Take 3: At Home in Mitford Review (National Read a Book Day Double Feature Part 2)

Happy National Read a Book Day! I want to let you know there will be spoilers for both the book and movie in this review. If you want to check out this double feature’s introduction, you can visit this link:

The National Read a Book Day’s Double Feature Introduction

At Home in Mitford poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel
1. How did you come to know of this film?

I remember when Hallmark’s adaptation was announced four years ago. The biggest news associated with the project was the casting of Cameron Mathison and Andie MacDowell as Father Tim Kavanagh and Cynthia Coppersmith. This news made fans upset, due to the fact both Andie and Cameron were younger than their characters were described in the book. Their disapproval of the casting led the movie to be one of the lowest viewed films on Hallmark Channel that year, with 1.34 million viewers. I also remember the movie didn’t receive an encore presentation, as is customary for the majority of Hallmark productions. While I’m not sure if this information is accurate, I have heard Jan Karon, the author of the Mitford series, didn’t promote the film.

2. How did you acquire this movie’s respective source material?

Two years ago, I purchased a used copy of At Home in Mitford at a library book sale. I became interested in reading the series before the adaptation’s premiere, as I heard so many good things about it. Since I never got to read any of the books before the movie aired, I was curious to see how different the book was from the film. At the sale, they had the whole series available for purchase. But since I didn’t know if I would like the series, I just bought the first book.

3. Have you read Jan Karon‘s work before? What are your thoughts on her writing?

Like I mentioned in the introduction, I have never read anything by Jan Karon before. So, I didn’t know what to expect from the book. Jan’s emphasis on detail was one of At Home in Mitford’s strengths! An example is when things are being listed off. In the book, Father Tim and Cynthia go to the movies. Within a paragraph, Jan takes the time to mention the snacks they purchased, saying “they went into the empty row with a box of popcorn, a Diet Sprite, a Coke, and a box of Milk Duds”. It’s details like these that make the characters and the story itself feel realistic.

Similar to Saint Maybe, At Home in Mitford is mostly a “slice of life” story. But there are a series of mysteries that are drawn out throughout the text. Because this book has elements of mystery, but is not a mystery novel, the overall sense of urgency was low. At times, it felt like there were too many characters and storylines. Mitford seemed like any other small town I’ve seen in Hallmark’s programming. While reading this book, I kept asking myself, “How is Mitford any different from Cedar Cove? Or Chesapeake Shores?” Maybe if I had read At Home in Mitford before watching any of those programs, I would think differently. But, at the end of the day, I thought this book was a fine, wholesome story.

4. Was the movie different from its source material? If so, how?

Even though there were some similarities between the movie and the book, At Home in Mitford’s film adaptation contained more differences. Some characters were either omitted or changed from the text. One of these characters was Olivia Davenport. In the film, she was a parishioner who was seeking Tim’s guidance for her rocky marriage. Her presence in the movie was very limited, which is different from the book. In the novel, Olivia was a part of At Home in Mitford’s ensemble cast of characters. Her storyline was one of the most important, as she desperately needed a heart transplant. Olivia also helped Mitford’s doctor, Hoppy Harper, move forward from the loss of his deceased wife. As I said in answer number three, I, at times, felt like there were too many characters and storylines in the book. Therefore, I don’t fault Hallmark for leaving out certain parts of the source material. However, if the adaptation’s creative team knew they were going to include one of the book’s characters in their script, then they should have given Olivia a greater significance in the film.

Despite the film adaptation’s differences from the book, some of them had purpose. The novel and film featured a character named Marge Owen. While she became pregnant in both versions of the story, she was given a greater importance in the movie. The book never revealed her occupation, where the film shows Marge owning her own bookstore. She also provides friendship and guidance to Cynthia in the adaptation. As a way to overcome her writer’s block, Cynthia volunteers to restore the church’s paintings. In Jan Karon’s book, Cynthia wasn’t involved with the church. She does attend church services, but she doesn’t go the extra mile for the parish. The movie version of Cynthia tells Tim that she wants to give back. Cynthia’s decision not only gives her a stronger connection to the church, but it also shows how someone living their faith can come in different forms.

This is the copy of At Home in Mitford I purchased two years ago. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
5. Do you think the movie was better than the book or was the book better than the movie?

When it comes to At Home in Mitford, I can’t give a yes or no answer. So, I’ll say it like this: As a movie, At Home in Mitford is a fine, run-of-the-mill Hallmark Channel production, with some of the film’s changes improving upon the book. But as an adaptation, it feels like the network was trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. The first book in Jar Karon’s series was published before Hallmark Channel came into existence. By the time the adaptation was filmed, Hallmark was already well versed in their formula. Because the adaptation’s creative team tried so hard to fit At Home in Mitford into Hallmark’s brand of film-making, the story was watered down. If Hallmark were serious about faithfully adapting At Home in Mitford, they should have adapted it into a television show, as that is how the book read to me. I also think Jan Karon herself should have been one of the movie’s screen-writers.

6. Saint Maybe and At Home in Mitford share some similarities, such as how both books are written by women. Are there any other similarities you can think of?

Like I said in answer number three, At Home in Mitford is mostly a “slice of life” story. While there are mysteries within the text, the mysteries themselves feel lower in stakes. In the book, Father Tim finds some stolen jewels in an urn. Even though these jewels were connected to an international crime, Jan finds a way to connect this crime directly to Mitford. Father Tim wonders if his antique shop owner friend, Andrew Gregory, may have imported the jewels by hiding them in antique furniture. However, the culprit was a man named George Gaynor, a criminal on-the-run who found solace in Father Tim’s religious wisdom. Though George was arrested for his crime, he received the opportunity to become baptized. Father Tim even kept in touch with George after he left Mitford.

Saint Maybe is also a “slice of life” story featuring several mysteries. Similar to At Home in Mitford, the stakes of these mysteries were lower. Back in my review of Saint Maybe’s film adaptation, I mentioned how Ian discovered the identity of Agatha and Thomas’ father. Because this information was discovered long after Ian agreed to help raise Agatha and Thomas, there wasn’t a strong sense of urgency to do anything about the situation. He doesn’t even tell his family what he found. In fact, after speaking with Agatha and Thomas’ maternal grandmother, the movie version of Ian says to himself, “Thank goodness I didn’t find this information sooner”.

7. Should Hallmark adapt Jan Karon‘s other work? If so, why?

If At Home in Mitford’s film adaptation had received better reception from the viewers, then I’d be curious to see Hallmark adapt the other books in the Mitford series. Because that didn’t happen, Hallmark would have difficulty adapting Jan Karon’s other work, as most of her books are Mitford related. But since Hallmark created a few animated films in the past, I could honestly see them adapting Miss Fannie’s Hat or Jeremy: The Tale of An Honest Bunny. Similar to properties like Hoops and Yo-yo, Hallmark could create merchandise related to these stories as well. I’ve never read Miss Fannie’s Hat or Jeremy: The Tale of An Honest Bunny. But as long as Jan herself is involved with the project, I’d be fine with Hallmark adapting these books.

8. Is there anything about At Home in Mitford you liked or didn’t like?

I’ve heard complaints from Mitford fans about how different Dooley is in the film compared to the book.  While I do agree about Dooley being very different in the movie, I actually liked the movie version of his character. Dooley was sometimes the comic-relief in the story. His grandfather, Russell, even called him “a prankster”. My favorite scene was when Dooley removed the ‘Dog Found’ posters almost immediately after Father Tim posted them. Throughout the film, Father Tim actively sought out Barnabas’ former pet parent. He spreads the word about the dog’s current whereabouts by posting ‘Dog Found’ posters throughout Mitford. Since Dooley doesn’t want to see Barnabas go away, he removes these posters behind Father Tim’s back. This scene was hilarious because of its believability.

Compared to the book, At Home in Mitford’s film adaptation felt formulaic. Like I said in answer number five, the movie’s creative team tried so hard to fit At Home in Mitford into Hallmark’s brand of film-making. Instead, the story followed the same beats and tropes/cliches as other Hallmark titles. The film included an adaptation exclusive character named Jack Emery. Throughout the story, he embodied the “business person is a jerk and/or out of touch” cliché, with his sole purpose being the worse datable candidate compared to Father Tim. At Home in Mitford’s film adaptation was released in 2017, two years after All of My Heart. The 2015 movie was one of the network’s most notable films to challenge the aforementioned cliché. Therefore, it made At Home in Mitford kind of seem outdated by comparison.

Old-fashioned books image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/books-seamless-pattern_1539033.htm’>Designed by Macrovector</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Macrovector – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.
9. Did you develop any thoughts and/or questions while watching this film?

Similar to Saint Maybe, religion/faith was downplayed in At Home in Mitford’s film adaptation. Both Father Tim and Cynthia mentioned they were Episcopalian. In answer number four, I talked about how Cynthia volunteers to restore the church’s paintings. Even though several scenes took place inside the church, we don’t see any characters worshipping within its walls. The tail end of Father Tim’s sermon was shown as well. The book showed how religion/faith played a role in Father Tim’s everyday life. He quoted a Scripture passage to fit almost any situation, even using Scripture to discipline Barnabas. Father Tim also turned toward everyday life to find inspiration for his sermons. Because Hallmark gave us Signed, Sealed, Delivered and has incorporated faith into When Calls the Heart, I’m surprised the network chose to tone down the religion/faith in the At Home in Mitford movie. But, once again, it feels like a missed opportunity.

10. Would At Home in Mitford encourage viewers to read either its source material or any other book?

Because of how many differences are found in the adaptation, I think it might encourage some viewers to check the book out. I can only speak for myself, but this is what inspired me to read the first book in the Mitford series. When I started reading At Home in Mitford, I could immediately tell how different each story was. I said in answer number five that the book read more like a television show. This is because the story was abundant with characters and storylines, as well as storylines being drawn-out. If viewers find themselves watching more tv series than movies, then the book might be for them.

11. After watching this movie, is there anything you can take away from your movie viewing experience?

Because the stories in At Home in Mitford revolve around the citizens of a small town, I can see why Hallmark would want to adapt Jan Karon’s series. At the time of the film adaptation’s release, small towns were an exhausted backdrop in Hallmark’s productions, with most of their characters being former or current small-town residents. But it seems like the network was so eager to potentially start a new series, that they lost sight of who this project was intended for. Excluding Jan Karon from the creative process doesn’t help Hallmark’s case. Their inability to adapt pre-existing material, At Home in Mitford in this case, shows how creatively dependent they’ve become on the rom-com genre. In my honest opinion, this movie was made a decade or two too late. Since Hallmark spent so much time showing how every small town was special, Mitford wasn’t given the opportunity to stand out. This movie should have been released either as a Hallmark Hall of Fame production prior to 2010 or on Hallmark Channel between 2001 to 2007.

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Anne Tyler’s Saint Maybe Review (National Read a Book Day Double Feature Part 1)

Happy National Read a Book Day! I want to let you know there will be spoilers for both the book and movie in this review. If you want to check out this double feature’s introduction, you can visit this link:

The National Read a Book Day’s Double Feature Introduction

Anne Tyler’s Saint Maybe poster created by Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions and CBS
1. How did you come to know of this film?

If you’ve been following my blog, you would know that my least favorite Hallmark Hall of Fame movie is Back When We Were Grownups. Like a lot of Hallmark Hall of Fame productions, the 2004 film was based on pre-existing source material; a novel written by Anne Tyler. Over the years, I discovered that two other Hallmark Hall of Fame movies have been based on Anne’s work: Breathing Lessons and Saint Maybe. Before this double feature, I had never seen either film. All I knew about Hallmark’s 1998 adaptation was that a man took in a deceased relative’s children and that the story had something to do with forgiveness. I also remember how the film would sometimes air during Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ ‘Miracles of Christmas’ marathon.

2. How did you acquire this movie’s respective source material?

I purchased a second-hand copy of Saint Maybe at an estate sale earlier this year. As soon as I saw the book on a shelf, it reminded me of my Hallmark Hall of Fame Reading Challenge. Back in 2019, I created a reading challenge based on the books or plays that were adapted into Hallmark Hall of Fame titles. Since I’d like to read as many of these works as I realistically can, I purchased the book with that intention.

3. Have you read Anne Tyler‘s work before? What are thoughts on her writing?

As I said in the introduction, this was my first time reading anything by Anne Tyler. Based on what I read and based on what I saw in Back When We Were Grownups, I’m going to guess her forte is writing about larger families that are somewhat dysfunctional. Out of those two stories, I liked Saint Maybe more than Back When We Were Grownups. There was heart incorporated in the narrative and the Bedloe family had a legitimate reason for their dysfunctionality. I was also surprised by the inclusion of religion/faith. But I didn’t like how the chapters were too long. What Anne should have done instead is write shorter chapters and include them in separate sections for each character. I, personally, am not a fan of “slice of life” stories. About eighty percent of Saint Maybe is just that: a “slice of life” story. With all that said, I thought the novel was well-meaning and fine.

4. Was the movie different from its source material? If so, how?

For the most part, Saint Maybe was faithful to the source material, especially when it came to the most important parts of the story. But there were changes found in the adaptation. One of these changes was Agatha’s personality. In the book, when Agatha was introduced in the story as a young child, she came across as distant and matter-of-fact. As she grows up, Agatha comes to despise religion, as she feels religion was forced upon her life. The movie version of Agatha adopts the personality Thomas had in the book, coming across as sweet and mild-mannered. She grows up to be a friendly doctor who has no known opinion on religion. While she does criticize The Church of the Second Chance, she does this because she wants Ian to live his best life. Her criticism has nothing to do with religion itself.

Another difference between the movie and its source material is how Ian figures out the identity of Agatha and Thomas’ father. Agatha, in the book, is very protective over a jewelry box she claims belonged to her mother. Ian stumbles across this box by accident and finds Agatha’s and Thomas’ birth certificates among the jewelry and other items. These certificates reveal their father’s last name; Dulsimore. Ian learns this information differently in the movie. Similar to the book, Thomas and Agatha own a doll named Dulcimer. While Agatha is at Ian’s parents’ house, the audience can see her trying to remove something from the back of the doll. However, this information isn’t revealed until later in the movie. When the Bedloe family hires Rita diCarlo to organize their house, a lot of items end up getting thrown out. One of these items was Dulcimer the doll. As Ian is leaving the house, he sees the doll in a garbage bag. When he picks it up, he finds a slip of paper hidden in the doll’s back, revealing the doll’s name was also the last name of Agatha and Thomas’ father.

5. Do you think the movie was better than the book or was the book better than the movie?

Like its source material, I thought the movie adaptation of Saint Maybe was fine. Therefore, this is a difficult question to answer. But I will try to answer this question as best as I can by saying this: If you want to see a story about a family dealing with a personal tragedy, I’d recommend the movie. This is because the movie gets straight to the story’s point a lot sooner than the book did. If you’re interested in a story where the protagonist overcomes guilt and sin through religion/faith, I’d recommend the book. As I’ll explain later in this review, the movie didn’t feature religion/faith as much as in the book.

This is the copy of Saint Maybe I purchased earlier this year. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
6. Saint Maybe and At Home in Mitford share some similarities, such as how both books were published in the 1990s. Are there any other similarities you can think of?

As I said in answer number three, I was surprised by the inclusion of religion/faith in Saint Maybe. Even though the movie and its source material are titled Saint Maybe, I wasn’t expecting religion/faith to play a large role in the text. But religion/faith is a cornerstone of both Saint Maybe and At Home in Mitford.  References to God, the Bible, and Christianity can be found in each book. However, the way both authors incorporated these ideas into their stories is very distinct.Throughout Saint Maybe, the congregation of The Church of the Second Chance obeyed a rule that forbade them from consuming sugar. While this rule seems ridiculous on the surface, it is used as a metaphor for sin. Reverend Emmett, the leader of The Church of the Second Chance, explains that if one actively avoids sugar, they are actively avoiding sin. If someone tries to make excuses for consuming sugar, they are making excuses for committing sin.

7. Should Hallmark adapt Anne Tyler‘s other work? If so, why?

As of early September 2021, Hallmark has not made any announcements on whether they are bringing back the Hallmark Hall of Fame collection. But if Hallmark does choose to create more Hallmark Hall of Fame titles and would like to adapt more of Anne Tyler’s novels, there are plenty of stories for them to choose from. According to Goodreads, twenty-four books written by Anne Tyler have not been adapted into a Hallmark production. Since I’ve never read any of those books, I can’t say which one is more deserving of receiving an adaptation. But if I had to pick at least one title Hallmark should adapt into a film, it would either be A Patchwork Planet or Digging to America. This is based on each book’s synopsis, as I have not read either book.

Personally, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Hallmark adapt more of Anne Tyler’s stories. Based on my experience with Saint Maybe, the movie was mostly faithful to the source material. So, with the right creative team involved, maybe another Anne Tyler story could be lucky enough to receive similar treatment. Because three of Anne Tyler’s books have been adapted into Hallmark Hall of Fame titles, it appears Hallmark has had a good working relationship with the author. I’m not sure how much creative control Anne had on either film. But if Hallmark wants to work with Anne again, I’m pretty sure an agreement between both parties could be reached.

8. Is there anything about Saint Maybe you liked or didn’t like?

Saint Maybe is a story that takes place over the course of several years. In the movie, there were subtle clues revealing which time period was portrayed on screen. One establishing shot showed a boy riding his banana seat bicycle down the sidewalk. This brief image indicated how that specific part of the story took place in the 1970s, as banana seat bicycles were popular within that decade. During the movie, Ian adopted a pair of large rimmed glasses. Because this style of glasses was common in the 1980s, Ian’s accessory is very telling of how much time had passed since the beginning of the film. Movies are a visual form of story-telling. So, I liked how the film’s creative team took the initiative to show the passage of time in a creative way.

 My favorite part of the book was when Daphne tried to set up Ian with her fifth-grade teacher, Miss Pennington. It was in this chapter that I started to like Daphne as a character, her free-spirited personality being introduced to me as the reader. Unfortunately, this part of the book wasn’t translated to the screen. I was disappointed by the omission of the book’s seventh chapter. The audience could have witnessed the evolution of Daphne’s personality, gaining an understanding of why she became who she was by the end of the story. Instead, there was a huge time jump from five-year-old girl to free-spirited woman. Because of missing context, this left questions without answers. But I recognize there is only so much story you can tell in eighty-four minutes.

Antique car image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/red-classic-car_803652.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/vintage”>Vintage vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.
9. Did you develop any thoughts and/or questions while watching this film?

While I didn’t develop any questions, I was surprised by how religion/faith was downplayed in Saint Maybe’s film adaptation. Yes, Ian’s introduction to The Church of the Second Chance was similar to the book. Agatha and Thomas tell Ian what they learned at summer camp, which was run by The Church of the Second Chance. Toward the end of the film, the Bedloe family are seen going to church. Other than these moments, religion/faith didn’t have an influence over the character’s lives. The Sugar Rule I talked about in answer number six was never brought up in the script. Reverend Emmett’s beliefs on how his congregation was led didn’t appear in any of the character’s dialogue. Even Reverend Emmett himself showed up in two or three scenes, having a much smaller presence than he did in the book. Saint Maybe’s film adaptation was released in 1998, a time when shows like Touched by An Angel were finding success on mainstream television. In hindsight, Hallmark choosing not to ride Touched by An Angel’s coattails kind of seems like a missed opportunity.

10. Would Saint Maybe encourage viewers to read either its source material or any other book?

I think it depends on what type of story someone wants to consume. As I said in answer number five, I’d recommend the book if you’re interested in a story where religion/faith is one of the key themes. But if you like films from the drama genre, those that explore relationships between characters, then the film adaptation is for you. I’ve said before that I am not a fan of “slice of life” stories. Like I mentioned in answer number three, Saint Maybe is primarily a “slice of life” story. If I hadn’t read the book beforehand, I would probably choose the movie over the text.

11. After watching this movie, is there anything you can take away from your movie viewing experience?

I now understand why Saint Maybe was sometimes shown during Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ ‘Miracles of Christmas’ marathon. Several scenes took place during Christmas-time, with decorations associated with the holiday shown in the background. But I wouldn’t necessarily call Saint Maybe a Christmas story/movie. I said in answer number eight that this story took place over the course of several years. The themes and messages within the text are not exclusive to the Christmas season. In 2019, I created a tier rank list of every Hallmark Hall of Fame movie I’ve ever seen. Since posting that list, I have renamed each category. For Saint Maybe, I’d place this film adaptation in the category titled ‘Bought It at a Garage Sale for a Dollar’. The movie itself was fine, but I wouldn’t pay $20 if it was sold on DVD.

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

The We Heart Pirates Week Tag 2021

When I found out Hamlette, from Hamlette’s Soliloquy, was hosting another blogathon, I knew there would be a tag. I was curious what questions would be asked when I discovered the blogathon would be pirate themed. However, I was looking forward to creating another tag post! Last year, I participated in The Legends of Western Cinema Week, which was partially hosted by Hamlette. During that event, I was introduced to my first blogathon tag! While I don’t watch a lot of westerns, I still answered the tag questions based on the films and television shows I have seen. Because I’ve seen and read more pirate related content, I found it easier to answer the questions in the We Heart Pirates Week Tag than those from The Legends of Western Cinema Week Tag. So, hop onboard this ship as we set sail through my answers!

We Heart Pirates Week blogathon banner created by Hamlette from Hamlette’s Soliloquy
  1. What are your favorite pirate movies or books?

While I haven’t seen these movies in a while, I have enjoyed the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy! I remember them being a lot of fun and intriguing. Each character is memorable and the stories are well written. When it comes to pirate books, I recall liking To Catch a Pirate by Jade Parker! It was so good, I could honestly see it adapted into a film!

2. Who are your favorite fictional pirates?

My favorite character from the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy is Calypso/Tia Dalma! I know she’s not a pirate, but she does play an integral role within that series. Naomie Harris did such a great job portraying Calypso/Tia Dalma, which is one of the reasons why she’s my favorite character from a pirate movie!

3. What do you like best about pirate stories? (Themes, costumes, aesthetic, etc.)

I’d say the adventure the characters embark on. In any of the pirate movies I’ve seen, there is always a journey that is filled with adventure. It’s interesting to see where the story goes and how the characters deal with their conflicts along the way.

4. If you were going to play a pirate on the stage or screen, what would your costume look like?

I don’t know what it would look like exactly. However, I do know I want it to be elegant. In my review of China Seas, I talk about how beautiful the pirate captain’s costume is. This is because two pieces of his costume were a silk blouse and a detailed jacket. Pieces like those would definitely be in my pirate wardrobe!

5. What pirate ship would you like to serve on?

The Black Pearl from the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, of course! It’s too iconic of a ship not to catch a ride.

For this tag post, I thought this picture was appropriate. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

6. Any favorite sea shanties or pirate songs?

I don’t listen to sea shanties or pirate songs. However, I do like the Nightcore version of Lady in Black by Blackmore’s Night, which sounds like it could fit in a pirate movie.

7. Have you ever participated in International Talk Like a Pirate Day?

No, I haven’t.

8. Would you like to go sailing on a real tall ship?

I don’t sail, but the idea of boarding on a real tall ship sounds fun!

9. Have you ever learned anything about real pirates, or do you tend to stick to the fictional kind?

I’ve learned there were several female pirates who roamed the Seven Seas. However, I don’t spend a lot of time learning about real pirates because I’ve been focusing on the fictional ones and their stories, such as Calypso/Tia Dalma and Davy Jones’ relationship.

10.  Why is the rum gone?

Simple, Captain Jack Sparrow drank it all.

Ship steering wheel pattern image created by Jemastock at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by jemastock – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What are your thoughts on this tag? Do you enjoy watching pirate films? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Introducing the Olympic Dreams Blogathon!

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
  • Special Olympics
  • Paralympics
  • 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

  1. Please be respectful when writing your entries and toward other participants.
  2. 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.
  3. Only new posts are allowed for this blogathon.
  4. As I mentioned, the Olympics are a broad topic. Therefore, I am not allowing duplicate entries for the Olympic Dreams Blogathon.
  5. A maximum of three entries are allowed for each participant.
  6. All entries must be original work.
  7. If you’re interested in participating, please share your idea(s) in the comment section below.
  8. 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 Glory Days (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 RetrôLaff-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)

Created by me, Sally Silverscreen, on Adobe Spark.
Created by me, Sally Silverscreen, on Adobe Spark.
Created by me, Sally Silverscreen, on Adobe Spark.
Created by me, Sally Silverscreen, on Adobe Spark.
Created by me, Sally Silverscreen, on Adobe Spark.

Have fun at the Blogathon!

Sally Silverscreen

What Readers Can Expect From 18 Cinema Lane in 2021

Another new year comes new goals and new paths! As 18 Cinema Lane embarks on a third year in the world of blogging, there are many more things to accomplish! Some of these things I’d like to share with you. I have created a post of what readers can expect for 2021, similar to articles from years past. The post will also include statistical highlights from 2020. The support I’ve received during this time has served as the fuel that has kept this blog going. To everyone who has left a like or comment, thank you. I also thank visitors and followers who have taken the time to read my content. To this day, it still amazes me how successful 18 Cinema Lane has become in such a short amount of time. Grateful is the word I would use to describe this blogging journey so far!

<a href=”http://<a href=”https://www.freepik.com/vectors/christmas”>Christmas vector created by BiZkettE1 – http://www.freepik.com</a>&#8221; data-type=”URL” data-id=”<a href=”https://www.freepik.com/vectors/christmas”>Christmas vector created by BiZkettE1 – http://www.freepik.com2021 New Year image created by BiZkettE1 at freepik.com.

2020

Total Blog Posts: 169

Total followers: 125

Total Comments: 697

Total Likes: 895

Awards: 8

Participated Blogathons: 52

Total Movie Reviews: 227

Total Word on the Street stories: 16

18 Cinema Lane’s Annual Blogathon

The tradition continues as I host a new blogathon in 2021! What is different about this year’s event is how it will take place during the summer, instead of the fall like the first two blogathons. Because of this, I will announce the event in January.

New Blogathon Folders

As I was resolving a technical blog-related issue, I was told my site’s blogathon folder was too long. To fix this problem, I decided to create a new folder for blogathons I participate in between 2021 to 2023. For the original blogathon folder, I have named it “My Blogathon Folder 2018-2020”. This decision was made to prevent my readers from becoming overwhelmed by blogathon related content, as I have participated in over fifty of these events.

Separate Blog Folders

At the top of 18 Cinema Lane’s home page, there are separate tabs for different content-related areas of the site. This was done to make my blog easier to navigate. Originally, I had a tab called “Sally’s Special Posts”, where readers were led to a section of the site that featured all the editorials, lists, and double features I’ve created, as well as all the awards I’ve won. Now, these categories are split into separate folders. For example, each award I have won will be located in the “Awards” folder.

No set schedules

Last year, I announced I would be publishing posts on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays. I thought this would promote structure and consistency on my blog. However, I found this particular schedule to be too restrictive for myself. While I continue to make regular content, it won’t be within a pre-set schedule. This means that posts may be published on any day of the week.

TBR Tin

Occasionally, I talk about books on 18 Cinema Lane. This is to create a sense of variety on my blog. In 2021, I chose a different way to determine which book I would select next. With the John Wayne Hot Chocolate tin I won in a blogathon, I have written titles on slips of paper and placed them in the tin. Every time I read a book, I will randomly pull a slip out of this tin in order to choose the next book I read. From time to time, I might bring up which books I selected. As of January of the new year, my first book is The Musician’s Daughter by Susanne Dunlap!

<a href=”http://<a href=’https://www.freepik.com/vectors/background’>Background vector created by pikisuperstar – http://www.freepik.com</a>&#8221; data-type=”URL” data-id=”<a href=’https://www.freepik.com/vectors/background’>Background vector created by pikisuperstar – http://www.freepik.comColorful 2021 image created by Pikisuperstar at freepik.com.

What are your thoughts on these announcements? Is there anything you’re looking forward to in 2021? Let me know in the comment section!

Have fun in 2021!

Sally Silverscreen

My Tier Rank List of Every Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie I’ve Seen!

Before I begin this article, I’d like to reminder everyone that the winners of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards have been announced! You can discover who won at this link:

The results of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards are finally here!

This year, I’ve seen several tier ranking videos on Youtube. While most of these videos have revolved around books, there have been a few that focus on films. As I watched these tier lists being created, I discovered how there was no list dedicated to Hallmark’s productions. So, I decided to fill that void by making a list of my own! Because Hallmark has created so many movies, my tier ranking list focuses on all the Hallmark Hall of Fame movies I have seen in my life. This article is based solely on my own opinion and is not meant to be mean-spirited in any way. I also created this list to bring unique content to my blog. I was trying to complete this post yesterday, but this project took longer than I expected, so I apologize for its late arrival. For this tier ranking list, there will be five categories; Bottom of the Barrel, Ok, Decent/Fine, Good, and Great. I will give each film a brief, but thorough explanation for why it has earned that placement.

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Because I don’t have a Twitter account, I wasn’t able to make my list on tiermaker.com. So, I created this list on Microsoft Powerpoint. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Bottom of the Barrel

Back When We Were Grown-Ups

Anyone who has read my list of the Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time would not be surprised to see this movie placed in the Bottom of the Barrel category. To me, this is not only the worst Hallmark Hall of Fame picture, but also the worst Hallmark project ever made. If you’d like to learn more about why I don’t like Back When We Were Grown-Ups, you can check out my list of the Worst Hallmark Movies at this link:

The Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time

Firelight

This is another movie I talked about in my Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time list. I’ve only seen Firelight once, but I found it to be so forgettable. When I think about this movie, on rare occasions, I wonder what message it was trying to deliver to their audience? If I, as an audience member, can’t determine what the intended purpose of that specific film is, that likely means something went wrong during the creative process. The rest of my thoughts on Firelight are found in my Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time list at this link:

The Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time

A Painted House

From what I remember, the overall plot was very lackluster. I also found the premise revolving around a child rarely lying to be unbelievable. A Painted House contains other flaws that prevented me from enjoying this picture. One of them was how a few characters were unlikable for no clear reason. For a stand-alone film, having it end on a cliff-hanger wasn’t a good idea. I haven’t read John Grisham’s novel, so I’m not sure if the film’s creative team adopted any liberties for this project.

Ok

Rose Hill

While I don’t think Rose Hill is a bad movie, I just wasn’t impressed with the final project. The story as a whole was not the most interesting and Rose herself seemed to sit on the sidelines of her own story. There was a mystery within this script, but that part of the story was poorly executed. This surprises me, as Hallmark Hall of Fame released a film in 1990 with a similar story concept titled Caroline?

My Sister’s Keeper

I liked the first half of this movie, where the audience witnesses the two sisters growing up alongside each other. It provided strong opportunities for each sister to receive character development and the film’s first half felt like it was building up to something bigger. When the second half of the movie arrives and both sisters become adults, the project hits a stand-still where nothing interesting happens. I will say the high-light of My Sister’s Keeper is seeing Kathy Bates riding on an elephant.

Loving Leah

I’ve only seen about 50% of this movie. However, based on what I saw, I found the project to be just ok. I didn’t find myself feeling emotionally invested in the story like I did with other Hall of Fame titles. I wouldn’t mind re-watching this one, and maybe even reviewing it, to see if I still hold the same opinion.

The Makeover

When I first saw this film, I thought it was decent/fine. But since its 2013 release, it has been relegated to ok status. The Makeover is a glorified Hallmark Channel movie, complete with the male and female protagonist falling in love with each other. In fact, Hallmark’s first network released a movie with a similar premise the year prior called Fixing Pete. Maybe the first Hallmark Hall of Fame project of 2013 should have been given a stronger story.

Blind Spot

Blind Spot was decent/fine upon initial viewing, but is now in the ok category. The film’s cautionary message was given more emphasis than the plot. This caused the movie to feel like it belonged on Lifetime when these kinds of films were in their hey-day. As I’ve said before, Karina Arroyave stars in this Hall of Fame presentation. However, her talents were under-utilized in this picture.

The Magic of Ordinary Days

This is one of the most beloved titles Hallmark has ever made. However, I don’t like or love this project as much as other people do. I found the main plot to be too unbelievable for my liking. Hallmark also glossed over the subject of Japanese internment camps when they could have provided some commentary on how prejudice can negatively affect someone’s perspective. There was one romantic relationship that I knew wasn’t going to lead anywhere, making me wonder why it was included in the first place. The Magic of Ordinary Days is another Hall of Fame movie based on a book, so I don’t know what elements from the novel where translated to the screen.

Promise

I reviewed this film for the James Garner Blogathon back in February. On the dvd cover, it is considered “the most-honored television movie of all time”. But, to me, the project is a bit on the over-rated side. I’m not a fan of “slice-of-life” stories, which is exactly what the plot of Promise is. The road to educating the audience about Mental Illness seems like it was paved with good intentions. As I say in my review, it could have been executed better though. You can read my review at the link below if you want to learn more about my thoughts on Promise.

Take 3: Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Promise Review

Decent/Fine

Just in Time for Christmas

Back in 2015, I felt Just in Time for Christmas was a good movie. After giving it some more thought, I’ve come to see the film as just fine. Like The Makeover, the project is a glorified Hallmark Channel movie. But, unlike the aforementioned 2013 release, Just in Time for Christmas tried to do something different with their creative material. Time travel is rarely incorporated in any of Hallmark’s projects. This release was, I believe, the first time it had been included in a Hallmark Hall of Fame title.

In Love and War

When The World War II Blogathon took place last September, In Love and War is the film I chose to review. As a movie, I liked it for it was. But, as a Hall of Fame picture, it didn’t leave as big of an emotional impact as other titles from this collection have. For a story taking place during World War II, there wasn’t a lot of action in it. There was also an imbalance between the ideas of “love” and “war”. If you want to read my review for In Love and War, you can click on the link below:

Take 3: Hallmark Hall of Fame’s In Love and War Review

Beyond the Blackboard

I haven’t seen this movie since its 2011 release. From I remember, it was just fine. While I liked the acting, the story was straight-forward. I also found the part about the pregnant teacher working and, eventually, bringing her baby to a compromising environment to be unbelievable. Like I said about Loving Leah, I’m not opposed to re-watching this movie and reassessing my opinion on it.

Front of the Class

This is another picture I haven’t seen in years. However, I thought Front of the Class was a fine film. Similar to In Love and War, it didn’t leave a big, emotional impact on me. But, as I’ve said before, I wouldn’t mind watching this movie again and seeing if my thoughts on it have changed.

Good

The Secret Garden

In my Bonus Double Feature last September, I talked about Hallmark Hall of Fame’s version of The Secret Garden. I liked this adaptation, but I found it to be drawn-out. Looking back on this movie, it seems like the creative team placed so much emphasis on respecting the source material, they forgot to bring their own voice to the table. You can check out my thoughts on three different adaptations of The Secret Garden at these links:

An Introduction to My Bonus Double Feature

My Bonus Double Feature Has Arrived!

The Conclusion to My Bonus Double Feature

The Boys Next Door

I feel The Boys Next Door is one of the more under-rated titles from the Hall of Fame collection. The acting is solid and the perception of individuals with disabilities is mostly positive. My favorite character from this movie is Barry Klemper, but I felt he was under-utilized in the overall story. Also, some of the language toward the four men with disabilities reflects the time period the film was released in. I wonder how different the play this movie is based on is from this adaptation?

The Valley of Light

Despite not having seen this movie since its 2007 release, I remember really liking this film! “She won’t give me my chocolate” is still one of my favorite quotes from a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. This film also contains one of the most shocking plot twists in the history of this collection. I definitely want to re-watch this film and possibly share my thoughts on this movie viewing experience!

Love Locks

As I have said before on this blog, Love Locks is the first newer Hall of Fame title that made me feel like this branch of Hallmark was going back to their roots! Yes, this is the type of story you’d likely find in Hallmark Channel movies. But the way Love Locks was presented made the overall project feel like a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. I also like the movie’s original poster, as it is one of the most creative pieces of marketing in Hallmark history! Personally, I think this is a good picture if you want to introduce someone to the Hall of Fame collection!

Love Takes Flight

This is the most recent release from the Hall of Fame collection I’ve talked about, as I reviewed the film last April. Love Takes Flight is a better movie than its marketing campaign made it seem. However, as I’ve noticed with the newer Hall of Fame titles, it lacks emotional depth because it feels like it adopted Hallmark Channel’s “formula”. It also contains other flaws, like having too many plots. Here’s the link to my review of Love Takes Flight if you’re interested in reading it:

Take 3: Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Love Takes Flight Review

The Beach House

The Beach House is another Hallmark Hall of Fame film that was given less-than-stellar marketing. But this didn’t stop it from being better than I expected! As someone who has also read the book, I think the movie did a better job at telling the story than its source material did! I also believe the overall quality of this project is a good reminder of why the Hall of Fame branch exists. This is another title I reviewed, so I’ll provide the link to that post here:

Take 3: Hallmark Hall of Fame’s The Beach House Review

Christmas Everlasting

I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas Everlasting when it was released in 2018! In fact, the only aspect of the film I didn’t like was the limited on-screen presence Patti LaBelle received, as I expected her to have a larger role in the film. Similar to other Hall of Fame titles I’ll mention, this movie features a mystery within the overall plot. Mysteries are not often found in Hallmark Hall of Fame projects, so I like how Christmas Everlasting helped bring something different to the table. I reviewed this movie as well, so here is the link:

Take 3: Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Christmas Everlasting Review

The Christmas Train

I liked this movie and the book it was based on! The overall execution of this project made it feel like a Hall of Fame production, making this the collection’s first newer Christmas film to make me feel this way. Similar to Christmas Everlasting, The Christmas Train incorporates a mystery into their story. While this element is also in the book, it brings a unique component to Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Christmas line-up. It’s also special in how most of the film’s events take place on a train, which is rare for a Hall of Fame movie!

The Lost Valentine

This is a good, but sad film! While I appreciate the effort that has gone into Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Christmas movies, it’s nice to see other holidays receive recognition within this branch of Hallmark. The use of flashbacks enhanced the overall story, giving context to the events being presented on screen. Because of how sad the film is, the re-watchability rate is on the lower side of the spectrum. But this is a project I would definitely recommend!

A Dog Named Christmas

A Dog Named Christmas is another Hall of Fame Christmas film I genuinely enjoyed! It does a good job at effectively showing how someone can make a difference in their community. Since this movie places a lot of attention on the titular dog, some story elements end up being over-looked. One of them is seeing how the main protagonist lives his life with a disability. I know there’s a prequel to this film called Christmas with Tucker. I haven’t seen it, but I’d like to see how it holds up to A Dog Named Christmas!

Sweet Nothing in My Ear

I saw this movie for the first time in 2020 and it made me miss the Hallmark Hall of Fame films of yester-year. Even though this story revolves around a debate, the overall project was interesting to watch. Both sides are treated equally and are given enough time to present their case. I don’t like the ending, but I can understand why the creative team made that specific choice. Sweet Nothing in My Ear is a unique addition to the Hallmark Hall of Fame collection!

Pictures of Hollis Woods

I haven’t seen this movie in years, but I recall having a good experience watching it. However, this film has flown under the radar for far too long. The acting is good and the overarching message of family is incorporated into the story very well. I also remember one of the characters lives in and owns a movie theater. This was a highlight for me because that is a dream of mine.

Missing Pieces

As I’ve said before, mysteries are not often found in Hallmark Hall of Fame projects. It is even rarer when the entire plot is a mystery story. The overall quality of the film’s writing is strong and I also liked the acting performances. However, like I said about Blind Spot, Karina Arroyave’s talents were under-utilized in this project. I’m surprised this movie has never been aired on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, as this title fits the network’s brand.

Grace & Glorie

One of the plot points of this film is a woman from a big city moving to a small town. However, it never felt like the project was following a formula. Instead, the story focuses on the friendship between Grace and Gloria. This part of the movie provided interesting opportunities for character development and exploration of certain themes. The movie also showcased wonderful scenery.

Great

Christmas with Holly

In Christmas with Holly, the protagonist and his brothers take care of Holly after she loses her mother. This part of the movie reminded me of Three Men and a Baby. But what’s great about this 2012 release is how it takes a pre-existing story structure and creates a different narrative with it. While there was a romance in this film, it was never heavily emphasized like in other Hall of Fame titles. The overall story felt well-rounded.

A Smile as Big as the Moon

This is one of my favorite Hallmark Hall of Fame films! I was really impressed with the overall quality of the project when I first saw it in 2012. There is so much to like about this movie, from the acting performances to the messages and themes. To me, this is the perfect example of what a Hall of Fame title should be.

November Christmas

I’m not going to lie; I thought the title sounded ridiculous when I first heard it. But the movie was better than I expected it to be! This film does a good job at exploring how childhood cancer can affect a child and the people around them. It also has a genuine sincerity that doesn’t feel too mushy or manipulative. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say this is a good choice to watch around Christmas-time!

The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler

Hallmark Hall of Fame movies are known for having larger budgets than a typical Hallmark Channel or Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film. The creative team behind The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler used that budget to their advantage. The presentation of this film is so good, it feels like a theatrical release! Everything about the movie feels like it is of the highest quality. I honestly wish Hallmark created more Hall of Fame pictures like this one.

Follow the Stars Home

From the moment I first saw this movie, I knew it would be a winner! But it sometimes feels like this film doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. The acting performances from the whole cast are one of the strongest components of this project. This movie also contains one of the most intense scenes I’ve ever seen in a film. Follow the Stars Home does a good job at balancing the lighted-hearted and serious moments of the story.

The Sarah, Plain and Tall trilogy

This series introduced me to Hallmark Hall of Fame as well as Hallmark films in general. I’d say this is one of the strongest trilogies in film history! The overall quality is consistent and it feels like the creative team truly cared about the project they were making. I would like to see Hallmark attempt another series within their Hallmark Hall of Fame branch!

Ellen Foster

Ellen Foster is an excellent, but sad film! What makes this movie work is Jena Malone’s performance, as she carries the entire project! This movie features one of the few times where a young person is the film’s lead. The story as a whole is an emotional roller coaster ride that makes its audience experience a variety of feelings. I haven’t read the book this film is based on, but I’d be interested in reading how emotionally intense it is compared to the film.

What the Deaf Man Heard

I have fallen in love with this movie since I first saw it! It does a great job showing how far someone will go to show their love for another person. This film also shows how easy it is for people to take things at face value. There are other solid messages in this story, but I don’t want to spoil it. What the Deaf Man Heard is another Hall of Fame title I can’t recommend enough! It’s also based on a book, so I’d like to read it someday!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: Two Sides to Every Story

Before I start this When Calls the Heart re-cap, I’d like to remind everyone that Thursday, April 30th, is the last day to submit your nominee for Star of the Year of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards!  You can go to this link and place your nomination in the comment section:

 

The moment you’ve all been waiting for; The Gold Sally Award’s Star of the Year Award!

 

As we’ve learned from the subplot between Lucas and Henry, there are two sides to every story. What’s important is giving both stories an equal opportunity to be told. When Calls the Heart does a good job at being fair toward Lucas and Henry. None of them appear better than the other and each of them receive a generous amount of screen-time. Because of the show’s writers, Lucas and Henry appear as men who have flaws as well as goals. They are not villains or heroes, just human. That aspect of the show is one of its strengths, creating characters than appear and feel more human than anything. This allows more opportunities for relatability to take place.

Just a reminder: If you did not see the season finale of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.

When Calls the Heart Season 7 poster
When Calls the Heart poster 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=When%20Calls%20the%20Heart%20Season%207&episodeIndex=7001.

Season: 7

Episode: 10

Name: Don’t Go

 

Major Stories:

At the beginning of the episode, Lee receives a telegram from his sister, Susannah. In this telegram, Susannah says she will come to Hope Valley the following day. Rosemary is hopeful that Susannah will show up, but Lee is doubtful. The next day, Susannah does arrive in Hope Valley. However, she is distant with her brother, from insisting on being referred to by her full, first name to staying at the Queen of Hearts saloon instead of Lee and Rosemary’s house. At dinner, Susannah reveals she has two older children; a son in college and a daughter graduating high school. Lee and Rosemary confess how they don’t have children yet, but are close with baby Jack. Later that evening, Lee visits Susannah at her hotel room. He brings her a bottle of soda, but she says she has not liked it since she was a child. During the visit, they look through a family album. When they see a picture of their brother, Patrick, Lee and Susannah recount what drove them apart in the first place. They then get into a disagreement over whether Lee intentionally avoided their father’s funeral. This causes Lee to leave Susannah’s room. The next day, Susannah is preparing to leave Hope Valley. Rosemary visits Susannah in an attempt to convince her to make amends with Lee. Rosemary tells Susannah about Lee’s head injury and how Lee didn’t want to leave this world without reconnecting with his sister. This information makes Susannah change her mind about Lee. In the evening, she attends dinner with Rosemary and Lee, with baby Jack in attendance. When Susannah meets Jack, she reveals how she named her son Patrick, after her and Lee’s brother. After dinner, Lee takes Susannah to his office in town. They share childhood memories and apologize to one another for the pain they caused to each other. Toward the end of the episode, Susannah leaves Hope Valley. When Rosemary and Lee share their plans for their upcoming Los Angeles trip, they also agree to visit Susannah’s family.

 

One day, Lucas pays Elizabeth a visit at her house. He reveals that Frank Branson, a publisher from New York, wants to talk to her about her book. Elizabeth wonders whether this is good or bad news, but Lucas assures her that it’s likely good news. They go to the Mercantile in order for Elizabeth to receive Frank’s phone call. In this call, Elizabeth learns that Frank wants to publish her book and that, if she accepts his offer, she’ll get $200 in advance payments. Elizabeth accepts Frank’s offer, making her a published author. While Elizabeth receives good news, Lucas gets bad news. While visiting Henry, Elizabeth learns Lucas is no longer Henry’s business partner. When she confronts Lucas about this news, he reveals how he had to keep the oil plant afloat with his own money. This has caused him to pull out of the business partnership. Later in the episode, Lucas tells Henry that he will continue to be Henry’s business partner only if he receives a larger percentage of the funds. Lucas’s plan is to receive more funds so he can apply better management to the company. Henry refuses the offer and orders Lucas to leave his office. When Lucas shares this news with Elizabeth, she is upset about the possibility of the oil plant employees losing their jobs. Lucas tells her they should focus on Elizabeth’s publishing deal, as time is too short to only worry about the bad stuff. That evening, Elizabeth and Lucas share a private dinner at the library. They both recognize their dinner is just between friends. Toward the end of the episode, Henry storms into the saloon and says he’ll allow Lucas to buy him out of the oil plant. This plan actually comes to fruition, as Lucas finds himself the new owner of Henry’s business. When he tells Elizabeth this news, he confesses he doesn’t know anything about the oil industry.

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Hand-written letter image created by Veraholera at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Veraholera – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/love-letter-pattern_1292902.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Minor Stories:

Henry passes out while at the café one morning. Carson, who also happens to be at the café, catches Henry from falling and immediately takes him to the Infirmary. Carson discovers Henry’s blood pressure is higher than it was the last time Henry was at the Infirmary. He also diagnoses Henry with exhaustion. Henry says he feels fine, but he promises to return if he feels worse. Meanwhile, at the Mercantile, Carson learns more about Fiona’s occupational situation. She confesses how Mr. Nichols made her feel small by calling her “dispensable”. Carson tells her to be honest with Mr. Nichols and tell him how she feels. Later in the episode, Carson finds out Fiona lost her job because of her honesty toward Mr. Nichols. Carson apologizes for getting Fiona fired, but Fiona isn’t upset about this situation. She says she loves Hope Valley and that being a telephone operator wasn’t for her.

 

Nathan is still keeping an eye on the thief from the previous episode, Elias. When Bill pays Nathan a visit, Bill shares how Elias’ family got a lawyer and that his trial will now take place in Buxton. Bill also tells Nathan that he has to attend the trial as the current standing Mountie. For the majority of the episode, however, Nathan tries to ask Elizabeth on a date. No matter how many times he tries, he always gets interrupted. These interruptions first started at the school’s open house (which was caused by Ally) and then happened at the stable. Right before Nathan leaves with Bill and the other Mounties to transfer Elias, Nathan tells Elizabeth he will be out of town for a while, so Ally will be taken to school by Opal’s parents. He also asks Elizabeth if she’d like to have dinner with him when he returns, which she doesn’t provide an answer. During the journey to transfer Elias, a woman named Jenny appears out of nowhere and demands all the Mounties to give up their guns. Everyone in the Mountie party learns Jenny is Elias’ sister and is trying to help him escape. Nathan attempts to convince Jenny not to commit any crimes, but she ends up shooting one of the Mounties. When the Mounties arrive in Hope Valley, they try to recruit Carson’s help to save the Mountie. But, after further examination, it’s revealed the Mountie passed away. At the end of the episode, Elizabeth gives Nathan a hug, relieved he is now safe.

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Money plant image created by Dooder at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/infographic”>Infographic vector created by Dooder – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/watering-the-coin-plant_1076121.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • Even though I’m glad When Calls the Heart is getting an eighth season, I’m disappointed the show’s love triangle wasn’t resolved. As I’ve said before, I am not a fan of this aspect of the story. What started out as an intriguing part of Hope Valley now feels like Elizabeth is stringing Lucas and Nathan along longer than necessary. I just hope this love triangle starts to see a resolution by the Christmas movie.

 

  • Now that Fiona doesn’t a job, I wonder if Carson will hire her as his secretary? Even though the seventh season saw Mollie becoming Carson’s secretary, she is now working with Florence as a telephone operator. Since Fiona seems to have a good relationship with Carson, maybe this is her new career path?

 

  • Looking back on this episode, I feel Henry’s story wasn’t resolved. We still don’t know the exact cause of his medical situation, as well as why he is resentful of Lucas having more control of the company. I’m guessing this creative decision was made to provide content for the next season. But I hope we start to receive answers in the Christmas movie.

Red sunset clouds over trees.
Sunset image created by Photoangel at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Photoangel – Freepik.com</a>.<a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/red-sunset-clouds-over-trees_1254327.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

How do you feel about the season finale? What would you like to see happen in the eighth season? Please share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: Holding Down the Fort

Before I start this When Calls the Heart re-cap, I’d like to remind everyone that Thursday, April 30th, is the last day to submit your nominee for Star of the Year of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards!  You can go to this link and place your nomination in the comment section:

 

The moment you’ve all been waiting for; The Gold Sally Award’s Star of the Year Award!

 

In a typical season of any television show, the two significant episodes are the season premiere and finale. Because of this, the episodes in-between could get lumped together. I think there’s an argument to be made that an episode before the season finale is equally important. On the episode before a season finale, a show’s writers might use the story to tie up loose-ends. They may also start a two-part story that will conclude in the season finale. No matter what a show’s writers choose to do, the episode itself is meant to hold down the fort until the season finale finally arrives. There might be a shocking twist of events, such as what happened in the ninth episode of the fifth season of When Calls the Heart. Preparations might be made for future situations, like Jack’s Baptism in the sixth season’s eighth episode. The most important point to make is that an episode before a season finale matters to the story as a whole.

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.

When Calls the Heart Season 7 poster
When Calls the Heart poster 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=When%20Calls%20the%20Heart%20Season%207&episodeIndex=7001.

Season: 7

Episode: 9

Name: New Possibilities

 

Major Stories:

Lee recovers from the head injury he received in the previous episode. The experience causes him to be more reflective on life. One day, he brings out a box of belongings he hasn’t looked through in quite some time. While allowing Rosemary to look through the box, she discovers a photo from Lee’s childhood. She asks who the little girl in the picture is, causing Lee to reveal he has a sister. He also tells Rosemary he hasn’t spoken to his sister, Susannah, in several years and the death of his brother and parents is what drove them apart. Rosemary encourages Lee to track down his sister. He makes a phone call to his hometown in Ohio, but quickly learns Susannah moved out of town shortly after their father’s death. Rosemary wonders if Susannah had any suitors. Lee mentions that before he left the family, his sister had one suitor named Jake. It takes him a while to remember Jake’s last name and his hometown in Washington state. Lee eventually receives Susannah’s phone number from Fiona. When Lee calls his sister the first time, she hangs up on him. Toward the end of the episode, he calls Susannah a second time. Lee tells her he has to meet her face-to-face. She tells him she’ll think about seeing him in person.

 

Henry continues to keep the financial records away from Lucas. Lucas tells Bill about his frustrations over the situation, with Bill still offering the subpoena as an option. Later in the episode, while in town, Bill tells Elizabeth how he and Lucas are dealing with a critical situation. When Elizabeth asks Lucas about this situation, he reveals Henry’s stubbornness over producing the oil plant’s financial records. After this conversation, Elizabeth meets with Henry and asks him why he hasn’t given Lucas the financial records yet. Henry reveals the plant has been facing financial trouble for a while. The problem is so bad, Henry himself hasn’t gotten a paycheck. Henry says that his oil business is the first thing that has given him respect with himself and from other people. Elizabeth tells him he has more opportunities to produce respect than with his business alone. Henry contemplates burning the financial records in his fireplace. But he chooses to give them to Lucas instead.

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Old fashioned telephone image created by Kues1 at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/vintage”>Vintage photo created by kues1 – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Minor Stories:

At the beginning of the episode, Nathan is preparing to go undercover in order to catch a thief. As he is about to walk out the door, Elizabeth comes to the station to talk to Nathan about their disagreements from the previous episode. Right before she leaves the station, Elizabeth tells him Lucas asked her to go to Union City. While at the train station, Nathan crosses paths with Fiona. She tells him she just returned from San Francisco. He tells her he is on duty and doesn’t want to blow his cover. After some struggle, Nathan successfully arrests the thief and puts him in the Hope Valley jail. Back in Hope Valley, Nathan organizes a court date for the thief. When he expresses his frustrations to Bill over the events during the windstorm, Bill tells Nathan Elizabeth trusted her instincts when it came to saving Emily. In the evening, Nathan apologizes to Elizabeth for over-reacting after the windstorm. He then explains how he cares about her.

 

Because of the windstorm, Emily has decided to take some time off from school. This causes Opal to miss her friend. While the other students go to recess, Opal chooses to read indoors. Because Opal loves recess, Elizabeth becomes concerned about her student. One day, at recess, Elizabeth reminds Opal that everything is ok now. However, Opal continues to stay inside. Later in the episode, Elizabeth acknowledges Opal’s fears of another windstorm taking place. She encourages Opal to face her fears by suggesting they go to recess together. Opal accepts Elizabeth’s offer and goes outside again.

 

Fiona returns to Hope Valley from San Francisco. When she visits Clara at the café, Fiona tells her she left Hope Valley to visit family. One day, while at work, Fiona receives a phone call from a man named Mr. Nichols. During the call, she tells him how she likes her job. It is later revealed by Florence that Fiona has been transferred to a new location. Fiona tells Carson that she tried to refuse the transfer, but her request was denied.

 

Jesse is still concerned about Lee. He consumes himself in work to take his mind off of the recent events. Clara continues to remind Jesse how the incident on the mountain is not his fault. When Lee’s prognosis is revealed, Jesse is relived by this news. One day, Lee comes into work just to check on the business’s operations. Jesse shares his concerns with Lee, saying that Lee is like a brother to him. Lee tells him the reason why Jesse was on the mountain is because Lee told him to go there. This causes Jesse to receive peace of mind about the situation.

 

One day, Lucas reveals to Elizabeth that he sent three chapters from her manuscript to his mother. He also tells her his mother is interested in publishing her work. Elizabeth becomes upset by how Lucas failed to ask her if he could send her manuscript to anyone. Later in the episode, Lucas apologizes to Elizabeth for what he did and says he learned his lesson. But she wonders if she can truly trust him. Despite this, Elizabeth tells Lucas she’ll agree to have her book published.

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Colorful travel suitcase image created by Pikisuperstar at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/beautiful-illustration-of-travel_2686674.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/watercolor”>Watercolor vector created by Pikisuperstar – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • I was so happy to see Paloma Kwiatkowski and Edward Ruttle guest star on this episode! I’ve seen their performances in other projects, including those from Hallmark. Both Paloma and Edward are good actors, with their portrayals being enjoyable to watch! I’m glad they’ve now joined the When Calls the Heart family!

 

  • I’m glad Lee is doing better health wise. However, I think his medical situation could have drawn out for a bit longer. This could have created a sense of intrigue and uncertainty for the episode’s overall story. Because of how quickly Lee’s medical situation was handled, it almost seems like it was glossed over.

 

  • As you read in this re-cap, you can see there were a lot of minor stories in this episode. Personally, I think there were too many of them. I understand this is the episode before the season finale. But some of these stories could have been saved for the next season or the season finale episode.

Red sunset clouds over trees.
Sunset image created by Photoangel at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Photoangel – Freepik.com</a>.<a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/red-sunset-clouds-over-trees_1254327.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What are your thoughts on this episode? Do you have any prediction for the season finale? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Hope Valley!

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.

award show
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

Take 3: Mystery 101: An Education in Murder Review

In 2020, I haven’t reviewed Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ films as often as I had wanted to. This is because of two reasons. The first is how I’m not always able to watch a film as soon as it is released. The second is how I’ve devoted my time to re-capping When Calls the Heart. But since I just watched the newest film in the Mystery 101 series and because some of my most popular content is Hallmark Movies & Mysteries related, I decided to review Mystery 101: An Education in Murder! I’ve watched all of Hallmark’s mystery movies that have premiered this year, so far. In my opinion, I think these projects are stronger than the newer Hallmark Channel movies I’ve seen. While there are patterns that Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ films follow, each series tries to tell a different kind of story. The series themselves have a distinct identity, preventing these films from blending into one another. The Mystery 101 series is just one example. Taking an academic approach to the mystery genre, this collection of films has quickly become a fan favorite. I still can’t believe that after this story started a year ago, it’s already on the fifth chapter!

Mystery 101 -- An Education in Murder poster
Mystery 101: An Education in Murder poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=143&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=307&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Mystery+101+An+Education+in+Murder.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: What I liked about the performances in Mystery 101: An Education in Murder is how every actor and actress presented their character as if they were individuals from real-life. While the film’s writing makes this aspect a possibility, the quality of the actors’ talents also helps. All of the interactions between the characters felt realistic and their conversations came across as natural. Even though there were actors and actresses that were new to the series, there were others that have either regularly appeared in the Mystery 101 series or another mystery series. Steve Bacic was one of the main cast members in the Garage Sale Mystery series. Because of his work in those movies, it gave him an understanding on how a typical Hallmark Movies & Mysteries project works. Despite Steve being in the film for a short amount of time, his performance benefitted from his experiences working with Hallmark’s second network.

Travis and Amy’s interactions: Seeing Travis and Amy’s relationship grow over the course of the series is one of the best parts of these films! As I said in my Mystery 101 review, the on-screen chemistry between Jill and Kristoffer helps. In Mystery 101: An Education in Murder, these moments featuring Amy and Travis were more light-hearted and humorous. This was meant to provide the audience with periodical breaks from the darkness within the story. One of these moments was when Travis and Amy are waiting to be seated at a restaurant. Even though this was meant to be a romantic date, Amy’s dad showed up and the dinner became an unintentional group event. This scene was hilarious and provided light-hearted interactions between these characters!

The mystery: Cold cases are not often featured in Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ films. This kind of mystery in Mystery 101: An Education in Murder gave the audience a different story from what is usually shown on Hallmark’s second network. It encourages the creative team behind this series or any mystery series to think outside the box when it comes to story-telling. Instead of relying on physical objects as clues, the clues themselves were found in the dialogue spoken by the suspects. This provided an interesting approach to the mystery itself and how it was solved. Using language as a tool for solving a mystery is a concept that I’ve rarely seen in a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film!

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What I didn’t like about the film:

The “don’t-get-involved” cliché: In my Crossword Mysteries: Abracadaver review, I talked about how the incorporation of the “don’t-get-involved” cliché was one of the flaws of that film. This is because I feel this cliché doesn’t work outside of the series’ first or second movie. Mystery 101: An Education in Murder is another film that adopts this cliché. Within the first twenty minutes of the film, Travis tells Amy not to get involved with the case. I know that he told her this with the intention of keeping her best interests in mind. I am also aware that the mystery itself was a cold case. However, Travis told Amy this after she had helped him successfully solve more than one mystery and after he called her a “consultant” while talking with a former colleague. If Travis had expressed his concern about Amy getting involved in the first or second movie, it would feel justified. But in the series’ fifth film, this cliché seems unnecessary.

A limited presence for some characters: Some of the characters in Mystery 101: An Education in Murder are featured less than others. As I already mentioned, Steve Bacic was in the film for a limited amount of time. When I first saw this film’s trailer, I had assumed Steve’s character, Mac, would play a bigger role within the story. However, he was only presented in a handful of scenes. I’ve enjoyed watching Preston Vanderslice’s performances in the Mystery 101 series! It makes me happy whenever Bud shows up in any movie. However, it feels like this character is stuck in the same place. I’m not an expert on the subject of the teaching profession. But, by the fifth movie, I feel like Bud should be further along in his educational journey. If this series receives a sixth movie, I hope we can see Bud passing his final exams or watch him graduating.

A few overlooked story-points: There were a few story-points in this movie that were not fully explored. A series of Mark Twain’s transcripts were incorporated in the overall story. They were shown at the beginning of the film as the cause for the mystery taking place. I’m not going to spoil the film if you haven’t seen it yet. However, I think these transcripts should have had a stronger connection to the overarching mystery. There was one suspect who was directly connected to the case. Again, I will not spoil the movie. But I think this character’s part of the story was, to a certain extent, overlooked.

Books Seamless Pattern
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My overall impression:

The Mystery 101 series is, in my opinion, one of the stronger of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ series. Its quality has been consistent and I’ve enjoyed watching each chapter. In fact, Mystery 101: Words Can Kill was one of the best movies I saw in 2019! Similar to that film, I did like Mystery 101: An Education in Murder! While it did have some flaws that prevented the project from being better than it was, I had a good time solving the mystery alongside Travis and Amy. Having the mystery be a cold case provided an interesting change to the series. The way the mystery itself was approached was also unique. Language has always played a role in any mystery. But in Mystery 101: An Education in Murder, dialogue from the suspects was used as clues for solving the case. Because of everything that’s been happening in the world at this time, it’ll be a while before we see another Mystery 101 movie. However, I hope we can receive another chapter in this series soon!

Overall score: 7.9 out of 10

Have you been watching Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ newest films? If so, which one has been your favorite so far? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen