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.

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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.

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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: Finding Forrester Review

One of the available categories for the Leap Year Blogathon was to talk about “any movie or TV show you’ve always wanted to review but never had the chance to”. This is the approach I’ve chosen to take with Rebecca’s event. As I was scrolling through my DVR, I came across a movie called Finding Forrester. Ever since I read the film’s synopsis on BYUtv’s website several years ago, I have wanted to see this movie because the story sounded interesting. I even recorded it on my DVR in the hopes of watching it someday. Well, it looks like 2020 is the time when I’m finally getting around to talking about this film! I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen a lot of Sean Connery’s movies. The Russia House and The Great Train Robbery are the only films I’ve seen with Sean as one of the leads. While I thought the former was ok, I enjoyed the latter more than I thought I would. Now that this is the third picture of Sean’s I’ve watched, it’ll be interesting to see where Finding Forrester ranks among the other two films.

Finding Forrester poster
Finding Forrester poster created by Sony Pictures Releasing and Columbia Pictures. Image found at https://www.sonypictures.com/movies/findingforrester.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Finding Forrester is a story that grounds itself in reality. Because of this, the acting performances in this film come across as realistic portrayals. What this means is all the characters feel like real people. The genuine expressions and behaviors of each character shine through because of the quality of the actors’ talents. How the characters interact with each other is evident of this, especially within the friendship of Jamal and William. Depth was added to the characters because of the interactions they share. The dialogue was well-executed by the actors, causing the conversations to sound authentic. What works in this cast’s favor are the various personalities presented and the character development that takes place. A sense of intrigue is brought forth as a result of all of these elements.

 

The cinematography: Whenever this film’s creative team wanted the audience to focus on a particular person or object, they would adopt medium shots or close-ups to place a greater emphasis on that subject. During basketball tryouts, Jamal was playing against a senior team member from the private school. The rivalry between these two characters is the highlight of this scene, so medium shots are used to present them to the audience. When Jamal is removing his notebooks from his backpack, after the bag was retrieved from William’s apartment, close-ups implemented the importance of writing that serves as a consistent idea throughout the film. In two scenes, the reflection of Jamal can be seen from William’s binoculars. This is meant to foreshadow the connection these characters will share through their friendship. These cinematic techniques helped make the cinematography stand out in this project!

 

The incorporation of knowledge: Like writing, the idea of knowledge is consistent in Finding Forrester. The way it was incorporated into this story was seamless and showed how important it can be to any individual. One example is when Jamal is explaining a brief history of the BMW to William’s acquaintance. This information not only helped Jamal stand up for himself, but it also educated the audience about one of the world’s most iconic car companies. The knowledge that William and Jamal share about writing is another great example. During a debate about the rules of writing, they are able to express their ideas and view the perspective of the other person. This scene shows that, with knowledge, one can be a part of something greater than themselves. It also shows that knowledge can create a connection between people.

Leap Year Blogathon banner
The Leap Year Blogathon banner created by Rebecca from Taking Up Room. Image found at https://takinguproom.wordpress.com/2019/12/06/announcing-the-leap-year-blogathon/.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The lighting: Most of the lighting in Finding Forrester is dim. This allows the overall color palette to appear darker on screen. However, it also makes it difficult to see what is happening in the film. The scenes taking place in William’s apartment experienced this issue. Because of the dimmed lighting, it was sometimes difficult to see Jamal’s and William’s face in these scenes. Half of this movie is centered around Jamal and William’s friendship, which means that half of the overall picture features the dim surroundings of William’s apartment.

 

Scenes that become padding: There are several scenes in Finding Forrester that become padding. One example is when Jamal’s friends are shown spending time together at a restaurant. This moment had no bearing on the story and didn’t progress the plot forward. It also doesn’t have a strong need to exist in the narrative. Scenes like these felt like they were placed in the movie for the sake of satisfying the run-time. If some of these scenes were cut, the film would have been shorter and the script could have been a bit tighter.

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My overall impression:

Someone I know once told me that knowledge is one of the most valuable possessions a person can own. When it’s earned, it can never be taken away from you. This is expressed very well in Finding Forrester, a solid and satisfying picture! While this movie is more of a character study, this concept works in the film’s favor. The delivery of the script and acting performances gave me an opportunity to stay invested in the characters and their interactions. The messages of integrity, self-worth, and knowledge have the potential to be relatable among audience members. They can also inspire people to pursue their talents and believe in their strengths. Finding Forrester is a movie that I’m glad I made the time to see. I’d like to thank Rebecca for giving me this opportunity through her Leap Year Blogathon!

 

Overall score: 8.2 out of 10

 

Is there a movie you’ve always to see, but never made time for? What are your plans for Leap Year? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: Written from the Heart

In the season seven premiere of When Calls the Heart, Lucas says that stories should be written from the heart. As I contemplate those words, I wonder if that’s the reason why this show has lasted as long as it has? This is a program that takes place during a simpler time. Sure, there were difficulties back then. But because of that simplicity, people were given more opportunities to share what was in their heart. Through stories, letters, and face-to-face communication, people could use their words to solve problems or connect with other another. You might be thinking, “Can’t the internet do the same thing”? While this is true, the internet doesn’t always allow us to see someone’s reaction to a story or understand how someone is feeling about it. That is what When Calls the Heart strives to do: understanding the thoughts and feelings of the characters and the fans. The emphasis placed on those two things has helped this show become a place where people can connect with each other and even help one another in times of need. As season seven begins, it will be fascinating to see how the thoughts, words, and actions of Hope Valley’s citizens come from their hearts.

Just a reminder: If you did not see the season premiere 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: 1

Name: A Moving Picture

 

Major Stories:

A journalist named Mary comes to Hope Valley to write a story about Henry Gowan. Henry believes that she’s interested in his business endeavors. However, Mary wants to know more about Henry’s past, including his convictions. Henry tells her that he tries not to dwell on the past. Not satisfied with Henry’s response, Mary turns to Bill for answers. On the subject of Henry’s past, all Bill will say is that Henry is “complicated”. Mary also approaches Lucas with questions about Henry, but Lucas refuses to speak about Henry’s life before he owned a petroleum business. Later, in the evening, Mary receives a phone call from her boss. She learns that her deadline is approaching sooner than she expected. Mary is stressed because she feels she hasn’t learned enough about Henry to write a compelling story. When she shares her dilemma with Fiona, Mary comes up with a brilliant idea. Toward the end of the episode, the citizens of Hope Valley discover that Mary decided to write a story about Fiona instead. Henry feels this decision was made because his story is not as reader-friendly as Fiona’s. Elizabeth confesses to him that every person who was questioned by Mary refused to talk about Henry’s past. Her confession effectively shows Henry that the town supports him.

 

While delivering books to the library, Lucas shares with Elizabeth that his mother was an editor. After she hears this, Elizabeth tells him of her unsuccessful attempts to get her book published. Lucas volunteers to proofread her book and offer her writing advice. She tells him that she’ll consider his help. A few days later, Elizabeth visits the saloon and gives Lucas her book. The next day, Lucas comes to the school after classes are over to share his thoughts on her writing. He tells Elizabeth that her stories are good, but that she should add depth to her characters. He also advises her to write from her heart. After receiving this advice, Elizabeth tries to rewrite her stories. However, she’s finding the experience more difficult than she expected. Because of this, she comes up with a new plan. At Rosemary and Lee’s anniversary party, Elizabeth thanks Lucas for his help and reveals to him that she is going to write a novel instead. At the end of the episode, Elizabeth begins writing her new book, this time titled “A Single Mother on the Frontier”.

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Minor Stories:

Lee and Rosemary are preparing for a trip to Los Angeles in honor of their anniversary. The idea of traveling to the Golden State is especially exciting for Rosemary, as she makes her own preparations. These include designing swimsuits for her and Lee as well as purchasing a new pair of sunglasses. Meanwhile, Lee is looking forward to meeting with the owner of a paper plant. If all goes well, Lee feels they could be the lumber mill’s biggest client. One day, at work, Lee receives a phone call from the paper plant’s owner. They inform Lee that the only time they can meet with him is sometime the following week, the same week as Lee and Rosemary’s trip. When Lee tells Rosemary that their trip might have to be postponed, Rosemary agrees to push the trip to the week after the meeting. Feeling guilty about the situation, Lee decides to organize a surprise for his wife. On the night of their anniversary, Lee encourages Rosemary to wear the dress she had planned to wear in Los Angeles. After she agrees, Lee and Rosemary make a trip to the saloon. Rosemary is surprised to discover that Lee not only organized an anniversary party, but a movie screening as well. Rosemary is delighted by Lee’s attempt to make up for their changed plans.

 

Faith surprises Carson by returning home from Hamilton. She tells him that her father is in better health and has moved in with her brother. She also shares that a former colleague offered her the head nurse position at the local hospital in Hamilton. This news conflicts Carson. He missed Faith when she was away and enjoys her company in Hope Valley. But he doesn’t want to hold her back from a great occupational opportunity. At Rosemary and Lee’s party, Carson tells Faith that she should take the nursing job. When Faith feels that Carson is pushing her away so soon after returning home, she leaves the saloon. Carson follows her outside to tell her that he loves her and will support whatever decision she makes. Faith then tells Carson that she loves him.

Retro Device Poster
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Some thoughts to consider:

  • I really liked the movie/acting related “Easter Eggs” that were included in this script! While talking to Lee, Rosemary mentions Gloria Swanson. Rosemary also says that she would like to take a walk with Lee on Sunset Boulevard. In a conversation with Elizabeth, Rosemary shares that she helped a struggling British actor by advising him to focus on comedy. Through Rosemary’s dialogue, the audience learns that this “struggling actor” was Charlie Chaplin. The way these “Easter Eggs” were woven into the story was so clever! It was nice to see historically relevant references told in a way that today’s audience would recognize!

 

  • Due to the movie screening’s positive response, Lucas announces that the saloon will host a movie night once every month. Because of this, I’m hoping this is the first step toward Rosemary finally receiving her theater! Rosemary, as well the fans, have been waiting for this for a long time. As they say, anything is possible.

 

  • When Mary is struggling to find information about Henry, I honestly thought the writers of the show would pull the “it’s not what you think” cliché. I was expecting Mary to unintentionally write an article that contained embarrassing information about Henry, causing the citizens of Hope Valley to be upset. Seeing Mary write about Fiona instead was a good subversion of expectations. It allowed the writers to be creative in their story-telling and not rely on over-used clichés. This makes me look forward to seeing how the writers go against my expectations!
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 the season seven premiere? Is there anything you’re looking forward to seeing this season? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

The Top 10 Best Movies I saw in 2019

Happy New Year’s Eve, everybody! Since I published my list of The Top 10 Worst Movies I saw in 2019 yesterday, it’s time for me to post my list of The Top 10 Best Movies I saw in 2019! Like I said before, I found 2019 has been a better year for movies. I saw a lot of good films, but only ten can be considered the best of the year. As I mentioned in my previous list, this article is based on my opinion and films that I personally watched. It’s also not meant to be mean-spirited or negative toward anyone’s opinions/cinematic preferences. Now that the introduction is over, let’s begin by bringing up the Honorable Mentions!

 

Christmas Bells are Ringing, Time for Me to Come Home for Christmas, Northern Lights of Christmas, A Gingerbread Romance, Kim Possible (2019), Flip that Romance, Chronicle Mysteries: Vines that Bind, Just Add Romance, Boys Town, Men of Boys Town, Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius, The Last Bridesmaid, Toy Story 4, Return to Oz, I Remember Mama, Ruby Herring Mysteries: Her Last Breath, Merry and Bright, A Godwink Christmas: Meant for Love, Time for You to Come Home for Christmas, and The Christmas Club

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10. The Nine Lives of Christmas

Who knew I would like this movie as much as I did? As part of the Happy Holidays Blogathon, I watched and reviewed this movie in an attempt to figure out if it was worth the hype it has received. Like I said in that post, I can now understand why so many people like the film so much! The humor within this movie is one of its highlights. Because of the quality of the script and the acting performances, The Nine Lives of Christmas was genuinely hilarious. While watching this movie, I found myself laughing more than I thought I would. Another part of this story that was well-written was the interactions among the characters. They were not only great to watch, but they also appeared natural on-screen. I’m glad I finally realize why this movie always makes an appearance in Hallmark’s yearly Christmas line-ups.

 

9. Holiday for Heroes

I will admit I had lower expectations for this film than I probably should have. But those lower expectations allowed the movie to surpass them and become the pleasant surprise it was. Holiday for Heroes was so good, that it reminded me of another movie I liked, Operation Christmas. With its genuine sincerity, the messages that were expressed in this story came across very well. I also liked how the formation of the protagonists’ relationship was more realistic than in something like The Christmas Card. Throughout this film, I could tell the creative team’s heart was always in the right place. It made it seem like they truly cared about the project they were working on.

 

8. Easter Under Wraps

In 2019, Hallmark finally created their first Easter themed movie! Even though it took so long to get to this point, I definitely think it was worth the wait. I really liked the writing within this film, as it created a story that was entertaining. Something I pointed out in my review is how conversations felt like they came from real-life. This helped me stay invested in what the characters were saying and doing throughout the film. Like in most movies from Hallmark Channel, Easter Under Wraps contained messages and themes that were relatable. Just one example is of personal growth. I’m not sure what Hallmark’s plans are for their “Spring Fever” line-up. I hope one of them includes a sequel to this film.

 

7. Ben-Hur (1959)

This is the first of two movies that I reviewed for a blog follower dedication review. At the beginning of the year, I was thrilled to share this movie with my readers and followers. That’s because I enjoyed it more than I expected to. Ben-Hur is a film that has acquired a lot of critical acclaim. As I said in my review, the hype surrounding it was well-earned. The script itself is one of the strongest elements of the project. Even though Ben-Hur is known as an “epic” picture, it is also a compelling story of faith and perseverance. From the acting performances to the cinematography, these things make this film the masterpiece it is. It’s no wonder Ben-Hur has been able to stand the test of time for so long.

 

6. Mystery 101: Words Can Kill

One of the newest mystery series that premiered in 2019, Mystery 101, has quickly become one of my favorites. I found the third movie in this series, Mystery 101: Words Can Kill, to be the strongest one. Unlike most of the films on Hallmark’s second network, this movie felt like it had higher stakes. This was caused by the female protagonist’s father being falsely accused on the crime and the male and female leads not being able to see eye-to-eye on the film’s main conflict. I also liked how the book festival was showcased in the movie for a satisfying amount of time. Like I’ll say about another movie on this list, Mystery 101: Words Can Kill shares some of the same positive qualities of its predecessors. It not only keeps up the series’ continuity, it makes me look forward to the future of Mystery 101.

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Jack Dawson from Titanic: “I’m the king of the world”!
Jake Sully from Avatar: “No, I’m the king of the world”.
Bucky Barnes from Avengers: Endgame: “Am I that much of a joke to you”?
Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen

5. Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy

Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy was one of my most anticipated Christmas movies of 2019. After enjoying the second film in the series, Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa, I was looking forward to seeing what was in store for the next chapter. This film did not disappoint! It felt like receiving a hug from a friend one hasn’t seen in a while. The third entry is one of the few Christmas films from Hallmark that tried to do different things with their story. One example is how the script explores the aftermath of the mystery. This is something that is hardly shown in Hallmark’s films, especially in their Hallmark Movies & Mysteries productions. After hearing other people’s positive responses to this movie, I’m hoping that a fourth one is in the cards.

 

4. Avengers: Endgame

After becoming the king (or queen) of the world, Avengers: Endgame will still be a movie that is remembered for years. Whether debating over the film’s time travel or discussing the highlights and flaws of the project, people are going to find an opportunity to talk about this movie. For me, I found it to be a satisfying conclusion to this particular series of the MCU. Sure, there are things about it that I don’t like. But there is no such thing as a perfect film. Without spoiling the movie, I will say that several interesting decisions were made within this script. These decisions allowed the film to be engaging and, at times, thought-provoking. What also worked in the project’s favor was how it shared some of the same strengths as its predecessor, Avengers: Infinity War. This actually helped it maintain a sense of continuity.

 

3. Kubo and the Two Strings

For my blog follower dedication reviews, I try my best to talk about films that I feel good about sharing with my readers and followers. When I think about Kubo and the Two Strings, it makes me thankful that I chose to watch this movie! This is the first time an animated film has appeared on my best of the year list. I’m glad this movie was the one to make 18 Cinema Lane history because, to me, it deserves it. The story is enriching and beautifully written. It takes elements that we’ve seen before and crafts them in a way that feel like a breath of fresh air. It also helps that the animation is visually appealing. Even though this is the only Laika film I’ve seen, so far, I’d be more than willing to check out what this studio has to offer.

 

2. Rome in Love

This movie premiered while I was on an out-of-town trip, so I wasn’t able to review it. But when I did watch this film, it ended up being the best Hallmark movie I saw this year! Rome in Love does so many things right when it comes to cinematic story-telling. It went out of its way to use as few Hallmark movie clichés as possible. But when the film did adopt a tried-and-true cliché, it improved upon that cliché, which enhanced the overall story. At times, this film felt like a theatrical production. This is because of how well done the cinematography is. If I were introducing someone to Hallmark’s library of films, this is one of the movies I would choose to show them.

 

1. Swept from the Sea

When I look back on 2019, Swept from the Sea is the one film I can’t stop thinking about! As the biggest pleasant surprise of the year, it is definitely deserving of the number one spot. There are no such thing as “perfect” films. However, this movie is the only one I saw this year that comes pretty close to it. There is so much to love about this film. But, for me, the best part of the movie was Vincent Perez’s performance! He single-handedly stole the show, which gave me an opportunity to appreciate his acting abilities more than I expected. From the cinematography to the on-screen chemistry, the other elements of this film certainly added to my enjoyment of it. As I think about Swept from the Sea, I feel that this is a movie I wish more people were aware of.

Swept from the Sea poster
Swept from the Sea poster created TriStar Pictures, Phoenix Pictures, and Tapson Steel Films. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sftspost.jpg

What do you think of my list? Which is your favorite movie of 2019? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

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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Setting up 2019 image created by Freepik at freepik.com. https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/new-year-2019-background_3590600.htm’>Designed by Freepik. https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Freepik. Image found at freepik.com.

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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Group of unhappy image created by Rawpixel.com at freepik.com. https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by rawpixel.com – http://www.freepik.com. Image found at freepik.com.

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 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:It%27s_a_Mad,_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

Word on the Street: Entertainment Tonight Reveals Synopsis for New ‘When Calls the Heart’ Christmas Movie

So, today was supposed to be my day-off from blogging. But it looks like Entertainment Tonight had other plans. Yesterday, on November 19th, ET’s Deidre Behar broke the news about the newest film from Hallmark’s longest running series, When Calls the Heart! The article reveals the movie’s synopsis, as well as some tidbits about season seven. Before writing this Word on the Street story, I read Deidre’s article. In my opinion, I was not impressed with the movie’s synopsis. It, honestly, makes me concerned for the next season. Because this is a post related to movie news, I will share what the ET article said and discuss my opinions on it. This article is not meant to be negative or mean-spirited, but only honest yet respectful.

Merry Christmas Card
Blue sparkly Christmas tree image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/frame”>Frame vector created by Macrovector – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/merry-christmas-card_2875396.htm’>Designed by Macrovector</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Based on the fact that this plot was featured first, I’m guessing that Elizabeth’s story is going to be the main plot of When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas. The article states that “Elizabeth Thornton is excited to celebrate her first Christmas with her son, Jack, as well as his first birthday on Christmas Eve”. It also mentions how she is still grieving her late husband. When I talked about the previous When Calls the Heart movie, When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing, in a Word on the Street story last December, I said that the film’s trailer put too much emphasis on Elizabeth and her baby. Even though her story was not the film’s main focus, it felt like the overall narrative was turning into “The Elizabeth Thornton Show”. Since the season five finale, When Calls the Heart has started to become more focused on Elizabeth. To me, the screenwriters have given her a perspective that is more self-centered and entitled than in previous seasons. Because of these things, I feel that Elizabeth is going to find a way to make her child’s milestones all about herself. The aforementioned quote that I included in this paragraph is a good example of this. In my review of last year’s When Calls the Heart film, I said that the subplots were one of the weakest points of the project. This included Elizabeth’s subplot, where it seemed like she could only talk about two things; how she was pregnant and how she missed Jack. It seems like Elizabeth’s story is being reduced to almost the exact same thing.

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Small, western town image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Like I said in the previous paragraph, I wasn’t a fan of the subplots from last year’s movie, When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing. This year, it looks the screenwriters are repeating the same mistakes. Bill, Lee, and Rosemary’s subplots revolve around the exact same thing: getting a Christmas/Birthday gift for Jack. I find their stories to be uninteresting. These characters deserve good subplots and larger roles on the show, so it’s a shame to see them get relegated to practically sitting on the side-lines. Even the subplots that Lucas and Nate were given don’t sound that creative. Once again, Nate is dealing with an issue related to his niece, Allie. Throughout season six, Nate’s story consisted of dealing with situations related to Allie, so I’m not sure how this subplot is going to be any different. As for Lucas, he will apparently be “transforming Main Street into a magical German Christmas Festival”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Lucas doesn’t have any German ancestry that I know of. The only thing closest to ancestry that Lucas has ever hinted at is when he said he was from New Orleans and when he spoke French in one phone conversation. We also just got a festival in the season six finale. Maybe Lucas will share more of his back-story in this film. But, for now, his subplot just seems random and redundant.

Happy Valentines day and heart. Card with Happy Valentines day a
Heart image created by Dashu83 at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Backgroundimage created by Dashu83 – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/happy-valentines-day-and-heart-card-with-happy-valentines-day-and-heart_1747001.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

I love When Calls the Heart and I want to see it succeed. As someone who has seen all six seasons and all the movies, I care about the overall quality of each project. However, I find myself feeling frustrated by what I read in the Entertainment Tonight article. To me, it seems like the show’s screenwriters are not only running out of ideas, but also like they are missing beautiful story-telling opportunities. When Jesse proposed to Clara in the season six finale, I was hoping that we’d finally get a Christmas wedding in Hope Valley. Since there are few wedding related movies found in Hallmark’s Christmas line-ups this year, this could have been an interesting story for When Calls the Heart to bring to the table. Instead, the screenwriters have decided to place the wedding in season seven, according to the ET article. Out of all of stories that were mentioned, the only one I’m looking forward to is the one involving Carson and Faith. This is because it has the potential to be funny and intriguing. Even though the movie’s synopsis doesn’t impress me, I still want to watch When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas with an open mind. Maybe it’ll be better than the article makes it sound. But, for now, my expectations will be lower than they were for the previous film.

 

What are your thoughts on Entertainment Tonight’s article? Are you looking forward to this new When Calls the Heart movie? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

Here’s the link to the article that I referenced in my post:

https://www.etonline.com/when-calls-the-heart-christmas-special-first-look-see-the-festive-on-set-photos-exclusive-136519

Word on the Street: ‘Rugrats’ Film from Paramount Gets Scrapped, Updates on 2020 Hallmark Channel Winterfest Movie

I’m not going to lie, it’s not always possible for me to write follow-up stories for Word on the Street posts. That’s because there’s only so much time and attention that I can devote to each movie news story that I choose to cover. However, I do try my best to provide follow-up articles when I am realistically able to write them. As the title indicates, one of these stories will relate to a piece of movie news that I talked about in the past. Like I do in all my Word on the Street posts, I will report on both stories as accurately as possible. But, only for the first one, I will share my thoughts on this latest development.

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Movie items image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/flat-modern-cinema-elements_847506.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.

Last July, I reported that a live-action Rugrats movie was being brought to the box office by Viacom and Paramount. I also said that the movie would be released sometime in November of 2020. According to Deadline, it looks like Paramount has changed their minds. Erik Pedersen reported on November 12th that the legendary studio removed their cinematic Rugrats project from their box office line-up. After pushing the film back to January 29th, 2021, Paramount has decided to put a movie called Rumble in its place. As of November 2019, the studio “didn’t cite a reason for grounding the film”. When this movie was first announced, I was excited about the idea of a new Rugrats movie. But upon further reflection, I realize that maybe this decision is for the better. In a Word on the Street post from last month, when I talked about the ‘Barney’ movie, I mentioned that Dora and the Lost City of Gold made Paramount lose money. This movie, like the newly scrapped Rugrats film, was a live-action adaptation of a Nickelodeon property that was popular in decades past. It also was another reboot/remake released in 2019 that didn’t perform well at the box office. Based on these facts, it looks like Paramount cut their losses while they still had a chance. Hopefully, this encourages them to create a new film with an original and compelling story.

Here’s the link to the Deadline article I referenced in this post:

Paramount Grounds ‘Rugrats’ Movie, Moves WWE’s ‘Rumble’ Back Six Months & Titles Next ‘SpongeBob’ Pic

Rugrats movie poster
The Rugrats Movie poster created by Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies. Image found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TheRugratsMovieposter.jpg

While looking for movie news stories, I came across one that had been reported on for the past two weeks. Because I saw very few people talking about this, I figured it would be a story worth sharing. On November 5th, a screenwriter named Alison Spuck McNeeley revealed on her Instagram account that she was working on a Hallmark Channel movie called “A Tidy Romance”. Based on the photo’s description, it appears that Alison will not only co-write the film with who I believe is Casie Tabanou, but she will also co-executive produce the project with Jill Wagner and, I believe, her husband, Kristofer McNeeley. A week later, on November 13th, the Twitter account, Hotline to Hallmark, and Rachael Ellenbogen, who is an entertainment reporter, announced that Jill Wagner, Victor Webster, and Brendon Zub will be starring in this film. In Rachael’s tweet, she revealed that “A Tidy Romance” will be a “Winterfest” film from Hallmark Channel! This movie is, currently, listed on Creative B.C.’s “In Production” page, as the production will end filming on November 23rd.

Here’s the links to the references I made in this post:

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Snowy mountain image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/landscape-background-of-snow-track-and-mountains_968656.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

 

Do you think Paramount made the right decision to scrap their Rugrats project? What do you think “A Tidy Romance” could be about? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Holiday for Heroes Review

Because of several blog related projects, I haven’t gotten around to reviewing any of the Christmas movies. But now that I’ve completed those projects, I can finally start talking about some of these films! Since I didn’t review A Veteran’s Christmas last year, I thought I’d make up for that by reviewing Holiday for Heroes. I love Operation Christmas, a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film that premiered in 2016. But since then, I’ve felt that the military related Christmas movies from Hallmark’s second network haven’t been as good as the aforementioned film. While I liked Home for Christmas Day, it was released during Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ “Christmas in July” marathon. When Holiday for Heroes was first announced, I had to lower my expectations in order not to become disappointed. It also didn’t help that the story reminded me of The Christmas Card, a movie that I found to be just ok. But I hoped for the best as I gave this movie a fair chance. Was I pleasantly surprised or was the film as expected? It’s time to report for duty and read this review!

Holiday for Heroes poster
Holiday for Heroes poster created by Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and Crown Media Family Networks. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=143&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=307&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Holiday+for+Heroes.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: I’ve seen all of Marc Blucas’ Hallmark films. In these movies, Marc has always taken his roles seriously and presented the best of his acting abilities. This was no different in Holiday for Heroes, as Marc brought his character to life with believability and charm. While this is the second time where Marc has portrayed a member of the military, his performance was different in Holiday for Heroes. Marc’s character, Matt, was more light-hearted. He also had a more playful and fun personality. This was Melissa Claire Egan’s first Hallmark movie. Despite this, she did a great job portraying her character, Audrey. Her performance was very expressive, allowing the audience to witness the well-roundedness of her acting abilities. It was also emotional at dramatic moments, making those scenes effective. Both Marc and Melissa worked well with all of their co-stars, helping this cast become strong as a whole.

 

The on-screen chemistry: As soon as Audrey and Matt met in person for the first time, I knew that Marc and Melissa were going to have good on-screen chemistry! Throughout the film, the audience got to watch their relationship grow over the course of the Christmas season. Even though their reunion was inevitable, because that’s how Hallmark movies work, I liked seeing everything work in their favor. It was a joy to see Melissa and Marc come together to make this on-screen relationship a reality. Because their acting styles were similar, it allowed their characters to adopt similar personalities from one another. Out of all the Christmas movies I’ve seen this year, so far, this is one of the best on-screen pairs of 2019’s Christmas season!

 

A sense of reality: In my review of The Christmas Card, I said that the unrealistic nature of the titular card was one of the things I didn’t like about that film. This aspect of that story asked me to suspend my belief more than I wanted to. In Holiday for Heroes, the letter writing that took place between Audrey and Matt felt realistic. Because Audrey’s brother happened to be in the same division of the Army as Matt, their acknowledgement of one another makes sense. This movie featured other elements that also seemed realistic. One example is when Audrey and her friend, Jade, found out that their family members in the military would not be coming home for Christmas. When they both received the phone call, the look on their faces and the tone of the voices say everything that the audience needs to know. This was the result of good acting and good screenwriting.

 

A good level of sincerity: When it comes to Hallmark Christmas movies, there are some that try too hard to be sincere. For Holiday for Heroes, the sincerity in the story felt genuine. What worked in this movie’s favor was how the primary focus was placed on, simply, telling a good story. It also put emphasis on finding the right people to help tell this story, both in front of and behind the camera. The overall project gave me, as an audience member, the impression that the creative team’s heart was always in the right place. By watching the film, I could tell that there was a lot of care and effort that was put into it. These are the things that, I think, not only make a great Christmas movie, but also a great movie in general.

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United States Army Monument image created by David Resseguie at freeimages.com. “FreeImages.com/David Resseguie.”

What I didn’t like about the film:

The “red herring” love interest: In some Hallmark films, there will be a “red herring” love interest placed in the story in an attempt to trick the audience into thinking the protagonist won’t fall in love with the other protagonist. In the case of Holiday for Heroes, this role was given to a character named Luke, who was portrayed by William Rubio. While the character himself was fine, I don’t think Luke needed to be a love interest. Because Hallmark movies almost always have the male and female protagonist fall in love, the idea of featuring any “red herring” love interest just doesn’t feel necessary. This creative tactic might be effective for audience members who don’t watch a lot of Hallmark projects. But for people, like myself, who consume a lot of Hallmark content, this could insult their intelligence.

 

The “it’s not what you think” cliché: In my list of The Top 10 Worst Clichés from Hallmark Movies, I talked about how the “it’s not what you think” cliché is hit or miss. This cliché’s inclusion in Holiday for Heroes was not needed. In the movie, Matt was led to believe that Audrey and Luke were falling in love based on their interactions he witnessed. Because of this, Matt automatically made assumptions instead of immediately addressing his issues. As I already said, Luke was the “red herring” love interest and most Hallmark movies feature the male and female protagonist falling in love. This makes me believe that Holiday for Heroes would have better off without this cliché.

christmas envelop 3 preview
Santa stationary image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/creative-christmas-letter-and-envelope-template_3281562.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/christmas”>Christmas vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com. 

My overall impression:

Holiday for Heroes was a genuinely good film! Instead of reminding me of The Christmas Card, the movie reminded me of Operation Christmas more than I expected! What is great about this film is how it doesn’t rehash the story of the 2016 project. Holiday for Heroes tells a story that happens to share some of the same themes. There were several components that worked in this movie’s favor, from the acting to the film’s sincerity. These things added to my enjoyment of the movie! Even though we’re not half-way through the Christmas season yet, Holiday for Heroes is my favorite Christmas movie from 2019, so far! It was heart-warming without trying too hard to be and I think it’s a good movie for both Hallmark fans and casual viewers of Hallmark.

 

Overall score: 8.6 out of 10

 

What are your thoughts on Hallmark’s Christmas line-ups this year, so far? Which movie has been your favorite? Please tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Word On The Street: A Movie About “Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas” Is In the Works

It hasn’t even been a week since I published my previous Word On The Street post and it’s yet another “what the heck” story. On the website, MovieWeb, Jeremy Dick reports that a movie about Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas is in the early stages of development. In Jeremy’s article, it reveals that Bret McKenzie is going to write the music and script for the film. If you’re not familiar with Bret or his work, don’t worry, Jeremy provides enough explanation. According to MovieWeb, Bret “is of course best known as one half of the New Zealand comedy duo Flight of the Conchords”. Bret also “served as the music supervisor for the 2011 movie The Muppets and its 2014 sequel Muppets Most Wanted”. Because Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas was created by the Jim Henson Company and since this company is one of the co-producers of this project, it makes sense for Bret to be involved.

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Christmas family image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/nice-family-christmas-scene-singing-together_1458033.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

While I haven’t seen Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, I have definitely heard of it. When I first read this story two days ago, I, once again, found the project unnecessary. Wasn’t Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas already a movie? Based on the article, it seems like the production will be a remake/reboot of the original. Why retell a pre-established story when there’s a beautiful opportunity to create a new story? Similar to the Word On The Street post about “Barney the Dinosaur”, this project hasn’t even started production yet. In fact, the MovieWeb article shared very few details about the movie. So, we’ll just have to wait and see if this film is worth the time.

 

Have you seen Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas? How do you feel about this piece of movie news? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

If you want to check it out, here’s the link to the article I referenced in my post:

https://movieweb.com/emmet-otters-jug-band-christmas-movie-reboot-bret-mckenzie/

Evenings At The Shore: A Kite in the Storm

For those of you who follow my re-caps for Chesapeake Shores, I apologize for publishing this post later than usual. As I was writing my review of The Sky’s the Limit, I realized that I needed a short break from blogging. So that’s what I did on the Monday after this episode aired. So, now that this explanation is out of the way, it’s time to start this re-cap! In this episode, Abby tells Jay that she is like a kite in the storm after he shares that two of his students thought that Benjamin Franklin invented the kite. What Abby said could also relate to the other characters on this show. Everyone is just trying to get through the storms in their lives, whether it’s Mick trying to overcome his legal troubles or Bree wanting to face her writing struggles. But kites are controlled by the wind, an element that is beyond anyone’s control. Like kites, the characters on Chesapeake Shores are controlled by life itself. Sometimes, the characters catch a lucky break, such a Kevin and Sarah getting married. But there are times when things don’t go according to plan. A good example of this is when Bree and Simon broke up. But, at the one point or another, every character finds a resolution and survives the storm.

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of Chesapeake Shores, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.

Chesapeake Shores Season 4 poster
Chesapeake Shores created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.hallmarkchannelpress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=series&ShowTitle=Chesapeake%20Shores%20Season%204&episodeIndex=4001.

Season: 4

Episode: 5

Name: All the Time in the World

 

Abby’s story: Because of an upcoming deposition and because Carrie and Caitlyn have a scheduled day off from school, Abby needs one of her siblings to babysit her daughters. Kevin and Connor, along with Sarah, volunteer to look after Carrie and Caitlyn at different times of the day. At Sally’s Café, Abby receives free legal advice from Connor. Before he leaves, Jay pays Abby a visit. He asks if he can spend time with her after her deposition, in which she accepts his invitation. He also shares with her why he became a teacher, as the people in his life are what matters the most. At her deposition, Abby makes it difficult for the opposing side to get any answers from her. Because of this, they offer her a vice president position at their business firm if she turns her back on her current firm. Before she leaves the deposition, Abby shares that what she teaches her children is more important than her career. After the deposition, Abby and Jay share a picnic. When she shares the opposing side’s job offer, he reminds her that no one’s road in life is a straight one, as it does have twists and turns. She contemplates Jay’s advice for the rest of the episode. When Mick discovers her notes about her deposition, she gives him an idea that could help him in his legal situation. He recruits her to find a solution to his problems, with Abby agreeing to help. She also briefly interacts with Trace backstage at Carrie and Caitlyn’s play.

 

Trace’s story: Trace is still bothered by what Emma told him in the previous episode. When Emma apologized, she shared that she didn’t know that Mark’s offer could include trying to get Trace back on tour. Trace accepts her apology and reveals that, because of the music business, he’s become skeptical of people. He then invites her to lunch at Sally’s Café, which Emma accepts. During this episode, Trace tells Emma how his family doesn’t always express their emotions and feelings. He also talks about his experiences while on tour. Another situation that Trace deals with is Mick cancelling on their business meetings. Because of Mick’s legal situation, he hasn’t had time to participate in various activities. This makes Trace frustrated by Mick’s lack of attention toward The Bridge. In an attempt to find a solution, Trace offers to buy Mick’s half of the restaurant. When Mick hears Trace’s offer, he tells Trace that he’ll think about it. Trace also crosses paths with Abby backstage at Carrie and Caitlyn’s play. During this brief interaction, he shares that he learned about Abby’s legal situation from Connor.

 

Mick and Megan’s story: One morning, Mick is shocked to learn that Megan wants to take up painting again. Even though he’s taken off guard, he’s supportive of her choice. Throughout the episode, Megan is creating plans for her new studio. When she shares these plans with Nell, Nell tells her that she should recruit Mick’s help in this endeavor. Speaking of Mick, he is so caught up in his legal worries, that he has little to no time for anything else. This starts to affect other people, including Trace and Connor. When Connor asks if there is anything he can do to help, Mick tells him no. Trace starts getting frustrated by Mick cancelling meetings related to The Bridge. To help take some weight off Mick’s shoulders, Trace offers to purchase Mick’s half of The Bridge. Mick tells Trace that he’ll think about the offer. When he arrives at his house, Mick discovers Abby’s notes about her deposition. When he expresses to Abby how impressed he is by this discovery, she gives him an idea that could help him with his problems. Because of this, Mick encourages Abby to use her unique insight to help him.

 

Kevin and Sarah’s story: When Abby is looking for someone within her family to look after Carrie and Caitlyn, Kevin and Sarah volunteer. After an exciting game of badminton, Kevin and Sarah bring up the question of how many children they’d like to have. When they realize that they each have a different idea for the size of their family, they come to the conclusion that they need to take the time to discuss several important topics. When looking after Word Play, Kevin talks to Bree about how rushed his relationship feels. Bree reminds him to appreciate what he has and shares that she feels that everything is how it should be. Later in the episode, Sarah comes by to visit Kevin at Word Play. While they are sharing embarrassing childhood stories, they get alerted on a recent emergency. After the emergency has been taken care of, Kevin and Sarah talk about how their relationship has moved so fast. They also agree to have a larger family.

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Paint palette image created by Freepik at freepik.com <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/hand-drawn-artsy-tools_836777.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a> <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/hand”>Hand vector created by Freepik</a> Image found at freepik.com

Bree’s story: Bree’s book has placed in the top ten on a bestseller list and her play has been presented in front of test audiences. Hannah has been with Bree every step of the way, from helping her avoid awkward questions during Q & A segments to suggesting small but essential changes to the script. When it’s time to write a message about herself for the play’s program, she experiences a bad case of writer’s block. At Word Play, she realizes that she and Kevin have something in common; they feel that their lives are moving too fast. However, Bree feels that everything is the way it should be and that they both need to appreciate what they have. On another day, at Word Play, Bree confides to Megan that the version of herself in the play represented who she was. She wants to write about who she is now, which she’s having a difficult time trying to figure out.

 

Jess’s story: Jess and David start to settle into their new bed & breakfast. When Carrie, Caitlyn, and Connor surprise them with the sign from their original bed & breakfast, Jess and David decide to name their new place “The Inn at Eagle Point”. While preparing for the grand opening, the facility loses electricity. Despite David scheduling an electrician to show up the following week, guests have arrived early than expected. Without food, mattresses, or electricity, David and Jess try to figure out how to make their unofficial grand opening a success. When Jess asks Mick for assistance, he politely refuses. Meanwhile, David and Jess put all their refrigerated food in the sink filled with ice cubes. Toward the end of the episode, Nell volunteers to cook meals for the guests. The bed & breakfast also gets its electricity back. When Jess is not around, David hides a stuffed animal horse and a small bag in a drawer.

 

Connor’s story: At the beginning of the episode, Carrie, Caitlyn, and Connor surprise Jess and David with the original sign from their previous bed & breakfast. He also helps Carrie and Caitlyn practice their lines for their play. For the majority of this episode, Connor continues to do research for his uncle’s law firm. He uses his research skills to help Abby create notes for her deposition. He also asks Mick if he can help him with his legal issues, but Mick politely turns Connor’s offer down. When doing research work at The Bridge, he reveals to Trace that he broke up with Danielle. He also tells Trace about Abby’s legal situation. Later in the episode, Connor learns that Abby will be helping Mick with his legal situation. Feeling hurt after learning this news, he approaches the lawyer who lost the case from this season’s second episode. He wants to work at her firm because he wants to be a litigator. She gives him a chance to prove himself by giving him a case that they might lose.

06
Kite in the sky background created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/pattern”>Pattern vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • The conflict associated with Jess’s story doesn’t make any sense. How can someone make a reservation when there is no realistic way to do so? If the bed & breakfast isn’t open for business yet, that means that an official website wouldn’t be available for reservations to be accepted. Also, if the electricity is out, then that means an official phone number wouldn’t be working for people to call for reservations. It seems like the screenwriters cared so much about Jess and David’s relationship that the plot ended up suffering.

 

  • Is it just me or did it seem like Nell’s health issues were completely glossed over? I was surprised to see Nell with an oxygen tank, as I’m used to seeing her as an independent woman who usually doesn’t rely on anyone or anything for help. I’m not sure if Diane Ladd, the actress who portrays Nell, or just the character is dealing with a medical situation. Whatever the case, I hope that things work out for the better.

 

  • Back in February, at the Winter TCA Event, Hallmark announced that a Chesapeake Shores movie was greenlit. Because this season of the show only received six episodes, it was speculated that the movie would make up for the limited number of episodes. But I’ve heard that this movie won’t premiere until next year. So, this makes the idea of the fourth season having less than the usual ten episodes seem meaningless.
Starry night landscape with reeds
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.

Are you looking forward to the season finale? What do you think will happen? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen