Take 3: Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host Review + 290 Follower Thank You

In February, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries will be airing two new mystery films! These movies are Crossword Mysteries: Terminal Descent and Chronicle Mysteries: Helped to Death. While I do plan on reviewing both films, they aren’t scheduled to premiere for another week or two, as their release dates are February 14th and February 21st. Until then, I’ll be talking about Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host! I enjoy watching films from this particular series. In fact, this isn’t the first time I’ve reviewed a Perry Mason movie. Last year, I wrote about Perry Mason Returns and Perry Mason: The Case of the Shooting Star, with both films receiving honorable mentions on my list of the best films I saw in 2020. Because I recently saw Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host and because I needed to publish my blog follower dedication review, in honor of my blog gaining 290 followers, this was the perfect opportunity to talk about another mystery film!

I wasn’t able to find a picture of this film’s poster, so I took a screenshot of this image from my television. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: As of February 2021, I have seen some of the movies from the Perry Mason series. Based on those films, I’ve noticed how the acting performances have always been a consistent strength. Speaking of consistent, Raymond Burr does a good job bringing his character, Perry Mason, to life! The dry sense of humor and serious demeanor Perry is known for has had a constant presence in every film he has appeared in, including Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host. Toward the beginning of the film, Perry is talking on the phone with a colleague. When the conversation was almost finished, Perry responds that he is going to meet the colleague in two hours, when he was planning to wake up. Because the audience only sees Perry’s side of the conversation, they see that he was spending the night working on paperwork instead of sleeping. Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host features some real-life talk show hosts in the cast. Two of them are Regis Philbin and Montel Williams, as I’ve seen episodes of their respective shows before. In this film, Regis and Montel portrayed characters that were different from the personalities they have presented on their shows. Regis’ character, Winslow, was an antagonist who was self-centered and mean to those around him. Meanwhile, Montel’s character, Boomer, was only looking out for himself and avoided talking about issues from his past. These characters not only gave Regis and Montel interesting material to work with, but it also gave the audience something new to see. Like any mystery film, Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host provided an opportunity to introduce new characters. Cathy Paxton was one of them. Portrayed by Alex Datcher, Cathy had a spunky personality and the street smarts to help her with undercover police cases! She and Perry’s assistant, Ken Malansky, also worked well together. Out of the movies I’ve seen from the Perry Mason series, it doesn’t seem like Cathy made any appearances outside of this film. It makes me wish she would have joined the main cast of characters, as she fit in with the members of Perry Mason’s law firm so perfectly!

The inclusion of talk shows and their hosts: Like I just mentioned, Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host features some real-life talk show hosts in the cast. As their names were presented in the opening credits and based on the title itself, I was expecting the movie to focus on talk shows from television. But as I watched the film, I discovered it was about talk shows on the radio. To me, this was a pleasant surprise! It allowed the audience to see these hosts, like Regis and Montel, in a different media format. I also liked seeing the diverse personalities and shows within one radio station. When the story progresses and as each character is questioned by Perry, the audience can witness how they all bring something different to the table. A unique dynamic was formed because of this creative decision!

The mystery: On 18 Cinema Lane, I’ve mentioned there are mystery movies that adopt a type of story where the audience solves the case alongside the protagonist. The mystery in Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host is that kind of story. This case unfolds as the movie progresses, with Perry and his team making discoveries along the way. In that time, the audience learns more about the characters within the overall story. When Perry questions the talk show hosts from the radio station, we learn about their possible motives and even their backstories. It was a good way to incorporate character development. This kind of story worked for Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host because it maintained a steady amount of intrigue. My interest in this story also remained from the start to finish.

Recording studio image created by Senivpetro at freepik.com. Music photo created by senivpetro – www.freepik.com

What I didn’t like about the film:

An overlooked murder: At the beginning of the movie, Sheila, Perry’s newest client, discovers a dead body in her house. She then calls the police and the body is removed from her home at a later time. After this happens, that murder is not referenced again. In fact, it has nothing to do with the main mystery. From a story-telling perspective, these two cases should had been related in some way. It would have prevented that early part of the script from being overlooked.

A glossed over tragedy: In a few moments of the film, Sheila mentions that her daughter died of a drug overdose. Outside of those moments, this detail is never explored to a fuller extent. Similar to the overlooked murder I previously mentioned, the tragedy doesn’t really have anything to do with the main mystery. It would have made more sense if the movie had included a subplot where Sheila helps someone who is struggling with a drug addiction. This would have allowed her to work through her grief and make peace with what happened to her daughter.

The reveal of the guilty party: Whenever I review a mystery movie, I try not to spoil it for anyone, as there could be readers who haven’t seen the film yet. That is the case for Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host, as I won’t be revealing the mystery’s outcome. However, I’m going to say that I didn’t like the how the guilty party was discovered. This is because it felt out of character for a series like Perry Mason. The best way I can describe it is it’s more like Murder, She Wrote; presenting an outcome that most of the audience would not easily guess. I know that Perry is known for creating theories and connections off-screen. But in the movies I’ve seen so far, the outcome could be figured out by the viewer.

Courtroom image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/isometric”>Isometric vector created by macrovector – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

The Perry Mason series is a collection of films I enjoy talking about. Even though I don’t always get the opportunity to bring it up on my blog, I feel it is a series worth seeing. Based on the films I have seen from this collection, Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host is one of the stronger films! There are areas of the overall story that could have been elaborated upon or explained better. The murder that takes place at the beginning of the film and the tragedy in Sheila’s life are two examples. However, the movie as a whole was a solid production! It incorporated creative elements that made the story stand out from the other chapters in the series. The film also selected choices that I, personally, haven’t seen in any film before. Having real-life talk show hosts from television portraying talk show hosts on the radio is a perfect example of this. Before I end this review, I want to thank all of my 290 followers! I know this post is published later than expected, as the blog received 290 followers in January. However, I do appreciate your support.

Overall score: 8 out of 10

Do you watch the Perry Mason movies? If so, which one is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Sally Watches…Touched by an Angel!

I know what you’re probably thinking; what does Touched by an Angel have to do with the Marines? Well, that’s where my explanation comes in. When J-Dub invited me to join their Send in the Marines Blogathon, they explained that there are a lot of actors who served in the Marines. One of them is Brian Keith. Because I was not familiar with this actor, I looked at his filmography on IMDB to see what projects he appeared in. In the ‘90s, Brian guest-starred on an episode of Touched by an Angel. I said in my post about the book, California Angel, that I like the aforementioned show. Since I own the entire series on DVD and since I haven’t talked about Touched by an Angel on my blog yet, I knew J-Dub’s blogathon would be a good excuse to do so. Also, with today being Veterans Day, talking about an episode co-starring a former U.S. Marine seems fitting.

Send in the Marines Blogathon banner
The Send in the Marines Blogathon banner created by J-Dub from Dubsism. Image found at https://dubsism.com/2019/09/09/its-time-to-report-for-duty-for-the-send-in-the-marines-blog-a-thon/.

Episode Name: The Sky Is Falling

Season 3, Episode 8

Premiere Date: November 3rd, 1996

What I liked about this episode:

There were several character interactions that were interesting to watch. But the two that were my favorite were between young Leonard and Penny and older Leonard and Monica. The interactions between young Leonard and Penny were adorable, acting as a light during a literally and figuratively dark time. The actors who portrayed these characters, Sam Gifaldi and Scarlett Pomers, were very believable and reacted in a realistic way for children in that particular situation. The interactions between older Leonard and Monica were interesting because of how different their personalities were. Their overall perspectives also differed from one another. Despite this, they both had the same goal and were able to reach that by helping each other.

What I didn’t like about this episode:

This episode takes place on Halloween. Based on the topics that were discussed in the story and because “The Sky Is Falling” was released after the spooky holiday, it felt more like an All Souls Day episode. While children can be seen dressed in costumes and going trick-or-treating , it isn’t the primary focus of the story. Also, several characters mention that the “War of the Worlds” broadcast took place on October 30th, the day before Halloween. So, having this episode take place on the aforementioned holiday doesn’t seem to make sense.

The story itself:

At the beginning of “The Sky Is Falling”, there were three components that seemed confusing at first. That’s because they were presented as three separate subplots. As the story goes on, these components came together very nicely to create a well-written story. Sometimes on Touched by an Angel, the writers will take a historical situation, like the “War of the Worlds” broadcast, and draw an intriguing story from it. This allows the audience to be both entertained and educated. This concept was executed very well in this episode, allowing lessons and messages to organically grow within the narrative. I also liked seeing how Tess and Monica first met. This part of the story provided an addition to their backstories and gave the audience the opportunity to see how far these characters have come as individuals and friends.

The other factors from this episode:

  • In “The Sky Is Falling”, part of the story was told through flashbacks, reflecting on October 30th of 1938. All of these scenes looked and felt historically accurate, like the creative team behind this show went the extra mile to capture this specific moment in time. Even the jewelry appeared as if it came from the late ‘30s.
  • This episode was filled with good lessons and morals. One example is how one should think before they speak. This was explored in a direct and indirect way, showing how people can positively or negatively react to words. “The Sky Is Falling” also had some good quotes. My favorite is when Tess tells Monica that “The story isn’t over ‘till it says The End”. Since Brian Keith’s character is a writer, this quote makes a lot of sense.
  • “The Sky Is Falling” had some really atmospheric scenes. If you haven’t seen this episode, I won’t give anything away. All I’ll say is that these atmospheric scenes took place in a forest. The way this location was staged and filmed was excellent! It effectively conveyed the tone that the show’s creative team was trying to achieve.

My overall thoughts:

I enjoyed this episode of Touched by an Angel more than I expected! This is definitely one of the stronger stories from the show, featuring a good cast who worked well together. The way this story was told was memorable, as it taught the audience lessons that went beyond the historical aspect. It’s better if you watch “The Sky Is Falling” as an All Souls Day episode, as Halloween doesn’t play as big of a role as in the show’s other stories. “The Sky Is Falling” kind of reminded me of another episode called “Monica’s Bad Day”, where the overarching message is how one’s actions can affect the people around them. In Brian Keith’s episode, this message was converted to focus on the power of words. Speaking of Brian, his portrayal of Leonard was such a highlight in this episode! This emotionally effective performance worked in his favor, as I found myself staying invested in his character throughout this story. “The Sky Is Falling” would not be the same without Brian.

Rating: A solid 4 out of 5

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This is just one of the Touched by an Angel DVDs that I own. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Have you seen any projects from Brian Keith’s filmography? Are there any episodes of Touched by an Angel you’d like to see me review? Please let me know in the comment section.

Have fun on television!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Falling for You Review

With my Truly, Madly, Sweetly review receiving 3 likes and 9 views, I thought I’d continue to keep the interest in “Fall Harvest” alive by reviewing Falling for You! As a Warehouse 13 fan, I was so excited to see Tyler Hynes join the Hallmark family (in case you don’t know, Tyler portrayed Claudia’s brother, Joshua, on the show). Because of Tyler’s appearance in Falling for You, I decided to watch this movie with an open mind and review it on 18 Cinema Lane. This is the third Hallmark movie of Taylor Cole’s that I’ve seen. While I was not a fan of One Winter Weekend, I did enjoy My Summer Prince. Falling for You caught my attention because this is the second Hallmark movie to feature radio within the film’s main plot. This incorporation of story elements that haven’t been told in a while increased my interest in the film. Did I “fall” in love in Falling for You? Keep reading to find out!

Falling for You poster
Falling for You 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=Falling+For+You.

Things I liked about the film:

  • The incorporation of the fall theme: In my review of Truly, Madly, Sweetly, I talked about how the fall theme had a minimal presence in the film. Falling for You, however, was filled with almost all things fall related! While there were lots of fall themed decorations featured in and around various Pleasant Valley buildings, there was also fall themed activities, such as apple-picking, and even Lacey encouraging Zac to incorporate fall-esque flavors into his Bake-Off recipe, like cinnamon and pumpkin. These touches and details made Falling for You truly feel like a “Fall Harvest” film!

 

  • The humor: Falling for You’s humor was light-hearted and good spirited, keeping in line with the humor that’s typically found on Hallmark Channel. There were some moments in this movie that were laugh-out-loud funny. However, the best line in this movie was when Pete, the owner of the apple orchard, responds to Lacey’s question about how he injured his arm by saying, “It was Fall and I fell”.

 

  • The protagonists’ views on technology and radio: When Zac is being interviewed in preparation for the Bachelor Bake-Off, he revealed that he created his new budget app in order to help people become more technologically literate. At the apple orchard, Lacey shares with Zac that she feels radio is all about helping people connect with their community. Zac’s views on technology and Lacey’s views on radio brought a new perspective to two things that affect most people’s lives. I can only speak for myself, but these views made me think about technology and radio in a different way.

Fresh Tasty Red Apples in Wooden Basket on Green Grass
Red apples in basket photo created by Valeria_aksakova at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/fresh-tasty-red-apples-in-wooden-basket-on-green-grass_1284495.htm’>Designed by Valeria_aksakova</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Valeria_aksakova – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • Lack of on-screen chemistry: While Taylor Cole and Tyler Hynes gave a fine performance in Falling for You, I was never given the impression they had on-screen chemistry. While it looked like Lacey and Zac got along well (for the most part), the build-up to their romantic relationship wasn’t as present as it could have been.

 

  • A prolonged presence of the Bake-Off: In Falling for You, the Bachelor Bake-Off was the most talked about event. In fact, there was so much talk surrounding this event that I was starting to question whether or not this Bake-Off would happen. While this event did make a presence in the movie, the Bake-Off only appeared during the last ten minutes of the film. Even when the Bake-Off was taking place, the entire coverage of the event felt very rushed.

 

  • A slow pace: The overall pace of Falling for You was slow. This made the film feel longer than the typical Hallmark Channel movie. What didn’t help was how drawn out some parts of the film seemed to be. For example, the planning process surrounding the Bake-Off was given a lot more screen time than the Bake-Off itself. This took away from the excitement of seeing this event come to life.

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Baking essentials image created by Olga_spb at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/background-with-elements-of-the-bakery_903718.htm’>Designed by Olga_spb</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Olga_spb – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Falling for You is, at best, ok. While I don’t think it’s as good as Truly, Madly, Sweetly, it’s a much better film than Yes, I Do and Falling for Vermont. Even though Falling for You has its flaws, there are good things that can be found within this film. As I mentioned earlier, Taylor Cole and Tyler Hynes gave a fine performance in the movie. However, I think their performances could have been stronger. While it’s unknown if Taylor will star in any Hallmark Christmas movies this year, Tyler will make his Hallmark Christmas movie debut in It’s Christmas, Eve. Based on the film’s synopsis, it sounds like the movie will be a little more dramatic than Falling for You. I’m hoping that Tyler can pull off a good performance in that movie so he can appear in many more Hallmark movies to come.

 

Overall score: 6.6-6.7 out of 10

 

What are your thoughts on “Fall Harvest” so far? Are you looking forward to It’s Christmas, Eve? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen