Take 3: When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas Review

For my last movie review of 2019, I’m going to talk about the newest film in the When Calls the Heart series, When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas! Since I reviewed last year’s movie, When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing and since I re-cap the show, I thought it would be fitting to keep up the continuity. While I liked the previous movie, I had lower expectations for this year’s project. This was caused by how unappealing the film’s synopsis sounded to me. In a Word on the Street story last month, I discussed how I felt about the synopsis for this movie. To me, it seemed like the screenwriters were running out of ideas and not taking advantage of beautiful story-telling opportunities. It also seemed like they were repeating the same mistakes they made in the previous film. But, like I do for every movie I watch and/or review, I watched When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas with an open mind. I thought that, maybe, the movie could be better than the synopsis made it sound. Was I right or wrong in my guess? We’re about to find out in this review of When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas!

When Calls the Heart -- Home for Christmas poster
When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas poster created by Hallmark Channel and Crown Media Family Networks. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=When+Calls+the+Heart+Home+for+Christmas.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Like last year’s movie, the acting in When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas was one of the strongest elements of the project! Everyone in this cast was talented, bringing their characters to life with a sense of well-roundedness. From newer characters, like Nate’s niece, Allie, to veterans of the show, such as Bill Avery, it was a pleasure to see these characters come back on television. What works in this cast’s favor is how most of the cast members have appeared on the show for at least one season. This helps keep up the consistency of both the performances and the overall narrative. It also shows how comfortable these actors and actresses were in the roles they were given.

 

Learning about backstories through Christmas traditions: At several moments of the movie, the audience got the chance to receive more backstories from some the characters through the sharing of Christmas traditions. With the incorporation of Hope Valley’s Christmas Festival, we learn that one of Lucas’ favorite memories was visiting a German Christmas festival with his parents. Another example is Nate’s Christmas present for Allie. For Christmas, he gets her a charm bracelet. Nate’s sister and Allie’s mom used to have a charm bracelet and would receive a new charm every Christmas. This was an interesting way to learn about these characters. It not only expands the character development, but it also gives the audience story material before the start of the next season.

 

The character interactions: Similar to last year’s film, I liked seeing the character interactions in When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas! One of the reasons why is because of the on-screen chemistry between the actors within the cast. But the other reason why I enjoyed watching these interactions was because they felt genuine and thoughtful. A great example is the interaction between Florence and Fiona. In this scene, they give each other Christmas gifts that are telephone related: Florence receives a telephone necklace and Fiona receives an embroidered piece of art about keeping people connected. This was my favorite character interaction because it showed Florence and Fiona putting effort into these gifts as well as the growth of their friendship. It was not only well-acted, but also well-written!

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Christmas Tree with boxes image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/christmas-tree-out-of-gift-boxes_1448089.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:

Too many plots: There were about eight plots found in When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas. Because the film was only an hour and thirty minutes, there was not enough time for these plots to be fully developed. Instead of lending themselves to an engaging story, they ended up competing against each other to see which one could be the most memorable. What also didn’t help was how almost all of these plots were basic and surface-level. Most of them felt like they could have been featured on any episode of the show, as they seemed ordinary and mundane. The only plot that had any amount of intrigue was Carson and Faith’s story.

 

Under-utilized characters: When a movie or television show has a cast this large, there are bound to be characters that receive more screen-time than others. But in this movie, there are some characters that could have benefitted from having their own story. Henry Gowan is a perfect example of this. Since Henry doesn’t receive his own plot, this gives him very little to do in the movie. It also doesn’t give Martin Cummins, the actor who portrays Henry Gowan, much material to work with as an actor. Jesse and Clara are another good example. They got engaged at the end of season six, so we could have seen them get married during Christmas-time. Instead, Jesse and Clara’s story was reduced to them saving Lucas Bouchard’s reputation. I understand that the show’s creative team wants to save some story material for the upcoming season. But a Christmas wedding could have been an eventful way to end Hallmark Channel’s Christmas line-up.

 

Plot points that don’t make sense: Throughout this film, there were some plots that didn’t make sense. For this part of the review, I’ll give you two examples. The first involves a new character named Walter. He claims to be a struggling traveling salesman, selling his only coat for gas money and not having the funds for a new tire. If Walter is having that much trouble acquiring a steady income, then how he is able to afford a car? Vehicles require constant upkeep in order for them to run smoothly. For Walter to be able to maintain his car’s well-being, he would probably have to sell more belongings of his over a significant period of time. The second example involves Rosemary. After learning about a dilemma related to Hope Valley’s Christmas Festival, Rosemary complains to Lee about Lucas’ poor event planning skills. She then complains about how Lucas should have asked her for help. Ever since her introduction in season one, Rosemary has always been a determined and headstrong woman. No matter what happens, she finds a way to discover a solution to any problem. For Rosemary to not volunteer with any event planning and for her to expect to be asked for anything doesn’t make any sense with her character development.

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Birthday cake image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/chocolate-birthday-cakes-collection_765437.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/birthday”>Birthday vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

In 2018, I gave a good review to When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing. While I had issues with the film, there were things about it that I liked. With When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas, however, I can’t give it a good review. But I can’t give it a bad review either. At best, I found the movie to be ok. It had its strengths, like the acting and Christmas traditions serving as opportunities for character development. At worst, this film was a rushed “filler” project that tried so hard to say so much, but ended up saying so little. It felt like the creative team behind this show just wanted to get this movie done and over with so they could move on to the next project. If anything, it was less of a movie and more of an extended episode. After watching this film, I’m kind of concerned for the next season. It doesn’t help when the only thing that was shown in the commercial for season seven was Elizabeth looking at both Nate and Lucas. I’m hoping it is better than this movie was, but I’m starting to wonder if the show’s creative team is still passionate about this story?

 

Overall score: 6 out of 10

 

What did you think of this film? Are you looking forward to the next season of When Calls the Heart? Tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Dora and the Lost City of Gold Review

Originally, I was going to post my review for December’s Genre Grandeur. But, yesterday, I ended up watching Dora and the Lost City of Gold. So, I decided to review this movie instead. I’ll still publish my Genre Grander review, but it will appear on 18 Cinema Lane sometime this week. As I’ve said in two Word on the Street stories, Dora and the Lost City of Gold made Paramount, the film’s respective studio, lose money. One possible explanation lies in the movie’s less-than-stellar marketing campaign. Like a lot of people, I was not a fan of the film’s official trailer. To me, it felt like the studio didn’t understand the source material they were working with, similar to projects like Jem and the Holograms. This caused me not to see the movie in theaters. When I chose to rent it yesterday, I realized that the only theatrically released film from 2019 I reviewed was Avengers: Endgame. It became one of the reasons why I wanted to review Dora and the Lost City of Gold. Prior to watching this film, I have seen a few episodes of Dora the Explorer. But I don’t have fond memories of it like other people do. Let’s wrap this introduction up so we can go on a movie review adventure!

Dora and the Lost City of Gold poster
Dora and the Lost City of Gold poster created by Paramount Pictures, Paramount Players, Nickelodeon Movies, Walden Media, Media Rights Capital, and Burr! Productions. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dora_and_the_Lost_City_of_Gold_poster.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: I was pleasantly surprised by the acting performances in this film! I was familiar with who Isabela Moner was, as an actress, prior to watching Dora and the Lost City of Gold. This is because I have heard she starred in the 2017 film, Transformers: The Last Knight. She did a fantastic job at bringing the iconic Nickelodeon character to life! With a cheerful personality and a sunny disposition, Isabela helped carry this film with a well-rounded performance. Another memorable performance came from Madeleine Madden! In this film, she portrayed Sammy, a fellow classmate of Dora’s. Madeleine brought versatility to her role, allowing her character’s transformation to feel believable. Madeleine’s on-screen interactions with her co-stars also helped this transformation, showing that those with leadership qualities can also be contributing team members. Speaking of team members, Eugenio Derbez gave a stand-out performance as Alejandro. While portraying this character, he provided a balance of comedic and dramatic acting. Incorporating these two different types of acting is not an easy thing to do. However, Eugenio flawlessly pulled this off in his performance!

 

The scenery: For most of the film, the jungle provided scenery for this project. It helped make scenes involving this location visually appealing. The natural beauty of the jungle is captured well on film, allowing for the foliage to stand out and even compliment the movie. Within the jungle, there were structures that represented long abandoned places. It’s likely that these were constructed sets for the movie, but they looked very authentic. One great example is when Dora and her group encounter an ancient aqueduct. Because this location was shown above water and was also immersed in it, it shows the audience the original purpose of this structure and its place in history. This shows that the film’s creative team tried to make their film showcase this location as more than just a pretty place.

 

The messages and themes: At the beginning of the film, Dora’s father tells her that she should strive to be an explorer, not a treasure hunter. This piece of advice is a new take on the saying, “It’s the journey, not the destination”. But it also opens the door to several important themes. The ideas of sharing a unique experience, friendship, and teamwork come directly from the aforementioned advice. These themes are shown through actions instead of just said through words. They also have a shareability among audience members of all ages. The film’s messages and themes were one of the strongest parts of the movie, as it was executed well throughout the script.

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Pink travel backpack image created by Pikisuperstar at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/watercolor”>Watercolor vector created by Pikisuperstar – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/travel-lettering-with-watercolor-pink-backpack_2686676.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Some of the CGI: For the most part, the CGI in Dora and the Lost City of Gold looked really good. However, there were some instances when the CGI looked poor. One example is when Dora is petting a baby alligator. If you look closely, you can tell where the animation was inserted into the scene. To me, this appeared off-putting, like the image of the alligator didn’t blend with the rest of the shot. While the encounters with poor CGI were few, I still was not a fan of that.

 

The jokes dragging on for a little too long: I found some of the jokes in this movie to be genuinely funny. But other jokes went on for a little too long. Just one example is when Dora’s father is imitating the sounds of techno music. This joke had the potential to be hilarious, but the length of the joke’s time ruined it for me. Had a few seconds of this joke been cut, it would have helped it reach the punch-line a lot sooner.

 

A somewhat confusing climax: I won’t spoil Dora and the Lost City of Gold if you haven’t seen it. But I will say that I found the climax to be somewhat confusing. This is because of two reasons. The first one is how some things are shown and talked about without being given an explanation. The second is how other things aren’t referenced before and/or after the climax. This made it difficult for me to remain fully invested in what was happening on screen.

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Image of jungle/rainforest created by freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/tree”>Tree photo created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

In the introduction of this review, I speculated that Dora and the Lost City of Gold became a box office failure due to a less-than-stellar marketing campaign. I find this to be a shame because the movie is better than I expected. Unlike what the trailer made me believe, the studio not only cared about the source material, but it seems like they tried their best to elevate it as well. The movie also has more heart than any of the marketing let on, providing messages and themes that can be revisited long after the movie is over. Dora and the Lost City of Gold is not one of my favorite movies of the year, but it definitely is a memorable one. I kind of feel bad that I didn’t give this film a chance sooner. However, I’m glad that I gave it a chance at all.

 

Overall score: 7.6 out of 10

 

Have you seen any theatrically released films from 2019? Has there ever a movie that you regretted not seeing in theaters? Please tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Sally Watches…Touched by an Angel!

I know what you’re probably thinking; what does Touched by an Angel have to do with the Marines? Well, that’s where my explanation comes in. When J-Dub invited me to join their Send in the Marines Blogathon, they explained that there are a lot of actors who served in the Marines. One of them is Brian Keith. Because I was not familiar with this actor, I looked at his filmography on IMDB to see what projects he appeared in. In the ‘90s, Brian guest-starred on an episode of Touched by an Angel. I said in my post about the book, California Angel, that I like the aforementioned show. Since I own the entire series on DVD and since I haven’t talked about Touched by an Angel on my blog yet, I knew J-Dub’s blogathon would be a good excuse to do so. Also, with today being Veterans Day, talking about an episode co-starring a former U.S. Marine seems fitting.

Send in the Marines Blogathon banner
The Send in the Marines Blogathon banner created by J-Dub from Dubsism. Image found at https://dubsism.com/2019/09/09/its-time-to-report-for-duty-for-the-send-in-the-marines-blog-a-thon/.

Episode Name: The Sky Is Falling

Season 3, Episode 8

Premiere Date: November 3rd, 1996

 

What I liked about this episode:

There were several character interactions that were interesting to watch. But the two that were my favorite were between young Leonard and Penny and older Leonard and Monica. The interactions between young Leonard and Penny were adorable, acting as a light during a literally and figuratively dark time. The actors who portrayed these characters, Sam Gifaldi and Scarlett Pomers, were very believable and reacted in a realistic way for children in that particular situation. The interactions between older Leonard and Monica were interesting because of how different their personalities were. Their overall perspectives also differed from one another. Despite this, they both had the same goal and were able to reach that by helping each other.

 

What I didn’t like about this episode:

This episode takes place on Halloween. Based on the topics that were discussed in the story and because “The Sky Is Falling” was released after the spooky holiday, it felt more like an All Souls Day episode. While children can be seen dressed in costumes and going trick-or-treating , it isn’t the primary focus of the story. Also, several characters mention that the “War of the Worlds” broadcast took place on October 30th, the day before Halloween. So, having this episode take place on the aforementioned holiday doesn’t seem to make sense.

 

The story itself:

At the beginning of “The Sky Is Falling”, there were three components that seemed confusing at first. That’s because they were presented as three separate subplots. As the story goes on, these components came together very nicely to create a well-written story. Sometimes on Touched by an Angel, the writers will take a historical situation, like the “War of the Worlds” broadcast, and draw an intriguing story from it. This allows the audience to be both entertained and educated. This concept was executed very well in this episode, allowing lessons and messages to organically grow within the narrative. I also liked seeing how Tess and Monica first met. This part of the story provided an addition to their backstories and gave the audience the opportunity to see how far these characters have come as individuals and friends.

 

The other factors from this episode:

  • In “The Sky Is Falling”, part of the story was told through flashbacks, reflecting on October 30th of 1938. All of these scenes looked and felt historically accurate, like the creative team behind this show went the extra mile to capture this specific moment in time. Even the jewelry appeared as if it came from the late ‘30s.

 

  • This episode was filled with good lessons and morals. One example is how one should think before they speak. This was explored in a direct and indirect way, showing how people can positively or negatively react to words. “The Sky Is Falling” also had some good quotes. My favorite is when Tess tells Monica that “The story isn’t over ‘till it says The End”. Since Brian Keith’s character is a writer, this quote makes a lot of sense.

 

  • “The Sky Is Falling” had some really atmospheric scenes. If you haven’t seen this episode, I won’t give anything away. All I’ll say is that these atmospheric scenes took place in a forest. The way this location was staged and filmed was excellent! It effectively conveyed the tone that the show’s creative team was trying to achieve.

 

My overall thoughts:

I enjoyed this episode of Touched by an Angel more than I expected! This is definitely one the stronger stories from the show, featuring a good cast who worked well together. The way this story was told was memorable, as it taught the audience lessons that went beyond the historical aspect. It’s better if you watch “The Sky Is Falling” as an All Souls Day episode, as Halloween doesn’t play as big of a role as in the show’s other stories. “The Sky Is Falling” kind of reminded me of another episode called “Monica’s Bad Day”, where the overarching message is how one’s actions can affect the people around them. In Brian Keith’s episode, this message was converted to focus on the power of words. Speaking of Brian, his portrayal of Leonard was such a highlight in this episode! This emotionally effective performance worked in his favor, as I found myself staying invested in his character throughout this story. “The Sky Is Falling” would not be the same without Brian.

 

Rating: A solid 4 out of 5

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This is just one of the Touched by an Angel DVDs that I own. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Have you seen any projects from Brian Keith’s filmography? Are there any episodes of Touched by an Angel you’d like to see me review? Please let me know in the comment section.

 

Have fun on television!

Sally Silverscreen

31 Spooks of October Update: I Finished Murder, She Wrote: The Highland Fling Murders

Yesterday, I finished the second book I had planned to read during “31 Spooks of October”, Murder, She Wrote: The Highland Fling Murders! This book took me longer to read than California Angel. The only reason for this is because of how busy I’ve been working on other blog related projects. Since October is almost over, I don’t think I’ll get around to reading the last two books on my TBR (to be read) list. However, I will try my best to read Murder on Ice before the month is over. But now that I’ve finished Murder, She Wrote: The Highland Fling Murders, it’s time for me to talk about on it!

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Ignore the 50 cent sticker on the cover. I purchased the book at a used book sale. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Murder, She Wrote: The Highland Fling Murders was a much better book than California Angel! This story is a new tale that takes place within the world of the Murder, She Wrote show. This made me appreciate the book more, since it wasn’t just a novelization of a pre-existing episode. However, the narrative did remind me of the two-part episode Nan’s Ghost, due to the similarities between them. The descriptive imagery and character development were very well-done. I was able to visualize all the locations that were described, from London to Wick, Scotland. Throughout the book, there were comments made about each character to help the reader remember who was who. Since there were a lot of characters in this book, I appreciate the attempt to make each person distinctive from one another. The show adopted a third person perspective when it came to visually telling the story. The book, however, incorporates a first-person perspective from Jessica herself. This new approach was different from the show, but I found it to be interesting. Similar to the show, there were a few thought-provoking moments and statements in this novel. It made me contemplate what I was reading as well as stay invested in the book.

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Cute Halloween border created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/halloween-background-with-fun-style_1310632.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.

There were only two things that I didn’t like about Murder, She Wrote: The Highland Fling Murders. The overall story was not as suspenseful as I expected it to be. Because I’ve seen several episodes of Murder, She Wrote prior to reading this book, I thought that it would have at least 50% of suspense. The other issue was how most of the story focused on Jessica and her friends going on vacation. A very small percentage was about Jessica solving a mystery abroad. This is different from the show, as there is a 50/50 presentation of the vacation adventure and the mystery itself.

 

Overall score: 4.2 out of 5

 

Have fun at the book store!

Sally Silverscreen

Word On The Street: A Movie About “Barney the Dinosaur” is Currently in Development

While working on my recent editorial, I came across this piece of movie news on a twitter account called DiscussingFilm. The link featured in the tweet led to an article about the project on Variety. This is probably the most “what the heck” movie news story I’ve discussed this year. But since I saw very few people talking about it, I knew that this would be my next Word On The Street post! In the Variety article, Justin Kroll shares how three different companies are teaming up to make a ‘Barney’ movie. These companies are Mattel Films, Valparaiso Pictures, and 59%, a production company created by Daniel Kaluuya. When asked about the project, Robbie Brenner, from Mattel Films, said, “Working with Daniel Kaluuya will enable us to take a completely new approach to ‘Barney’ that will surprise audiences and subvert expectations”. Robbie also said, “The project will speak to the nostalgia of the brand in a way that will resonate with adults, while entertaining today’s kids”.

Vector cartoon interior of kindergarten room
Preschool classroom image created by Vectorpocket at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by vectorpocket – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

After reading the article, I ended up feeling torn about this idea. On the one hand, this project just seems unnecessary. The original ‘Barney’ show was intended for an audience of babies to preschoolers. It seems like audiences are more nostalgic for IPs that were created for older children than for younger kids. A recent example is Dora and the Lost City of Gold, which made its respective studio, Paramount, lose money. Similar to the Dora the Explorer movie, this ‘Barney’ film is in development after the show’s prime. Barney & Friends was taken off the air around 2009 to 2010. This means that the movie has started development about ten years after the show ended. As some people on Twitter have mentioned, a ‘Barney’ movie already exists. In 1998, Barney’s Great Adventure was released in theaters on April 3rd. When that movie premiered, the show was still on television, so creating a ‘Barney’ movie made sense. On the other hand, the creative team behind this film could be using the IP to tell an interesting story. Maybe it will be a biopic about the people who created the show? Perhaps the movie will focus on a specific piece of ‘Barney’ memorabilia, such as the Microsoft Interacts Barney doll? It’s way too early to determine if this ‘Barney’ movie is worth the price of theater admission. But, at the end of the day, it all comes down to what this film’s cinematic narrative will be.

 

What do you think about this ‘Barney’ movie? Which children’s show would you like to see receive a film adaptation? Tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

If you want to check out the references I mentioned in this article, you can visit these links:

Barney the Dinosaur Movie in the Works From Mattel Films and Daniel Kaluuya

https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=doratheexplorer.htm

If you want to check out the tweet, you can visit the official Twitter account of DiscussingFilm by typing @DiscussingFilm into Twitter’s search bar.

There’s an interesting video that briefly discusses the Microsoft Interacts Barney doll. To watch that video, type “Parents Upset Over Barney” into Youtube’s search bar or visit the official Youtube channel of Chadtronic. In this video, the segment about the doll starts at 3:37 and ends on 5:47.

I Participated in the Murder, She Wrote Cookalong + Episode Review!

I first discovered the Murder, She Wrote Cookalong on Wide Screen World. At the time, I thought, “What’s a cookalong”? I learned from Rich, the creator of the aforementioned blog, that a cookalong is pretty much a blogathon. Only this time, participants are required to cook a meal from a list of pre-selected recipes. Since I’ve never heard of on event like this before, I decided to join in on the fun! Out of all the recipes that were selected by Jenny, the creator of the cookalong and the blog, Silver Screen Suppers, I chose to make Martha Scott’s Coffee Ice Cream a la Star! After picking this recipe, I discovered that Martha Scott starred in 1959’s Ben-Hur, the movie that I reviewed back in January. The episode that Martha Scott guest-starred on, “The Days Dwindle Down”, was requested by Robin from Pop Culture Reverie. So, I was very excited to create this dessert and talk about this episode! Since the recipe itself is so short, I decided to review Martha’s episode of Murder, She Wrote. But first, let’s showcase the reason why this article exists: the step to step instructions of how to make the Coffee Ice Cream a la Star!

Murder She Wrote Cookalong banner
Murder, She Wrote Cookalong banner created by Jenny from Silver Screen Suppers. Image found at https://www.silverscreensuppers.com/the-murder-she-wrote-cookalong.

Martha Scott’s Coffee Ice Cream a la Star

(all of the pictures in this part are screenshots I took with my phone)

 

Ingredients

  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Instant Coffee

 

Step 1. Leave vanilla ice cream out of the freezer until it is slightly soft.

Step 2. Put 2 pt. of vanilla ice cream into a bowl

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Step 3. Take another bowl and put 4 teasp. of instant coffee in it.

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Step 4. Put a few tablesp. of ice cream into the same bowl as the instant coffee.

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Step 5. Mix the ice cream and the instant coffee with an electric mixer. After pouring the blend into the bowl with the vanilla ice cream, mix the batch with the electric mixer. It’s important to not let the ice cream melt.

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Step 6. Pour the blend into an ice cube tray. After that, place the tray in the freezer until the serving is consistent.

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I tasted the dessert before I put it in the freezer and I absolutely enjoyed it! It reminded me of a milkshake style coffee drink found in cafes or created by national chain coffee companies. I’m very thankful that I picked this recipe because it was not only easy to make, but it also tasted so good! Now onto the second part of this post, my review of “The Days Dwindle Down”!

Episode Name: The Days Dwindle Down

Season 3, Episode 21

Premiere Date: April 19th, 1987

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Unlike other episodes of Murder, She Wrote, this intro had a lighter tone and style. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
What I liked about this episode:

Before watching “The Days Dwindle Down”, I was told, by Robin, that this episode was a “sequel” to the 1949 movie, Strange Bargain. I had planned to watch the film prior to the episode. However, I was unable to rent the movie. Fortunately, clips from Strange Bargain were incorporated into “The Days Dwindle Down” as a way to explain what was happening on screen. This helped eliminate any confusion for audience members, like myself, who are not familiar with this story. The movie clips themselves were placed at moments that made sense within the context of the overall narrative. It never felt like Murder, She Wrote was trying to capitalize on the pre-existing material. The way the movie’s story was treated as an event from Jessica’s world and not as a film was very creative.

 

What I didn’t like about this episode:

The mystery within “The Days Dwindle Down” was a cold case. This means that the climatic moments of this story have already happened. The chosen direction of this episode caused the mystery to not feel as interactive as mysteries from other episodes. Very few clues were featured and the story was dialogue-heavy. While Jessica’s interactions with each suspect played an important role in this narrative, the overall mystery felt observant rather than engaging.

 

The mystery itself:

As I just said, the mystery in this episode was a cold case. While this type of mystery had its flaws, I liked seeing Murder, She Wrote take a creative risk. In most episodes, the mystery takes place in present time, while a good portion of the story revolves around answering the question of “whodunit”. “The Days Dwindle Down” focused on figuring out the truth behind the mystery’s final verdict. This made the story very unique from others on the show. It also brought a sense of variety to Jessica’s overarching narrative.

 

The other factors from this episode:

  • In “The Days Dwindle Down”, there was a brief discussion about justice and trying to achieve that idea. Murder, She Wrote is not known for introducing thought-provoking dialogue and encouraging conversation. But the way this concept was incorporated into the story brought some interest into the episode.
  • If you read my post called “Sally Watches…Murder, She Wrote”, you would know how impressed I was by the locations featured in the episodes. The Jarvis house is yet another location that looked appealing on screen. The interior of this house was eye-catching as well, appropriately fitting the role of a regal style for a wealthier group of people. Whoever scouted locations for this show deserves a Lifetime Achievement Award!
  • I like how some of the original cast members from Strange Bargain appeared in this episode! It gave this story a sense of authenticity and it satisfies the role of a continuation.

 

My overall thoughts:

I found myself liking “The Days Dwindle Down” more than I thought I would! This episode told a type of story that isn’t often found on Murder, She Wrote. Yet, it made this chapter of Jessica’s journey interesting and, at times, thought-provoking. I’ve never seen a tv show try to incorporate a movie into an episode’s story where the movie itself was not treated as a movie, but rather as a part of the tv show’s world. But it helped make “The Days Dwindle Down” stand out from the other episodes. As much as I enjoyed watching this mystery upfold, I’ll be one of first people to admit it wasn’t perfect. The biggest flaw was how it wasn’t interactive. Despite this, I think this is one of the best episodes I’ve ever seen!

 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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The Jarvis house was so large in scale, that it couldn’t fit in one frame. However, this doesn’t take away it’s grandiose nature, with both interior and exterior. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Evenings At The Shore: Coming Together to Celebrate

Season finales are usually known as a sad time. Your favorite show is about to end, for now, and you have to wait a whole year for it to return. But season finales can also be a good thing. Creating any season of a television show is very time, energy, and financially consuming. There are risks involved with adding another chapter, as the future can be uncertain. However, with those things come rewards. Some of these are a season renewal, a new movie, or critical acclaim. Season finales can also stir up reflection. It causes one to look back on the current state of the show, as well as how far it has come. This is a time for celebration, when achievements and triumphs can get recognized. It’s also a time when we can tell our favorite and new characters “See you later” instead of “good-bye”.

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

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

Season: 4

Episode: 6

Name: Watercolors, Wishes, and Weddings

 

Abby’s story: At the beginning of the episode, Mick approaches Abby with an offer to work at his construction firm. She tells him that she will think about it. The first person she tells about the business deal is Jay, with her sharing this news with Jess and Bree later in the episode. After discussing this piece of information with Jay, he invites her on a lunch date. She agrees to go by joining him at Sally’s Café. While Jay and Abby are there, they cross paths with Trace and Emma. Because of the awkwardness of the situation, Jay and Abby leave the restaurant. Instead, they go to a nearby shore. Abby shares with Jay how difficult it is to avoid Trace. He tells her that just because she has history with Trace doesn’t mean that she has to have a future with him. The next day, Abby, once again, crosses paths with Trace. He shares with her that he will finally build that recording studio he’s always dreamed of. Even though she’s happy for him, Abby still chooses to spend her time with Jay. At Kevin and Sarah’s wedding reception dinner, Abby reveals that Derrick, the CEO of the financing management who was introduced at the beginning of the season, has officially been indicted. She also shares that she isn’t going to lose her job at her current business firm. Despite this, Abby is still contemplating Mick’s offer. At the end of the episode, Abby goes to the same beach that Trace is at. Their interaction causes them to share a kiss.

 

Trace’s story: As Emma performs at The Bridge, Mark Hall arrives to watch the show. But that’s not the only reason why he’s in Chesapeake Shores. Mark approaches Trace with a proposal to help Trace record a song with Emma within the small town. Because Trace has no intention to make new music and because Chesapeake Shores doesn’t have any recording studios, Trace agrees to produce a single for Emma. He researches different venues for Emma to perform at and he contacts some of his friends in Nashville. Emma doesn’t feel ready to start a musical career, but Trace reassures her that she’ll never know if she’s ready until she takes that first step. Trace also makes the decision to build his recording studio. Later in the episode, he tells Abby about his plan. Trace also interacts with Abby when she and Jay went to lunch at the same time he and Emma are at Sally’s Café. Before the episode ends, Trace and Abby interact one last time. During their interaction, they share a kiss.

 

Mick and Megan’s story: Because of Abby helping Mick with his business situation, he asks her if she’d like to work at his construction firm. Abby tells him that she’ll think about it. Mick lets his brother, Thomas, know about his relationship with Megan. Even though Mick shares his concerns about the relationship’s longevity, Thomas ends up supporting his brother’s decision. When he spends time with Megan, Mick reveals that his former business partner has publicly announced Mick’s association. Meanwhile, Megan is buying art supplies and taking up sketching. She shares with Mick that she hasn’t painted since she was pregnant with Bree. Throughout the episode, they both attend Kevin and Sarah’s wedding reception and Bree’s play.

 

Kevin and Sarah’s story: In this episode, Kevin and Sarah continue their discussion on the size of their family. When they figure out the math, they both come to an agreement about having two or three children. Sarah’s family also pays them a visit. Because of their arrival, this makes Sarah tell Kevin how her family used to take road trips when she was younger. She also shares how she, sometimes, misses her family. This causes Kevin to agree to spend Christmas with her family and to go to Hawaii for their honeymoon. The episode ends with them attending their wedding reception and Bree’s play.

Theater seats image
Theater seats image created by weatherbox at freeimages.com. “FreeImages.com/weatherbox.”

Bree’s story: Before a presentation of her play, Bree meets a literary agent named Brian. He’s impressed by everything she’s been able to accomplish on her own. However, Brian wants to help Bree make the most of her career. With a lunch invitation, he encourages her to discuss her literary goals. Bree agrees to meet with him the next day. At this meeting, Brian informs her that he’s not going to lead her in any direction she’s not comfortable with. At the same time, he tries to get Bree to think about her career with a long-term mindset. Despite this, she has no idea where her career will be that far down the road. When the night of the play arrives, the show is a success! Not only does the play receive a standing ovation, but both Hannah and Bree are presented with flower bouquets. After the show, Brian shares that he wants to bring her play to London. This causes Bree to become excited about her future.

 

Jess’s story: During the official grand opening of The Inn at Eagle Point, Jess finds a ring in a small box. This makes her assume that David will propose to her. Shortly after their bed and breakfast’s grand opening, they receive a fine because of their unofficial grand opening in the previous episode. This causes David to attempt to solve this issue throughout the episode. Because this dilemma prolongs David’s proposal, it also causes Jess to become impatient . When the man who gave David and Jess the fine visit them, Jess convinces him to lift the fine. This plan ends up being successful, as they are able to run their bed and breakfast with no further issues. After this situation is resolved, Jess reveals that she knew about the proposal all along. Because of this, David finally asks Jess to marry him, which she immediately says yes.

 

Connor’s story: Connor tries to find a solution to the case that he was assigned in the previous episode. As Nell meets up with Connor at Sally’s Cafe, he expresses how he misses Danielle. When Nell mentions that her driver’s license has expired, this gives Connor an idea relating to the case. When he presents his findings to Linda, the lawyer from the previous episode, she’s impressed by his work. This causes her to give Connor a job at her firm. When he shares this news with Thomas, he reveals that Connor was to receive an even bigger assignment at his firm that was to take place in New York. Before their conversation ends, Thomas tries telling Connor that Linda may not be as friendly as she seems.

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

Some thoughts to consider:

  • Like the third season, this season of Chesapeake Shores was just fine. But I was hoping that the show’s quality would improve by this point. I was told by Ruth, from My Devotional Thoughts, that there will be a fifth season! Hopefully, the creative team behind this program will learn from their creative mistakes and find a healthy balance between being character and story-driven.

 

  • As happy as I am that Jess and David got engaged, I was disappointed by how the dialogue spoiled the surprise. With Jess saying things like “till death do us part” and “happily ever after”, a moment that could have been surprising and memorable ended up being predictable. Hopefully, the audience can witness their wedding in the show. I also hope that the wedding ceremony can be more memorable than the engagement.

 

  • Even though I’ve mentioned that the Chesapeake Shores movie will premiere next year, I wonder if it will air before or after the next season starts? Since the film will just feature the three O’Brien sisters, I also wonder how their story will effect the rest of the show?
Starry night landscape with reeds
Evening view from the shore image created by 0melapics at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/landscape-in-a-swamp-at-night_1042860.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by 0melapics – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What are your thoughts on this season as a whole? Do you have any predictions for season five? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen