Stone Motel - Memoirs of a Cajun Boy
1960s & '70s,1980s & '90s
TaleFlick Top Pick!
Cajun La., '70s: Zanny Ardoin has a lot on his mind: half of the motel he’s just begun to pay for is destroyed by fire; he and his wife have 10 mouths to feed; and there’s something just not right about their middle child, Morris, who is just beginning to realize he's not like the others.
Pre-teen Cajun boys Morris and Dickie Ardoin are playing outside with Ayla Jane, a child belonging to a family staying in one of their motel's kitchenettes. The scene sets up a common occurrence for the Ardoin children: they befriend the kids of "long-timer" customers in their roadside motel.
After 30 years running the business and raising a large family, the boys' dad, Zanny, is reluctantly led away from his beloved motel to spend his final years, mostly alone, in a nursing home. For years as Morris grew up, Zanny had unsuccessfully tried to "fix" his son, who he suspected was gay.
Cajun Country, Louisiana / Bayous, Swamps, Mardi Gras / 1970s
Based on a True Story
Plot - Premise
Overcoming Monster/Villain,Internal Journey/Rebirth,Tragedy
Plot - Other Elements
Coming of Age,Meaningful Message,Philosophical Questions
Mature Audience Themes
Main Character Details
Name: Morris Ardoin
Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Clumsy,Complex,Empathetic,Engaging,Gracious,Educated,Insecure,Naive,Underdog,Secretive,Sarcastic,Funny,Outspoken,Modest
Additional Character Details
Name: Zanny Ardoin, father
Key Traits: Aggressive,Complex,Confident,Faithful,Heroic,Masculine,Uneducated,Blunt,Skillful,Sarcastic,Unapologetic
Additional Character Details
Name: Ortense Thompson, Grandmother
Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Charming,Complex,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Gracious,Heroic,Honorable,Insecure,Uneducated,Blunt,Selfless,Outspoken,Skillful,Funny,Unapologetic
Additional Character Details
Name: Eliza, Mother
Key Traits: Charming,Clumsy,Complex,Desperate,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Gracious,Insecure,Underdog,Modest,Selfless,Skillful,Funny
This is the true story of Morris Ardoin, a gay preteen; his seven siblings; bigoted and violent dad; overwhelmed mother; unstoppable grandmother; and a sordid mix of customers they encounter at their little motel in hot, buggy, Cajun Louisiana in the ’70s. A week before Christmas half of the motel burns in a brutal fire. The Ardoins scramble to get back on their feet and get things going again. The fire rekindles the dad, Zanny’s long-repressed violent nature. He aims his most frequent and ferocious attacks at Morris. The preteen soon learns that his dad can’t accept a gay or “broken” son. It becomes Zanny’s mission to “fix” Morris, and Morris’s mission to survive intact. The boy is aided in his struggle immeasurably by the love and encouragement of a selfless and generous grandmother, Ortense, who provides the story with much of its warmth, wisdom, and humor. This is a detailed, colorful peek into a pocket of American culture–the Louisiana Cajuns in the late ’60s to mid-’70s–before cable TV, microwave ovens, and fast food homogenized it all. This story is relatable to young adults struggling to understand their sexual orientation; to be accepted in an unaccepting time and place. As a film or TV series, the motel setting and the joie-de-vivre of the Cajuns provide a more enchanting, uplifting version of “The Florida Project,” while the gay pre-teen’s struggle to survive his father’s violence calls to mind the heart-wrenching pain and ultimate triumph of “Boy Erased."
Zanny Ardoin, a conservative and harsh man, decides to buy a motel to start a new business and be able to feed his 8 kids. One of his kids, Morris, is gay and has to face the retrograde and violent side of his dad. After 30 years, the motel is closed because Zanny is too old to take care of the business by himself.
Authors Writing Style: GOOD
Franchise Potential: FAIR
Accuracy of Book Profile
Draw of Story
It's well written, and the story is very engaging. Morris' memoirs are vivid and interesting to "listen to," and we feel compelled to follow the journey of this family.
Nothing. From the beginning, you want to know what will happen to Morris, the motel, and the family.
Use of Special Effects
THE STORY RELIES A LITTLE BIT ON SPECIAL EFFECTS
Primary Hook of Story
There are some different hooks. This family trying to survive during a crisis time starting a new business. Family relations and interactions. A gay man struggling to face the prejudice of society in a time people would believe that homosexuality was "fixable."
For sure. It talks about braveness in front of difficulties and the will to survive. The protagonist is also likable enough to be remarkable.
It has potential for Awards. The homosexuality theme is very relevant and necessary nowadays, and the story is told in a beautiful yet realistic way.
Similar Films/TV Series
BOY ERASED - A CONSERVATIVE FATHER DOESN'T ACCEPT HIS SON'S SEXUALITY AND TRIES TO "HEAL" HIM. FAIR HAVEN - A FATHER FORCES HIS SON TO TAKE CARE OF THE FAMILY'S BUSINESS AND DOESN'T ACCEPT HIS SON'S HOMOSEXUALITY.
What’s New About the Story
It's told by the perspective (and memoirs) of different characters, so you get to know and understand a little of their attitudes and decisions.
Morris is a likable character. And the fact that it's a true story makes the main character and the other members of the family more credible.
Uniqueness of Story
Not a rare gem because there are other movies like this, but it's a good story that could find its own audience.
Film - Studio, Film - Streaming, TV Series - Cable, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series
It's an engaging story based on true memories, which make it even more reliable, more intimate, and unique. The story is told from different perspectives, which has the power to diminish the villain-hero relationship and provides human characteristics to these characters. We get to know them better, so we can, at least, understand their way of thinking. The author is the protagonist. He lived all those memoirs and struggled to face a prejudiced society, so the story feels reliable, more complete, and complex. The motel is a good background for this family's struggles. The business decay also visually represents the dismantlement of a past that changed these "kid's" lives for good. The theme (homosexuality) is very relevant and necessary. The author approaches the subject with the needed tenderness, avoiding major clichés. The historical side (a Post-War era) is well-built but not based on facts and dates and names. It is based on these people's memoirs of history. The pace and structure feel correct and having the author as a source of research would surely help the production. Of course, the book has some unnecessary parts, less relevant memoirs that should be removed from the audiovisual piece. Also, dialogue and some actions could be developed, improved, but overall, it's a good story.