Happy Hump Day, Hearties! Or should I say, “Happy birthday!” Because today is a big day for a certain Heartie favorite! It’s………………..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEVIN MCGARRY!

   Photo credit: mydevotionalthoughts.com               

Yes, TODAY is Kevin McGarry’s big day! Not tomorrow like so many of us thought! HAPPY BIRTHDAY KEVIN! And the day after St. Patrick’s Day with that good Irish name! How appropriate! I had the great honor and VERY comedic privilege of chatting with Kevin to commemorate the occasion. So if you want the inside info on Kevin, Nathan, and Mitch (Kevin’s Heartland character), you’ve come to the right place. Pull up a chair, sit back, relax, and ENJOY!

*However, I would advise you to use the restroom first; and don’t eat or drink anything during the interview, or you’ll have quite the mess to clear up when you spit it out from laughing. And if you MUST multitask while listening, you might want to avoid noisy jobs, because you don’t want to miss a moment! It’s the perfect comic relief for a stressful situation like this one in which we all find ourselves.

Buuuuuut…before I post the link, I can’t help but add one more thing. We weren’t able to “celebrate” this last year because we were on the hiatus. But two years ago today, Jack and Elizabeth were getting married on our TV’s. Does anybody else find it the tiniest bit coincidental that the anniversary of the wedding episode just HAPPENS to land on Kevin’s birthday? Is it a sign? You decide. 😉

Photo credit: Crown Media  

While you’re deliberating, I’ll be back on Friday with a #FlashbackFriday of Kevin’s favorite Nathan moment! And my husband is, thankfully, working from home now, so that is a promise! Happy birthday again, Kevin! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom! Oh, and here’s the link! 🙂

 

Hello, everyone! Long time no see! Well, I have a little surprise for you today. No, it’s not the recap of the latest episode of When Calls the Heart: Heart of a Father, but that WILL be coming on Friday. No, today, I’d like to take you back…in a way, at least.

It occured to me that when our other wonderful show “When Hope Calls” premiered, it was, of course, to a very limited audience. So now that it is appearing on Hallmark Channel, the WHOLE Heartie family can have the opportunity to watch it; which means, so many more Hearties can fully enjoy the thoughts and recaps of the episodes. So I present to you, the Hallmarkies Podcast recap of “When Hope Calls”, episodes 1 and 2. And as you know, there are two VERY special Hope Valley guests who arrive! Enjoy!

See you Friday for the E2 Heart of a Father recap, and our very first #FaceOffFriday of this season! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

And now, it’s Hump Day! Welcome! I hope this fun little post can be that perfect little bright spot or breather you need to break up the day. Since this is the last Wednesday of February, I thought we’d switch gears a bit – take a break from the mystery, and hold on to the last remnants of Valentine’s Day. And what better way to do so than remembering a total classic?! The blue ribbon goes to…”All Things Valentine”.

A fun thing about this one is the WCTH involvement. There are three actors, but guess what! They’re all men! I don’t know why I find this so amusing, maybe because it’s such a dominantly female program. The other interesting part is two of the men play total nasties on WCTH, and all three characters here have the most tender hearts you’ve ever seen. There’s Serge Houde (Judge Parker) and Daryl Shuttleworth (Inspector Houston) from Season 2, then Jeremy Guilbaut (Ray Wyatt) from Season 4. Serge plays the owner of the Mexican restaurant Avery and Brendan love to frequent, and we’ll talk about the other two later.

This one is a real winner, and a total gem! In this blogger’s opinion, it’s pretty close to everything a Valentine movie should be. It’s well-written, well-directed, and VERY well-acted; a sort of “You’ve Got Mail” reverse plot. They get along famously in person, but are at each other’s throats in text. They even own up to it at the end when Brendan comes to apologize for the biting remarks his alter – ego typed to Avery’s anonymous column. Avery declares, “I think you and I do better in person than in print.” But my personal favorite element is the gradual building of the chemistry. It was slow and steady, but not absent. Sam Page and Sarah Rafferty do a fabulous job of showing initial attraction, then letting the chemistry grow and develop, until by the end, they’re in love.

 

 

Brendan plays his part in this very craftily. Every time he asks her out, he brings up the “anti-Valentine club” since neither of them is a fan. (By the way, he does a complete 180 by the end saying it’s his favorite day because it brought them together.) When he asks if he can come to her place, he says the anti-Valentiners, “a misunderstood lot,” need to “commiserate”. Then when he asks her to dinner, he casually throws in that “the club needs a hangout.” The references increase in “severity” when he asks her out for Valentine’s Day, saying he doesn’t want to “get kicked out of the club”, finally leading up to the big one: he jokes that the club will be “disbanded” right before they almost kiss, (which doesn’t happen that time thanks to her dog!). It keeps it light and fun, gives him an avenue to express interest, and honestly, gives him a shield to hide behind until he’s ready to come out.

Oh, and just to make sure we’re straight arrow here, yes, Avery did her part in the assertive arena. Brendan says the one thing he likes about Valentine’s Day is the chocolate. Avery jumps on that, inviting him to come to a confectionary, and learn to make chocolate…and she almost kissed him first!

My other favorite part of this movie is the friends and family. My dad’s name was Darryl, but obviously spelled a little differently from the actor. Still, it just drew me further in, and made me enjoy the father/daughter scenes that much more; every daughter out there knows how important it feels to know your busy dad has taken an interest in something you love! That, and how special the moment is when you see how long he’s saved something you made for him eons ago. I still remember finding a letter I had written to my dad at age 11 among his things after he died. Knowing that it was that crucial to him, that feeling has never left me.

The nephew’s acting was stiff and pretty mechanical, but he was still young and cute enough that he could get away with it. And the innocent perspective his character gave Avery when things went awry made their relationship heartfelt. When she and Brendan are on the rocks, Avery tries sulking. But she decides instead to focus on a different kind of love, that of her family and friends; and she encourages her readers to do the same. But she goes shopping to buy presents for them, dresses herself to the nines, and goes to be with them. Now, this is Hallmark, so of course there’s a happy ending. But when her character didn’t know that, it didn’t keep her down.

Then, friends. Actually they’re Brendan’s friends. First, there’s his ex-girlfriend McKennna, played brilliantly by Kimberly Sustad, because she annoyed me like crazy! But then you have his best friend, Kit, (Jeremy), who has fallen for McKenna’s best friend, Pru. I always love it when there’s a romance with secondary characters. It feels like the protagonists are sharing the wealth. It was funny when Brendan questioned Kit on his motives for exercising and getting fit. Kit lists very logical reasons: “I wanna get in shape, lose the love handles, work the cardio, live a little longer.” But what is Brendan’s comeback? “Who is she?” Yeah, he’s no fool! But poor Kit is a scaredy cat, and he doesn’t really have a way of words. So, he keeps buying scones from Pru’s bakery instead of talking to her. The one time he DOES try to talk to her, she shoots down every compliment and conversation starter.

 

 

But Valentine’s Day is D-day, or should I say V-day, for Kit. He throws caution to the wind, and trips into the bakery that evening, carting a load of a box of chocolate, a bouquet of roses, a huge teddy bear, and a bunch of balloons, leaving Pru with no doubt of his feelings. Then with his arms crowded with “visuals” as he calls them, he says, “No pressure, but I was wondering if you’d like to go to dinner.” Even though I think showing up at her work in front of her customers with a larger-than-life display screams “pressure”, Pru decides to relieve Kit from his suffering, trust that his intentions are honorable, and go to dinner; but only after making him promise that he won’t break her heart.

And there you have it: a Hallmark Valentine classic! One that I think is a cut above the rest. So I hope you enjoyed this final discussion on love, (*smirk, snort*) everyone. This is it for this week, so I’ll see you on Monday! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

 

Photo credit: hallmarkchannel.com  

How did that title not make it in the movie somewhere?? 

Anyway…Hello, hello my lovelies! Not that anyone is paying attention, but if you’re slightly curious…3 DAYS TO GO! If we don’t count today, there are only 3 days left until the premiere! That means only 4 days until…my Season 7 Heartie Party! So remember, if you’re around on the evening of the 24th, come on over, we’ll do some watching…and VERY girlish giggling! If this schedule keeps up, I might have to change my hashtag to a Thursday! 😉

For now, I’ve got a little treat for you: a new movie review. Plus, there’s a little something at the end for super Heartie fans, which you obviously are if you’re reading my blog. 😀 I told you on Monday I was leaving it a mystery. Hint, hint! If you can’t tell from the context clues of the title, today’s pick is “Picture Perfect Mysteries: Dead Over Diamonds”. There are several actors with whom we are VERY familiar. POstables have three members present: 1) Jesse Moss (Topper from Lost Without You), 2) Karen Holness (Hattie from Higher Ground), and thanks to my rewatching habit I found, 3) MacKenzie Gray (Trevor from Something Good).

Hearties will once again recognize Paul McGillion who played the fraudulent Pastor Frank Hogan. Here he returns as Detective Acosta’s very understanding partner. And …(trumpet fanfare)! We have a newcomer to Picture Perfect Mysteries, but not to Hallmark, and certainly not to Hearties. One of my favorite people, Mr. Milo Shandel, who played the now-former bank manager, Mr. Jenkins. But here, he’s really rolling in the big bucks as James Risand, the necklace owner. So, does having one’s character name on a banner and in gold-lettering on an invitation equate having one’s own name in lights? Hmm…as a actress, I would have to say no! But nice try! However, that moment when Allie performed the “open mouth insert foot” maneuver, unknowingly calling him a recluse to his face? That comes pretty close.

Photo credit: baronessbooktrove.com 

Milo shared lots of fun details with me about filming this movie. For the full interview, find it on the Hallmarkies Podcast or on my #WonderWednesday blog from February 12th. One thing in particular that he shared is the mood director Ron Oliver created on set. He apparently dressed in a full suit everyday, and played music to set the tone needed for the scene being shot that day. His thematic vision was that they were in an old James Bond movie. That was my favorite part of the whole thing! The costumes, the set pieces in the mansion, the intro; all reminiscent of James Bond, Charlie’s Angels, and the like. And give it up for Lori Letzler and Steven Davis, because their music was AWESOME! Every time those cymbals started going, I wanted to start jamming. I expected to see Allie start to jam too.

I found lots of fun moments! I’ll just mention 3 to save on time. The first is when the police are questioning Patrick Risand. James comes in a takes over the whole situation, then storms out. But without looking back, he knows Nick has itchy fingers, and asserts, “Don’t touch!” For someone so “touchy” about others touching his priceless artifacts, he let a lot of people lay their hands on those glitzy jewels; didn’t you Mr. Mastermind? Who would have thunk it?!

Next has to do with my theater background, so I loved watching all the acting antics. I get a huge kick out of actors pretending to be actors; or better still, actors bristling at actors. So hearing Alexa Pena Vega, someone who makes a living by acting, asking, “Are you ALL like that?” – GOLDEN! Classic moment!

Last would have to be when Sam tells his uncle the one thing he HAS knocked off the to-do is the sink. The next thing we see is water drip-drip-dripping from the faucet.

Speaking of Uncle Luis, hello Erik Estrada! How long has it been since we’ve clapped our eyes on him? He lit up the screen, and added quite the twist to the team chemistry. His waking up before 5:00 am, dancing to his salsa music, and cooking eggs was very giggle worthy! I loved the breath of fresh air he breathed into the cast. One admission I will make is he seemed a little stiff, maybe because he’s a little out of practice? It doesn’t keep me from wanting to see more of him in later films. I just think he needed a chance to warm up a little, and get back in the game.

While we’re on things I’d like to see differently, there’s only one additional thing. Since there was such an emphasis on Sam calling her “Miss Adams”, and her insisting he call her “Allie”, I would have liked to see her react a bit bigger when he did just that.

That being said, I had no complaints whatsoever with their chemistry, or the brilliance of their interactions. Just knowing they’re married makes the awkward moments that much more fun to watch. Speaking of awkward, what about “I was on the varsity swim team.” 😀 I gotta say, I’m with Allie on this one. If her hands had been duct taped or something, I wouldn’t question Sam jumping in after her. It’s adorable that he did it, but wouldn’t a grown woman be okay if she’s merely tossed into the water? Regardless, that line was hysterical!

Even as I write that, I almost take it back. Seeing that Sam was once engaged to a fiery Assistant District Attorney whose car was found at the bottom of a lake, I can understand why seeing a woman he cared for in the water at all would prompt a spontaneous rescue.

Well, this is where I leave you. But not before I give you the promised bonus: the Hallmarkies Podcast preview for Season 7! And here’s a fun bit of trivia if you didn’t know: the Taylor Twins, Lincoln and Gunner (Baby Jack) turned 2 yesterday (February 19th)! Let’s hope they don’t turn terrible! 😉 Impossible, right?

Photo credit: etonline.com   

 

I’ll see you tomorrow for the ultimate #FaceOffFriday, the last one before the premiere of Season 7. Not long now! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

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!