What the Code Means to Me: Breen, Hallmark, and Me

Dumbo (2019). Men in Black International. Poms. Dark Phoenix. These are a few examples of movies that have, recently, lost their battles in the Cinematic Colosseum. When a film underperforms or doesn’t reach expectations, people always look for reasons why this happened. It is a way of providing a sense of closure to the situation. Some say that the reason why 2019 has seen more cinematic failures than successes is because of an absence of original and innovative ideas. Others say that the creative teams behind these projects put more emphasis on politics than the story itself. Another reason that has been discussed is having too many remakes, sequels, and franchise continuations competing against each other within a short amount of time. Whatever the reason, I think we can all agree that these films probably failed because, simply, movie-goers just weren’t interested in the overall product. This seems very different from the time-period of 1934 to 1954, when the Breen era not only existed, but also thrived. During this particular stretch of time, it feels like more films were both successful and memorable for the right reasons. Take 1939, for example. Within this year alone, movie-goers were given three films that cemented their place in cinematic history; Gone with the Wind, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and The Wizard of Oz. The fact that these very distinct films placed in the Top 10 at that year’s box office proves that during the Breen era, there was something for everyone at the cinema. With the Breen Code absent in today’s cinematic world, an interesting media company that, I feel, has embraced Joseph I. Breen’s way of thinking is Hallmark. The more I’ve thought about the Breen Code and its impact on film, the more I see the similarities within the kinds of movies that Hallmark creates. Even though these films are featured on either television or digital services, it proves that there is hope for the Breen Code to make a comeback.

What the Code Means to Me poster
What the Code Means to Me poster created by Tiffany and Rebekah Brannan from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society. Image found at https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2018/12/17/what-the-code-means-to-me/.

Before discovering the blog, Pure Entertainment Preservation Society, I had never known about Joseph I. Breen and the Breen Code. In fact, I had always believed that the MPAA (the Motion Picture Association of America) was the “end all, be all” when it came to judging a film’s content. It wasn’t until I watched the video, “Why You Shouldn’t Listen to the MPAA (Podcast Excerpt)” from the Youtube channel, Rachel’s Reviews, that I started to change my views about this particular rating system. In this video, Rachel and her friend, Conrado, talk about why movie-goers should form their own self-censorship than solely rely on the MPAA. When I came across Pure Entertainment Preservation Society last October, while looking for upcoming blogathons to participate in, I was introduced to who Joseph I. Breen was as well as the Breen Code itself. In preparation for this article, I read as much as I could about Joseph and his Code. Tiffany and Rebekah Brannan, the creators of Pure Entertainment Preservation Society, have done a wonderful job at educating their readers and followers about the Breen Code and advocating its return to entertainment. Their articles are very informative and interesting to read. After learning all of this information, I feel that a newer and stronger code for judging a film’s content needs to be put in place. While having the MPAA is better than having nothing at all, its rules and guidelines seem to be more on the relaxed side. In the previously mentioned video, Rachel and Conrado discuss some of the ways that a film receives a particular rating. One example is the use of blood within the film’s context. Rachel brings up the example of The Hunger Games receiving a PG-13 rating due to the absence of blood while “contestants” are dying during the event within the story. She feels that because blood isn’t shown during these moments, the film is “dehumanizing the situation”. Had The Hunger Games been created during a time when something similar to the Breen Code existed, either this film would have never seen the light of day or the “contestants” would have died off-screen.

Easter Under Wraps poster
Easter Under Wraps poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Easter%20Under%20Wraps&IsSeries=False.

The movies and shows from Hallmark make up a large percentage of the content on my blog. Sometimes, I review films from Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Hall of Fame. In some of my Word on the Street posts, I’ve talked about movie news related to upcoming Hallmark projects. I also conduct two re-cap series for When Calls the Heart and Chesapeake Shores. Hallmark has created a reputation as being a family-friendly company in both appearance and content. As I mentioned in the introduction, things within the Breen Code sound like the type of material that Hallmark creates and distributes on their networks. Within the Hallmark entertainment spectrum, there are three television networks that air movies; Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama. Each network has their own unique and consistent tone, while still maintaining the company’s created image. Hallmark Channel features films that primarily contain light-hearted, romance stories. However, the relationships featured in these movies are wholesome. In the Breen Code, it states that “pictures shall not infer that low forms of sex relationship are the accepted or common thing”. Typical Hallmark Channel films do not feature or talk about sex. The only two films that I can think of that either mention sex or imply that a couple was having sex are A Family Thanksgiving and Audrey’s Rain. Hallmark Movies & Mysteries has a darker tone than Hallmark Channel, as the majority of the network’s content is mystery related. The type of mystery that is common in these movies is the murder mystery. However, this aspect of the story is always handled in a very tasteful way. Not only is a small amount of violence shown, but a limited amount of blood is featured on-screen. The Breen Code contains a whole section about featuring murder in film. One of the points in this section says that “methods of crime should not be explicitly presented”. Sometimes, these films show how a victim is murdered. This is included to introduce the mystery and present the seriousness of the situation. Toward the end of the movie, the guilty party reveals how and why they committed the crime. But the guilty party is never “presented in such a way as to throw sympathy with the crime”. Even though Hallmark Drama has only been around for two years, it has been a network where Hallmark’s more dramatic films can be seen. These types of films are either from Hallmark Hall of Fame or from Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries that haven’t be aired in recent years. Some of these projects were created before Hallmark embraced the image they have today, even before the Hallmark Channel was introduced back in 2001. One of these films is Ellen Foster, which is a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie that was released in 1997. In this film, there is one scene where Ellen is being physically abused by her father. If this exact same movie were released by Hallmark today, that scene would never have been featured in the film. The subject of child abuse would have only been implied through the use of dialogue and subtle visual references. This suggestion would fit with the Breen Code and Hallmark’s current image, as the Code itself states that “excessive and inhuman acts of cruelty and brutality shall not be presented. This includes all detailed and protracted presentation of physical violence, torture, and abuse”. Despite this aforementioned detail, Hallmark Drama still features content that is family oriented.

Crossword Mysteries -- A Puzzle to Die For poster
Crossword Mysteries: A Puzzle to Die For poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=143&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=307&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Crossword+Mysteries+A+Puzzle+to+Die+For.

The previous paragraph contains some examples of how the Breen Code can be found within Hallmark’s movies. I could provide more examples, but that would mean this article would be longer than it already is. Hallmark’s commitment to providing family friendly content to their audience shows that the Breen Code, or some form of it, can return to the entertainment world. It will most likely happen in a process of events rather than a quick succession. However, this is proof that Joseph I. Breen’s intentions still have a place in our world. In the article, “The Production Code of 1930’s Impact on America” from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society, it was said that “films are merely rated but not censored”. Since this is the case, we, the movie-goers, need to take the initiative to discover a film’s content, understand why a rating was given to a particular film, and form our own choice to view or not view a film. Until the day when Joseph I. Breen’s dream can come true again, this is the only option that movie-goers currently have.

Hallmark Hall of Fame's Love Takes Flight review
Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Love Takes Flight poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Love+Takes+Flight.

For my two Breening Thursday suggestions, I would like to recommend Wild Oranges and The Trouble with Angels. Wild Oranges is a silent film from 1924 that I reviewed when I received 95 followers on my blog. The Trouble with Angels is one of the films that I reviewed during the Rosalind Russell blogathon earlier this month. It was released in 1966.

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

If you want to check out the references I mentioned in this editorial, you can type “Why You Shouldn’t Listen to the MPAA (Podcast Excerpt)”  into Youtube’s search bar or visit Rachel’s Youtube channel, Rachel’s Reviews. You can also visit these links:

https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2016/10/19/the-motion-picture-production-code-with-its-revisions/

https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2016/10/17/the-production-code-of-1930s-impact-on-america/

Tomorrow is the last day to submit your nomination for the Gold Sally Awards’ Hallmark Star of the Year

Hi everyone! I just want to remind you that tomorrow, May 21st, is the last day to submit your nomination for the Gold Sally Awards’ Hallmark Star of the Year. In my most recent Sunset Over Hope Valley post, I mentioned that I would be out of town during the weekend of May 19th. I’m still out of town, so my next Sunset Over Hope Valley post and the results of the Gold Sally Awards will be published later than expected.

Have fun at the movies!

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Announcing the Gold Sally Awards’ Hallmark Star of the Year!

This is it; the final division of the First Annual Gold Sally Awards! When I first introduced the Gold Sally Awards back in January, I provided a brief explanation of what the Hallmark Star of the Year is. Now that the time has come for this division to begin, a more thorough explanation is needed. What makes a Hallmark star a “Hallmark Star”? Sure, it can mean a person that appears in a Hallmark movie. But I feel it has to be something more than that. The Hallmark Star of the Year Award is an attempt to answer this question. There are so many people that make Hallmark what it is. However, some of these people don’t always get the recognition they deserve. As I’ve also mentioned, this division is the most interactive category of the Gold Sally Awards. This is true, as you get to decide who will be crowned the first ever Hallmark Star of the Year! Now I will provide more details as to how you can participate!

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

Who is eligible for a nomination?

In this division, voters are allowed to choose one nominee per person. The people that would be eligible for this award are:

 

  • Former and current Hallmark stars
  • Hallmark Hall of Fame alumni
  • Members from the business side of Hallmark
  • Directors, producers, screen-writers, etc. of Hallmark projects
  • Authors of adapted Hallmark productions
  • Team members from Home & Family
  • Animals that have appeared in Hallmark affiliated programs (ex: kittens from the Kitten Bowl)

 

When deciding on who to nominate, I would kindly encourage you to choose someone who is currently living. The only reason why I suggest this is in the event that your nominee was to visit this blog, I would want them to see how their participation in the Hallmark community has made an impact on Hallmark’s audience/fans.

 

How do I nominate someone for the Hallmark Star of the Year Award?

It’s a very simply process! All you have to do is write a brief, but thorough explanation for why your chosen nominee is worthy of receiving this title. Here is a template for how to set up your nomination:

 

Name: (This is pretty self-explanatory)

Connection to Hallmark: (This is where you can say how your nominee is affiliated with Hallmark. If your nominee has worked on more than one Hallmark project, name the most recent project of theirs.)

Nomination: (This is where you get to explain why your nominee should receive the title of Hallmark Star of the Year! For advice on how to create your nomination, consider the letters in the word Star:

 

S – Has your nominee participated in any community service opportunities? Have they performed a selfless act that you admired?

T – Do you admire your nominee’s talent? Do you believe that your nominee’s talent gets overshadowed or receives the right amount of attention?

A – Has your nominee accomplished something great? Have they earned an achievement that you wish more people knew about?

R – Do you feel that your nominee is under-rated? Do you think that your nominee has received a good amount of recognition?)

 

Where do I put my vote?

Like the previous voting categories, you can place your vote in the comment section of this post.

 

How long will this division last?

Voting for the Hallmark Star of the Year Award will begin today, May 11th, and end on May 21st.

 

I can’t wait to see who you’ve nominated for the Hallmark Star of the Year Award! Happy voting!

 

Have fun at the movies!

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The Best Ensemble division of the Gold Sally Awards has finally come!

Today is the day for the last acting division of the Gold Sally Awards to begin! In these polls, you will determine which is the Best Ensemble from a Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film! Like with the previous polls, you are only allowed to vote once per person. But you are allowed to vote for more than one nominee. Your votes can be placed in the comment section of this post. This round of the Gold Sally Awards will conclude on May 10th. After that day, two casts will receive the title of Best Ensemble from the Gold Sally Awards!

SS Cinema Lane
The official logo of 18 Cinema Lane! Image found at https://katthemovies.wordpress.com/2019/03/30/graphic-design-is-my-passion/.

Best Ensemble from a Hallmark Channel Movie

Royally Ever After

The Beach House

Cooking with Love

Once Upon a Prince

Wedding of Dreams

Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa

It’s Christmas, Eve

When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing

A Gingerbread Romance

Entertaining Christmas

 

Best Ensemble from a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Movie

Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: The Disappearing Game

Hailey Dean Mysteries: A Will to Kill

Darrow & Darrow: In the Key of Murder

Garage Sale Mysteries: The Mask Murder

Deadly Deed: A Fixer Upper Mystery

Marrying Father Christmas

Christmas Bells are Ringing

Time for Me to Come Home for Christmas

Northern Lights of Christmas

Christmas Wonderland

 

Have fun voting!

Sally Silverscreen

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

On the weekend of April 27th, Avengers: Endgame was not the only movie that premiered. While I did give a little more priority to Marvel’s latest film, I also wanted to see the new Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, Love Takes Flight. To give both films the attention they deserve, I decided to publish my spoiler-free review of Avengers: Endgame on the 27th and my review of Love Takes Flight today. When I found out about this Hallmark Hall of Fame movie last month, I knew that this was a movie that I had to review. Last year, I reviewed both of Hallmark Hall of Fame’s movies, with those reviews being well-received. However, when I learned more about this year’s film, I started to have doubts about it. It also didn’t help that Love Takes Flight was given one of the worst marketing campaigns in Hallmark movie history. In my opinion, the film’s poster looked worse than the one for The Beach House and Love Takes Flight’s trailer looked like a haphazard and rushed tv spot. However, I still wanted to give this film a chance. Last year, I wasn’t impressed with the marketing for The Beach House. But the movie itself ended up being better than its marketing campaign. Keep reading this review if you want to find out if Love Takes Flight had a similar fate.

Hallmark Hall of Fame's Love Takes Flight review
Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Love Takes Flight poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Love+Takes+Flight.

Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: In Love Takes Flight, the acting was the driving force of this story! All of the acting performances felt so believable, that every character appeared as if they were real-life individuals experiencing realistic situations! Even though I had my doubts about Nikki’s incorporation in this cast, she proved me wrong by bringing the emotional versatility that is usually required for Hallmark Hall of Fame projects. In fact, she was one of the strongest actors in this film! Another actor that I was impressed with was Tom Thon. His portrayal of Walter Allen was emotionally effective, as his journey throughout this film seemed very believable. Tom’s acting talents brought some depth to his character’s narrative.

 

  • The scenery: Love Takes Flight was filmed in Savannah, Georgia, the third Hallmark Hall of Fame movie in a row to be filmed in the Peach State. The natural landscape of this location was showcased really well throughout the film. The foliage of the trees, flowers, and plants added a serene feeling to the overall atmosphere. This helped the story maintain its sincerity and thoughtfulness, as the natural surroundings brought a sense of peace when it seemed like the characters needed it the most. Walter’s property was absolutely gorgeous, its on-screen presence reminding me of architecture of past Hallmark Hall of Fame films! While the house itself was very cozy and elegant at the same time, the grounds surrounding the house are a scene stealer! The waterfront appeared so peaceful, complimenting some of the emotional moments that took place in that area. The creative team behind this movie made the right decision to choose Savannah as their filming location!

 

  • The exploration of grief: In some Hallmark movies, the protagonist or someone that the protagonist knows loses a loved one. However, because movies on Hallmark Channel are primarily light-hearted, the topic of grief is briefly touched upon. Since Hallmark Hall of Fame is historically known for addressing topics that are darker and more serious, the creative team behind this movie used this to their advantage to explore the concept of grief. In Love Takes Flight, Walter was dealing with the loss of his wife. The way this narrative was written made it feel like a story that would have been incorporated into Hallmark Hall of Fame movies from years past. The story of Walter and the protagonist’s daughter, Quinn, forming a friendship was a very thoughtful and interesting way to show how one moves forward from such a saddening situation.
Delivery Stickers Set
Helicopter sticker image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/delivery-stickers-set_1539060.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/banner”>Banner vector created by Macrovector – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • The editing: While watching this movie, I noticed that some scenes felt shorter than others. When these scenes would play out, they ended a little too abruptly. As I wondered why this was happening, I realized that this had to do with the film’s editing. To solve this problem, each scene should have run their course and been at an equal length. That way, every part of the story could have had a chance to be developed.

 

  • A little too predictable: When it comes to Hallmark Channel movies, the story is inevitably going to be predictable. However, Hallmark Hall of Fame movies are meant to be separate from the typical Hallmark Channel material. In Love Takes Flight, there were a few plot elements that were more predictable than I’d hoped. Because of this, it blurred that line between Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Hall of Fame. In some of these moments, it made the movie feel like a glorified Hallmark Channel film.

 

  • Too many plots: Love Takes Flight had seven plots that played out throughout the story. While some of these plots were well explored, other plots were undeveloped. As I watched this film, I felt that at least two or three of these plots could have cut from the overall narrative. I think that this movie should have had one main plot with two or three subplots. While this main plot is played out, the subplots could be equally developed.
PaperPlane-01
Paper airplane image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/paper-plane-in-cartoon-style_766478.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/paper”>Paper vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Despite the poor marketing campaign that was given to this movie, Love Takes Flight was a good film! Yes, there were things about the project that could have been better. But, for what it was, I found the movie to be enjoyable. Once again, Hallmark Hall of Fame has had a consistent track record, since 2017, of creating films that are good. While I would like the films to become consistently great, I realize that it’ll take time for this to happen. I have a feeling that this can come to fruition one day. But the most important thing is that Hallmark is making the right steps for this to occur. Just like last year, the next movie for Hallmark Hall of Fame wasn’t advertised during the end credit commercial after the film. But whatever that film is going to be about, I just hope that it can take the Hallmark Hall of Fame to a whole new level.

 

Overall score: 7.8 out of 10

 

Have you seen Love Takes Flight? What would you like the next Hallmark Hall of Fame movie to be about? Please let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

The Best Supporting Actor division of the Gold Sally Awards has officially begun!

Hi there! The time has come for the arrival of the Gold Sally Awards’ Best Supporting Actor division! For these set of polls, you will decide which actor will receive the title of Best Supporting Actor in a Hallmark Channel Movie and Best Supporting Actor in a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Movie. Like the previous polls, you will be able to vote for more than one nominee. However, you can only vote once per person. All votes can be left in the comment section of this post. Voting for the Best Supporting Actor division will end on April 29th.

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The official logo of 18 Cinema Lane! Image found at https://katthemovies.wordpress.com/2019/03/30/graphic-design-is-my-passion/.

Best Supporting Actor in a Hallmark Channel Movie

Dewshane Williams – One Winter Weekend

James Brolin – Royal Hearts

Preston Vanderslice – Cooking with Love

Barry McGovern – Royally Ever After

Rob Kipa-Williams – Pearl in Paradise

Dennis Haysbert – Christmas Everlasting

Cole Gleason – Christmas at Pemberley Manor

Laurie Murdoch – It’s Christmas, Eve

Nicholas Banks – Christmas at the Palace

Giles Panton – A Gingerbread Romance

 

Best Supporting Actor in a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Movie

Bill Dow – Marrying Father Christmas

Giles Panton – A Godwink Christmas

Jordan Dean – Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane

Mark Humphrey – Christmas Bells Are Ringing

Curtis Tweedie – Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: The Disappearing Game

Edward Ruttle – Garage Sale Mysteries: Picture a Murder

Viv Leacock – Hailey Dean Mysteries: 2+2=Murder

Chris William Martin — Garage Sale Mysteries: Murder in D Minor

Geoff Gustafson – Darrow & Darrow: In the Key of Murder

Jake Stormoen – Christmas Wonderland

 

Have fun voting!

Sally Silverscreen

It is time for the Best Supporting Actress division of the Gold Sally Awards to begin!

Hello, everyone! Today starts the Best Supporting Actress division of the Gold Sally Awards! In honor of this occasion, I decided this would be the perfect time to introduce 18 Cinema Lane’s new logo! This version will be the official logo of the blog from now on. It was created by K from K at the Movies. Make sure you check out their blog for more reviews and insights about film!

SS Cinema Lane
The new 18 Cinema Lane logo is created by K from K at the Movies! Image found at https://katthemovies.wordpress.com/2019/03/30/graphic-design-is-my-passion/.

Now, on to the voting! These polls are to determine who will be the Best Supporting Actress in a Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries movie! Like with the previous polls, you can only vote once per person. However, you are allowed to vote for more than one nominee. You can place your votes in the comment section of this post. The Gold Sally Awards’ Best Supporting Actress division will conclude on April 18th. After that date, two actresses will receive this honor of being named Best Supporting Actress from the Gold Sally Awards!

 

Best Supporting Actress in a Hallmark Channel Movie

Brittany Bristow – Christmas at the Palace

Gwynyth Walsh – It’s Christmas, Eve

Maddie McCormick – Christmas at Pemberley Manor

Rukiya Bernard – One Winter Weekend

Naomi Sequeira – Pearl in Paradise

MacKenzie Vega – Love, Of Course

Andie MacDowell – The Beach House

Kayla Wallace – Once Upon a Prince

Jordana Lajoie – A Gingerbread Romance

Elva Mai Hoover – Entertaining Christmas

 

Best Supporting Actress in a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Movie

Sarah Grey – Hailey Dean Mysteries: A Marriage Made for Murder

Wendie Malick – Marrying Father Christmas

Laura Leighton – Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane

Rebecca Staab – Christmas Bells are Ringing

Colleen Winton – Hope at Christmas

Sitara Hewitt – Past Malice: An Emma Fielding Mystery

Nicola Lipman – Garage Sale Mysteries: Murder in D Minor

Jessica Sipos – Signed, Sealed, Delivered: To the Altar

Kelly Hu – Christmas Wonderland

MacKenzie Porter – Darrow & Darrow: In the Key of Murder

 

Have fun voting!

Sally Silverscreen