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

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

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

Shirley Temple’s involvement in the film

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

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

 

The Cast Surrounding Shirley

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

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

The Story

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

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

 

The Messages and Themes

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

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

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

The Musical Numbers

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

 

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

 

The Overall Film

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

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

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

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Take 3: One Winter Proposal Review

Last November, I shared with my readers and followers that One Winter Weekend would receive a sequel. At the time, I had mixed feelings about the idea of this film. On the one hand, One Winter Weekend was placed in the Dishonorable Mentions section of my list of the Top 10 Worst Movies I saw in 2018. On the other hand, I thought the best part of One Winter Weekend was Rukiya Bernard and Dewshane Williams’ acting performance, on-screen chemistry, and their characters. But, like I do with every movie I see (and sometimes review), I decided to watch this sequel, One Winter Proposal, with an open mind. However, because I was not a fan of the first movie, my expectations for the sequel were very low. Did I end up liking One Winter Proposal? Keep reading my review if you want to find out!

one winter proposal poster
One Winter Proposal poster 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=&ShowTitle=One+Winter+Proposal.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: One thing that I liked about One Winter Weekend was the performances of Rukiya Bernard and Dewshane Williams! In fact, I thought their performances were better than Jack Turner and Taylor Cole’s performances. In One Winter Proposal, not only did Rukiya and Dewshane give good acting performances, but Taylor and Jack’s performances were stronger than they were in the first movie! The quality in these acting portrayals helped me stay invested in the characters and their stories. Cardi Wong’s performance in this film was such a pleasant surprise. Ethan, a new character in this series, was a very likable character. If this series does receive a third movie, I hope Ethan makes an appearance.

 

The on-screen chemistry: Both One Winter Weekend and One Winter Proposal are character-driven films. This means that one of the things that this story relies on is the on-screen chemistry of its stars. Like I said earlier, the starring cast did a good job when it came to their acting performances. Each on-screen couple also had really good on-screen chemistry, with both of them appearing as if they truly cared about one another. It was nice to see Megan and Sean spend some time together again, as I really liked seeing their relationship develop and progress over time. I also thought Ben’s proposal to Cara was really sweet and romantic.

 

The connections to the first movie: I really liked the connections to One Winter Weekend that were incorporated in One Winter Proposal. An example of this is the inclusion of the wine charms. When Ben and Cara arrive at the resort, Ben presents Cara with her pineapple wine charm from the first movie. Ben also starts his own snowboard company, which is named “Charmed”. Another example is when Megan and Sean participate in a trivia game. Only this time, they are joined by Sean’s niece. These connections were a good, creative way to give the first film recognition.

508771-pi9sq9-56
Ski lodge during winter-time image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/ski-station-background_3423830.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.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Lack of conflict: In One Winter Weekend, the main characters not only had to deal with sharing a resort cabin with completer strangers and getting caught in a snowstorm, but they also had to deal with their own personal issues. In One Winter Proposal, there really wasn’t an over-arcing conflict and the characters dealt with very few issues. In fact, the plans in this movie seemed to go more smoothly than in the first movie. The lack of problem-solving made the film a little less interesting.

 

A weaker plot: Like I just mentioned, One Winter Proposal did not have an over-arcing conflict. This movie also didn’t have an over-arcing plot. This caused One Winter Proposal to be fueled on several, smaller stories. These stories felt closer to real-life situations, such as Ben’s business meetings getting cancelled due to last minute interruptions. Because of this creative decision, it made the film feel like a “slice of life” story.

 

Some of the characters’ decisions: There were a few times when a character made a decision that, to me, seemed ridiculous. A perfect example is when Cara decides to create two main characters for her novel that are based on her and Ben, but forgetting that she made this choice until after her book was published. I am more than willing to suspend my disbelief for a Hallmark movie. However, I found decisions like Cara’s to be a little too unbelievable.

Woman in ski suit looks over her shoulder going down the hill on
Snowboarder on the slopes image created by Freepic.diller at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/woman-in-ski-suit-looks-over-her-shoulder-going-down-the-hill-on-her-snowboard_1620624.htm’>Designed by Freepic.diller</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/tree”>Tree image created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Movie sequels from Hallmark can be very hit or miss. Some sequels have been really good, such as Wedding of Dreams. Other sequels ended up being disappointing, like All of My Heart: Inn Love. As a movie, I thought One Winter Proposal was decent. As a sequel, I thought it was better than the first movie! For me, this is a huge improvement as well as a step forward. One Winter Proposal surpassed my very low expectations and I enjoyed the film more than I thought I would. This gives me hope that this particular series could grow into a really good collection of films. So far, I have enjoyed the films that “Winterfest” has offered. I hope that the rest of the films, as well as Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ upcoming films, are just as enjoyable!

 

Overall score: 7 out of 10

 

Did you watch One Winter Proposal? What are your thoughts on “Winterfest” so far? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Word on the Street: Hallmark premieres new series, “Chronicle Mysteries” in February; “Valentine in the Vineyard” to lead “Countdown to Valentine’s Day” line-up

As Hallmark Channel’s “Winterfest” line-up continues to play a huge role in January, there is much to look forward to next month. “Countdown to Valentine’s Day” will soon come around the corner, entertaining Hallmark fans throughout February. I’m really looking forward to this year’s line-up, especially since one of my favorite movies last year was Cooking with Love! One part of 2019’s “Countdown to Valentine’s Day” line-up that is exciting is the premiere of Valentine in the Vineyard! In a Word on the Street post last November, I mentioned that a movie titled “Wedding In The Vineyard” would likely be a continuation of the “In the Vineyard” series starring Rachel Leigh Cook and Brendan Penny. It looks like my prediction was right, as this will be the third movie in this particular series. While the premiere date on Hallmark Channel’s website says February 7th, the release date on Crown Media Family Networks’ website is listed as February 2nd. At this time, there has not been a trailer or “Countdown to Valentine’s Day” announcement that officially confirmed either of these dates. However, Crown Media Family Networks has released an official synopsis for Valentine in the Vineyard on the home-page of their website! While the story itself sounds creative, I’m concerned that the “planning-a-wedding-in-an-unrealistic-time-period” cliché will, somehow, be incorporated into the narrative. If this cliché is woven into the film in a similar way as Wedding of Dreams, then I would be fine with that.

If you want to check out the sources related to this Word on the Street story, here are the associated links:

https://www.crownmediapress.com/PressReleaseList/?SiteID=142&NodeID=144 (the synopsis and proposed release date for Valentine in the Vineyard is within the article titled “Valentine in the Vineyard – 01/09/19”)

http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/wedding-in-the-vineyard

Valentine Card
Valentine’s Day image created by Sergey_kandakov at freepik.com <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Sergey_kandakov – Freepik.com</a> <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/valentine-background-design_1389799.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a> Image found at freepik.com

Recently, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries released an official trailer for their new mystery movie, Chronicle Mysteries: Recovered, on their website! This first movie will premiere on February 17th, while its sequel, Chronicle Mysteries: The Wrong Man, will premiere on February 24th. During the trailer for Chronicle Mysteries: Recovered, it was mentioned that this will be “a groundbreaking new mystery movie series”. However, after reading the synopsis for both Chronicle Mysteries films and after watching the trailer for Chronicle Mysteries: Recovered, I’m having difficulty understanding how this series is supposed to be “groundbreaking”. To me, this series looks, sounds, and feels like it is following a formula that has been set in motion by other mystery series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. This formula includes:

  • A single, female protagonist with a good career
  • A murder mystery story-line
  • The crime taking place in a small town or in the same neighborhood as the protagonist
  • The murder victim being someone that the protagonist personally knows or someone that the protagonist is familiar with, giving the protagonist motivation to solve the mystery
  • A single, male protagonist who also has a good career
  • The male and female protagonist working together on almost every single mystery
  • The male and female protagonist ending up in a romantic relationship over the course of the series

Because I haven’t seen any of these Chronicle Mysteries films yet, I have no idea if this series will truly be as “groundbreaking” as it claims to be. Unless the story is vastly different from the other mystery series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, such as Signed, Sealed, Delivered, then I’m guessing it will probably share a lot of similarities with the series that have already been established on the network. However, I do plan on watching this series when it premieres because, so far, I have enjoyed the mystery films on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. It seems like February will not only be a good month for Hallmark Channel, but Hallmark Movies & Mysteries as well.

If you want to check out the official pages for the Chronicle Mysteries series or the official trailer, here are the links:

http://www.hallmarkmoviesandmysteries.com/chronicle-mysteries-recovered/videos/preview-chronicle-mysteries-recovered

https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=143&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=307&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Chronicle+Mysteries+Recovered

https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=143&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=307&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Chronicle+Mysteries+The+Wrong+Man

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

Are you looking forward to the Hallmark films premiering in February? Which movie are you anticipating the most? Please share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The Moon-Spinners Review + 55 Follower Thank You

Last weekend, I achieved 55 followers on 18 Cinema Lane! What a great way to start the new year! As I did last year, I will continue to review films that were released in the same amount of years as the number of followers I received. Because 55 is the number of followers I now have, this review will be about a film that was released 55 years ago (in 1964). I ended up choosing The Moon-Spinners because a) It happened to be on my DVR and b) it was a movie that I was meaning to watch last year, but never got around to it. Before last year, I had never heard of this movie or the Island of Crete. Because of this location and the story itself, I was really excited to see this film! I also have seen some of Hayley Mills’ other films, which were The Parent Trip, That Darn Cat, and pieces of Pollyanna. Because I have enjoyed those films, I had a feeling that I would probably enjoy The Moon-Spinners. Was I right in my prediction? Join me on my 11th review in my blog follower dedication series!

the moon-spinners poster
The Moon-Spinners poster created by Walt Disney Productions and Buena Vista Distribution. ©Disney•Pixar. All rights reserved. Image found at https://movies.disney.com/the-moon-spinners.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: I really liked the cast of The Moon-Spinners! Everyone was so talented in this film, bringing the best of their acting abilities to their specific role. Hayley’s portrayal of Nikky was such a highlight in this film, making her performance as believable as possible. In the scene where Nikky has to escape from a windmill, the emotion of fear appeared so convincingly, that it truly made me believe that Hayley’s character was actually afraid of heights. I also liked Peter McEnery’s portrayal of Mark. Peter brought just as much believability to his role as Hayley did, helping me to stay invested in Mark’s involvement in the overall story. Whenever Mark was in pain, Peter affectively conveyed that emotion of pain on-screen.

 

The mystery story: In some mystery stories, the event that caused the mystery is usually shown within the first few minutes of the movie. This leads the rest of the movie to show how the characters solve the mystery. In The Moon-Spinners, the mystery unfolded as the story went along, allowing the audience to experience the surprises and react alongside the characters. I feel this was an engaging experience because it made me feel like I was on this journey alongside the protagonist, not just sitting in my seat and watching things happen on my screen.

 

The setting/scenery: The Moon-Spinners not only took place in Crete, but the movie itself was also filmed in Crete. The scenery that is found on this island was showcased very well in this film. What I liked about the scenery was how the different parts of Crete were incorporated into the story. While one part of the story took place at the beach, another part took place within ancient ruins. This showed the variety of locations that Crete had to offer, giving viewers a well-rounded depiction of this beautiful Greek location.

Beautiful clean sea and waves. Summer background for travel and holidays. Greece Crete.. Amazing scenery on the beach.
Beach in Crete, Greece image created by Montypeter at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/beautiful-clean-sea-and-waves-summer-background-for-travel-and-holidays-greece-crete-amazing-sce_2924526.htm’>Designed by Montypeter</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Montypeter – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

A small presence of musicology: In The Moon-Spinners, Nikky’s aunt, Frances, is a musicologist. This aspect of Frances’ character really fascinated me because I had never heard of this particular occupation before. I became more interested in musicology and how it could play a role in this film’s mystery story. However, there was only one scene that actually featured musicology in action. Also, musicology did not play a role within the mystery narrative. This was really disappointing because what I thought was such an interesting concept ended up becoming under-utilized.

 

Some of the night-time scenes: While watching this film, I noticed that some of the night-time scenes looked like were filmed in the day-time, but with a dark lens placed over the camera. I understand that film technology from the early to mid-60s is very different from the film technologies of the 2010s. However, this is just something that I noticed, with this knowledge staying in the back of my mind as these scenes played out on my television screen.

 

A limited presence of Greek culture: As I mentioned in my introduction, I had never heard of Crete prior to watching The Moon-Spinners. So, I was interested in seeing how the important parts that make up Crete (the people, customs, traditions, etc.) would be incorporated into this story. While this movie touched upon a wedding, a parade, and how The Moon-Spinners Inn acquired its name, the customs and traditions of Crete did not play as large of a role in the film as I had hoped. Plus, these things were not incorporated into the film’s mystery narrative at all.

Greece Symbols Touristic Set Flat Composition
Essential items from Greece image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/greece-symbols-touristic-set-flat-composition_2869836.htm’>Designed by Macrovector</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/poster”>Poster vector created by Macrovector – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

I really enjoyed The Moon-Spinners! Even though there were things about the film that could have better, I still thought the movie was good. The Moon-Spinners was an engaging and suspenseful mystery, with really good pieces incorporated into the film. Out of the two and a half films of Hayley Mills’ that I’ve seen, this movie is very different from those aforementioned movies. But, if you are a fan of Hayley Mills, I think you will enjoy The Moon-Spinners. I’m really glad I was finally able to see this film! It’s always great to discover new films, possibly find a hidden gem, and share them with others. Thank you to all of my 55 followers, as this review would not have been possible without you.

 

Overall score: 7.8 out of 10

 

What are your thoughts on my review? Which Hayley Mills film is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Winter Castle Review

For my first movie review of 2019, I decided to talk about a Hallmark movie. Since the last Hallmark movie I discussed was When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing and since Hallmark Channel’s “Winterfest” line-up just started, I figured this would be a good time to talk about Winter Castle. My primary reason for wanting to see this film was because of the ice hotel setting. This is the first time that an ice hotel has ever been featured in any kind of Hallmark movie, so I was really excited to see the creativity that this story had to offer. I was also looking forward to seeing Emilie Ullerup and Kevin McGarry’s performances in this film. Besides Chesapeake Shores, I have seen Emilie appear in some of the Signed, Sealed, Delivered films, as well as With Love, Christmas. When it comes to Kevin’s acting abilities, I have seen his performance in A Song for Christmas and Love at First Bark. This is also the first Hallmark movie where both Emilie and Kevin starred as the film’s leads. Did I think this movie was cool? Or did it make me feel bitter cold? Bundle up and grab some hot chocolate as I prepare to review Winter Castle!

winter castle poster
Winter Castle poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Winter+Castle

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: I really liked all of the performances from this cast! The acting in Winter Castle was so good, it made the characters feel like they were real-life individuals. As I said in my introduction, I have seen Emilie and Kevin’s acting performances before. In this movie, I ended up being really impressed by both of their performances! In the scene where Jenny, Emilie’s character, was visiting the ice slide, the joy and excitement that she expressed in that scene looked and felt genuine. Kevin’s performance appeared genuine as well, making his portrayal of Craig as well-rounded as possible.

 

The setting: According to IMDB, Winter Castle was filmed at Hotel de Glace, a real-life ice hotel in Canada. I think this hotel and the areas surrounding it were captured very well on film! Everything about this hotel was so beautiful, it makes me understand why someone would want to get married there. All of the artwork on the walls was exquisite and magnificent, with the ice chandeliers being really cool to look at! From the snowy forests to the quaint little town, all of the settings look great in this movie and served the story well.

 

The relationships between the characters: As I just mentioned, I liked the acting performances from Winter Castle’s cast! Because of how good these acting abilities were, it helped make all of the relationships amongst every character feel very realistic. All of the on-screen couples in this film had good on-screen chemistry, each of them appearing like they truly cared about each other. The non-romantic relationships also appeared like the people involved in them really got along with each other. A good example of this is any scene where Jenny, Craig, and Sara were spending time together. The relationships that these three characters had with one another came across really believably.

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Fairytale castle image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/fairy-tale-castle_837803.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/design”>Designvector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The changing of locations: In Winter Castle, almost every member of the wedding party stayed at the ice hotel. However, they ate the majority of their meals in a restaurant that was separate from the hotel. I found this to be really confusing, especially since most hotels have restaurants within their facilities. Because this movie was filmed in a real-life hotel, I’m not sure if the change in locations was a hotel related or movie production related decision.

 

Very few strong conflicts: While there were some conflicts within Winter Castle’s narrative, I was only able to find one that I felt was strong. The subplot of Jenny writing a story based on her trip was my favorite, as her struggle to grow her career was the strongest conflict in the film. The other plots in the film were fine, but not as compelling as I had hoped. This didn’t make me like the movie any less, but it left more of this movie’s story-telling department to be desired.

 

The wedding subplot getting overshadowed: When I watched this movie, I noticed that the wedding subplot seemed to get overshadowed by the main plot of Jenny and Craig falling in love. It got to the point where I questioned why this movie needed a wedding subplot at all. This narrative could have simply been about the protagonist going on vacation with her family and it really wouldn’t have changed the story. Maybe I would have felt differently if the wedding subplot was a main plot instead.

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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.

My overall impression:

Winter Castle was not only a good start to the “Winterfest” line-up, it was also a good start for Hallmark Channel’s new year! While this movie had its flaws, I still thought it was a good film. As I’ve read the synopsis of the other films in the “Winterfest” line-up, I’ve noticed that Hallmark is starting to incorporate more creativity into their films. This makes me happy because, to me, Hallmark has what it takes to be as creative and imaginative as they want to be. Take Winter Castle for example, the setting itself was very creative and it made the movie that much more enjoyable for me. I really hope that Hallmark continues to incorporate more creativity into their films because there are so many more stories that I could see them sharing with their audience. If Hallmark keeps bringing imagination, creativity, and quality into their films, then I think they can continue to find success.

 

Overall score: 7.8 out of 10

 

Have you seen Winter Castle? Which “Winterfest” movie are you anticipating the most? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

2019: Looking Back and Planning Ahead

Happy New Year, everybody! I have a feeling 2019 is going to be a great year for 18 Cinema Lane! Last year, my blog was more successful than I ever imagined. This is because of all of you, my readers and followers, who have played an integral role in making 18 Cinema Lane so great. From liking my posts and leaving comments, these simple, small gestures have not only helped build my blog’s success, but have also helped 18 Cinema Lane’s future. Here are the stats from last year to see how many triumphs this blog has achieved:

 

2018

Total blog posts: 132

Total followers: 52

(technically, I have 53 followers because I’m following my own blog)

Total Comments: 93

Total Likes: 248

Awards: 2

Participated Blogathons: 4

Total Movie Reviews: 61

Total Word on the Street stories: 34

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Gold glittery 2019 image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/new-year-2019-party-flyer_3641545.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/banner”>Banner vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Now that we’ve reviewed some of the major successes that 18 Cinema Lane achieved in 2018, it’s time for me to talk about some of the things that are coming up in my blog’s near future. I wanted to share these exciting pieces of news with you so that you can know what to expect in the upcoming months of this new year. Each piece of news with be broken down into four separate categories. Since I’ve now gotten through all the necessary introductions, let’s start discussing what new things are taking place in 2019!

 

Blogathons

If you have ever looked at the section on my blog’s home-page titled “Blogathons I Will Be Participating In!”, then you would see I will be participating in three upcoming blogathons! These blogathons are Pop Culture Reverie and In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood’s Made in 1938 blogathon, The Wonderful World of Cinema and Phyllis Loves Classic Movies’ 90 Years of Jean Simmons blogathon, and Taking Up Room’s So Bad It’s Good blogathon. Later this year, I will even be hosting my own blogathon! I will share more details about my blogathon either in April or May, but I will share that it will be movie themed. If you want to see what other blogathons I will be participating in throughout the year, just look in the right-hand side of my blog’s home-page under the title “Blogathons I Will Be Participating In!”.

 

A New Folder Tab

Speaking of blogathons, I will be moving all of my blogathon posts to a new folder tab titled “My Blogathon Folder”. When I first started my blog, I thought that blogathons were exclusive, invitation-only events. Therefore, I didn’t expect to be participating in as many blogathons as I have. Since my list of blogathon posts is growing, I feel it is time to place these posts in their own special section.

 

A Special Movie Awards

Next month will be 18 Cinema Lane’s first anniversary! In honor of this special occasion, I have decided to host a special movie awards! To determine the winners, I will allow my readers and followers to vote on each category. More details for these movie awards will be announced later this month, but I will say that Hallmark will be the overall theme.

 

What the Code Means to Me

In June, I will be participating in Pure Entertainment Preservation Society’s “What the Code Means to Me” series! This series is created to showcase different people’s perspectives about the 1930 Motion Picture Production Code. I’m not sure what exactly I’ll be writing about, but stay tuned for this post to be published this summer! You can visit Pure Entertainment Preservation Society’s blog for more information about this code and this series.

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Setting up 2019 image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/new-year-2019-background_3590600.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. 

What are your thoughts about these announcements? What part of 2019 are you the most excited about? Leave your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

The Top 10 Worst Movies I saw in 2018

Like I said in my post of The Top 10 Best Movies I saw in 2018, I’ve had a pretty good year in terms of movie-viewing. However, there were a few “stinkers” along the way. All movie bloggers will, inevitably, come across at least one film that either lets them down or was just less-than-stellar. This leads me to talk about this list of movies before 2018 is over. As the title suggests, the Top 10 Worst Movies I saw in 2018 will be discussed in this post. This list is very similar to the list of the best films I saw in 2018, where the list is based on my opinion and movies that I have personally seen. Also, like I said in my aforementioned list, this list was not created to be mean-spirited or negative toward anyone’s opinions/cinematic preferences. It is just a way for me to be honest about some of the films I saw in 2018. Now, let’s start off this list by looking at 2018’s Dishonorable Mentions:

 

One Winter Weekend, Frozen in Love, Love at Sea, Lilith, Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe, Mingle All the Way, and Island of Grace (this movie was so bad, I could only sit through about 5 minutes of it)

abstract 2018 text effect in broken style
2018 with broken pieces image created by Starline at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/abstract-2018-text-effect-in-broken-style_1472367.htm’>Designed by Starline</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Starline – Freepik.com</a>. Designed by Starline. Image found at freepik.com.

Now, let the official list of 2018’s worst movies begin! Starting with number 10:

 

10. Marrying Mr. Darcy

I’m going to be honest; I thought Unleashing Mr. Darcy was decent, at best. Therefore, I was not asking Hallmark to give this movie a sequel. However, I was hoping Marrying Mr. Darcy would be better than the first movie, so this series could grow and progress as time went on. Unfortunately, that was not the case. As I’ve mentioned before, one of my least favorite Hallmark movie clichés is the “planning-a-wedding-in-an-unrealistic-time-period” cliché. In Marrying Mr. Darcy, this cliché serves as the film’s plot. The dog-show element of Unleashing Mr. Darcy’s narrative was something that I really liked about the first movie, as dog-shows had not been featured in a Hallmark movie until that film. But, in Marrying Mr. Darcy, dog-shows are pretty much non-existent, taking away an important part of the first movie’s identity. If I had liked or loved Unleashing Mr. Darcy anywhere near as much as other people did, maybe I would find Marrying Mr. Darcy to be more disappointing that it was. But, because I wasn’t really a fan of the first film, its sequel received a low placement on this list.

 

9. Christmas on Holly Lane

In 2018, I watched about 19 newly released Christmas films. Out of all of those, Christmas on Holly Lane was the worst one. As I said in my review, Christmas is given such little emphasis in the story. This movie also has an assortment of other issues that I talked about in my review, from too much focus on the “doom and gloom” of the protagonist’s realities to having too many plots. What’s really disappointing about this specific placement is this is the second year in a row where my least favorite Christmas movie of the year has been an UP Network movie (I also didn’t like The Christmas Calendar). This channel has what it takes to create films that are really good in quality. So, hopefully, in 2019, UP Network can put together a movie that doesn’t end up on my Worst Movies of the Year list.

 

8. Waffle Street

Yet, another movie I’ve reviewed that joins the list. What’s so disappointing about Waffle Street, even more disappointing than movies 10 and 9, is the movie is based on a true story. Not only that, the story itself sounds really fascinating. Too bad the movie wasn’t as interesting as the story itself. The biggest problem with Waffle Street is the poor execution that was placed on the film. This led the movie to have creative issues, such as very little character development and a toilet scene that went too far. While the cast in Waffle Street did a pretty good job with the acting material they were given, there was nothing anyone could do to save this film. Maybe if this story was placed into the hands of a network like Hallmark, the movie could have done this true story justice.

 

7. The Graduate

I am fully aware that this choice is going to be controversial, especially since The Graduate is well-liked by a lot of people and is ranked in the Top 10 of AFI’s Top 100 Movies of All Time list. But, as I reflect on this film, I can’t help but wonder why this movie was made and what the creative team behind this movie was trying to say to its respective audience. To me, the majority of The Graduate feels like it was a product of its time. Also, there are several elements within this movie that feel like they were incorporated just for the sake of shock value. When I think about The Graduate, as well as the other movies I’ve seen in 2018, I’ve come to realize that I’m not a fan of the story-telling trope where situations or things are placed in a film just for sake of shock value/ getting a reaction out of the audience. I will admit that Simon and Garfunkel have some really good songs, but I just think that their music felt out of place in this movie.

 

6. Collateral 

This movie has the distinction of getting worse as the story goes on. What starts out as an intriguing, action-packed mystery story slowly turns into a philosophical discussion on why people do the things they do. The character of Vincent is more annoying than menacing, with things happening way too conveniently in his favor. Similar to what I said about Waffle Street, I think the cast did a good job with the acting material they were given. But, also like I said about Waffle Street, there was nothing anyone could do to save this film. I won’t spoil this movie for you (even though I would not recommend this film), but all I will say is the ending was way too ridiculous for my liking.

Waffle Street poster
Waffle Street poster created by MarVista Entertainment. Image found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Waffle_Street_Official_Movie_Poster.jpg

5. Saturday Night Fever

Yes, another controversial choice for this list, especially because of how well-liked this movie is and how iconic this film’s opening scene is. When you take away the acting (which was good), the dancing sequences (which were really good), and the soundtrack (which is great), you are left with a movie that feels very long, is filled with unlikable characters, and has way too much swearing for my liking. I saw this movie on television and there was so much swearing in this film, I honestly thought the audio on my TV was broken. Another thing I’d like to add is the film’s climax is so predictable, that I, personally, didn’t find it to be emotionally affective. In 2018, I found out Saturday Night Fever was given a sequel a few years after its 1977 release. However, I have no intention of watching this sequel because a) I’ve heard a lot of negative things about the film and b) I didn’t like Saturday Night Fever anywhere near enough to want to give the sequel a chance.

 

4. Logan Lucky

Out of all the movies on this list, Logan Lucky is the only one that I just couldn’t finish watching. Maybe if I had finished watching it, the movie probably would have ended up in the Top 3. The biggest fault of Logan Lucky is how boring of a movie it is. Despite the fact that this a heist film, there is no excitement to be found. I will admit that this movie had the pieces to, potentially, be a good film. Unfortunately, because of a poorly written script, this entire concept was really executed poorly. Even as I start to think about the Top 3 Worst films I saw in 2018, I’m still trying to figure out how Logan Lucky received a score of 92 to 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

 

3. Menu for Murder

This is a Lifetime movie from 1990 that I’m not sure how many people are aware of. What enticed me to watch this film was how similar the synopsis sounded to the mystery films on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Also, Menu for Murder had an interesting concept (a murder that takes places amongst a PTA group) set against an interesting backdrop (Encino, California). With all of those pieces put together, this movie sounded like something I would like; an engaging mystery story that has a good amount of creativity. But, all of this potential was wasted on a poorly written script. Not only was the mystery itself very lackluster, but all of the characters in the PTA group were defined by stereotypical personalities. The film’s climax was not suspenseful at all, but instead silly, over-the-top, and ridiculously bad to the point of not taking the climax seriously. To me, this was the most disappointing movie I saw in 2018.

 

2. Yes, I Do

If you have followed my blog for a significant period of time, you would have seen this movie coming a mile a minute. While Yes, I Do is the worst Hallmark movie I saw in 2018, it is now the second worst Hallmark movie I’ve ever seen (bumping Firelight off of my Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time list). As I said in my review, this movie was so bad, I had to fast forward through certain parts of the movie just to get through it. The film’s narrative is not good, even by made-for-TV movie standards. There were other issues I had with this movie as well, from a very unlikable protagonist to really poor screen-writing. Like I also mentioned in my review, this is the second year in a row where Hallmark’s “June Weddings” line-up ended with a movie that I didn’t like. Hopefully, in 2019, the last “June Weddings” movie can help the line-up end on a positive note.

 

1. The Birds 

This has got to be the most controversial choice on this list. When I think about the movies I saw in 2018, The Birds is the only one to truly make me feel like I wasted my time watching it. Prior to seeing this film, I had watched Rear Window, Psycho, and Strangers on a Train. Because of this, I was familiar with the directing style of Alfred Hitchcock and the cinematic tone of his films. However, The Birds ended up being a 2-hour, slow, and boring build-up to absolutely nothing. No plot twist, no shocking ending, no explanation for why the birds were causing so much chaos in the first place. Nothing. For me, it felt like all of the characters were placed within this narrative just because they were obligated to be there. Their dialogue and subplots did not interest me at all. The only parts of the film that I liked were anytime at least one bird showed up, as the love birds leaning in the direction of the car’s turns was one of the best scenes in this film (because it was that hilarious). While I am all for watching Hitchcock’s films with an open mind, I feel bummed out that, in 2018, I found a Hitchcock film that I didn’t like.

Yes I Do poster
Yes, I Do poster 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=&ShowTitle=Yes%2c+I+Do

What did you think of my list? What is the worst film you saw in 2018? Please share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun in 2019!

Sally Silverscreen