featured graphic for Stillwater, now playing at Long Beach Towne Center

Stillwater now at Long Beach Towne Center based loosely on real life

Stillwater now at Long Beach Towne Center is based loosely on the real-life case of a young American woman’s misadventures in Italy. The woman is not happy about the movie, which was created without her permission.

Spoiler alert: some details of the plot are described in the article that follows.

Matt Damon plays Bill Baker, a roughneck from Stillwater, Oklahoma, who is the father of a young woman, Allison, who has spent five years in a French prison for murdering Lina, her lesbian lover, in Marseilles, France.

When Bill visits Allison in prison, he discovers new evidence exists that points toward someone else responsible for killing Lina. After Allison’s lawyer tells him that she (the lawyer) will not investigate, and that it’s unlikely a judge will re-open the case, Bill decides to try to find that someone else.

He doesn’t speak a lick of French.

An accidental acquaintance, Virginie, helps with translating. Virginie’s nine-year-old daughter, Maya, takes a liking to Bill and teaches him French words. He takes a shine to Maya and teaches her English words. Subtitles translate French to English for the audience.

Complications ensue because Bill just won’t take non for an answer. Even in the good parts of Marseilles, he sticks out as an American Baptist redneck, with his trucker’s cap and plaid shirts and praying. In the bad parts of Marseilles, he gets beaten to a pulp but does manage to catch sight of the elusive person of interest, Hakim.

If you pay attention to character moments, you can pretty well predict how things will shake out over the movie’s leisurely pace. This isn’t a thriller with slam-bang action scenes — there’s the beat-down of Bill, and there’s Bill’s take-down of Hakim. Suspense is heightened when Bill spots Hakim at a soccer match. What will Bill do?

And, to really earn the R rating, there’s a brief scene of nonmarital sex between Bill and Virginie. Also: smoking. And profanity.

Allison at one point tells her father, “Life’s brutal.” Bill echoes the sentiment at the end of the movie, which overall insists that people are born with character failings that they cannot overcome and should not expect redemption.

Not a Christian viewpoint, despite Bill’s public prayers.

The movie is well done, but a downer. Matt Damon is believable as Bill Baker, flawed father and roughneck from Stillwater, Oklahoma.

But personally I will stick with the Christian notion of original sin. Yes, we are flawed, but we possess free will and with God’s grace we can change, and seek redemption.

Otherwise, no point exists to life.

A peek at Long Beach Towne Center

We attended the 11:50 a.m. showing at Regal Edwards Long Beach in Long Beach Towne Center. This gave us a peek at Long Beach Towne Center and at the multiplex as both try to recover from pandemic restrictions.

Let’s just say that we were not overwhelmed by the crowds.

We followed face-mask protocol from our parking space near TGIFriday’s through purchasing tickets and munchies to our seats in Theater #3. We ditched the masks as soon as we sat down. We put them back on when we left Theater #3. Other members of the small audience acted in a similar fashion. Being generous, I would say there were a couple dozen people for the showing.

Theater staff all wore masks.

Regal Edwards really wants to tempt people back to their movie theaters. You can buy a pass for unlimited viewing. Private showings? They would love to offer you a private showing — a quinceañera party was arriving as we left through the lobby.

Posters and displays trumpeted upcoming and current releases — for instance, the latest Bond installment, No Time to Die.

I sincerely hope that Jungle Cruise, Free Guy, and other titles now playing or coming soon will tempt audiences back into movie theaters. Despite predictable hype over every new blockbuster release, going to see a big movie has always been fun and exciting.

Right now, with tiny audiences, it’s more dispirited and deflated.

But the popcorn was fresh! (No Dr. Pepper or Mr. Pibb. I had to settle for Barq’s root beer.)


  1. You took off your mask as soon as you sat down? You boast about being a public nuisance? A threat to the lives of children? What a monster!

    1. Author


      Thank you for reading Orange County Breeze, and for taking the time to comment on this article.

      Yes, we all took off our masks as we sat down. No boasting involved, no crowing from the rooftops. Just reporting. I try to save being a public nuisance for when I attend City Council meetings, virtual or in-person.

      As also reported, the audience was small. Further, and unsurprisingly, audience members were scattered throughout the theater auditorium in even smaller groups. No one was in spitting, sneezing, or coughing distance of individuals in other groups. Everyone in the audience could have been unvaccinated and yet presented little risk to infect or become infected because of the self-imposed social distancing.

      Although unmasked, we presented no threat to children because no children were present for the presentation of the R-rated movie. Further, children are among the least likely to catch COVID-19. I would have feared more for the nice lady using a walker that I met after the movie, when I held the restroom door open for her. But by that time, I was again masked — and so was she.

      If I’m a monster, I am a vaccinated monster, and therefore unlikely to infect anyone else, even someone not vaccinated. All the members of our party were vaccinated.

      Again, thank you for reading Orange County Breeze.

      Shelley Henderson
      editor, Orange County Breeze

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