Spring Breakdown: Deadly Excursion: Kidnapped From The Beach (dir by Brian Skiba)

When last we checked in with the McCarthy family, Samantha (Samaire Armstrong) and her daughter Ellie (Alexandria DeBerry) were kidnapped while on vacation and ended up getting stranded on a remote beach.  Fortunately, they were saved by the combined efforts of the FBI and Samantha’s husband, David (Corin Nemec).  One of the kidnappers, Ian (Jonathan Bouvier), managed to escaped and a few people got shot but, fortunately, it appeared that everyone was safe.

That all occurred in the 2019 Lifetime film, Deadly Excursion.

Deadly Excursion: Kidnapped From The Beach checks in with the McCarthy family a year or two later and we discover that 1) David and Samantha’s marriage is now a lot stronger and 2) the family apparently didn’t learn much from their last time they got kidnapped while on vacation.  This time, ignoring the warnings of the FBI, Samantha and David go to Florida to support Ellie as she leads her beach volleyball team to a national championship.  Unfortunately, Samantha and David are also followed by Cesar Rodriguez (Matt Cedeno) and Cesar’s son, Miguel (David Meza).  Cesar and Miguel have plans to kidnap the entire family.  Meanwhile, Ian is still wandering about and looking for a chance to redeem himself, despite the fact that he’s currently #15 on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.

Got all that?

The question is, “How many times can the same thing happen to the same family?” and the answer here seems to be “At least twice.”  Indeed, it may require a certain suspension of disbelief to buy that the McCarthys could actually learn so little from their last vacation but, then again, suspension of disbelief is what Lifetime movies are all about.  As I’ve said many times, you don’t necessarily watch a film like this because you’re looking for a realistic film about kidnapping.  You watch a film like this for the beach scenery and the melodrama and for the familiar faces of the likable actors who play the film’s lead roles.  Say what you will about David McCarthy and his decision-making abilities, it’s always fun to watch Corin Nemec play a role like this.  Nemec always throws himself into it, delivering his lines with just the right mix of drama and humorous self-awareness.  And, again, he’s a likable actor.  You like David because it’s impossible not to like Corin.  You hope that he’ll get back together with his family because the three of them just seem like they belong together.

Of course, there are a few differences between the first Deadly Excursion and the second.  The first Deadly Excursion found the family being held hostage on an island.  This time, they’re held hostage in a luxury hotel and I have to say that the hotel is really quite impressive.  If I was going to be held hostage, I’d want to be held hostage there.  It also leads to an interesting scene where one of the family members manages to briefly escape, just to discover that even the people who aren’t involved in her kidnapping don’t necessarily want to get involved.  Sadly, that’s probably very true to life.  You can be just as isolated in a city as you can be on a deserted island.

Deadly Excursion: Kidnapped From The Beach won’t take you by surprise but the beach scenery is gorgeous and the cast is likable and sometimes, that’s all you need.

Previous Spring Breakdown 2021 Entries:

  1. The Beach Girls and the Monster
  2. Top Secret!
  3. Jaws: The Revenge
  4. Hunk
  5. Love In A Goldfish Bowl
  6. Eureka


Scenes That I Love: Cliff Booth Beats Up Clem Grogan in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Today is Quentin Tarantino’s 59 birthday.  In order to celebrate the occasion, here’s Brad Pitt beating up a hippie.

This scene, of course, is from my favorite Tarantino film, 2019’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.  While some may say that Cliff goes overboard on the hippie, you should understand that this is no ordinary hippie.  This hippie is meant to be Steve “Clem” Grogan, a real-life member of the Manson Family who, in 1969, murdered an actor and stuntman named Donald “Shorty” Shea.  Shea, who worked on the Spahn Rannch, had apparently once taken Grogan under his wing but, when it was decided the Shea knew too much about Manson’s crimes and that he was a threat to Manson’s control of ranch owner George Spahn, the order apparently went out that Shea had to die.  While Manson, Grogan and Manson’s second-in-command, Bruce Davis, were the only three people convicted of Shea’s murder, it’s felt that they were probably aided by Tex Watson (played by Austin Butler in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood).  In real life, Grogan was sentenced to death for Shea’s murder, though his sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment, with the judge reportedly saying that Grogan was obviously too stupid and too stoned to decide to murder Shea on his own.

The 18 year-old Grogan was a high school drop out and was also nicknamed Scramblehead, due to even the members of the Manson Family considering him to be abnormally dumb.  Grogan, reportedly, wrecked several cars, including one owned by Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys and, shortly before the murders, he was arrested for exposing himself.  That said, it’s also been suggested that Grogan was never as dumb as he pretended to be.  According to Ed Sanders’s book, The Family, Grogan did turn his life around once he was locked far away from the rest of the Family and free from Manson’s influence.  A model prisoner, he eventually led the police to the location of Shea’s body and he was paroled in 1985.  To date, he is the only one of the Manson murderers to have been released from prison.  (Bruce Davis, who was also convicted of killing Shea, has been ruled suitable for parole six times over the past ten years but, each time, the decision has been overturned by California’s governor.  He was mostly recently ruled suitable for parole on January 22nd of this year but Governor Newsom has yet to announce whether he will be blocking the decision.)  Grogan is 69 years old now and, as of a few years ago, he was working as a musician in the Los Angeles area.  Regardless of whether Clem Grogan turned his life around or not, considering what happened to Shorty Shea, it does seem appropriate that Once Upon A Time In Hollywood sees Clem getting his ass kicked by a stuntman.

In fact, Cliff’s entire visit to the Spahn Ranch is one of the best moments in Tarantino’s entire filmography.  It plays out like a combination of a horror flick and a western and there’s just enough odd humor tossed in to keep the audience especially nervous.  Given just how creepy the entire sequence is, there’s something very cathartic about Cliff’s refusal to play any games with Clem and the other hippies.  Cliff’s refusal to even let Clem wipe the blood off his face feels especially satisfying, in an odd sort of way.

Anyway, a happy birthday to Quentin Tarantino!  Last year, I observed Tarantino’s birthday by ranking all of his film, in order from worst to best.  You check that out by clicking here!

Artwork of the Day: Murder! (by Oliver Brabbins)

by Oliver Brabbins

At first glance, I thought this was a novel but it turns out that Murder! was a pulp magazine from the 50s.  I’ll give you three guesses what most of the magazine’s stories were about.  This issue came out in 1957 and I especially like the way the gun has been casually packed in the suitcase.  Hopefully, it’s not loaded.

Music Video of the Day: You’re My Heart, You’re My Soul by Modern Talking (1985, directed by Mike Leckebusch)

Before I came across this video on YouTube, I had never heard this song before. I don’t know much about Modern Talking, either. I’ve noticed that, on YouTube, their videos appear to be popular with Russian viewers. Almost all of the comments are written in Cyrillic.

Even though I don’t know much about the band or the song, I still decided to go with this video because it really does epitomize an era. From the pixelated beginning to the keytar and the pink bowtie, this is a video that could only come from the 80s. Even though this song is not on the GTA: Vice City soundtrack, it feels like it should be.