One day, while I was on the internet, I came across some episodes of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert’s show, At the Movies, on Youtube. As I was watching these episodes, I wondered why there wasn’t a show like this on television anymore. But, when I asked this question, I realized that there kind of is. Though not on television, I can think of several channels on Youtube dedicated to talking about film. There’s also lots of blogs related to movie criticism, especially on WordPress. As a movie blogger myself, I know that the growth of the movie review community might not have been possible without Siskel and Ebert. So, in honor of the Grandfathers of Movie Criticism, I have decided to dedicate my very first blogathon to them! Siskel and Ebert at the Blogathon will take place from September 20th to the 24th. If you would like to participate, you can sign up in one of the following categories:
A. Siskel and Ebert Themselves – This category is for blog entries about Gene Siskel and/or Roger Ebert. Articles about their life, legacy, or career are most certainly welcome. If Siskel and/or Ebert have written any books, editorials, or articles, blog entries about that can be submitted to this category. If you do write an entry for this specific category, all I ask is that you please be respectful when writing about Siskel and/or Ebert. If your post is about how you disagree with their opinion, that’s fine. But please don’t be disrespectful or negative toward anybody.
B. Movies that Siskel and/or Ebert have reviewed or talked about: This category is pretty straight forward. Any movie that Siskel and/or Ebert have reviewed/talked about or that was covered on any of their shows is fair game. To find out which movies would be allowed for this category, you can find episodes of At the Movies on Youtube or search “At the Movies” or “Sneak Previews” on IMDB and look through the listed episodes section.
C. The Show Itself: For this category, you can write about anything related to Siskel and Ebert’s shows. Do you have a favorite episode of Sneak Previews or any version of At the Movies? Share it in your post! Was there a particular host that you were fond of? Feel free to talk about them in your article! Did the show play an important role in your life? Tell your story on your blog! Other topics that would be allowed in this category are trivia about the show, specific segments, and the show’s history, just to name to few.
D. Something movie related that has to do with Chicago: Because Siskel and Ebert were film critics in Chicago, this category is a creative way to honor the Grandfathers of Movie Criticism. For this category, you can talk about movies that either take place or were filmed in Chicago. You may also write about film festivals or movie related events that have been hosted in the Windy City. If you’ve had a movie-going experience in the city of Chicago, feel free to share your story!
The Official Blogathon Rules
As I’ve already mentioned, please be respectful not only when writing about Siskel and Ebert, but also to other bloggers.
If you plan on publishing your post(s) earlier or later than the allotted time-frame (September 20th to the 24th), please let me know in advance.
Only new posts will be allowed for this blogathon.
Three participants at a time are allowed to write about a singular topic. For example, if four people wanted to talk about Roger Ebert’s book, I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie, only the first three participants would be able to write about the book.
Each participant is allowed to publish a maximum of three entries.
All entries must be original work.
If your interested in participating, please share your idea(s) in the comment section below.
Creativity is encouraged.
Pick one of the five banners and spread the word about Siskel and Ebert at the Blogathon!
The List of Participants
Sally from 18 Cinema Lane – (Editorial) Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbooks: How Relevant are they Anyway?
Ruth from Silver Screenings — (Review) Roger Ebert’s book, The Great Movies
Le from Critica Retro — (Review) Z (1969)
Gill from Realweegiemidget Reviews — (Review) Prizzi’s Honor (1985)
J-Dub from Dubsism — (Review) Casino (1995)
Quiggy from The Midnite Drive-In — (Review) The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Rebecca from Taking Up Room — (Review) Straight Talk (1992)
Rob from MovieRob — (Review) About Last Night… (1986), Opportunity Knocks (1990), and Rookie of the Year (1993)
Ever since Lucas Bouchard came to Hope Valley earlier this season, his story has been a mystery. Hearties have speculated if he was a villain or just a troubled soul. I’ve even wondered what his story could be about. Several episodes later, we finally got answers to all of our questions relating to this character. Even though this episode has focused most of its attention on Lucas, the show as a whole has never been about just one character. The creative team behind this show have done a good job at focusing on the town of Hope Valley, giving their characters an equal amount of story-telling opportunities. This aspect helped When Calls the Heart become as successful as it has. Speaking of story-telling, let’s talk about this episode of When Calls the Heart!
Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: A Call from the Past
One day, while at the Mercantile, Lucas receives a personal phone call. During this call, a woman tells him that someone is after them and that this person knows he’s in Hope Valley. Lucas tells her that he’ll figure out what to do. The next day, he decides to close the Queen of Hearts Saloon and leave Hope Valley. When Elizabeth passes by the Saloon, she asks Lucas why he’s closing the Saloon. While Lucas is answering her question, Elizabeth notices that he has a pistol in his possession. After this conversation, she goes straight to the Mountie Office to tell Bill and Nathan everything Lucas told her. Because Lucas is on his way to Cape Fullerton, Nathan chooses to follow him. Before Lucas can reach his destination, Nathan tracks him down. He not only successfully encourages Lucas to come back to Hope Valley, but Lucas reveals what’s really going on. He shares that, in New Orleans, his friend had a struggling business. She borrowed money from a man named Amos Dixon. When she couldn’t pay Amos back, he started threatening to shut down her business and put her in harms way. In an attempt to help his friend, Lucas entered a poker game in order to win her money back. When he discovered that Amos, who was also participating in this game, cheated, Lucas decided to cheat as well. Amos discovered what he had done, causing him to hold a grudge against Lucas. After listening to his story, Nathan promises Lucas that he will contact the Mounties in Cape Fullerton to keep his friend safe. Meanwhile, in Hope Valley, Amos and his accomplice arrive in Hope Valley. They break into the Saloon, waiting for Lucas to arrive. Instead, Elizabeth shows up because she had a feeling that someone was in the Saloon. Amos and his accomplice hold her as their hostage. When Lucas finally arrives, Amos orders him to hand over all the money from his safe. While this is happening, Bill and Nathan figure out that Elizabeth hasn’t come home when she said she would, causing them to suspect that something is wrong. They both go to the Saloon, where Bill ends up catching Amos’s accomplice behind the building. Meanwhile, Nathan had to sneak into the building, due to feeling suspicious about his encounter with Lucas at the Saloon’s front door. Despite a struggle during his encounter with Amos, Nathan successfully arrests him. After the ordeal is over, everyone appears to be uncomfortable around Lucas, including Elizabeth.
Grace, one of the orphanage care-givers from When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing, arrives in Hope Valley with an orphan named Spencer. This young boy barely speaks, so Grace is doing everything she can to help him. Grace and Spencer stay at Lee and Rosemary’s house during their visit. Rosemary is organizing the Founders Day Festival, which is not only around the corner, but also encourages Grace and Spencer to stay in town a little longer than expected. When Rosemary tells Elizabeth about all of her Founders Day responsibilities. Elizabeth suggests that she split these responsibilities with someone else. While at the Mercantile, Rosemary tells Fiona about the things has to do in order for the Founders Day Festival to be successful. After doing this, Rosemary asks Fiona if she would like to help her plan the Festival, with Fiona agreeing. Meanwhile, Spencer and Grace take a visit to Carson’s office. Carson finds out that Spencer is anemic and that he hasn’t eaten much in recent days. This is the result of Spencer’s trauma and grief that Grace shares with Rosemary later in the episode. She reveals that Spencer’s parents died in a flood a few months prior, leaving Spencer as the only survivor. Since then, Grace, as well as the orphanage where Spencer was previously staying, have to doing anything they could to help him. While Rosemary and Fiona discuss ideas for the Founders Day Festival, Grace comes up with the solution of having pancakes for dinner. This ends up being successful, as Spencer not only eats the pancakes, but also seems to enjoy them.
Because of Henry’s new petroleum oil business, Lee has been losing employees at his lumberyard. When Mike Hickam decides to work for Henry instead, Lee is disappointed but respectful toward this decision. One day, Jesse crosses paths with Henry. He is upset that Henry has been “stealing” employees from Lee. Henry, however, tells Jesse that all he wants to do is move on from their feud. The next day, Jesse talks with Mike about his new job. Mike shares with Jesse how much money he’s now making. This causes Jesse to contemplate the idea of working for Henry. Jesse not only shares this idea with Lee, but also with Clara. When Clara asks him why he would want to trade his job, Jesse says that his reason would be to make her happy. Clara tells him that what makes her happy is when he’s happy. Later that evening, Jesse visits Lee at his home. He tells Lee that he has decided to keep his job at the lumberyard. Jesse also shares his reason why, as his loyalty to Lee as well as Lee’s kindness to him were the things that made him keep his job. This moment makes Lee realize that everything is going to be ok.
Some thoughts to consider:
At the beginning of this episode, it was revealed that Julie would be the Godmother of Elizabeth’s son, Jack. This has led me to believe that Julie might make an appearance in the season finale. While I’m happy to see that Julie could appear on the show again, I do find it concerning that Elizabeth hasn’t reached out to her in-laws. As a fan of Tom Thornton, I feel that he should have, at least, been mentioned in one of the previous episodes. That way, it shows the audience that Jack’s side of family still plays an important part of Elizabeth’s life.
While the cast of When Calls the Heart has been great this season, the actress who stole the show in this episode was Jocelyn Hudon! Her performance was so captivating to watch, helping her character seem as interesting as possible. I also like how her story provided a nice bridge between When Calls the Heart and When Hope Calls. Hopefully, Jocelyn will continue to find good luck on her new show as she has in the When Calls the Heart community!
In the sneak peek commercial for the season finale, it seems like Jesse may propose to Clara! I really hope so because it’s been about two seasons since we last saw a marriage proposal in Hope Valley. Can you imagine if Jesse and Clara’s wedding took place during When Calls the Heart’s Christmas movie? Now that would be a great gift to give to the Hearties!
Even though Lucas’ story was fine, I kind of felt like it was underwhelming. Personally, I was expecting something more intriguing, especially since Lucas himself seems like an interesting character. I also think the conflict between Lucas and Amos was handled a little too quickly. While there was build-up to it, the conflict itself seemed to last for only a few minutes.
What are your thoughts on this episode? Are you excited for the season finale? Please tell me in the comment section!
When I first heard about The 5th Annual Great Villain Blogathon, I was originally going to write about a movie, that I haven’t seen yet, where the primary focus was on a villainous character. However, after accepting the Sunshine Blogger Award, I decided to talk about Jiggy Nye from the movie, Felicity: An American Girl Adventure. This film is based on the Felicity series from the American Girl Historical Collection. For almost three decades, the character of Felicity has represented the late 1700s, during the time of the Revolutionary War. In 2005, this particular series was adapted into the aforementioned film. As someone who has read some of Felicity’s stories, as well as seen this movie, I used to think that Jiggy Nye was an effective villain. Over time, I realized that he wasn’t as villainous as I remembered. Within this editorial, I will explain why I feel this way by primarily referencing Felicity: An American Girl Adventure. I will also be making a few references to two of the books in the Felicity series; Meet Felicity and Changes For Felicity. After making my points about why Jiggy’s not an effective villain, I will share some examples of villains and antagonists that are more effective than him. Now, let’s shed some light on Jiggy Nye and talk about why his reputation as a villain isn’t as strong as other cinematic villains and antagonists.
The Incorporation of Jiggy’s Backstory
A cinematic trend that I’ve personally noticed in recent years is a realistic-sounding backstory being given to a respective film’s villain or antagonist. While this story-telling aspect can provide depth to this particular type of character, there are times when this concept can be executed poorly. This is the case for Felicity: An American Girl Adventure. A minute and forty seconds after Jiggy was introduced on screen, Edward Merriman (Felicity’s father) and Grandfather Merriman share Jiggy’s backstory with the entire family. Though this explanation is brief, they reveal that he used to be a respected gentleman who was very knowledgeable when it came to horses. After his wife died, Jiggy made some poor life choices that are possibly the result of his grief. This limited amount of information could have been useful in developing Jiggy’s character and helping the audience understand why he is the way he is. However, Jiggy’s backstory was, ultimately, given a “don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it” moment. It’s not only addressed in casual passing, but it’s barely referenced throughout the film. The timing of this backstory also came way too early. Because it was brought up less than two minutes after the audience was introduced to Jiggy Nye, it didn’t give the audience an opportunity to become familiar with Jiggy as a villain. Had they spent, at least, half of the movie seeing Jiggy being a villain and then learned about his backstory before a climatic/important moment, it would have given the audience a chance to process this information as well as consider everything they thought they knew about this character.
It’s no secret that I talk about Bucky Barnes quite a bit on this blog. But, as an example, his involvement in Captain America: The Winter Soldier makes sense within the context of this editorial. In the aforementioned film, the audience spent about half of the movie watching Bucky as the Winter Soldier. The audience wasn’t aware that Bucky was the Winter Soldier until Steve Rogers/Captain America removed the mask from his face at about the halfway point of the film. A few moments after this reveal, the audience learned the shocking truth of how Bucky came to be involved with Hydra. This incorporation of Bucky’s backstory was better executed than Jiggy’s backstory in Felicity: An American Girl Adventure. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the audience was given enough time to become familiar with the film’s antagonist. This allowed them to form their own opinion of this character. When the truth about the Winter Soldier is revealed, it makes the audience contemplate these pieces of information as well as re-think everything they thought they knew about him. Because Bucky’s backstory was introduced moments before the film’s climax, it made this reveal more emotional and effective.
No Substantial Evidence
In Felicity: An American Girl Adventure, some of the characters make statements about Jiggy Nye. However, the film fails to provide evidence to these characters’ claims. One example is the characters’ statements about how Jiggy treats his horse, known in the movie/book series as Penny. Toward the beginning of the film, a customer shares her displeasure about Jiggy to Mr. Merriman, saying “I do believe he beat his last horse to death”. When Jiggy arrives at the Merriman family home to retrieve Penny (a moment that I will talk about later), Mr. Merriman tells him “The only crime committed here, sir, is your mistreatment of the poor beast”. Also, when Felicity is trying to persuade her parents to let her keep Penny, she tells her father, “Father, he beats her…and he starves her”. Despite all of these aforementioned claims, there isn’t any substantial proof that Jiggy treats his horse poorly. In the movie, Penny appears to be well-cared for. This horse does not appear starved and there are no signs of injuries on her. The only things that Jiggy does that come close to being abusive toward Penny are tying her to a post in his yard and saying hurtful things toward and about her. In a story, when there are claims made about a film’s villain, but no evidence/proof is given to support these claims, it doesn’t provide the audience with a reason to take this character seriously as a villain. It also doesn’t give the audience an explanation as to why they should dislike or be terrified of this character. Because the claims against Jiggy are not supported by evidence/proof, the characters who made the claims appear to have lost a certain amount of credibility.
The villain group, Hydra, in Captain America: The First Avenger is one that the audience doesn’t want to mess with. That’s because the creative team behind this movie portrayed Hydra as dangerous, evil, and cruel. Though this group was shown in the movie for a limited amount of time, their presence brought home the exact point that this film’s creative team was trying to make. It wasn’t until Captain America: The Winter Soldier that the creative team gave their audience solid evidence to the claims that were made about Hydra back in the first film. Not only does this story present examples of this group causing chaos and destruction, but their abuse toward Bucky also shows just how cruel they can be. Because the creative team behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier put in the effort to add evidence to the claims made about Hydra, this gave the audience reasons to not like this villainous group as well as take them seriously as villains. It also made the story and the creative team behind it seem very credible. This is very different from Felicity: An American Girl Adventure.
The way that Jiggy is portrayed in both the Felicity series and Felicity: An American Girl Adventure is in a “villain-turned-hero” way. This specific kind of character development isn’t often seen when it comes to cinematic villains or antagonists. Like with Jiggy’s backstory, however, this part of Jiggy’s story was also poorly executed. Within the first thirty-six minutes of the movie, Jiggy is shown as a villainous character. The next time the audience sees this character is twenty-three minutes later, when Jiggy is sleeping on the floor of a jail cell, violently coughing and appearing to be ill. Eight minutes later, it appears that Jiggy has been released from prison, casually walking through the streets of Williamsburg, Virginia and looking like he has recovered from his illness. His final appearance in this movie starts eleven minutes later, when Felicity asks for Jiggy’s help as Penny is about to give birth to a foal. When assessing these gaps in time, it seems like there is an obvious pattern. Jiggy is, essentially, placed in the film for plot convenience. Throughout the movie, the audience, to a certain extent, is given the opportunity to get to know Jiggy as a character. But, when it comes to seeing how Jiggy evolves from villain to hero, the audience never gets to see the personal growth and self-discovery that is usually associated with this kind of character development. If anything, Jiggy’s journey from point A to B feels rushed and sudden, with a limited amount of background provided.
Even though Henry Gowen is from a television show, I believe that his story on When Calls the Heart corelates with the subject of this editorial. For three seasons, Henry Gowen was the resident villain of Hope Valley. It wasn’t until the fourth season when Henry’s villainous ways finally caught up to him. Since When Calls the Heart: The Christmas Wishing Tree, Henry has been making a conscious effort to turn his life around. What works in this character’s favor is that his story is a part of an on-going narrative. Because When Calls the Heart is a continuous television show, not a stand-alone film like Felicity: An American Girl Adventure, the screen-writers have more time to explore Henry’s journey of transforming from villain to hero. What also helps is that Henry is a part of the main cast of characters. This allows him to receive a good amount of screen-time and stay involved within the series. With Jiggy, on the other hand, he isn’t directly related to Felicity’s family or any of her friends/acquaintances. Therefore, he wasn’t given as much screen-time as some of the other characters in the film.
A Hypocritical Protagonist
When an obvious villain/antagonist is placed within a story, there is usually an obvious protagonist to present a balance between right and wrong. Though the protagonist is not meant to be anywhere near perfect, they’re at least meant to make better decisions than the villain/antagonist. While Felicity’s heart was in the right place in Felicity: An American Girl Adventure, some of her choices seem hypocritical. As I mentioned earlier, Felicity and her father made claims about Jiggy mistreating his horse. However, this movie’s titular character is not as innocent as the film wants you to think. In an effort to “save” Penny, Felicity sneaks out of her family’s home in the early morning hours, breaking family rules and disobeying her parents. She also takes Ben’s (her close friend’s) breeches without his permission, trespasses on Jiggy’s property, and steals his horse due to a misunderstanding. On several occasions, some of Felicity’s family and friends try to help her make the right decisions. For example, while spending some time with her grandfather in the garden, he encourages Felicity’s love of horses. At the same time, Grandfather Merriman reminds her that she mustn’t bother Jiggy and his belongings. Despite her family and friends’ efforts, all of their advice goes in one ear and out the other. After Felicity gets reprimanded for stealing Jiggy’s horse, Felicity goes back to trespassing on Jiggy’s property. This time, she sets Penny free into the wild. Because Felicity seems to be making just as many poor choices as Jiggy within the film, it makes these two characters appear more like individuals just trying to get through life than a conflict between villain and protagonist. Even though she uses her grandfather’s advice about choosing kindness over anger later in the film, she doesn’t really set the best of examples, as a protagonist, at an essential time during Jiggy’s story as a villain.
Throughout his trilogy, Steve Rogers/Captain America has always been known for making good decisions, no matter how difficult they seem. One perfect example of this is in Captain America: Civil War. In this film, one of the over-arcing narratives was about the Sokovia Accords. With this document, the use of a superhero’s powers and abilities would be controlled by the government. Not only did Steve take the time to read the Accords, but he decided not to sign it for personal reasons. He knew that his decision would have consequences, but he still stuck by his beliefs. Steve made the choices he did because he felt it benefitted the people around him as well as himself. Unlike Felicity, Steve thought about his actions and choices before he carried them out. He also used a balance of emotion and logic in order to make these decisions. This is also very different from the aforementioned film’s villain, Helmut Zemo. Because he’s upset about losing his family in the tragic events from the previous film, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Zemo’s feelings and emotions fuel his criminal actions. Since Zemo blames the Avengers for the death of his family, he tries to do whatever he can to drive a wedge between the Avengers, from causing massive amounts of destruction to framing Bucky for a crime he didn’t commit. Unlike Steve, Zemo’s decisions seem very self-centered, his only focus being how he’s going to get revenge for his family.
Not a Big Enough Threat
Usually, in tv shows and movies, the villain/antagonist has a consistent presence in the story. This is a way of showing that this character poses as a big enough threat to the protagonist. As I mentioned in argument number three, “No Transition”, Jiggy wasn’t given much screen-time compared to the other characters in Felicity: An American Girl Adventure. I also mentioned that it feels like Jiggy is placed in certain moments of the film for the sake of plot convenience. Because of these observations, Jiggy doesn’t seem like he poses as big of a threat to Felicity. During his “villain stage”, Jiggy and Felicity only interacted with each other on three separate occasions. Not only did they barely speak to one another, but no major conflicts were resolved. Another reason why Jiggy doesn’t really pose as big of a threat in this film is because he doesn’t necessarily do anything that’s villainous. Sure, he said some nasty things (including a threat to kill Penny if Felicity showed up on his property again) and tied his horse to a pole in his yard. But he never commits any serious or unspeakable crimes throughout the film. In argument number three, I said that Jiggy was seen in a jail cell. While his reason for bring in prison is never mentioned in the movie, it is said in Changes For Felicity that Jiggy went to “debtors’ jail”. If this is the reason why Jiggy is in jail in Felicity: An American Girl Adventure, it seems like he was unable to pay for anything because of a result of his grief, not because he was trying to take advantage of the system in a criminal way.
For this argument, I’m going to be talking about two examples. The first is the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. A major reason why this character is an effective villain is because she had a more consistent presence in her movie than Jiggy did in his. Even though she doesn’t appear in every scene, the Wicked Witch of the West shows up in enough of them to give the audience the feeling that she is always lurking around the corner. What also helps her case is the music that plays and the special effects that appear whenever she shows up. My other example is Scrooge from A Christmas Carol. While Scrooge is the antagonist at the beginning of the story, the audience never sees or reads about him ever doing anything villainous. Even though being selfish and greedy are not desirable qualities, his choices are not criminal. In fact, Scrooge’s story has similarities to Jiggy’s story, especially since they both transform from villain/antagonist to hero/protagonist. However, Scrooge’s journey is explored more in A Christmas Carol than Jiggy’s is in Felicity: An American Girl Adventure.
My Final Assessment of Jiggy Nye
In the introduction of this editorial, I said that I would describe why I didn’t believe Jiggy Nye was an effective villain in Felicity: An American Girl Adventure. After explaining my reasons why, I feel that Jiggy is presented more as a victim of his personal situation. As I mentioned in my first argument called “The Incorporation of Jiggy’s Backstory”, Jiggy’s wife passed away and his world was greatly affected by it. However, this important detail was barely referenced in the movie, pretty much getting glossed over. It didn’t seem like most of the characters were willing to connect Jiggy’s choices and behaviors to his grief. Because of this, Jiggy became a scapegoat for the sake of needing a villain/antagonist. While he does get a moment to redeem himself and become a hero, this transition wasn’t shown or explored. I understand that this movie was Felicity’s story (especially since her name is in the title) and that this movie is based on a series of books. But I just feel that this aspect of the narrative could have been better executed. If anything, Jiggy was a more effective villain in the first book, Meet Felicity, than in Felicity: An American Girl Adventure. Valerie Tripp, the author of this book, had an entire story to flesh out the character of Jiggy Nye and provide enough evidence to show that he was not a nice person. Because the movie adapted six books into one cinematic narrative, Jiggy’s part of the story was sacrificed and overshadowed.
After being out of town this past weekend, I have returned to 18 Cinema Lane with another Sunset Over Hope Valley post! Season six has provided Hearties with a lot of content to talk about. Some of it has been related to the story, such as Lucas’ arrival in Hope Valley. Others have been unexpected, such as the “Abigail situation”. But, through it all, things have worked in When Calls the Heart’s favor. With a seventh season on the way, Hearties will continue to have more things to talk about! In this episode, there is plenty of material to address. From the legalities of Hope Valley’s new-found oil to Allie’s backstory, there is something for everyone to contemplate and think about. If you want to learn more about all the things that Hearties could talk about, keep reading this When Calls the Heart re-cap post!
Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: Hope is With the Heart
One day, Jesse comes into Henry’s office to inform him that he is going to sued by Jesse himself. When Henry tells Bill what happened, Bill says that he has been appointed as Hope Valley’s official judge. This means that Bill has assigned himself to Henry and Jesse’s case. On the first day of court, Jesse asks Henry a series of questions relating to the case. He believes that Henry was purposefully trying to take advantage of Jesse, using connections with people he knows in order to steal as much money as possible. After this court session, Clara remembers that Lucas exchanged some money with Henry. Because of this, Jesse decides to question Lucas in the next court session. The next day, on the second day of court, Jesse asks Lucas a series of questions relating to his business relationship with Henry. Lucas answers the questions, but doesn’t provide a lot of details. After assessing the information, Bill declares that there is not enough evidence to determine if Henry intentionally took advantage of Jesse. The next day, Nathan notifies Bill that Johnny Boone, a famous criminal, is on the loose. They both track down Johnny and arrest him. As Johnny reminisces about the other time that Bill arrested him, Bill informs him that he is also the town’s official judge. Later that day, two other Mounties arrive to take Johnny to Union City. When Johnny asks Bill if he can stay in Hope Valley for one more night to receive a warm meal, Bill reluctantly agrees.
After several attempts, Elizabeth finally gets her library. In order for this wish to become a reality, Lucas surprises Elizabeth by donating one of the buildings that he purchased. With his help, Elizabeth and her students get to work on building bookshelves and stocking the library with used books. During this activity, Robert finds a copy of The Fall of the House of Usher. After Opal insists, Robert reads some of the story to the entire class. When the story gets to a good part, Elizabeth ends this impromptu story-time. As the students go back to preparing the library, Allie shares that she knows where a “real” haunted house is located. At first, Harper and Robert are uninterested. But, as Allie describes the house to them, Harper and Robert decide that they want to see this house for themselves. Opal wants to join them, but they tell her that she’s too young to come. Later, that night, Harper and Robert travel through the woods in an attempt to find the haunted house. On this trip, they discover that Opal has followed them in order to see the house. When they do find this house, the rocking chair on the porch starts moving on its own. This causes all three children to run away. When Robert gets as far away from the house as possible, he discovers that Harper and Opal are gone. He immediately goes to Elizabeth for help. Elizabeth recruits Nathan to help her find these children. While searching for Harper and Opal, Nathan tells Elizabeth that not only does he not know where Allie is, but that the “haunted” house Allie was talking about is just an abandoned house that she and Nathan found on a fishing trip. Moments later, Allie shows up and tells them that Opal has been hurt. When Nathan and Elizabeth find Harper and Opal, not only does Opal has a hurt arm, but Allie confesses that she was pulling a prank on Robert, Harper, and Opal by moving the rocking chair and pretending that the abandoned house was haunted. After they take Opal to Carson for medical attention, they discover that Opal’s arm has been sprained. When Nathan learns that this situation started because Robert read The Fall of the House of Usher in the library that Lucas was volunteering to coordinate, he feels that he has another reason to not like Lucas. The next day, when walking home from school with Elizabeth, Allie reveals that her grandfather is in jail. When Elizabeth confronts Nathan about this subject, she tells him that he needs to talk to Allie about her grandfather. The next day, Nathan and Allie have a heart-to-heart conversation about Allie’s grandfather.
Toward the beginning of the episode, Faith thanks Carson for helping her reconnect with her father. She and her father have been having more phone conversations in recent days. While eating at Abigail’s Café, Faith reveals that her father would like Carson to spend Thanksgiving with the Carter family. Carson agrees to her father’s request. Later in the episode, Faith tells Carson that her father had a heart attack. Because of this, Faith has to travel out of town to visit her father. After being with her father, she calls Carson to let him know that her visit might be longer than expected.
What was on Rosemary’s mind in the previous episode is still on her mind. While she is dealing with this, Fiona comes into the dress shop looking for a new dress. When Rosemary asks her if she has any personal requests, Fiona shows her a picture of a skirt from a magazine advertisement. Rosemary has her concerns about making this skirt, especially since she doesn’t know if women in Hope Valley would want to purchase it. Fiona reassures her that the skirt will, hopefully, be purchased by at least one customer. That evening, Rosemary finally talks to Lee about what’s been bothering her. She reveals that there’s a possibility that she will be unable to have children. Lee comforts her by telling her that they will get through this time together. Later in the episode, Rosemary finishes Fiona’s skirt and decides to have some of her friends model her new skirts. She is surprised by how successful her creation has become, with more people buying the skirts than expected. At the end of the episode, Elizabeth asks Rosemary and Lee if they would like to be Jack’s guardians. They both end up accepting Elizabeth’s offer.
Some thoughts to consider:
The plots of the court case and the Johnny Boone arrest didn’t feel like they connected. If anything, these plots seemed like they were from two separate episodes. Based on the commercial for this episode, I assumed that the court case would last longer. Maybe this case will be brought up in another episode?
Even though her heart was in the right place, I found Elizabeth’s decision to make Rosemary and Lee Jack’s official guardians to be very confusing. Clearly, Elizabeth is not going to give Jack to another family, especially since it seems like she’s been doing a good job when it comes to raising Jack. Plus, in the synopsis for the next episode that was shown on my television, it said that “an old friend arrives with a new orphan”. So, it’s highly likely that one of the care-givers from When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing will arrive in Hope Valley and Rosemary and Lee will adopt this “new orphan”. This means that Elizabeth’s decision wouldn’t have much weight and meaning.
During the commercial for the next episode, the plot that was highlighted the most was about Lucas and his past. I really hope that Lucas’ story is worth the build-up. Throughout the season, it seems like the script has been working up to a big reveal when it comes to the character of Lucas. I do think it’s interesting that Lucas’ story is finally being told in the second to last episode of the season.
What are your thoughts on this episode? Do you have any predictions for what’s to come? Leave your thoughts in the comment section!
Hi everyone! I just want to remind you that tomorrow, May 21st, is the last day to submit your nomination for the Gold Sally Awards’ Hallmark Star of the Year. In my most recent Sunset Over Hope Valley post, I mentioned that I would be out of town during the weekend of May 19th. I’m still out of town, so my next Sunset Over Hope Valley post and the results of the Gold Sally Awards will be published later than expected.
For the It’s a Young World: Teen Movie Blogathon, I didn’t want to talk about a typical “teen movie”. I have nothing against these types of films. But whenever I participate in a blogathon, I try to think outside the box while following the theme. So that’s why I decided to review Lean on Pete. In my Book Adaptation Tag post, I mentioned that when I saw All the Money in the World, Charlie Plummer’s acting performance impressed me. As I read reviews for this movie, some people mentioned a film called Lean on Pete when referencing Charlie’s acting credits. When I looked for reviews of this movie, however, I found very few of them. In fact, on WordPress alone, I was only able to find four Lean on Pete reviews. This was one of the reasons why I chose this movie for the blogathon. My other reason for choosing this movie was because Charlie Plummer was the lead actor in this production. Since he gave a great performance in All the Money in the World, I had a feeling that he would give a good acting performance in Lean on Pete. After I chose this movie to review, an interesting coincidence that I noticed was Charlie’s birthday just so happens to take place in the weekend after this blogathon! So, it seemed like the stars aligned in this review’s favor. But did it really though? Or did the stars fly right past this review, completely leaving it in the dust? The only way to find out is by reading my review of Lean on Pete!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: Though Lean on Pete had a smaller cast, every member of it did a good job portraying their characters! All of the actors and actresses displayed a sense of realism in their performance, making the movie feel like an engaging “slice of life” story. Every interaction between the characters had a good amount of on-screen chemistry. This added to the realism of their performances. But, just like All the Money in the World, Charlie Plummer stole the show! Charlie brings an emotional sincerity to his character, which is something that isn’t often found in cinema. This helped me, as an audience member, stay invested in what was happening to Charlie’s character in the movie.
The incorporation of scenery: What’s interesting about Lean on Pete is how scenery is incorporated into the film. Toward the beginning of the movie, Charlie is jogging throughout the neighborhood. Without the use of dialogue, this scene introduces the audience to the setting, as well as the scenery, where the story will begin. I’ve got to say that Lean on Pete is one of the most well-shot films I have ever seen! Some of the natural landscapes featured in this story were so beautiful, that the color palettes were shone really well on film! The scenery was appealing to the eye and presented an interesting element to the story.
A realistic look at equine sports: When it comes to the presentation of equine sports in film, it is, more often than not, shown through a glamorized, appealing, and an almost glorified lens. In Lean on Pete, the maintenance and preparation of horse racing is given a larger emphasis than the sport itself. This aspect of the story focuses on the employees associated with the sport, including how Charlie reacts to certain situations. It also highlights some of the heavier topics relating to the sport, such as the mistreatment of employees and the fate of race horses. Because this side of equine sports is rarely shown in movies, I found this creative choice to be very interesting.
What I didn’t like about the film:
More scenery focused scenes than character focused scenes: While the scenery in this film was great to look at, it felt like this movie focused more on showcasing the background than the characters in the forefront. In fact, there were less scenes featuring dialogue than there were featuring scenery. There are many parts to a film, so primarily relying on just one aspect of it could cause the movie’s story-telling abilities to be ineffective. This imbalance of character and scenery focused scenes felt like there was more to be desired from the story.
A limited amount of character development: Because more scenes focused on the scenery than the characters, it seems like the character development was sacrificed. In Lean on Pete, there were interesting characters with interesting dynamics and stories. However, there was enough character development to keep the story going, but not enough to satisfy the audience. Whenever the character development seemed to be reaching an intriguing point in the story, the moment would get cut short with a scenery focused scene. This left me wanting more from this narrative.
The night-time scenes: Throughout Lean on Pete, there were a few scenes that took place during the night-time. Within these scenes, very little lighting was used. Because of this, it was difficult to see what was happening on-screen. Emotional situations took place in these scenes. But, since there was little lighting, I couldn’t really see the emotions and expressions of the characters in these moments. This seemed to undermine the emotional intensity contained within these scenes.
My overall impression:
Lean on Pete made me feel the exact same way that Queen of the Damned did: it was a decent film that I liked for what it was, but it could have been a stronger film. This movie had merits that made the story interesting. But it also had flaws that held the movie back from being better than what it was. When I think about Lean on Pete, the biggest take-away for me is how you never really know someone unless you take the time to know and understand them. Throughout this story, Charlie’s character deals with several hardships. Because of how this narrative was presented, the audience is given an opportunity to get a glimpse into this character’s life. Another take-away from this movie is how kindness can make a difference. Even if the impact of that kind act only lasts 24 hours, it could still impact someone’s day and maybe even their life. These lessons are relatable to anyone who chooses to watch Lean on Pete.
Overall score: 7 out of 10
Have you seen Lean on Pete? What’s your favorite horse related movie? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
THIS EDITORIAL DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS FROM AVENGERS: ENDGAME
If you’ve read either my spoiler or spoiler-free review of Avengers: Endgame, you would know that one of the things I didn’t like about this film was how some of the plot points featured in the overall narrative seemed to bring up confusion for the MCU’s future projects. One of these plot points was when Steve Rogers gave the Captain America title to Sam Wilson. While this was happening toward the end of the movie, Bucky was standing in the distance, watching everything happening in front of him. In my spoiler review, I talked about how this scene disappointed me. This is because a) Bucky didn’t receive the title of Captain America, b) his cure wasn’t confirmed in Avengers: Endgame and c) it didn’t seem like anything new or interesting was added to Bucky’s story in preparation for Disney’s new show, Falcon & Winter Soldier. I’ve been a fan of Bucky Barnes for three years, so I was determined to find answers to the questions that were raised because of this scene. This past weekend, I stumbled across a video from the Youtube channel, Looper, called “Endgame Director Addresses Vision’s Fate”. After watching this video, I felt that what was said only made things more confusing for the Disney show, WandaVision. But I knew that if Looper was going to talk about Vision’s absence in Avengers: Endgame and how it could connect to the show, I had a feeling that they were probably going to address Bucky’s lack of a superhero title upgrade. Sure enough, when I visited Looper’s official Youtube channel, I found a video titled “The Real Reason Bucky Wasn’t Given Captain America’s Shield”. After watching this video, I knew that I had to talk about it on 18 Cinema Lane. In this editorial, I will be analyzing each of the arguments provided in the video. I will also state whether or not I agree with these arguments. Toward the end of the editorial, I will provide a final assessment of the video itself.
Argument #1: “Bucky Wouldn’t Accept It”
Towards the beginning of this video, the announcer says that, if given the choice, Bucky wouldn’t accept the shield. Their reasoning is that not only is Bucky fully aware of his past, but that he also hasn’t forgiven himself. They also state that Bucky would probably feel that accepting the Captain America title would be too much to handle. While all of these points are good ones that I can agree with, I think that we, the audience, should have seen Steve asking Bucky if he wants the shield. This way, Bucky would have been given a chance to choose. If Bucky would have turned down the opportunity, at least it could have been a decision that fans would have respected. Unfortunately, it appears that Bucky was never even acknowledged in that particular moment of Avengers: Endgame. As I’ve mentioned in the introduction, Bucky was standing in the distance, watching everything unfold in front of him. It’s almost as if Steve never really considered giving his title to Bucky, even though Steve doesn’t seem like an inconsiderate person. Overall, Bucky seemed to be excluded from that moment.
Argument #2: “His Hydra Conditioning: Still Active?”
In this segment, the announcer states that we, the audience, don’t know for sure if the Hydra programming is completely removed from Bucky. I’m glad that the announcer brought this up, since Bucky’s cure not being confirmed as a part of official MCU canon was something that bothered me about both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. The idea of Bucky being cured was indicated in an end-credit scene from Black Panther, featuring Bucky and Shuri. Because this scene was never referenced in either Avengers: Infinity War or Avengers: Endgame, it not only undermines the scene itself, but also the significance of it. Since Bucky will be one of the main characters on Falcon & Winter Soldier, this idea of a cure could be explored within the narrative. However, confirming Bucky’s cure in Avengers: Endgame would have added something new to Bucky’s story in preparation for the show. This also could have gotten the Bucky fans interested in Bucky’s next chapter.
Argument #3: “Trust Must Be Earned”
This next segment has the announcer explaining that, due to his horrific past, Bucky would have to earn the trust of the other heroes. Another statement that the announcer made was that Bucky hasn’t spent a lot of time interacting with most of the heroes in the MCU. While both of these points are understandable, I have come up with two counter-arguments. The first is the audience’s opportunity to see how the other heroes react to Iron Man learning more about Bucky. Because Bucky killed Tony’s parents while under Hydra’s control, Iron Man is the most affected by Bucky’s past actions. However, we will never see get to see this happen because Iron Man died toward the end of Avengers: Endgame. The second is Bucky’s next chapter taking place on the show, Falcon & Winter Soldier. Based on the title alone, it seems like Bucky will be primarily interacting with only one other hero, Sam Wilson/Falcon/Captain America. This would make it difficult for Bucky to interact with the MCU’s other heroes.
Argument #4: “He’d Be Too Powerful”
In the video’s final argument, the announcer says that Bucky has enough abilities and skills to be able to fight on his own. They say that giving him the shield would give him more power than he needs. Out of all the arguments in this video, I feel that this one is the weakest. Just because Bucky has a prosthetic arm and has skills that he probably learned while in the Army and Hydra, that doesn’t mean that Bucky should be denied the title. It would be like saying that Hawkeye shouldn’t be an Avenger because he uses archery to fight crime. To be the next Captain America, Bucky should be assessed based on morals, character, and leadership skills. If the final argument in the video would have been that Bucky hasn’t displayed any leadership skills up until this point, then that statement is one that I would have understood. Because Bucky will be a co-lead on Falcon & Winter Soldier, I hope that he can gain a sense of independence, leadership, and confidence.
As a Bucky fan, I’m glad that Looper created this video. After hearing the presented arguments, it took away some of my disappointment about that scene in Avengers: Endgame. However, there was no mention of Falcon & Winter Soldier in the entire video. I understand that the purpose of this video was meant to discuss Bucky’s involvement in the MCU up until this point. But because the show was excluded from this conversation, it reminded me of my frustration toward the disconnection between that scene in Avengers: Endgame and how it will affect the show. When I re-watched this video for the sake of writing this editorial, I remembered what the Russo brothers said in their interview. When Annlyel, from Annlyel Online, told me about this interview, I almost immediately sought it out. In a portion of the interview, the Russo brothers explained why they gave the Captain America title to Sam Wilson. Their reasoning was the nature of Sam and Steve’s friendship and the state of Bucky’s mind. Both of these reasons are those that I can agree with. But, just like the Looper video, Falcon & Winter Soldier was not brought up. The purpose of the interview was to discuss Avengers: Endgame, not the show. But, once again, I was reminded of the disconnect between that scene in Avengers: Endgame and Falcon & Winter Soldier. When I was finishing this editorial, I came across a video from the Youtube channel, Screen Rant, called “Why Captain America’s MCU Future Isn’t What We Thought”. What I like about this video is that it not only talks about some of the same topics that the Looper video did, but it also asks questions and makes speculations about how the creative decisions in Avengers: Endgame could influence the upcoming Disney+ show. I’m glad I found this video, as the topics discussed actually took away some of my frustrations about the aforementioned disconnection. Hopefully, more information about this show can be announced at either San Diego Comic Con or D23 Expo. As Dale Travers said in Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Lost Without You, we just have to “trust the timing”.
Have fun at the movies!
If you want to watch any of the videos I referenced in this editorial, you can search for the following:
Youtube Channel Name: Looper
Video Name: “The Real Reason Bucky Wasn’t Given Captain America’s Shield”
Youtube Channel Name: SiriusXM
Video Name: “The Russo Brothers’ Spoiler-Filled ‘Endgame’ Interview”
The segment about the Russo Brothers’ decision to give the Captain America title to Sam Wilson starts at 7:05 and ends at 9:24.
Youtube Channel Name: Screen Rant
Video Name: “Why Captain America’s MCU Future Isn’t What We Thought”
This video is not related to anything I talked about in my editorial, but I thought it would be a fun video to share with my readers and followers. The video is called “Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame | Escape Room” and it’s from the Youtube Channel, Marvel Entertainment. If you are a fan of Bucky, Sam, Shuri, or Dr. Strange, I think you’ll like this video!