top of page
  • Writer's pictureEthan Hunt

Chapter 4: New

*Spoiler alert for Chapter 4: New

Oh, the places you'll go

I haven't yet written about some of the places that influenced my descriptions of the town in Gone to the Movies. This chapter picks up right after the action of Chapter 3, but for some reason this is where I take a very short break to describe the town as Dustin drives through it to find the veterinary clinic.

There are two towns that highly influenced my description of the architecture, history, and overall aesthetic of the unnamed town in the book. Those two towns are Gilroy and Ferndale.

Gilroy, the garlic capital of the world, is a California town I grew up visiting frequently because my grandparents lived there. Ferndale, also in California, is a logging town that I love visiting a few hours north of my current home.

Old Downtown Gilroy

Growing up, my grandma helped run an antique store in downtown Gilroy. We could walk from her home to the antique store, and make our usual stops at the baseball card shop, the toy store, and the music store a few doors down from grandma's antique store. It was a classic small-town downtown full of locally owned businesses and surrounded by beautiful period homes.

The old Gilroy Courthouse

Unfortunately, I think the arrival of Walmart and the enormous outlet mall was too much for many of the local businesses to sustain. I am sure internet retail and Covid19 have been a final deathblow to a few more. I worry that many towns like Gilroy will lose their character if not for the care of local historical societies and leaders.

The Gilroy Bowl, across the street from grandma's antique store

As it happens, my uncle is a prominent business owner in Gilroy and serves on the City Council! He's a great community member and good steward of the heart of Gilroy, so I am hopeful that old downtown will live on and find renewed purpose.

The Giant Redwoods

If you've never been to the Avenue of the Giants in northern California, I highly recommend you check it out someday! It is home to the tallest trees in the entire world.

Sadly, the redwoods left are only like 2% of what was originally there. The vast majority of it was logged, but thanks to a few conservationists, there is enough left for people to see some of the true wonders of the world. Some of the trees are thousands of years old. Just imagine if all of it had been cut down to build homes or whatever. Makes me wonder what other ancient wonders have been obliterated by man that we'll never know about.

Anyway, driving north on California State Route 101, after you pass The Avenue of the Giants and the Humboldt Redwoods State Park and head out to the coast, you will arrive at a small town called Ferndale; home town of Guy Fieri!

This is the place I would use to shoot the inevitable (yeah right) Gone to the Movies film. It has this perfectly curated main street, and many of the surrounding homes are amazing. Like many towns of this era, many of the businesses are artisans, antique stores, and restaurants. And, of course, there is a Saloon.

Downtown Ferndale has a great mix of architectural styles.

Back to the Soundtrack!

After the action of getting the dog to the vet, Dustin has some moments to process what is happening and learns a few things about the dog. He sees an immediate connection between Damon and the dog. He knows the dog needs help, doesn't apparently have anyone in this world, and maybe it will be a healthy distraction for Damon in their new home.

The song that jumped to mind for me is Hand Me Down by Matchbox Twenty. Come on, you had to know they would be in this soundtrack somewhere! Funny thing, I was not a fan of them in the nineties. They were overplayed, and I lacked the maturity at the time to understand their songs.


Someday they'll find your small town world

On a big town avenue

Gonna make you like the way they talk

When they're talking to you

Gonna make you break out of your shell

'Cause they tell you to

Gonna make you like the way they lie

Better than the truth

They'll tell you everything

You wanted someone else to say

They're gonna break your heart, yeah

- Matchbox Twenty, Hand Me Down


Fast forward to meeting my wife, and she is a huge Matchbox fan. So, through all of the car rides where she picked the music, and seeing them in concert, I have a great appreciation for their music now.

If you think about how Dustin views the dog, and read the above lyrics, it all fits pretty well. This dog has surely had its heart broken in the past, and is fearful of being abandoned again. Dustin, without realizing it, is in search of things to fix; maybe to procrastinate fixing his own relationship? He knows this dog needs something though. Something...lasting. Something permanent.

The Doctor

Another important character introduced in this chapter is Melissa the veterinary doctor. Originally, I thought Melissa would be more of a "broken spirit" type of character, to which the Hand me Down song would also apply. Ultimately, I decided that Dustin needed a more sophisticated, college educated, influence in his life at this time.

She is stable, self-aware, confident, and a little bit country, as a result of growing up in a small town. Dustin doesn't know it yet, but Melissa provides a contrast to Holly that will drive him to wonder about making a different life for himself, in a "grass is always greener" sort of way.

If I ever write a screenplay or a 2.0 version of the book, I would like delve into Melissa's character more. I am very happy with the way she turned out for the story. Only thing is, I have no idea who I would cast as Melissa! Let me know what you think in the comments below, or on Twitter @ethanhuntwriter or Facebook.


So, only one song for this post. I hope you're enjoying the soundtrack as we build it. Hopefully, there are some deep cuts you've never heard before! Next time, the songs are even more obscure...but who cares? This is fun!

Soundtrack (thus far):

Follow as we build the soundtrack on Spotify!


16 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page