what would be a good anniversary present. 5 years is wood, “and there’s nothing good from that.” When Nick heads home, he receives the biggest shock of his life.

What!

His house is a mess and his wife is missing.

OMG

He can’t find her and doesn’t know where she might be. He calls the police and later, her parents. They team up and begin commercials, signs, news reports, trying to find Amy. Ben Affleck did an amazing job at this role.

ben-affleck-and-rosamund-pike-in-gone-girl-new-york-film-festival-2014-gone-girl-review missing girl

But some people don’t think that he’s quite so innocent. Some suspect he might have killed her. Things become espechially sticky when they discover the broken in area was staged, and a lot of blood was spilled and then cleaned up afterwards. Did he have something to do with his wife’s disappearance? Did he kill her? Is he innocent? If he is innocent, than what happened to her? Where can she be?

Suspense have to know

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Amy Dunne

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We are first introduced to Amy through her journal. Amy is the daughter of authors. Her parents wrote the best-selling series called Amazing Amy. Their main character is perfect and excels at every hobby. Especially things that Amy has failed at. Amy resents the books, but they have made her famous and a major spot in the limelight.

hot pretty sexy

Amy is beautiful, charming, witty, etc. The “perfect” woman.

DDontHateme cause beautiful boy meets world

She writes personality quizzes for magazines for a living. I know some of you out there might think that’s a bit strange, but let’s face it…she has a major trust fund. She meets Nick at a “writer” party one night, and after that the two are hooked. They get married and have a few great years, but things start going downhill once Nick loses his job. He becomes someone that she doesn’t know.

Carnival of Souls Don;y know real

She hates Missouri. Nick thrives, but it makes her feel like she is choking. Then things in the marriage start to get even worse…Or does it? Is Nick really as cruel as Amy paints him? Or are the writings in the journal just the exaggerations of an unhappy, displaced person?

What!

Did Amy leave by her own choice? Or was she taken by force? But most importantly, where is Amy?

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The supporting characters are just as great as Affleck and Pike. Carrie Coon is perfect as Margot as she is really able to capture twin sister needling brother, and being supremely protective of him. Kim Dickens is an amazing Detective Rhonda Boney, the homicide officer assigned to the case. She seems all midwestern, laid-back, easygoing, charm; but she has a real brain in her head and is highly observant. Neil Patrick Harris steals scenes, as he plays Desi Collings, Amy’s ex and possible kidnapper. And then we have Tyler Perry, rounding out the cast as Tanner Bolt. I never would have picked him for the part as he is radically different, but he does a great job as being one of those shark lawyers after the big-name cases.

dean whinchester shrug smile oh well

And is has an awesome twist that I will not reveal as you all should definitely watch/read for yourself.

Where is Amy? What Happened to Her? Visit Your Local Theater to Find Out.

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For the previous post, go to There’s Nothing Out There. Nothing in the Mist

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For more on Ben Affleck, go to What is This Thing?

For more on films based on books, go to You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

For more twist endings, go to Don’t F*** With the Original

For more book-filled posts, go to I Was Here For A Moment. And Then I Was Gone

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Part X: The Movie List That Would Not Die