As I said in a Word on the Street post last September, it hasn’t been easy finding movie news stories to write about these days. So, when I stumbled across this story on Twitter, I thought it would make a perfect topic for the first Word on the Street article of 2021! According to Aaron Couch from The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. is creating a new film titled Wonka. The movie “hails from Paddington director Paul King and Harry Potter producer David Heyman”. Aaron also says of the script that “Simon Rich wrote the original draft, with Simon Farnaby and King penning the current draft”. As of January 2021, the film is scheduled for a March 17th, 2023 release. It is also about Willy Wonka’s life before his beloved candy factory came into the picture.
While everyone involved with this project is busy creating their next cinematic project, they are forgetting one major detail. Back in the 2005 film, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka’s backstory was revealed. Through a series of flashbacks, the audience learns that Willy created his candy factory in spite of his strict father, who forbade the chocolatier from eating sweets when he was younger. Because of this, it makes Wonka seem like it is using rehashed material and trying to pass it off as new. What would have been more interesting is a movie about Ronald Dahl and how he created one of his most iconic stories.
Back in 2019, I mentioned that Taylor Cole announced a third film in Hallmark’s One Winter series; One Winter Wedding. However, the reality of the project seemed distant at the time. This was because two of the series’ stars, Jack Turner and Taylor Cole, were working on separate film projects. Now, two years after Taylor made the aforementioned announcement, One Winter Wedding is finally going into production! On the website for UBCP/ACTRA (Union of British Columbia Performers/Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists), the movie will start filming on February 1st and end on February 20th. With this production schedule, I predict One Winter Wedding will either be a Christmas film or a 2022 ‘New Year New Movies’ presentation.
What are your thoughts on these movie news stories? Do you plan on seeing any of the films I mentioned? Let me know in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!
Here are the links to the articles I referenced in my post:
Before Pale Writer’s Maxwell Caulfield Blogathon, I had seen two of Maxwell’s three Hallmark films. These titles were Missing Pieces, a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie from 2000, and Second Chances, a Hallmark Channel film from 2013. With one movie remaining, I selected the 2015 title, I’m Not Ready for Christmas, as my entry for the event. From a network that features the same actors and actresses in multiple projects, it’s interesting to note that I’m Not Ready for Christmas was Maxwell’s only Hallmark Christmas movie. As is sometimes the case, my review of this film was also this blogathon’s only article discussing any Hallmark film. When the movie first premiered five years ago, I skipped it in favor of other titles. This is because it was being compared to Liar Liar, a film I had not seen in its entirety, but was aware of the general premise. Personally, I like watching Hallmark films that either seem less predictable or have a creative component. Because the type of story found in I’m Not Ready for Christmas is more unique than Hallmark films from the past three years, I finally decided to check it out!
Things I liked about the film:
The supporting cast: There were several actors in the supporting cast that gave stand-out performances. One of them was this blogathon’s star, Maxwell Caulfield! Even though he was only in a handful of scenes, Maxwell found a way to make his character, Greydon DuPois, memorable. This was achieved through a confident personality and a strong on-screen presence. Another stand-out performance came from Mia Bagley, who portrayed Anna Geller, Holly’s niece. Her sweet demeanor reminded me of Jenny Wilder from Little House on the Prairie. Anna, like Jenny, wanted the best for the people in her life. The Christmas wish Anna tells Santa, where she wishes her aunt were more honest, effectively shows this. Brigid Brannagh is an actress I’m familiar with because her 2011 Hallmark movie, A Crush on You. While watching her portrayal of Anna’s mom, Rose, I could tell her previous experience with the network worked in her performance’s favor. This could be seen in the scene when Rose and Anna are at Anna’s Christmas recital. While Anna waits for Holly to show up, Rose’s face shows disappointment as she knows what lies ahead.
The messages and themes: Hallmark’s Christmas movies feature a variety of messages and themes that the audience can relate to. In I’m Not Ready for Christmas, a major theme is honesty, as Holly works on telling less lies throughout the film. Toward the end of the story, Holly is faced with a professional dilemma that could end her career. Instead of choosing what will benefit her, she chooses to do what is right. Seeing a character deal with a real-life conflict and make a positive decision is something that the audience can appreciate. It can also inspire them to apply these messages of truthfulness and placing others before one’s self to their own life.
What I didn’t like about the film:
An inconsistent performance: When it comes to Hallmark’s Christmas movies, Alicia Witt’s entries have been hit or miss. While I liked A Very Merry Mix-Up and Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane, I was not a fan of Our Christmas Love Song. In A Very Merry Mix-Up and Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane, Alicia was given material that complimented her acting abilities, allowing her performance to come across as consistent. Alicia’s performance in I’m Not Ready for Christmas, on the other hand, was very inconsistent. There were scenes where emotionality shined through, such as when Holly and Drew were sharing their life stories over apple cider. But whenever Holly was under her truth telling spell, she sounded robotic. Alicia’s performance made those moments feel awkward and jarring. I know Alicia has what it takes, talent wise, to carry a film. However, I feel she was miscast in this particular role.
Little to no sense in the story: Several moments in I’m Not Ready for Christmasmade little to no sense. One example takes place toward the beginning of the movie. Anna and her mom, Rose, are upset that Holly, Anna’s aunt, has chosen to attend a private dinner over Anna’s Christmas recital. They feel Holly will miss Anna’s performance because of her personal choice. But this movie was released in 2015 and I’m pretty sure Rose owns a smart phone. With that said, wouldn’t Rose record a video of Anna on her phone and show Holly the video afterwards? Speaking of Anna, another confusing moment happens when Anna interacts with Santa after the recital. In this scene, there’s no clear indication that the Santa Anna is talking to is the real deal or that they had ever interacted before. However, when Santa calls Anna by her name, no one questions how he knows her.
Solving a problem with a problem: An overarching conflict in I’m Not Ready for Christmas is Holly learning how to be honest with others. However, one of the ways she learns this lesson is for some of the other characters to lie to her. In one scene, Holly’s assistant, Jordan, asks for some time off so she can take care of her grandmother. But several scenes later, Holly discovers that Jordan was lying about her personal life. In reality, Jordan was on a date with her boyfriend at the same ice-skating rink Holly and Anna were visiting. I understand why Hallmark made this creative decision, as to remind the audience to treat others as they would like to be treated. But in this story, it felt like the script was trying to solve a problem with a problem. This misstep made the moments where Holly was changing her ways seem like positive outcomes were happening too conveniently in her favor.
A story that doesn’t feel Christmas-y: Despite this movie being titled I’m Not Ready for Christmas, the story itself doesn’t need to belong in the Christmas season. The themes of honesty and self-improvement can be found in any time of year. In fact, this exact plot could have taken place outside of Christmas and it wouldn’t have made a difference. While there are Christmas activities featured in this film, they were obligatory for the sake of reminding the audience that this was indeed a Christmas movie. The scenes themselves forced the film to pause the story instead of allowing those moments to find a legitimate place in the narrative.
My overall impression:
As I said in this review, a major theme of I’m Not Ready for Christmas is honesty. Therefore, I will be honest by saying I did not like this film. This movie makes the exact same mistake 2019’s A Cheerful Christmas did: putting so much emphasis on creating a pointless, Christmas remake of a well-known ‘90s film, that the creative team forgets how to make a good movie. The story has a more unique premise than other films from Hallmark’s library. However, the execution of that story was very poor. The truth telling spell Holly falls under does not lend itself to comedy. Instead, it feels awkward and jarring. What also hurts this film is not utilizing the Christmas elements within the script, causing the film to be devoid of true Christmas spirit. Instead of trying to copy what Liar Liar did almost thirty years ago, I’m Not Ready for Christmas should have been a combination of a modern twist on It’s a Wonderful Life and a Christmas version of the Touched by An Angel episode, ‘Monica’s Bad Day’. If this had been the plan, it might have brought something new to the table.
Overall score: 4.9 out of 10
Have you seen Maxwell Caulfield’s Hallmark films? Are there any Hallmark Christmas films you’d like me to check out? Leave your thoughts in the comment section!
I’ll be honest, it hasn’t been easy finding movie news stories to discuss on 18 Cinema Lane. However, I am thankful when I come across news about Hallmark productions! While I did talk about stories revolving around Hallmark films last month, those projects were Christmas related. In this Word on the Street article, I will address Hallmark films that will premiere outside the Christmas season! With the ‘Fall Harvest’ line-up just around the corner, it’s common for viewers to see trailers rolled out as the weeks go by. My Word on the Street story will focus on the first new trailer for the line-up. Before the Christmas season begins, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries likes to air some new films during the Fall. This Word on the Street story will feature a discussion about two upcoming movies; with one receiving a trailer and the other receiving a synopsis. As I sometimes do, I will share my opinion on these pieces of movie news.
Two new trailers have been released from Hallmark; with one for a ‘Fall Harvest’ film and the other for an upcoming movie from Hallmark’s second network! The first one represents the Hallmark Channel movie Follow Me to Daisy Hills, which currently has a release date of September 19th. In the trailer, there were three scenes that featured good cinematography! These scenes revolved around a river during the autumn season. The acting from the leads, Cindy Busby and Marshall Williams, appeared stiff to me. However, this is not a reflection of their performances in the film, as the movie has not been released yet. I am disappointed that with a project called Follow Me to Daisy Hills, there were no daisies to be found. It makes me wonder why the film’s town is even called ‘Daisy Hills’ at all?
The other trailer is for one of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ newest titles, JL Family Ranch: The Wedding Gift. This movie is advertised on the main page of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ official website and boasts a release date of September 27th. As I look back on this specific trailer, I noticed how this movie feels like a complete tonal shift from its predecessor. From what I remember, JL Family Ranch was a gritty, modern western that had a certain amount of adrenaline and suspense. According to the trailer, however, the sequel is a heart-felt drama that focuses on family and second chances. Even the color scheme and lighting appear brighter than the first film.
Speaking of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, an official synopsis for Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Reunited and it Feels So Deadly has been posted on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ website! Below is the description for the movie:
“Aurora’s high school reunion turns deadly when a body is found in the hotel pool. Aurora and her Real Murders Club help investigate which classmate was most likely to kill.”
Even though the movie sounds interesting, I am disappointed that the “reunited” part of the film will not have anything to do with Aurora’s ex, Martin. In a Word on the Street story back in February, I wondered if Martin would return to the series, based on the film’s title. A dynamic that hasn’t been featured in a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film before could have been found in this project. But I guess there’s always the next film. What I do wonder is if any mentions of Nick and Aurora’s engagement will be found within the script? Will we see any wedding planning in the film? If we do, it would continue the story’s overarching continuity.
What are your thoughts on these pieces of movie news? Are you looking forward to any of the films I talked about? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!
Here are the links if you want to check out each source:
When I submitted my review of The Great Mouse Detective last week, it became the 175th movie review I’ve ever published! In honor of this accomplishment, I decided to write a Top 10 list, especially since I haven’t written one in quite some time! Back in February, in a Word on the Street story, I reported how Chesapeake Shoreswas renewed for a fifth season. However, because of the Coronavirus, the show hasn’t gone into production. On 18 Cinema Lane, I recap two of Hallmark’s shows, with Chesapeake Shores being one of them. While some areas of the world are slowly going back to creating movies and television shows, the O’Brien family may not appear on screen this year. This means that my Top 10 list will probably be the only Chesapeake Shores related content I create in 2020. As “Chessies” (the show’s fandom) waits for any news of the show’s return, here are the top 10 things I’d like to see in the fifth season! Before I begin, I want to say that this list is solely based on my opinion. There will also be spoilers for the previous season.
Tone down the relationship drama
As I’ve said before in my Evenings At The Shore series, the first and second seasons of Chesapeake Shorescontained a healthy balance between their character and plot driven narratives. But since season three, the show’s overall quality has plateaued. That’s because the overall narrative has placed its primary focus on the relationship drama between the characters. This decision has caused the plots to be put on the back-burner. One example is the fourth season’s fifth episode, where the plot surrounding Jess’s story didn’t make any sense. In Chesapeake Shores’ next season, I hope the screenwriters bring the show back to that balance from the first two seasons. This show has come up with some interesting plot ideas, but haven’t utilized them to their fullest extent.
2. A wedding for Jess and David
Before Kevin and Sarah got engaged in the fourth season, fans had never seen a wedding within the O’Brien family. This next step in Kevin and Sarah’s relationship was history in the making for the show. Because of the fourth season’s six episode run, wedding plans were replaced with an elopement and a reception dinner. This decision was a “bait and switch”, leaving fans cheated out of a historical moment they were promised. Kevin and Sarah were not the only couple to get engaged, however, as Jess and David became engaged at the end of the season. I’d like to see Jess and David’s wedding in the fifth season. Because the filming locations of Chesapeake Shores are photogenic, maybe they could receive an outdoor ceremony.
3. Get rid of the love triangle
It’s bad enough When Calls the Heart features a love triangle that seems to have no end in sight. Like I said in one of my Sunset Over Hope Valley posts, love triangles are a waste of time and creative energy. In Chesapeake Shores’ fourth season, the narrative introduced a love triangle between Abby, Trace, and Jay. This not only enables the screenwriters to continue emphasizing the relationship drama, but it also takes screen-time away from more intriguing plots. Hopefully, this love triangle will get resolved sometime in the fifth season.
4. A subplot for Carrie and Caitlyn
Speaking of When Calls the Heart, what this show does well is provide subplots for the younger characters. It gives the audience a chance to get to know them and view the story from their perspective. When it comes to Chesapeake Shores, Carrie and Caitlyn, the youngest characters on the show, have never received a story of their own. In fact, it feels like they’ve become an afterthought within the overall narrative. I’ve been waiting for Carrie and Caitlyn to receive their own subplot for a while, so I hope this happens in season five. It would be interesting to see what the screenwriters come up with.
5. More episodes
Earlier in this list, when I talked about Kevin and Sarah’s lack of wedding plans, I stated how the fourth season of Chesapeake Shores was only given six episodes. While Hallmark shows have received seasons with less than ten episodes before, a fourth season receiving six episodes is a bit concerning. This creative decision prevented certain subplots from being fully explored and made the story feel like more was desired. Personally, I think the fifth season should be given at least nine to ten episodes. That way, Chesapeake Shores will have enough time to flesh stories out and focus on telling well-thought out narratives.
6. The fruition of Trace’s recording studio
Chesapeake Shores excels at featuring locations that have been brought up in the story. One example is The Bridge, a musical restaurant that Trace had been dreaming about for several years. At the end of the fourth season, Trace had expressed interest in creating a recording studio. While recording studios have been presented in the story before, this particular business was never shown in Chesapeake Shores. Because this show has a good track record when it comes to locations, I’d like to think Trace’s recording studio will become a reality. However, I still want to see this location brought to life.
7. For Bree and Simon’s paths to cross again
When Simon was introduced on Chesapeake Shores, he met Bree in her home country. At the end of the fourth season, Bree’s literary agent, Brian, wanted to bring her play to London. If this happens, Bree would be in Simon’s home country. This dynamic would be very interesting to watch, especially if Bree and Simon plan on revisiting their relationship. Should Bree decide to find a different significant other, I’d be curious to see which new British actor joins the show.
8. More appearances for Nell
Over the course of the fourth season, I noticed that Nell had such a limited on-screen presence compared to previous seasons. I was told Diane Ladd, the actress who portrays Nell, was experiencing pneumonia when this particular season was in production. As I indicated in the introduction, we don’t know when Chesapeake Shores’ fifth season will be filmed. Whenever that happens, I hope Diane is in better health. Nell is the one who keeps the glue of the O’Brien family together. Without her, things just wouldn’t be the same.
9. A Chesapeake Shores Movie
I know a Chesapeake Shores movie is on the way. However, it never went into production, partly due to the Coronavirus. Even though the film was originally about Abby, Bree, and Jess, I still want to see a St. Patrick’s Day themed movie in Ireland. Another possible film idea is a Chesapeake Shores Thanksgiving themed movie! Hallmark hasn’t created a Thanksgiving movie in several years. Also, Good Witch has capitalized on Halloween, while When Calls the Heart creates annual Christmas films.
10. Megan becoming a successful businesswoman
You’re probably thinking, “Megan’s not a businesswoman, it isn’t her forte”. However, when we look at Abby, Bree, and Jess, there is one thing they have in common: they are all successful businesswomen. While each sister has forged their own path in the world of business, they have let their passions guide them through this specific journey. For at least one season, Megan has expressed her passion for art. Toward the end of the fourth season, she had shown an interest in creating her own studio. If the screenwriters wanted, they could allow Megan to use her art as the basis for a small business. This could make Megan an independent businesswoman like her three daughters.
Yesterday, on June 9th, Orion Pictures/MGM Studios released an official trailer of the upcoming film, Bill & Ted Face The Music! The studio also released an official poster for the movie! I haven’t seen any of the films in the Bill & Ted series, but I really like what I’ve seen and heard about this third film so far. The poster itself adopts elements that were found in film posters from the past; artistic visuals that come together to create a singular image conveying mystery and intrigue. As for the trailer, I found it hilarious, as it had the kind of random humor that I resonate towards. This marketing campaign makes me want to watch the previous two Bill & Ted films! As of June 2020, the film has an August 21st premiere date. Bill & Ted is not the only Hollywood IP that has received sequel related news. Two weeks ago, Chris Murphy from Vulture reports how Sonic the Hedgehog will get a sequel! According to the article, “Paramount Pictures and Sega Sammy have begun development on a sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog”, which means the project is in the pre-production stage. The producers who have signed on to the film are Neal H. Moritz, Toby Ascher, Toru Nakahara, Hajime Satomi, Haruki Satomi, and Tim Miller. The first film’s director, Jeff Fowler, and screenwriters, Pat Casey and Josh Miller, are coming back for the second movie. While I haven’t seen Sonic the Hedgehog, I think this is great news for Sonic fans and for people who support studios that put their customers first. Even Chris, from Vulture, says “listening to feedback can be incredibly fruitful for everyone involved”. Hopefully, the sequel can be just as successful as its predecessor.
Months after Coronavirus forced businesses all over the world to pause their operations, steps are now being taken to reach a state of normalcy. In an article from The Hollywood Reporter, Etan Vlessing discusses how “the Quebec provincial government and health officials have given the green light for film and TV production to resume on June 8 amid the coronavirus pandemic”. Before this decision was made, Manitoba had resumed film and television production in their province of Canada. Toward the end of May, Vancouver Island said “the industry can resume shooting by June”. Robert Buffam, from CTV News, writes about the precautionary steps film and television teams will take to work as safely as possible. Ric Nesh, a television show producer, shares “We may reduce, revise, rewrite scenes without the larger crowds. No we may, we will revise scenes.” In the United States, film studios and movie theaters are making attempts to go back to work. A Hollywood Reporter article from June 8th states “anxious theater owners — and Hollywood studios — are being given the go ahead to flip on the lights later this week by California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office and the Department of Public Health.” June 12th is the selected date when California’s cinemas may start their operations again. Similar to the film and television industry in Canada, safety precautions will be put in place. One example is adopting a 25% capacity limit “or no more than 100 people per auditorium”.
I know this piece of news relates to television. But because it’s about Hallmark going out of their comfort zone, the story became an exception. Earlier last month, Emre Kaya from The Cinema Spot reported how Hallmark Channel is creating a new television show! The article shares that this is the network’s “first high-budget drama series”, which “is a science fiction soap drama series set on a space colony.” Emre’s post doesn’t reveal much information about the project. As of June 2020, Hallmark has not made an official statement about the show. When I first read this story, I was excited at the idea of Hallmark creating a project that is very different from their norm. On several occasions at 18 Cinema Lane, I have talked about how Hallmark should take creative risks and think outside the box. It looks like they’re starting to pay attention to these ideas. Maybe this show could be the beginning of a new era where creativity and originality reign.
I know it has been awhile since I reviewed a Hallmark Channel movie. The last one I wrote about was the 2011 picture, Honeymoon for One, which was my submission for the Out to Sea Blogathon back in March. Since I just watched Nature of Love, I decided to discuss one of Hallmark’s more recent releases. A reason why I’ve watched less new Hallmark Channel movies this year is how most of them reuse the same plot ideas. What set Nature of Love apart is the inclusion of glamping, or “glamourous camping”. This is Hallmark history in the making, as this specific concept has never been featured in a Hallmark film until now. Anytime the network introduces a new idea like this into one of their stories, I’m always curious to see how it will be executed within the movie. As someone who supports Hallmark taking creative risks, I appreciate when they choose to leave their comfort zone.
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: Emilie Ullerup is an actress with strong acting abilities! I’ve seen her performances on Chesapeake Shores and in most of her Hallmark movies. What I liked about Emilie’s portrayal of Katie is how expressive it was. One of her best scenes in Nature of Love was when she went on the rope course/zip-lane. The emotions Emilie adopted for her character made the performance appear believable. One of my favorite Hallmark films is Midnight Masquerade. Christopher Russell’s endearing performance is one of the reasons why I love that film. Christopher’s portrayal of Will in Nature of Love was not only endearing, but also charming! I liked how the character of Will was used to instill wisdom to Katie and the audience. It brought a “wise beyond their years” element to Christopher’s character that is not often incorporated in Hallmark productions. A stand-out performance in Nature of Love came from Donna Benedicto! I enjoyed watching her portrayal of Penny, Katie’s new friend from camp. She was expressive and, at times, hilarious. One example is when Penny is telling Katie to reveal the real reason why she’s at the camp.
The scenery: Whenever Hallmark creates a film that revolves around travel, the creative team behind that project usually does a good job at capturing the natural beauty of that location. For Nature of Love, the landscape consisted of forestry, mountains, and lakes. Filmed in British Columbia, these locations were photogenic and appealing to the eye! In two scenes, Will and Katie watch the sun rising over a mountain. The bright colors of orange, purple, and yellow complimented the mountain’s light gray. Two other scenes boasted a field of lavender. The flowers’ shade of purple dominated the screen, with the appearance and abundance of the plants highlighting those scenes. While watching this film, I could tell this film’s creative team loved this location, as they provided multiple opportunities to show this location off! I enjoyed seeing these spaces as much as the creative team liked sharing them!
The glamping experience: As I said in the introduction, I was excited to see glamping featured in a Hallmark movie! Even though the idea of camping has appeared in Hallmark projects before, this is the first time this particular form of camping has been incorporated in Hallmark’s films. Nature of Love successfully promotes the idea of glamping by providing a balance between the “glamour” and “rustic”. The activities shown in this film included canoeing, horse riding, and making s’mores, things that would typically be associated with the camping experience. Representing the glamourous side were gourmet meals, up-scale tents, and resort style amenities. If the purpose of this movie was to entice viewers to desire a glamping vacation, I think it accomplished that mission.
What I didn’t like about the film:
The CGI animals: Hallmark is not known for incorporating CGI into their films. But there have been rare occasions where CGI was found. In Nature of Love, a few CGI animals are included in the movie. While the CGI itself looked fine, it was obvious the animals were added to the scenes in post-production. Fortunately, there was more stock footage of real animals than animals created with CGI.
Weak conflicts: Nature of Love had three conflicts within the script. One of them revolved around the expansion of the glamping resort. This conflict turned into a “save the establishment” story. The other two conflicts were interconnected. They were about Katie going out of her comfort zone and dealing with an ethical dilemma related to journalism. I found all three conflicts to be on the weaker side because they’ve been seen before in other Hallmark films. The creative team behind this movie played it safe with their story.
Things that didn’t make sense: At several moments, there was dialogue spoken by the characters that didn’t make sense within the story. When Katie is talking with her boss, Sabrina, about her article, Sabrina tells her she should write about Will. Katie’s boss acts as if she has no idea who he is. This doesn’t make sense because Sabrina gave Katie the assignment to go to the glamping resort. Because of this, you’d think she would have done research about the resort and the people who work there.
My overall impression:
When Hallmark incorporates a new idea into one of their movies, it shows how the network can expand their creative horizons. If the new idea involves travel, it can inspire viewers to take a similar trip like the characters in the story. In the case of Nature of Love, this movie effectively promoted the idea of glamping. With the help of beautiful scenery and a balance between “glamour” and camping, this concept was positively presented to the viewers. But movies are not just meant to promote ideas, they are also created to tell stories. The story of Nature of Love could have stronger. The conflicts were rehashed from previous Hallmark entries and some of the dialogue didn’t make sense in the story. This movie is a fine, harmless production from the network. But when you look beyond the glamping promotion, you will see that Nature of Love is more typical than it appears.
Overall score: 7 out of 10
Have you seen Nature of Love? Which vacation destination would you like to see in a Hallmark movie? Let me know in the comment section!
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:
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.
Name: Don’t Go
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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.
Name: New Possibilities
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.
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.
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.
What are your thoughts on this episode? Do you have any prediction for the season finale? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Before I start this Word on the Street article, 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 will be posted on the April 17th! Here is the link to the poll:
For a while, there has been a rumor about Sam Raimi directing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. I choose not to talk about this story because, at the time, it was a rumor that hadn’t been confirmed or denied. Now, the director himself has confirmed his involvement in the upcoming Marvel film! Jim Vejvoda, from IGN, reports that this news was first “confirmed by the project’s original director, Scott Derrickson, in a social media post wishing Raimi well with the film”. But, prior to confirming this news himself, Sam stated “I loved Doctor Strange as a kid, but he was always after Spider-Man and Batman for me, he was probably at number five for me of great comic book characters”. The news seems to spark positive reactions from fans, including Josiah from Geeks + Gamers. In a video titled ‘Sam Raimi will Direct Doctor Strange 2 | Marvel’s Best Decision in a Long Time!’, Josiah says “I think that Sam Raimi is, just, the perfect choice for this because he does have a background in horror. I think that he will be great for this. He does know how to handle that type of genre very well and he’s done comic book movies before as well. So, obviously, he has the experience and the know-how to blend these together”.
Type ‘Sam Raimi will Direct Doctor Strange 2 | Marvel’s Best Decision in a Long Time!’ into Youtube’s search bar or visit the official Geeks + Gamers Youtube channel
In a Word on the Street story two months ago, I talked about how Bob Iger stepped down as Disney’s CEO to become the executive chairman of the company. Despite not being the company’s leader anymore, The New York Times feels Bob will save Disney during the days of the Coronavirus’ presence. On April 12th, Ben Smith reports that “Mr. Iger has effectively returned to running the company”, saying that “Mr. Iger smoothly reasserted control”. While companies around the world are doing whatever they can to survive, Disney’s CEO situation now comes across, in retrospect, like a big reactionary move. Two people that feel similarly are Kneon and Geeky Sparkles from Clownfish TV. In a video titled ‘Disney Fights to LIVE! LAYOFFS in Disney World! Bob Iger in Charge!’, Geeky expresses that The New York Times article says “that they [The New York Times article] did mention he [Bob Iger] is not CEO”, while referencing an article on her blog called Pirates and Princesses. However, both Geeky and Kneon question where Bob Chapek has been during this time, with Kneon saying that “Bob Chapek, sort of, got sidelined”. On this topic, I agree with Kneon and Geeky. Anytime I watched their videos about Disney’s business decisions during the time of the Coronavirus, Bob Iger has been the one to give the official statements, not Bob Chapek. In fact, it makes me wonder what exactly Bob Chapek has done as Disney’s CEO? While The New York Times article focuses on Bob Iger’s perspective about how different Disney will be after the Coronavirus, Geeky speculates if Disney regrets making their CEO decision, saying “I bet Disney wishes, God, they just waited a couple more months to make that announcement, the switch, because now they just look stupid”.
Type ‘Disney Fights to LIVE! LAYOFFS in Disney World! Bob Iger in Charge!’ into Youtube’s search bar or visit the official Clownfish TV Youtube channel (there is some language in this video)
Because of the Coronavirus, Hallmark’s schedule was been thrown off-course. Movies that were originally announced have now moved release dates. One of these films is Picture Perfect Mysteries: Exit, Stage Death. When I reported on this movie back in February, the date for this film was set for May 17th. However, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ official website lists that date for the premiere of Aurora Teagarden Mysteries:Heist and Seek. In an episode on the Deck The Hallmark podcast, the film’s director, Ron Oliver, says that the film might premiere in August. Meanwhile, a new movie, titled When it Rains it Pours, has been listed on Hallmark Channel’s website! Here is the synopsis directly from the network’s website:
“After swearing off dating for a full year, Leah quickly learns her new commitment has made her a magnet for men.”
As of April 2020, the film has been given a release date of June 13th. It also stars Cindy Busby and Christopher Russell.
Before I start this When Calls the Heart re-cap, 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 will be posted on the April 17th! Here is the link to the poll:
Sometimes, things happen beyond our control. Because we all have our own unique perspectives, we have different ways to reacting to these situations. Blame can sometimes be a choice that is made. Other people decide to take matters into their own hands, wanting to find a solution on their own. Coming together on common ground is another choice to come into the realm of possibilities. The windstorm in this episode of When Calls of Heart causes the characters to seek solutions in various ways. The answers may come quickly, but they may also take awhile to be discovered. In retrospect, these aspects reflect what is going on in the world’s current situation. The Coronavirus is beyond our control. There are people trying to find a solution to the current problem. But everyone has found their own way to react to the situation.
Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: Into the Woods
Elizabeth plans on taking the second half of her class on a field trip through the forest. Since she took the first half of her class on a field trip in the previous week, she has recruited Carson to be the substitute teacher on the day of the trip. The next day, Elizabeth and these aforementioned students head to the woods. While learning about nature, Emily finds an arrowhead. Elizabeth and her students also make use of a pair of binoculars they borrowed from Lucas. As they go deeper into the forest, Elizabeth discovers the wind picking up. Concerned about the safety of her students, Elizabeth ends the field trip early, in order to beat the oncoming windstorm. Unfortunately, they aren’t able to go home before the storm. So, they hide in a nearby hunting lodge until the storm subsides. When Elizabeth and her students arrive at the lodge, she discovers Emily is missing. She learns from Ally that Emily left the group to find her missing arrowhead. Elizabeth leaves Robert in charge of the students while she goes into the forest to look for Emily. Eventually, Elizabeth finds Emily in the forest. Nathan finds the both of them shortly after, then takes them back to the lodge. After the storm ends, Nathan gives Emily her arrowhead. He also criticizes Elizabeth for leaving her students during a windstorm, telling her how she could have put her students’ lives in danger.
During dinner, Jesse tells Clara he has received a lumber block. He also tells Clara that he has to leave early the next morning, in order to collect supplies from the lumber block. The next day, while Lee is fixing his car, he learns Jesse hasn’t returned from the lumber block. After hearing about the oncoming windstorm, Lee heads to the lumber block to retrieve Jesse. Several hours pass by and both men haven’t returned to Hope Valley. Several citizens from Hope Valley organize a search party, including Clara and Rosemary. During the search, Clara fears that Jesse faced a similar fate like Peter did years ago. Rosemary tells her not to worry. Shortly after she says this, they hear a noise that signifies Jesse and Lee have been found. When Rosemary and Clara arrive with the rest of the search party, they discover that Jesse is safe. However, they also discover that Lee has suffered from a bad head injury. At the end of the episode, Lee is unconscious. Rosemary asks Carson to do whatever he can to save Lee.
At the beginning of the episode, Lucas asks Henry if he can look at the oil plant’s financial records. Henry refuses to hand over the ledger. At the saloon, Mike reveals to Lucas he hasn’t received any payments from Henry. This causes Lucas to turn to Bill for help. He shares his concerns with Bill about Henry’s lack of cooperation. Bill tells Lucas that Henry has twenty-hours to hand over the records or else he’ll order a subpoena. Lucas delivers this news to Henry, which causes Henry to be conflicted over his next step.
Some thoughts to consider:
In this episode, there was some really good cinematography! One good example is when Elizabeth discovers the growing strength of the wind. The shot was presented as if the audience is looking through Lucas’ binoculars. The landscape itself shows mist moving over the trees, creating an eerie and unsettling presence before the windstorm wreaks havoc.
While watching this episode, it was disappointing to see some poor decisions being made during the windstorm. I agree with Nathan about Elizabeth leaving her students in order to find Emily. Nathan told Elizabeth he was going to look for Emily. As the only adult in the group, Elizabeth had a responsibility to look after her students.
I’d like to think Lee is going to recover from his head injury. But because this episode ended on a cliffhanger (similar to the episode that aired before the season five finale) and because Lee’s situation was not addressed in the commercial for the next episode, I’m honestly not so sure. According to the description for an extended preview of the upcoming episode, it says “Rosemary learns a secret about Lee’s past”. At this point, I have no idea what that could mean.
What are your thoughts on this episode? Do you think Lee will recover? Share your thoughts in the comment section.