My PB & J Double Feature’s Introduction

When I published my review of Never a Dull Moment, it became my 400th post! As I’ve stated before, I create a special double feature any time I publish 100 posts. Because this accomplishment was recently achieved, I thought July would be the best time to host this double feature. Over the next two weeks, I will post these reviews as well as the conclusion. Keep reading if you want to learn more about the films I’ll write about and the double feature’s overarching theme!

Image of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches created by Katinka Kober at freeimages.com. Photo by Katinka Kober from FreeImages

You’re probably wondering what a PB & J (Peanut Butter and Jelly) sandwich has to with film? It’s more about how the idea behind the sandwich relates to cinema. I love browsing through pictures of scout related patches and learning about their meanings. One day, I stumbled across this website called Mad About Fun Patches. While visiting the site, there was one patch that caught my eye. This patch is named “Spread the Love, PB & J 2020”. Based on the description, the patch was created to promote the idea of making sandwiches for those in need. The more I thought about this, the more I realized how many ideas can be associated with a PB & J sandwich, which are:

  • Putting the needs of others before one’s self
  • Feeding the hungry
  • Helping one’s community
  • Sharing
  • Building connections
  • Teamwork
  • Brightening someone’s day
  • One person, object, or event affecting the lives of others

When I reflected on these ideas, I discovered two movies that share the concept of one person affecting multiple lives. These films are The Last Full Measure and The Boy Who Could Fly! I’ve heard of both movies, but they seem to be underrated. Within each review, I will be answering the following question:

Can the ideas associated with a PB & J sandwich be found in a given film?

Like my Youth-Led Double Feature from January, I will not be including pre-movie thought and/or questions.

Here is a screenshot I took of the patch from Mad About Fun Patches. I also provided credit to the people who created the patch. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Here is the link to the website I mentioned in this post if you want to check out their other patches:

https://madaboutfunpatches.com/

Take 3: Follow Me, Boys! Review + 205 Follower Thank You

Two days ago, 18 Cinema Lane received 205 followers! I want to thank all of my followers for making this accomplishment a reality! Currently, there are several movies on my DVR. In fact, some of these films were recorded over a year ago. So, I decided to choose one of these movies for this review. As the title reads, this movie is Follow Me, Boys!, which had sat on my DVR since early 2018. Every film studio has their hidden gems. While it’s impossible to watch every one of these projects, I try my best to talk about them on this blog. Follow Me, Boys! is a movie I had never heard of prior to recording it. However, there have been some enjoyable live-action Disney films from around the release of Follow Me, Boys!, such as The Moon-Spinners and Mary Poppins. Did I enjoy this film as much as the two aforementioned pictures? Follow me through this review as we’re about to find out!

In case you’re wondering, this is a screenshot of the film’s poster I took from my television. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: While watching this film, there were some performances that I was pleasantly surprised to see. One of them came from Lillian Gish. Last year, I reviewed one of her movies, which was The Whales of August. A similarity between Lillian’s role in that movie and Follow Me, Boys! is how pleasant it was to watch! Even though she was only in the film for a limited amount of time, I liked the moments when her character, Hetty Seibert, showed up on screen! What helped Lillian’s performance was her on-screen personality and the on-screen chemistry she had with her co-stars. I was also surprised to see Kurt Russell’s performance in this film, even though, prior to watching Follow Me, Boys!, I was aware that Kurt had starred in several Disney productions. The one aspect that stood out to me was the emotional strength Kurt carried through his portrayal of Whitey. This especially helped during the more dramatic moments of the story, such as when Whitey was dealing with his father. Kurt’s performance worked in his favor for not only this film, but also for his career long time.

The historical accuracy: The story of Follow Me, Boys! spans a total of twenty years, from 1930 to 1950. During the movie, I noted how good the historical accuracy looked! One aspect of this that serves as proof is the vehicles that are used. Toward to the beginning of the film, Hetty can be seen driving a car that looks like a Ford Model T. Because it’s 1930 at this point in the story, it would make sense for this kind of vehicle to be shown. At the end of the movie, when the story takes place in 1950, Lem and Vida are riding in a Plymouth automobile. These vehicles also helped show the transition between these time periods. It’s details like this one that show how much the creative team cared about the delivery of their project.

The camaraderie among the Boy Scout troop: Because this story spans a long period of time, the members of the film’s Boy Scout troop come and go. However, a consistent element was the troop’s camaraderie. While watching the troop’s evolution, the boys appeared to get along with one another and enjoy each other’s company. More often than not, the troop’s members work together during activities. They also promote the ideas of friendship, teamwork, and respect. The actors delivered the believability through their performances, which helped increase this group’s likeability.

Illustrated image of Boy Scout troop created by Macrovector at freepik.com. Banner vector created by macrovector – www.freepik.com. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The run-time: A film’s run-time can make or break that production. If a movie feels too long or short, it could affect the movie-viewing experience. This element definitely impacted my perspective of this film. I watched Follow Me, Boys! on television and the run-time was listed at 2 hours and 33 minutes. On IMDB, the movie has a run-time of 2 hours and 11 minutes. This story did not warrant a run-time this long, with situations being placed in the film for the sake of satisfying this run-time. The movie would have been more enjoyable if it was an hour and thirty or forty minutes long. That way, the overall story wouldn’t feel drawn out.

Little to no adversity: One of the over-arching narratives of Follow Me, Boys! is the formation and existence of a local Boy Scout troop. Despite how much of the story revolves around this group, they don’t experience many obstacles. When the troop does experience a conflict, it becomes quickly and easily resolved. This is different from a story like Troop Beverly Hills, where the troop faced several obstacles that last longer than a few minutes. Because of this choice, it seemed like situations in Follow Me, Boys! happened way too conveniently in the Boy Scout troop’s favor.

Situations happening too quickly: Despite the film being over two hours, some situations in this movie happened too quickly. A perfect example is Lem and Vida’s relationship, with no smooth transitions during each stage. In one scene, Lem and Vida are having their first major argument. A few minutes later, they are seen getting married. I know the film was supposed to show time progressing. However, the poor transitions caused some parts of the story to feel rushed.

Law school textbooks image created by Peter Skadberg at freeimages.com. “FreeImages.com/Peter Skadberg.”

My overall impression:

The way I feel about Follow Me, Boys! is the same way I feel about Summer Magic: it’s just ok. This film did have its merits and it felt like the creative team had their hearts in the right place. But the project does have a big flaw that I cannot overlook. The run-time of Follow Me, Boys! is too long, making the movie feel like it’s dragging its feet through the mud. This was the root of other flaws within the movie, like situations happening too quickly and scenario placements that only serve to satisfy the run-time. I had to, occasionally, pause the film just to check how much time was left. While I can’t fully recommend this movie, I’m not going to dissuade anyone from watching it either.

Overall score: 6.3 out of 10

Have you seen Follow Me, Boys! Are there any Disney films from the ‘60s you’d like me to review? Tell me in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Top 10 Things I’d Like to See in Chesapeake Shores’ Fifth Season

When I submitted my review of The Great Mouse Detective last week, it became the 175th movie review I’ve ever published! In honor of this accomplishment, I decided to write a Top 10 list, especially since I haven’t written one in quite some time! Back in February, in a Word on the Street story, I reported how Chesapeake Shores was renewed for a fifth season. However, because of the Coronavirus, the show hasn’t gone into production. On 18 Cinema Lane, I recap two of Hallmark’s shows, with Chesapeake Shores being one of them. While some areas of the world are slowly going back to creating movies and television shows, the O’Brien family may not appear on screen this year. This means that my Top 10 list will probably be the only Chesapeake Shores related content I create in 2020. As “Chessies” (the show’s fandom) waits for any news of the show’s return, here are the top 10 things I’d like to see in the fifth season! Before I begin, I want to say that this list is solely based on my opinion. There will also be spoilers for the previous season.

  1. Tone down the relationship drama

As I’ve said before in my Evenings At The Shore series, the first and second seasons of Chesapeake Shores contained a healthy balance between their character and plot driven narratives. But since season three, the show’s overall quality has plateaued. That’s because the overall narrative has placed its primary focus on the relationship drama between the characters. This decision has caused the plots to be put on the back-burner. One example is the fourth season’s fifth episode, where the plot surrounding Jess’s story didn’t make any sense. In Chesapeake Shores’ next season, I hope the screenwriters bring the show back to that balance from the first two seasons. This show has come up with some interesting plot ideas, but haven’t utilized them to their fullest extent.

2. A wedding for Jess and David

Before Kevin and Sarah got engaged in the fourth season, fans had never seen a wedding within the O’Brien family. This next step in Kevin and Sarah’s relationship was history in the making for the show. Because of the fourth season’s six episode run, wedding plans were replaced with an elopement and a reception dinner. This decision was a “bait and switch”, leaving fans cheated out of a historical moment they were promised. Kevin and Sarah were not the only couple to get engaged, however, as Jess and David became engaged at the end of the season. I’d like to see Jess and David’s wedding in the fifth season. Because the filming locations of Chesapeake Shores are photogenic, maybe they could receive an outdoor ceremony.

3. Get rid of the love triangle

It’s bad enough When Calls the Heart features a love triangle that seems to have no end in sight. Like I said in one of my Sunset Over Hope Valley posts, love triangles are a waste of time and creative energy. In Chesapeake Shores’ fourth season, the narrative introduced a love triangle between Abby, Trace, and Jay. This not only enables the screenwriters to continue emphasizing the relationship drama, but it also takes screen-time away from more intriguing plots. Hopefully, this love triangle will get resolved sometime in the fifth season.

4. A subplot for Carrie and Caitlyn

Speaking of When Calls the Heart, what this show does well is provide subplots for the younger characters. It gives the audience a chance to get to know them and view the story from their perspective. When it comes to Chesapeake Shores, Carrie and Caitlyn, the youngest characters on the show, have never received a story of their own. In fact, it feels like they’ve become an afterthought within the overall narrative. I’ve been waiting for Carrie and Caitlyn to receive their own subplot for a while, so I hope this happens in season five. It would be interesting to see what the screenwriters come up with.

5. More episodes

Earlier in this list, when I talked about Kevin and Sarah’s lack of wedding plans, I stated how the fourth season of Chesapeake Shores was only given six episodes. While Hallmark shows have received seasons with less than ten episodes before, a fourth season receiving six episodes is a bit concerning. This creative decision prevented certain subplots from being fully explored and made the story feel like more was desired. Personally, I think the fifth season should be given at least nine to ten episodes. That way, Chesapeake Shores will have enough time to flesh stories out and focus on telling well-thought out narratives.

Evening view from the shore image created by 0melapics at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/landscape-in-a-swamp-at-night_1042860.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by 0melapics – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

6. The fruition of Trace’s recording studio

Chesapeake Shores excels at featuring locations that have been brought up in the story. One example is The Bridge, a musical restaurant that Trace had been dreaming about for several years. At the end of the fourth season, Trace had expressed interest in creating a recording studio. While recording studios have been presented in the story before, this particular business was never shown in Chesapeake Shores. Because this show has a good track record when it comes to locations, I’d like to think Trace’s recording studio will become a reality. However, I still want to see this location brought to life.

7. For Bree and Simon’s paths to cross again

When Simon was introduced on Chesapeake Shores, he met Bree in her home country. At the end of the fourth season, Bree’s literary agent, Brian, wanted to bring her play to London. If this happens, Bree would be in Simon’s home country. This dynamic would be very interesting to watch, especially if Bree and Simon plan on revisiting their relationship. Should Bree decide to find a different significant other, I’d be curious to see which new British actor joins the show.

8. More appearances for Nell

Over the course of the fourth season, I noticed that Nell had such a limited on-screen presence compared to previous seasons. I was told Diane Ladd, the actress who portrays Nell, was experiencing pneumonia when this particular season was in production. As I indicated in the introduction, we don’t know when Chesapeake Shores’ fifth season will be filmed. Whenever that happens, I hope Diane is in better health. Nell is the one who keeps the glue together in the O’Brien family together. Without her, things just wouldn’t be the same.

9. A Chesapeake Shores Movie

I know a Chesapeake Shores movie is on the way. However, it never went into production, partly due to the Coronavirus. Even though the film was originally about Abby, Bree, and Jess, I still want to see a St. Patrick’s Day themed movie in Ireland. Another possible film idea is a Chesapeake Shores Thanksgiving themed movie! Hallmark hasn’t created a Thanksgiving movie in several years. Also, Good Witch has capitalized on Halloween, while When Calls the Heart creates annual Christmas films.

10. Megan becoming a successful businesswoman

You’re probably thinking, “Megan’s not a businesswoman, it isn’t her forte”. However, when we look at Abby, Bree, and Jess, there is one thing they have in common: they are all successful businesswomen. While each sister has forged their own path in the world of business, they have let their passions guide them through this specific journey. For at least one season, Megan has expressed her passion for art. Toward the end of the fourth season, she had shown an interest in creating her own studio. If the screenwriters wanted, they could allow Megan to use her art as the basis for a small business. This could make Megan an independent businesswoman like her three daughters.

Chesapeake Shores poster image created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=series&ShowTitle=Chesapeake%20Shores%20Season%203&episodeIndex=3001

Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: From Up on Poppy Hill Review + 200 Follower Thank You

Well, the day has finally come. 18 Cinema Lane just received 200 followers! Before I continue this post, I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who helped my blog reach this milestone! I still can’t believe that, within these two years, I’ve made it this far as a blogger. For this review, I thought it would be a good idea to select a film that was requested by one of my readers. Last year, Ospreyshire, from the blog Iridium Eye Reviews, recommended the Studio Ghibli film, From Up on Poppy Hill. I chose this film to write about because I haven’t reviewed an animated movie since February. This is actually the second Studio Ghibli production I’ve discussed on 18 Cinema Lane. Last January, I reviewed Howl’s Moving Castle for the 90 Years of Jean Simmons Blogathon. While I enjoyed the movie, I found it to be weaker than the previous Studio Ghibli projects I’ve seen. Now that From Up on Poppy Hill is the fifth film from the studio I have watched, it’s time to determine how this movie holds up to other films from Studio Ghibli!

Howl’s Moving Castle poster created by Studio Ghibli, Toho, and The Walt Disney Company. © Disney•Pixar. All rights reserved. Image found at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1798188/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0.

Things I liked about the film:

The animation: Over the years, Studio Ghibli has gained a reputation with their signature animation style. The 2-D presentation of each story has stood apart from the 3-D computerized technique most film studios adopted in the 21st century. One of the hallmarks of a Studio Ghibli film is the colorful palettes that are used in each production. From Up on Poppy Hill boasts bright colors throughout the story, creating spaces that appear inviting. The scenes were bright enough to be visually appealing, but not too much to the point of over-saturation. Even when a scene used darker colors, there was still a pop of color included. One example is on a rainy day, when the protagonist, Umi, is carrying a red umbrella. The movements of the characters, vehicles, and boats were smooth, which made them easy to visually follow. Characters were also expressive when it came to dealing with a variety of situations. Similar to Howl’s Moving Castle, From Up on Poppy Hill looked like priceless art!

The humor: An element I’ve noticed within Studio Ghibli’s films is their use of humor. Though From Up on Poppy Hill is a more contemporary story from other Studio Ghibli productions, the humor still fit within the world of that particular film. In one scene, one of the members of the Archeology Club tells another club member that they need to find a way to show how cool their club can be. The fellow club member simply replies with “we can’t”. Toward the beginning of the film, Shun, one of the main characters, falls into a pool of water after performing a stunt while attempting to encourage his classmates to save a local clubhouse. When Umi tries to help Shun out of the pool, their fellow classmates cheer them on as soon as she touches his hand. A great aspect of this movie’s humor is how there was enough to maintain the film’s lighted-hearted tone. At the same time, it didn’t diminish the dramatic moments that momentarily appeared in the story.

The music: While watching this film, the musical selections in From Up on Poppy Hill stood out to me. This is because they fit the tone of their given scene so perfectly! Throughout the story, Umi rises signal flags in order to help her father return home. During these scenes, dramatic piano music would play in the background. For more lighted-hearted scenes, up-beat music could be heard. One example is the movie’s very first scene, which shows Umi preparing for a typical day. Because this film took place in the early to mid-‘60s, the music sounded like it came directly from that time period. When Umi and Shun are in a hurry to reach an important destination, the instrumental tune sounded like it belonged in a program like Hawaii Five-O. All of the music in From Up on Poppy Hill effectively brought a sense of emotion to every moment within the story!

Sailing on the sea image created by Michele L at freeimages.com. “FreeImages.com/Michele L.”

What I didn’t like about the film:

Lack of backstory for the Latin Society’s clubhouse: One of the overarching themes of From Up on Poppy Hill is honoring the past. This is one of the arguments Shun provides in his efforts to save the Latin Society’s clubhouse. There are times when this theme was incorporated into the story well. But, when it comes to the clubhouse, the history of the facility is never revealed. The only thing closest to a backstory that is given was when one of the club members says the previous residents were as messy as the current club members. This creative choice makes the club’s arguments appear weaker than necessary.

Minimal character development for some of the characters: In any film, character development is an important component. This can help the audience connect with a movie’s characters and get invested in their journey. From Up on Poppy Hill gives the majority of character development to Umi and Shun. Parental figures in Umi and Shun’s life, such as Umi’s grandmother, receive some character development. The rest of the characters receive minimal character development, making it difficult to truly get to know them. One example is Sora, Umi’s sister. While watching this film, I became familiar with her as the story progressed. However, when it comes to learning more about Sora, there was more to be desired.

Drawn out scenes: There were a few scenes in From Up on Poppy Hill that were drawn out longer than they needed to be. A perfect example is when Shun’s father is sharing information about his son’s past. I liked learning more about Shun’s backstory. But it was paired with moments of silent pauses that were a little too long. Had these pauses been shorter, this scene might have helped the film shave off some of the run-time.

Skyline of Yokohama, Japan image created by Lifeforstock at freepik.com. Travel photo created by lifeforstock – www.freepik.com. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

When I saw From Up on Poppy Hill, there were mentions of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The 1964 Olympics was included in the discussion, not the now postponed 2020 Olympics like I originally thought. The fact this event would be mentioned at all was very interesting. The Olympics are steeped in history, spanning many decades and involving many international parties. As I mentioned in my review, one of the overarching themes of this movie is honoring the past. In the story, history is presented in many forms. Some are embodied as large-scale events, like the Olympics. Others are formed in the relationships we share. From Up on Poppy Hill intelligently and creatively shows its audience how important history is in our lives and our world. As a movie blogger, I recognize how history has made or broken the world of film. But this entry from Studio Ghibli’s collection handles the idea of history with relatability and respect. People from any part of the world can understand the messages presented and maybe take away a small piece of the story and apply it to their own lives. From Up on Poppy Hill is one of the studio’s stronger projects that I am grateful to have seen. A huge thanks goes to Ospreyshire for bringing this film to my attention.

Overall score: 8.3 out of 10

Have you seen Studio Ghibli’s films? Which movie would you like to see me review next? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Hallmark Hall of Fame’s After the Glory Review + 195 Follower Thank You

I spent Memorial Day with my family, so I didn’t publish a post on Monday. This is the reason why this week’s schedule will be shifted. However, Memorial Day has inspired me to choose a patriotic film for this blog follower dedication review. When I first watched the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, Blind Spot, I saw a commercial for another film in this collection titled An American Story. The film looked intriguing and exciting, enticing me to want to check the film out. Recently, Hallmark Drama aired this film with a different title. This time, the movie is called After the Glory. Anyone who pays attention to Hallmark will know how the network loves changing their film’s titles after that project has been announced. But Hallmark changing a movie’s title 20+ years after its release seems like a strange decision. Despite this unusual choice, my family chose to watch this film in honor of Memorial Day.

Because I saw this film under the title, After the Glory, I chose to use this poster for my review. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Last August, I reviewed I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. One of the strongest aspects of that film was Kathleen Quinlan’s performance, as it was well-rounded, emotional, and powerful. Kathleen’s portrayal of Hope in After the Glory contained those same qualities. In one scene, Hope is reacting to George recalling her husband’s, Tim’s, final minutes. She goes from being pleased about George’s visit to the Veteran’s Office to crying for her lost love. This scene is an example of how much emotionality Kathleen brought to her role. Speaking of George, Brad Johnson effectively adopted the persona that’s expected of a character like George, one of the returning veterans. He appeared confident and sure of himself. But what I also liked about Brad’s performance was how he incorporated a sense of humility. During the film, there were times when George was held accountable for his choices and faced his mistakes. This made the character more relatable. Tom Sizemore portrayed another returning veteran named Jesse. His performance was versatile and highlighted his adaptability. When he was introduced, Jesse is happy to finally return home. A few scenes later, he is angry over the corruption taking place in his town. The well-rounded nature of Tom’s performance helped his character stand out!

The discussion of a veteran’s mental health: In the world of cinema and society as a whole, it seems like the subject of a veteran’s mental health has been recognized more in recent years. When this film was released in 1992, I don’t think there were many films released before or during that year that addressed this topic, especially when a movie takes places around the time of World War II. In After the Glory, the mental well-being of veterans was one of the recurring ideas of the story. During the war, Hope went back to school to earn her psychology degree. She did this in order to provide psychological services to returning veterans. She even tries to use her psychology skills to stop Jesse from committing suicide. The way this idea of a veteran’s mental health was written into the script was done with respect and realism. It made the movie feel like it was kind of ahead of its time.

The veterans’ transition period: An important part of this story was the veterans’ transition period to civilian life. Because the movie focuses on three different veterans, their journeys toward civilian life look and feel unique from each other. When he returns home, George is welcomed to an elaborate parade. He is even offered a job at his father’s law firm and is given an opportunity to be a running mate in Mayor Cantrell’s election campaign. Meanwhile, Jesse is only greeted by a small group of his family and friends when he comes home. He also struggles with issues relating to his physical and mental health. Like the aforementioned subject of a veteran’s mental health, this part of the story was written very well, making the film come across as reverent toward military veterans. It shows that within the uniform is a person that has their own thoughts, feelings, and perspectives.

Love of mental health image created by freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/people”>People vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Juan’s limited presence: One of the soldiers that was highlighted in this story is a Texas local named Juan. Despite facing racism in his civilian life, he still felt the world was bigger than his own backyard and that change was on the horizon. He was also starting civilian life as a newlywed. Compared to George and Jesse, Juan was featured on screen for a limited amount of time. His story was also weaker than George’s and Jesse’s. I’m not sure if this creative decision was meant to show how racism can negatively affective story-telling or if it was just a coincidence. But I feel Juan should have received the same amount of screen-time as George and Jesse.

A drawn-out first half: In the first half of After the Glory, the majority of the story focused on the veterans transitioning to civilian life. While this was an important part of the plot that provided context, it caused the film’s conflict, the town’s political corruption, to be placed on the back-burner. The conflict does maintain the plot’s primary focus in the second half of the film. But I think the conflict should have had a more consistent presence.

A limited amount of suspense: Because of the town’s election, it allowed the story to incorporate suspense. The process toward the conflict’s resolution was wrapped up in mystery, keeping the audience guessing what would happen next. However, the suspense in this movie was limited. This is the result of the aforementioned drawn-out first half. The creative team’s choice to adopt a more dramatic tone is also what caused the suspense to have a limited presence. Like the film’s conflict, I think the suspense needed to be more consistent.

Children holding American flags during a sunset image created by rawpixel.com at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/people”>People photo created by rawpixel.com – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

An overall impression:

During Hallmark Hall of Fame’s 69-year lifespan, there have been some films that took place either during or around the time of World War II. If you look at my post where I tier ranked every Hallmark Hall of Fame movie I’ve seen, you will see that I have enjoyed these films. It looks like After the Glory will be joining that tier with a “good” status! This movie shows how innovative and compelling a project in this collection can be! The subject of a veteran’s mental health being incorporated in this story shows how Hallmark wanted to start a conversation among their audience when it came to important topics. While this is not a new concept for Hallmark Hall of Fame, it has been a consistent part of this collection. While watching this film, I realized that if After the Glory had not been released in 1992, it probably would have never been created. This is because, ever since the Hallmark Hall of Fame branch was moved to Hallmark Channel in 2014, the network has placed an emphasis on trying make the films adopt the same tone and feel as the movies that usually air on Hallmark Channel. I still hope that Hallmark can take more creative risks with their films and promote more creative freedom. To my 195 followers, thank you so much for helping my blog come this far! This review would not have possible without you!

Overall score: 8 out of 10

Have you seen any of Hallmark Hall of Fame’s military related films? Which movie would you watch on Memorial Day? Tell me in the comment section below!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

I won Sunshine Blogger Award Number Four!

Before I start this award post, I’d like to remind everyone that Thursday, April 16th, is the last day to cast your vote for the Best Movie and Story of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The last award category will be posted on the April 17th! Here is the link to the poll:

 

TIE-BREAKER: Crowning the Best Movie and Story of the 2020 Gold Sally Awards

 

Last week, Ospreyshire, from Iridium Eye Reviews, nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award! This is my fourth time receiving the title. To me, even winning one of these awards in an honor. Thank you, Ospreyshire, for your thoughtfulness when it came to nominating me! Moments like these make me feel like I’m doing some good in the world of blogging. If you want to check out Ospreyshire’s blog, here is the link:

https://iridiumeye.wordpress.com/

 

Before this post can begin, I must list the official rules of the Sunshine Blogger Award, which are the following:

 

  1. List the award’s official rules
  2. Display the award’s official logo somewhere on your blog
  3. Thank the person who nominated you
  4. Provide a link to your nominator’s blog
  5. Answer your nominator’s questions
  6. Nominate up to 11 bloggers
  7. Ask your nominees 11 questions
  8. Notify your nominees by commenting on at least one of their blog posts.

Sunshine Blogger Award logo
The Sunshine Blogger Award logo found on https://iridiumeye.wordpress.com/2020/03/30/needing-some-time-in-the-sunshine-or-sunshee-yine-sunshine-blogger-award/.

My 11 Answers

  1. Which actor or actress do you think is overlooked by the public and what role would you like to see them in? For this question, I had to really think about who I would talk about. There are a number of actors and actresses that I believe are underrated. Some of them have been mentioned on 18 Cinema Lane before, like Max Lloyd-Jones. However, there are others that I haven’t found the opportunity to talk about yet. But, this time, I’ve decided to pick someone who I’ve previously brought up on my blog. According to her filmography on IMDB, Karina Arroyave has been acting in the film and television industry since the late ‘80s. However, it seems like she doesn’t receive the amount of recognition and attention that I think she deserves. As I’ve said in my Christmas Camp review, Karina has starred in two Hallmark Hall of Fame movies, Blind Spot from 1993 and Missing Pieces from 2000. But her roles in those films were smaller than what they could have been. One day, I’d like to see Karina cast in a Hallmark Hall of Fame film with a bigger role than she has received in years past.

 

  1. If you could have a crossover between an anime and something involving Western animation, what would they be and what would the plot look like? When I read this question, I immediately thought of the Sailor Scouts from Sailor Moon teaming up with heroes from the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe)! Because the animated shows from Marvel follow a different story than the films, the Heart of the Universe would provide an interesting component to the plot. I’ve read online that the ‘Heart of the Universe’ is more powerful than the Infinity Gauntlet. Whether the ‘Heart of the Universe’ is a part of official Marvel canon is unknown to me. But it could create a way to raise the stakes for both programs.

 

  1. What is your favorite thing about international cinema? I’d have to say being introduced to new people in the world of film! Before I started 18 Cinema Lane, I didn’t know who Vincent Perez was. Now, I’ve seen two of his films; Queen of the Damned and Swept from the Sea! This June, I’ll be reviewing the 1990 film, Cyrano de Bergerac, which I’m looking forward to because of Vincent’s involvement in the project!

 

  1. If you could switch a theme song from a movie or TV series with a different song, what would it be and why? I have two choices for this question. The first is the theme music from Murder, She Wrote. To me, this piece of music doesn’t fit the tone of the show. It makes the program appear more cheerful than it really is. While there are light-hearted moments within the show, there can also be suspenseful and darker moments. I would change the theme music to something that sounds more mysterious. The second choice is The Crow: Stairway to Heaven. I’ve never watched the show, but I have seen a video of the show’s opening credits. I was surprised by the creative team’s choice not to use music from the 1994 film. For this show, I’d select a song directly from the movie.

 

  1. What book would you like to see adapted onto the screen? This could be a novel or comic book, by the way. I’ve mentioned this on 18 Cinema Lane before, but I’ll say it again. I would love to see Murder on Ice by Alina Adams become a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film! If you want to learn why I feel this way, you can read my Movie Blogger’s Christmas Wish-List at this link:

A Movie Blogger’s Christmas Wish-List 2019

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Happy sun image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

  1. What band would you like to see compose an entire soundtrack? What kind of movie would they score? My favorite band is Trans-Siberian Orchestra! While their music was featured in the movie, The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, I really want to see them create a soundtrack for a Christmas movie musical for Hallmark Hall of Fame!

 

  1. What is the least favorite thing from a creator you really like? Some of my favorite youtubers from the movie community host scheduled livestream videos. Unfortunately, there have been times when these videos have started late at night or lasted two+ hours. It also doesn’t help that I can’t pause the video while it’s live, as I end up missing important content. So, I either skip the video completely or watch it on a later date.

 

  1. Who would you like to see voicing over a documentary that has never done so before? What would the documentary be about? Even though Disney+ is hosting Wandavision, it would be fascinating to see a mockumentary about Sokovia. It also makes sense for Elizabeth Olsen to provide the project’s voice-over, especially since we haven’t heard her speak in a Sokovian accent while portraying Wanda/Scarlet Witch in quite some time.

 

  1. Which actor would sound ridiculous if they tried an accent outside of their own? I don’t know if it would sound ridiculous, but I’ve never heard Vin Diesel attempt an accent.

 

  1. Who do you think is the most overrated film or animation director? Personally, I would say Steven Soderbergh is overrated as a director. Granted, I only saw Logan Lucky. But I couldn’t finish the movie, as I disliked it that much.

 

  1. What is your greatest wish for cinema and/or animation? This could be realistic or a pipe dream. I will select two wishes for this question. Whether they’re realistic or just a dream is up for debate. The first is for the more underrated people in the entertainment industry to receive more recognition and attention then they might currently have. The second is for the full version of The Crow: City of Angels to be released. The Youtube channel, GoodBadFlicks, created a really good video about this film called “Exploring The Crow City of Angels”. I’ve only watched half of it, but it’s an informative piece on the “studio intervention” that heavily effected this movie. Because of the growing awareness and drive to restore lost media/films, I feel the release of the full version of The Crow: City of Angels could be possible.

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Award show image created by Nick Winchester at freeimages.com. “FreeImages.com/Nick Winchester.”

My 11 Nominees

  • Eric from Dr. Eric Perry, PhD
  • Zach from Shut Up Zach!
  • Paul from Classic Film Journal
  • Luke from Luke Atkins – Critic
  • Steve from Movie Movie Blog Blog II
  • Gill from Realweegiemidget Reviews
  • Bonnie from Quaint Cooking
  • The Brannan sisters from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society
  • James from This Is My Truth Now
  • Erica from Poppity Talks Classic Film
  • Quiggy from The Midnite Drive-In

Award Gold Star Background Illustration
Gold star trophy image created by Macrovector on freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/gold”>Gold vector created by macrovector – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found on freepik.com.

My 11 Questions

  1. What is the first thing you will do when the Coronavirus is behind us?
  2. Has there ever been a time when you thought a film adaptation was better than its source material? If so, what is it?
  3. Which piece of lost media would you love to see found?
  4. Who was the last person to leave a comment on your blog?
  5. Describe your dream blogging collaboration!
  6. Is there an event you’d like to attend? If so, what is it?
  7. What is your favorite beverage?
  8. How long has your blog been around?
  9. Provide a sneak peek for an upcoming post!
  10. When will your blog reach a major milestone?
  11. What is something that makes you feel happy?

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

The TBR Tag – 2020

Before I start this tag, I’d like remind everyone that Thursday, March 19th, is the last day to cast your vote for the Best Actor of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The Best Actress poll will be re-posted on the 20th! Here is the link to the poll:

 

Now it’s time to choose the Best Actor of the 2020 Gold Sally Awards!

 

Originally, I was going to talk about Black Widow being postponed because of the Coronavirus or the possibility of Apple buying Disney. However, I already published a Word on the Street story discussing several movies’ release dates being affected by the Coronavirus, including some titles from Disney. I also mentioned the Coronavirus on two separate occasions; in the aforementioned Word on the Street story and in the most recent re-cap of When Calls the Heart. So, I won’t be talking about those things in an effort in sound less repetitive. Instead, I’ll be participating in the TBR Tag, in honor of achieving the milestone of publishing 350 posts! Posting this tag is very fitting, since March is National Reading Month. I also got the idea to participate in this tag after reading Katie’s post from Never Not Reading. To my readers, followers, and visitors who are not aware, TBR stands for “To Be Read”. TBRs are comprised of lists and collections of books that one would like to read. While I primarily talk about movies on 18 Cinema Lane, I do like to talk about books from time to time.

If you’d like to read Katie’s post, here’s the link:

https://nevernotreadingblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/23/the-tbr-tag/

City Library Isometric Illustration
Interior view of library image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/business”>Business vector created by macrovector – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

1. How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

For me, I have two ways of organizing which books are on my read-ar (get it? Radar? Reading?). I have a real-life bookshelf in my house where I place several books that I’d like to read. My private board on Pinterest contains a list of books that sound interesting to me. For books that I’m unsure about, I have a list called the “TBR Holding List”, where I’ll write down the name of the book and author until I can determine if I’ll add it to my Pinterest board.

 

2. Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

I would say that the majority of my TBR collection consists of physical books. However, there are a few ebooks that have caught my eye, such as Chip Crockett’s Christmas Carol.

 

3. How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

This question depends on two things. The first is what I feel like reading at that given time. Right now, I’m finishing a book that has over 300 pages, so my next read will contain a shorter page count. The second is whether I’m participating in a readathon. I try to match prompts with books I already own. If one of the books I have conveniently matches one of the prompts, I’ll likely read that book sooner.

 

4. A book that’s been on your TBR the longest.

That would have to be Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark! I saw the book’s cover in a magazine advertisement years ago. When I read the synopsis, I knew I wanted to eventually read it. Fortunately, I purchased the book at a rummage sale three years ago! Now, all I have to do is set aside some time to read the book.

 

5. A book that you recently added to your TBR.

For my real-life bookshelf, I added Amy Foster and Words on Bathroom Walls, as I received those books as Christmas presents. For my Pinterest board, the last book I added to that list is December Stillness by Mary Downing Hahn.

 

6. A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover.

Whenever I add a book to my collection, it’s because the story itself sounds interesting. Even though I have books on my shelf and list that have photogenic covers, the way a book looks is not the sole reason why I want to read any story.

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This is a picture of my copy of Amy Foster I received for Christmas. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
7. A book on your TBR that you NEVER plan on actually reading.

Currently, I can’t think of any books that I’m not interested in reading. If a book is on my shelf or list, it’s because I want to read it. It wouldn’t be there if I didn’t want to check it out.

 

8. An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any answers for this prompt, as every book in my TBR collection has been published at some point.

 

9. A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read except you.

I will say The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern! I’ve seen this book on several Booktube (the book community on Youtube) videos. I do own a physical copy of the story. However, I still haven’t read it.

 

10. A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you.

There are so many Booktube videos that have brought up The Selection series by Kiera Cass. Some people seem to like it, while others dislike the books. Since I own the first book in the series, I would like to read it, as I want to see where my opinions lie on this particular spectrum.

 

11. A book on your TBR that you’re just dying to read.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m really looking forward to the film adaptation of Words on Bathroom Walls! However, as of March 2020, the movie is still in post-production. Until it’s finally released, I’ll just read my copy of the book. Fortunately, I plan on reading it very soon!

 

12. The number of books on your Goodreads TBR shelf.

I don’t have a Goodreads account. But, as I’ve mentioned in this tag, I do have a real-life shelf. On it, I own 51 books that are a part of my TBR collection. Meanwhile, my Pinterest board boasts 186 books. In total, my collection contains 237 books!

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Pink themed image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/mockup”>Mockup psd created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What did you think of this tag? What books do you have in your TBR collection? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The Carpenter’s Miracle Review + 185 Follower Thank You

Before I start this blog follower dedication review, I’d like remind everyone that Thursday, March 12th, is the last day to cast your vote for the Best Actress of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The Best Actor poll will be posted on the 13th! Here is the link to the poll:

 

Let’s Choose the Best Actress of the 2020 Gold Sally Awards!

 

Last week, I received 185 followers on 18 Cinema Lane! To everyone that chose to follow my blog, thank you so much! Your belief in me, as a blogger, is what keeps this site going! Because of this achievement, it’s time for another blog follower dedication review! For this post, I’ll be talking about a film that was released in March of 2013. The only movie with a 2013 release date on my DVR was The Carpenter’s Miracle. Not only did it premiere in March of that year, but reviewing it now is very fitting. The Lenten season is upon us. This is a collection of days leading up to the Easter celebration. The events in The Carpenter’s Miracle revolve around the Easter holiday, making the film an appropriate choice for this time of year. Before watching this movie, I had seen Cameron Matheson’s acting work from Hallmark, as well as tin he Lifetime movie, The Wife He Met Online. Some of those projects have been better than others. However, Cameron always finds a way to bring the best of his acting abilities to the screen!

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This poster for The Carpenter’s Miracle verifies that I, indeed, saw this movie. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Things I liked about the film:

The acting: As I said in the introduction, I’ve enjoyed watching Cameron Matheson’s performances in various Hallmark films. The believability he brings to his roles is what makes these performances so great to watch! Cameron’s portrayal of Joshua was no different, showcasing how broad his acting range is. In the film’s opening scene, Joshua can be seen trying to save a young boy’s life. This scene is a perfect example of how good Cameron’s acting abilities are. I also felt the same way when I saw Michelle Harrison’s performance! Like Cameron, Michelle has appeared in several Hallmark pictures, including the upcoming film, Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Heist and Seek. When her character, Sarah, finds out her son had died, Michelle’s acting talents really shined through. Not only was her portrayal believable, but she was also allowed to show off her broad acting range! Another actress that has appeared in Hallmark’s movies is Sarah-Jane Redmond. What I liked about her performance was how she effectively used facial expressions and voice inflections in a variety of scenarios. These things helped her portrayal of Delia seem convincing! A great example is in the scene where her character meets Joshua for the first time.

 

The cinematography: The Carpenter’s Miracle had better cinematography than I expected! The way some of these scenes were presented was creative and appealing to the eye! In one scene, Joshua visits his mother, Helen, at a local nursing home. While there, they watch the rain-drops falling on the window. During this scene, the camera cuts between the characters and the window. This creative choice gives the audience a chance to view that scene from Joshua and Helen’s perspective. The movie’s first scene was presented in a gray hue, showing Joshua’s act of rescuing a young boy as a dire situation. Because of this scene’s presentation, it brought forth the feelings of fear and uncertainty.

 

How Christianity/faith was included in the story: References to Jesus and the Bible were made throughout the story. The events in the film also take place around the Easter holiday. However, these references never feel preachy or heavy-handed. Instead, any mention of Jesus and Biblical themes are naturally woven into the script. The way they were written felt like they contained a double meaning: one connected to the film’s events and the other toward Christian messages and themes. The narrative itself placed more emphasis on a story than on delivering a message. Any Christian messages that appeared in the movie organically grew from the situations the characters experienced.

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Cute Easter image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The protagonist given little to do: In the Bible, Jesus performs many acts that impact a variety of people. Because Joshua is meant to be a Jesus-esque figure in The Carpenter’s Miracle, you’d think he would have a packed schedule within the story. But within an hour and twenty-seven minutes, Joshua isn’t given much to do. Yes, he does help others through the power of healing. However, he only creates three miracles in the movie. One of them is heavily prioritized, causing the story to focus on the aftermath of the event. For the majority of the film, Joshua is seen spending time with Sarah, visiting his mother, or performing small maintenance jobs.

 

Limited journalistic presence: The main plot of The Carpenter’s Miracle is about how Joshua saves a young boy’s life. This event causes Joshua to receive a lot of attention. If a situation like this happened in real life, it would likely be covered in the news for about a week. People would also be talking about it on social media, with an official hashtag possibly being created to commemorate the act. In The Carpenter’s Miracle, the presence of journalism was very limited. The aforementioned event was covered on only one local news station. This same event was addressed on a nationally aired news program weeks after it occurred. The journalistic presence in the movie not only felt unrealistic, but it also seemed like there was little to no sense of urgency.

 

Too many plot points: There were several plot points featured in The Carpenter’s Miracle. This caused some of them to be addressed more than others. One example revolves around Joshua’s mother, Helen. Throughout the movie, she deals with a serious medical condition. While this situation does get resolved, it feels like it gets taken care of as a result of the film’s run-time. Personally, I wish this film had fewer plot points than it did. That way, they could have all been equally explored.

Journalist Reporter Profession Isometric Banner
News reporter being filmed image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/journalist-reporter-profession-isometric-banner_2875517.htm’>Designed by Macrovector</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/banner”>Banner vector created by Macrovector – Freepik.com</a>, Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

The Carpenter’s Miracle is not the first faith-based film I’ve reviewed, especially for a blog follower dedication review. Last January, when I received 60 followers, I reviewed the 1959 movie, Ben-Hur. Looking back on both pictures, I can honestly say that Ben-Hur is a stronger project than The Carpenter’s Miracle. The story of the latter film could have been given a stronger script. It wasn’t as impactful as I had hoped. Despite this, the movie did contain aspects that I liked. For one thing, I did like the inclusion of Christianity/faith. The Easter holiday highlights themes like putting the needs of others before one’s self. Ideas such as this one were expressed well within the story. Even though I thought The Carpenter’s Miracle was an ok film, it is an interesting film to watch during the Lenten season. I’ve seen other movies with as similar story, with Working Miracles being one example. However, I do think the 2013 Up Network film is a better project than the 2010 Hallmark movie.

 

Overall score: 6 out of 10

 

Have you watched any of Up Network’s films? If so, which one is your favorite? Please tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Dracula (1931) Review + 180 Follower Thank You

Before I start the introduction of this review, I want to remind everyone that Thursday, February 13th, is the last day to cast vote in the first poll of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The second poll will be posted on Valentine’s Day! Here is the link to the poll:

 

The First Poll of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards has begun!

 

In the past two years, I have reviewed a Valentine’s themed Hallmark movie on February 14th. But since this year’s polls for the Gold Sally Awards are taking place on Fridays and because Hallmark has chosen not to air a new Valentine’s themed movie on Valentine’s Day, I decided to do something different in 2020. Five days ago, 18 Cinema Lane received 180 followers! For this review, I chose to talk about Dracula for three reasons. 1. This movie was released in February of 1931. 2. The movie premiered on Valentine’s Day. 3. Valentine’s Day is a time when we show appreciation to those who have helped us along the way. My followers have definitely done that during my two years of blogging. With that, I have dedicated this special blog follower dedication review to all my followers in honor of Valentine’s Day! As I discuss this film, I realize Dracula is the fifth vampire movie I’ve reviewed on my blog! Who knew that vampires in cinema would be a recurring topic at 18 Cinema Lane?

Dracula 1931 poster
Dracula (1931) poster image created by Universal Pictures. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dracula _-_1931_theatrical_poster.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: For years, I have heard great things about Bela Lugosi as an actor. Even though this is the first film of Bela’s I have seen, I can understand why people give him this amount of praise! His portrayal of Dracula was commanding and captivating, effortlessly directing the audience’s attention towards him. Bela was very expressive through his facial expressions and body language. But the emotions in his eyes are what elevated his performance! Great examples of this are whenever Dracula appeared in front of his victims. Another expressive performance came from Dwight Frye! The character of Renfield was executed really well because of the versatility of Dwight’s acting abilities. Before and during his stay at Dracula’s castle, his demeanor was calm and collected. After becoming Dracula’s victim, his persona changes to being paranoid and on-edge. I was also impressed with Helen Chandler’s portrayal of Mina! Her on-screen personality was likable and sweet. Similar to Bela Lugosi, her eyes provided the emotion for her performance. A great example is when Mina is looking intently at her fiancé toward the end of the film.

 

The set design: I really liked seeing the overall set design in Dracula! It was constructed really well and fit the world the film’s creative team was trying to bring to life. Dracula’s castle and the Abbey in London were the two best locations in this movie! These places were grand in scale and felt larger than life. For Dracula’s castle, elements like spiderwebs and trees growing through broken windows created an unsettling environment. In the Abbey, a large, winding staircase was impressively captured on film. The locations in this movie were grandiose and had a sense of style to them!

 

The lighting: The way that lighting was used in this film was very interesting! Even though parts of the movie took place at nighttime, enough lighting was used to show what was taking place on screen. The times when Dracula is waking up from his coffin are good examples. Another creative way that lighting was used was anytime Dracula approached his victims. His eyes are the only things captured by the light, highlighting one of Bela’s best qualities as an actor. It also indicates how intense the power of his eyes is on humans. The lighting in Dracula helped make the project visually appealing!

Dracula Lobby Card
Dracula (1931) lobby card image created by Universal Pictures. Image found at http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/73563/Dracula/#.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Limited amount of music: The power of music can be very influential when it comes to film. Music can be used to set a tone for a particular scene or enhance the events happening on screen. In Dracula, however, music was used sparingly. Only two scenes and the opening credits is where music could be heard. The rest of the movie is music-free. Had there been orchestral music during moments when Dracula is in the presence of his victims, it would have brought a certain intensity toward those moments. It also would have highlighted the fear that can come from such an event. Sadly, music in this project felt underutilized.

 

Treading on familiar territory: It has been said that Nosferatu is the story of Dracula. But because of copyright laws at the time of the film’s creation, direct references to Dracula had to be removed. While watching the 1931 version of Dracula, I could tell that certain patterns in story-telling mirrored the 1922 silent film. In fact, certain events almost followed the predecessor beat-by-beat. Since I saw Nosferatu prior to seeing the 1931 picture, I feel like I knew what would happen, leaving little to no room for any surprises. While this movie did have some differences from the 1922 film, it wasn’t enough to create its own identity.

 

The run-time: Dracula is a one hour and fifteen-minute film. After Renfield meets Dracula in his castle, the movie kind of drags on, making it feel longer than its run-time suggests. Some moments felt like they were included to provide padding, such as the “woman in white” story. Personally, I think this film should have been less than an hour. This story is pretty straight-forward and has a recognizable character. If it were eighty or ninety minutes, the film could get straight to the point sooner.

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Valentine’s Day rose image created by Freepik at freepik.com <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/flat-valentine-s-day-background_1618951.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a> <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Freepik</a> Image found at freepik.com

My overall impression:

Dracula is a film that I found to be decent. There are aspects within the project that I liked, such as Bela Lugosi’s performance. However, the script played it safe when it came to the story. The creative team behind the movie didn’t really take any chances or try to think outside the box. In the end, the final product failed to create its own identity from its predecessor, Nosferatu. What I can say about this film is if you’ve seen Nosferatu, you’ve already seen Dracula. Compared to the other vampire movies I’ve reviewed, this movie would be placed around the same range as Queen of the Damned. While I liked both films for what they were, I think they could have been stronger. Before I end this review, I’d like to thank my followers for helping 18 Cinema Lane get this far! This blog has thrived every day because of you!

 

Overall score: 7 out of 10

 

What you do think of this special blog follower dedication review? Are you looking forward to seeing what I review when I receive 185 followers? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Sally Watches…Murder, She Wrote (The Sequel)!

Last month, my review of A Time to Remember became my 150th movie review! In that review, I said that I would be publishing a special post to commemorate this achievement. For the Mystery Mania Blogathon last March, I wrote an article where I reviewed some episodes of Murder, She Wrote. After I published that article, the moderator of that blogathon, Robin from Pop Culture Reverie, recommended some episodes for me to watch. So, in this post, I’m bringing back “Sally Watches…Murder, She Wrote”! This time, however, I’ll be reviewing the episodes that Robin shared with me in the comment section!

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Since I reviewed this book last October, this image felt like a good fit for this post. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Name: We’re Off to Kill the Wizard

Season 1, Episode 7

Premiere Date: December 9th, 1984

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The title card for “We’re Off to Kill the Wizard”. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
What I liked about this episode:

In some Murder, She Wrote episodes, the mystery starts at the halfway point. But the mystery in ‘We’re Off to Kill the Wizard’ began fifteen minutes into the episode. This allowed the mystery to be explored much sooner. It also kept the audience’s interest in what was happening in the story. When it came to exposition, there was enough room set aside to keep viewers satisfied. Within the first fifteen minutes, the audience was introduced to the characters, setting, and lead-up to the mystery in an effective way. In this period of time, nothing felt rushed or overlooked. The screenwriters associated with this episode took their time in an effort to let all story-telling elements flourish.

 

What I didn’t like about this episode:

When I discovered this episode would take place in an amusement park, I was excited to see what kind of perspective would be associated with this location. While it was interesting to see the behind-the-scenes aspect of theme parks, I was disappointed by how there was no educational or insightful commentary provided. For example, in the episode, ‘Film Flam’, the different steps involved with organizing a movie premiere were showcased. This process was an educational and insightful look into the movie industry. With ‘We’re Off to Kill the Wizard’, I don’t feel like I learned anything new about the amusement park industry. Not including this kind of information in the episode seems like a missed opportunity.

 

The mystery itself:

I found the mystery in ‘We’re Off to Kill the Wizard’ to be interactive and engaging! As I already mentioned, it helps that the mystery started fifteen minutes into the episode. It gave the audience an opportunity to solve the mystery alongside Jessica. However, I think the resolution was met way too quickly and it was a little too far-fetched. I’m not going to spoil this episode if you haven’t seen it. But it required more suspension of disbelieve than I expected.

 

The other factors from this episode:

  • When Robin recommended this episode to me, she brought it to my attention that Joaquin Phoenix guest starred in this episode. I’m glad she pointed this out because I wouldn’t have known that piece of information otherwise. It’s always nice to see a familiar face on Murder, She Wrote! It’s also interesting to see how far Joaquin has come as an actor.

 

  • In the haunted house attraction at the amusement park, there was a prop that consisted of a giant face. All I’ll say is, to me, it looked creepy.

 

  • During this episode, one of the male employees at the amusement park made a comment to Jessica about seduction. I understand that the ‘80s were a different time compared to today. But, personally, I don’t think this comment aged very well. It made me feel uncomfortable and was very off-putting. I’m honestly surprised that the comment wasn’t omitted from the script.

 

  • Toward the beginning of this episode, there was a demonstration where a few actors were acting out a scene to promote the theme park’s haunted house attraction. This demonstration was so convincing, that I honestly thought the episode’s murder had taken place. Fortunately, none of the characters were harmed and it was all an act. That specific scene shows just how talented the actors and screenwriters were in this episode!

 

My overall thoughts:

I liked ‘We’re Off to Kill the Wizard’ more than other episodes I’ve seen. However, there are elements in this episode that could have made it stronger. I wish this script would have left some room to provide educational or insightful commentary about the amusement park industry. It would have provided interesting content for the story. Also, the resolution of the mystery was far-fetched and way too easily resolved. This took away some of the narrative’s believability. While I respect the show’s creative team for thinking outside the box, the execution could have been better.

 

Rating: A 3.5 out of 5

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Yesterday: Guest star on Murder, She Wrote Today: Cinematic champion Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Name: Paint Me a Murder

Season 1, Episode 14

Premiere Date: February 17th, 1985

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The title card for “Paint Me a Murder”. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
What I liked about this episode:

The biggest showstopper in ‘Paint Me a Murder’ was the scenery! According to IMDB, this episode was filmed in California. Since the Golden State does have picturesque beaches and appealing foliage, it makes sense for the creative team to take advantage of this location. From the beach to the grounds of Diego’s photogenic house, everything was appealing to look at and was captured well on camera. Like I’ve said before, the show’s location scout deserves a Lifetime Achievement Award!

 

 

What I didn’t like about this episode:

Because the subject of art was incorporated in this story, I was hoping to learn more about the art industry through this episode. But, similar to ‘We’re Off to Kill the Wizard’, no commentary was provided in the narrative. In fact, art didn’t play as big of a role in this story as I expected. If anything, it felt like it was an afterthought. The limited amount of attention for this subject made me disappointed. Also, like ‘We’re Off to Kill the Wizard’, this lack of commentary was a missed opportunity.

 

The mystery itself:

‘Paint Me a Murder’ consisted of two mysteries, as there are two murders taking place in the story. There’s also a guest that’s trying to harm Diego. Even though there were more mysteries in this episode than are usually on Murder, She Wrote, I still found them to be engaging! Enough suspects and clues keep the audience invested in the story. Another thing that helped was letting the audience solve the mystery alongside Jessica. This creative choice allowed a sense of interactivity to be incorporated into the episode.

 

The other factors from this episode:

  • Out of all the Murder, She Wrote episodes I’ve seen, the cast in ‘Paint Me a Murder’ is one of the most star-studded! Besides having Angela Lansbury as the lead actress of the episode, some of the guest stars include Cesar Romero, Stewart Granger, and Robert Goulet. I’d say that the star power is strong with this story!

 

  • At one point in this episode, Diego shares how his faith has influenced his art. As I said in my review of “The Days Dwindle Down”, Murder, She Wrote is not known for introducing thought-provoking dialogue and encouraging conversation. But seeing the idea of faith playing a role in one of the character’s lives was interesting to see in this episode. It reminded me of the brief discussion about how different people view topics relating to belief systems from “The Legacy of Borbey House”.

 

  • The biggest flaw of ‘Paint Me a Murder’ was how it sometimes felt like a soap opera. There were some scenes where characters would sit around and talk about their problems. Relationship drama is also a common occurrence in this episode. Personally, I didn’t find this part of the story to be interesting.

 

My overall thoughts:

Even though I liked this episode more than ‘We’re Off to Kill the Wizard’, it still had its flaws. The soap opera element of the story should have been left out. There also should have been some commentary about the art world. However, I did think the mysteries were interesting. I also liked the cast in this episode, as it consisted of very talented actors and actresses. The best part of ‘Paint Me a Murder’ is the scenery! Murder, She Wrote has a good track record when it comes to their sets and backdrops. This episode is a perfect example of this!

 

Rating: A 3.7 out of 5

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How can anyone look at this beach and not think it’s breathtaking? Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Name: Murder Takes the Bus

Season 1, Episode 18

Premiere Date: March 17th, 1985

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The title card for “Murder Takes the Bus”. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
What I liked about this episode:

In this episode, the show’s creative team did a good job when it came to paying homage to the classic film, Psycho. The setting was a dark and stormy night, similar to the setting in Alfred Hitchcock’s film. The weather condition causes the characters in the episode to rest at a road-side diner. This situation is similar to how Marion ended up at the Bates Motel. Another similarity is the murder in each story takes place at the rest-stop. Details like this that are found in the story show how much the show’s creative team respected this iconic film.

 

What I didn’t like about this episode:

Unlike the film this episode was paying tribute to, ‘Murder Takes the Bus’ featured too many characters in the story. Because there were so many people in this episode, it was difficult to keep track of who was who. It also didn’t allow the characters to be fully developed in their own narratives. There wasn’t enough time or room in the script to truly get to know these characters. This did a disservice to the actors and actresses in this episode.

 

The mystery itself:

Since there were so many characters in this episode, it took the primary focus away from solving the mystery. Instead, the episode was about the characters and their various conversations. This brought down the intrigue of the story and I did not find it to be very interesting. The mystery started within the first twelve minutes of the episode. But that’s the only good thing I can say about it.

 

The other factors from this episode:

  • As I already mentioned, the setting of ‘Murder Takes the Bus’ is a dark and stormy night. I’ve seen other episodes where this setting has been placed in the story. Every time this has happened, the creative team does a good job creating the setting! Even though the lighting is used sparingly, it’s still enough to see what is going on in the scenes. This choice is to represent lightening and it appears effective on screen! It also sets the mood for the rest of the episode.

 

  • It was nice to see Rue McClanahan guest star in this episode! I’ve seen her acting work on The Golden Girls and in a few Hallmark films. Her role in ‘Murder Takes the Bus’ was different from those other projects. This gave Rue the opportunity to move out of her acting creative zone!

 

My overall thoughts:

I was not a fan of this episode. The homage toward Psycho was a nice touch, but the episode itself was executed poorly. Having too characters was the biggest flaw of ‘Murder Takes the Bus’. It tampered with every element of the story, from the character development to the mystery itself. Speaking of the mystery, it felt like an afterthought within a mystery series. Similar to ‘Paint Me a Murder’, I was not a fan of the drama among the characters. The overall episode was not interesting and had little to no intrigue.

 

Rating: A 2 out of 5

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I couldn’t tell what book Jessica was holding, but I’m wondering if it’s one of her own books? Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Name: Crossed Up

Season 3, Episode 13

Premiere Date: February 1st, 1987

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The title card for “Crossed Up”. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
What I liked about this episode:

In my review of “The Days Dwindle Down”, I talked about how I loved the Jarvis house in that episode. That same house makes an appearance in ‘Crossed Up’! The same interior and exterior shots were shown in the episode. But new perspectives were given to this location in an attempt to show it in a different light. In this episode, more exterior shots were presented, highlighting the size of the front yard. It also emphasized the wealth of the characters living there.

 

What I didn’t like about this episode:

Throughout the episode, Jessica’s loved ones and friends don’t believe her when she tries to warn them about an upcoming murder. They honestly think she’s crazy. Had this episode aired within the show’s first season, the idea of the people in Jessica’s life looking out for her would make more sense. But because this episode was featured in the third season, it feels unnecessary. By this time, Jessica has successfully solved several mysteries. So, the warnings she receives seem out of place.

 

The mystery itself:

Like the other episodes I reviewed in this post, the mystery in ‘Crossed Up’ started early. This gave the audience a chance to solve the mystery alongside the characters. However, I didn’t like how Jessica didn’t solve the case by herself. This show is called Murder, She Wrote for a reason. If Jessica isn’t involved in the story, it defeats the purpose of that title. What makes the show work is Jessica’s intelligence and wit when it comes to each case. That aspect was lost in this episode.

 

The other factors from this episode:

  • Just like I said about ‘Murder Takes the Bus’, the creative team did a good job creating the setting of a dark and stormy night. From the lighting to the sound effects, it definitely fits the tone they were going for!

 

  • In this episode, Jessica is bed-ridden due to a back injury. However, the people in Jessica’s life act like her back injury is worse than it really is. I understand that back injuries can be painful and disruptive. But the other characters view Jessica’s injury as something she needs to spend more than a week in bed for. This seemed very confusing and wasn’t as effective as the screenwriters thought.

 

My overall thoughts:

This episode of Murder, She Wrote was ok. I respect the show’s creative team for trying something new. But it didn’t work as well as it could have. ‘Crossed Up’ should have been placed somewhere in the first season. In that context, the things the characters in Jessica’s life are saying would make more sense. It also doesn’t help that Jessica doesn’t play a big role in this story. This episode kind of defeated the purpose of the show’s title.

 

Rating: A mid 3 out of 5

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This shot of the house showcases just how grand this location is! Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
What are your thoughts on these reviews? Are they any episodes of Murder, She Wrote you’d like me to discuss? Please tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Cabot Cove!

Sally Silverscreen