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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Winging in the Pain

Jesse Stone: Innocents Lost (TV Movie 2011) on IMDb

Plot Overview

We open on an expanse of rippling water, pan to a canted boat in dock, catch some sea gulls in flight, go past a sleepy village, get a peek at a gay horse-drawn wagon, linger on a man with a cane, hear a bell toll, and settle on a hooded figure jogging along a road. A car pulls up to Jesse Stone (Tom Selleck) and the driver Dr. Dix (William Devane)—Stone's shrink—asks after him to learn he hates jogging. Quaint, touristy Paradise, Mass. is in its off-season while its ex-police chief Stone is trying to stop rolling (“I'm working on the new me.”) He has an appointment in Boston tomorrow.

Tonight this former LAPD robbery-homicide detective who turned small town police chief, now recently retired, is watching TV, the movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai.” It ends with a soldier screaming, “MADNESS!” Puts me in mind of Don Winslow, The Force in which a cop texts his nurse wife working a holiday “to ask how her day is going. She texts back, Xmas crazy but OK” (21).

Yeah, Christmas Crazy. Always crazy in New York, Malone thinks. If it ain't Christmas Crazy, it's New Year's Eve Crazy (drunks), or Valentine's Crazy (domestic disputes skyrocket and the gays get into bar fights), St. Paddy's Crazy (drunk cops), Fourth of July Crazy, Labor Day Crazy. What we need is a holiday from the holi- days. Just take a year off from any of them, see how it works out. It probably wouldn't, he thinks. Because you still got Everyday Crazy—Drunk Crazy, Junkie Crazy, Crack Crazy, Meth Crazy, Love Crazy, Hate Crazy and, Malone's personal favorite, plain old Crazy Crazy. What the public at large doesn't understand is that the city's jails have become its de facto mental hospitals and detox centers. Three-quarters of the prisoners they check in test positive for drugs or are psychotic, or both. They belong in hospitals but don't have the insurance.

Stone had befriended nineteen-year-old Cindy Van Aldan (Eileen Boylan) after holding her in Paradise jail over­night for public intoxication. Her mom then checked her into Tranquility a “rehab mill.” She seemed to have got it together, but Stone lost contact with her, and now she's dead. Feeling guilty he's using his free time to look into it.


Stone hooks up with the receptionist at a used car lot, Thelma Gleffey (Gloria Reuben), a mulatto who is so young Jesse has “hats older than you.” Her two children are with their dad this day. She is decidedly not interested in acquiring a husband. Being she's so good looking we figure she'd encountered grief earlier from a subtly racist society (“A lot of white people are afraid of black people”), which for her would be unavoidable. She'd gotten married at an early age, under the Puritan influence in Massachusetts.

The Puritans were so strongly in favor of marriage that not only were they supposed to wed a.s.a.p. but people insisting on remaining single were forced to live under the roof of an existing family. It's sort of like Stone and his dog Reggie (Joe) an aloof golden retriever that shares his home but sleeps in its own doggie bed (“We're like roommates.”)

There's an intersecting Russian culture we see, as well. In Randall M. Miller's book on how Holly­wood views ethnic groups, he writes that Slavs aren't like Jews interacting with the public in their shops, but they are often employed in-house as servants, thus out of the public's view resulting in unfamiliarity. In the public's ignorance they're perceived as coarse and over­sexed.

Slavs are … Russians, Poles, or what not —

Slavs were not as conspicuous as other immigrant groups because their work and settlement patterns were significantly different. …

Slavic women, too, had low visibility. Domestic service (cleaning) and keeping lodgers and boarders were their most popular forms of work.

The most popular Slavik image was that of the "peasant" … and, like animals, were super-fecund, with "a rather gross attitude towards sexual morality" (136–139).

Here we listen to a voice recording playing on male fantasies, “Welcome to Moscow Nights offering the complete massage experience in the privacy of your hotel room.” Stone criticizes the Russian pimp Valery Siminov (Val Ovtcharov) for not having any ethical code, except for, “I will bow to no man.” The Puritans were also known for their prohibitions, and in opposition to Catholicism, they would not bow or genuflect.

As for marriage, according to Dr. Ide: “The Contemporary Christian standard was defined not by the bible but gen­er­ated by Roman law as defined by the jurist Modes­tinus who argued that marriage was ‘consortium omnis vitae, divini et humani iuris communi­catio: a life-long part­ner­ship, and a sharing of civil and religious rights’” (83–5). The Court may have legalized miscegenation, but some people still have scruples about mixed race marriages. In Stone's argument with the girl in his jail who's protesting it isn't right for him to keep her locked up, he replies, “I'm not in the right and wrong business; I'm in the legal and illegal business.” This movie makes a distinction.

Now, the used car lot owner, Hasty Hathaway (Saul Rubinek), sporting a gay bow tie, informs Stone that he's planning a political run as councilman. As for his record as a felon, he's come up with a one-word retort: “Redemption.” He says, “It punches you in the gut.” Replies Stone, “Unlike the train.” He was referring to the train wreck on the River Kwai, but perhaps there's another to consider, as well.

Normalizing homo relations was unthinkable until first the Netherlands legalized same-sex marriage, and then it was done in the U.S. by the Massachusetts court … in Good­ridge v. Dept. of Public Health, 2003. It was the state of Massachusetts, historical enclave of the Puritans, that started the ball rolling in America allowing civil same-sex marriage. According to cultural historian David Hackett Fischer, the Puritans had “a cultural idea of marriage that was unique to the Puritan colonies. … The Puritans of New England rejected all the Anglican ideas. They believed that marriage was not a religious but a civil contract” (77). Having split the church from the state, New England marriages eventually became suscept­ible to the state declaring in favor of same-sex unions. Courts spread the idea to some more states (but not to others.) In 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the states' bans against same-sex marriage was pseudo-unconsti­tutional—marriage isn't actually mentioned in the Constitution. Yet quoting from the “Catholic Sentinel” of July 3, 2015 (15):

The main opinion recognized in several places the role of religious beliefs in the questions surrounding same-sex marriage. Kennedy said toward the conclusion of his 28-page opinion that “it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.”

The First Amendment ensures protection for religious organizations and individuals as they seek to teach the principles “that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths,” he continued, and to “their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons.”

On the legal front same-sex marriage became doable across the land, but the people did not approve except for some Puritan-influenced New England states, and New York, and Washington D.C. In this Stone movie, he is in favor of the family—he sends a busted prostitute back to hers—and he'll bring out the unique contribution of a mother and of a father to the girl he had busted and put in his jail. In this town a hetero­sexual marriage is part of its favorable ambiance. As for “marriage equality” the shrink's advice might be applied here, as well, in a Puritan-influenced state: “You have a hyper­active sense of responsibility.”

In Boston the state police ask Jesse to interview a colored perp who might not be guilty, but he can't prove his where­abouts. Indeed, he is not crazy-crazy, nor is he addled on drugs but is a polite, presentable young man who is adverse to violence (not gang-crazy either.) By process of elimination, we're left with holiday-crazy. The crime(s) happened on Feb. 4 making it Groundhog Day Crazy. Okay.

Since he's African-American that means he's ultimately descended from Cush—means black in Hebrew—who settled in Africa. Cush was brother of Canaan, both sons of Ham (Gen. 10:6) who was one of the three sons of Noah (Gen. 10:1.) In an infamous incident (Gen. 9:20-23) Ham walked into his father's tent, sun at Ham's rear, his shadow in front, and saw Noah's nakedness. Ham's two brothers Shem & Japheth walked in back­wards, facing the sun, their shadows to their backs, to cover up Noah. Noah didn't like what Ham did so made Ham's progeny slaves to Shem & Japheth's (Gen. 9:24-27.) There's a de facto commemoration of that on Groundhog Day when if it sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. As for crazy holidays it qualifies.

We've made it worse. President Reagan voided half of Lincoln's birthday and half of Washington's lumping them together into one “Presidents Day.” He replaced the gap in days off with a new one, Martin Luther King Jr's birthday (MLK Day) celebrated the third Monday in January, a week or two before Ground­hog Day on Feb. 2. One of the Proverbs addresses this craziness: (Prov. 30:21-22) “the earth is disquieted, and … it cannot bear: For a servant when he reigneth.” We no longer have a full month of January to wind down from the year's craziest holiday season, but our rest is disturbed by a guy preaching all men are created equal—meaning their environments (Gen. 8:22) are equal—when the very next holiday celebrates that all winters are not equal, but some are longer than others depending on whether or not one's repre­sen­tative has seen his shadow.

(Eccl. 7:16) “Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?” Perhaps we'd survive better as a society if we didn't go over­board on “marriage equality” and we didn't know the birthday of every Jack Windbag.

Production Values

This made for TV movie, “” (2011) was directed by Dick Lowry. It was written by the star, Tom Selleck, along with one of the executive producers Michael Brandon, based on the characters in Robert Parker's Jesse Stone book series. It stars Tom Selleck, Kathy Baker, and Kohl Sudduth. The cast was excellent.

It is not rated in the U.S. but in Canada was given a PGTV. rating. It was filmed in Lunen­burg, Nova Scotia, Canada. It has a runtime of 91 minutes including pictorial credits at the end. This film was originally fifth in the series of six Jesse Stone movies, but two prequels were added to explain how Jesse Stone came to work at Paradise Police Dept. They are “Night Passage” and “Stone Cold.” The pace is glacial to accommodate the main character mulling over his sorry life (“It clears my mind.”) It had excellent music by Jeff Beal.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

I've read a number of the Jesse Stone books in no particular order, so I was prepared for this one and didn't succumb to boredom. I'm easy to please, so I liked it. Some of the philosophy it presented was too deep for this cowboy, but other was pretty straight­forward once I spotted it. You're welcome to get more out of it than I did.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability for children: Suitable for children with guidance. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall product rating: three stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture taken from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Fischer, David Hackett. Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America.
  New York: Oxford UP, 1989. Print, WEB.

Ide, Arthur Frederick. Noah & the Ark: The Influence of Sex, Homophobia and Heterosexism in the Flood Story and its Writing.
  Las Colinas: Monument Press, 1992. Print.

Miller, Randall M. The Kaleidoscopic Lens: how Hollywood views ethnic groups. Englewood, NJ: Ozer. © 1980. Print.

Winslow, Don. The Force. New York: HarperCollins Pub., 2017. Print.