(a film review by Timothy J. Verret)

EVERYBODY KNOWS is an excellent thriller. What’s truly thrilling about the film is not only the suspense of a kidnapping case but also, and more importantly, what becomes truly suspenseful when long-buried family secrets get “kidnapped,” too. The film centers on a large Spanish family all gathered together for a wedding. The wedding at the beginning of the film made me think of the beginning of THE DEER HUNTER, where a “happy” wedding segued way into the horrors of the Vietnam War. In EVERYBODY KNOWS, the same exact thing happens. During the wedding in this film, Irene, the teenage daughter of Laura (Penelope Cruz), goes missing and it’s a kidnapping and a financial ransom is requested or the daughter dies. The level of stress apparent snowballs into family secrets coming to the forefront and coming out as large and substantial as the requested ransom itself. A man in Laura’s past, Paco (Javier Bardem), who is not her husband, becomes overly eager to supply the ransom. This act makes the entire family question why Paco is more interested in finding the kidnappers than Laura’s own husband. It turns out there is a reason, but no need to reveal that here. And there’s no reason to reveal any of the shame-filled secrets specific to this Spanish family, as their secrets are universal to all families of all nations.

What intrigued me most about this film is what happens when tragedy strikes and how all directly and indirectly involved in the tragedy are forced to “get real” with each other. This is the truth of a tragedy, i.e., the tragedy puts everyone on their best behavior and that behavior is best described as honesty. They say all families have a dark family secret that if exposed would destroy lives, but it’s actually when the dark family secret is NOT exposed that lives are destroyed, maybe not in a dramatic sense, but the dark family secret does become malignant. And sometimes it’s not just one dark family secret; there can be many secrets that EVERYBODY KNOWS but no one is talking about it until emotions are heightened by tragedy and all have to rise to the occasion. There are so many characters in this film that truthfully when the film started, I had a very hard time keeping track of everyone. But all is forgiven when these characters begin to work on each other (at least on each other’s last nerve) and dots are connected and then the healing begins.

Despite the large cast, it is Penelope Cruz as Laura and Javier Bardem as Paco who are our emotional counterparts. And both actors are extraordinary in their performances. Cruz, who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in Woody Allen’s film, VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA, gives a compelling and emotionally devastating performance as Laura and, ironically enough, Allen’s film also featured Javier Bardem. These two actors have a great rapport with each other having worked together before, and they are emotionally raw actors, fearlessly forthcoming. Bardem won his Oscar as Best Supporting Actor in the film, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, and he gives an amazing performance in EVERYBODY KNOWS. All the supporting actors do fine work, and they would have to in order to pull off the emotional depth of this film. Once again, I am just in awe of international films when compared to American films, and yet this Spanish international film is about an international issue. It’s a film that ends with a resolution to the presented tragedy but there is no end in sight as one family secret becomes two and three and four and so on. And these secrets won’t stop (the film’s last shot makes this clear) because once the cat is out of the bag, the cat won’t sit still. The cat will run around and knock things over and scratch and claw at everything. Yes, that is what one family secret revealed can do.

Extraordinary film, extraordinary performances, and an extraordinary message that teaches all families to ditch the ordinariness of their complacency and get extraordinarily emotional about their relationships with one another.


“You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need” – Rolling Stones

(God’s Sonnet by Timothy J. Verret; “it’s how I cope to hope in not getting what I want by any means necessary but rather getting what I need by God’s Means Necessary”)

You can’t see any limits to “I want.”

The world is your oyster, pearls before swine.

Who can live to die by the sword post-haunt?

By any means necessary for “mine?”

I have to see that there are limits here.

I can’t want it all. “You get what you need,”

Rolling Stones sing. The Bible says, “Endear

yours ears to Love, your mouth to speak not greed.”

“Not I speak of want; I speak of content.”

Philippians 4:Eleven – We’ve learned,

by any means necessary, torment

haunts us when we want what we have not earned.

“We want” is “we need”‘s true adversary.

We Love by any means necessary.


“As my spiritual number is 4, this picture makes a whole lot of sense to me.”


Yes, 4 stages.

We ALL must go through 4 stages. It is actually and totally impossible to NOT go through 4 stages. What I have formulated here are 4 stages of not only an insect life but also a human life: 1. dust, 2. caterpillar, 3. cocoon, 4. butterfly. I have to say, though, that I don’t believe any human living can be at the first stage of dust, i.e., you are alive and breathing because God took that dust and made you. Good to get that out of way, right? As far as the other stages, some people are in the stage of the caterpillar (2), some are now in the cocoon (3), and some are already butterflies and soaring (4).

So, what are these 4 stages all about, as far as mentally and emotionally and spiritually? I can only tell you what I think I know (realizing I know so little):

  1. DUST: As mentioned. if we are alive and breathing, we are NOT at this stage. Been there, done that, ‘nuf said. We are ALL out and about from this stage. The question I have to ask myself is: “Timothy, are you STILL dust?”
  2. CATERPILLAR: The caterpillar stage is about looking for something lost. You ever take to wondering why a caterpillar always looks like he or she is looking around for something but seems to be going about looking for whatever it is aimlessly? That is what the caterpillar stage is like for us. We know we are looking for something we lost, but we’re just not sure what it is we are looking for, so we go about God’s Green Earth wandering aimlessly. But we gotta walk pretty long and pretty far before we throw in the towel for the wings! Although we seem lost, and we are, we might do a whole of nasty things before we get SO tired that we really have no other choice (or do we?) but to go into the cocoon. You know that phrase, “kicking and screaming?” Yeah, that sounds about right when it comes to leaving the caterpillar life. But the “kicking and screaming” won’t stop just because we have “given up.” No, there’s more of that to come at a later stage. We do have to go to the cocoon alone, as it always must be in matters such as these. We need to be quite alone and quite quiet when we go there. The question I have to ask myself is: “Timothy, you sure do wander around aimlessly a lot, especially of late, as though you are looking for something or someone you lost. Are you STILL a caterpillar, Timothy?”
  3. COCOON: This is the stage that separates the “men from the boys”….or the caterpillars from the butterflies! It’s the “hard to handle” stage. It’s the grueling stage. It’s where we fight tooth and nail before we go “up” there and have to stay there, sometimes for a long time. We really had no choice but to go and stay here, and it’s the discomfort that got us there in the first place. In that cocoon is where the real battle is fought. In there, we just get ripped up. But ask yourself this, as far as it relates to insects (for now): Do we really think that the caterpillar that goes “up” in the cocoon and has to stay there is NOT going to go through some serious hurts and pains to go from one specific being to an entirely different specific being? Correct me if I’m wrong, but a caterpillar don’t look nothing like a butterfly! Now, as it relates to humans, we ARE talking about a complete, 100% metamorphosis of ALL our mental and emotional and spiritual faculties. We have to change COMPLETELY from one specific being to an entirely different specific being, for Christ’s sake! That, right there, cannot be expected to be or feel comfortable, so we shouldn’t think being or feeling in the cocoon is going to be anything but uncomfortable. The question to myself is: “Timothy, are you STILL in the cocoon?”
  4. BUTTERFLY: We HAVE arrived! We have done the hard work and God has helped us along the entire journey to go from dust to caterpillar to cocoon to finally butterfly. My, how we have grown….and changed! Was it easy? NO! If we have not emerged yet from the cocoon, is it going to be easy? NO! Do we have any other choice in the matter? YES! We can get out prematurely….and we often do! We can have someone get us out prematurely….and we often ask! But is that wise? NO! We must stay in there until we have done the work and God has done the work. We have worked it out together for this transformation. There is no other way out, literally and figuratively. But, my, oh my, look what emerges! A butterfly! A beautifully colorful and graceful butterfly who can fly around and soar but God forbid be caught in a net and nailed and pinned in one of those butterfly collections. We don’t want to believe we have to go through all that and God had to go through all that only for us to end up caught in a net! But, alas, this is not only a butterfly reference but also a human reference. People all around us are walking around with nets and they are wanting to catch us and put us in their collections. But we can’t let them! We gotta’ get out of this cocoon when we and God are ready and we gotta’ fly. The question I have to ask myself is: “Timothy, are you STILL a butterfly?

You might be asking: Are these stages in a certain order or are they flexible? Just given the butterfly emergence, can the butterfly go back to another stage like dust? Sure. That is what we call physical death. Can the butterfly go back to a caterpillar? Sure. That is what we call physical sin. But the butterfly can not go back into the cocoon, nor can the cocoon welcome back the butterfly. Once out of the cocoon, there is no going back in. It is a “sealed deal.”

I have asked myself questions about each of these 4 stages, and only God and I can truly answer my own questions. But what about your answers to these same questions I posed for myself? I would love to know, but I won’t guess. If I know you well, I will want to guess and think I know what stage you are in, but I won’t do that, because I want you to be free, and the only way for you to be free is for me to NOT catch you in my net. Don’t let anyone else catch you in their net.

And, yes, I am STILL talking about BOTH insects AND humans.

-Timothy J. Verret


“Sure sounds simple enough, but all of these are EXTREMELY difficult for me and most of us.”

(God’s Sonnet by Timothy J. Verret; “it’s how I cope to hope in living the simple life today because Jesus made it simple to just love for today”)

You want more. No way are you less is more.

You would steal the point of the church steeple.

“If I accumulate more, more adore.”

The simple life is, more or less, people.

Where people begin or end, I don’t know.

Where I begin or end, I have no clue.

The simple life is when I “middle grow,”

where I meet them and me at tried and true.

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

1 Timothy Six:6 – We brought nothing

into this world, we leave the same. The pain

must go, too, for the simple life is King

Jesus, who loved and suffered gracefully.

His Simple Life was costly. His Love? Free.

“ALMIGHTY, not ‘allmy’ghty!”

“Do you feel the world is broken? (we do!) Do you feel the shadows deepen? (we do!) Is He worthy. (HE IS!)” – Chris Tomlin

(God’s Sonnet by Timothy J. Verret; “it’s how I cope to hope in His Almighty and not my ‘allmy’ghty”)

You can’t see yourself getting through this one.

The “bane of my existence” is your “out

of sorts,” “out of balance,” “outcast,” “outdone.”

You’ll give “in” when your “my” becomes your drought.

I ‘oft thirst when I try to be “my”ghty.

I expect to drink whenever I want.

The camel never goes thirsty for “why

no water?” God supplies. So, why this daunt?

“God will supply all your needs through The Christ.”

Philippians 4:Nineteen – ALMIGHTY!

What we lack, and there is much, God has Priced

through Jesus, the Riches of His “That’s Why!”

God knows we want the glory when flighty.

We respond, “ALMIGHTY, not ‘allmy’ghty!”



“Live and let live.” – Anonymous

In recovery circles, there is the adage, “live and let live.” What it means is, “you should tolerate the opinions and behavior of others so that they will similarly tolerate your own.” In the hotel business, it might best be quoted as, “stay and let stay” (yeah, “stay” is not just for dogs as the above photo suggests). Hotels are all about getting guests to stay and stay as long as they want (let stay). But I’m wondering if “live and let live” and “stay and let stay” are not one and the same. Here’s how I read it:

If “live and let live” is “live your life your way so I can live my life my way,” then “stay and let stay” in terms of that same life lesson might read, “stay in my life my way so I can stay in your life your way.” But that poses a problem, does it not? It sounds selfish, right? Would it be best to rephrase it, “stay in my life your way so you can let me stay in your life my way.” Dang! That sounds selfish, too. 😒

Whether we are “living” or “staying,” it is best that we each live and stay true to ourselves. It is perfectly okay and, actually quite necessary, to hear the viewpoints and opinions of others about the way we are living and staying true to ourselves. It’s good to get outside advice. But there is a boundary here. If you or I are being true to ourselves and someone else has ulterior motives of wanting to make our way their way and we sense control on their part, then, “yes, Houston, we have a problem.” There’s another reason the adage, “To Thine Own Self Be True,” would work here. 😁

In the hotel business, the whole “stay and let stay” has to do with getting guests in so they won’t leave, right? That is what “let stay” is saying, right? Now, here and there, front desk clerks have to apply what is called DNR, and that means, “Do Not Rent.” I can’t speak for other front desk clerks, but I always frown when I have to go the DNR route with a guest, because I don’t like anyone to feel excluded, on the outside, feeling lonely and unappreciated and unnoticed. It stands to reason the DNR is applied because the guest did something “wrong.” But don’t we all do “wrong” now and then and, if we are being honest, often? Do we get DNR’ed for this? We actually do but not by a hotel but rather another entity or a person. And being DNR’ed by another entity or a person hurts, whether we did wrong or not. This is why “live and let live” and “stay and let stay” is so apropos here, because whether we are talking about a hotel or another entity or a person, we are talking about the need to be included, inside, joined, appreciated, and noticed. And who doesn’t want that, right? 👌

We all want others to just let us live and we all wants others to just let us stay. And we need to let others just live and just stay. “Letting” is not about letting someone get away with something. It’s about surrender and yielding, like in letting a car turn into the lane in front of you. There is nothing at all to be gained by not yielding to this car unless we are talking about gaining control. “I see you there, car, but I’m not going to let you in because I’m in a hurry….because no one would do that for me….because I feel like being mean today.” Whatever the reason, not letting that car go just makes the driver feel bad, and the “unyielder,” whether he or she knows it or not, by being selfish and controlling, is going to feel pretty bad, too. This is especially true when the tables are going to be turned for the “unyielder” down the road (pun intended). And, trust me, this WILL happen! But what makes both the driver feel good and the “yielder” feel good is “live and let live” and “stay and let stay” and, yes, “yield and let yield.” 😎

I end this blog post with a marketing strategy for the hotel, as that is my job. Come stay with us. We will let you stay. Come live with us. We will let you live (haha). But, seriously, this is a hotel and it is a mighty fine one. The management is a wonderful family, the staff is quite pleasant and accommodating (yeah, that includes me), and the rooms are quiet, clean and, more than anything, AIR-CONDITIONED!!!! 😅

So, “stay” with us and we will “let” you “stay”….

– Timothy J. Verret, Creative Marketing Rep



(God’s Sonnet by Timothy J. Verret; “it’s how I cope to hope in that inevitable stumble not being the finish but being the beginning of getting up, not giving up, receiving God’s Respite”)

You stumble. You fall short of God’s Glory.

“Stumble?” No runner runs a perfect race.

The finish line doesn’t end your story.

Begins when you fall into God’s Embrace.

When I stumble, I grab all around me.

I don’t want to “domino” all alone.

Down on the ground is not deep enough. We

are of the roots kind, buried secrets sown.

“If anything is to make you stumble,

cut it off, throw it from you,” Jesus said.

Body parts fractured in a flesh fumble,

cast them to Him. Our souls need the “break bread.”

We will stumble and we will want to quit.

God sent His Son. Won’t God send us Respite?


(a poem by Timothy J. Verret)

When I walk out of my house now

I got nothing to say

nothing they wanna hear.

Take that back

I say something

but they say nothing

they pay me no mind

maybe their mind ain’t right

I know mine ain’t.

I give ’em hush

they give me hush back

it’s a two-way street.

Scarecrow had it right

“you go your way and I’ll go mine”

stop pointing in the same direction, Scarecrow!

they ain’t listening to you.

I give ’em hush

they think it has to do with purity

I know they ain’t pure ’cause

I ain’t.

I’d take some pictures but there’s no one here

my camera don’t pick up ghosts

it picks up hush.

“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)

Be hush, too, God.

I got nothing to say

but this.


“I cast my shadow in His Shadow; I drop my ego to act on Center Stage”

(God’s Sonnet by Timothy J. Verret; “it’s how I cope to hope in giving the performance of a lifetime on Center Stage in His Shadow”)

You are trying to please them all, aren’t you?

You pick up their brokenness, seek their cures.

It’s admirable. You got a good heart, true.

To please them, heal their pained woes, is not yours.

“You like me, right?” What I do if they don’t

like me is change me so they will; adjust.

It’s exhausting to try to please their “won’t.”

I’d rather please God, please me, plead entrust.

“Deny you and pick up His Rock, not theirs.”

Matthew Sixteen:Twenty4 – Drop ego,

drop that rock that is their rock. Let affairs

be to act Center Stage in His Shadow.

God knows we mean well when we want a friend.

Matters what God thinks, what we think….The End.