Happy Valentine’s Day, Hearties! And today being what it is, I’ll make this short and sweet. And I hope that no matter what kind of love you’re celebrating today: romantic, parent/child, sibling, best friends, aunt/uncle/nephews/nieces, between cousins, Heartie love, or between yourself and Deity, I hope you do indeed feel loved, and you’re able to do something special to mark the day.

And speaking of love, we are neck-deep in this race for Elizabeth’s love! So, shall we? Round 4! LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!

 

 

E9: A CALL FROM THE PAST

LUCAS:
+1 The plan to cut the library ribbon together
-1 Curt way he left town
+1 Tried to pull gun to protect Elizabeth
+1 Asking Amos to let Elizabeth go.
+1 Promising Amos every penny in his safe if he will let Elizabeth go
+1 Tiger reflex when Amos hurt Elizabeth’s arm
+1 Trying to pull the gun from the safe to protect Elizabeth
+1 Apologizing for getting her into the situation (even though it was not well received)
+5 Wrestling the gun away from Amos
+1 Attempt at putting coat on Elizabeth’s shoulders (although it was flat-out rejected!)
-2 It was unintentional, but the man DID get her kidnapped

NATHAN:
+1 Comes at Elizabeth’s cry
+1 Helps pick up the books and offers to fix shelf.
+1 Compliments her – “You’re quite the teacher.”
+1 Hands brush!
+10 He saved her life!

*This is an interaction, but I left it neutral because I didn’t see it as positive or negative: Elizabeth coming to Nathan to report Lucas leaving town.

 

 

E10: TWO OF HEARTS
LUCAS:
+1 Wouldn’t have let anything happen to her
-1 Arrogantly declaring being a hero is his “thing” now
+1 His hand over hers for ribbon-cutting
+1 Sharing the book with Baby Jack
-1 The smug look at Nathan
+1 Winning Jack a teddy bear
-1 Trying to show Nathan up at the strong man competition
+2 He won the dance with Elizabeth

NATHAN:
+1 Made her that beautiful plaque
+1 Remembered Emerson was Elizabeth’s favorite poet
+1 Offered to watch Jack at the after-party.
+2 THOSE FUNNY FACES FOR BABY JACK!
-1 Showing off for Elizabeth at the strong man competition
-1 “The founders…would be proud”
+1 Got that final glance

 

GRAND TOTAL: LUCAS – 27, NATHAN – 28. (Accumulative)

 

So Nathan is in the lead again, but just by a hair. This is a pretty close race! I’m sweating just writing about it! And next week? Our final countdown: Home for Christmas. The grand finale before our season premiere! Who will prevail? Find out…next Friday! Happy Valentine’s Day again! Just remember that Elizabeth is honoring Jack’s final wish in this “competition”.

 

 

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

 

Photo credits: Crown Media 

Editing credits: Sarah Nitsch and Randi Elkins 

Happy Hump Day once again, lovelies! How’s everyone? Have a good weekend and start to the week? Well, I hope you enjoyed the movie from last Saturday, “A Valentine’s Match” because…(trumpet fanfare), that’s what we’re chatting about today. Admittedly, the connection is a very thin thread, but that thread popped through the needle of our show just recently, so it’s fresh in our heads. That thread’s name is Ken Tremblett. You remember him, right? That poor Mountie, Patrick O’Reilly, who gets roped into babysitting Julie Thatcher in Season 1? But then, what does he turn out to be six seasons later? A superintendent! He put in his time, that’s for sure.

But in this movie, he’s a dad, the best role a man can have! It’s funny, I was starting to get worried about how little he was in the film. I kept thinking that couldn’t be right, somehow. He’s someone we all have seen very frequently on Hallmark. But then I realized they were saving it all up for the best part of the movie: the father/daughter walk and talk.

This scene was super special to me for so many reasons. First of all, it had me in tears! I lost my own father to cancer 8 years ago, but he became ill while I was away at my sophomore year at college. So I didn’t really get the chance to have that kind of relationship with him as an adult. It was difficult seeing him reduced to such a tired old man because all my life, he had been such a powerhouse who hardly got sick a day in HIS life. But if I had had the chance, I’d like to think my dad would have been that insightful.

Another reason I loved this scene so much was the analogy of the ruined art project. Lately, some events have occurred in my life that have made me question choices, look to the past with regret, think badly of my current situation, and wonder if I’ll get out of the rut. But that story of Natalie taking a wrecked mass of paint and leaves and transforming it into something exquisite that won her first prize…that was truly inspiring. To quote another part of the movie, but in a very different context: “It’s a cliché because it’s true.” We really need to take the sour lemons life gives to us, and make a delicious libation that refreshes and cheers us. We can grab life and run with it, make what we want of it; we just have to put in the effort, and wait it out.

Okay, enough “gush”, as Zach put it. Let’s talk about something hysterical, like the fact that this movie wins Most Awkward for the next Hallmarkies Podcast Awards! 😀 Oh my gosh! I’ve never seen that much awkwardness in a film that didn’t involve teenagers! I thought about counting and naming them, but I lost track. I’ll just name one. The Jess and Eric “fry bite” right in front of a broken up couple in the diner where they had their first, and many subsequent dates? I would have stepped outside too!

Even Natalie was awkward in the beginning! When she was doing her intro for the reality TV show, I actually wrote in my notes, “Is she SUPPOSED to be that fake?!” A few minutes later, my question was answered when her boss criticized her for losing her “authenticity”, but I was legitimately worried for a moment that I was supposed to think she was a good host.

Now, I can’t go on without awarding big-time kudos to Hal Beckett, who wrote the music! I always knew when an uncomfortable moment was coming up because of the brilliant music. The melodies fit the mood exceptionally with their light staccato tones! In fact, I have the best testimonial! When the four of them were talking about going out to eat, and Eric says they can’t take Natalie because of all the stuff in the back; the foreboding music came up, and my 3-year-old said, “Mommy, I scared!” So, yeah, the music did its job! And speaking of music, WAY TO BRING BACK THE 80’s! That was amazing! Use what we already have! Good move!

Photo Credit: ©2020 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: David Dolsen

Time to chat about Brooks. He’s not quite as bad as some of the dead-end boyfriends I’ve seen in the past, but he chalked up 4-5 major strikes! Natalie called him “a good boyfriend”. Yeah…how? He:

1. Forgot she hated chocolate ice cream.
2. Sent her lilies when she was allergic. (HILARIOUS moment when she inhales deeply, then has to stifle her sniffles.)
3. Thought a job was a good Valentine’s present.
4. Actually TOLD her he came to visit because he was nearby scouting for free.
5. The worst of all! He didn’t even know her birthday!

 

By contrast, now we’ll mention the 3 simple ways Natalie lists, (angrily at the time,) that make Zach a perfect guy.
A. “Tending to everyone’s emotions”
B. “Making sure everything’s okay”
C. “Noticing every detail”

 

Not that hard, right? 😉 Well, to wrap up, I think this movie was pretty cute. We’ll have to see how it measures up to the rest of Love Ever After. And for your bonus entertainment and enjoyment, below is the link to my latest interview with the awesome Milo Shandel, who we get to enjoy on BOTH Hallmark channels this month! You probably already saw “Matching Hearts”, but don’t forget to set your DVR or tune in this Sunday for “Dead Over Diamonds: A Picture Perfect Mystery”.

 

https://www.breaker.audio/hallmarkies-podcast/e/57772520

 

And with that, goodbye until our next #FaceOffFriday! 😀 This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

Hello! What do you think of the new profile picture? I thought with the different hair, it was time for an update.

 

Well, we’ve reached the end of another week, and that means…that’s right! There are only 16 days until we’re back in Hope Valley. It also means that there are 17 days until my Season 7 premiere Heartie Party. So if you’re going to be in the Austin TX area on Monday, February 24th, let me know, and I’ll send you an invitation.

Well, since it’s Friday, that also means iiiiiiiiit’s #FaceOffFriday!

 

The rivalry continues! Round Three! Last time we left things, Nathan was ahead by quite a stretch. It was Nathan – 7, Lucas – 0 . As I said before, I’m keeping score at the same pace as all of you. And now, both characters have had their introduction episode, so I expect events to balance each other a bit more evenly. And that means things will heat up quite a LOT! So, LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!

E7: DISPUTING HEARTS

LUCAS:
+1 Shows support for the library, and wishes Elizabeth luck in a very charming manner
+1 Tells her to call him Lucas

NATHAN:
+1 Didn’t blow Elizabeth off when she said she needed to talk to him, and promised to come by later
+1 Opened up about his family and their background

 

 

E8: HOPE IS WITH THE HEART

LUCAS:
+5 Gave Elizabeth the library
+1 Talking to Baby Jack about the books he’ll read
+1 Helping with the repairs
+1 Got injured helping, poor guy…
+1 Asked her to dinner
+1 Backed off when she wasn’t comfortable with the idea
+2 Totally hit on her in the library, even if he tried to pass it off as quoting a book

NATHAN:
+1 Going to look for the children together
-1 Disparaging Lucas “He’s a lover…just not of books”
+1 Asking Elizabeth to call him Nathan

 

GRAND TOTAL: LUCAS – 14, NATHAN – 10 . (Including the last two weeks)

 

So, the smooth-operating gambler with the silver tongue prevails this week. Hats off to Lucas! Will he maintain his streak, or will he be outdone by the underdog Mountie; he is trained in combat after all. We’ll find out! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

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!