The Sugar Creek Gang Episode 4: Secret Hideout Part 2


We last left off with Bill scared of a thunderstorm with fake lightening. After we fade to black, we open with a shot of Poetry walking a lamb down the road.

Cool fact I learned from the commentary: the actor who plays Poetry actually owns this lamb.

Bill: You brought her

Poetry: Yeah but it’s a him

Bill: Her fleece really is white as–

Poetry: HIS

This whole thing becomes kind of a running gag. See, the script writers wrote the story about a female lamb, but the actor who plays Poetry brought a male lamb. The directors think this adds a nice bit of comedy, I just think it makes everyone look like Miss Lily is opposed to teaching anatomy at the Little School on the Creek.

We get a closeup of the lamb’s feet in a mud puddle, and Bill comments that he will not be “white as snow” for very long.

Bill: do you think he’ll get lonely away from the herd.

Poetry(sighing): Nope. He’s got us.

It’s google, so take it with a grain of salt, but I’m reading that sheep are very social animals and will become extremely upset when separated from other sheep.* Poetry the character and the actor who play Poetry should both know this. I don’t really have a problem with them using the lamb in the movie. What I have a problem with is Movie!Poetry being so careless about leaving the lamb alone, knowing it’s going to be scared.

The two boys hurry to school so they can hide the lamb before their teacher comes. As they approach the schoolhouse, Bill tells Poetry to keep the lamb out of mud puddles, because it’s his turn to clean the schoolhouse this week and he doesn’t feel like mopping the floor. Poetry argues back that lambs don’t walk in puddles, or they’d be wearing boots. If that was supposed to be funny, I’m going to give the directors the stink eye.

The lamb walks in the mud, and Bill shoes it and Poetry away from the schoolhouse. I didn’t catch, on my first watch through, why they made that poor lamb walk up those stairs in the first place just to have him also walk down again. Poetry takes the lamb into the woods and ties him to a tree. Janie says “baaaaaa.” No, actually, the lamb doesn’t make that noise. The directors couldn’t find good enough recorded lamb sounds, so whenever they needed the lamb to speak, one of the actors would “baaaaaa.” I’m not sure which actor and I don’t care, and I also kind of think it’s really really pathetic.

Bill tells Janie that he will be right back to get him.

So, Poetry takes an animal that is known to become agitated away from his herd, ties him up in the forest where any predator could get him, and then leaves him alone there. That’s…. intelligent.

In any case, the lamb in this scenario isn’t really alone (his owner or another human is standing somewhere nearby), so it munches grass happily.

We cut to a scene with Dragonfly walking by the creek/swamp thing. I honestly can’t tell what it’s supposed to be because to me it looks more like a series of mud puddles.

In any case, Dragonfly is on his way to school, and he sees Shorty walking in the other direction.

Dragonfly: Wait, the school house is that way *he points*

Shorty: I’m gonna work for my dad all week

Dragonfly: Why?

Shorty: Well I don’t get paid to go to school

Dragonfly looks confused for a few seconds, then asks if his dad needs any help. Shorty tells him no, and walks away.

This scene is apparently foreshadowing for something that happens in the next movie. I think it’s one of those pointless scenes that could have been left out or put into movie #5.

Shorty and Dragonfly go their separate ways, and we cut to a scene of Bill and Poetry cleaning the schoolhouse. Bill tells dragonfly to go outside and wipe his shoes on the mat. Dragonfly says, “yes ma’am” in a ridiculously awful imitation of a girl’s voice, then asks if Poetry brought the lamb.

Dragonfly goes out to clean his shoes. When he comes back in he tells Bill and Poetry that his mom saw another ghost last night.

Bill(voice rising): Dragonfly would you stop that? You know there’s no such thing a ghost!

Dragonfly(sitting down and flipping through a book): You know that. And I know that. But my mom don’t know that.

Women, amiright men? Always being scared of things that don’t exist. We boys know better.

It also greatly annoys me that we never do learn exactly what the ghost really is. I’m not saying kids need to be whacked over the head with such things, but kids books and movies usually do more spelling out than adult ones. One of the kids at the end of the movie could say something like, “hey Dragonfly, figured out who your mom’s ghost is.”

Maybe this ghost thing is supposed to be foreshadowing for something completely different. I don’t know and I kind of gave up caring.

Dragonfly sits at the desk, opens a dictionary, and reads aloud the definition of “ghost” and “disembodied.” You know your movie is riveting when you have your characters randomly reading out of a dictionary.

Bill peaks out the window around the sheet and says, “Miss Lily!” The children rush out of the schoolhouse to carry Miss Lilly’s lunch basket, hat, and books. They hear a loud Baaaaa! Miss Lilly  wonders what that sound was, but ultimately ignores it.

We cut to a scene of Tom Till running toward the schoolhouse with  a brown paper bag. He stops running and looks around. Big Bob Till comes up behind him and puts a hand over his mouth. When Tom nods, he removes his hand.

Look! A plot I actually care about!

Watching this for the first time, I had no idea what was happening. I spent the entire first half of the movie wondering why the hell that much older boy was spying on the younger ones. Good job, movie, for accidentally foreshadowing a plot I actually care about.

This scene, like many Bob scenes, wasn’t actually in the original movie when it was scripted out. A lot of these scenes, if not all of them, were edited in 9 months later. The audio on the commentary is poor quality, and there’s no subtitles, so I can’t tell if Bob Till was even originally supposed to be in this movie. I think, though, that he was supposed to be in it for a little bit, but not nearly as much as he ended up being.

Bob either pushes Tom or Tom just falls, I can’t really tell. Given how often Tom likes to improvise falls it could be either.

Introducing Big Bob Till, Tom Till’s “mean” older brother.

Tom: Bob! (gets up) Bob, they’re gonna send you back. Where’ve you been?

Bob: Don’t worry about it.

Tom:(Grabbing his arm): Come on. (Bob doesn’t move.) Little Jim’s dad told mom that if you come home, He can still keep you out of jail.

Jail? When was Bob in jail and why? Is this ever going to be explained, or are we just supposed to know this from having watched movie #3?

If these were episodes of a TV series I would be ok with this. But these are supposed to be standalone movies, soooo fail.

Bob: I don’t need any help from your good for nothing friends.

Actually, Bob, it seems like you do need help from the adults in the community.

Tom: (shouting) they’re not good-for-nothin’!

You tell ‘im Tom!

Bob: Yeah, they are, and you’re gonna be just like ’em.

Bob takes out a folded piece of paper and hands it to Tom. He tells him to make sure it gets to Big Jim and to make sure that no one sees him do it. Tom asks why, and Bob says, “Just do it!” He turns to go.

Tom: Hey Bob. Mom’s real worried. Dad’s  been out looking for you. He’s not even mad.

Really? Because in the books he was a worthless drunk who was constantly in jail. He also spent every penny the family had on booze, leaving nothing leftover for food. So when Bob angrily says that his entire situation is their dad’s fault, I kind of believe him.

Tom tells Bob to meet him at the rock field after school, that he’ll bring food and he won’t tell anyone. As the children file into school, Tom shoves the note in Big Jim’s pocket. It’s so quick that I missed it on my first watch through. It’s pretty obvious who did it, though. Really, if Big Jim had turned around instead of just grabbing his butt, he would’ve seen Tom.

Miss Lily quiets the class down. Why does Miss Lily have an accent? None of the other characters have accents. What the fuck? Also, that one girl looks much older than the other children. She looks incredibly out of place.

Miss Lilly tells the children to write down some math problems. I half expected her to start the day with a prayer and Bible readings. This is a Christian movie, and schools in communities like this were often very religious.

Come to think of it, there isn’t actually much God in this movie at all. Yes, there’s moral lessons, but we’re not beat over the head with them. Nobody reads us a Bible verse, and when the kids all decide to try and accept Bob Till at the end of the movie, it’s done because it’s the right thing to do, not necessarily because Jesus.

Credit where credit is due, this movie is a good example of having Christian principles without necessarily feeling the need to have characters spout off something about God/Jesus/The Buybull at every opportunity. For that reason alone, this movie is watchable. Well, mostly. It would be more watchable if you cut out everything not having to do with Bob Till. Someone needs to do a Bob Till cut.

The children are working. Someone laughs. Miss Lilly turns around and tells Poetry to keep quiet, and not to speak till spoken to.

Fun fact I learned from the commentary:  all the children in this scene are either siblings or cousins of the actors. The directors told the parents to bring the whole family, so on filming day they had enough kids to fill up the schoolhouse. It’s a very small schoolhouse.

(I apologize for the bad quality of photos. I’m not allowed to take screenshots on iMovie, so I had to hold my phone up to the screen.)

Poetry asks if he can be excused for a minute. A very quick minute, says miss Lilly, and I wonder what excuse he could possibly have for leaving the schoolroom when he literally just got there.

We get some shots of the Sugar Creek Gang and The Older Girl giving each other looks, then cut to a shot of Janie. There are some supposedly hilarious scenes where Poetry tries to lead the lamb, but Janie is having none of it. He doesn’t want to go with Poetry and Poetry practically drags him into the schoolhouse, while one of the actors makes fake sounding baaaa’s.

As Poetry takes the lamb into the school, the children go “aw” and then start screaming. I mean these earsplitting shrieks of absolute terror. At least, they sound like terrified screams, but the children are all reaching out to pet the lamb and I am confused as to whether or not the children are scared of this clearly vicious lamb.

At first I was outraged that the directors would subject the poor animal to this. How many takes did they use to film this scene? Then I watched it a 4th time and realized that with the way the footage is cut, the lamb may not have actually been in the room while the children are all mindlessly screaming their fucking heads off and running. The camera angles are a bit weird, but it works.

Anyway the lamb gets loose and knocks over a bucket of mop water. Why didn’t Bill put away the–nevermind.

Miss Lilly tries, in vain, to get the room to order. Finally she succeeds. She tells Poetry to take the lamb outside, announcing a recess for everyone except the Sugar Creek Gang.

I get that Miss Lilly probably knows the whole gang was involved by the looks being shot back and forth, but really, the other girl who the directors tell me is supposed to be Sylvia the preacher’s daughter was giving Big Jim looks too, and she knew nothing of the plan. (She and Big Jim have a crush on each other, btw. That got edited out, thank goodness.) So why is Sylvia not included in this talk?

Miss Lilly has Poetry bring his lamb back inside, even though she just told him to take it outside. Make up your damn mind woman. As far as her talk with Poetry goes, I understand what she’s trying to do here, but she fails miserably.

Miss Lily: do you think Janie is scared because he’s away from home?

Poetry: No. He’s got me.

Miss Lilly: Do you think he misses his friends?

Poetry: No, he’ll get to see them later today.

Miss Lilly makes some weird facial expressions. The directors tell us she’s clearly trying not to laugh, but it looks to me like she’s just making weird facial expressions.

Miss Lilly: How does he know that?

Poetry: Cuz I told him so

Miss Lilly: How do you know he heard you?

Poetry:  he said “baaaaaa” after I told him.

What Miss Lilly should have asked was, “how do you think Janie felt surrounded by all those screaming children?” Or “How do you know the lamb understood you.”

Miss Lily is trying to get Poetry to empathize with the lamb, and see that bringing it to school wasn’t just wrong because it made the children scream and run, but because it caused the poor lamb to feel confused and frightened. The way she does it is just so ineffective that it comes across as a rather pointless conversation.

Miss Lilly tells Poetry to take his lamb back outside and then makes the Sugar Creek Gang clean the school. Poetry goes outside to tie up the lamb, who I guess is just going to have to hang out in the woods behind the school all day. Janie is clearly ok with Poetry, but he shouldn’t leave her alone like that.

Back in the schoolhouse, while all the kids are supposed to be working, Big Jim takes the note out of his pocket. Circus tries to read the note, but Miss Lilly catches her. When Miss Lilly goes back to reading her book, Circus reaches over and flicks Big Jim on the ear. The directors tell us that they may or may not have filmed that scene 3 times just to fuck with the actor, who apparently was flicked quite hard.

At lunch the gang sit around in a circle and open their lunches. Circus has an apple, Poetry has a banana, Bill has a sandwich. Wow, um, so, Bill’s parents are the only ones that can afford to give him something resembling real food for lunch? Literally, Circus and Poetry just have a piece of fruit. They must come from really poor families.

Circus asks what the note says, and Big Jim pulls it out of his pocket, saying he didn’t see who put it there. That’s because you didn’t look, dummy, you just grabbed your ass.

So, here’s what the note says, the one that Big Bob Till wrote to keep the kids away from the cave:

This is to warn you that the cave is haunted so please STAY AWAY.

Um, that’s his big plan? Tell the kids it’s haunted? Anyone with half a brain knows that this is a surefire way to get the kids to camp out in the cave 24/7. It wouldn’t drive them away. Wow that was stupid.

Bill asks Circus if she thinks Dragonfly could’ve written the note, because he was too scared to sleep in the cave Friday night. The majority of the kids decide they’re camping out in the cave on Friday regardless, and the bell rings. Circus and Poetry have only eaten one piece of fruit, and that lunch period was less than 10 minutes long. I’m going to give Miss Lily a break and assume she gives them 10 minute snack periods throughout the day.

I promised myself I would get to at least the 50 minute mark, but there is only so much of this I can take. It is boring, the plot goes nowhere, and I can’t take it anymore. This is part two. There will probably be a total of 4 or 5 parts.































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