Take 3: Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Til Death Do Us Part Review (Hallmark Mysteries Double Feature Part 1)

Because I haven’t reviewed a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film since January, I thought writing about the newest Aurora Teagarden movie was a good idea! I also watched the latest mystery film, To Catch a Spy. Therefore, I decided to make my reviews a double feature! First though, we need to talk about Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Til Death Do Us Part! While weddings have been shown in Hallmark’s mystery films, this is the first time one of the protagonists has gotten married within their respective series. Having Aurora finally walk down the aisle makes sense, especially since the Aurora Teagarden series has been on the air the longest. However, it’s still nice to see Aurora and her fiancé, Nick, reach this milestone in the lives. Speaking of miles and stones, let’s hop, skip, and jump through this review of Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Til Death Do Us Part!

Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Til Death Do Us Part poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

Things I liked about the film:

Omitting the “planning-a-wedding-in-an-unrealistic-time-period” cliché: Anyone who has read my list of The Top 10 Worst Cliches from Hallmark Movies would know I am not a fan of the “planning-a-wedding-in-an-unrealistic-time-period” cliché. Because this is the first time Aurora and Nick have gotten married, let alone planned a wedding, it would have been easy for the series’ creative team to include this cliché in the script. Instead, part of the story revolved around Aurora and Nick finalizing wedding plans days before their big celebration. I like how the creative team took a different approach when it came to the subject of weddings. It also helps that the wedding itself didn’t dominate the story, like in some wedding movies. Showing a wedding’s planning process in a realistic fashion is quite refreshing. At one point in the film, Nick and Aurora seriously consider postponing their wedding, a conversation that felt mature and considerate. It was nice to see soon-to-be newlyweds take the planning process seriously instead of a) relying on the “power of love” to make everything fall into place or b) become so attached to a physical location, that they do anything it takes just to get married there.

A cold case mystery: Hallmark’s mystery series have sometimes featured cold cases. But these types of cases are not featured as often as cases that take place in an immediate time frame. This is especially true when it comes to the Aurora Teagarden series. The mystery in Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Til Death Do Us Part first took place over twenty years ago. Not only that, but it also relied on dialogue as clues more than physical objects. This kind of story-telling is rarely seen in Hallmark mystery films. It gives the audience a reason to stay invested in the movie, as it forces them to pay attention to what the characters are saying and doing. I also applaud Aurora Teagarden’s creative team for choosing a different kind of mystery for this story. It keeps the overall series fresh and exciting!

Aurora’s wardrobe: An underrated strength in the Aurora Teagarden series is Aurora’s wardrobe! The outfits found in this film not only appeared stylish and modest, but they also complimented Candace Cameron Bure. In a scene where Nick brings Aurora donuts for breakfast, Aurora’s outfit consisted of a simple green skirt and a gray sweater with a green, yellow, and purple plaid pattern. When a piece of clothing features a pattern, you should pair it with a plain colored piece. This is the reason why Aurora’s outfit worked. Another memorable outfit was the one Aurora wore to her rehearsal dinner. The pink, short-sleeved dress was complimented by simple gold and silver jewelry. When Aurora went outside, she wore a navy-blue coat that boasted a light and dark pink plaid pattern. Because the coat featured the same color of pink as the dress, both pieces paired well together!

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.

What I didn’t like about the film:

A limited amount of humor: In Hallmark’s mystery series, including the Aurora Teagarden series, a certain amount of humor is incorporated into each story. This element prevents the film from becoming too dark. But Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Til Death Do Us Part didn’t feature as much humor as other movies in the series. One reason for this was the absence of Miranda Frigon, who has portrayed Lynn since the series’ beginning. Her dry humor and criticism of Aurora’s involvement in each case has served as comic relief. Without Lynn, a percentage of the series’ humor is gone. Even though, there were two scenes that made me laugh out loud, this movie was one of the more serious stories in the series.

The mystery’s weak connection to the wedding: While I did like the film’s cold case mystery and how the wedding didn’t dominate the story, the mystery itself didn’t connect to the wedding. As I mentioned in this review, the mystery took place over twenty years ago. But as I watched the movie, I felt it could have been placed in its own story. I found myself wondering, “Do we really need a wedding to break up the darkness of this case”? If the series’ creative team really wanted Nick and Aurora’s wedding to remain an important part of the story, the mystery could have been something along the lines of a cold case being connected to the wedding reception venue or a florist being kidnapped.

The dynamic of Charles and Aida’s relationship: Aurora’s father, Charles, attends Aurora and Nick’s wedding. Because Charles and Aida, Aurora’s mother, divorced when Aurora was in college, this is the first time Aurora’s parents have interacted in years. If this had happened in real life, there would be a certain amount of awkwardness and discomfort between both parties. But for Aida and Charles, it seemed like they picked up where they left off. I can see the film’s creative team wanted to showcase cordial, co-parenting exes, similar to the Hallmark Channel movie, Love to the Rescue. What made that concept work in the 2019 film is how Nikki DeLoach’s character and her ex were currently raising a school-aged child. Therefore, both parents needed to co-parent. In the newest Aurora Teagarden chapter, Aurora is an adult. At this point in Aurora’s life, Aida and Charles no longer need to co-parent, let alone be on the same page when it comes to their daughter.

Magnifying glass and fingerprint image created by Alvaro_Cabrera at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/loupe-over-a-fingerprint_853908.htm’>Designed by alvaro_cabrera</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/glass”>Glass vector created by Alvaro_cabrera – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

The Aurora Teagarden series is Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ longest running series. Since 2015, fans have watched Aurora solve multiple murders, navigate her love life, and lead the Real Murders Club. With Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Til Death Do Us Part, Aurora, as well as Nick, reach a new chapter in their lives. At the same time, our favorite librarian does what she does best: solve a mystery. This new film contains elements that serve as the series’ strengths; such as showing a type of mystery that isn’t always featured on the network and utilizing different ways to present clues. However, the film is one of the more serious titles in the series. Miranda Frigon’s absence was seen and felt. Because some of the series’ humor comes from her character, most of Aurora Teagarden’s comedy was not there. While Marilu Henner and Andrew Airlie, who portray Aida and Charles Teagarden, have good on-chemistry, I didn’t think the dynamic of their characters’ relationship was well executed. For this flaw, the fault lies in the screenwriting. I’m looking forward to the next installment in the series, Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Honeymoon, Honeymurder! Since Hallmark hasn’t created any programs about a honeymoon before, it’ll be interesting to see how the overall story will play out.

Overall score: 7.5-7.6 out of 10

Have you seen Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Til Death Do Us Part? Are you looking forward to Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Honeymoon, Honeymurder? Let me know in the comment section below!

Have fun at the wedding!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: Dearly Beloved

Last month, I wrote an editorial on why Bai Ling should join the main cast of When Calls the Heart. As I mentioned in one of my re-cap posts, I tried reaching out to Brian Bird on social media, in an effort to give him my suggestion. But these efforts were met with no success. On Instagram, however, Bai not only saw my post about the editorial, but she also liked it! Here is the picture to prove it!

This is a screenshot I took from my phone a few days ago. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

While this doesn’t guarantee anything, I hope Bai considers joining the main cast of the show! Speaking of the main cast, there was a lot happening in this episode! Underrated characters received their recognition, from Henry becoming Ned’s Best Man to Florence transforming into a “beautiful swan”. Series favorites lent a hand, making Florence and Ned’s special day even more memorable. Profound wisdom was shared by Elizabeth, sharing words that could resonate on a relatable level.  All of these components came together to create an episode that was well done! Now, it’s time to begin this re-cap of When Calls the Heart!

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.

When Calls the Heart poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel.

Season: 8

Episode: 10

Name: Old Love, New Love, Is this True Love

Major stories:

It’s the day of Ned and Florence’s wedding and their friends help them with last minute preparations. Clara and Minnie bake a wedding cake at the café, with Carson coming later to help decorate the cake. When Rosemary has difficulty finding a dress for Florence, Mollie gives Florence the dress she purchased for herself several episodes ago. Fiona even volunteers to style Florence’s hair for the ceremony. Before preparations begin, Florence feels insecure about her looks. She tells Fiona she wants to appear different for Ned, but is afraid she’ll come across as “ugly”. Both Fiona and Elizabeth reassure Florence that she is not ugly at all. Meanwhile, Ned reveals he has cold feet, both literally and figuratively. He visits Florence at the barber shop to tell her this information. Florence tells Ned that no matter what decision he makes, she will respect and love him for the person he is. This causes them to share their first kiss in private. Within this episode, Ned’s daughter, Katie, comes back to Hope Valley. She’s not thrilled with the idea of her father getting remarried. In a private conversation with Katie, Elizabeth learns that Katie is afraid Ned’s heart will be broken again, as the death of Katie’s mother deeply affected him. Elizabeth tells Katie that if Ned didn’t take the risk in fear of getting hurt, then he would miss out on experiencing joy. Elizabeth also has a private conversation with Ned, sharing some much-needed wisdom with him. She tells Ned that she knows how it feels to lose a spouse, but reminds him how it’s important to give his heart the opportunity to open. When the ceremony takes place, Katie decides to attend. The only people who attend Florence and Ned’s wedding are their closest family and friends. Both Bill and Joseph officiate the wedding and the ceremony carries on without any issues. The same can be said about the wedding reception, as every attendant seems to be enjoying the celebration.

It seems that some of the other couples in Hope Valley have been impacted by Ned and Florence’s wedding. While helping Minnie with the wedding cake, Carson reveals he purchased an engagement ring in the hopes of giving it to Faith. When he tells Minnie that his decision to accept the John Hopkins offer has affected his relationship with Faith, Minnie reminds him to remember why he became a doctor in the first place. After hearing Joseph’s sermon at Ned and Florence’s wedding, Carson becomes inspired to stay in Hope Valley with Faith. However, Faith tells him that he is persuaded by the emotions of the moment. Earlier in the episode, a man named Wyman Williams passes through town. When Jesse sees his car, he tries to chase after it with no success. He claims that Wyman stole his and Clara’s savings. Before the wedding ceremony, they file a report with Nathan. While Wyman is in the area, Nathan says there isn’t much he can do about the situation. Clara suggests to Jesse that they should focus on what’s ahead in their lives. While Elizabeth attends the wedding with Lucas, she has a private conversation with Nathan outside. Elizabeth tells him she doesn’t blame him for Jack’s death. Nathan then holds Elizabeth’s hands. Lucas sees this interaction through one of the saloon’s windows, likely receiving the wrong idea.

Wedding cake image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/enjoyable-wedding-card_953556.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/frame”>Frame vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com. 

Minor stories:

Because the storylines in this episode revolved around Florence and Ned’s wedding, there were no minor stories.

Wedding postcard created by Kraphix at freepik.com.<a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/postcard-for-a-wedding-invitation_1058640.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/wedding”>Wedding vector created by Kraphix – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • I’m glad everything worked in Florence and Ned’s favor. However, I found the number of last-minute wedding preparations to be somewhat unrealistic. Who chooses their Best Man the day of their wedding? Wouldn’t that decision take place shortly after the date has been chosen?
  • As I said in last week’s re-cap post, Elizabeth has become unlikable. The way she talked to Rosemary was not necessary. In this episode, Elizabeth and Rosemary’s friendship felt strained. When she entered the dress shop, Elizabeth tells Rosemary they should put their differences aside in order to give Florence a good wedding. Elizabeth refuses to apologizes and doesn’t interact with Rosemary at the wedding or reception. Similar to what I said last week, if Elizabeth continues to treat others this way, her friendship with Rosemary, as well as the other characters, will be ruined.
  • During the wedding reception, I saw Henry sitting at a table by himself. I honestly felt bad that he was not participating in the festivities. If When Calls the Heart receives a ninth season, I hope Henry finds a love interest. That way, he’ll have someone to bring to these events.
Sunset image created by Photoangel at freepik.com <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Photoangel – Freepik.com</a> <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/red-sunset-clouds-over-trees_1254327.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a> Image found at freepik.com

What are your thoughts on this episode? Did you enjoy seeing Ned and Florence’s wedding? Please tell me in the comment section!

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Royal Wedding Review (Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire Double Feature Part 2)

As I said in my review of Teenage Rebel, I haven’t seen many films from Fred Astaire’s filmography. In fact, the only two movies of Fred’s I’ve seen so far are The Sky’s the Limit and Funny Face. When I joined Crystal and Michaela’s blogathon, I knew which Fred Astaire picture I wanted to write about. Last month, I was recommended the 1951 film, Royal Wedding, by Heidi from Along the Brandywine. She suggested this film because of its use of split screens. Since I don’t have many Fred Astaire titles on my movie recommendation board on Pinterest, this was my first choice for this double feature! It is interesting that Royal Wedding is the last movie I’m reviewing in 2020. Musicals from the Breen Code era are usually seen as happy, up-beat productions. This is a contrast to the type of year 2020 ended up becoming.

Royal Wedding poster created by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: A similarity I’ve noticed among Fred Astaire’s roles in The Sky’s the Limit, Funny Face, and Royal Wedding is how confident he comes across in each film! Speaking specifically about Royal Wedding, his character, Tom Bowen, had the showmanship you’d expect from a stage performer. Even though he was performing a duet in the movie’s opening number, “Ev’ry Night At Seven”, he had a stage presence that demanded the audience’s attention. This is because he had complete control over his part of the performance as well as experience leading other musicals. Fred also appeared comfortable as one of the leads in this film. Jane Powell’s on-screen personality in Royal Wedding was very sweet! Her character, Ellen Bowen, was also flirty without overdoing it. What worked in Jane’s favor was how she was able to keep up with Fred in their musical duets as well as hold her own in her solos. It definitely showed how strong of a performer she is! Because I’m not familiar with Sarah Churchill as an actress, I wasn’t sure how a Fred Astaire and Sarah Churchill on-screen pairing would work when I first saw them together. But as the film went on, I realized they had better on-screen chemistry than I expected! As an individual performer, Sarah gave her character, Anne, a sophisticated independence that never made her seem snobby or self-centered. In one scene, as she’s recalling to Tom how she came to be a dancer, Anne is so sure of herself when she talks about it. In scenes like this, you can tell that Anne has a healthy amount of self-confidence, partly because of Sarah’s captivating performance!

The musical numbers: When I watch musicals from the Breen Code era, I can’t help but notice the creativity that comes from some of the musical numbers! One example is Fred’s solo, “Sunday Jumps”. On paper, the idea of Fred dancing with a hatrack and exercise equipment might sound silly to some audience members. But because of the choreography and Fred’s dancing talents, that idea becomes a thoroughly entertaining one! Another solo of Fred’s, “You’re All the World to Me”, also showcases creativity well. In this musical number, Tom Bowen can be seen literally dancing on the walls and ceiling, as to visually represent what his heart is feeling for Anne. The number itself is also ahead of its time, as this particular idea wasn’t common in films from this era. I loved how a bright color palette was used in “I Left My Hat in Haiti”! It provided the musical number with an energy and personality that nicely contrasted the toned-down atmosphere of London. The musical number also did a good job at utilizing its ensemble.

The dialogue: Because of the Breen Code, screenwriters had to think and write cleverly when it came to expressing ideas that wouldn’t be allowed on film. That mentality can certainly be found in Royal Wedding’s script! After their performance, “Ev’ry Night At Seven”, Ellen complains about the theater’s lack of air conditioning due to the theater manager wanting to save money. Frustrated by that decision, Tom tells his sister how the theater manager will need a fan for one specific place. Subtle references like this one respect the audience’s intelligence and gave the screenwriters a chance to think outside the box when it comes to language. There were also memorable quotes within the script. During Anne and Tom’s conversation, Anne told him that dancing made her happy. She also said that she wanted to dance when she was happy.

The Third Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Blogathon banner created by Crystal from In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and Michaela from Love Letters to Old Hollywood.

What I didn’t like about the film:

No major conflicts: In Anchors Aweigh, Clarence “Brooklyn” Doolittle and Joseph “Joe” Brady help their new friend, Susan, get an audition with a well-known composer at a movie studio. This served as the main conflict for the film. With Royal Wedding, there was no main conflict to be found. Instead, the story focuses on the two relationships between Ellen and John and Tom and Anne. Even when sub-conflicts were introduced in the movie, they are resolved rather quickly. Having one overarching conflict would have added some intrigue to this story.

Too many boyfriends: At the beginning of the movie, Ellen is shown having multiple boyfriends. This was to highlight the point of Ellen having difficulty ending these relationships. When Ellen’s boyfriends are interacting with one another, I had trouble keeping track of who was who. I understand this creative decision was made on purpose, to emphasize the aforementioned point. But this gave the audience unnecessary confusion.

The titular royal wedding as an afterthought: When a film is titled Royal Wedding, most audience members would expect the wedding itself to play a significant role within the plot. Because the story focuses on the relationships of Tom and Anne and Ellen and John, the royal wedding is treated as an afterthought. Sure, the characters casually bring it up from time to time. But there is little to no excitement in London just days before such a historic event. When a pre-wedding parade is passing by Tom and Ellen’s hotel suite, the scene places more emphasis on John and Ellen’s conversation, preventing the parade from being shown on-screen. The day of the wedding appears in the last twenty minutes of the film, but even that part of the story is overshadowed by the previously mentioned relationships.

Princess tiara image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/ornamental-princess-crowns_1109199.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/gold”>Gold vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Royal Wedding is the type of movie where the acting performances and musical numbers make up for the weaker story. While the plot isn’t bad, it could have benefited from having a major conflict. If the creative team behind this movie wanted their story to be more interesting, it would have contained a mistaken identity. Ellen Bowen would switch places with the princess and fall in love with the prince, while the princess is mistaken for Ellen and eventually forms a romantic relationship with Tom. With this conflict, the wedding itself would have a greater presence in the whole story. It would also create a series of hilarious hijinks. Personally, I’d recommend Anchors Aweigh over Royal Wedding. The former has a stronger story and, in my opinion, is a more enjoyable film overall.

Overall score: 6.2 out of 10

What are your thoughts on Royal Wedding? Which movie is your favorite out of the ones I’ve reviewed this year? Please tell me in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: JL Family Ranch: The Wedding Gift Review

It’s been four months since I last reviewed a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film. To fix this, I chose to write about the newest sequel, JL Family Ranch: The Wedding Gift! I saw the first movie when it premiered four years ago, which I thought was just ok. Therefore, I was not asking Hallmark to grant this title a second chapter. Despite not being a fan of JL Family Ranch, I wanted to watch the sequel with an open mind. Providing Hallmark Movies & Mysteries related content was also my intent. Earlier this month, in a Word on the Street story, I talked about JL Family Ranch: The Wedding Gift’s trailer. In that article, I said the trailer made the movie feel like it took a tonal shift from the first movie. But unless I watched the movie for myself, I wouldn’t know how this shift would affect my movie-viewing experience.

JL Family Ranch: The Wedding Gift poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Most of the cast members from JL Family Ranch appeared in the sequel. This worked in the cast’s favor, as they knew what to expect from each other, talent-wise! Teri Polo had good on-screen chemistry with her co-stars, especially those that appeared in the first movie. She also gave her character, Rebecca Landsburg, a stoic persona. This creative choice allowed the audience to see how having so much on her plate really affected her. When James Caan’s character, Tap Peterson, appeared in the film, a sense of defeat could be seen and felt. This was caused by events that take place within Tap’s subplot. In a scene where he goes to the bank to ask for a large sum of money, facial expressions and body language effectively show what is going on in Tap’s mind. New faces in this cast also found their way to shine! Judson Mills is one example, portraying a new character named Caleb Peterson. Though he was only in select scenes, his performance still left a memorable impression on me. One scene showed Caleb on his phone, talking about an important matter. As the scene plays out, Caleb goes from looking concerned to being on the verge of tears.

The scenery: The scenery in JL Family Ranch: The Wedding Gift effectively reflected the characters’ rural lifestyle, presenting a stylized version of a ranch family. Sweeping establishing shots captured the green pastures surrounding the family’s bed and breakfast. Picturesque fields were shown in scenes where characters ride their horses. When Rebecca and her fiancé, Henry, are having a private picnic, they are sitting next to a river. The clear blue of the water paired with the surrounding grass nicely. These locations promoted the ideas of the calm and tranquility a rural setting can offer!

Tap Peterson’s house: There have been some gorgeous houses to grace the backgrounds of Hallmark’s productions. Tap Peterson’s house in JL Family Ranch: The Wedding Gift is one of them! Its white exterior boasts a traditional colonial style, complete with a manicured front yard. The interior design within the house displayed a well-to-do setting fit for the prominent rancher Tap is. In one room, the rich wood on the walls complimented a cream armchair with a red pattern. Another room contained white walls showcasing blue and green glass plates. Each design choice was elegant and classy, creating a timeless look in each room presented on screen!

Horse with saddle photo created by Topntp26 at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/stallion-black-equine-race-sky_1104246.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Topntp26 – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Poor audio: While I haven’t seen Follow Me to Daisy Hills or Falling for Look Lodge, I have heard there are audio problems within these movies. It seems like poor audio has become commonplace in Hallmark’s productions lately, as JL Family Ranch: The Wedding Gift contained the same flaw. All of the characters sounded muffled whenever they spoke, especially when scenes took place outdoors. Because of this, it was difficult at times to understand what was being said. I’m not sure if music or microphone related issues are what caused the movie’s audio to be poor. What I am sure about is this problem was consistent throughout the film.

Too many cliches: I know Hallmark loves their cliches like Santa loves milk and cookies. But JL Family Ranch: The Wedding Gift incorporated too many cliches that have been featured in many other Hallmark films. Four of these cliches were discussed in my list of the top ten worst cliches from Hallmark movies: the “we’re not together” cliché, the “it’s not what you think” cliché, the “protagonist’s ex showing up unannounced” cliché, and the “planning a wedding in an unrealistic time period” cliché. JL Family Ranch: The Wedding Gift also showcased cliches that I’ve never talked about on my blog before, such as the “save the (insert establishment here)” cliché and the “owner of a bed & breakfast trying to impress a travel critic/writer” cliché. If Hallmark knew they were going to use any of these clichés in this movie, they should have put a new twist on them. One idea is to have the travel critic/writer be one of the character’s exes. This way, it creates a compelling conflict of interest dynamic.

Convenient resolutions: On multiple occasions, situations in JL Family Ranch: The Wedding Gift were resolved too conveniently. One example can be found toward the beginning of the film. After a surprise wedding proposal, two travel writers that had come to the bed and breakfast a day early decide to leave sooner than expected. When John tells them there will be an engagement brunch that same morning and when the writers discover all the food of the brunch are “farm to table”, the writers’ impression of the bed and breakfast quickly begins to change. The circumstances that caused these writers to change their perspective were placed at a convenient time in the story.  But because of how everything in that situation happened so quickly, it made the resolution seem like it was met too conveniently.

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.

My overall impression:

In 2018, I named Marrying Mr. Darcy the tenth worst movie I saw that year. My reason was how the film could have been better than its predecessor, but ended up being a disappointment. JL Family Ranch: The Wedding Gift made me feel the same way. The 2020 sequel was a disappointingly average film that never reached its full potential. Instead of receiving an exciting new chapter, the story was drowned in clichés and convenient resolutions. It also didn’t help that the project’s audio was poor. While there are things about this movie I liked, such as the talented cast and Tap Peterson’s house, the script itself didn’t hold up its end of the bargain. When it comes to movies, a story is what makes or breaks that project. In the case of JL Family Ranch: The Wedding Gift, the narrative didn’t do it a lot of favors. As a matter of fact, the movie itself is proof why its predecessor did not need a second part.

Overall score: 5.6 out of 10

Did you watch JL Family Ranch: The Wedding Gift? If so, what are your thoughts on it? Tell me in the comment section below!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Word on the Street: ‘Words on Bathroom Walls’ Finally Getting a Release Date + Possible Hallmark Projects About to Film

In 2020, it seems like the world of film has been plagued with bad news because of the Coronavirus. Multiple movies saw their premiere dates pushed back as far as a year. Productions all across the world were temporarily placed on hold. Several events were cancelled or postponed, as well as businesses closing their doors for the time being. Recently, however, it seems like things are looking up. Film crews are slowly going back to work. Several occupational operations have picked up where they left off. Even some theaters have opened their doors again. In this Word on the Street story, I will be talking about films that are about to go into production, as of June 2020. Also, I have news about a film that I have mentioned on 18 Cinema Lane before. As I usually do, I will share my thoughts on these stories. Now, let’s talk about some good news in the world of cinema!

My copy of Julia Walton’s novel. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Last year, in my post called “A Movie Blogger’s Christmas Wish-List 2019”, I said I wanted to see Words on Bathroom Walls receive a distributor. I’m happy to report my Christmas wish came true! In an article from Deadline, Dino-Ray Ramos writes how Roadside Attractions agreed to be the film’s distributor. The article also states Words on Bathroom Walls “is set to debut nationwide August 7”. This movie “marks the first theatrical release for both companies [Roadside Attractions and LD Entertainment] since the coronavirus pandemic”. Even though the film now has a release date, there remains the possibility for it to be pushed back. For months, Tenet was scheduled for a premiere in July. However, Pamela McClintock, from The Hollywood Reporter, shares that August 12th is the new date for the film’s release. I think this news about Words on Bathroom Walls is the best movie news I’ve talked about this year! I read the book and it’s become the best one I read in 2020! We don’t know how things will be in August, in relation to the Coronavirus. Hopefully, I’ll have the chance to see Words on Bathroom Walls and review it or my blog.

Sources for this story:

Christmas card image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/christmas-card-with-watercolor-mistletoe-decoration_965555.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/watercolor”>Watercolor vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com. 

As I said in the introduction, film crews are slowly going back to work. With some popular filming locations lifting lock-down regulations, studios and movie companies are either finishing or starting projects. One website, called Hollywood North Buzz, has recently listed several titles that are either currently in production or will soon be in production. These titles are the following:

  • For Better or Worse (Ended filming on June 23rd)
  • Christmas Forgiveness
  • Kite Festival of Love
  • Wedding Every Weekend
  • Beverly Hills Wedding
  • My One True Love
  • Destination Wedding

Another website called JC Films announced an upcoming Christmas film titled “Light Up Night”. The film will star Dean Cain and will begin filming this July. According to the article, the film “is about all the community Christmas events wrapped around a modern-day Biblical story of Ruth”. More movie titles are listed on the website Creative BC, with production dates coming in the near future. These films are:

  • Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Reunited and It Feels So Deadly
  • Chateau Christmas
  • Deliver By Christmas

When reading these titles, one will note that they all sound like they belong to Hallmark. However, as of June 2020, the only films that are confirmed to be a Hallmark production are “Wedding Every Weekend”, which was confirmed by star Paul Campbell, according to the Twitter account Hotline to Hallmark, and ‘Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Reunited and It Feels So Deadly’. While looking at the list, I noticed how most of the titles reference Christmas or weddings. If these movies are Hallmark projects, my guess is the wedding themed movies are created in preparation for next year’s “June Weddings” line-up. As for the Christmas movies, it’ll be interesting to see how many of them will be included in the “Countdown to Christmas” or “Miracles of Christmas” line-up.

Sources for this story:

https://www.creativebc.com/crbc-services/provincial-film-commission-services/in-production

https://www.jcfilms.org/post/another-dean-cain-christmas-film-coming-to-the-area

http://www.yvrshoots.com/ (the article is called ‘REOPENING: Hallmark & Other TV Movies First To Resume Production in Hollywood North After 3-Month Shutdowm?’)

Hotline to Hallmark’s official Twitter account (@HotlineHallmark)

What are your thoughts on these movie news stories? Are there any films mentioned in this article you’re excited to see? Please tell me in the comment section below!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Top 10 Things I’d Like to See in Chesapeake Shores’ Fifth Season

When I submitted my review of The Great Mouse Detective last week, it became the 175th movie review I’ve ever published! In honor of this accomplishment, I decided to write a Top 10 list, especially since I haven’t written one in quite some time! Back in February, in a Word on the Street story, I reported how Chesapeake Shores was renewed for a fifth season. However, because of the Coronavirus, the show hasn’t gone into production. On 18 Cinema Lane, I recap two of Hallmark’s shows, with Chesapeake Shores being one of them. While some areas of the world are slowly going back to creating movies and television shows, the O’Brien family may not appear on screen this year. This means that my Top 10 list will probably be the only Chesapeake Shores related content I create in 2020. As “Chessies” (the show’s fandom) waits for any news of the show’s return, here are the top 10 things I’d like to see in the fifth season! Before I begin, I want to say that this list is solely based on my opinion. There will also be spoilers for the previous season.

  1. Tone down the relationship drama

As I’ve said before in my Evenings At The Shore series, the first and second seasons of Chesapeake Shores contained a healthy balance between their character and plot driven narratives. But since season three, the show’s overall quality has plateaued. That’s because the overall narrative has placed its primary focus on the relationship drama between the characters. This decision has caused the plots to be put on the back-burner. One example is the fourth season’s fifth episode, where the plot surrounding Jess’s story didn’t make any sense. In Chesapeake Shores’ next season, I hope the screenwriters bring the show back to that balance from the first two seasons. This show has come up with some interesting plot ideas, but haven’t utilized them to their fullest extent.

2. A wedding for Jess and David

Before Kevin and Sarah got engaged in the fourth season, fans had never seen a wedding within the O’Brien family. This next step in Kevin and Sarah’s relationship was history in the making for the show. Because of the fourth season’s six episode run, wedding plans were replaced with an elopement and a reception dinner. This decision was a “bait and switch”, leaving fans cheated out of a historical moment they were promised. Kevin and Sarah were not the only couple to get engaged, however, as Jess and David became engaged at the end of the season. I’d like to see Jess and David’s wedding in the fifth season. Because the filming locations of Chesapeake Shores are photogenic, maybe they could receive an outdoor ceremony.

3. Get rid of the love triangle

It’s bad enough When Calls the Heart features a love triangle that seems to have no end in sight. Like I said in one of my Sunset Over Hope Valley posts, love triangles are a waste of time and creative energy. In Chesapeake Shores’ fourth season, the narrative introduced a love triangle between Abby, Trace, and Jay. This not only enables the screenwriters to continue emphasizing the relationship drama, but it also takes screen-time away from more intriguing plots. Hopefully, this love triangle will get resolved sometime in the fifth season.

4. A subplot for Carrie and Caitlyn

Speaking of When Calls the Heart, what this show does well is provide subplots for the younger characters. It gives the audience a chance to get to know them and view the story from their perspective. When it comes to Chesapeake Shores, Carrie and Caitlyn, the youngest characters on the show, have never received a story of their own. In fact, it feels like they’ve become an afterthought within the overall narrative. I’ve been waiting for Carrie and Caitlyn to receive their own subplot for a while, so I hope this happens in season five. It would be interesting to see what the screenwriters come up with.

5. More episodes

Earlier in this list, when I talked about Kevin and Sarah’s lack of wedding plans, I stated how the fourth season of Chesapeake Shores was only given six episodes. While Hallmark shows have received seasons with less than ten episodes before, a fourth season receiving six episodes is a bit concerning. This creative decision prevented certain subplots from being fully explored and made the story feel like more was desired. Personally, I think the fifth season should be given at least nine to ten episodes. That way, Chesapeake Shores will have enough time to flesh stories out and focus on telling well-thought out narratives.

Evening view from the shore image created by 0melapics at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/landscape-in-a-swamp-at-night_1042860.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by 0melapics – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

6. The fruition of Trace’s recording studio

Chesapeake Shores excels at featuring locations that have been brought up in the story. One example is The Bridge, a musical restaurant that Trace had been dreaming about for several years. At the end of the fourth season, Trace had expressed interest in creating a recording studio. While recording studios have been presented in the story before, this particular business was never shown in Chesapeake Shores. Because this show has a good track record when it comes to locations, I’d like to think Trace’s recording studio will become a reality. However, I still want to see this location brought to life.

7. For Bree and Simon’s paths to cross again

When Simon was introduced on Chesapeake Shores, he met Bree in her home country. At the end of the fourth season, Bree’s literary agent, Brian, wanted to bring her play to London. If this happens, Bree would be in Simon’s home country. This dynamic would be very interesting to watch, especially if Bree and Simon plan on revisiting their relationship. Should Bree decide to find a different significant other, I’d be curious to see which new British actor joins the show.

8. More appearances for Nell

Over the course of the fourth season, I noticed that Nell had such a limited on-screen presence compared to previous seasons. I was told Diane Ladd, the actress who portrays Nell, was experiencing pneumonia when this particular season was in production. As I indicated in the introduction, we don’t know when Chesapeake Shores’ fifth season will be filmed. Whenever that happens, I hope Diane is in better health. Nell is the one who keeps the glue of the O’Brien family together. Without her, things just wouldn’t be the same.

9. A Chesapeake Shores Movie

I know a Chesapeake Shores movie is on the way. However, it never went into production, partly due to the Coronavirus. Even though the film was originally about Abby, Bree, and Jess, I still want to see a St. Patrick’s Day themed movie in Ireland. Another possible film idea is a Chesapeake Shores Thanksgiving themed movie! Hallmark hasn’t created a Thanksgiving movie in several years. Also, Good Witch has capitalized on Halloween, while When Calls the Heart creates annual Christmas films.

10. Megan becoming a successful businesswoman

You’re probably thinking, “Megan’s not a businesswoman, it isn’t her forte”. However, when we look at Abby, Bree, and Jess, there is one thing they have in common: they are all successful businesswomen. While each sister has forged their own path in the world of business, they have let their passions guide them through this specific journey. For at least one season, Megan has expressed her passion for art. Toward the end of the fourth season, she had shown an interest in creating her own studio. If the screenwriters wanted, they could allow Megan to use her art as the basis for a small business. This could make Megan an independent businesswoman like her three daughters.

Chesapeake Shores poster image 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=series&ShowTitle=Chesapeake%20Shores%20Season%203&episodeIndex=3001

Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen

Now it’s time to choose the Best Supporting Actor of 2020’s Gold Sally Awards!

Happy April! We’re almost finished with the acting division as the Best Supporting Actor poll arrives. This poll will help us determine who will be crowned the Best Supporting Actor of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! You’re allowed to vote for more than one nominee. However, you can only vote once per person. This poll starts today, April 3rd, and ends on April 9th.

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

https://linkto.run/p/BZ924H5P

Who is the Best Supporting Actor of 2019?
Stephen Boyd — Ben-Hur (1959)
Mickey Rooney — Boys Town
Dave Collette — Chronicle Mysteries: Vines that Bind
Cardi Wong – Flip That Romance
Larry Nunn – Men of Boys Town
Robin Thomas – Mystery 101: Words Can Kill
Todd Stashwick – Kim Possible (2019)
Ian McKellen – Swept from the Sea
Jeremy Guilbaut – The Last Bridesmaid
Gregory Harrison – The Nine Lives of Christmas
Created with PollMaker

 

Have fun voting!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: For Better or Worse

Before I start this When Calls the Heart re-cap, I’d like to remind everyone that Thursday, April 2nd, is the last day to cast your vote for the Best Supporting Actress of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The next poll will be posted on the April 3rd! Here is the link to the poll:

 

It’s time to vote for the Best Supporting Actress of 2020’s Gold Sally Awards

 

It’s hard to believe that Jesse and Clara’s wedding is the third one that has taken place on When Calls the Heart. So many milestones have happened on this show in the six years it has aired on Hallmark Channel. From being the longest running program in the network’s history to its consistent ratings, the show has found so much success in less than ten years. But, like any show, When Calls the Heart is not perfect. As I mentioned in last week’s re-cap post, the creative team behind the program experienced backlash after Jack’s death. They also had to deal with the “Abigail situation” last year, causing the show to experience a temporary delay. Despite these flaws, the show has survived each situation. The fanbase has stuck by When Calls the Heart’s side and cheered it on, which helped keep the show running. There are both positive and negative qualities to this show. But since it has left a special place in the hearts of their fans, it has become a program worth fighting for. These aspects make me wonder if When Calls the Heart is like a relationship?

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.

When Calls the Heart Season 7 poster
When Calls the Heart 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=series&ShowTitle=When%20Calls%20the%20Heart%20Season%207&episodeIndex=7001.

Season: 7

Episode: 6

Name: In Perfect Unity

 

Major Story:

For the majority of the episode, Clara and Jesse make last minute preparations for their wedding. But as the day of the wedding approaches, Clara becomes more reflective toward the past. At the café, Clara shares with Bill that she’s been thinking about her deceased parents. Bill tells her that they would have been proud of her and he would have wanted someone like her to be his daughter. The current wedding also makes Clara think about her first wedding. The night before the ceremony, Clara shares her fears with Elizabeth about losing Jesse, similar to how she lost Peter. Elizabeth reminds Clara not to worry about “what ifs” and that the time she spends with Jesse is the most valuable part of their relationship. On the day of the wedding, Clara and Jesse’s plans for an outdoor wedding don’t work out, as it ends up raining for the whole day. In an instant, Elizabeth decides to host the wedding and the reception at the saloon. During a two-hour time-frame, Elizabeth and several of Hope Valley’s citizens come together to set up the venue. The wedding and reception itself run smoothly, with Jesse and Clara receiving the ceremony of their dreams. At the end of the episode, Elizabeth ends up catching Clara’s bouquet.

41327-O2Y556
Bride and Groom image created by Freepik at freepik.com  <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/nice-couple-wedding-invitation_841530.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

Minor Story:

At recess, Robert approaches Elizabeth. He reveals to her that he’s been thinking about becoming a Mountie. This conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Pastor Zeke. Later that day, Elizabeth continues the conversation she and Robert started at recess. While learning more about Robert’s reasons for choosing this profession, she discovers that he plans on abandoning his education in order to start his Mountie training. Elizabeth suggests that Robert should spend a day with Nathan, so he can see what it’s like to be a Mountie. After Nathan agrees, Robert visits Nathan to gain insight about his potential occupation. While there, Robert believes that the prisoner who is currently in jail could be a nice person. Nathan warns Robert not to become emotionally involved when it comes to any Mountie related situation. The next day, Nathan and some of his fellow Mounties are in the process of transferring the aforementioned prisoner. During this transfer, the prisoner tries to escape. However, Nathan catches the prisoner before the event can cause more fear for the citizens of Hope Valley. After this event, Robert tells Nathan that he’s not sure if he wants to be a Mountie anymore. This is because he doesn’t feel he is brave enough to be a hero like Nathan. Nathan confesses that he doesn’t always feel brave and that when he was Robert’s age, he didn’t feel ready to become a Mountie. At Jesse and Clara’s wedding, Elizabeth tells Nathan that Robert has decided not to become a Mountie. She shares with Nathan that Robert wants to focus on his education and be a kid.

64
Mountie face image created by Bakar015 at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/a-set-of-canada-icons_1050671.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/food”>Food vector created by Bakar015 – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • Even though the saloon looked visually appealing, I think the main story’s conflict was more on the predictable side. When Calls the Heart has done a good job this season what it comes to subverting expectations. I would have liked to see this same story-telling approach applied to Jesse and Clara’s wedding. As I mentioned in last week’s re-cap post, I was disappointed by their wedding taking place indoors. It makes me wonder why Jesse and Clara didn’t just receive a Christmas wedding in the first place?

 

  • I liked Robert’s storyline, but I don’t think it should have been featured in this episode. Because Jesse and Clara’s wedding was an overarching event within the episode, the episode itself should have kept its focused on the wedding. Robert’s storyline in the context of the main story felt random.

 

  • I loved Clara’s wedding dress! It had a different style from Rosemary’s and Elizabeth’s dresses and it suited Eva well! Like the previous two dresses, I hope Hallmark hosts a contest where the winner receives Clara’s dress!

Red sunset clouds over trees.
Sunset image created by Photoangel at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Photoangel – Freepik.com</a>.<a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/red-sunset-clouds-over-trees_1254327.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What are your thoughts on Jesse and Clara’s wedding? Do you have any predictions on who the next couple to get married will be? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: The Company We Keep

Before I start this When Calls the Heart re-cap, I’d like remind everyone that Thursday, March 12th, is the last day to cast your vote for the Best Actress of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The Best Actor poll will be posted on the 13th! Here is the link to the poll:

 

Let’s Choose the Best Actress of the 2020 Gold Sally Awards!

 

In her opening monologue, Elizabeth says that in life’s journey, the most important aspect is the company we, the travelers, keep. Similar to season seven’s first episode, I thought about how Elizabeth’s words connect with the show. What I love about When Calls the Heart is how the overall story doesn’t focus on just one character. Since 2014, the audience has been introduced to a variety of characters, each of them serving a specific purpose. Some of these characters have remained on the show, while others have left after a short period of time. But no matter what their status is, each character has held a great importance to someone. As I write this re-cap, I wonder if this is one of the reasons why When Calls the Heart has lasted this long on television?

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.

When Calls the Heart Season 7 poster
When Calls the Heart 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=series&ShowTitle=When%20Calls%20the%20Heart%20Season%207&episodeIndex=7001.

Season: 7

Episode: 3

Name: Family Matters

 

Major Stories:

At the beginning of the episode, Archie is still in jail and under suspicion of theft. One Sunday, after Mass, Nathan asks Bill if he’ll question Archie. He says that questioning his own father would be too difficult for him. After hearing this, Bill agrees. When he questions Archie, Bill learns that a debt was owed to Archie by a man named Donnie. Archie reveals that this debt was paid after he had gotten out of prison. After the interview, Bill tells Nathan what Archie told him. Not satisfied with what he heard, Nathan travels to Benson Hill to learn what his fellow Mounties had discovered. At a local hotel, a Mountie tells Nathan that a witness claims to have seen Archie leaving the room that contained the stolen necklace. But, when Nathan asks the concierge if Archie had checked in, the concierge tells him that his father was given a room on the second floor. The fellow Mountie shares that the robbery took place on the third floor. Remembering what Bill had told him, Nathan asks to look at Donnie’s file. As he’s reading it, he notices that Donny has a known alias. When Nathan questions the concierge if anyone with the alias’ name had checked into the hotel, the concierge reveals that a person with that name was given a room on the third floor. After this discovery, Nathan tries to track down Donnie’s whereabouts. He eventually finds Donnie in a nearby forest. As Nathan is searching his bag, he finds the stolen necklace. This information is able to put Donnie back in jail and clear Archie’s name.

 

Ally is upset about Archie’s recent arrest. Because of this, she decides to run away to Elizabeth’s house. While Ally leaves for Mass with the Coulters, Elizabeth visits Nathan at the Mountie office. She tells him that Ally has run away to her house. When Nathan says that Ally might be overreacting, Elizabeth reveals that Ally’s suitcase contained all her belongings, indicating that Ally’s decision was legitimate. After Mass, Nathan tells Ally that running away from home was a bad idea. Ally says that she’ll come back home when she’s allowed to see her grandfather. Nathan refuses, so Ally continues to stay with Elizabeth. In the evening, as Ally is drawing a picture of her former house, she tells Elizabeth that the reason why she wants to see her grandfather is to learn more about her mother. Elizabeth reminds her that Nathan does have her best interests in mind. The next day, at school, Elizabeth discovers that Ally has gone missing. When Opal refuses to share Ally’s whereabouts with Elizabeth, Elizabeth realizes where her student went. A trip to the Mountie office later, Elizabeth finds Ally having a conversation with her grandfather. Upset with Ally’s defiance, Elizabeth reminds her of the aforementioned rule that she and Nathan had put in place. Ally then shares her concerns about her small family, saying that her grandfather is one of the only family members she has left. Toward the end of the episode, after Archie is found innocent, Archie leaves Hope Valley to take advantage of a new job opportunity. Before he leaves, Archie gives Ally a letter containing stories about her mother. Archie promises to share more stories through a series of letters.

265038-P4TIN9-926
Envelope with hearts image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/hearts-and-pink-envelope-for-mothers-day_1950691.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/love”>Love image created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Minor Stories:

Jesse and Clara continue to plan their wedding. Before Mass, Jesse asks his friend, Kevin, if he’d like to be a groomsman. Because he has never stood up in a wedding before, Kevin agrees. After learning this news, Clara is disappointed that the wedding party will not be an even number. So, the next day, she and Rosemary ask Elizabeth if she’ll be a bridesmaid. After Elizabeth accepts the position, Clara feels that the wedding party is now an even number. Over the course of the episode, Clara and Jesse ask some of Hope Valley’s residents if they’d like to play a role in their wedding. In an effort to help, Fiona shares some bridal magazines with Clara and offers to give wedding advice. Fiona says that she has stood up in several weddings, so she feels that her knowledge could be of use to Clara. This causes Clara to ask Fiona if she’d like to be a bridesmaid. After Fiona accepts this role, Jesse and Clara talk about how the number of people that attend the wedding doesn’t matter, it’s the people themselves that matter. At the end of the episode, Clara tells Bill that he’ll be walking her down the aisle. This is a relief to Bill, especially since he was worried about being left out of the wedding ceremony.

 

Faith is still contemplating the idea of medical school. One day, she receives a phone call from the president of the medical school in Union City. He tells Faith that, because of her academic record, she only has to take two classes in order to be eligible for medical training. However, in those classes, there won’t be an opening until next year. Feeling defeated, Faith thinks that it might be a better idea to wait a year. Later in the episode, Faith receives another phone call from the medical school president. He reveals that an opening for the two aforementioned classes is available at a medical school in Chicago. These classes will begin the following week. As Faith is still figuring out what to do, Carson gives her the medical book he used in school. After he claims the book brought him luck, Faith decides to attend the school in Chicago.

 

Elizabeth has finished some chapters of her novel. She gives them to Lucas so he can provide feedback. After he reads these chapters, Lucas tells Elizabeth that he enjoyed her work. According to him, the characters are strong, yet vulnerable. One character in particular has caught Lucas’ curiosity. He believes that this character, Luther Brant, could be based on him. When Lucas questions Elizabeth about her inspiration, she claims she made the character up. Several days later, Lucas meets up with Elizabeth at the Mercantile. He tells her that while he was reading her literary work, he learned that Luther was a widower with a daughter. Elizabeth tells him that he shouldn’t focus so much on who the characters are based on, especially since her story is a work of fiction.

34995-NZRTLF
Wedding schedule image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/infographic”>Infographic vector created by Freepik</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/welcome-to-the-wedding_831989.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found on freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • While some of Hope Valley’s residents were given roles in Jesse and Clara’s wedding, I honestly thought that Bill would end up officiating the ceremony. I was expecting a conflict where the pastor couldn’t come to the wedding, so Bill would have to take his place. But the idea of Bill walking Clara down the aisle came as a pleasant surprise. When Clara told Bill he was the closest person to a father she’s ever had, I found myself getting teary-eyed. Once again, the writers of When Calls the Heart are doing a good job at subverting my expectations!

 

  • During the episode, Fiona approaches Kevin and asks him to fix her telephone station. Throughout this part of the story, they end up helping one another. When Kevin delivers the tools for the telephone station, Fiona provides Kevin with an explanation of what’s expected of a groomsman. Their interactions make me wonder if they’ll start dating by the end of this season?

 

  • In a Word on the Street story from last November, when I talked about the synopsis for When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas, I said that Elizabeth has seemed more self-centered and entitled than in previous seasons. I also said that the show was slowly becoming “The Elizabeth Thornton Show”. So far, Elizabeth seems less entitled than she did in season six! What helps is how she’s put her time and energy into writing a book. Providing the other characters with equally interesting stories also solves this problem. I really hope this change can continue in season seven!

Red sunset clouds over trees.
Sunset image created by Photoangel at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Photoangel – Freepik.com</a>.<a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/red-sunset-clouds-over-trees_1254327.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What are your thoughts on this episode? Are you looking forward to Jesse and Clara’s wedding? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: High Society Review

I interrupt my Youth-Led Film Double Feature to bring you my review for The Wedding Bells Blogathon! One day, as I was searching Turner Classic Movies’ (TCM’s) schedule, I came across a film called High Society. Through its description, I learned it was a musical remake of The Philadelphia Story. Since I have enjoyed that movie, I figured there was a good chance I might like this picture from 1956. In my review of Marriage on the Rocks, I mentioned I would be reviewing the movie later this month. I also said in that review that I did not like Marriage on the Rocks. High Society is now the second film of Frank Sinatra’s and Grace Kelly’s that I’ve seen! While I knew that Frank and Bing Crosby had musical talents, it would be interesting to see what Grace had to offer to a movie musical. Now, as you’re waiting for the wedding to start, please take a moment to read this review of High Society.

High Society poster
High Society poster created by Sol C. Siegel Productions, Bing Crosby Productions, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Image found at http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/78008/High-Society/#.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: It’s no secret that Grace Kelly is one of the most versatile actresses to ever exist! Her performance in High Society helps her maintain that reputation. Grace has the ability to adapt her emotions to any scene. When Grace’s character, Tracy, is talking with her father by the pool, she can go from angry to crying with sadness within a matter of minutes. Because of her experience working with various actors and actresses, Grace never had difficulty keeping up with her co-stars. Speaking of co-stars, I have seen Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby in at least one film prior to watching High Society (Frank in Marriage on the Rocks and Bing in scenes from White Christmas). Similar to what I said in my Marriage on the Rocks review, both Frank and Bing appeared at ease in their respective roles. This allowed them to bring a natural charm to their characters, C. K. Dexter-Haven and Mike Connor. What also helped was how their singing talents complimented their acting talents. Even though he portrayed himself in the film, Louis Armstrong did a good job with the material he was given. He had a delightful on-screen personality and great musicality. These things made me enjoy Louis’s presence in the movie!

 

The sets: In High Society, the sets were absolutely gorgeous! Not only did they fit the environment the film’s creative team wanted to create, but these sets also looked magnificent on film! The great part about them are the textures, colors, and materials that were used in each space. In one of the Lord family’s sitting rooms, the sea green walls worked really well with the white wood paneling and crown molding. Another great set was Tracy’s uncle’s library. While the dark wood walls and bookshelves were beautifully crafted, it’s the hidden bar within the bookshelves that steals the show. The sets in High Society certainly made the movie visually appealing!

 

The musical numbers: For the most part, I enjoyed the musical numbers in High Society. They sounded pleasant and were, more often than not, lively. My favorite musical number is “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”, as it was one of the funniest scenes in the movie. In this number, Frank and Celeste Holm, the actress who portrayed Liz Imbrie, had really good on-screen chemistry and comedic timing. Frank and Celeste’s singing voices also sounded great together. I was pleasantly surprised by Grace’s singing abilities in the duet, “True Love”. She sounded excellent alongside Bing Crosby and the song itself sounded nice. I’m not sure how much singing experience Grace had prior to being cast in this movie. But it’s nice to see her trying different things and going out of her comfort zone.

Jewels sparkle in the golden wedding rings lying on the leather
Fancy jewelry image created by Freepic.diller at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/wedding”>Wedding photo created by freepic.diller – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Unacknowledged commentary: In my Rich Kids review, I shared that one of the film’s messages was how wealth didn’t equal invincibility. This message can also be found in High Society, as Tracy shows Mike various houses in her neighborhood that are either boarded up or for sale due to homeowners no longer affording them. While this commentary added something interesting to the story, there was no room in the script for it to be explored or discussed. I understand there’s only so much you can do in an hour and fifty-one minutes. However, it was disappointing to see this commentary get ignored.

 

Few dance numbers: When I learned that High Society was a musical remake of The Philadelphia Story, I was excited for the song-and-dance fest that would take place. But, as I was watching the movie, I discovered it only contained two dance numbers. These numbers were a short solo performed by Frank and a short duet performed by Frank and Grace. Since White Christmas premiered two years prior, I’m surprised Bing wasn’t given at least a waltz with Grace, especially since that film featured both singing and dancing. Personally, I had expected more dance sequences in High Society. But I’m guessing there was no room in the budget to recruit a choreographer.

 

Dialogue-heavy scenes that felt a little drawn out: Within musicals, dialogue-heavy scenes are meant to give the audience a break from the high energy that can sometimes come from the musical numbers. However, in the case of High Society, these scenes felt a little drawn out. The scene where Mike and Liz meet the Lord family is one example. The pace of the scenes feel slower than I hoped. It also caused the film’s overall pace to seem uneven. Issues with pace and length of scenes are some reasons why I think this script was weaker than it could have been.

Wedding Bells Blogathon banner
The Wedding Bells Blogathon banner created by Annette from Hometowns to Hollywood. Image found at https://hometownstohollywood.com/2020/01/03/the-wedding-bells-blogathon/.

My overall impression:

High Society is a fine, enjoyable film! While it’s not one of my favorite musicals, I certainly liked it for what it was. It was also far more entertaining than Marriage on the Rocks! Because High Society is a remake of The Philadelphia Story, there are bound to be similarities between the two. However, there are also differences that give each movie their own identity. For the 1956 picture, this was the incorporation of the message that even wealthy people can experience hardship. Combined with the song, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”, the film tells its audience to count their blessings and to focus less on what they don’t have. This shows that the film’s creative team not only wanted to bring something new to the story, but also respect the source material that came before it. As I end this review, I’d like to quote Louis Armstrong by saying “end of story”.

 

Overall score: 7.2 out of 10

 

Which movie musical is your favorite? Are there any you’d like me to review? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen