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September 16th, 2011

Movie Review - Seven Days in Utopia

Seven Days in Utopia

Starring: Lucas Black, Robert Duvall, Deborah Ann Woll, Joseph Lyle Taylor, Brian Gerahty, and more.

Directed by: Matthew Dean Russell Writing Credits: David Cook,  Rob Levine, Matthew Dean Russell, Sanda Thrift Based on the Book by: David Cook Original Music by: Klaus Badelt and Christopher Carmichael

After an emotional blow out an up and comer golfer makes a right turn
at an intersection only to find himself in the town of Utopia and
meeting the one man who might set him on the right path for his game and
his life.

Review: When I first read the blurb
on this film, it reminded me of Doc Hollywood (a long time favorite for
me and my husband). So finding myself without hubby for movie night, I
took a plunge and checked it out (hubby had no interest so it was open

Actually filmed mostly out at Utopia, Texas
there are some truly nice visuals of Texas flat lands and ranch homes.
While golf is a major part of the story, you don't have to be into the
sport to watch the film, any bits not known by the audience explained
here and there.

There are no major surprises in the
film. Troubled man gets taken under the wing of an older mentor and
shown a new way of seeing things. Troubled man comes to certain
realizations and improves inside and out. What was actually innovative,
in my opinion, were the ways the lessons were taught.  Every time Lucas
thought he'd figured out how Johnny was going to teach him some new
lesson about golf or life, it was never exactly as he expected. Some
were almost brilliant.

You'll find several familiar faces amongst the cast.
Lucas Black did pretty well, especially at the very end. Robert Duvall,
on the other hand, seemed a little lacking throughout - though there was
one scene where he says absolutely nothing yet spoke volumes. Several
of the side characters brought a lot of life and warmth to the film.
Others were the normal cookie cutter types you usually expect, to add
adversarial problems for the protagonist, though they did try to give
them a little more depth than typical and even some changes.

nice thing were the flashes and flashbacks to what brought Luke Chisolm
to the bad place he was at in the first place. For most of his years
he'd been living the life forced upon him, not one he chose for himself.
In many ways, he's not lived at all.

The method they
chose to use at the ending, I can't say did them any favors. It's an
open ending, without letting you know the end result, which to me was a
given, so no biggie. But worse, they then tantalize you with a website
to get the final scoop - www.didhemaketheputt.com 
A nice site, with a couple of nice videos by the author, David Cook,
and the answer to the question. But at the theater, seeing the website
on the screen left a bad taste in my mouth. It felt gimmicky.  Worse,
the point about letting God into your life wasn't really reached in the
film in my mind. Felt tacked on. Yes, they showed Lucas how to live and
be open to experiences, but the connection to faith, to God, felt like a

Rating: 3 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: N/A)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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