Happy Patrick’s Day to all my readers and followers! For Pure Entertainment Preservation Society’s Luck O the Irish Blogathon, I wanted to choose a Hallmark movie that was either filmed in Ireland or that takes place in Ireland. Since I have seen most of the network’s films that fit this criteria, I selected the 2012 presentation, Chasing Leprechauns. Despite this being my first time seeing the movie, I am familiar with its basic premise. The inclusion of leprechauns helps the film stand out from the tried-and-true rom-coms that frequent Hallmark Channel. I also liked how a relationship wasn’t the central focus of the story. Instead, Chasing Leprechauns revolves around finding a resolution to a conflict. But will these factors equal an enjoyable movie viewing experience? Keep reading to find out if a pot of gold is waiting at the end of this review!
Things I liked the film:
The forestry: There are two scenes in Chasing Leprechauns where Ireland’s forestry was beautifully filmed! When Michael and Sarah, two of the story’s lead characters, go to the leprechaun’s forest for the first time, the grass and moss poke out through the snow. It presents an image of spring forcing itself past the wintery barrier. On the beaten path, green trees can be seen in the background, with an afternoon sunlight being cast over the forest. This particular location appears peaceful and serene. Several scenes later, Sarah and Michael spend some time at an abandoned building. While sitting around a fire, the taupe structure of the building is behind them. Green from a nearby tree peeks out of a window, with a foggy view of a field visible from these windows. The space looks haunting and secluded, which is a pleasant change in scenery for a Hallmark project!
The characters of Evelyn and Sheamus: When Michael goes to Ireland, he stays at a Bed and Breakfast run by a woman named Evelyn. Throughout the film, Evelyn has a cheerful personality. She also dreams of traveling to New York City. Hearing Evelyn share which places she’d like to visit was such a joy. I also liked seeing her positive persona! Sheamus is a frequent patron of the local pub. At first, it can be easy to write him off as a man who just likes his glass of alcohol. But when the audience learns more about him, they see Sheamus carries a lot of wisdom and helpful advice. Evelyn and Sheamus were my favorite characters in Chasing Leprechauns! Not only were they well written, but they were also well acted by their respective actor and actress, Marion O’Dwyer and Terry Byrne. I honestly wish this story had focused more on them!
What I didn’t like about the film:
No leprechauns: As I’ve said before on 18 Cinema Lane, a movie’s title partially serves as a promise to the audience. In the case of Chasing Leprechauns, that promise is featuring at least one leprechaun on screen. Despite what the title claims, there are no leprechauns in this film. Everyone in the small Irish town says there are leprechauns, even dedicating a museum to them. At various moments in the movie, squeaking noises can be heard, implying leprechauns are nearby. But never does a leprechaun show themselves to any of the characters in the story. How am I expected to care about the town’s “leprechaun problem” if the script doesn’t give me a reason to care? How am I to believe the town contains leprechauns when no evidence is provided? Chasing Leprechauns is a textbook example of why you shouldn’t just tell and not show when creating a story.
A drab looking film: Ireland is known for having beautiful landscapes that contain lush greenery and picturesque forestry. Too bad the creative team behind Chasing Leprechauns chose to film their movie in the middle of winter, when all that greenery is buried in snow. I know that snowy landscapes can be beautifully captured on film. However, the movie’s creative team appeared to not take any initiative to do so. This presents one reason why Chasing Leprechauns is such a drab looking film. The movie consistently carried dull shades of black, white, brown, and beige. Even when pops of colors did appear, such as on a scarf, those colors appeared muted. Even though I’ve never been to Ireland, I can honestly say this movie did not make the country look visually appealing.
No sense of urgency: Chasing Leprechauns is a movie where the protagonist says they are going to do something, but spends the majority of the film not doing what they said they were going to do. Though Hallmark doesn’t tell stories like this often, it is one I have grown to dislike. In this movie, Michael, our protagonist, is sent to Ireland in order to get approval for a future building project. Due to the town’s “leprechaun problem”, Michael faces an unexpected dilemma. Throughout the story, Michael spends more time experiencing Ireland than actually doing his job. It gets so bad that Michael’s boss shows up in Ireland to remind him how the trip was supposed to last two days, not two weeks.
A not so bright protagonist: Like I just mentioned, Michael spends two weeks in Ireland instead of the required two days. What is even worse is how it took Michael two weeks to solve his problems. I am aware of how some problems take longer to solve than others. But when Michael has a reputation of being his company’s “fixer”, then that should be embarrassing for him. Even though his job requires him to travel all over the world, he doesn’t take the time to learn about the countries he is visiting. As Michael and Sarah, the inspector, go to the forest where the leprechauns supposedly live, Michael suggests to call a priest and have him perform an exorcism. While Sarah calls him out for his lack of education, Michael reveals how foolish of a protagonist he is.
My overall impression:
Chasing Leprechauns wants to have its cake and eat it too. What I mean by this is the film takes itself so seriously, yet they expect their audience to suspend almost all their disbelief. When you have a story where leprechauns are involved, a sense of magic or whimsy is usually found. But Chasing Leprechauns is devoid of those things. One of the film’s biggest mistakes was not showing at least one leprechaun on screen. I haven’t seen Fairy Tale: A True Story in years. But from what I remember, there was enough whimsy and charm to make up for the lack of fairies. If the creative team behind Chasing Leprechauns knew they weren’t going to put any leprechauns in their project, this is the direction they should have chosen. The magic within that world should feel believable, helping to create a whimsical and delightful place. It could be similar to the Good Witch series, where the magic is more figurative than literal. If you’re looking for a Hallmark film set in Ireland, I’d recommend Forever in My Heart from 2019. The story is much stronger than Chasing Leprechauns’ and the film is more grounded in reality, which gives the audience a reason to take it seriously.
Overall score: 4.7 out of 10
Have you seen any Hallmark movies set in or filmed in Ireland? If so, which one did you like? Please tell me in the comment section!
In a recent video, Kneon and Geeky Sparkles, from Clownfish TV, reported the news that Kevin Mayer will be stepping down as the CEO of Disney+. While no reason for this decision was provided, it should be noted that Kevin will now be the Chief Executive of the musical app, Tik Tok. He will also be the Chief Operating Officer of the company that owns Tik Tok, ByteDance. To fill his position at Disney, Rebecca Campbell has now been named Chairman of Disney’s Direct-To-Consumer and International, the role that allows her to oversee Disney+. Despite being the former President of Disneyland, she does have experience working with Disney’s streaming service. According to Geeky Sparkles, “she set up Disney+ overseas, she was key in that”. Ken Potrock will now be the President of Disneyland and Kareem Daniel will take Ken’s place as President of Consumer Products. Currently, it’s unknown who will take Kareem’s position as President of Walt Disney Imagineering/Operations/Product Creation/Publishing/Games. Also, Josh D’Amaro is the new Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, the position Bob Chapek left behind when he became Disney’s CEO. Since Josh is giving up his title as President of Walt Disney World in order to take this new position, Jeff Vahle will take his place. Taking Jeff’s place as President of Disney Signature Experiences is now Thomas Mazloum. Through this confusing domino effect, both Kneon and Geeky bring up concerns that I couldn’t agree with more. Kneon thinks these new leadership choices are a bad idea because he sees it as history repeating itself. He brings up how the President of Disney Parks West, Catherine Powell, was let go by Disney last September. Geeky asks, “is any of these changes going to equate to actually, you know, better changes in the parks and better changes, you know, in the Disney company in general or are we just going to get the same old shit, different day”? Kneon responds by saying “Nobody’s in their position long enough to make any kind of a difference”. At this point, it’s difficult to tell how these leadership changes will affect Disney’s outcome. However, I do agree with Kneon’s point. To bring up one example, Bob Chapek has been the CEO for less than six months. But, from my perspective, I find it challenging to think of anything significant he’s done in his new position.
Here are the sources featured in this story:
Type “Disney Plus Boss JUMPS SHIP for TikTok! Disney Leadership PANIC Shuffle?!” into Youtube search bar or visit Clownfish TV’s official Youtube channel (there is some language in this video)
Trevor Donovan, an actor from Hallmark, appeared as a guest on a recent episode of the Deck The Hallmark podcast. While on the episode, he shared two projects that are currently in the works, but are not completed due to the Coronavirus. The first one was described as an “indie film/Hallmark acquisition that will be shooting in Hawaii”. For the second project, Trevor says it will “hopefully be able to parlay that right into a Hallmark movie in Hawaii after that, so two back to back”. None of these projects are confirmed as belonging to Hallmark, as of May 2020. However, it was indicated in the interview that the potential is there. As far as I know, Hallmark has never filmed a movie or had a movie take place in the Aloha State before. This would introduce their audience to a newer landscape than is not usually showcased. While the plot for both projects is currently unknown, I hope one of these is a Christmas film. Hallmark has never created a Christmas movie that takes in Hawaii. Also, it would be nice to hear Trevor sing Mele Kalikimaka.
Here is the link to the Deck the Hallmark podcast:
On WordPress, I’ve gained a reputation among fellow bloggers as being the “Hallmark expert”. While I personally don’t see myself as an expert in this blogging space, I do appreciate people’s high regard toward my knowledge of Hallmark productions. During my years of watching Hallmark films, I’ve learned that a good number of movies are filmed in Canada. Also, every scripted television show from the network either currently films in Canada or has filmed in Canada before. Production websites like What’s Filming and Creative B.C. continually feature Hallmark titles on their websites, with productions for movies usually taking place within a month’s time. Others have taken notice of this particular creative choice, with publications like Refinery29 bringing it up in one of their Hallmark related articles. But what causes the company to choose Canada as a prime filming destination over other locations? How beneficial is it anyway? This editorial will explore some reasons why Hallmark has chosen Canada as their best friend when it comes to movie and television production. Negative results that could be caused by Hallmark’s choice will also be discussed. Hallmark has filmed their movies in a variety of locations, but Canada seems to be their favorite.
Saving Money in Order to Spend It
Every movie or television show has a budget that a creative team is required to work within. If there is an opportunity to save money, any creative team is likely to take advantage of it. With the creation of tax incentives, certain states or countries can appear more viable to companies and studios than other locations. Canada first introduced their tax incentives for the television and film industry in 1995, with more tax incentives coming into existence two years later. While it’s unclear when Hallmark started to film their programs in Canada, recent trends would indicate the company first made this decision sometime around 2010. In the past few years, Hallmark has created more than fifty movies a year. These projects, according to Shane Snoke and Kays Alatrakchi from quora.com, can carry a price tag between $300,000 to $2 million. To figure out how much Hallmark would likely pay annually for their films, let’s look at the amount of films the company created for Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries last year. On the first network, Hallmark released 64 films. The second network aired 41 films. Let’s say that each movie cost $1 million to make. In total, Hallmark would end up spending $105,000,000 each year among both channels. With this big of a price tag, it makes sense for the company to look for ways to save any amount of money they can.
Because every province of Canada has their own tax incentives for the film and television industry, it’s difficult to determine the exact amount of money Hallmark saves on each Canadian filmed production. But there is no denying that wherever a movie or television show is created, Hallmark ends up saving a significant amount of money. The company can apply those savings toward other programs. One example of how this money could have been used is for the creation of Hallmark Drama. Coordinating a television channel is a time-consuming and costly endeavor. Because Hallmark’s third channel first aired in late 2017, it’s likely that Hallmark collected these funds over time in order to fund that project. Another time-consuming and costly endeavor are television shows. A deciding factor for a show’s renewal is whether its respective network can afford to keep it going. With three continuing series on Hallmark Channel, Hallmark needs all the money they can get to keep these shows running. All three series have chosen Canada for their filming needs. This makes Hallmark’s financial goals more attainable.
Creating a Unique Experience
The longest running and one of the most popular television shows in Hallmark history is When Calls the Heart. Ever since the show about the Canadian Frontier first premiered in 2014, it has cultivated a loyal and devoted fanbase famously known as the “Hearties”. The success of the series has inspired fans to create a special event called “Hearties Family Reunion”. Started in 2016, this event gives “hearties” an opportunity to celebrate their favorite show. It has also given them a chance to travel to the show’s Canadian roots. Some of the activities that took place at last year’s event include a Q&A segment with the cast, a tour of the Hope Valley set, and even a special movie night. While “Hallmark isn’t officially involved” with the formation of the “Hearties Family Reunion”, according to Meghan Overdeep from Southern Living, Crown Media was one of the sponsors for the 2019 event.
One of the reasons why When Calls the Heart has lasted as long as it has is because of the community that formed among the fans. The “Hearties Family Reunion” official website acknowledges this by stating, “Hearties are a community”. To recognize this sentiment, regional mini-parties were a part of the schedule at last year’s event. These parties were intended to help fans connect with other fans from their geographical location. One example is a regional party dedicated to the fans who live in the Southern and/or Midwest regions of the United States. Based on the website’s photos and the continuation of the event, it seems like it has been met with positive responses. One testimonial comes from Ruth, who is the creator of the blog, My Devotional Thoughts. She attended the event in 2017 and even wrote an article about her experience. The focus of that blog post was to highlight her interviews during the event. By reading Ruth’s article, you can hear the enthusiasm in her writing. In fact, when recounting her time at the “Hearties Family Reunion”, she says, “I am forever grateful to everyone who worked to make this a weekend I shall never forget”. With responses like Ruth’s, I wouldn’t be surprised if this event returned in 2020!
Making Careers for Canadian Stars
Actors and actresses come from various locations of the world. When a state or country has tax incentives that benefit the film and television industry, performers from those locations can sometimes find success with the companies that film there. Hallmark’s decision to film in Canada has helped several actors and actresses grow their careers through their involvement in Hallmark’s productions. Andrew Francis is an actor from Vancouver, British Columbia. He made his Hallmark debut in the 2011 movie, Trading Christmas. In that nine-year time frame, Andrew starred in twelve Hallmark movies, had a recurring role on Cedar Cove, and is a regular cast member on Chesapeake Shores. Another British Columbia native, Pascale Hutton, has also achieved success through Hallmark. After her first Hallmark movie, A Family Thanksgiving from 2010, she has gone on to star in a total of twelve Hallmark films. Similar to Andrew, Pascale became a regular cast member on the aforementioned show, When Calls the Heart. She also made a guest appearance on Hallmark’s first spin-off, When Hope Calls.
Canadian actors are not the only talents that have developed on-going careers through Hallmark. Crew members who work behind the camera have also benefited from Hallmark’s partnership with Canada. Michael Robison is a director from Toronto, Ontario. According to his filmography on IMDB, he has been directing since the late ‘80s. Despite working with Hallmark for only three years, Michael has directed thirteen movies, including the upcoming Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film, Mystery 101: An Education in Murder. These opportunities have allowed him to grow his career as a director. Another Ontario talent whose career has excelled with Hallmark is Ivan Hayden, who is from the London area. A multi-talented individual, Ivan currently has twenty-six producing credits on IMDB. Fifteen of these credits are for Hallmark films, including the 2020 “Spring Fever” film, Just My Type. Like Michael Robison, Ivan has been working on Hallmark projects since 2017. Also, like Michael, Ivan accomplished so much in such a short amount of time.
Missed Opportunities for Other States and Countries
As I have been mentioning in this editorial, states and countries besides Canada may have tax incentives. This factor can encourage companies and studios to work in those locations. By Hallmark continually choosing to work with Canada, it means that other states and countries with tax incentives miss out on beautiful business partnerships. Michigan is just one example. On Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s official website, an entire division of the state’s economy is shown to be dedicated to the film industry. Hallmark rarely creates their programs in the Great Lakes state. Because of this, the state isn’t able to work with a well-known client like Hallmark. Hallmark’s decision also denies the company the chance to take advantage of Michigan’s tax incentives. This situation causes both parties to lose out on great business opportunities.
Hallmark’s Channels aren’t Available in Canada
Even though Hallmark films a lot of their programs in Canada, there are few opportunities for Canadians to see these programs. That’s because all three of Hallmark’s channels are shown exclusively in the United States. Despite Canadian fans asking Hallmark’s business leaders on social media for access to their networks, nothing has been done about this specific situation as of March 2020. There have been some solutions made to alleviate this problem. Released in 2007, the Super Channel is a Canadian network that has given its viewers an opportunity to watch some of Hallmark’s programs. This is made possible through one of their divisions; Super Channel Heart & Home. Another current solution has been the invention of the streaming service, Hallmark Movies Now. This service can be accessed on various devices and through different media outlets.
Limited Recognition Toward Canadian Businesses
As I just mentioned, Hallmark’s channels are shown exclusively in the United States. This means that businesses based in the United States have an advantage when it comes to product placement and sponsorships. One of Hallmark’s sponsors has been the coffee company, Folgers. Even though this particular product is available in both the United States and Canada, the company is headquartered in Ohio and was founded in California. This makes Folgers a United States based business. It also provides more opportunities for Folgers to advertise with Hallmark. Canadian stores like Chapters/Indigo and services like Pizza Pizza haven’t had commercials featured on any of Hallmark’s channels or their products showcased in any of Hallmark’s programs, as of March 2020. Hallmark’s partnership with Canada seems to have overlooked Canadian businesses.
There is no such thing as a perfect business. The decisions that any business makes are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Even when a business does make a good choice, it can sometimes lead to undesirable results. This is the case with Hallmark and their partnership with Canada. There have been positives that have come from this choice where both parties have benefited. Canada’s tax incentives have the power to fund the country’s economy and help Hallmark save money. But, after evaluating the pros and cons of Hallmark’s business decision, it appears somewhat one sided. So many of Hallmark’s programs are filmed in a variety of Canadian locations. Yet, Canadians are not able to watch most of the programs that are created in their home country. As I mentioned in this editorial, there are ways for Canadians to watch Hallmark’s movies and shows. However, they aren’t able to watch the newer productions from Hallmark, especially the mystery films from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Hopefully, as time goes on, Hallmark will recognize Canada as more than just a pretty filming location.
Before I start this When Calls the Heart re-cap, I want to remind everyone that Thursday, March 5th, is the last day to cast vote in the fourth poll of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The fifth poll will be posted on the 6th! Here is the link to the poll:
Life isn’t easy: plans can go awry and situations happen. Because of the complications that may appear, life can seem too overwhelming and out of our control. There are times, however, when some of these complications can be broken down into simpler concepts. That way, they have the potential to become easier to solve and manage. On When Calls the Heart, life isn’t about things always working in the characters’ favor or being care-free all the time. Moments of joy and peace can be found on this show. But it doesn’t shy away from dealing with problems the characters may face. Instead, the creative team tries to break these problems down in order for the characters to deal with them in a short amount of time. This episode of When Calls the Heart is a perfect example of this, with the citizens of Hope Valley trying to find solutions that benefit everyone involved. Maybe that’s why the town is called “Hope Valley”, as the idea of “hope” can help someone tackle whatever issue they’re facing.
Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: The Heart of a Father
As another school day ends, Ally asks some of her classmates if they’d like to attend a sleepover at her house. With the weekend just around the corner, Ally thinks this will be a great way to make friends. After school, Ally asks Nathan if she could host a sleepover at their house over the weekend, in which Nathan tells her yes. Later that day, Ally is at the Mercantile, searching for the perfect treat to serve to her guests. When Ally shares her concerns with Elizabeth, who also happens to be at the Mercantile, Elizabeth suggests that making cupcakes would make a good activity at the sleepover. After Ally and Elizabeth makes their purchases, they cross paths with a man named Archie Grant. While interacting with them, he introduces himself as Ally’s grandfather. Nathan quickly appears and pulls Archie away from the conversation, telling Ally to go home. At the Mountie office, Archie shares that he was recently released from prison and contacted Mountie headquarters in order to learn about Nathan and Ally’s whereabouts. Archie shares with Nathan that while he was in prison, he learned about his daughter’s death and about his wife ending their relationship so she could start a new life. Even though Archie tells him he has changed his ways, Nathan tells him to leave Hope Valley. Meanwhile, Ally struggles with expressing her feelings about wanting to meet her grandfather. When she tells Elizabeth how she feels, Elizabeth says that Ally should write down her thoughts in a journal. The next day, Ally reveals to Elizabeth that she ended up writing a list of the reasons why she should meet her grandfather. After Elizabeth helps her edit the list, Ally then reads it to Nathan at the Mountie office. Nathan says that he doesn’t want to see her get disappointed by Archie and his troubling choices. Ally, however, tells Nathan that he has nothing to worry about because he’ll be there to protect her. Even though he has been avoiding Archie for the majority of the episode and having reservations against him for destroying his family, Nathan asks Archie if he’d join him and Ally at the town’s barbecue. Archie agrees to attend the event with them. At the barbecue, Archie and Ally have a discussion about Ally’s mother. But just as everything seems fine, Nathan arrests Archie under the suspicion of theft. Prior to the arrest, Nathan received a phone call from a neighboring town. In this call, it was said that Archie had stolen a diamond necklace.
After eating a meal at the saloon, Ned is experiencing stomach pain. He tells Florence that he thinks the pain is the result of something he ate. When Florence shares with Molly what Ned told her, a rumor quickly spreads that the food at the saloon caused Ned to be sick. This rumor hurts Lucas’ business, as he is unable to make money from food purchases. Later in the episode, another rumor spreads that the food at the café caused Ned to become sick. Like the saloon, the café suffers financially because of this word of mouth. The aforementioned stomach problems continue to bother Ned. This causes him to pay Faith a visit at the Infirmary. Based on Ned’s symptoms, Faith thinks that Ned could be suffering from a gastric ulcer. Since Carson is out of town that day, she suggests that Ned drink cabbage juice for the time being. When Carson does return to Hope Valley, he looks into Ned’s medical situation. Just as Faith had speculated, Ned is indeed suffering from a gastric ulcer. When this news is revealed, Lucas and Bill try to figure out a way to save face with their businesses. They agree to host a barbecue where all of Hope Valley’s citizens would be invited. In order to advertise the event, Lucas and Bill recruit Florence to help them hand out flyers in person. They make this decision to help Florence learn from her mistakes. Meanwhile, Carson is impressed with Faith’s medical knowledge. After Faith shares with Carson that she had always wanted to become a doctor, Carson says that he believes she has met most of the requirements for medical school. He even tells her that he can find a way to make the Infirmary an official teaching practice where he can mentor Faith. At the end of the episode, Faith tells Carson that she’ll look into the offer.
Jesse and Clara continue to plan their wedding. However, these plans are not met with a warm reception. When Clara tells Rosemary that she wants to host an outdoor wedding, Rosemary tries to persuade her away from that decision. Even when Jesse suggests the pond as a part of the wedding background, Rosemary gives him reasons why that’s not a good idea. Even Lee finds himself giving the couple unwarranted advice. At the saloon, Lee tells Jesse that he should tell Clara what she wants to hear from him. But when Jesse follows Lee’s advice at the barbecue, Clara realizes what happened and advises Jesse to tell her the truth. Throughout the episode, Rosemary feels like no one listens to what she has to say. While expressing her feelings to Clara and Elizabeth at the café, Elizabeth reminds her that some people are not seeking advice, but for someone who will listen to them. At the barbecue, Rosemary tells Clara that despite them not seeing eye to eye on wedding plans, she agrees to support Clara and Jesse’s decisions. Clara uses this opportunity to tell Rosemary that she’ll be designing her own wedding dress and to ask her if she’ll be her Maid of Honor. Rosemary agrees to stand up in the wedding. Meanwhile, Jesse asks Lee if he’ll be his Best Man. Like Rosemary, Lee agrees to stand up in the wedding.
Some thoughts to consider:
In one scene, when Elizabeth is telling Rosemary how sad it is that Nathan’s father is estranged from his family, baby Jack can be seen frowning right after this statement is made. Because his facial expression was so on point with this conversation, this scene became funnier than was likely intended.
The creative team behind When Calls the Heart did a really good job showcasing how word of mouth and perception can affect any business. In today’s day and age, the inventions of social media and the internet can play a huge factor in a business’s success or failure. Despite the differences in technology, the lessons of honesty, good impressions, and leadership are still the same. This storyline was relatable without trying too hard to be that way.
In my review of When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas, I said that Jesse and Clara should have received their own storyline by getting married at Christmas-time. However, the more I hear about an outdoor wedding, the more I like the idea. Before Jesse and Clara got engaged, the two weddings that have taken place on the show were indoor ceremonies. While fans have never seen a Christmas wedding in Hope Valley, they’ve also never seen an outdoor wedding either. So, this would be a good way to change things up within the story!
Are you looking forward to the next episode? What do you think will happen? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Before I start this Word on the Street story, I want to remind everyone that Thursday, February 27th, is the last day to cast vote in the third poll of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The forth poll will be posted on the 28th! Here is the link to the poll:
Last month, in a Word on the Street story, I talked about Bill Abbott stepping down as CEO of Crown Media. It looks like he’s not the only business leader to make a monumental career choice. This week, Disney CEO, Bob Iger, has stepped down from his position. While this decision was “effective immediately”, according to several news sources, it seems like it was made by Bob Iger himself. Even Jeremy from Geeks + Gamers feels this is the case when he said in his video called “Bob Iger OUT As Disney CEO | Is Kathleen Kennedy Next?”, “it’s clear that Bob Iger was behind this decision 100%”. Frank Pallotta and Brian Stelter, from CNN Business, reports that Bob Iger felt “it was the right time to step down because he needs to spend more time on the “creative side” of the company”. Bob Iger himself said “I could not do that if I had to run the company on a day to day basis” if he continued as Disney’s CEO. Until late 2021, Bob Iger is now the executive chairman of the company. Bob Chapek has quickly taken the role as Disney’s new CEO. Before this decision was made, Bob Chapek was the “Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products since the segment’s creation in 2018, and prior to that he was Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts since 2015”. It’s also important to point out that Bob Chapek was “president of Distribution for The Walt Disney Studios” and “president of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment”, according to The Walt Disney Company’s official website. This means that he oversaw how and where films were distributed, as well as interacting with the movie division of Disney. Even though Bob Chapek just started his new position, there’s already been doubt about his leadership abilities. Geeks + Gamers’ Jeremy shared his feelings in his aforementioned video, saying “I just think it’s going to be more of the same”. Personally, I was not a fan of Bob Iger as a business leader, as he made several decisions that did not sit well with me. But Bob Chapek stepping in as Disney’s CEO makes me feel the same way that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier does: we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
Type “Bob Iger OUT As Disney CEO | Is Kathleen Kennedy Next?” into Youtube’s search bar (there is some language in this video)
This month, there have been several mystery films from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries that were either announced or listed on production sites. All of these movies are continuations in already established series. Out of all these projects, the only one that has a synopsis and an easily accessible trailer as of late February 2020 is Mystery 101: An Education in Murder. According to Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ official website, this new chapter in the Mystery 101 series is about the following:
“A young writer’s research prompts the police to revisit a famous murder case that convicted Amy’s colleague at Elmstead, so Travis & Amy get a second chance at clearing the professor’s name”.
As a fan of this series, I’m looking forward to this film! Cold cases are rarely featured in movies on this network, so it’ll be interesting to see a different kind of story. Two movies that have trailers shown on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries as well as release dates are Ruby Herring Mysteries: Prediction Murder and Picture Perfect Mysteries: Exit, Stage Death. Featured during the premiere of Picture Perfect Mysteries: Dead Over Diamonds, the third film in this series is set to premiere on May 17th. Based on the title alone, I’m wondering if the mystery will have anything to do with Allie’s friend, Maya? Anyone who is invested in this series would know that Maya is an actress. In Picture Perfect Mysteries: Dead Over Diamonds, Maya auditions for a local stage production. The third movie in the Ruby Herring Mysteries series, Ruby Herring Mysteries: Prediction Murder will air on April 5th, with its trailer appearing during the premiere of Riddled with Deceit: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery. The upcoming mystery films that are only listed on production websites, for now, are Matchmaker Mysteries II – The Poison Pen and Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Reunited and It Feels So Deadly. The second film in the Matchmaker Mysteries series is currently in production, with the final day of filming on March 2nd. The next Aurora Teagarden Mysteries film will start production next month. Similar to Picture Perfect Mysteries: Exit, Stage Death, I’m trying to guess what the movie is about based on the title. I’m wondering if Yannick Bisson’s character, Martin, will return to the series?
A Canadian news source called Chek announced on February 25th that Chesapeake Shores has officially been renewed for a fifth season! No production dates or number of episodes were reported as of late February 2020. Joan Miller, from the Vancouver Island North Film Commission, stated that “we are really excited about season 5 coming back to the island. It’s been a really great economic generator for our region”. An interesting tidbit to point out is how no further information has been provided about the Chesapeake Shores movie that Hallmark announced last February. Right now, it’s unclear if it will premiere before or after the season. Historically, Chesapeake Shores has held production during the Springtime, with the first episode premiering in late summer. With this announcement coming in late Winter, it’s likely this filming pattern will continue.
As I am trying to stick with my blogging schedule, I’ve been looking for movie news stories that aren’t Hallmark related. That’s because I want to show my readers and followers that 18 Cinema Lane is not limited to one area of film. However, this story was too big to pass up. This week, Bill Abbott, one of the business leaders of Hallmark, stepped down from his presidential and CEO position. An explanation for Bill’s departure or a new leader of the company was not revealed as of late January 2020. In response to this latest news, Hallmark Cards’ president and CEO, Mike Perry, stated, “In a time when there is immense competition among television networks and streaming services, it is more important than ever that we find relevant new ways to grow our business and continue to produce high quality programming that resonates with our growing audience”.
Multiple news outlets have covered this story and have tried connecting it to the commercial controversy that happened last December. However, in my opinion, I’m guessing this recent situation has more factors to it than that. Last year, both the “Miracles of Christmas” and “Countdown to Christmas” line-ups collectively received lower viewership numbers than the previous year. Most of Hallmark Channel’s movies adopt repetitive story-telling, giving projects a sense of predictability. In 2019, Hallmark experienced several scheduling snafus, which I talked about in an editorial last October. Despite the uncertainty this decision has caused, I’m personally hoping the man or woman to take Bill’s Abbott’s place not only puts the best interests of the customers and fans first when it comes to making business decisions, but also takes creative risks and thinks outside the box. It’s unclear how Mike Perry and the overall Hallmark company define “relevant new ways”, but I’m guessing these definitions will be presented to viewers in a matter of time.
What are your thoughts on this latest news? How do you think this will affect Hallmark’s entertainment projects? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!
Here are the links to two of the many articles discussing this story, as well as the editorial I referenced in this Word on the Street post:
So, I was originally going to publish my blog follower dedication review, in honor of receiving 160 followers, today. But, yesterday, I ended up watching the most recent film from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen. Because of this unexpected change of plans, I will publish my blog follower dedication review on December 8th and my review of Christmas at Dollywood on December 10th. I’m still planning on posting my review for Pure Entertainment Preservation Society’s Happy Holidays Blogathon this weekend. Now that I am talking about Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen, this means that I have now reviewed all of Hallmark’s Christmas movies that were inspired by the works of Jane Austen. Two of the films I reviewed in 2018 were Christmas at Pemberley Manor and Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe. While I enjoyed the first movie, I was not a fan of the second one. Since Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen premiered on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and was based on a different Jane Austen story, I was curious to see if this film differed from the previous two entries from Hallmark Channel. I also wanted to see if this movie did a better job at adapting the source material than the other films.
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: For the most part, I thought the acting was good! I have enjoyed watching Erin Krakow’s acting performances through her various Hallmark projects. In Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen, she gave one of the best performances I’ve seen from her collection of Hallmark films! She was very expressive in her role of Ella, displaying various emotions throughout the movie. Erin also brought a likeable personality to her character, allowing me to stay invested in her part of the story. I also enjoyed seeing Luke Macfarlane’s performance in this movie! He did a really good job at portraying the serious and charming nature of his character, Edward. Because of this, it made the character’s transformation during the movie feel believable. It’s always nice to see Kimberley Sustad appear in a Hallmark movie! Her portrayal of Marianne was a delight, providing a different personality to counteract the personality of Erin’s character. This allowed Kimberley’s performance to be memorable and entertaining!
The on-screen chemistry: This was the first time that Erin and Luke starred in a Hallmark movie together. Despite this, I thought they had pretty good on-screen chemistry! The interactions between Ella and Edward were very sweet. Because of the acting abilities of Erin and Luke, the development of their on-screen relationship came across as convincing. While watching this film, it felt like these characters and these actors enjoyed each other’s company. This definitely added to their on-screen chemistry! I also thought that Kimberley and Jason McKinnon, who portrayed Edward’s cousin, Brandon, had good on-screen chemistry! Even though their on-screen relationship wasn’t featured in the movie for long, it was nice to see it unfold on-screen.
The dynamic between the Dashwood sisters: In Hallmark films, the dynamic between the protagonist and their sibling is not often showcased as an essential part of the story. It is usually featured as part of a subplot or barely explored. For Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen, this dynamic between Ella and Marianne Dashwood played a huge role within the overall narrative. Because the personality of these characters was different, it made their interactions very interesting to watch. They were able to use their individual perspectives and experiences to help one another when it came to solving their problems. It was a joy to watch these characters bond, as they created moments that were funny and sweet! This dynamic provided an interesting component to the overall film!
What I didn’t like about the film:
Lack of urgency: Throughout the movie, Ella and her event planning firm were tasked with planning a party in less than two weeks. However, Ella is seen doing everything but plan the party. Sure, we do see her talk to Edward about picking a theme and seating arrangements. But Ella acts like she has a lot of free time on her hands, engaging in activities such as decorating Edward’s home and making gingerbread houses. Because of this lack of urgency, I wasn’t able to take the overarching conflict seriously.
No subplots: In any movie, subplots can help a main story move forward and add a sense of intrigue. In Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen, the primary plot was the only one that was featured in the movie. While Ella’s sister, Marianne, forms a romantic relationship with Edward’s cousin, she wasn’t given her own story. Meanwhile, the main plot was too simple and straight-forward, leaving little to no room for intrigue. Having one or two subplots would have helped this film gain some interesting story-telling elements.
Little resemblance to the Sense and Sensibility story: Last year, when I reviewed Christmas at Pemberley Manor and Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe, I said that the little resemblance to the Pride and Prejudice story was the biggest flaw of both films. Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen also makes this mistake with its weak attempt at bringing the Sense and Sensibility story to life. I’ve never read Sense and Sensibility, so I had to look up the synopsis on the internet. Based on what I read, it seems like the only resemblance to the story that was found in this movie was the names of the protagonist and her sister. Just by watching Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen, it felt less like a Jane Austen adaptation and more like a run-on-the-mill, typical Hallmark film.
My overall impression:
While this movie was better than Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe, I don’t think Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen was better than Christmas at Pemberley Manor. At best, I found it to be just ok. Even though this story was character-driven, that shouldn’t be an excuse to not provide an interesting narrative. I did like the acting and relationships these characters shared. But, at the end of the day, what makes or breaks a movie is how good the story is. In the introduction of my Christmas Under the Stars review, I mentioned that most of Hallmark’s Christmas movies this year are ok or decent. Now, I’ve seen 21 of their films and I still feel the same way. For me, part of the issue is how Hallmark reuses the exact same plots with slight variations. I understand that the network has an image and a reputation to uphold. However, that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t try to tell new kinds of stories. Since both networks’ ratings are lower this Christmas season than last year, it looks like Hallmark needs to keep that idea in mind.
Overall score: 6.1 out of 10
Do you agree with my thoughts on both of Hallmark’s Christmas line-ups? Are there any Christmas films that have been your favorite this year? Let me know in the comment section!
In this episode of Chesapeake Shores, Jess asks if something can be “stupidly beautiful”. This question made me contemplate the meaning behind her phrase. What does it mean to be “stupidly beautiful”? Maybe it means receiving wise advice that could be tough to hear, but needs to be heard. This can be making time more useful for yourself, even when it means making up for lost time. Going over necessary decisions that may not be easy to make could also fit this definition. Because Jess’s phrase was not given an official definition, the meaning behind it is up for interpretation. There are other aspects of this season of Chesapeake Shores that can also be left for interpretation. What’s different about things like Mick’s legal woes or Trace’s relationship problems is how they’re going to be resolved sooner or later. Let’s see how these and other situations are explored in this week’s re-cap of Chesapeake Shores!
Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of Chesapeake Shores, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: Leap of Faith
Abby’s story: During a business meeting, Abby confronts the CEO of the financing management that was introduced in the previous episode. When she’s questioning him about the lack of documents in the company’s file, her boss interrupts the meeting. In a private conversation, Abby shares that she thinks the financing management is participating in a ponzi scheme because of how the company structure allows more money to come in through new clients. Her boss tells her that she shouldn’t say anything about the situation until they have more information. Abby becomes conflicted about what she should do. At Sally’s Café, she asks Trace for advice on what actions to take. He tells her that no matter what decision she makes, even if it’s a difficult one, it needs to be made. This encourages Abby to email the financing management’s CEO about sending her business firm the rest of the requested files. The next day, Abby’s boss tells her that she was been taken off the assignment because the financing management went to a different business firm. She defends her decision to email the CEO by stating that she doesn’t want people to be financially hurt. While attending an open house with her sisters, Abby reveals to Bree that she plans on reporting the financing management to the authorities. Bree encourages her to do what she feels is right. Abby ends up filing a report on the financing management. The following day, at work, Abby’s boss tells her that not only is the financing management being investigated, but that Abby is being suspended during this time period. Despite being upset about the situation, her boss is proud of her for following her instincts.
Trace’s story: Donovan, the famous country singer from Season 3, pays Trace a visit in Chesapeake Shores. During his stay, he tries to convince Trace to go back on tour. Trace stands by his decision to stay home, telling him that he has more important priorities to tend to. In an effort to change Trace’s mind, Donovan invites him to sing a duet at The Bridge. After he leaves, Donovan gives Trace a guitar as a gift. Also, at The Bridge, Trace helps Emma by taking the blame for her mistake, which involved not putting away cleaning supplies where they belong. Chris, the financial advisor from Season 3, tells Trace that he will be handing over his control of The Bridge back to Trace. This is because Mick thought it’d be a good idea and because Chris is managing waffle houses in another state. Also, in this episode, Trace gives Abby advice about her situation at work.
Mick’s story: Mick visits his business partner again, in an attempt to find the truth. During their meeting, the business partner admits to not seeing eye-to-eye with Mick when it came to business ethics. He even threatens Mick, telling him that he will be accused of being a co-conspirator if he says anything about the situation. Later in the episode, Mick learns that his business partner has officially been indicted and how there’s a chance that Mick could also take the fall for his business partner’s wrong-doing. When he consults with his brother, Thomas, about the situation, he is met with good and bad news. The good news is that there’s a way to prove that he had no knowledge of his business partner’s whereabouts. The bad news is this situation will cause Mick’s reputation to be tarnished to a certain extent. Also, in this episode, Mick helps Jess save her bed and breakfast. Unfortunately, this building is unsalvageable, so there’s not much that Mick or Jess can do. Mick also gives Connor advice about respecting the wishes of his employer.
Megan’s story: Megan is enthusiastic about Sarah and Kevin’s engagement. She volunteers to help Sarah plan the wedding. Megan goes dress shopping with Sarah and coordinates other details for the celebration. When Mick confronts Megan about her involvement in the wedding planning process, she shares that her participation allows her to make up for her absence when it came to planning other family functions. Mick reminds her that because the children are all grown up, she has more time to do the things she wants to do. This makes her feel better about her situation.
Kevin’s story: During an emergency call with his EMT team, Kevin saves the life of his former coach. When he asks him if he has any family to contact, his coach reveals that he’s all alone now. Throughout the episode, Kevin reflects on his memories involving his former coach as well as regrets about not keeping in better contact with him. He talks to Sarah about how his coach affected him at a critical time in his life. He also shares memories with Connor and Trace. At the end of the episode, Kevin surprises his former coach with a mini pep-rally in his honor, inviting former team-mates to the event.
Bree’s story: At one of the rehearsals for her play, Simon comes to surprise her. With him returning from a book tour, Bree is thrilled to have him back in her life. He’s even happy for her when her book surpasses his on a bestseller list. But the more time they spend together, the more she realizes that Simon has, somehow, changed. Throughout the episode, Bree tries to figure out what’s going on. Despite the fact that she can not find an answer, she still feels like something is wrong. When Simon and Bree read through a scene from her play, Bree expects to be kissed by him. This is because a kiss was written into the scene. After Simon kisses her, Bree continues to feel like something isn’t right.
Jess’s story: When David and Jess visit the Inn, they discover that the building is in worse shape than they thought. She asks Mick to help save her Inn. After contemplating every possibility, Mick reveals to Jess that there’s no way that the Inn could be salvaged. Jess is upset by this because she feels that the Inn was the first thing that she could call her own. While still feeling bad about losing the Inn, David suggests looking for a new bed and breakfast through a real agent agency. Jess and David attend an open house later in the episode. At first, Jess doesn’t like the way the house looks. But after she enters the house and goes through some of the rooms, she changes her mind about purchasing a new bed and breakfast. When Jess and David visit the Inn one last time, David surprises her with a sprinkler from the grounds. This is to remind Jess that no matter where they go, they’ll always have a piece of the past with them.
Connor’s story: While Connor is thrilled to take his environmental case to court, Thomas is not. He expresses his frustrations toward Connor and tells him not to take the case to court. Connor asks Mick for advice about what to do. Mick tells him he needs to respect Thomas as his employer. Later in the episode, Connor and Thomas tell the opposing side of the environmental case that they don’t want to take the case to court. The opposing side agrees, giving both of them a settlement to sign. When Connor reads the fine print, he discovers that he and Thomas won the case. After the meeting, Thomas tells Connor that even though the case worked in his favor, he shouldn’t have taken matters into his own hands. As a result, Connor is assigned to research work.
Some thoughts to consider:
• While it’s great to see Megan helping Sarah plan her wedding, I was wondering why Sarah’s mom wasn’t participating in wedding festivity preparations. She, as well as Sarah’s dad and brothers, was introduced last season and Sarah’s family doesn’t live that far away from Chesapeake Shores. I’m hoping that Sarah’s mom appears in upcoming episodes to assist Sarah in planning her wedding.
• Looking back on this episode, I think that Kevin’s story should have been fleshed out more. It seemed like that narrative was glossed over, not exploring the themes of regret and mentorship as fully as they could have. What I think would make up for this is Kevin and Sarah inviting Kevin’s former coach to their wedding.
• In my last Evenings At The Shore post, I predicted that Trace and Emma would become a couple, even if the relationship is temporary. After seeing the way Trace interacted with Emma in this episode, I’m starting to change my prediction. I’m predicting that Emma will think Trace likes her, but he will still try to win over Abby’s heart again. When Emma confronts Trace about her feelings for him, he will reject the idea for starting a relationship with her. This will not only make Emma upset, but she will frame Abby by making her look more jealous than she really is.
What did you think of this episode? Which story was your favorite? Tell me in the comment section!