The Olympics are an event that many people around the world look forward to. However, the 2020 Summer Games were postponed due to the on-going Coronavirus. As of late January 2021, the Summer Olympics are still taking place. In honor of that, I am hosting an Olympic themed blogathon! Because the Olympics are such a broad topic, I am encouraging you to be creative! Movies, tv shows, books, music, art, etc. involving the following will be eligible for the blogathon:
Winter or Summer Games
Sports that have been a part of or are still in the Olympics
Olympic athletes past and present
Countries and/or cities where Olympic games have taken place
Performers and/or performances from an Olympic opening or closing ceremony
Years when an Olympic game has taken place
Advertising promotions related to the Olympics
The Official Blogathon Rules
Please be respectful when writing your entries and toward other participants.
If you plan on publishing your post(s) earlier or later than the allotted time-frame (July 19th to the 23rd), please let me know in advance.
Only new posts are allowed for this blogathon.
As I mentioned, the Olympics are a broad topic. Therefore, I am not allowing duplicate entries for the Olympic Dreams Blogathon.
A maximum of three entries are allowed for each participant.
All entries must be original work.
If you’re interested in participating, please share your idea(s) in the comment section below.
Pick one of the five banners and let others know about the Olympic Dreams Blogathon!
The List of Participants
Sally of 18 Cinema Lane — Movie reviews of The Karate Kid and Karate Kid Part II(1984 and 1986)
Gill of Realweegiemidget Reviews — Movie review of Those Glory GloryDays (1983)
J-Dub of Dubsism — Movie review of Personal Best (1982)
Ruth of Silver Screenings — Movie review of Golden Boy (1939)
The Very Special Blog of The Very Special Blog — The Cutting Edge (1992)
Le of Crítica Retrô — Laff-a-Lympics(1977/1978)
Movierob of MovieRob — 16 Days of Glory (1986), Blades of Glory (2007), Eddie the Eagle (2016), Prefontaine (1997), Visions of Eight (1973)
Because my Hallmark Movies & Mysteries related content has been well-received, I try to make an effort to write about Hallmark’s mystery films whenever I can. Since the only new mystery movie to premiere this month is Ships in the Night: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery, I wanted to review it. So far, I have been impressed with this particular series. The first two films, A Beautiful Place to Die: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery and Riddled with Deceit: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery were in my Honorable Mentions on my list of the best movies I saw last year! They were such a strong start to a new series, that I couldn’t wait to see the rest of the story unfold! Jeff and Zee, the lead characters of Martha’s Vineyard Mysteries, make a good mystery solving team. It also helps that the scenery is nice to look at. Now, let’s set sail through this review of Ships in the Night: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: As I said in the introduction, Ships in the Night: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery is the third film in the Martha’s Vineyard Mystery series. Because of this, the main cast from the previous films also star in the newest installment. It works in the cast’s favor, as it allows each actor and actress to become familiar with their characters. While watching this movie, I could tell the members of the main cast were comfortable in their roles. This included Jesse Metcalfe and Sarah Lind! They both adopted an on-screen personality that complimented their characters. Jesse and Sarah had good on-screen chemistry as well. With each new film in a mystery series comes new supporting actors. One of them was Garfield Wilson. Portraying a local artist named Carl, Garfield gave a performance that was memorable! When Jeff and Zee inform Carl that Bernie, an art studio manager, has passed away, Carl becomes distraught. With a strong sense of emotionality, Garfield was effectively able to show how much Bernie meant to his character.
Including an overarching story: An overarching story within the Martha’s Vineyard Mystery series is the mystery of who shot Jeff in the back prior to his retirement from the Boston Police. The inclusion of this story gives the series a sense of continuity. What also helps is allowing pieces of the mystery to be discovered as the series progresses. In Ships in the Night: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery, Jeff comes across a breakthrough as he reflects on the past with Zee. While I won’t spoil this part of the story, it does give the audience something to look forward to for the next film!
Creative set design choices: While watching Hallmark films, I always enjoy seeing the interesting set design choices from the various sets of a given movie. With Ships in the Night: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery, there were some interior and exterior design choices that I found visually appealing! In one scene, Jeff visits a restaurant in the hopes of meeting Zee there for dinner. Even though the main entrance features a plain glass door, its black frame pairs nicely with the gray stone exterior wall. This wall can also be seen inside the restaurant, complimenting the warm wood counter located nearby. In another scene, Jeff is using a punching bag on his porch. I have rarely seen punching bags found in outside spaces when it comes to cinema. So, this design choice was definitely creative! Plus, the view of the seaside makes the scene more photogenic!
What I didn’t like about the film:
An overshadowed mystery: At the beginning at the movie, Zee’s doctor friend, Eli, is murdered. However, this character is barely referenced throughout the film. Zee and Jeff don’t discover the murder until the last thirty minutes of the movie. This is because the majority of their time is spent solving the murder of an art gallery manager named Bernie. It is possible to make a good mystery movie featuring more than one mystery. But for Ships in the Night: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery, there either should have been an equal emphasis on both mysteries or have the main murder mystery be the only one in the story.
A glossed over event: Toward the start of the story, the characters are preparing for an upcoming regatta benefit gala. But similar to what I said about Eli, this event is barely referenced in the film. In fact, the event itself is not shown on screen. I found this disappointing because I like when events like this are featured in mystery stories, as it is interesting to see the ideas the movie’s creative team can come up with. Now that I think about it, I think this is one of the few times where an anticipated event in a mystery film doesn’t play a significant role in the overall story.
The mystery’s start time: Most mystery stories start their respective mysteries within a short amount of time. It is done to help the story move along at a steady pace. With Ships in the Night: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery, the main mystery didn’t officially begin until a little over twenty-five minutes into the film. This time was used to set up the mystery and re-establish the significance of the series’ main characters. But, personally, I don’t think that needed to be done in almost thirty minutes. Ten to fifteen minutes is, in my opinion, more than enough time to address those two aforementioned aspects of the story.
My overall impression:
At best, Ships in the Night: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery is a fine movie. But, at worst, it is a step backward from the first two films. What I like about this series is how it has created an identity that sets itself apart from the other series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. One way it has accomplished this is by including an overarching story that can be found throughout each movie. I know every project isn’t created equally, as some stories are better than others. However, the third chapter made the overall quality of the series stumble a little bit. The first mystery movie of the year should put their best foot forward. For Ships in the Night: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery, it could have been a stronger first impression. With a glossed over event and an overshadowed mystery, there are areas of the story that might have added more interest to the overall plot. Starting the main mystery almost thirty minutes into the movie also hurts its case. According to a production sheet I found on UBCP/ACTRA’s (Union of British Columbia Performers/Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) website, a fourth Martha’s Vineyard Mystery movie will go into production next month! Hopefully, that film will be better than this one was.
Overall score: 7 out of 10
Did you watch the films on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries? If so, which series is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!
Here is the link to the production sheet I mentioned in this review:
This is my first time participating in the Luso World Cinema Blogathon. Because I’m not familiar with the subject of Luso World Cinema, I gave my submission careful consideration. A movie I have wanted to watch for a while is Ladies in Lavender. When I discovered Daniel Brühl was one of the blogathon’s recommended subjects, I decided to review his 2005 film, as he is one of the starring actors in that movie. I haven’t seen many projects from Daniel’s filmography. In fact, the only film of his I’ve seen is Captain America: Civil War. So, this is a good opportunity for me to see what his acting talents have to offer outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The synopsis of Ladies in Lavender reminded me of Swept from the Sea, a movie I reviewed two years ago. Because of this, I will compare and contrast these two films from time to time in this review.
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: For this part of the review, I will take a moment to talk about Daniel Brühl’s performance, as he is the reason why I reviewed this movie. His portrayal of Andrea was enjoyable to watch! It combined both comedic and dramatic elements that helped make Daniel’s performance entertaining. One example is when Andrea is peeling potatoes with Dorcas. What also worked in Daniel’s favor was how he was able to portray his character realistically. Whenever Andrea is trying to make his wishes known to the other characters, you can see him becoming frustrated at times. This was achieved through Daniel’s facial expressions and body language. Despite not being familiar with Natascha McElhone as an actress, I did like her portrayal of Olga. She appeared throughout the film as an approachable character. Natascha also had a good on-screen relationship with Daniel Brühl as well as with the other actors. A perfect example is when Olga is interacting with Andrea in her cottage. Speaking of on-screen relationships, I liked seeing Judi Dench and Maggie Smith work together in this film. While they have similar acting styles, their characters were allowed to have their own district personalities. This let them shine individually as well as together! One of their best scenes is when their characters, Janet and Ursula, receive terrible news over the phone. As Janet is telling her sister what happened, Ursula immediately crumbles into tears. This scene showcases how the sisters have an unbreakable bond!
The scenery: Similar to Swept from the Sea, Ladies in Lavender takes place in the English countryside. This particular environment provided photogenic scenery that visually complemented the story! Because Ladies in Lavender is set in a seaside town, there are some scenes that take place around the ocean. It was captured very well on film at various moments, from a morning scene where the rising sun perfectly contrasted the water to a night-time shot of the rolling waves. Country landscapes were also included in the movie! In one scene, Olga is painting a landscape of rolling hills with a nearby tower. The location itself contained beautiful green hills that looked great on a sunny day. The gray of the nearby tower paired surprisingly well with the rolling hills’ green hue. Because of how picturesque this space was, it makes sense that Olga would want to capture it on canvas!
The cinematography: I was pleasantly surprised by the good cinematography found in Ladies in Lavender, especially when it came to scenes involving water! In films where a character is drowning, those scenes are usually presented with a fast pace and quick cuts. When we see Andrea’s flashbacks, they are presented at a slower pace. This allowed the audience to see what is happening on screen as Andrea is shown in the water. One of the most beautifully shot scenes I’ve ever seen is when Andrea is playing a violin on a rocky ledge at night. His dark silhouette perfectly contrasts with the deep blue ocean that looks like it sparkles in the evening. The color scheme of blue, white, and black are prominently featured and is visually appealing!
What I didn’t like about the film:
An unclear direction: In Swept from the Sea, the overall story is a drama with a romance included. This is a clear creative direction that was consistent throughout the film. Ladies in Lavender is different, as the story went in many different directions. It gets to the point where it was difficult to determine what the plot was about besides the main premise. Was the story supposed to be about a forbidden romance? Or was it meant to revolve around the strained relationship between two siblings? Maybe it was supposed to partially focus on Andrea’s musical dreams? The story of Ladies in Lavender adopted too many ideas. That decision made the overall film feel like it was bouncing around from place to place.
Telling more than showing: At various moments in Ladies in Lavender, the audience is told how Andrea was washed up ashore. We are even shown flashbacks where he is seen drowning. However, we never get to see the events that caused Andrea to fall overboard. Because of this, the audience is not given a complete picture of what happened. At one point in the story, Janet and Ursula meet Olga. They express how they don’t like this new visitor. But the audience never receives an explanation for why Janet and Ursula do not like Olga. Visuals should have been used to illustrate the sisters’ point. If this had been the case, we might have gotten a better glimpse into Janet and Ursula’s perspective.
The exclusion of Andrea’s perspective: I know this movie is called Ladies in Lavender, with the title referring to Janet and Ursula. But because the overall story primarily focused on Janet and Ursula’s perspective, we don’t see the story from Andrea’s perspective. In Swept from the Sea, the story is narrated by Dr. Kennedy. Despite this, the audience is allowed to see that film’s world from Yanko’s perspective. That aspect of Swept from the Sea also gave the audience an opportunity to truly get to know Yanko as a character. With Ladies in Lavender, I feel like I barely know Andrea. The inclusion of Andrea’s perspective would have easily solved this issue.
My overall impression:
Ladies in Lavender is a film that I found to be just ok. Yes, there are aspects worth appreciating, such as Daniel Brühl’s performance. As a matter of fact, this movie made me appreciate Daniel’s acting abilities more! But if I had to choose between Ladies in Lavender and Swept from the Sea, I’d choose Swept from the Sea. This is because I find that movie to be stronger among the two. With Ladies in Lavender, the direction of the overall story was unclear. While there was a main conflict, it was difficult to determine what the main plot was. More telling than showing was also one of the movie’s flaws, not giving the audience the full picture when it came to certain areas of the story. I found the lack of Andrea’s perspective to be disappointing as well. This prevented me from truly getting to know Andrea as a character. Even though Ladies in Lavender will not be one of the best movies I saw this year, I am glad I participated in the Luso World Cinema Blogathon. I wonder what I’ll chose to write about next year?
Overall score: 6.3 out of 10
Have you seen Ladies in Lavender? Are there any Luso World Cinema films you’d like to see me review? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
Like I said in my Follow Me, Boys! review, I have several movies on my DVR.Most of these films were recorded last year or over a year ago. Last night, I chose to watch one of these films, which I added to my DVR last June. This film is Never a Dull Moment! Sometime, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will host a marathon called “Treasures from the Disney Vault”. When this event takes place, the network will show a collection of smaller titles and lesser known films from Disney. In one of these marathons, Never a Dull Moment was included in the line-up. While I had never heard of this film prior to the marathon, I have seen two of Dick Van Dyke’s movies. Because one of those films was Mary Poppins, which I have enjoyed, I had a good indication that I might like Never a Dull Moment. Was this the case? Keep reading my review if you want to find out!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: Before watching Never a Dull Moment, I had seen Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins. A consistent component of Dick Van Dyke’s acting abilities I have noticed is the strong adaptability. In one scene, his character, Jack, is acting drunk in an attempt to impersonate a gangster. Moments later, Jack is crying over the loss of a fictional Aunt Gladys. This is a great example of how Dick could effortlessly take on any situation through his performance! At limited moments in the film, a gangster named Florian would appear. This character was portrayed by Tony Bill. What I liked about his performance is how calm and collected his persona came across. Even though Florian was Leo Smooth’s henchman, he presented an idea of a gangster that people have come to recognize in film. While I liked Dorothy Provine’s portrayal of Sally, I want to talk about Joanna Cook Moore’s portrayal of Melanie, as her on-screen presence was shorter. Joanna’s personality was bubbly, which appeared natural for her character. During a scene where Melanie is showing Jack some of her figure skating photos, Joanna seemed to use her performance to light up the room. Her on-screen presence was memorable, despite being featured in only three scenes.
The set design: I was really impressed by the set design in Never a Dull Moment! Since the movie takes place in New York, tall skyscrapers and even the Brooklyn Bridge can be seen. This specific set looked impressive, making the location feel larger than life! Another great example of set design was Leo Smooth’s mansion. My favorite feature of this set was the consistency and fine detailing of the woodwork, especially on the staircase! A local art museum is where the film’s heist is featured. During the climax, various art exhibits are showcased. The Pop Art exhibit was the best one, as the art itself was colorful. It was also large in scale, creating a space that felt grand.
The music: If used well, music can help set a tone for either the whole movie or a particular scene. The music certainly did that for Never a Dull Moment! Whenever Jack was sneaking around Leo’s mansion, smooth jazz music could be heard. This fits the tone of those scenes because it emulates a feeling of curiosity that usually comes from film-noir and mysteries. In a scene involving a spinning piece of art, music from a merry-go-round was playing in the background. Since the art itself is colorful and the scene is meant to be humorous, this musical selection makes sense.
What I didn’t like about the film:
A drawn-out story: One overarching narrative of Never a Dull Moment revolves around a group of gangsters planning to steal a valuable painting. While an important component of any heist is the preparation stage, this part of the process lasted longer than it should have. Only one scene is dedicated to highlighting the plans for the heist. But the rest of that time was spent focusing on things not related to the heist. One example is Melanie Smooth attempting to relive her glory days as a famous figure skater. Moments like this had nothing to do with the heist and caused the overall story to feel drawn out.
Little sense of urgency: Heist films are usually fast paced, as there is a sense of urgency to carry out the heist. But, in Never a Dull Moment, the amount of urgency within the story was small. For most of the film, Jack hangs out at Leo Smooth’s mansion. This part of the movie was mundane, as little to no excitement was taking place. Even the gangsters’ activities didn’t feel out of the ordinary. A good example is when Leo is painting in his office. While the overall level of excitement picked up when the heist started, the build-up itself was not exciting.
A dull first half: With a title like Never a Dull Moment, you’d think the movie as a whole would be intriguing and action-packed. However, that is not the case for this film. I found the first half of the movie to be dull. This is the result of the story being drawn out and a small amount of urgency. Even though a part of the overall narrative focuses on a heist, this aspect of the story seemed to be an afterthought within the film’s first half. The heist itself took place in the second half of the movie. But this doesn’t make up for the weak nature of the previous segment.
My overall impression:
As of late June to early July 2020, I have reviewed four live-action Disney films from the ‘60s. Three out of four of these movies have been ok or “middle of the road”. Never a Dull Moment was one of them. I will say this is a better heist movie than Logan Lucky. However, it wasn’t as exciting as I had expected it to be. The film is titled Never a Dull Moment, but the first half of the story is just that: dull. It also doesn’t help that there was a small amount of urgency. But the movie did contain elements that I did like. Some of them includes the acting and the set design. As weird as it sounds, Never a Dull Moment doesn’t feel like a Disney movie. It’s understandable for a studio to try new things and think outside the box. Never a Dull Moment, however, seems like belongs to a different studio. Like my Follow Me, Boys! review, I can’t fully recommend this movie, but I’m not going to dissuade anyone from watching it either.
Overall score: 6.2 out of 10
Have you seen any of Dick Van Dyke’s films? Which live-action Disney film from the ‘60s do you like or dislike? Tell me in the comment section!
Just three days ago, 18 Cinema Lane received 175 followers! It still amazes me how successful this blog has become in such a short amount of time. To all of my followers, thank you for exceeding my expectations! You are the reason why 18 Cinema Lane keeps going! As I was about to find a movie that premiered in January of 2003, I realized I had a 2003 release on my DVR. Even though A Time to Remember first aired in November, I thought it would be a good choice for this particular review! I’ve been taking advantage of UP Network’s decision to air older Hallmark films, as I have been trying to see as many of them as realistically possible. Also, the last time I reviewed a Hallmark movie for a blog follower dedication review was last July, when I talked about a Western called Desolation Canyon. Before I end this introduction, I’d like to share that this is my 150th movie review! I’ll be publishing a special post to commemorate this achievement in early to mid-February, as there are some blog posts I’d like to publish before the end of January.
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: While the cast in this film was good, the two stand-out performances came from Doris Roberts and Dana Delany! I’m more familiar with Doris’ comedic talents on Everybody Loves Raymond. Because a show like that mostly relies on humor, there aren’t many opportunities for the actors and actresses to pull off any dramatic performances. As I was watching A Time to Remember, I was very impressed with Doris’ portrayal of Maggie Calhoun! What stood out to me was how Doris’ eyes contained emotion throughout the movie, even when Maggie was experiencing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Any time I see an actor’s performance, I always focus on their eyes to determine how much emotion is in them. For me, this usually makes or breaks the quality of an actor’s talents. This aspect of Doris’ performance not only helped bring a sense of realism to her character, but it also made her portrayal of Maggie effective. As for Dana, she displayed a variety of emotions in her portrayal of Britt Calhoun. What worked in her favor was how well she was able to seamlessly transition between these emotions. In a scene where Britt and her friend are sitting by a pond, Britt is happy to be spending time with friend one minute and then overwhelmed at being a single parent the next. Similar to Doris’ performance, Britt felt realistic as a character because of the quality of Dana’s acting talents!
How exposition was incorporated: Hallmark movies usually devote the first twenty minutes to delivering the exposition to their audience. This is done through lengthy conversation or drawn out montages. In A Time to Remember, the exposition was brief, subtle, and wasn’t just reserved for the beginning of the movie. Towards the middle of the film, the backstory of Billy, portrayed by Louise Fletcher, is revealed in a conversation with Britt. What Billy shares provides enough information for the audience to know this character to a satisfying extent. Another way that exposition was incorporated was through natural sounding dialogue. In a phone conversation between Britt and Valetta, portrayed by Megan Gallagher, the audience learns about the strained relationship between Britt and her mother. Through tone of voice and specific choices of words, it also reveals how the sisters view one another. The conversation itself sounds typical, but realistic. It also lasts long enough to get straight to the point.
The horse-riding scene: In one scene, Britt is riding horses with her childhood friend. I really liked this scene because of how well it was executed! It starts with a beautiful sunrise, which was simply picturesque. The locations surrounding the characters, from a grassy field to an isolated pond, appeared peaceful and serene. Their appearance is the result of how well they were captured on film! Speaking of film, the horses were sometimes filmed in slow-motion when they were running. This made them look majestic and powerful! All of these elements helped create a scene that was truly memorable!
What I didn’t like about the film:
Too many storylines: A Time to Remember contained six major stories. Personally, I think this was too many for one script. Because of this creative choice, it felt like all six stories were competing against each other to win the attention of the viewers. It also felt like there wasn’t enough time for each story to be fleshed out. This caused their conflicts to be resolved way too quickly and easily. Just one example is Valetta and Julian’s marital issues. The script tries to accomplish too much in two hours.
The discussion of Alzheimer’s: Historically, Hallmark has incorporated serious, real-life issues into their films. A Time to Remember attempts to shed light on the complicated and life-altering condition of Alzheimer’s. While I commend this movie’s creative team for addressing this particular medical situation, I think this discussion could have been executed better. For most of the film, the members of Britt’s family are either hiding Maggie’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis from Britt or trying to find the right time to tell her about the diagnosis. This makes the script look like it is unintentionally skirting the issue. This also ends up doing a disservice to the audience, especially those who have been affected by Alzheimer’s in some fashion. When Alzheimer’s is finally acknowledged in the story, within the last forty minutes, the characters’ conversations consist of talking about a game plan instead of actually coming up with one. These discussions didn’t feel productive or proactive.
The small presence of Thanksgiving: On my list of The Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time, I talked about a movie called A Family Thanksgiving. One of the reasons why I don’t like this movie is because of how few references the Thanksgiving holiday received in that story. A Time to Remember, unfortunately, makes the exact same mistake. Throughout the movie, Thanksgiving is barely brought up by the characters. The story itself doesn’t really make a big deal out of the special occasion. The film’s last thirty minutes is when Thanksgiving finally gets the recognition it deserves. This aspect of the movie disappointed me because I was hoping this holiday would be given more emphasis in the story, similar to An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving or any of Hallmark’s Christmas films. If A Time to Remember took place in any other time of year, it wouldn’t change that much.
My overall impression:
A Time to Remember made me feel the same way When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas did, as both films tried to say so much, but ended up saying so little. Another thing these films have in common is how they have too many stories featured in their respective scripts. For A Time to Remember, this choice hurt the film’s potential impact on its audience. Personally, I think the movie should have kept its primary focus on Maggie receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. This way, the story could have explored the idea of finding adversity, hope, and the love of family in a time of hardship and uncertainty. It also doesn’t help that Thanksgiving plays such a minor role in this film. Since the three women of the Calhoun family, Maggie, Britt, and Valetta, are mothers, it would have made more sense for this movie to have been Mother’s Day themed. This choice would have better reflected the landscape of the project, as all the locations in this film looked more like springtime than autumn. It also would have been better reflected through the film’s messages and themes.
Overall score: 6.1 out of 10
Have you watched any of the films from UP Network’s current collection? Are there any older Hallmark films you’d like to me to review? Let me know in the comment section!
I was going to publish my second review for The Second Spencer Tracy & Katherine Hepburn Blogathon today. But since I finished the first book for 31 Spooks of October/Spookathon and Sbooktober yesterday, I decided to post my movie review tomorrow. If you read my article called “I’m partaking in 31 Spooks of October!”, you would know that the first book I chose to read was California Angel. When I published this particular post, I was half-way through the book. Now that I’ve completed the novel, I not only met the four challenges that were associated with California Angel, but I will also share my thoughts on it.
When I read the acknowledgements section that was featured in my copy of the book, the way Nancy Taylor Rosenberg, California Angel’s author, talked about the story made it sound like Touched by an Angel meets a typical Hallmark Movies & Mysteries movie. Since those are programs that I like, I thought that I would thoroughly enjoy this book. Sadly, I was mistaken. California Angel ended up becoming the worst book I’ve ever read. Why, you ask? Well here are a list of reasons why I didn’t like this book:
I found the majority of the female characters to be unlikeable. For this post, I’m going to be talking about just two of them. Toy Johnson is one of the worst protagonists I’ve ever read about in literature. She was self-centered, entitled, hypocritical, judgmental, close-minded, and ungrateful. What makes things worse is she used the ideas of selflessness, charity, and even faith as an excuse for her behavior. Let me share a passage from this book to give you an example of how selfish Toy really is. Just to preface, Toy is talking to her husband, Stephen, about how one of her dreams connects to an event that happened within the world of the story.
“No, you’re wrong. It’s something spectacular, something magnificent. Something about me is different from everyone else. I’m being dispatched on missions, like missions of mercy. What else could it be? All these dreams I’ve had. In every one there are children in some kind of grave danger. And I make a difference,” she said proudly, a fanatical fire burning in her eyes. “I feel great. It’s like my whole existence on earth has finally been validated, like I’ve been searching for this all my life”.
You see how often she refers to herself? That’s just one passage, Toy acts like this throughout the entire story. As you read, she is so set in her ways, that she doesn’t allow herself to take other people’s beliefs, views, and perspectives into consideration. A good example of this is her conflict with Stephen. This part of the story felt so one-sided, with Toy making Stephen look like an antagonist just because his way of approaching situations is different from her own. She also has a negative effect on those around her. One of them is Sarah Mendleson, who is the female friend of Raymond, an artist with Autism. Shortly after Sarah meets Toy, she decides to take advantage of Raymond, who, at that point in the book, is facing one of the lowest points in his life. She disguises herself as Toy, whose encounter with Raymond left a positive impact on him, even going so far as to dye her hair the same shade of red as Toy’s hair. Sarah does this to trick Raymond into thinking she’s Toy and to try to make him her future husband. The sad part is how Sarah’s plan seems to work, as she becomes his girlfriend by the end of the book. Speaking of Raymond, all of the male characters in California Angel are either villainized because of their profession or are used just to, simply, make the female characters look good. Raymond is just one example. He was my favorite character and I found his story to be interesting. However, Raymond’s story ended up getting taken over by Sarah. After a while, his purpose turns into becoming Sarah’s love interest and standing up for Toy.
About 90% of this story revolves around Toy. Because of how unlikeable she was, it was difficult for me to get through this book.
I found the chapters in this novel to be longer than they should have been. In a typical thriller/mystery book, the pace is faster. This is done in an attempt to keep the audience on the edge of the seat and engaged in the story. But because the chapters in California Angel were too long, this make it difficult to enjoy the book.
In the synopsis listed on the back of the book, it says that Toy, within the story, is accused being a kidnapper and murderer. However, this part of the novel doesn’t happen until the last five chapters. The book had suspenseful moments sprinkled throughout the story. However, it was not a thrilling narrative from start from finish like I had expected.
There are several inconsistencies and flaws in logic that can be found in California Angel. In this book, Toy believes that the only way she can help children is in her dreams, which happen to translate into actual events within her world. However, Toy is a teacher and has provided financial assistance to one of the families that belong to her school community. Therefore, her actions and choices contradict her argument. When Toy receives letters from all over the world, her mother, Ethel, tells her that the letters were written by “little children” and “older people”. But two pages letters, she references the letters again, saying, “all of them from lovely little children”. So, were children the primary authors of these letters then?
The way that Autism is talked about in California Angel sometimes feels outdated. In at least two parts of the book, Raymond refers to his Autism as an “illness”. After Toy’s encounter with Raymond, that happens in a prologue, it says that “Raymond had simply snapped out of it” and he recovered from Autism. I’m not as educated on this particular subject as other people are. But, based on what I do know, I know that this is not how Autism works. Autism is a neurological disorder that one must live with. Sure, there are ways to manage and even overcome the symptoms associated with this medical condition. However, it’s not something that simply goes away.
While reading this book, it felt like Nancy used her story to try to capitalize on Touched by an Angel and the remake of Miracle on 34th Street (which were both released in 1994, a year before California Angel was published) without showing a complete understanding or attempting to show a complete understanding of why people like those stories in the first place. In this novel, there was a courtroom scene that felt like a repeat of the aforementioned Christmas film. Even some of the events leading up to this scene felt reminiscent of that moment from the movie. But the difference between California Angel and Miracle on 34th Street is that Santa, for the entirety of the story, was portrayed as a likable character. This made it easy for the audience to root for him.
Season finales are usually known as a sad time. Your favorite show is about to end, for now, and you have to wait a whole year for it to return. But season finales can also be a good thing. Creating any season of a television show is very time, energy, and financially consuming. There are risks involved with adding another chapter, as the future can be uncertain. However, with those things come rewards. Some of these are a season renewal, a new movie, or critical acclaim. Season finales can also stir up reflection. It causes one to look back on the current state of the show, as well as how far it has come. This is a time for celebration, when achievements and triumphs can get recognized. It’s also a time when we can tell our favorite and new characters “See you later” instead of “good-bye”.
Just a reminder: If you did not see the season finale of Chesapeake Shores, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: Watercolors, Wishes, and Weddings
Abby’s story: At the beginning of the episode, Mick approaches Abby with an offer to work at his construction firm. She tells him that she will think about it. The first person she tells about the business deal is Jay, with her sharing this news with Jess and Bree later in the episode. After discussing this piece of information with Jay, he invites her on a lunch date. She agrees to go by joining him at Sally’s Café. While Jay and Abby are there, they cross paths with Trace and Emma. Because of the awkwardness of the situation, Jay and Abby leave the restaurant. Instead, they go to a nearby shore. Abby shares with Jay how difficult it is to avoid Trace. He tells her that just because she has history with Trace doesn’t mean that she has to have a future with him. The next day, Abby, once again, crosses paths with Trace. He shares with her that he will finally build that recording studio he’s always dreamed of. Even though she’s happy for him, Abby still chooses to spend her time with Jay. At Kevin and Sarah’s wedding reception dinner, Abby reveals that Derrick, the CEO of the financing management who was introduced at the beginning of the season, has officially been indicted. She also shares that she isn’t going to lose her job at her current business firm. Despite this, Abby is still contemplating Mick’s offer. At the end of the episode, Abby goes to the same beach that Trace is at. Their interaction causes them to share a kiss.
Trace’s story: As Emma performs at The Bridge, Mark Hall arrives to watch the show. But that’s not the only reason why he’s in Chesapeake Shores. Mark approaches Trace with a proposal to help Trace record a song with Emma within the small town. Because Trace has no intention to make new music and because Chesapeake Shores doesn’t have any recording studios, Trace agrees to produce a single for Emma. He researches different venues for Emma to perform at and he contacts some of his friends in Nashville. Emma doesn’t feel ready to start a musical career, but Trace reassures her that she’ll never know if she’s ready until she takes that first step. Trace also makes the decision to build his recording studio. Later in the episode, he tells Abby about his plan. Trace also interacts with Abby when she and Jay went to lunch at the same time he and Emma are at Sally’s Café. Before the episode ends, Trace and Abby interact one last time. During their interaction, they share a kiss.
Mick and Megan’s story: Because of Abby helping Mick with his business situation, he asks her if she’d like to work at his construction firm. Abby tells him that she’ll think about it. Mick lets his brother, Thomas, know about his relationship with Megan. Even though Mick shares his concerns about the relationship’s longevity, Thomas ends up supporting his brother’s decision. When he spends time with Megan, Mick reveals that his former business partner has publicly announced Mick’s association. Meanwhile, Megan is buying art supplies and taking up sketching. She shares with Mick that she hasn’t painted since she was pregnant with Bree. Throughout the episode, they both attend Kevin and Sarah’s wedding reception and Bree’s play.
Kevin and Sarah’s story: In this episode, Kevin and Sarah continue their discussion on the size of their family. When they figure out the math, they both come to an agreement about having two or three children. Sarah’s family also pays them a visit. Because of their arrival, this makes Sarah tell Kevin how her family used to take road trips when she was younger. She also shares how she, sometimes, misses her family. This causes Kevin to agree to spend Christmas with her family and to go to Hawaii for their honeymoon. The episode ends with them attending their wedding reception and Bree’s play.
Bree’s story: Before a presentation of her play, Bree meets a literary agent named Brian. He’s impressed by everything she’s been able to accomplish on her own. However, Brian wants to help Bree make the most of her career. With a lunch invitation, he encourages her to discuss her literary goals. Bree agrees to meet with him the next day. At this meeting, Brian informs her that he’s not going to lead her in any direction she’s not comfortable with. At the same time, he tries to get Bree to think about her career with a long-term mindset. Despite this, she has no idea where her career will be that far down the road. When the night of the play arrives, the show is a success! Not only does the play receive a standing ovation, but both Hannah and Bree are presented with flower bouquets. After the show, Brian shares that he wants to bring her play to London. This causes Bree to become excited about her future.
Jess’s story: During the official grand opening of The Inn at Eagle Point, Jess finds a ring in a small box. This makes her assume that David will propose to her. Shortly after their bed and breakfast’s grand opening, they receive a fine because of their unofficial grand opening in the previous episode. This causes David to attempt to solve this issue throughout the episode. Because this dilemma prolongs David’s proposal, it also causes Jess to become impatient . When the man who gave David and Jess the fine visit them, Jess convinces him to lift the fine. This plan ends up being successful, as they are able to run their bed and breakfast with no further issues. After this situation is resolved, Jess reveals that she knew about the proposal all along. Because of this, David finally asks Jess to marry him, which she immediately says yes.
Connor’s story: Connor tries to find a solution to the case that he was assigned in the previous episode. As Nell meets up with Connor at Sally’s Cafe, he expresses how he misses Danielle. When Nell mentions that her driver’s license has expired, this gives Connor an idea relating to the case. When he presents his findings to Linda, the lawyer from the previous episode, she’s impressed by his work. This causes her to give Connor a job at her firm. When he shares this news with Thomas, he reveals that Connor was to receive an even bigger assignment at his firm that was to take place in New York. Before their conversation ends, Thomas tries telling Connor that Linda may not be as friendly as she seems.
Some thoughts to consider:
Like the third season, this season of Chesapeake Shores was just fine. But I was hoping that the show’s quality would improve by this point. I was told by Ruth, from My Devotional Thoughts, that there will be a fifth season! Hopefully, the creative team behind this program will learn from their creative mistakes and find a healthy balance between being character and story-driven.
As happy as I am that Jess and David got engaged, I was disappointed by how the dialogue spoiled the surprise. With Jess saying things like “till death do us part” and “happily ever after”, a moment that could have been surprising and memorable ended up being predictable. Hopefully, the audience can witness their wedding in the show. I also hope that the wedding ceremony can be more memorable than the engagement.
Even though I’ve mentioned that the Chesapeake Shores movie will premiere next year, I wonder if it will air before or after the next season starts? Since the film will just feature the three O’Brien sisters, I also wonder how their story will effect the rest of the show?
What are your thoughts on this season as a whole? Do you have any predictions for season five? Let me know in the comment section!
For those of you who follow my re-caps for Chesapeake Shores, I apologize for publishing this post later than usual. As I was writing my review of The Sky’s the Limit, I realized that I needed a short break from blogging. So that’s what I did on the Monday after this episode aired. So, now that this explanation is out of the way, it’s time to start this re-cap! In this episode, Abby tells Jay that she is like a kite in the storm after he shares that two of his students thought that Benjamin Franklin invented the kite. What Abby said could also relate to the other characters on this show. Everyone is just trying to get through the storms in their lives, whether it’s Mick trying to overcome his legal troubles or Bree wanting to face her writing struggles. But kites are controlled by the wind, an element that is beyond anyone’s control. Like kites, the characters on Chesapeake Shores are controlled by life itself. Sometimes, the characters catch a lucky break, such a Kevin and Sarah getting married. But there are times when things don’t go according to plan. A good example of this is when Bree and Simon broke up. But, at the one point or another, every character finds a resolution and survives the storm.
Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of Chesapeake Shores, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: All the Time in the World
Abby’s story: Because of an upcoming deposition and because Carrie and Caitlyn have a scheduled day off from school, Abby needs one of her siblings to babysit her daughters. Kevin and Connor, along with Sarah, volunteer to look after Carrie and Caitlyn at different times of the day. At Sally’s Café, Abby receives free legal advice from Connor. Before he leaves, Jay pays Abby a visit. He asks if he can spend time with her after her deposition, in which she accepts his invitation. He also shares with her why he became a teacher, as the people in his life are what matters the most. At her deposition, Abby makes it difficult for the opposing side to get any answers from her. Because of this, they offer her a vice president position at their business firm if she turns her back on her current firm. Before she leaves the deposition, Abby shares that what she teaches her children is more important than her career. After the deposition, Abby and Jay share a picnic. When she shares the opposing side’s job offer, he reminds her that no one’s road in life is a straight one, as it does have twists and turns. She contemplates Jay’s advice for the rest of the episode. When Mick discovers her notes about her deposition, she gives him an idea that could help him in his legal situation. He recruits her to find a solution to his problems, with Abby agreeing to help. She also briefly interacts with Trace backstage at Carrie and Caitlyn’s play.
Trace’s story: Trace is still bothered by what Emma told him in the previous episode. When Emma apologized, she shared that she didn’t know that Mark’s offer could include trying to get Trace back on tour. Trace accepts her apology and reveals that, because of the music business, he’s become skeptical of people. He then invites her to lunch at Sally’s Café, which Emma accepts. During this episode, Trace tells Emma how his family doesn’t always express their emotions and feelings. He also talks about his experiences while on tour. Another situation that Trace deals with is Mick cancelling on their business meetings. Because of Mick’s legal situation, he hasn’t had time to participate in various activities. This makes Trace frustrated by Mick’s lack of attention toward The Bridge. In an attempt to find a solution, Trace offers to buy Mick’s half of the restaurant. When Mick hears Trace’s offer, he tells Trace that he’ll think about it. Trace also crosses paths with Abby backstage at Carrie and Caitlyn’s play. During this brief interaction, he shares that he learned about Abby’s legal situation from Connor.
Mick and Megan’s story: One morning, Mick is shocked to learn that Megan wants to take up painting again. Even though he’s taken off guard, he’s supportive of her choice. Throughout the episode, Megan is creating plans for her new studio. When she shares these plans with Nell, Nell tells her that she should recruit Mick’s help in this endeavor. Speaking of Mick, he is so caught up in his legal worries, that he has little to no time for anything else. This starts to affect other people, including Trace and Connor. When Connor asks if there is anything he can do to help, Mick tells him no. Trace starts getting frustrated by Mick cancelling meetings related to The Bridge. To help take some weight off Mick’s shoulders, Trace offers to purchase Mick’s half of The Bridge. Mick tells Trace that he’ll think about the offer. When he arrives at his house, Mick discovers Abby’s notes about her deposition. When he expresses to Abby how impressed he is by this discovery, she gives him an idea that could help him with his problems. Because of this, Mick encourages Abby to use her unique insight to help him.
Kevin and Sarah’s story: When Abby is looking for someone within her family to look after Carrie and Caitlyn, Kevin and Sarah volunteer. After an exciting game of badminton, Kevin and Sarah bring up the question of how many children they’d like to have. When they realize that they each have a different idea for the size of their family, they come to the conclusion that they need to take the time to discuss several important topics. When looking after Word Play, Kevin talks to Bree about how rushed his relationship feels. Bree reminds him to appreciate what he has and shares that she feels that everything is how it should be. Later in the episode, Sarah comes by to visit Kevin at Word Play. While they are sharing embarrassing childhood stories, they get alerted on a recent emergency. After the emergency has been taken care of, Kevin and Sarah talk about how their relationship has moved so fast. They also agree to have a larger family.
Bree’s story: Bree’s book has placed in the top ten on a bestseller list and her play has been presented in front of test audiences. Hannah has been with Bree every step of the way, from helping her avoid awkward questions during Q & A segments to suggesting small but essential changes to the script. When it’s time to write a message about herself for the play’s program, she experiences a bad case of writer’s block. At Word Play, she realizes that she and Kevin have something in common; they feel that their lives are moving too fast. However, Bree feels that everything is the way it should be and that they both need to appreciate what they have. On another day, at Word Play, Bree confides to Megan that the version of herself in the play represented who she was. She wants to write about who she is now, which she’s having a difficult time trying to figure out.
Jess’s story: Jess and David start to settle into their new bed & breakfast. When Carrie, Caitlyn, and Connor surprise them with the sign from their original bed & breakfast, Jess and David decide to name their new place “The Inn at Eagle Point”. While preparing for the grand opening, the facility loses electricity. Despite David scheduling an electrician to show up the following week, guests have arrived early than expected. Without food, mattresses, or electricity, David and Jess try to figure out how to make their unofficial grand opening a success. When Jess asks Mick for assistance, he politely refuses. Meanwhile, David and Jess put all their refrigerated food in the sink filled with ice cubes. Toward the end of the episode, Nell volunteers to cook meals for the guests. The bed & breakfast also gets its electricity back. When Jess is not around, David hides a stuffed animal horse and a small bag in a drawer.
Connor’s story: At the beginning of the episode, Carrie, Caitlyn, and Connor surprise Jess and David with the original sign from their previous bed & breakfast. He also helps Carrie and Caitlyn practice their lines for their play. For the majority of this episode, Connor continues to do research for his uncle’s law firm. He uses his research skills to help Abby create notes for her deposition. He also asks Mick if he can help him with his legal issues, but Mick politely turns Connor’s offer down. When doing research work at The Bridge, he reveals to Trace that he broke up with Danielle. He also tells Trace about Abby’s legal situation. Later in the episode, Connor learns that Abby will be helping Mick with his legal situation. Feeling hurt after learning this news, he approaches the lawyer who lost the case from this season’s second episode. He wants to work at her firm because he wants to be a litigator. She gives him a chance to prove himself by giving him a case that they might lose.
Some thoughts to consider:
The conflict associated with Jess’s story doesn’t make any sense. How can someone make a reservation when there is no realistic way to do so? If the bed & breakfast isn’t open for business yet, that means that an official website wouldn’t be available for reservations to be accepted. Also, if the electricity is out, then that means an official phone number wouldn’t be working for people to call for reservations. It seems like the screenwriters cared so much about Jess and David’s relationship that the plot ended up suffering.
Is it just me or did it seem like Nell’s health issues were completely glossed over? I was surprised to see Nell with an oxygen tank, as I’m used to seeing her as an independent woman who usually doesn’t rely on anyone or anything for help. I’m not sure if Diane Ladd, the actress who portrays Nell, or just the character is dealing with a medical situation. Whatever the case, I hope that things work out for the better.
Back in February, at the Winter TCA Event, Hallmark announced that a Chesapeake Shores movie was greenlit. Because this season of the show only received six episodes, it was speculated that the movie would make up for the limited number of episodes. But I’ve heard that this movie won’t premiere until next year. So, this makes the idea of the fourth season having less than the usual ten episodes seem meaningless.
Are you looking forward to the season finale? What do you think will happen? Let me know in the comment section!
Last week, Marvel released the official character posters for their upcoming film, Avengers: Endgame. After oohing and aahing over these posters like everyone else had, I came up with the idea to rank the posters that I liked the most. I had wanted to publish this post last week. However, because I chose to devote time to the Mystery Mania blogathon and the Gold Sally Awards, I decided to postpone the post to this week. With the recent release of a Special Look commercial for Avengers: Endgame and since tickets for the movie are now on sale, it appears that the timing of my post is a blessing in disguise. As the title says, I have created a list of the Top 10 Best Character Posters for Avengers: Endgame! I’ll be honest with you; this list was not easy to make, especially since there are so many great posters to choose from. A good amount of minutes were spent creating this list. Before I start, I just want to say that this list is based on my opinion. So, with that said, let the countdown begin!
Thor is one of my top three favorite superheroes in the MCU, so I knew that his poster had to be on this list! The one thing that stands out the most in this image are his eyes. While the blue eye caught my attention at first, his gold eye is the one that is captured really well by the lighting. This color combination suits Thor really well.
Steve Rogers/Captain America
Speaking of eyes, Captain America’s eyes are the first thing that I noticed about this poster. If you look at the right eye, it almost looks as if he is holding back tears. Because the light is not reflecting that particular side of Captain America’s face, this image alludes to the idea that he is hiding his true feelings of sadness and fear. This means that the side of his face that is visible by the light shows that he is willing to put on a brave face for the sake of completing the mission.
Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch
While looking at these posters, I found myself being drawn to the black-and-white images over the color photos. To me, the black-and-white posters did a better job at conveying emotions. Scarlet Witch’s poster is a good example of this. The way the lighting perfectly captures her face helps to showcase the emotions of fear and longing. Because the lighting seems to only focus on Scarlet Witch’s face, it gives viewers an emotional focal point to look at.
Who knew that a raccoon could be captured so well in a portrait? The most impressive detail in this image is Rocket’s fur. While this particular character was created with CGI imagery, the fur itself appears very realistic. The color palette in this image is really complimentary, with the burgundy of the sweater adding to the overall blend of dark brown, light brown, and white. The final detail that stood out to me was Rocket’s eyes. Similar to Captain America’s poster, Rocket’s eyes appear as if he is about to cry.
The most eye-catching aspect of this poster is the color combination of Nebula’s face! The shades of purple, blue, and silver compliment each other really well. These colors were also beautifully captured by the lighting. This poster showcases Nebula’s beauty, strength, and grace in the best way possible!
Like I said with Scarlet Witch’s poster, Gamora’s poster does a really good job at capturing a very emotional portrayal of the character. When looking at Gamora’s face, I could sense a look of questioning was being displayed. This would make sense with everything that happened to her in Avengers: Infinity War, as she wonders why Thanos chose to do what he did. This emotional expression was not only captured well by the lighting, but also by the light and dark compositions.
Because of this poster, it is Marvel’s way of confirming Shuri’s fate after Avengers: Infinity War. While it is unknown, at this time, if Shuri will be rescued in Avengers: Endgame, the studio did give this character a beautiful poster. The lighting did a fantastic job at highlighting her face, showcasing the looks of grace and determination. One of the most eye-catching elements of this image is Shuri’s make-up. It gives viewers an interesting focal point to look at as well as compliment the light and dark compositions in the poster.
Peter Parker/Spider Man
Another black-and-white image that captures the emotions of the character and appropriately fits with the events of the previous film. Spider-Man made a saddening departure in Avengers: Infinity War, which ended up becoming a memorable moment for many fans. His facial expression in his poster beautifully portrays the sadness of leaving Iron Man behind and the devastation of that particular event. The different compositions that are found on Spider-Man’s face somehow make the image look peaceful, almost as if he knows that, eventually, all will end well. These emotions make the poster all the more beautiful.
Mantis’ poster is one of the most captivating images I have seen from this collection of character posters. The lighting captures her face perfectly, helping to make the poster appear beautiful and haunting. The look on Mantis’ face is a good representation of how she is trying to contemplate what had happened to her toward the end of Avengers: Infinity War. Because Thanos’ actions arrived so suddenly, no one had enough time to process what was going on. Because the lighting is primarily focused on Mantis’ face, it intensifies the emotions that are on display. It also provides viewers with an emotional focal point.
Bucky Barnes/ White Wolf
Anyone who was visited my blog on more than one occasion would not be surprised that Bucky’s poster is my absolute favorite! The overall image is gorgeous! What’s interesting about his poster is that he appears to be sad. What I remember from Avengers: Infinity War, Bucky never really seemed sad throughout the course of the film. It’s almost like he can see what’s about to happen before any one else can. Maybe this is Marvel’s way of hinting at a potential loss in Bucky’s life? The various compositions in this poster compliment the overall beauty of the image. As a Bucky fan, I would definitely have this poster framed and displayed on my wall as art.
Have you seen the character posters for Avengers: Endgame? Which poster is your favorite? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section!
If you’ve looked at the movies that I reviewed in March, you would notice that I’ve been in a movie reviewing slump. Out of the four movies that I reviewed, I thought only one of them was good. The rest were ok. So, since it’s been a month since I last talked about a Hallmark Channel movie, I decided to review A Brush with Love! Out of all the movies that are included in the “Spring Fever” line-up, this movie was not one of my most anticipated. While I was curious about the art aspect of the film, the story itself didn’t sound as intriguing as some of the other movies. However, I was happy to see that Arielle Kebbel had been cast in a Hallmark production. The last movie that Arielle starred in was 2015’s Bridal Wave. Was her return to Hallmark a triumphant one? Put on your art smock and get your paint palette ready, it’s time to review A Brush with Love!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: I really enjoyed seeing the various acting performances throughout this film! Everyone did a good job portraying their respective characters. Nick Bateman gave such a strong performance in A Brush with Love, especially since this was his first starring role in any Hallmark movie! He definitely added enough charisma to make his character as likable as he was. It was also nice to see Arielle Kebbel return to the Hallmark community as one of the lead protagonists in this movie. Her performance came across very naturally, which helped her character appear relatable. The acting was absolutely one of the strengths of this film!
The incorporation of Spring-time: The season of Spring was incorporated into this story very well. From the scenery to the props, everything looked and felt like it was an appropriate fit for this particular time of year. I also liked the overall color palette that was found throughout this film. Almost everything was bright and cheery, helping to keep this story upbeat during the more light-hearted moments. It’s interesting to point out that this color palette complimented the season that was found within this movie. This added to the consistency of the over-arcing theme.
The idea of a “vision board”: A “vision board” is a concept that has rarely been seen in a Hallmark production. Because of that, I think this idea was a very interesting choice for the creative team behind this movie to incorporate in this specific story. Not only that, but the “vision board” itself was tailored to compliment the main protagonist’s passion; art. I found this detail to be creative and something that I hadn’t thought of until I saw A Brush with Love. Yes, I was aware of what “vision boards” were. But I wasn’t aware of the different ways that a “vision board” could be created. This movie showed that there is no set way on what a “vision board” should look like.
What I didn’t like about the film:
The “vision board” in a small role: When I read the synopsis for A Brush with Love, I was led to believe that the protagonist’s “vision board” would play a large role in this story. But, in the overall context of the film, it felt like the “vision board” was just a component to a subplot. To me, it seemed like the story focused more on Jamie and Max’s growing relationship. When it came to the “vision board’s” inclusion, it was very disappointing.
The art school expansion subplot: In A Brush with Love, Jamie was planning on expanding her art school to more than one location. Within the overall story, this subplot didn’t make as big of an impact as the other subplots. While it made sense in the grand scheme of things, it kind of seemed like it was there for the sake of filling up the film’s run-time. It also seemed like this subplot just provided a reason for the protagonist’s parents to be featured in the narrative. I ended up not being impressed with this particular subplot.
A slower pace: Throughout this film, I found the pace to be on the slower side. This pace did effect the quality of the movie, causing some scenes to feel longer than they might have been intended. While the pace wasn’t as slow as in other movies I’ve seen, it could have been faster.
The conflict: I won’t spoil anything if you haven’t seen this movie yet. But I was not a fan of the conflict that happened toward the end of the movie. It seemed like that part of the story was incorporated into the overall narrative just to give the main characters a reason to get upset. Because of this conflict, it caused one of the protagonists to make a decision that felt very egotistical. This appeared so out-of-character for that particular protagonist, especially since they had never displayed any behaviors or actions that came across as self-centered. I understand that the creative team behind this film was trying to do something that other Hallmark projects don’t often do. However, I don’t think that creative decision worked in this story’s favor.
My overall impression:
Despite the flaws, I think that A Brush with Love was a good, sweet film. Overall, this story was better than I thought it would be. There were several strengths that this movie had, such as the acting performances. This whole cast was really good, from the lead stars to all the child actors. That aspect of the film added to my enjoyment of the movie! Even though my favorite film from Hallmark Channel’s “Spring Fever” line-up, so far, is Flip That Romance, A Brush with Love is still a solid movie. I would recommend it not only to people who like Hallmark projects, but also to people who like the inclusion of art in their stories.
Overall score: 7.7 out of 10
Have you seen A Brush with Love? What is your favorite “Spring Fever” movie so far? Tell me in the comment section!