After one week of not posting any reviews for the A Month Without the Code and Summer Under the Stars Blogathons, I am back to talk about another Non-Code film! For the Summer Under the Stars Blogathon, I signed up by requesting Ann Sothern as one of the stars I would discuss. Like Melvyn Douglas, I was not familiar with who Ann Sothern was as an actress. Also, I had never heard of The Whales of August, the film I have chosen for this review, until about a month ago. So, I familiarized myself with who Ann was, as an actress, as well as the basic synopsis of the film. When I read about Ann on Turner Classic Movies’ (TCM’s) website, I learned that she had her own show called “The Ann Sothern Show”. When I think of actors or actresses that were given their own television show, I think of those who are known for their comedic talents, such as Dick Van Dyke and Carol Burnett. Since this is the first time I had ever seen Ann Sothern act, I’m not sure if her acting talents are more comedic or dramatic. I was curious to see if her television experience would help her performance in The Whales of August. The only way to answer this question is by reading my review!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: Even though she appeared in the film for only a limited amount of time, Ann Sothern gave a magnificent performance! Any time she appeared on-screen, she seemed to light up the room. Ann had great on-screen chemistry with all of her co-stars, helping to create an interesting dynamic and relationship between the characters. I was so happy whenever Tisha arrived at Sarah and Libby’s house, as she provided wise words and light-hearted moments. Vincent Price’s performance caught me off-guard because of how good it was! Before watching The Whales of August, I had never seen Vincent act on-screen. I was not only pleasantly surprised by how he was able to portray his character with a sense of charm and likability, but also by how well he was able to pull off a Russian accent! Despite the fact that this was a smaller cast, the acting was top-notch!
The cinematography: The Whales of August is one of the most well-shot films I’ve ever seen! There were some interesting ways in which scenes and images were captured. In the first few minutes of the film, Libby, Sarah, and Tisha are seen watching whales from the shore when they are younger. During this segment, the scenes are presented with a light brownish tint. This showed the audience that this part of the story took place in the early 1900s. With the incorporation of color to the film shortly after these scenes, it signifies that the story is now taking place in the present day. This kind of cinematography is not seen often in movies, so it was fascinating to see this transition between the time periods!
The messages and themes: Similar to films like I Never Sang for My Father, the messages and themes in The Whales of August are just as relevant today as they were in the mid to late ‘80s. While visiting Sarah and Libby’s house, Tisha reveals that she had her driver’s license suspended due to a fender bender. This aspect of the story represents a situation that some senior citizens face: the idea of voluntarily giving up driving privileges. Libby and Sarah’s discussions of mortality show the different mind-sets that elderly individuals may have. These messages and themes are included in the script as naturally as possible. It made the characters’ discussions and situations seem realistic.
What I didn’t like about the film:
A weak plot: When I read the synopsis for The Whales of August, I was led to believe that the story would be an exploration of the sisters’ relationship. In the film, however, the plot revolved around the days in the lives of Libby and Sarah. This made the story feel more like a “slice of life” tale than I had expected. There was no intrigue, which made it difficult for me to stay fully invested in what was happening on-screen. No subplots were found either. This made it difficult for any other story to carry the weight of the weak plot. A character-driven story shouldn’t be used as an excuse to not provide interesting elements to the narrative.
A misleading title: With a title like The Whales of August, featuring at least one whale in the film is expected. Whales were definitely mentioned by some of the characters. But no whales were physically seen. Because this movie is based on a play, I’m not sure if the whales’ absence was intended by the film’s creative team. By not showing any whales in the film, it kind of defeats the purpose of the title. I understand that there’s only so much room within a particular film’s budget. However, I do think there should have been at least one stock image of a whale in the movie.
Missed opportunities: In this narrative, there were a few story-telling opportunities that I thought were missed. During the film, Sarah was talking about selling her hand-crafted stuffed animals at a local fair. This is something that I was hoping to see because I wanted to witness how these characters interacted outside of the environment of Libby and Sarah’s home. Unfortunately, this fair was never featured in the movie or brought up again. Because the whole movie takes place inside and around this house, it limits which stories are told in this specific narrative. It also denies some characters the opportunity to serve the plot in a significant way.
My overall impression:
The one word I would use to describe The Whales of August is mundane. The story itself is not as intriguing or thought-provoking as I had hoped. Despite what the title says, there are no whales in this film. The movie as a whole isn’t the most memorable. However, there are a few aspects of the film that I liked. As I said in my review, the acting was top-notch! The scenery is absolutely breath-taking! It makes me want to visit Maine’s Cliff Island someday. While watching this film, I only found one factor that would have prevented this film from being approved by the Breen Code. That factor was the use of language, especially when it came to swearing. Because the majority of this language was spoken by only one character, Joshua Brackett, these words could easily be omitted from the script.
Overall score: 6 out of 10
How have you liked my blogathon reviews so far? Which one has been your favorite? Please tell me in the comment section!
For several years now, Hallmark has gained a reputation for providing light-hearted entertainment to their audience. They have created a place where joy is shared, laughter is found, and happily ever afters are common. If you think about it, Hallmark movies and television shows, to a certain extent, are modern day fairytales. Whenever our favorite characters face a conflict or difficult situation, it usually gets solved within a relatively short amount of time. Like most fairytales, Hallmark movies and shows almost always has a happy ending. This is especially the case for Chesapeake Shores. Keep reading to learn more about what happens in this episode from Season 3!
Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of Chesapeake Shores, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: Once Upon Ever After
Trace’s story: Trace returns to his band for the continuation of their tour. While in Dallas, Abby joins him to cheer him on from backstage and provide moral support. Despite having a busy schedule, Trace still finds a way to spend quality time with Abby, such as organizing an after-hours dinner date at an art gallery. Shortly after a meet-and-greet, Trace hangs out with Donovan. Donovan not only shares a part of his past with Trace, he also warns Trace about fame interfering with Trace’s relationship. During one of Trace’s breaks, he and Abby meet a fan who wants to take a picture with him. This same fan also asks Abby if she wants to be included in the picture. Both Abby and Trace are caught off guard by this fan’s knowledge of who Abby is. When Trace asks this fan how she knows Abby, the fan shows him and Abby an article on her phone that mentioned both of them and Abby’s daughters. Before heading onstage, Trace and Abby have a brief discussion about the article. Trace tells Abby that the article came from a small website that isn’t a trustworthy source. Abby, however, is still worried that the attention from the paparazzi could negatively affect her family. Trace reassures Abby that everything will be fine. Before Abby leaves for Chesapeake Shores, Trace continues to reassure Abby that everything will work out for the better. While Abby gets into a taxi, paparazzi take pictures of Trace and Abby without either of them realizing it.
Abby’s story: While Carrie and Caitlyn spend a week with their father, Abby uses this opportunity to travel to Dallas to watch Trace perform with his band. Whenever Trace is busy, Abby takes advantage of that time to either make business calls or call her daughters. But, Abby and Trace do find a way to spend quality time together, such as going on an after-hours dinner date to an art gallery. While Abby and Trace are taking a walk around Dallas, they meet a fan who wants to take a picture with Trace. When this fan asks Abby if she wants to have her picture taken, Abby becomes concerned about how this fan knows who she is. When Trace asks this fan how she knows who Abby is, the fan shows them an article on her phone that features a photo of Trace, Abby, and Abby’s daughters. Before one of Trace’s concerts, Abby and Trace talk about the article. Abby learns from Trace that the article was published on a small website that was not from a trusted source. Abby is concerned about the well-being of her family, but Trace reassures her that everything will be fine. Toward the end of the episode, Abby leaves Dallas to return home. Before she leaves, Abby is, once again, reassured by Trace that everything will work out.
Mick’s story: Toward the beginning of the episode, Megan comes to Mick and asks if he could build an archway for Thomas and Robin’s vow renewal ceremony. At first, he tries to refuse, but after hearing that Megan is using this opportunity to give Robin the wedding ceremony of her dreams, Mick agrees to build the archway. Mick also helps set up the lights for the ceremony. While unpacking the lights at The Bridge, he talks with Connor about a time when Mick stood up for his brother in high school. Mick tells Connor this story as a way to encourage Connor to make up with Kevin. The day before the vow renewal ceremony, Thomas meets up with Mick at his boat. While they reflect on their past, Thomas gives Mick a coin that used to belong to their father’s boat. This memory brings the brothers closer together and Mick invites Thomas to be a member of his boat crew. Throughout this episode, Mick and Megan look back on their wedding and how things turned out.
Megan’s story: Megan volunteers to coordinate Robin and Thomas’ vow renewal ceremony. She approaches Mick and asks him to build an archway for the ceremony. After he refuses, Megan explains that she wasn’t able to take part in Robin and Thomas’ wedding due to being on bed-rest with Bree. She tells Mick that this is her second chance to participate in the wedding-themed festivities. This explanation persuades Mick to build the archway. One day, while she and Robin pick up flowers for the ceremony, Megan expresses how grateful she is to assist Robin in planning the ceremony. Toward the end of and throughout the episode, Megan and Mick reflect on their wedding and how everything turned out.
Kevin’s story: Nell forces Kevin and Connor to work out their differences while setting up the lights for the vow renewal ceremony. Unfortunately, Nell’s good intentions lead to no results. Kevin tries to talk to Connor, but Connor refuses to talk to Kevin. This causes the brothers to work separately. During the preparation for the ceremony, Kevin teams up with Thomas to set up the lights. Thomas shares with Kevin that he has always wanted to be like Mick. Thomas tells Kevin this to remind him how being an older brother is a very important role. Later in the episode, Kevin is surprised when Connor meets up with him at Sally’s Café. Connor tells Kevin about when, years ago, he took Kevin’s toy soldiers without his permission. Kevin then receives a brand-new box of toy soldiers from Connor as well as an apology. After this heartfelt moment, the brothers forgive one another and continue to get along.
Bree’s story: Bree is still in Maine, spending her days at the Peck residence with Jess. During her time there, Bree tries to convince Jess that David’s parents are not on Jess’ side. But, Bree is still met with Jess’ optimism. Bree also becomes friends with Alexandra and learns more about David’s family. What Alexandra tells Bree makes Bree’s suspicions about David’s parents grow even more. After Bree and Jess are given dresses by David’s mother, Bree and Jess consult one another about Jess’ future with David. As Jess contemplates her possibilities, Bree provides moral support to her sister. Later in the episode, Alexandra gives Bree a folder of personal files relating to Jess. When Bree discovers that David’s parents were compiling a background search on Jess, her suspicions end up coming true. Bree tells Jess about the folder, which causes Jess to be upset. Bree then helps Jess in her plan to leave the Peck residence. She packs both her and Jess’ bags and waits for Jess’ at the front of the house. On their way to the taxi, Bree reveals to Jess that she didn’t tell David that they were leaving.
Jess’ story: Jess is still in Maine, spending her time at the Peck residence with Bree. Even though David is busy working on family business related projects, Jess still finds a way to spend time with David. This includes dancing together before a fancy event and having a heartfelt conversation outdoors. Jess also spends time with David’s mother. During their conversation, David’s mother reveals the possibility of Jess moving to Maine and starting a B&B away from Chesapeake Shores. When Jess tells David’s mother that she’ll think about this newly presented option, David’s mother gives Jess and her sister two beautiful dresses to wear to an upcoming event. Later in the episode, Jess tells Bree what David’s mother told Jess. While Jess considers a future with David, Bree provides Jess with moral support. The next day, Bree reveals to Jess that David’s parents have been secretly compiling a background search on Jess. Because of how upset this makes her, Jess decides to leave the Peck residence as soon as possible. While Bree packs her and Jess’ bags, Jess finds David’s parents and confronts them about their attitudes and opinions toward Jess. Jess honestly expresses her feelings for David and about how proud she is of herself and her family. After this situation, Jess quickly leaves the Peck residence with Bree. On their way to the taxi, Jess asks Bree if she told David they were leaving. Bree tells Jess that she didn’t tell David where they were going. As their taxi drives away, David, unsuccessfully, tries to chase after the taxi. He ends up finding one of Jess’ shoes as he wonders where Jess went.
Connor’s story: Because Kevin and Connor still aren’t getting along, Nell decides to force Kevin and Connor to work through the differences as they help prepare for the vow renewal ceremony. While setting up the lights, Kevin and Connor continue to argue. This causes the brothers to work separately. Connor and Mick help each other out by untangling the string lights at The Bridge. During this task, Connor hears about Mick standing up for his brother in high school. Mick tells Connor this story as a way to warn him about how grudges never solve problems. Later in the episode, Connor approaches Kevin at Sally’s Café. Connor reveals that, years ago, he took Kevin’s toy soldiers without his permission in order to make a video. Connor not only gives Kevin an apology, he also gives Kevin a box of brand-new toy soldiers. The brothers forgive one another and continue to get along.
Some thoughts to consider:
Ever since last week’s episode, I feel like the screenwriters for Chesapeake Shores have tried to include as many pop cultural references as possible within Season 3. So far, the movies that have been referenced are Sixteen Candles, Dirty Dancing, Romeo and Juliet, and Cinderella. When Jess and Bree leave the Peck residence, even the taxi was orange, just like Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage. I wonder what other pop cultural references will be made this season?
For the first three episodes, Connor (my favorite character on this show) has become somewhat unlikable. In this episode, when Kevin calls Connor out on his immaturity, I felt like Kevin was being the voice of reason on Chesapeake Shores. In fact, Kevin has slowly but surely become one of my new favorite characters this season!
What did you think about this episode? Which pop cultural references would you wish were mentioned on Chesapeake Shores? Let me know in the comment section!
Something that I like about Chesapeake Shores is seeing our favorite East Coast family exploring the world beyond their backyard. Whether it’s Trace rocking out to some really great music in Nashville or Nell discovering the O’Brien family’s heritage in Ireland, these adventures bring a sense of realism to each of the characters and the show overall. Personally, I would love to see a St. Patrick’s Day themed movie where the O’Brien family travels to Ireland in honor of the holiday! Just think of all the stories that the characters of Chesapeake Shores could receive and the impact that a great backdrop, like Ireland, could have on each member of the family! Though Chesapeake Shores’ third season just started, I wouldn’t be surprised if Hallmark did decide to give this series their own set of movies. The show has been successful so far, so I’m hoping their success will continue. For now, let’s look back at this third episode of Chesapeake Shores’ third season!
Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of Chesapeake Shores, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: This Rock is Going to Roll
Trace’s story: At the beginning of the episode, Trace reveals to Abby that he will soon go back on the road with his band to participate in another concert tour. This time, however, the tour will only last for three weeks and take place closer to Chesapeake Shores. Abby shares that, while Jess and Bree are in Maine, she will be the night manager at the Inn. Upon hearing this, Trace agrees with Abby to visit her, Carrie, and Caitlyn at the Inn so he can spend time with them and read a bedtime story to Abby’s daughters. Later that night, Trace comes to the Inn to play a board game with Carrie and Caitlyn. When it comes time for Trace to read a bedtime story to Carrie and Caitlyn, he, instead, chooses to tell them about Snipes, mythical creatures that can be found in the woods. The next day, Trace, Carrie, and Caitlyn go to the beach. When Carrie and Caitlyn express their interest to go swimming, Trace discourages them because he thinks that the current is too strong for swimming and could put Abby’s daughters in danger. Both Carrie and Caitlyn remind Trace that not only is he not their dad, but that their father, Wes, lets them go swimming whenever they want, no matter the size of the current. Later that day, Trace meets up with Mick at The Bridge. They have a heart-to-heart conversation about parenting and reflect on how much they’ve changed as people. Abby also comes to The Bridge, later in the episode, to talk to Trace about Carrie and Caitlyn’s response to his reaction at the beach. Before Carrie and Caitlyn left Chesapeake Shores to spend a week with their father, Trace planned a day trip to a nearby forest with him, Carrie, Caitlyn, Abby, Megan, Mick, and Kevin to find Snipes.
Abby’s story: When Trace reveals that he will return with his band to the, temporary, life of concert touring, Abby tells him about her temporary position as night manager at the Inn. She makes an agreement with Trace to spend as much time with each other and with her daughters as possible. At the Inn, Trace, Carrie, and Caitlyn play a board game while Abby sits on a couch, watching them have fun. Toward bedtime, Abby listens with Carrie and Caitlyn to Trace’s story about the Snipes. The next day, Carrie and Caitlyn tell Abby about what happened at the beach and how they responded to the situation. After hearing what her daughters told her about their statement to Trace, Abby pays a visit to The Bridge in get Trace’s side of the story. When Trace tells her what happened, Abby realizes that her daughters are trying to adjust to Trace’s presence in their family’s lives. Toward the end of the episode, Abby tells Trace that Carrie and Caitlyn are going to spend a week with their father. Both of them, along with Carrie, Caitlyn, Megan, Mick, and Kevin go on a day time to look for Snipes.
Mick’s story: While Jess and Bree are in Maine, Mick teams up with Kevin to run the Inn during the day. While Kevin struggles to cook certain meals, Mick seems to get the hang of using the right amount of ingredients to make delicious meals for the guests. When Kevin expresses his feelings about the disagreement between him and Connor, Mick suggests that he talk to his brother about what happened. Later in the episode, Kevin shares with Mick that the recent conversation between him and Connor at Word Play seemed to make matters worse. Mick suggests for Kevin to give Connor some space for he can sort through everything that has happened to him recently. Also, Mick meets up with Trace at The Bridge, where they talk about parenting and how much they’ve changed as individuals. At the end of the episode, Mick joins Trace, Carrie, Caitlyn, Abby, Kevin, and Megan on their search for Snipes.
Megan’s story: Megan volunteers to run Word Play while Bree is in Maine with Jess. One day, Robin shows up and marvels at how great the bookstore is. During her time there, Robin asks Megan how things have been since she came back home. Megan confesses that, at times, it feels confusing. The next day, Connor leaves his shift at Word Play early to meet up with Danielle, assuring his mom that his relationship with his girlfriend is still on good terms. Megan reminds Connor that just because he can convince other people to take his side doesn’t mean he can convince himself to believe whatever he’s trying to tell himself. At the end of the episode, Megan joins Mick, Kevin, Trace, Abby, Carrie, and Caitlyn to look for Snipes.
Nell’s story: Nell hasn’t given up her fight to save the local Wishing Fountain. One morning, she finally meets with the Mayor over a breakfast of homemade muffins to discuss the future of the Fountain. When the Mayor still doesn’t budge on his position to remove the Fountain, Nell leaves the meeting feeling discouraged. However, she makes one last effort to change the Mayor’s mind. One day, Nell invites the Mayor to join her, again, at the Fountain. This time, she mentions that the Fountain has remained an important cornerstone to the O’Brien family for many years. She also reminds the Mayor that because the O’Brien family is respected and well-liked in the Chesapeake Shores community, they could affect the election season more than the Mayor thinks. After thinking about what Nell told him, the Mayor quickly changes his mind to keep the Fountain still standing. Later in the episode, Nell meets up with Robin. When they both decide to make a wish, Nell shares that she wished for understanding, explaining that all she’s ever wanted to do is stand up for what she believes in and keep her family together. After this explanation, Robin decides to renew her wedding vows in Chesapeake Shores.
Kevin’s story: Kevin volunteers to help Mick at the Inn while Jess is in Maine. He struggles to prepare the meals for the guests because of his lack of cooking skills. However, Kevin does use this opportunity of working alongside his dad to express his concerns about Connor. Mick tells Kevin to find Connor and tell him what has been happening lately. One day, Kevin visits Connor at Word Play to talk about why he told Connor about his concerns relating to Danielle. Connor becomes upset with what Kevin tries to tell him and informs Kevin that his relationship with Danielle is on good terms. When Kevin returns to the Inn, later that day, he tells Mick about his conversation with Connor and how he feels it only made things worse. Mick reassures his son by suggesting that he gives Connor some space to sort everything out. When the episode ends, Kevin teams up with Mick, Megan, Trace, Abby, Carrie, and Caitlyn in their search for Snipes.
Jess’ story: Jess and Bree travel to Maine to visit David and his family. During their stay, everything seems to carry on without any problems. Jess also seems to get along with David’s family quite well. One day, while Jess is on her way to play a game of Polo with David’s parents, Bree tries to tell Jess that David’s parents did not plan this trip to become better acquainted with Jess. Bree also shares with Jess that Casey, one of the characters in her manuscript, is a representation of Bree, not Jess. Jess chooses not to listen to Bree and, instead, remains optimistic. After the Polo game, Jess and Mrs. Peck are talking about David’s role at the Inn. During their conversation, they pass by David’s office. They hear him speaking on the phone with international clients of the family company, indicating to Jess that David is really busy with important matters. Later that day, Jess finds Bree and expresses her feelings about everything that has happened so far. She feels her self-esteem slipping because David’s association with his family’s business appears, to her, more significant than any role David ever took at the Inn. Bree reminds Jess that she is awesome and that no one should tell her otherwise. After Bree explains to Jess that her manuscript was a reflection of the O’Brien family as a whole, Jess and Bree make up after their disagreement and continue to get along. At dinner that night, Mr. Peck announces that David is the new head of the family business. When the entrée is finally brought to the table, everyone at the table discovers that it is quiche, the meal that Jess told Mrs. Peck was David’s favorite dish to make at the Inn.
Bree’s story: Bree and Jess travel to Maine to visit David and his family. At first, everything during their stay seems fine. While exploring the family library, Bree meets David’s sister, Alexandra. During their conversation, Alexandra reveals to Bree that her parents may have ulterior motives for inviting Jess to meet their family. While Jess is on her way to play a game of Polo with David’s parents, Bree tries to tell Jess what Alexandra told her. When Jess refuses to listen to her, Bree explains to Jess that Casey, one of the characters in her manuscript, is not a representation of Jess, but a representation of Bree. Jess still doesn’t listen to Jess as she goes on her way to play Polo. Later that day, Jess comes to Bree in tears, expressing how David’s affiliation with his family business makes her feel insignificant. Bree reminds Jess that she is awesome and that no one should tell her otherwise. Jess also reminds Bree that she is awesome and that no one should tell her differently. Bree then explains to Jess that her manuscript was a reflection on the O’Brien family as a whole, causing both Bree and Jess to make up from their disagreement and continue to get along. At dinner that night, Alexandra shares with Bree that she liked the manuscript for her play. Mr. Peck also shares with Bree that he has pulled some strings to, potentially, have someone at a publishing company read Bree’s manuscript.
Connor’s story: Connor agrees to take a temporary shift at Word Play while Bree is in Maine with Jess. While working at the bookstore, Kevin pays Connor a visit and tries to explain his feelings about being suspicious of Danielle. Connor becomes upset by what Kevin tries to say and insists that he and Danielle have a good relationship. Later in the episode, while on a date with Danielle, Connor asks her if she is seeing anyone else. Danielle tells Connor that her feelings for him and the other guy that she’s seeing are complicated. The next day, Connor leaves his shift at Word Play early to go on a date with Danielle. Before he leaves, he tells Megan that his and Danielle’s relationship is in a good place. Connor is reminded by Megan that just because he can convince other people to take his side doesn’t mean he can convince himself to believe whatever he tells himself. On his date with Danielle, Connor and Danielle have a heart-to-heart about the state of their relationship. After everything is said, they decide to put their relationship on hold for the time being.
Some thoughts to consider:
I know this might sound random, but where do all the coins in the Wishing Fountain go? Are they used to raise funds for a local charity? Do they support any extracurricular activities for one of the schools in Chesapeake Shores? I hope Nell answers this question in an upcoming episode.
Even though David’s parents, in this episode and in the preview for the next episode, seem like they have a negative opinion about Jess, I have a feeling the Jess vs. David’s parents story might play out in a similar way to Hallmark’s “royal” movies. Hallmark usually shows their lead couples, in their movies or television shows, working things out for the better. Hopefully, Jess and David’s situation will work out for the best as well.
Speaking of Jess and David, did anyone else find their reenactment of the famous birthday cake scene from Sixteen Candles to be random? I don’t recall either Jess or David saying if they liked the film or that the infamous birthday cake scene was a favorite movie scene of theirs. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Sixteen Candles about a young woman’s birthday getting overshadowed by a family member’s wedding? Because of this cinematic context, it made the idea of Jess and David reenacting that specific movie scene feel out of place within this episode. Though, I will admit that this scene between Jess and David was adorable!
What did you think about this episode? Would you like to see a Chesapeake Shores movie? Share your thoughts in the comment section!