Sally Watches…Kids Incorporated!

For Terence’s 7th Annual Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon, I was originally going to write an editorial on an episode from Highway to Heaven. But the more I thought about that decision, the more I realized the shows I’ve reviewed so far have one of two things in common: the shows are darker in tone or they cover heavier, real-world subjects. Because of this, I decided to change things up a bit. I have never watched a full episode of Kids Incorporated, but I have seen two performance videos from the show. Since I liked what I saw, I thought reviewing the show for the blogathon would be a good idea! Its light-hearted, joyous tone is definitely different from the other shows I’ve talked about. This will also be the first time a musical show has been covered on 18 Cinema Lane. Like some of my previous TV show reviews, I have chosen four random episodes. Each episode will be broken down into five categories: what I liked about this episode, what I didn’t like about this episode, the musical numbers, the other factors from this episode, and my overall thoughts. I wasn’t able to find a consistent record of when these episodes premiered, so I will not be listing premiere dates this time. But I will share my final assessment of the show toward the end of my review.

The 7th Annual Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon banner by Terence from A Shroud of Thoughts.
Episode Name: Peter Pam
Season 3
 Episode 63
What I like about Kids Incorporated is each character’s preferences and personalities are showcased in subtle ways. Seeing which books the cast was reading is a perfect example of this. Screenshot taken from the Youtube channel, Kids Incorporated.

What I liked about this episode:

When you have a television or movie series that revolves around a group of people, that group needs to consist of actors and/or actresses who have good on-screen camaraderie with one another. With this episode of Kids Incorporated, I immediately took notice of how well these young actors and actresses worked together! The fact this cast also appeared in season two gives the impression they are familiar with each other’s’ talents, which helps make their on-screen relationship convincing. My favorite moment in ‘Peter Pam’ was when Gloria is talking to Stacey about Stacey’s lack of excitement for a new sibling. This conversation came across as sincere and believable, almost like Gloria assumed the role of an older sister looking out for her younger sister. It was a sweet moment that definitely added heart to this story!

What I didn’t like about this episode:

With this episode’s run-time clocking in at a little over twenty-two minutes, there is only so much content that can be included in the project. Because of this, I thought Stacey’s story was rushed. The “Peter Pam” part of the episode was not given the amount of time I expected, with that part of the story taking place in a small handful of scenes. Stacey’s change in perspective from being against the idea of a new sibling to being excited about growing up happens a little too quickly, which causes that resolution to feel unbelievable. I wish more time had been devoted to Stacey’s/the “Peter Pam” story.

The musical numbers:

I actually enjoyed most of the musical numbers in ‘Peter Pam’! They not only sounded good, but the overall presentation was fun to watch! A big surprise was how most of the musical numbers were unrelated to the ‘Peter Pam’ story. Because Kids Incorporated aired on Disney Channel and because this episode retold the story of Peter Pan, I’m shocked the cast didn’t perform a cover of ‘You Can Fly’. Personally, I think that was a missed opportunity.

My favorite musical number was ‘Yo Ho Ho’! It was so whimsical and imaginative, from the colorful costumes to seeing who portrayed which character. Creative changes from the Disney film, like giving Captain Hook’s sidekick more confidence, give the number and story its own voice.  The choreography was fantastic, almost like I was watching a Broadway show! All of the dancers were in sync with one another and there was never a dull moment. The weakest musical number was Stacey’s solo, ‘Take Me Home’. She sang slower than the song’s tempo, which caused her to sound like she was singing out of tune. Stacey is a good singer, but ‘Take Me Home’ did not do her singing talents justice.

The other factors from this episode:

  • While Stacey gave a good acting performance overall, her portrayal of “Peter Pam” was weaker than her portrayal of her “real world” character. Despite this being the first episode of Kids Incorporated I’ve seen, I get the sense that Stacey is a more emotional actress who uses expressions and emotions in subtle ways. Based on her stage presence, Martika is a more dramatic and expressive performer. With that said, I wish a role like “Peter Pam” was given to Martika instead.
  • My favorite costume from this episode is definitely Stacey’s “Peter Pam” costume! It maintains the iconic look of the Peter Pan character, making the costume recognizable. Subtle sparkles on the pink sleeves and collar add a girly twist. Even though I’m not familiar with Stacey’s character, this costume seemed to compliment her personality. I could see this costume standing the test of time!
  • In shows like Kids Incorporated, at least one young character will be fascinated by the idea of getting older. Hijinks then ensue, which causes the character to realize growing up is not what it’s cracked up to be. With ‘Peter Pam’, a new take on this kind of story is presented, focusing on a character wanting to stay young. Instead of showing the downsides of staying young, it highlights how growing up in not always a bad thing. The way this message was executed served as one of the stronger points of this episode!

My overall thoughts:

‘Peter Pam’ was a fine episode. I could tell the creative team had their hearts in the right place, especially when it came to the overarching message. However, I wish the majority of the episode and musical numbers had revolved around the “Peter Pam” story. The parallels between Peter Pan and the desire to remain a younger sibling are an interesting concept. But with all of the content that was included in this episode, Stacey’s story was rushed, with the discovery of a resolution happening a little too quickly. I was pleasantly surprised by how well ‘Peter Pam’ has aged! Having a relatable and timeless message certainly helped its case.

Rating: A 3.7 out of 5

I love how colorful these costumes are! They feel consistent with tone of the show! Screenshot taken from the Youtube channel, Kids Incorporated.
Episode Name: I Love You Suzanne
Season 2
 Episode 30
Suzanne, wearing a yellow shirt, is dancing with the cast of Kids Incorporated toward the end of the episode. I apologize for the quality of this picture. But I just wanted to say this is one of my favorite moments from this episode! Screenshot taken from the Youtube channel, Tammy Coleman.

What I liked about this episode:

After Ryan is caught off guard by the fact Riley’s cousin, Suzanne, is blind, Riley reminds Ryan that Suzanne is no different from anyone else. He also points out that Suzanne has feelings and interests similar to Ryan’s. When Ryan is telling Renee and Stacey that Suzanne is blind, they act like her disability is no big deal. Even The Kid quickly befriends Suzanne before breaking out in song. The attitudes and beliefs of the characters highlights this episode’s overarching message: our differences bringing us together instead of holding each other apart. It’s a sentiment that is just as important today as it was in 1985.

What I didn’t like about this episode:

Ryan and Suzanne’s first encounter was awkward, as this is the moment when Ryan learns of Suzanne’s disability. I know this moment was intended to be awkward. In fact, I felt embarrassed for both characters. But the fact that it took Ryan a while to realize Suzanne is blind was somewhat unbelievable. He ends up figuring this out when Suzanne says she hasn’t seen the sights in the neighborhood. I guess you could use the excuse of Ryan being so infatuated with Suzanne, that he didn’t notice this detail at first. However, in reality, I feel like Ryan would have caught on a little bit sooner.

The musical numbers:

Unlike ‘Peter Pam’, all of the musical numbers in ‘I Love You Suzanne’ directly correlated with Ryan’s story! It felt like they were effortlessly woven into the episode. Suzanne was included in two of the musical numbers; performing a simple dance and handshake in ‘New Attitude’ and joining the Kids Incorporated cast on stage during ‘I Love You, Suzanne’. This brought home the message I talked about earlier, of our differences bringing us together. Stacey’s solo, ‘Premonition’, was much stronger than ‘Take Me Home’ from ‘Peter Pam’! It showcased her singing talents well and the pace of the song matched with the pace of her voice. The most interesting musical number was Martika’s solo, ‘Too Late for Goodbyes’! Her performance did not take place on stage, but she was edited into the scene through the use of greenscreen technology. Martika appeared in various places, from the wheel of Ryan’s bicycle to reflections in Ryan’s sunglasses. Despite this episode being filmed in the mid-‘80s, the technology holds up pretty well!

The other factors from this episode:

  • After Ryan leaves the P*lace, The Kid finds Ryan trying to fix his bike. The Kid then asks Ryan if he still plans on going to the movies, with Ryan replying how he is tired of them. Even though ‘I Love You Suzanne’ aired in Kids Incorporated’s second season, that scene felt like it was foreshadowing the season four episode, ‘When Movies Were Movies’. It should also be noted that Rahsaan Patterson and Ryan Lambert star in that 1987 episode.
  • This episode was funnier than I expected! While I know this show is meant to be light-hearted, I did not expect ‘I Love You Suzanne’ to contain as much humor as it did. The Kid threatening to leave the room if things got too “mushy” was one of the funniest moments. It contained on-point comedic timing and Rahsaan gave a good acting performance. Comedy definitely prevented this episode from becoming too dramatic or serious.
  • At the beginning of the episode, Riley is performing a magic trick while waiting for Kids Incorporated to start performing. He’s also practicing a magic trick during his shift at the soda shop stand. Riley’s attempts at being a magician fail both times. But it made me want to see a story where Riley creates his own act. Though I haven’t seen a lot of Kids Incorporated episodes, I wonder if a magician ever paid a visit to the P*lace?

My overall thoughts:

I once saw a bumper sticker that read, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance”. ‘I Love You Suzanne’ is the embodiment of that bumper sticker. Ryan’s story is a simple one, but it ends up working. This is because the overarching message of togetherness feels organic and believable. Even the way the characters talk about Suzanne comes across as realistic. It also helps how all the musical numbers directly correlated with the story. Each one was equally enjoyable; I honestly can’t choose a favorite. Similar to ‘Peter Pam’, ‘I Love You Suzanne’ has also aged well! Everything about it has stood the test of time.

Rating: A 4.1 out of 5

Here is an image from Martika’s solo, ‘Too Late for Goodbyes’. The special effects are impressive, even by 1980s standards. Screenshot taken from the Youtube channel, Tammy Coleman.
Episode Name: Russian 101
Season 4
 Episode 73
This is the final shot of the musical number, ‘That’s America’. I’m sorry if the image isn’t the clearest. But, as you will read in this part of the review, this was my favoritte musical number in this episode. Screenshot taken from the Youtube channel, Tammy Coleman.

What I liked about this episode:

You can tell the character of Ryan has grown up over the course of two seasons! I like how these characters change during their time on the show instead of remaining stagnant. As he expresses interest in a Russian ballerina named Katrina, Ryan takes the time to learn more about her country and culture, as well as ballet. This is very different from “I Love You Suzanne”, where he displays more consideration and respect for his crush this time. ‘Russian 101’ also explores the reality of long-distance relationships, especially when both parties are from different countries. I was not expecting this topic to be addressed, as it is more mature than what you’d usually find in a show like Kids Incorporated. However, it was handled with a sense of honesty.

What I didn’t like about this episode:

When one thinks of the ‘80s from a historical context, the Cold War will come to mind. At the time of ‘Russian 101’s’ release, the Berlin Wall hadn’t fallen yet and some movies and TV show episodes covered this particular conflict in history. But programs like Murder, She Wrote and the original Red Dawn were created for an older audience, people who were aware of what was happening in the world. With Kids Incorporated, I wanted to see how the Cold War was addressed to a younger audience, those who were not as educated on that subject. Unfortunately, the Cold War was glossed over throughout this story. Sure, Russia was mostly referred to as the Soviet Union (a term that is of its time). But the conflict itself was never brought up by any of the characters.

The musical numbers:

Similar to ‘Peter Pam’, I liked most of the musical numbers in ‘Russian 101’! However, my favorite musical number was ‘That’s America’! Not only was it entertaining to listen to, but it was also well choreographed. Some of the dancers were dressed in traditional Russian attire and performed Russian dances. Katrina even participates in the musical number. This highlights a similar message to “I Love You Suzanne”; how our differences can bring us together instead of keeping each other apart. The only minor critique I have is how the Kids Incorporated casts’ costumes should have been red, white, and blue. Also similar to ‘Peter Pam’, the weakest musical number was a solo. But this time, it was Ryan’s solo, ‘I Can Dream About You’. At some points in the song, Ryan sang faster than the music’s tempo. I found this to be, at times, distracting. However, I did like seeing Katrina perform a ballet solo within that musical number.

The other factors from this episode:

  • Toward the end of ‘Russian 101’, Katrina gives Ryan a record of her favorite Russian band. Even though this was a nice gesture, it brings up the question: if Katrina is temporarily in the United States with a traveling ballet company, how was she able to acquire a Russian record? Did she happen to take one with her on the trip?
  • During a conversation with the Kids Incorporated members, Renee compares ballet to basketball. While she doesn’t refer to ballet as a sport, she does acknowledge how, like basketball, ballet requires strength and skill. This stance on dance actually sounds ahead of its time. More people would now consider competitive dance a sport, recognizing the athleticism associated with it. Also, ballet was featured in the Sochi Winter Olympics, even though it was only included in the opening ceremonies.
  • While giving Katrina a tour of his neighborhood, Ryan takes her to the P*lace. He briefly explains the P*lace’s history, expressing his enthusiasm about one of his favorite spots. Because this episode aired in season four, it is to be assumed this history was thoroughly explained in, as least, season one. I liked how this script referenced earlier episodes, as it maintains the show’s overarching continuity!

My overall thoughts:

Out of the three episodes I’ve reviewed so far, I’ve noticed a consistent element. Each episode has aged fairly well, despite premiering four decades ago! I didn’t like how the Cold War was glossed over in ‘Russian 101’. But I do appreciate the episode’s message of our differences bringing us together instead of tearing each other apart. Between ‘Russian 101’ and ‘I Love You Suzanne’, I’d pick “I Love You Suzanne”, as I found that episode to be stronger overall. However, there are aspects of the 1987 episode I liked. One of them was most of the musical numbers. Like the other two episodes, they were fun to watch and were the highlight of the story. ‘Russian 101’ became a nice piece of entertainment that was worth the twenty-one minutes!

Rating: A 3.9 out of 5

Even though ‘I Can Dream About You’ was the weakest musical number in this episode, I did like Katrina’s inclusion in the number. Screenshot taken from the Youtube channel, Tammy Coleman.
Episode Name: When Movies Were Movies
Season 4
 Episode 74
Here’s a picture that was featured in the episode, ‘When Movies Were Movies’. It shows how this musical number was meant to look like a movie from the 1920s. Screenshot taken from the Youtube channel, Kids Incorporated.

What I liked about this episode:

When I read the synopsis for this episode, I was expecting a completely different story. In ‘When Movies Were Movies’, I expected the episode to revolve around the cast’s day-off, with the musical numbers taking place at a movie theater. Each musical number would be based on each member’s cinematic preferences. For example, Renee might want to see a romantic movie, so her song would be a slower tune with a romantic tone. However, this episode was about the early history of cinema, as well as Laurel and Hardy’s contributions to the world of film. Since about a third of this episode showed the cast traveling back in time to the 1920s, an imaginary conflict was created in correlation with the story’s discussion on film. I liked the direction this story took because it was a creative subversion of expectations! Because the topic of film is so broad, it was nice to see the show’s team think outside the box!

What I didn’t like about this episode:

Even though Kids Incorporated is somewhat grounded in reality, the locations within the characters’ world are clearly sets in a filming studio. Because of this, I was curious to see what a movie theater would look like in this world. Unfortunately, no movie theater was shown in this episode. In fact, we never see the cast go to the movies. Another thing I didn’t like about this episode was how the cast either didn’t mention a movie’s title or said a fake movie title when suggesting which film they should see. As someone who is interested in ‘80s pop culture, I was looking forward to hearing which films each character would bring up. Like I said before, Kids Incorporated aired on Disney Channel, so I’m surprised no Disney affiliated movies were included in this script.

The musical numbers:

I mentioned earlier how a third of this episode showed the cast traveling back in time to the 1920s. These scenes were presented as a skit where each character is given a role at an imaginary movie studio, trying to figure out what the next big picture will be. Within this skit, two musical numbers directly associated with this part of the story. The first one was Ryan’s solo, ‘Forever (Like Heroes and Fools)’. For a show of this nature, this was a mature number because it brought up feelings and thoughts that might come to mind for people around Ryan’s age or older: failure, self-doubt, and the figurative cost of a dream. The way the overall musical number sounded reminded me of ‘One More Try’ by Timmy T. ‘When Movies Were Movies’ was the second musical number. Even though there was singing and some dancing involved, the number itself was presented as a skit. It was shown in black and white, like a movie from the 1920s. This was the most creative musical number from the four episodes I saw!

I liked all the musical numbers in this episode, but I don’t think Connie, Stacey, and Renee’s number, ‘I’m Still Standing’, fit in its moment of the episode. It should have been a group number placed as the finale. If ‘I’m Still Standing’ had been the last song of ‘When Movies Were Movies’, it would have represented two ideas: the cast finding a solution to their problem in the imaginary world and movies remaining a pastime since the 1920s. ‘The Finer Things’, the musical number that was this episode’s finale, should have been the second number.

The other factors from this episode:

  • According to a comment from Youtube, Kids Incorporated was filmed at Hal Roach Studio. This particular studio also filmed silent comedies from the 1920s. The decision to take a movie-centric episode and using it to pay tribute to the history of the studio shows the creative team put a lot of thought into this story. It also makes me appreciate the efforts made when it came to this episode.
  • In ‘Peter Pam’, Stacey portrayed “Peter Pam” while the rest of the cast portrayed either lost children or pirates. While I liked the musical number, ‘Yo Ho Ho’, I feel there are other roles the Kids Incorporated cast could have portrayed. For example, Martika could have portrayed TinkerBell and Renee could have portrayed Wendy. With ‘When Movies Were Movies’, the roles the cast were given in the imaginary world were more diverse. While Ryan portrays the executive leader of a studio, The Kid and Connie are given the roles of directors. Meanwhile, Richie is portraying an actor from the Western genre and Stacey and Renee are portraying glamourous actresses.
  • Even though there was an overarching message in ‘When Movies Were Movies’, it wasn’t in the center of the story like the previous episodes I saw. This episode primarily focused on the exploration of the early history of cinema. The message came after this history was explained; when it comes to entertainment, sometimes older is better. It’s a message that seems to be relevant today, as I have heard people say they choose to turn toward the older films than the modern ones. In fact, I have found myself doing this on my blog.  

My overall thoughts:

‘When Movies Were Movies’ is my favorite episode out of the four I’ve seen! It not only covers a topic I’m interested in, but the concept was executed in such a creative way! I am disappointed a movie theater wasn’t shown on-screen or any real-life movies weren’t brought up. However, the episode has more positives than negatives. The majority of the musical numbers had a strong connection to the story. ‘When Movies Were Movies’ and ‘Forever (Like Heroes and Fools)’ were the only two that correlated with the cast’s trip to the 1920s. These numbers were interesting for various reasons. It gave the cast different material to work with from a musical and acting perspective. ‘When Movies Were Movies’ serves as a good introduction to movies for a younger audience. How entertaining this history lesson is also helps!

Rating: A 4.2 out of 5

It was interesting to see which characters were given which roles, as it gave the cast new material to work with. Screenshot taken from the Youtube channel, Kids Incorporated.

My final assessment:

I was not expecting to like Kids Incorporated as much as I did! Even though there are episodes I liked more than others, I had an enjoyable experience watching this show for the first time! By this point, I’m going to sound like a broken record. But I was surprised by how well the episodes and their messages held up.  Each episode’s story was simple yet interesting, with a message that was timeless and relatable. These elements work in Kids Incorporated’s favor, as they help the show live on past its prime. Entertaining musical numbers also make this show as enjoyable as I found it! Most of the songs were likable and the musical numbers were a joy to watch. I liked seeing the creativity in some of these numbers, like ‘Yo Ho Ho’ and ‘When Movies Were Movies’. Witnessing imagination come to life is what stands out when I think about this show. I’m actually considering watching all of Kids Incorporated’s episodes and ranking them. Since I don’t create rank posts often, it would be something different from the content I usually publish.

Have you seen Kids Incorporated? Are there any episodes you’d like to see me review? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Have fun at the P*lace!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Stepping Out Review

Shelley Winters is an actress that I was familiar with before joining The Shelley Winters Blogathon. I’ve seen The Diary of Anne Frank, What’s the Matter with Helen?, and Lolita. But out of those three movies, her most memorable role is Helen from What’s the Matter with Helen?. Shelley was able to bring a very haunting element to that character, giving the audience a reason to feel uneasy toward her. As I searched through her IMDB filmography, I came across a film called Stepping Out. When I read the synopsis, it sounded like a very sweet story. Because of this, I choose the 1991 picture for my entry in the blogathon. When it comes to blogathons, I rarely have an opportunity to review musical films. In fact, the last movie musical I reviewed was Summer Magic for A Month Without the Code back in August. I also learned that Stepping Out was based on a pre-existing play. If I hadn’t watched a Youtube video where Gene Siskel and Robert Ebert talk about their least favorite films of 1991, I wouldn’t have discovered this valuable piece of information.

Stepping Out poster
Stepping Out poster created by Paramount Pictures. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SteppingOutFilmPoster.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: As I said in my I Remember Mama review, every actor and actress is expected to bring the best of their acting talents in an ensemble cast. With confidence, I can say that all of the actors and actresses in Stepping Out did a fantastic job in their roles! The chemistry between all of the characters was strong, making their relationships feel believable. Andi, portrayed by Sheila McCarthy, and Geoffrey, portrayed by Bill Irwin, are a perfect example of this. During the duration of the film, Andi and Bill develop a friendship that survives outside of the studio setting. Their interactions give the audience the impression that they truly care about one another. Though her role in this movie was smaller than in other movies, Shelley Winters had a memorable on-screen appearance! Her performance was consistent and her sense of humor was subtle yet effective. I also liked hearing her singing performance when she shared, in one scene, that it was Irving Berlin’s birthday. Despite her limited amount of screen-time, Shelley still found a way to make a big impact in this story!

 

The film’s sweeter moments: Throughout the film, there were sweet, light-hearted moments that I enjoyed seeing. Anytime Mavis encouraged her students and tried to help them become the best dancers they could be, it was very refreshing to see a teacher figure with realistic goals. Even when there were obstacles within the dancing lessons, the students were able to find moments of positivity and humor. One example is when there was a mix-up with their costume hats. It was also nice to see the students trying to help each other outside of the studio environment. When Maxine offers Rose’s son a job, it shows the team dynamic that Mavis strives for during the movie. It also displays how the characters are able to put the needs of others before their own.

 

The dance numbers: Seeing the dance numbers in Stepping Out was a highlight! Since the story revolves around Mavis and her students, all of the dance numbers are performed by them. Despite this, they are all entertaining! Whether it was Mavis’ solo or the group numbers that appeared toward the end of the film, these dance numbers were well choregraphed. It also helps that a good percentage of this cast had Broadway experience prior to appearing in Stepping Out. Their experience and performance related knowledge worked in their favor, as it brought a sense of realism to the dance numbers.

12 size
Masks of comedy and tragedy images 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.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Some characters receiving more character development than others: In Stepping Out, I found that some characters received more character development than others. Two examples are Andi and Mrs. Fraser. This story gave Andi a fully developed back-story. Meanwhile, Mrs. Fraser’s back-story resides in only two sentences. There are even some characters that don’t receive any character development. Dorothy, portrayed by Andrea Martin, is one of them. I understand that in an ensemble cast, it’s not easy providing a story and character development to every character. But, for me, it left more to be desired.

 

Some under-utilized actors: I noticed within this cast that some of the actors were under-utilized. One of these actors is Geza Kovacs, who I talked about in my editorial, “Why Jiggy Nye is Not an Effective Villian in Felicity: An American Girl Adventure”. In his role as a club manager named Jerry, he did a good job with the material he was given. However, he was only in the film for two scenes. I know that this particular character didn’t provide as much to the story as other characters did. But I find it frustrating when talented actors and actresses aren’t given an opportunity to fully utilize their talents.

 

A weaker second half: While watching this movie, I felt the second half was weaker than the first half. This is because some parts of the story were drawn out more than others. A good example is Andi’s story. As I stated before, Andi is a character that received a well-developed back-story. However, it was drawn-out longer than it should have been. To me, this issue is the result of the run-time and a script that wasn’t as tightly written. Even though the film’s second half contained two very entertaining dance numbers, the story itself could have been stronger from start to finish.

Shelley Winters Blogathon banner
The Shelley Winters Blogathon banner created by Erica from Poppity Talks Classic Film and Gill from Realweegiemidget Reviews. Image found at https://poppitytalksclassicfilm.wordpress.com/2019/07/30/announcing-the-shelley-winters-blogathon/.

My overall impression:

Stepping Out made me feel the exact same way that Moulin Rouge! did. The film had sweet moments and other factors that I liked. But the story as a whole could have been stronger. Some of the downfalls include select characters receiving well-written backstories, some under-utilized actors, and a script that’s not as tightly written as it could have been. However, these elements did not make this movie one of the worst I’ve seen this year. Even though this project had its flaws, the cast, as a whole, shines in the spotlight! This is especially true for Shelley Winters! When we think about actresses who’ve graced the silver screen, Shelley, to me, seems like one of the underrated ones. I don’t hear her name being added to the conversation as I do for other starlets, such as Audrey Hepburn and Bette Davis. But during my year of blogging, I learned that this is the reason why blogathons exist. These events provide a platform to talk about almost anything and everything, so it’s great to see blogathons take the time to give lesser known stars and other movie related topics their “standing ovation”.

 

Overall score: 6.5 out of 10

 

Have you seen any of Shelley’s films? If so, which one is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

If you want to check out the video that I referenced in this review, type “SISKEL & EBERT: The Worst Movies of 1991” into Youtube’s search bar. Just to let you know, there is some language and suggestive topics discussed in this video. The segment about Stepping Out starts at 6:55 and ends at 8:33.

Take 3: The Sky’s the Limit Review + 135 Follower Thank You

Thank you to all of my followers that helped 18 Cinema Lane reach this milestone! If it weren’t for you, this blog would have never reached 135 followers in only one year! So, like before, it’s time for another blog follower dedication review! This time, I’m going to talk about a film that was released in September of 1943. The Sky’s the Limit is the only film from this time period that I was able to rent, so that’s the film that I have chosen. I have a confession to make: up until this point, I have never seen a movie where Fred Astaire made an on-screen appearance. I am familiar with who Fred is as a performer, so it’s hard to believe that this is the first of his films that I’ve seen. Choosing this film seems fitting for this particular review.

The Sky's the Limit poster
The Sky’s the Limit poster created by RKO Radio Pictures. Image found at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036363/?ref_=nv_sr_1?ref_=nv_sr_1.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Like I mentioned in the introduction, this was the first film of Fred Astaire’s that I’ve seen. Despite this, I was very impressed with his performance! His presentation was very natural and believable, helping him bring a certain amount of charm to his character. Before watching The Sky’s the Limit, I had no idea that Fred could sing. His singing and dancing talents added uniqueness to his on-screen presence. Another performance that I was impressed by was Joan Leslie’s! Joan made her character well-rounded because of the various emotions and behaviors she adopted. I was also pleasantly surprised by her singing and dancing abilities! By incorporating those elements to her role, it made her performance that much more enjoyable!

 

The on-screen chemistry: Not only did Fred and Joan deliver good performances individually, they also presented good performances as an on-screen pair! Throughout the film, their characters appeared to truly like each other. Moments where Fred and Joan spent time together represent the sweeter parts of the movie. While the relationship of the characters gradually developed, this aspect was portrayed in a way that felt believable. The fact that Fred and Joan’s acting talents were similar worked in their favor. It made their performances complement one another!

 

The dance numbers: Whenever Fred Astaire is cast in a movie, it’s almost guaranteed that there will be, at least, one dance number. In The Sky’s the Limit, Fred performed one dance solo and two dance duets with Joan Leslie. These performances were very well choreographed, appearing flawless and captivating. All of those hours of practice seemed to pay off. Fred and Joan also looked like they having fun during their performances! When a dancer looks like they’re enjoying what they’re doing, it helps the enjoyment factor of the dance number!

Six designs of military airplane
Military plane image created by Brgfx at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by brgfx – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The plot: You’re probably thinking, “If you didn’t like the plot, then why did you watch this movie?” The plot itself wasn’t bad, but it was too straight-forward for my liking. Before watching The Sky’s the Limit, I assumed that the protagonist would face one hilarious situation after another in order to resolve the conflict. However, no efforts were made to find a solution to the conflict. There were very few humorous moments in the film as well. This story took itself more seriously than I think it should have. It seemed to forget that “comedy” was a part of its identity.

 

The limited amount of dance numbers: When I found out that Fred Astaire would be starring in the film and that it was classified as a “musical”, I was expecting the movie to be filled with singing and dancing. In this hour and thirty-minute picture, there were only three dance numbers, with the first one appearing about forty minutes into the film. When a movie’s creative team hires an actor with more than one talent, they should help that actor use their talents to the fullest extent. This is especially true when the movie is labeled as a “musical”. If this doesn’t happen, it makes the actor appear under-utilized.

 

No consequences: As I said in the introduction, The Sky’s the Limit was released in 1943. This means that the film premiered during the Breen Code era. But when Fred Astaire’s character never faced any consequences for his actions and choices, I was shocked that the people behind the Breen Code would find this part of the story to be acceptable. One example is when Fred’s character is upset over a break-up. This causes him to destroy a restaurant’s bar by breaking drinking glasses and throwing a bar stool at the mirrored background. All that happens is Fred paying for his drink and acting as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Because he never owned up to his mistakes, I found it difficult to root for his character.

Dancing Pairs 2 Retro Cartoon Templates
Couple performing the waltz image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by macrovector – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

I can’t believe that I hadn’t seen any of Fred Astaire’s movies until now! That’s a great thing about this blog, as it gives me an excuse to introduce myself to films that I might not have seen otherwise. Now that I’ve shared what I liked and didn’t like about the movie, I can now tell you my honest opinion about it. Personally, I found the film to be just ok. It’s definitely not one of the worst films I’ve seen this year. But, it’s not one of the best films I’ve seen this year either, as it hasn’t aged as well as other projects from that decade. Despite this, I’m still glad I gave this movie a chance! Something that I have said before was how you never know if a film will be good or bad unless you watch it. This is certainly the case for my experience seeing The Sky’s the Limit. Once again, thank you to all of my followers! If it weren’t for you, this review wouldn’t exist.

 

Overall score: 6.1 out of 10

 

What are your thoughts on my review? Are you looking forward to my next movie review? Please tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The Broadway Melody Review + 90 Follower Thank You

This week, I received 90 followers on 18 Cinema Lane! To all my followers, thank you for helping me reach this accomplish! In honor of this achievement, I’m going to review a film that was released 90 years ago (in 1929). While looking through Turner Classic Movie’s (TCM’s) schedule one day, I found a film titled The Broadway Melody. Because this film turned 90 years old this year, I chose to review this movie for this special post. Before this review, I had never heard of The Broadway Melody. So, I was looking forward to expanding my cinematic horizons. Was this film a show-stopper or stumble over its own dancing shoes? Keep reading my review of The Broadway Melody if you want to find out!

The Broadway Melody poster
The Broadway Melody poster created by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Image found at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Broadway_Melody_poster.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: As a whole, the cast of The Broadway Melody was good! Anita Page and Bessie Love both gave a memorable performance as the singing and dancing duo, Hank and Queenie! What was so great about these characters is how they displayed their own distinct personalities. While Hank was out-spoken and spunky, Queenie was a quieter individual with a sweet personality. I also liked Jed Prouty’s performance as Uncle Jed! His portrayal of this character came across very believably, making Uncle Jed feel like a real person. Having him stutter was an interesting choice, as this is not common amongst characters in cinema. However, I thought that this component was incorporated well from both an acting and writing perspective.

 

  • Use of title cards: At some points in the film, title cards were used as scene transitions and location indicators. This choice was not only creative, but also interesting. Since The Broadway Melody was the first movie musical to be “all-talking”, I felt this was a good transition from silent films to talking pictures. These title cards also added a unique stamp to the overall project.

 

  • The musical numbers: One of the strongest aspects of The Broadway Melody is, definitely, the musical numbers! My favorite group routine was “Wedding of the Painted Doll”, as it was really well choreographed and performed! There was so much going on in that number, but it was all great to look at. Throughout this film, the best solo performance came from a ballerina who performed a tap dance on ballet pointe. Her routine was incredible and I had never seen anything like it before! This was absolutely the best dance solo in any movie musical I’ve ever seen!

The Broadway Melody poster card
The Broadway Melody lobby card image created by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Image found at http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/12482/The-Broadway-Melody/#tcmarcp-173805.

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • Large spaces between musical numbers: While I enjoyed seeing the musical numbers in The Broadway Melody, it seemed like this movie had far more dialogue-focused scenes. In my opinion, a good musical finds a way to balance the dialogue and music-focused scenes, creating a film that tells an interesting story and provides entertaining content. Throughout The Broadway Melody, however, there were only seven musical numbers. The ratio between the musical numbers and dialogue-focused scenes was weaker than I had expected.

 

  • The run-time: Before I watched this movie, I was surprised to find that it was almost two hours long. Looking back on this specific production, I don’t think this story needed to be an hour and forty minutes. Because of this run-time, it caused the movie to feel longer than intended and some scenes to feel too drawn out. There was also the inclusion of scenes for the sake of satisfying the run-time. This movie would have worked better with a run-time of an hour and twenty or thirty minutes.

 

  • A “slice of life” story: It seems like the more movies I watch, the more I don’t like “slice of life” stories (unless they have intriguing plots). The premise in The Broadway Melody felt like it was following a year in the life of the Mahoney sisters. I did not find this type of story-telling very interesting. This story also contained petty drama that I really didn’t care about. Because this drama lasted for a good portion of the film, it caused the plot to feel drawn-out.

Note_lines_horizontal1
String of musical notes image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/pentagram-vector_710290.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a> <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Backgroundvector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

The Broadway Melody was an ok film. I can see why this movie received the honors that it did in its time. However, I think there are movie musicals that are stronger than this one. While, the story wasn’t as interesting as I had hoped, the musical numbers were the highlight of this film. They were very enjoyable and fun to watch. I found myself rewinding my recording of The Broadway Melody in order to re-watch some of the musical scenes. “Wedding of the Painted Doll” was such a great ensemble routine and the tap dance on ballet pointe solo was fantastic! With its merits and flaws, I’m still glad I chose to review this film.

 

Overall score: 6.3 out of 10

 

What did you think of my review? Which movie musical is your favorite? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

What makes a Shirley Temple movie a “Shirley Temple movie”?

When I came across the Made in 1938 blogathon last November, it sounded like something I would want to participate in. As I was searching the internet for films with 1938 release dates, I discovered that Shirley Temple starred in three movies within that year: Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Little Miss Broadway, and Just Around the Corner. Because a goal of mine is to watch every single Shirley Temple film ever made, I figured that talking about these three films for this blogathon would be a good way to take one step closer to my goal. Prior to seeing Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Little Miss Broadway, and Just Around the Corner, I had seen some of Shirley’s other films. This means that I had an idea of the components that would make up these three films. So, in this post, I will be exploring and analyzing these six components that are usually found in a “Shirley Temple movie”. Now, when I say “Shirley Temple movie”, I mean the films where Shirley starred in the movie as a child actress. However, when it comes to Shirley’s movies, I will only be discussing the three films that were released in 1938. So, now that I’ve finished these necessary introductions, let’s answer this question of what makes these films a “Shirley Temple movie”.

Made in 1938 blogathon banner
Made in 1938 blogathon poster created by Crystal from In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and Robin from Pop Culture Reverie. Image found at https://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/2018/11/04/announcing-the-made-in-1938-blogathon/ and https://popculturereverie.wordpress.com/2018/11/04/announcing-the-made-in-1938-blogathon/

Shirley Temple’s involvement in the film

When I watched Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Little Miss Broadway, and Just Around the Corner, I wanted to see whether Shirley was given legitimate roles to portray or if the film was treated as a way to, simply, include Shirley in the movie just for the sake of having Shirley star in the film. In these three films, Shirley’s roles seemed like they were well-written characters, each given their own characteristics. There are some similarities that these characters had, such as being, to a certain extent, independent. Each character; Rebecca, Penny, and Betsy, were either an orphan or had at least one parental figure in her life. Because of the specific conflict each of these characters face, they all find a way to solve their particular problem. One example of this is in Little Miss Broadway. When her family’s hotel is in danger of closing for good, Betsy becomes friends with the nephew of the hotel’s landlord and helps him put on a show in order to save the hotel and help the residents keep their home. These characters also have their differences as well, such as how they solve their problems. In Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Rebecca is forced to perform in a radio commercial for her greedy and selfish step-father. In order to get out of her living and working situation, Rebecca pretends to lose her voice, tricking her step-father into thinking that she is no longer employable for radio entertainment. Rebecca came up with this plan all by herself compared to how Betsy from Little Miss Broadway and Penny from Just Around the Corner resolve their conflicts.

After watching these films, I think the best role that Shirley portrayed was Betsy in Little Miss Broadway. Because the film centered around performers living in a hotel, this role highlighted both the acting and performing talents that Shirley had to offer within the movie. It made it feel like this role was created just for Shirley, while also complimenting the talents of the other actors and performers in the film. While I liked Shirley’s portrayal of Rebecca in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, I felt like the creative team behind this movie put a little too much emphasis that Shirley was cast in their film. At one point in the film, Shirley says that she used to have curls all over her head, possibly referencing her earlier roles, such as her role in Curly Top. Shirley also mentions the songs “Animals Crackers in My Soup” and “On the Good Ship Lollipop”, not only referencing Shirley’s previous movies, but making it feel like the movie’s creative team assumed that the audience had seen Shirley’s other movies prior to watching Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. I also liked Shirley’s portrayal of Penny from Just Around the Corner. But, as I’ll explain later in this post, she wasn’t given many opportunities to perform as a singer and dancer within the context of the film.

 

The Cast Surrounding Shirley

For this component, I wanted to see if the cast surrounding Shirley were also given legitimate roles to portray or if these actors’ involvement in the film were just seen as everyone being Shirley Temple’s extras. When I reflect on Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Little Miss Broadway, and Just Around the Corner, I can honestly say that the cast surrounding Shirley were also given characters that were well-written. What I liked about these three movies is that the characters seemed so unique and interesting from one another. One of these characters is Samuel Henshaw from Just Around the Corner. While Samuel, at times, comes across as a grumpy individual, it seems like he has a sense of goodness to him, caring equally about his career and his family. This character is very different from Pop Shea from Little Miss Broadway, for example. While both characters appear to be around the same age, their personalities are very different, helping to give a sense of variety among the characters within these three films. Another thing I liked seeing was the variety of talents that was shown within each film. Bill Robinson’s involvement in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and Just Around the Corner is a good example of this. Not only is Bill a good actor, but he’s also a good dancer. When it comes to the acting within each film, I think that everyone did a good job with the acting material they were given.

rebecca of sunnybrook farm poster
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm poster created by 20th Century Fox. Image found at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0030657/?ref_=nv_sr_1

The Story

While looking at each story from each film, I wanted to find out how much they relied on Shirley’s involvement in the film. Before I reveal my assessment, let me share a brief synopsis for each film. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is about a radio executive and his assistant searching for the perfect candidate to perform in their radio commercial. Just Around the Corner is about a young girl who tries to help her father find employment and Little Miss Broadway is about a hotel owner trying to save his hotel as well as the home of several performers. While all of these stories do, to a certain extent, depend on Shirley’s involvement, these stories can stand on their own. If you take away the fact that this is a “Shirley Temple movie”, these stories could work with other actors and different characters. An example of this is Just Around the Corner. If this movie were not a musical, I could see almost any child actor being cast in the role of Penny. Other than the musical numbers, it doesn’t really seem like Shirley’s involvement is essential to the story overall. This is the same for Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. You could either have almost any child actor or any singer in the lead role and it really wouldn’t make much of a difference.

Out of these three stories, I liked the plot from Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm the most. Not only was the conflict within the plot interesting, but the “behind-the-scenes” aspect of radio entertainment was, to me, fascinating. This part of the film reminded me of two Hallmark movies that I really like: This Magic Moment and Cooking with Love. Because of this, it made me enjoy Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm even more. I liked the story from Little Miss Broadway. But, after the primary conflict is resolved, it feels like other conflicts were invented in the story just to keep the movie going. This made the movie feel a little bit tedious. The story for Just Around the Corner was fine. But, because of the limited amount of musical numbers, it made the story feel drawn out and a little bit longer than intended. Despite the flaws that these stories may have, all of these stories were well-written.

 

The Messages and Themes

Like most family-friendly films, Shirley Temple’s movies have no shortage of messages and themes that can be found within the film’s narrative. For the most part, these messages and themes are relatable and can be shared with audiences of all ages. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Little Miss Broadway, and Just Around the Corner contain more than one message/theme. In Just Around the Corner, the story is very reflective of the time period that the film was released in. Because the movie premiered in 1938, messages and themes relating to The Great Depression can be found within the film’s plot. Financial prejudice, social class, and maintaining a positive attitude no matter what the circumstance is are themes that I found within the movie. Even though Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and Little Miss Broadway were also released in 1938, the messages and themes in these movies are relevant for both the late ‘30s and the late 2010s, focusing less on direct references to The Great Depression. In Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, the two biggest messages that I could find was how success can be found almost anywhere and how important it is to surround yourself with people that truly have your best interests in mind. As a movie blogger, I can relate to the first aforementioned message. Movie bloggers come from all over the world, with several movie bloggers finding huge success. This particular message has definitely stood the test of time. Little Miss Broadway’s two biggest themes in its story were how far kindness can go and getting to know someone before you judge them.

When I watched Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Little Miss Broadway, and Just Around the Corner, I also noticed that some of the songs within these movies contained important messages and themes. The song, “I Love to Walk in the Rain” from Just Around the Corner re-emphasizes the theme of having a positive attitude in almost any situation. Other examples include “How Can I Thank You?” from Little Miss Broadway promoting the idea of taking time to express gratitude to those around you and “Come and Get Your Happiness” from Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm stressing the idea of trying to find happiness wherever you are. Sometimes, these songs were sung more than once, as if the creative team behind these movies wanted to remind their audience of the importance of these messages and themes. For example, in Little Miss Broadway, the song “How Can I Thank You” is sung by Shirley more than once. As I’ve already mentioned, this song focused on promoting sharing gratitude with the people around you. Overall, the messages and themes that are found within these three films add a layer of depth to each story and make the movies feel like time was well spent.

little miss broadway poster
Little Miss Broadway poster created by 20th Century Fox. Image found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LittleMissBroadway1.jpg

The Musical Numbers

No Shirley Temple movie would be complete without at least one musical number. All three of these movies had their fair share of singing and dancing. However, it’s important to compare the big musical number from each film to see if they effectively represent their respective film. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Little Miss Broadway, and Just Around the Corner each had a large musical number that was featured toward the end of their film. These musical numbers equally incorporated singing and dancing into the production. Since I’ve already talked about the song “I Love to Walk in the Rain”, I’ll talk about the musical number from Just Around the Corner first. Toward the end of Just Around the Corner, Penny performs a musical number that reminds the movie’s audience about keeping a positive attitude in almost any situation. The way this theme is presented in this musical number is by showing how happy Penny is to be outside while it is raining. Out of these three films, “I Love to Walk in the Rain” is my favorite musical number. Not only does it stress a major theme from the movie in a creative and memorable way, but the actual musical number itself is very entertaining. All of the dancing is choreographed in such a way that it gives the audience the illusion that Shirley and Bill are actually talking a walk. The special effects that are showcased within this musical number are also very impressive. From the rain effect through the number to the props of moving birds, all of it came together to create a musical number that, I think, represents the film as a whole.

 

The other two musical numbers I will be talking about are “Little Miss Broadway” from Little Miss Broadway and “The Toy Trumpet” from Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. In Little Miss Broadway, Betsy and Roger, the nephew of the hotel’s landlord, perform “Little Miss Broadway” in an attempt to prove to the judge that all of the performers residing in the hotel are worthy of hosting their own show on a regular basis. I liked this musical number quite of bit. The choreography was really good and the special effects of the New York City skyline made this musical number such a spectacle to watch. However, I felt that this musical number was only representative of its respective film to a certain extent. Yes, the musical number is reflective of how far optimism and kindness can go, as well as how happy and exciting Betsy’s new environment is to her. But, Broadway itself is never mentioned in the movie until that very musical number. Plus, the majority of the story takes place either in the hotel or in the landlord’s apartment. I also liked “The Toy Trumpet” from Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. The choreography and the number itself reminded me of the toy soldier dance that the Rockettes perform during Christmas-time. But, when it comes to representing the movie as a whole, this musical number doesn’t really do that. If anything, “The Toy Trumpet” feels random when it’s placed within the context of the story. Toy soldiers are never mentioned in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and the musical number does not incorporate any of the film’s themes or messages into the performance. Because Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm focuses a lot on radio entertainment, there is a greater number of performances that only involve singing. However, I just think that the big musical number within this film should have either been farm themed or showcased at least one of the film’s themes or messages.

 

The Overall Film

For this final category, I was curious as to how well these films held up 81 years later. Did any of these movies stand the test of time or are they just products of their time? I can only speak for myself, but I think Just Around the Corner, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, and Little Miss Broadway stood the test of time just fine. Because each film has a certain amount of simplicity to them and are relatable to a certain extent, these three movies can be enjoyed by many people. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is the film that I liked the most because of its interesting plot and creativity. Like I mentioned earlier in this post, the “behind-the-scenes” look at radio entertainment was something that added interest to the story for me. Also, I was glad to see the creativity that can be found within this film. A perfect example of this was the scene where Rebecca sings “An Old Straw Hat” on the farm. During this scene, Rebecca and Aloysius, the family’s farm hand, not only perform a short dance on the pathway, but they also pick berries to the tune of the song. I thought Little Miss Broadway was a decent film. However, as I’ve also mentioned, the story felt, at times, tedious because the conflict was resolved a little too early. To me, Just Around the Corner was just ok. The biggest issue that I had with this film was that it wasn’t as much of a musical as I had expected. Just Around the Corner only had three musical scenes, one toward the beginning of the film and two toward the end of the film. For the rest of the movie, this limited number of musical scenes/numbers causes the story to feel drawn out and longer than intended. If these movies had received a traditional review on my blog, the scores they would receive are a 7.7 (for Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm), a 7.1 (for Little Miss Broadway), and a 6.2 (for Just Around the Corner).

just around the corner poster
Just Around the Corner poster created by 20th Century Fox. Image found at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0030302/?ref_=nv_sr_2

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Wedding of Dreams Review

On 18 Cinema Lane, Weddings of Dreams is a movie that I have talked a lot about. I first talked about the sequel to Summer of Dreams back in March, when I reported on the film’s production start date in a Word on the Street post. A month later, in another Word on the Street post, I talked about Weddings of Dreams again. This time, I reported on the film’s production dates being pushed back to May. Because of these production date changes, I said that Weddings of Dreams would likely not premiere in Hallmark’s “June Weddings” line-up, but could premiere in the “Summer Nights” line-up like Summer of Dreams did. While I correctly predicted the absence of Weddings of Dreams from the “June Weddings” line-up, I was wrong about the film’s inclusion into the “Summer Nights” line-up. With the movie finally being released and belonging to no seasonal movie line-ups, I watched Wedding of Dreams yesterday and will now give you my honest opinion about the film.

Wedding of Dreams poster
Wedding of Dreams 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=Wedding%20of%20Dreams&IsSeries=False.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: I thought the entire cast of Wedding of Dreams was great! Just like in Summer of Dreams, I was impressed with Debbie’s acting performance! Debbie brought so much believability to her role, as her portrayal of her character came across so naturally on-screen. Debbie’s musical performances were also a treat to see and hear in this film! Another performance that I was impressed with was Robert Gant’s. Similar to Debbie’s performance, Robert brought a lot of believability, as well as versatility, to his role.

 

The on-screen chemistry: In Wedding of Dreams, Debbie and Robert’s on-screen chemistry was great! Their on-screen relationship appeared as if they not only were each other’s best friends, but also like they truly cared about one another. Debbie and Robert’s comedic timing was also fantastic and their interactions were a joy to watch on the screen.

 

The wedding proposal: Noah’s marriage proposal to Debbie at her music studio was one of the best proposals in Hallmark movie history! By having Noah incorporate Debbie’s love of music into the proposal, it made the occasion feel personalized and the proposal itself feel creative. What Noah said during this proposal made the situation feel heart-felt. This entire scene was one of the best scenes from any of this year’s Hallmark movies (so far)!

 

The messages and themes: Hallmark is known for incorporating messages and themes into their films that are uplifting and inspirational. Wedding of Dreams is no exception, with Debbie providing messages of being true to one’s self and finding your passion in life to other characters as well as herself. These messages and themes are relatable and can make the audience feel good about watching this film as they see the characters applying these same messages and themes into their own lives with positive results.

Beautiful wedding dance
First wedding dance image created by Teksomolika at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/newlyweds-dancing-at-their-wedding_983404.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/wedding”>Wedding image created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Reduced focus on Debbie’s music class: What was so charming about Summer of Dreams was the story about Debbie and the students in her music class. In this story, we, the audience, not only got to see Debbie’s interactions with these students, we also got to know some of the students and see how music came to influence their lives. In Wedding of Dreams, there was not as much story-time given to Debbie’s music class like in the first movie. We don’t get to see Debbie interact much with her class and we aren’t given the chance to get to know some of the students, but only become familiar with them. While it’s understandable that this film had two interconnecting plots and that the incorporation of the aforementioned subplot would have made the movie feel like there was too much going on, it feels like some of the identity from the first movie was absent.

152398-OUS8J8-399
Wedding couple image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/hand-drawn-wedding-invitation-with-happy-couple_1259848.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/wedding”>Wedding vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

If you would have told me, two years ago, that Hallmark would give Summer of Dreams a sequel, I would have debated with you on why For Love and Honor was the most deserving movie out of those six films of receiving the achievement. However, I thought Wedding of Dreams was even better than the first movie! While thinking about both Summer of Dreams and Wedding of Dreams, I realized that Hallmark has created a special series out of these two films! Though Hallmark has, so far, not made any announcements about any future films in this series, I would love to see a third movie called “Christmas of Dreams”. Just the thought of Debbie Gibson singing Christmas songs in a Hallmark movie makes me really happy! Seeing a Youngstown Christmas appear in a “Countdown to Christmas” line-up would truly be something special.

 

Overall score: 8.4-8.5 out of 10

 

What are your thoughts on Summer of Dreams and/or Wedding of Dreams? Would you like to see “Christmas of Dreams” become a reality? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen