Welcome back to hookedheartie.com, and welcome back to another #FaceOffFriday. Today, Constable Nathan Grant rides into town on his trusty steed to pick up the gauntlet that Monsieur Lucas Bouchard inadvertently threw down. Before we begin, there are a few elements I want to clear up.

Number 1: I know a few people were a little put off by the fact that I started the point count without Nathan in the picture. But trust me when I say it balances out.

Number 2: As we begin our count with our good Mountie, know that I’m fully aware that many of Nathan’s interactions with Elizabeth involve Allie. So, lucky him, he basically has two people earning him points. I guess Lucas will have to step up his game, and won’t be able simply rely on his suave and genteel nature.

Number 3: Just so you all know, I have not tallied the grand total of points on either side. I review and edit my notes to make sure I added and subtracted points in all the right places, but I’ll only discover the actual winner right before I tell you who he is. We’re all in this together!

So…LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!!!!!

Round Two! Ding!

 

E5: HEART OF A MOUNTIE

LUCAS: Well, turn around is fair play. In this episode, Lucas has literally no interactions or dealings with Elizabeth. So, the count here for our refined gambler is 0.

NATHAN:
-1 Showing up in uniform. Unintentional, but it threw her for sure
+1 Handsome. If Lucas gets it, so does Nathan.
+1 Respectful during their first meeting, standing upon learning her name
+1 Humility when Elizabeth corrects him. (Excellent Mountie vs. Excellent Man)

 

 

E6: SURPRISE

LUCAS:
-1 He taught Allie to gamble
-1 He told her “I’m doing your job.” Bad move!
+1 He DID help Allie feel more comfortable at school. That’s important to Elizabeth.

 

NATHAN:
+1 He’s a single parent, instant bond.
+1 The child he’s raising is not his own. You can tell that impresses her.
+1 He accepts Elizabeth’s help to look for Allie. That’s huge!
+1 Thanks Elizabeth for help, and immediately and appropriately disciplines Allie for skipping school.
-1 Insisting that they’re fine. Not a smart move.
+1 Teamwork with Elizabeth to set expectations for Allie
+1 Asked Allie about her feelings with Elizabeth there, and at Elizabeth’s suggestion

 

GRAND TOTAL (This week and last week)

LUCAS: 0
NATHAN: 7

To your corners, men! So, the Mountie pulls ahead from behind. Anybody still worried about Nathan being at a disadvantage? I think he’ll hold his own just fine. Don’t discount Lucas yet, though. He’s quiet and reserved, but he’s got a spark that’s not easily extinguished. I guess we’ll see what happens next week, won’t we? Have a great weekend! One thing to remember as we progress through this “duel”.

 

This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

Photo Credits: Crown Media 

Editing Credits: Sarah Nitsch and Randi Elkins

Hello, my friends! Well, I can truly say that this is a great honor, and I am SUPER excited to bring you this movie review today. I think I may have found my favorite 2020 movie, at least so far. This one was a gem! There were SO MANY things I loved about, and very few critiques I could think of. What a great kick off to the year! And it stars our very own Marshall Williams!

I know what some of you are thinking. “Who in the WORLD is that?!” Well, that’s because Marshall isn’t on When Calls the Heart. He has recently been introduced as Sam, a competition for one of our leading lady’s affections. And it all happens on…When Hope Calls. Yep, When Hope Calls. And since it is a spin-off of WCTH, I decided back in August that WHC should get a place on the Hooked Heartie blog as well. And this is especially a big deal because Marshall is the first male costar from the show to get a leading role in a Hallmark movie.

So…onward! The film is “Amazing Winter Romance”. I think what started it off on the right foot was the angle taken on the relationship between Nate and Julia (Jules). They were best friends all their lives! There’s even a framed photo of the two of them at around six years old. They’re not old flames, they don’t hate each other at first, and one wasn’t in love with the other doing a whole “pining for an unrequited love” thing their whole lives. They were truly just best friends who realized they couldn’t live without each other. This created an amazing and unique chemistry between them in the form of reliving memories, issuing and following dares, competing in friendly but high-staked races 😉 etc. And every time he asks her if she wants to do something, go somewhere, eat at his house, or just if she needs help, she always says yes. There’s no awkward, “No, I’m fine” excuse, which just makes things odd. But things do heat up past the friend zone, so the chemistry doesn’t burn out. One aspect is put into words by Julia’s mom when she comments how “one looks at the other when the other isn’t looking”; which is the cutest thing ever!

The second thing that makes this movie great is the casting itself. Jim Heber executed this part, and kudos to him! He knocked it out of the park! Marshall and Jessy are young enough that it’s easier to buy them being childhood friend. Not only that, they just look good together, and the way they literally and figuratively play off each other is unsurpassed! I really do wonder how much time they spent together preparing, or maybe how long they’ve known each other before filming started. They had one of the most natural, easy-going, and playful relationships I’ve seen on a Hallmark movie. Even as something as simple as her saying, “HA ha!” when she cuts him off in the plow, and him shaking his head and smiling at her very familiar antics illustrate how much history they have. Or Julia trying to step away from Nate’s moment in the spotlight for the TV interview, and him gently tugging her back? There are a million other examples, but we’ll stick with those for now.

Not only were THEY fantastic, but the rest of the cast around them completed a perfect ensemble. Julia’s boss/friend is a flawless combination of professional and “Get it together, girl!”, even if we don’t see her much. The parents were wise but fun, and very sneaky! (We definitely need more of them!) Brook’s sister role was a serendipitous blend of sympathy, helpfulness, and straight sibling talk to nudge them along, and yank Nate out of his clueless fog! That’s a whole different paragraph possibility entirely! And Skye was a great quirky fish out of water trying to swim upstream.

Number three in this recipe of success was the writing and directing: Barbara Kymlicka and Jason Bourque respectively. I’ve seen couples in TV shows and movies that have great chemistry, but their words and movements are so awful that it’s distracting! No such problem here! I don’t know where Barbara got the inspiration to write about a gigantic snow maze, but we’ve never had anything CLOSE to it in a Hallmark movie before! It was such a fresh and original idea! And it took Julia on a beautiful journey of self-discovery, which is vital in any good movie.

The other great thing she did was making sure the ending didn’t fall flat. That’s a problem I’ve witnessed in several projects as well. There’s an incredible film going along, then crash and BURN! It falls flat at the end. Not so! Nate stops Julia in a VERY different way than we’ve seen, (advantage to being involved in the road-clearing business,) and ties their history to their present situation with that adorable line: “I can’t remember a time when I ever wanted to be with anyone else, not even on a dare.” It could have stopped there, and it would have been beautiful. But it didn’t! They keep the playful element alive in their relationship, still being playful, still being competitive. And when they win the race to the middle of the maze, he kisses her, and DIPS her! But the final shot is an aerial shot of them throwing snow at each other, not losing the fun quality that made them friends in the first place. Between Barbara’s writing and Jason’s directing, it was, in a word: perfect.

I could go on and on, but I should probably stop now before I type all night. And with this movie, I could! Suffice it to say, if you haven’t seen it, watch it! I don’t see it in the schedule, but you know very well how many times Hallmark Channel repeats movies! I’m sure it will have an encore presentation in the near future. If you’ve seen it, watch it again! And if you kept it on your DVR like I did, watch it again, and again, and again!

Speaking of encore, if you haven’t already heard, we at the Hallmarkies Podcast have put together Hallmark’s very first exclusive awards ceremony. And there are SEVERAL nominations and wins for people involved in both these wonderful shows. The link is in the comments. And with that, I leave you. See you Friday with chapter 2 of #FaceOffFriday! Who will pull ahead this week? This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

It’s Friday! FRIYAY! What are your plans? Well, part of my plan is to start off your weekend with a little friendly rivalry and competition. This idea has been cooking up in my brain for a while, and I’m so excited to finally be able to share it with you! I wish I could say I had a new Kami and Sarah original fan fiction. Sadly, that is not the case. But I do believe I’m bringing you something almost as entertaining, and it’s definitely just as suspenseful!

 

And with that introduction – Hooked Heartie Productions, in association with Kami Clements Studios, proudly present:

A Mountie. A Gambler. Two Men, One Goal: the Heart of a Teacher. Who will triumph?!

 

 

We’ve all been curious as to the answer. Some of us have speculated, many have joined teams, and all will just have to wait and see what happens. So I thought it would be fun to initiate a point system based on the gentlemen’s interactions with Elizabeth to see who SHOULD win. 😉 For the sake of keeping a decent count, this system only awards or takes points for topics or situations that involve ELIZABETH. And no, you don’t get the whole season in one post; where’s the fun in that? So…gather around #TeamLucas and #TeamNathan! And remember, these points are from my perspective and my opinion, and they’re just for fun. This is a great way to relive Season 6, and your mark, get set, GOOOOOOOOOOOO!

E3: Queen of Hearts
LUCAS: +1 He’s handsome!
+1 He called her intelligent
+1 He complimented her personality
+1 He called her independent
-1 Made a total fool of himself by making assumptions
-1 Asked about her husband at the Grand Opening party

 

E4: Vote of Confidence
LUCAS: -1 Causing all the noise
-1 Going up against Abigail. (When trying to impress a woman, never go up against her best friend
+1 Coming to a compromise, and cooperating with the town

 

Now for Nathan….Well…Nathan hasn’t arrived yet, so unfortunately for him, his score is

NATHAN: 0

 

GRAND TOTAL: LUCAS – 1, NATHAN – 0

Whoa! Lucas almost canceled himself out there! Good thing he gave Elizabeth three compliments at their first meeting! He, himself, admitted he has a knack for saying the wrong thing to her. So Lucas pulls ahead, but only by a hair…and the Mountie has yet to ride into town. So we’ll see what happens next week. But come back Wednesday as I review the #Winterfest movie that left me completely enchanted! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

 

Photo credit: Crown Media 

Editing credit: Sarah Nitsch  

Happy Hump Day…plus 1! Life again, but I appreciate your indulgence.

How is everyone? I’m personally having one of those out-of-body experiences when it feels like forever since New Year’s Day, but on the other hand, the end of the month is rushing up on me without warning! I can’t believe it’s already time to prepare for Valentine’s Day, but we are! But of course, what seems very far away is the premiere date of When Calls the Heart. Hopefully our busy lives will be filled so the day will approach quickly!

In the meantime, I’ve got a special treat for you! In the coming weeks, I’ll have something extra fun every Friday until the premiere. I’m actually really excited about this, and I think you’ll find it as fun and entertaining as I do…at least I hope! 😀 But you have to come back tomorrow on Friday to see what we’re doing! It’s going to be wild!

As for today, we are DEFINITELY going to be entertained! I trust most of you have seen the latest Gourmet Detective film by now? I’m so glad it’s back! And to make matters even better, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries aired a marathon of every Gourmet Detective movie in existence beforehand; which was the perfect way to set the tone, and get us in the mood. I recorded the entire run! I considered watching all the old ones before watching the latest installment, but I didn’t want to wait! So I watched Roux the Day early Monday morning, and I’m trying to get through the others. It’s just hard when you have to do things like clean dishes, help with homework, cook dinner, and share the television with four children. 😉

First of all, I’ve included the link to the Hallmarkies Podcast interview with Dylan Neal down below, of which I got to take part. He is such a riot! I’ll let him do the talking for any subject we cover; just block out some time because he was quite the talker. And he mentions a certain twist. Can you identify it? Just copy and paste in your browser.

Second, I’m going to quickly list the things I didn’t care for. I’m doing them first because it’s like vegetables: good to have, but let’s get them out of the way, and move on to dessert!

                   • I really missed Marc Senior as Bailey and Brenda Crichlow as Nolan. I know there are a million reasons why they couldn’t/didn’t come back; I just missed the amazing and hysterical banter that had been present in the other movies between Bailey and Munro. I also am a huge fan of character consistency. But things happen that are beyond control, so no use crying over spilled milk.

                  • While I loved the comfort level of Maggie’s and Henry’s relationship, it was a little TOO much like an old married couple for me. We only got 2 kisses, and one was in front of dear old Dad. Even though I totally understand why they didn’t, I would have LOVED to see them get engaged.

 

Okay, enough of the yucky stuff! So now let’s talk about the parts that I loved!

                   • Even though I would have liked to see a bit more romance, I do love watching a cute couple in an easy, ongoing relationship. Henry and Maggie aren’t your typical, touchy-feely pair. So I did enjoy watching the little ways they were sweet to each other. My favorite was him calling her “Honey” when he’s lecturing her on the state of her car. She also called him “Hon” when she thanked him for the “stale, black coffee”.

                    • The best shot in the WHOLE FILM was the hose and the gun simultaneously pointed at Nicholas Belvedere!

                     • That was the best shot. The best PART was when Jim Ross showed up at Milo’s (book binder) house to provide the distraction for the search behind his mirror. Classic!
                     • There were SO MANY When Calls the Heart actors in here! More than have been in one movie in a long time! It would be too difficult to “discuss” all of them, but here’s the list.

1. Bruce Boxleitner (BRILLIANT move any time he’s involved!)
• Jim Ross
• Gentleman Johnny Boone (S6)
2. Lane Edwards
• Nicholas Belvedere
• Man who caused Jack to suspect Rosemary’s kidnapping (S2)
3. Jennifer Copping
• Elsa Edwards
• Matilda Grady, Bo’s mother (S1)
4. Noel Johansen
• Eric the lawyer
• Roger Tower, wants to buy the café (S2)
5. Billy Wickman
• Daniel the theif and 1st murderer
• Jeb the thieving stagecoach driver (S6)
6. Ali Skovbye
• Maggie’s daughter Abby, (even if she wasn’t in there for long due to her filming schedule.)
• Becky Hastings Stanton

 

One more thing I’ll mention. Dylan does an EXCELLENT job with fear, and Brooke does an equally amazing job with the forging ahead of a cop. Many times, the amateur in these mysteries doesn’t show nearly enough fear at the thought of being shot dead. And if they do, the more movies they film, the less fear they project. But as Henry is crawling through the greenhouses, he’s panting, he’s sweating. He’s trying to think of ideas to take Nick down, but nothing works! And when Nick has him, he attempts bravery by telling Maggie not to come out; but in reality, he’s terrified! I’m so glad Dylan took that path with the character. It fits the situation so much better!

Maggie, on the other hand, never falters, as she shouldn’t. Of course cops get scared, but they’re trained to deal with it, and handle the situation at hand. Brooke does a fabulous job of reacting to danger, but hiding that reaction and taking control of the problem in a sort of “female James Bond” kind of way.

Okay, everyone. Enjoy the interview! I’ll see you tomorrow! You won’t want to miss it! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

 

https://www.breaker.audio/hallmarkies-podcast/e/56535646/twitter_card

Hello, hello! Phew! We’ve made it to Friday! Did you ever think we would? This is a particular Friday for me. Not only are we celebrating Jaiven’s birthday this week, TODAY is someone’s special day: my little girl! Problem is, she’s not so little anymore. She turned 9 this morning! Hard to believe! But it’s super fun that we both still love When Calls the Heart, and now she’s getting old enough to enjoy it for more reasons than just spotting horses and identifying colors. 😀 Happy birthday, Kyrah girl!

As you know, for the Friday of a WCTH actor’s birthday week, we look at his or her favorite moment in the form of a #FlashbackFriday. Well, we’re lucky! We got TWO favorite moments, and some backstory to the filming. Plus, I get to add in my own thoughts. 😉 So here are Jaiven’s words first.

Q: What is your favorite Robert moment? Why?
A: Oh I have a few…I’d have to say the fainting scene was super fun! I’ve never done anything like that, so it’s really cool. Paul is alsoSUPER fun to work with. And the bear scene was great!

Q: What scene/episode challenged you the most, either in a good way or a hard way?
A: I’d definitely say the bear scene in Season 4 was the most challenging. I actually worked with the director, Peter, to really get into my emotions; to feel the scene, and what I was trying to get the audience to see from Robert. He felt bad about lying and tricking his friends…and teacher.

Poor Robert, getting completely crushed by his conscience. Frankly, I don’t know why Opal was ignoring Miss Thatcher in the first place. So out of character! But it gave lots of people a chance to do something good.

That’s what I really loved about this storyline. Here are my thoughts. Not only did one of the school kids get a chance in the spotlight as a focus of the episode, but it affected so many people around him. Robert himself learned the importance of telling the truth, and how one choice can involve so many people; not to mention how to look ahead to the future. Elizabeth got the chance to prove her philosophy to Jack about children coming to their teacher, and Jack took the opportunity to trust Elizabeth and her methods. Most of all, Bill seized the moment to reach out to a child; something he hadn’t done much of up to that point. He became a mentor figure the kids can now come to, someone they can trust. Plus, all the adults were able to enjoy a good laugh at Robert’s terror at the prospect of being arrested. So look at all the good you did with a lie, Robert!

Well, that wraps it up! Happy birthday again, Jaiven! Much love from the Hearties. And my love to you all! I’m off to my daughter’s birthday dinner. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!