Buzzwordathon 2023: Review of ‘The Kidnapping of Christina Lattimore’ by Joan Lowery Nixon

February’s theme for Buzzwordathon is ‘verbs’. Because the act of taking something is a verb, I chose to read The Kidnapping of Christina Lattimore by Joan Lowery Nixon. When creating a mystery story, it’s important to make the characters distinct from one another. This way, the reader will be able to keep track of who is who. How Joan achieves this goal is by describing the characters, from what they look like to their personalities. When talking about her friend, Lorna, the protagonist, Christina, says “Lorna is what they call “outgoing” and always seems to know the right things to say”. Meanwhile, Christina describes herself as someone who tends “to keep things all bottled up inside me”. Making these two characters opposites of each other is one way Joan helps the reader remember the story’s characters.

The Kidnapping of Christina Lattimore book cover found on Goodreads

Throughout the book, Christina makes several contradictions that could make a reader frustrated with her. Toward the beginning of the story, while visiting Lorna at her house, Christina contemplates on what should be important in her life. Even though she turns to her friend for advice, Christina is unsure which direction will lead her to an answer. A chapter later, shortly after she’s been kidnapped, Christina asks “Will my children someday have any idea of what I’m like inside”? This quote implies she already knows what is important to her: having a family in the future. If she already found what’s important to her, why would Christina bother to question what is important in the first place? As the story continues, Christina contradicts herself again, by discovering the most important thing, to her, is herself. Didn’t she already figure out what was important back in chapter three?

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In all honesty, I can’t recommend The Kidnapping of Christina Lattimore. This is because of how weak the story is. It is possible to tell a “coming of age” story while also giving the characters a mystery to solve. Instead of evenly balancing these two concepts, Joan prioritizes Christina’s “coming of age” story over the mystery itself. That decision led to a book where suspense is far and few between, as well as a novel that lacks urgency. What also doesn’t help was how the kidnappers’ identities were revealed earlier in the story. There is an overarching mystery about an unknown kidnapper in Christina’s case. But the aforementioned reveal took away some of the book’s intrigue.

Overall score: 2.1 out of 5 stars

Have fun during Buzzwordathon!

Sally Silverscreen

Disclaimer: Because this story includes a kidnapping, some readers may be sensitive to this book. Other subjects that may be offensive to some readers are:

Some occasions where characters swear

Christina refers to her father as a “bigot” due his religious beliefs

Christina, a high school junior, develops a crush on a college sophomore

Some occasions of violence

The subject of teen pregnancy is briefly referenced

Take 3: The Legend of Billie Jean Review (80s-tastic Mall-tacular Double Feature Part 2)

Hello and welcome to the second part of the 80s-tastic Mall-tacular Double Feature! Before this review begins, I’d like to remind my readers there will be spoilers for The Legend of Billie Jean. If you’re interested, you can check out the double feature’s introduction and first part at these links:

The 80s-tastic Mall-tacular Double Feature Introduction!

Take 3: Night of the Comet Review (80s-tastic Mall-tacular Double Feature Part 1)

The Legend of Billie Jean poster created by Delphi III Productions, The Guber-Peters Company, and Tri-Star Pictures

1. How were you introduced to The Legend of Billie Jean?

Before I started watching Dan Bell’s Dead Mall series, I had heard of The Legend of Billie Jean. It wasn’t until I saw the video, ‘DEAD MALL SERIES : Tour of the SUNRISE MALL from THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN (1985)’, that my interest in the film piqued. In this 2016 video, Dan uses clips from The Legend of Billie Jean to compare how Sunrise Mall looks in the 21st century. He even discusses the history of the mall itself.

2. As of 2022, what is the state of the Sunrise Mall?

The portions of the mall that were featured in Dan’s video permanently closed in 2019. Only three tenants are still standing, which are connected to the mall’s exterior.

3. What role did the Sunrise Mall play in The Legend of Billie Jean?

In The Legend of Billie Jean, the Sunrise Mall was called ‘Ocean Park Mall’. It was the place Billie Jean agreed to meet the police in order to accept the money. Prior to this arrangement, Billie Jean’s brother, Binx, had his scooter destroyed. Billie Jean and her friends turn to the police with little success. She even tries to acquire the money to repair Binx’s scooter. One thing leads to another, causing Billie Jean, Binx, and her friends to run from the law. When Billie Jean arrives at Ocean Park Mall, she thinks she’ll finally get the money. But those plans don’t work out, with a chase scene ensuing.

4. Why do you think the Sunrise Mall was in the film for a short amount of time?

The Legend of Billie Jean is an expansive narrative, similar to Night of the Comet. As I said in answer number three, Billie Jean, Binx, and her friends go on the run. Because of this, the characters are not going to stay in the same place for an extended period of time. Around the filming and release of The Legend of Billie Jean, the Sunrise Mall was a business that relied on daily revenue and foot traffic. Therefore, the mall could only allow filming to take place within a certain time period.

5. Besides including a mall and focusing on teenage characters, do The Legend of Billie Jean and Night of the Comet share a common theme, idea, or message?

Like I mentioned in answer number three, the film’s conflict started because Binx’s scooter was destroyed. After the scooter was stolen by a neighborhood bully named Hubie, Binx’s attempt to retrieve it resulted in him getting beaten up by Hubie and his friends. This is when Billie Jean decided more needed to be done to help her brother. Billie Jean and Binx reminded me of Regina and Samantha from Night of the Comet. Both pairs of siblings are prominently featured in their respective story, with each pair trying to make the best of a complicated situation. Throughout each film, both sibling pairs appear to get along well with each other, displaying a good sense of camaraderie.

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6. Is there anything about The Legend of Billie Jean you liked or didn’t like?

A pleasant surprise while watching The Legend of Billie Jean was the discovery of mixed media! Throughout the film, voice-overs from a radio station were heard. A newspaper would appear in the story from time to time. Video footage of Billie Jean also made an appearance in the story. The inclusion of mixed media led to creative and interesting ways it was used in the movie. Radio station voice-overs featured calls from listeners, sharing their support for Billie Jean and her cause. Newspaper articles shared details to progress the story forward, from the health status of Hubie’s father to the identity of Lloyd. In an effort to clear her name, Billie Jean, Binx, and her friends create a video and give copies to the police and various tv stations. Mixed media allowed the movie to receive a unique and memorable identity!

The majority of this story focused on the conflict of how Billie Jean, Binx, and her friends would obtain the money to repair Binx’s scooter. Billie Jean received the most character development, as she is the titular character. While I thought the story was interesting and while I liked Billie Jean as a character, I wish some of the other characters had received more character development. Toward the beginning of the film, one of Billie Jean’s friends, Putter, is watching a female wrestling match on tv. When she learns of Billie Jean’s plan to report Binx’s stolen scooter, Putter eagerly looks forward to this excursion to the police station. As I was watching the movie, I was curious about Putter’s interest in going to the police station and watching wrestling on television.  Unfortunately, these parts of the story were not explained.

7. Did you develop any thoughts and/or questions while watching this film?

While I didn’t develop any questions, I did notice some interesting coincidences. During my viewing of The Legend of Billie Jean, I learned the movie was a “modern” Joan of Arc story. After Billie Jean, Binx, and her friends break into Lloyd’s house, Lloyd introduces them to the story of Joan of Arc. Billie Jean is so inspired by what Lloyd told her, she decides to cut her hair short to reflect Joan’s appearance. There’s even a parallel between Joan of Arc getting burned at the stake and a statue of Billie Jean getting burned in a fire toward the end of the movie. Now here’s where the interesting coincidences come in. Last year, I reviewed the Touched by an Angel episode, “The Spirit of Liberty Moon”. That episode was not only a “modern” Joan of Arc story, Bai Ling’s character was named Jean. Yes, I know the name, Jean, is Billie’s middle name. But according to Jean’s friend in “The Spirit of Liberty Moon”, Jean is the French version of Joan. Plus, I reviewed both the Touched by an Angel episode and The Legend of Billie Jean in October.

8. In your double feature for Rich Kids and Over the Edge, you discussed certain events from the ‘70s that likely influenced the creation of those films. Is there anything from the ‘80s that you think either affected The Legend of Billie Jean or teenagers from that time?

Imagine, once again, you’re a teenager in the 1980s. You have so much to be thankful for, from a family that loves and supports you to that new set of wheels you just got as a gift. But, sometimes, you think life can be a little unfair. On your way home from school, you see a homeless person on a street corner, asking for money or even a sandwich. A flyer appears in your family’s mailbox from time to time, asking for food bank donations. No matter how respectful you are to the homeless person on the street corner or how many donations you take to the food bank, you wonder if your efforts are enough to truly make a long-lasting impact. Then, you hear about an event called Hands Across America. Everyone is talking about it, from your next-door neighbor to the cashier at your local grocery store. There’s even an assembly at your school about the event. The more you think about Hands Across America, the more you realize there are other people that have the same thought as you do: try to make the world a better place than how you found it.

Hands Across America was not mentioned in The Legend of Billie Jean. In fact, the event took place a year after the film was released. But there was one scene that reminded me of this piece of ‘80s history. While Billie Jean, Binx, and her friends are on the run, a group of children ask for Billie Jean’s help. They lead her to a house where one of their friends is being physically abused by his father. The small group grows larger as Billie Jean makes her way to the house. Binx and Billie Jean’s friends eventually join the group, adding their support for Billie Jean’s mission. Now you’re probably wondering, “What does this scene have to do with Hands Across America”? Well, it’s the idea of people from all walks of life coming together to support a common goal. In the case of The Legend of Billie Jean, those children, plus Billie Jean, Binx, and her friends, shared the same idea: save the young boy from his abusive dad. Before Billie Jean succeeded in her rescue effort, the large group of children circled around the boy’s house, intimidating the boy’s father. The film itself, as well as Hands Across America, showed teenagers at that time there were other teens who shared their same goals and dreams.

9. A lot has changed since the release of The Legend of Billie Jean. Have you come across any recent pieces of media that prominently feature a mall?

After breaking into Lloyd’s house, Billie Jean discovers a room upstairs. In this room, there are Halloween masks, security monitors, even video equipment. The room itself could make any Halloween costume store jealous, with dim lighting, candles, and cobwebs adding to the room’s eerie atmosphere. Even the build-up to the room’s discovery was straight out of a horror movie, as a costumed Lloyd follows Billie Jean. Later in the film, it is discovered Lloyd is a member of his school’s drama club, explaining why the aforementioned room contained so many costumes.

The scene I just described reminded me of a Hallmark film titled hoops&yoyo’s Haunted Halloween. In this animated film, the protagonists, Hoops and Yoyo, along with their friend, Piddles, go Halloween costume shopping at their local mall. During their trip, they become locked inside the mall after hours. I’ve only seen pieces of this 2012 movie. But based on what I have seen, the film is more spooky than scary. However, I do think it’s an interesting coincidence how both hoops&yoyo’s Haunted Halloween and The Legend of Billie Jean feature a mall in their respective story.

10. After watching this movie, is there anything you can take away from your movie viewing experience?

Calling The Legend of Billie Jean a “mall movie” is, in my opinion, a bit of a stretch. Similar to Night of the Comet, the Sunrise Mall was featured in only a few scenes. If anything, The Legend of Billie Jean is a “coming of age” story, as Billie Jean, Binx, and her friends experience personal growth over the course of the film. I liked The Legend of Billie Jean more than Night of the Comet. The story in the 1985 movie was pretty straight forward, making the film easier to follow. It was also interesting how mixed media was incorporated into the story. The Legend of Billie Jean is a fine, competently made film, complete with its own merits and flaws. The film’s message of how “fair is fair” is just as relevant now as it was in 1985, allowing the movie to be a more timeless title.

Image by Freepik

Have fun at the mall!

Sally Silverscreen

The Top 10 Worst Movies I saw in 2019

Another year, another annual Top 10 article! In 2018, I published my list of The Top 10 Best Movies I Saw in 2018 first. This time around, I’ll be publishing my worst of the year list instead! For me, 2019 has been a better year for movies, as I saw far more good films than bad. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t see any movies I wasn’t a fan of. Similar to last year’s post, this list will be based on movies that I personally saw, as well as my own opinion. Also, this list is not meant to be mean-spirited or negative toward anyone’s opinions/cinematic preferences. Now, let’s begin by bringing up the Dishonorable Mentions!

Our Christmas Love Song, My One and Only, Over the Moon in Love, Hart to Hart: Secrets of the Heart, A Very Country Wedding, Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows, Nightmare Best Friend, Last Vermont Christmas, Always and Forever Christmas (I only watched half of it before turning it off), and Christmas in Louisiana (I ended up watching less than half of it before changing the channel)

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10. After the Storm

Sadly, we start this list with an UP Network release. I was hoping any movie from this network didn’t have to end up on my list. But this movie is placed lower on the list than last year’s entry, Christmas on Holly Lane. So, I guess that’s a step in the right direction! Now, back to talking about After the Storm. What made me want to watch this movie is the discussion of natural disasters and their aftermath. In family-friendly, made-for-TV movies, this specific topic is rarely featured in the story. Unfortunately, this film’s narrative placed more emphasis on the romance than the titular storm and its aftermath. Another major issue I had with this movie was the questionable decisions the male and female protagonist make within the film. While these decisions were not necessarily bad, they were also given questionable explanations. I wasn’t able to stay invested in the protagonists and their relationship because of this creative decision.

9. A Feeling of Home

Texas is one of the states that isn’t always featured in a Hallmark movie. This part of the film made me want to give this project a chance. But, similar to After the Storm, the story placed more focus on the romance than in the conflict. There were some editing errors within this film that were painfully obvious. It also doesn’t help that the weakest acting performance came from the lead actress. Watching the female protagonist desperately trying to win over her father’s attention was, actually, quite sad. This made her appear weaker than the majority of female protagonists from Hallmark Channel. I have to ask: who greenlit this script when they knew it was this weak?

8. Christmas at Graceland: Home for the Holidays

In 2018, I saw and really liked Christmas at Graceland. While I thought Wedding at Graceland was ok, it’s the third film in this trilogy that I find to be the worst out of the three. There were a number of plot points in this movie that didn’t make any sense. Why would the female protagonist give her nieces only one small snowglobe but the male protagonist’s children an elaborate and large advent calendar? Also, for a movie set in Graceland, the famous location ends up being a glorified extra by having less than three appearances on screen. Because of this, it makes the story feel like it didn’t need to take place in Graceland. The movie made me wish Christmas at Graceland had never received any sequels.

7. Christmas Scavenger Hunt

The idea of a Christmas themed scavenger hunt is something that had never been shown in a Hallmark production prior to 2019. So, I was somewhat optimistic about this particular movie. Sadly, the potential this film had was wasted on a poorly written script. All of the scavenger hunt clues were way too easy to solve. There was no sense of urgency throughout the film, as well as two separate moments where the male and female protagonist came across as selfish. Not only was the lead actress’s performance weak, but so was the on-screen chemistry between the lead actor and actress. Like other films on this list, questions arose within the story that distracted me from enjoying the movie. One of these questions was why the female protagonist didn’t make her boyfriend take off his expensive tie before baking. All of these missteps added up to a movie that was less entertaining that it could have been.

6. Christmas Camp

When I first heard of this movie, I was excited to see a Christmas themed camp brought to life for the first time in a Hallmark film. I had reviewed this movie for Drew’s Movie Review’s Christmas in July Blogathon. Upon my first and only viewing of the film, I learned that the camp itself was nothing more than an afterthought. What this movie excels at is having a pointless plot and tradition shaming characters whose Christmas doesn’t look or sound “traditional”. Despite the fact this is a Hallmark film, these things don’t make it feel like a Hallmark film. If anything, it makes me wonder why the network would greenlight this movie at all? Hallmark has been known for creating a variety of Christmas products to celebrate a multitude of Christmas traditions. With Christmas Camp, it makes the network seem inconsistent with their message.

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5. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Back in October, I gave this film a second chance for The Second Spencer Tracy & Katharine Hepburn Blogathon. Looking back on it, I realize that was probably a mistake. Unfunny humor is the movie’s biggest flaw. Yes, I know that comedy is a very subjective thing. But if a comedic film barely makes me laugh, then it hasn’t done its job well. Other problems in this movie include the run-time and a weak story. There were elements that could have enhanced the project, such as commentary about greed and the power of money. But these things were swept under the rug for the sake of hosting a popularity contest instead of a movie production.

4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

This was the first movie I saw in 2019 and boy was it a disappointment. All of the humor was so forced, that I found myself not laughing at any of the jokes. The film’s plot was tedious, which made the movie itself feel longer than its run-time. I also found a few plot-holes within this film. One of them was so large and obvious, that it made me question the existence of the movie’s narrative. While I liked the acting performances and the special effects (both practical and CGI), there were more negatives to the film than positives. This could have been something quirky and fun. Unfortunately, the movie was missing those two important ingredients.

3. A Cheerful Christmas

This is not only the worst Christmas movie I saw in 2019, it’s also the worst Hallmark movie I saw in 2019. It doesn’t help when the lead actress ends up over-acting or when at least one of the actors clearly can’t carry a British accent. But it also doesn’t help when the story is poorly written. This movie made me ask more questions than I had planned to. One question was about the female protagonist’s ability to keep her job after all the business-related blunders she makes. I know that fictional stories require their audience to suspend a certain amount of disbelief. But this movie tried to make me suspend all my disbelief, making me feel uncheerful. While I appreciate the movie’s attempt to avoid a large number of “royal movie” clichés, it wasn’t enough to save the project. In my opinion, it felt like the film’s creative team put so much emphasis on making a pointless, family-friendly, Christmas remake of Pretty Woman, that they forgot how to make a good movie.

2. Ace of Hearts

I’m all for helping smaller, family-friendly films get the “standing ovation” they might deserve. However, for a movie to achieve a “standing ovation”, it needs to be good. Ace of Hearts, unfortunately, fails to meet that criteria. The majority of the acting performances are poor and the pacing is very slow. But the worst offense this movie commits is bad writing. This story had so many plot-holes and inconsistencies, that it was exhausting instead of enjoyable. When the protagonist’s daughter convinces her friend that the reason why her family’s dog is trying to get home is to get back at the film’s villain because it’s his “unfinished business” (she comes to this conclusion after seeing the title of a video game), that’s when you know you’ve come across a bad script. As if that weren’t bad enough, this movie is, apparently, based on a true story. If my true story were handled this poorly, I would be offended and embarrassed.

1. A Page of Madness

A Page of Madness is a silent film from Japan, for those of you who are not familiar with this title. I appreciate the director’s efforts to preserve this movie, especially since, according to Ben Mankiewicz from Turner Classic Movies, the majority of Japanese films created before 1945 are either partially or completely lost. I also understand what the director was trying to do with the project. But just because I’m a grateful and understanding movie blogger, that doesn’t mean I liked the final product. This movie has a plethora of problems that would make this list longer than it already is. So, I’ll share two reasons why A Page of Madness is the worst film I saw in 2019. The first is how it has no plot, narrative, or story. It just contains a premise that goes nowhere. The second is how, in reality, this movie is an artistic experiment masquerading as a film. Personally, I found this to be dishonest and manipulative. At two separate moments, I wanted to fall asleep and turn the movie off. This is one of those times where I wish I would have listened to my instincts.

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World poster
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World poster created by Casey Productions and United Artists. Image found at,_Mad,_Mad,_Mad_World_(1963)_theatrical_poster.jpg

What are your thoughts on my list? Which is your worst film of 2019? Leave your thoughts in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The Newton Boys Review + 20 Follower Thank You

In late August, I achieved the accomplishment of receiving 20 followers on my blog! Because some of my recent posts have taken me longer to write and publish than expected, I apologize for the delay in releasing this post. I put a lot of thought into which film I would review for this blog follower dedication post. After looking at and thinking about all of my available options, I decided to go back to the well of talking about a movie that is based on a true story; The Newton Boys. When I started creating these blog follower dedication posts, the movie I reviewed when I received 5 followers was Saving Mr. Banks, a film that is based on the true story of how the Mary Poppins film came into existence. For The Newton Boys, however, this movie is not heart-felt like the aforementioned movie. It explores the relationship of the Newton brothers and how they turned to a life of crime. Before choosing this movie for my 20 follower dedication post, I had never heard of The Newton Boys or the true story behind it. Because this movie seems to be overshadowed by other movies from 1998, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to give The Newton Boys the “standing ovation” it deserves. So, as I start this review of The Newton Boys, I’d like to take a moment to thank each and every one of my 20 followers on 18 Cinema Lane! I would not have been able to reach this milestone without you!

The Newton Boys poster
The Newton Boys poster created by 20th Century Fox. Image found at

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: The cast of The Newton Boys was superb! Every actor that portrayed a character with an accent pulled it off very well, adding believability to their characters! Before watching The Newton Boys, I had seen a few of Matthew McConaughey’s films, including How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Fool’s Gold. However, The Newton Boys is the film that made me appreciate Matthew’s acting abilities, impressed by how he can, successfully, pull off a performance in both light-hearted romantic-comedies and dramatic historical/period films. I was also impressed with Julianna Margulies’ portrayal of Louise Brown! Julianna packed so much versatility and emotion into her performance, that it truly made her on-screen presence very memorable!


The atmosphere: This film takes place between 1919 and 1924. The world that this particular film created was immersive, with every aspect of this film looking and feeling like that time period. The level of detail the creative team behind this movie took in order to make The Newton Boys look and feel authentic was great! From the music to an old-fashioned calculator, even to the beginning introduction of the film itself, everything about this movie adds to the believability of this story!


The on-screen camaraderie: As I mentioned in the introduction for my review of The Newton Boys, this movie is about the Newton brothers and how they turned to a life of crime. All of the actors portraying the brothers (Matthew McConaughey, Skeet Ulrich, Ethan Hawke, and Vincent D’Onofrio) displayed an on-screen camaraderie that made their characters appear like they truly got along with one another. The bond between these brothers came across in this movie very believably, making this bond feel genuine. In this movie, the relationship between these brothers adds to the overall story.

Railway Train image created by Freepik at <a href=’’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=””>Backgroundvector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at

What I didn’t like about this film:

The dialect: Because the Newton brothers were from Texas, most of the characters in this movie spoken with a Southern/Texan dialect. Since I’m not used to hearing characters speak with this particular dialect, it was difficult, at times, to understand what the characters were saying. For me, hearing this dialect did take some getting used to. However, the dialogue in The Newton Boys can be understood.


The sound editing: Throughout this movie, the music and background sounds were louder than the dialogue. This means that every time a character spoke, I found myself turning the volume up on my television. Whenever there was background sounds or music playing, I turned the volume on my TV down.


The run-time: The Newton Boys is a 2 hour and 2-minute film. While watching this movie, I noticed there were scenes in this film that felt like they were incorporated in the movie for the sake of filling in this run-time. Because there are about less than 10 robberies featured in this movie, I think The Newton Boys could have been a 1 hour to 40 or 50-minute film.

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My overall impression:

Like I said in the introduction, I was not aware of the Newton brothers’ story or this film before I decided to write this blog follower dedication post. Now that I have seen The Newton Boys, I can honestly say that I was not only entertained by this movie, I was also educated by it as well! This movie made me feel like I was engaging in a history lesson without having to worry about homework or passing an exam. To me, this was two hours well spent! If you are a fan of movies that are based on true stories or historical/period films, I would definitely recommend The Newton Boys, as I feel this movie did this story justice! Once again, thank you to my followers and readers on 18 Cinema Lane. I look forward to seeing what other movies I’ll review as I keep dedicating these reviews to you.


Overall score: 7.5 out of 10


What is your favorite movie from 1998? What movies based on a true story do you like? Leave your thoughts in the comment section!


Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Evenings At The Shore: Fairytales are here to stay

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.

Chespeake Shores Season 3 poster
Chesapeake Shores poster image created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at

Season: 3

Episode: 4

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.

Princess tiara image created by Freepik at <a href=’’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=””>Gold vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at

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.

Fairytale castle image created by Freepik at <a href=’’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=””>Design vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at

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!

Starry night landscape with reeds
Evening view from the shore image created by 0melapics at <a href=’’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=””>Background vector created by 0melapics –</a>. Image found at

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!


Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Season for Love Review (Year of the Dog Double Feature Part 2)

For the second part of my Year of the Dog Double Feature for Often Off Topic’s Dog Day Blogathon, I chose to review a movie that was released in 2018, the Year of the Dog! Because Hallmark was premiering a brand-new movie this past weekend, I decided to include Season for Love in this Double Feature. When I first heard about this movie, I will admit that it was not one of my most anticipated movies out of these five summer themed films. To me, the plot sounded a lot like other stories that have been seen on the Hallmark Channel. However, BBQ cooking has never been featured in a Hallmark movie before and Texas has rarely been the primary location for any Hallmark production. So, like I do with every movie I review, I watched it with low expectations and an open mind. Want to find out my opinion of Season for Love? Square dance your way to my review to find out!

Season for Love poster
Season for Love poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: I thought the acting in Season for Love was good! Marc Blucas and Autumn Reeser really shined in this movie with performances that appeared genuine and versatile! Not only did the lead actors give a memorable performance, the supporting actors did as well. Shelley Thompson was a stand-out performer in this movie, her portrayal of Jo Dawson was so pleasant to watch on-screen! Even Lola Flanery gave a very believable performance, especially for being the only young actor within the main cast!


The on-screen chemistry: Though this was Marc and Autumn’s first time starring in a Hallmark movie together, their on-screen chemistry came across as very believable! I think what helped was that Marc’s and Autumn’s acting talents complimented one another. Marc and Autumn’s characters appeared as if they truly got along, like their relationship on-screen was genuine. I’m hoping that Marc and Autumn are cast in another Hallmark movie together in the near future!


The incorporation of BBQ cooking: Season for Love is not the first Hallmark movie that features cooking within the main plot. However, this is the first Hallmark movie that showcases BBQ cooking. I liked the way the BBQ competition was filmed, as the process of preparing a BBQ meal was shown enough to satisfy the interest of the audience. I also liked learning about the different ingredients that can go into BBQ because it felt informative while being entertaining.

2018 Dog Day Blogathon Banner
Offical Dog Day Blogathon banner created by Allie from Often Off Topic. Image found at

What I didn’t like about the film:

Predictability: Most of Hallmark’s movies have a certain amount of predictability to them. But for a film that showcased new ideas (like BBQ cooking and a location in Texas), I was hoping Season for Love’s plot would contain more originality. A lot of story-points that were written into this movie were ones that I’ve seen in several other Hallmark movies. Because of this, it made this movie feel very predictable.

Situations happening too quickly: In Season for Love, there were about three situations that happened too quickly. One example is when Autumn’s character, Tyler, tells Corey, Marc’s character, that revisiting their relationship might not be a good idea. That same night, after she sees one of her daughter’s drawings, Tyler visits Corey to apologize for doubting their relationship. Moments like these seemed to interrupt the overall flow within the film.


Something was missing: Season for Love made me feel the same way Love at First Dance did: all of the pieces for this to be good movie were there, but something special felt like it was missing. Because of this, I wasn’t able to connect with this movie like I had wanted to.

Year of the Dog image created by Freepik at <a href=’’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=””>Banner vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at 

My overall impression:

Season for Love was a decent movie. Though I did enjoy watching this movie, I still like Pearl in Paradise more. Since Season for Love was the last movie in the “Summer Nights” line-up, I can now give my complete and honest opinion about the line-up as a whole. As a “Summer Nights” line-up, the overall quality felt about the same as last year’s. As a line-up in general, this was a little stronger than the other line-ups on Hallmark Channel so far. There’s one more line-up left before the Christmas movies start premiering: Fall Harvest. I’m hoping these movies and the line-up as a whole end Hallmark’s seasonal movie collections on a positive note, especially since Hallmark has plenty more stories to tell. Thank you to everyone who read my Year of the Dog Double Feature and a special thank you to Allie from Often Off Topic for letting me join the Dog Day Blogathon. This definitely encouraged me to seek out other blogathons and let my creativity go as far as it will let me.


Overall score: 7.4 out of 10


What did you think of Hallmark Channel’s “Summer Nights” line-up this year? What was your favorite 2018 “Summer Nights” movie? Let me know in the comment section!


Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen