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Miss Meadows

I had never heard of this movie before. It came to my attention thanks to YouTube shorts. The clip was from the opening scene when Miss Meadows is walking on the sidewalk reading a book of poetry. Due to the audio filter placed on the short, I assumed there was no way this was actual dialogue from an actual film. And then she shoots him.

What the heck is this, I thought.

Thanks to the comments, I found the name of it and decided I should watch the whole thing. I guess my slight obsession of watching shorts from the show “Why Women Kill” caught the algorithm’s attention. And, well, Miss Meadows is a woman who kills.

Overall, I liked it, but it always kind of felt like it was slightly missing the mark. It’s like you can physically feel the potential – like you understand the kind of story the writer wanted to create – but it always came up a little short.

I’m not quite sure how I would describe the character Miss Meadows. She’s like if Miss Honey from “Matilda” had a dark side. She’s kind to children and likes to garden but also walks around with a gun in her purse. She also has inexplicable, random interactions with animals. Maybe she’s a vigilante Disney princess?

Part of her is this strong, independent woman on a mission, but she also seems to be in a state of arrested development. On the one hand, she stands firm in her ideologies. She confronts the school principal about the children’s letters, she gives her speech about taxpayer dollars to the hot dog stand shooter, she’s intent on ensuring she, and everyone around her, uses words with their intended meaning. But on the other hand, she wears frilly socks with patent leather Mary Janes and laughs uncontrollably while she and the sheriff are having sex as if she can’t believe it’s happening.

I mean, how old is she supposed to be? And speaking of her shoes, why does she wear taps? You would think that if you’re going to go around killing people, you would want to do so stealthily. This comes back to haunt her when one of her taps gets left behind at the church.

And this brings me to the sheriff. I’m not going to say he’s the worst cop in history but come on man. You took an oath long before you met Miss Meadows. She comes with far too many red flags to put your entire life and career on the line for her.

I think this is a flaw in the script. Their relationship is just one area where the storyline felt rushed. They go on seemingly one date, and now she’s pregnant and they’re getting married. The only thing he knows about her is that he suspects she’s the vigilante. And while he asks her to stop, she admits she may not be able to do so.

And while I’m sure the scene where he rescues her from the criminal Skylar is supposed to make him look like a hero, it’s actually pretty ridiculous. Why would anyone believe Skylar is the vigilante? He’s only been out of jail for a short period of time. Also, the vigilante has been to several cities throughout the state. He couldn’t possibly have committed those crimes. And are we just supposed to forget about the composite sketch of the actual suspect; the one the other cop said could have been Mary Poppins. Make it make sense.

Okay, maybe he is the worst cop in history.

A real cop would have done a background search on her. He did it once before to find out where she worked, so why couldn’t he do it again to uncover her secrets. She talks about her mother in the present tense, but her mother has been dead since she was a little girl. This would explain why the only people who came to the wedding to represent her were her students.

I mean, watching your mother be killed in a drive-by shooting outside a wedding would affect anyone. And having her blood drip onto your shoes is quite the visual. Talk about a core memory. And the scene at her mother’s funeral where she raises her hand in the form of a gun and stares angrily into the camera? Yeah, someone should have put her in therapy immediately.

Miss Meadows’ history is one area where I thought the story did well. We learn how she turned out to be the way she is, and it did so by dropping small hints throughout the film. I certainly wasn’t expecting her mother to be dead. Her mother is a ghost, but Miss Meadows has created her mom to be the person she would have wanted her to be. Her mom is who she calls to talk about laundry, career, men, and her childhood. She’s created a world that doesn’t exist. It’s good, but it’s also fantasy. Maybe this is why she speaks with perfection and purpose. Maybe this is why she dresses and acts in a way that implies childlike innocence. Maybe this is why she uses a landline – to symbolize a time gone by, a time when life was simpler.

But the reality is, her mom isn’t on the other end of the line. And, so, she kills. I presume to get the justice she feels she’s owed.

It all comes to a head when Heather admits she saw Miss Meadows kill the shooter in the hot dog stand. She is now faced with the realization that her prim and proper persona isn’t going to save her. And she hangs up the phone one last time.

But dipping her toe in reality doesn’t last long. And the last few scenes of the film is another area where I think the script is lacking. How and why does the criminal Skylar do a complete 180 so fast? He went from creepy-guy-who-just-got-out-of-prison to full-blown monster in just a matter of maybe 30 minutes. I know recidivism rates are pretty high, but this seems extreme.  One day he’s having an awkward tea with Miss Meadows and then the next he’s kidnapping Heather. And how does he claim to know Miss Meadows so well? The only other interaction they had was at the ice cream truck. And why does he have a picture of her in his house? This plotline would have made more sense if the script had done a better job of fleshing out his backstory as well as why he targeted Miss Meadows. Surely, there would have been other events that took place during the film that would have caused him to flip so badly by the end. It also would have helped in making the theory that he was the vigilante more realistic.

And then there’s the ending scene.

I’m not surprised she’s continuing her killing ways. The sheriff being willing to set up Skylar without any hesitation gives her the license to be who she is at her core.

But I still have so many questions. What house are they living in? That is not the land the sheriff took her to when they went on that first drive in his truck. That’s the middle of suburbia. Did they leave town? Were people getting suspicious? Are they going to spend the rest of their lives moving regularly as she keeps taking out people all over the city? Is he no longer a sheriff? How could he be when he knows what his now-wife is doing?

And is she still a vigilante? The closing scene makes it seem as though she was on her way to a scheduled killing. That means she’s moved on to premeditation, and this is no longer a right place right time kind of thing. And if that’s the case, then she’s no longer a vigilante.

Now she’s just a murderer.

The reappearance of the random deer running through the neighborhood at the end make me think Miss Meadows has re-entered her fantasyland. So maybe I do have the answers to all my questions.

I want to like this film. I really do. I see the potential it has, but there are just too many plot holes that need to be filled. And it absolutely can be done. There are plenty of stories out there about vigilantes. Look at Batman. And his parents were also killed right in front of him.

But this one, Miss Meadows, this isn’t it.

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