Well, it’s Hump Day, Hearties! It’s also the day after Johannah’s birthday. Did you send her a birthday wish? I was part of that massive card package that a Heartie named Nicole organizes for the supporting characters of WCTH. I hope she got a ton of them! And I hope she had a marvelous day!

So now, I welcome you to the Johannah Newmarch edition of #WonderWednesday! This was tricky. Off the top of my head, the only project I knew of that Johannah was in, (other than WCTH, of course) was the Garage Sale Mystery series. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to do one of them so soon after doing a GSM month, and her presence in so many of them is spotty. Not enough to really highlight her the way I wanted. But since I’ve been doing a lot of research, I found another possibility, watched it, and it turned out to be golden!

I found Netflix’s Project MC2. And now my daughter has a new favorite show! My husband probably got a headache from all the times he rolled his eyes, but it’s a cute program for young girls. He just doesn’t remember how incredibly cheesy our favorite kid shows were!

So this particular show also stars Hallmark favorite Danica McKellar; who, if you remember, is a very accomplished mathematician. That’s perfect because the purpose of this series is to increase girls’ interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). In the case of my 7-year-old, I think it might be working! The premise is a teenage spy moves to a new town, and enlists help from 3 of the smartest girls in her school. In return, they teach her how to be a regular teenager every once in a while. A very clever gimmick they did was establishing each girl’s personality within 10 seconds of seeing them for the first time. The spy gets out of bed, and immediately goes through a door with a digital handprint; one girl is awakened by her various inventions; another wakes up amidst a sea of pink and frills; the last girl takes a selfie of her very first morning yawn, and immediately posts it to social media while being surrounded by

Johannah, if you can believe it, is the VILLAIN! And she is hysterical! I had to watch all 6 episodes she was in to get enough material to comment on, (they were short!), but my daughter was NOT complaining! Johannah plays Carson Lazarus, top agent for the top crime organization HAVOC. The first time we see her is when the girls see her on the news as she’s being released from a decade-long prison sentence. Her Uber driver is mistaken for her because he’s a man, and that becomes a running gag that no one believes she’s the mastermind. Carson can’t be a girl’s name, right? 😉

She insists she’s turned over a new leaf, and even gets a job at the girls’ hangout: Café Attoms. (Get it?) But of course, we discover she hasn’t. In fact, at one point, when the spy makes her think she’s switched sides, Carson says she’s trying to get an on-site daycare to increase the number of “nefarious working mothers”.

The best part is that she pokes fun at all the cheesiness and stereotypical evil traits you usually find in a kid-show nemisis. It’s nice to see the show doesn’t take itself too seriously. For example, the first time we see her in all her evil villain glory, she’s in a full bright pink pantsuit. You couldn’t miss her for 5 miles! It has that “I rule the world, and I’m getting dolled up for it” kind of look. And when the spy appears beside her, identically dressed from head to toe, and lets out her “evil laugh”, Carson just stares, and says, “What on earth was that?”

Another “bit of silliness” I just had to laugh at was when Carson is surveying the heroines on a camera. She pauses the feed, and you can see a reflection of her stroking a cat very wickedly. The camera goes full-on to her, and she says, “I smell opportunity.” I expected the scene to end, but then she gives herself a stink-face look, and scolds herself: “ This is too cliché. You’re better than this, Carson.”

I saved my favorite example for last! The 4 girls were discovered, and caged. They were even forced to remove their shoes, and then Carson activates a “death floor” of electricity. But thanks to their recent training, the girls escape. Carson and the spy come face to face, have a few words, then Carson chases the teenager. Her run is VERY slow, and my first thought was: “Oh please!” But without missing a beat, she says, “These heels are NOT helping!” I laughed so hard! It was campy, but they addressed it, and they weren’t afraid to. It was classic!

So if you have a young female friend or family member and Netflix. Check it out. I won’t tell! Hope you had a LOVELY birthday yesterday, Johannah! You continue to dazzle me, and all the Hearties with your lengthy range of talent! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

       

Before we get to today’s #WonderWednesday for Daniel Lissing Week, there are a few announcements first. We’re celebrating several people’s special days today. First of all, I know of a really handsome young fella celebrating a big milestone.

 

    

 

This guy! My very own Jack is 6 months TODAY! And that beautiful uniform still fits! Now I just hope he doesn’t have a growth spurt between now and Halloween! Oh, and just so you know, we DID name the dog Rip, and it’s his FAVORITE toy! He reaches for it, and gets the biggest smile EVER when someone gives it to him. It just fills me with such joy!

I doubt I have to actually announce this next one, but I must do my due diligence as a WCTH blogger. 😀 Happy birthday, Jack Wagner! Isn’t it funny that “our two Jacks” have birthdays within a day of each other?! Dan’s is tomorrow after all; and they both ended up on the same series. Now, for all you Jack/Bill fans out there, not to worry! Jack Wagner will get a week of his own, you have my word on it! I just wanted to give each person their own week.

And THAT brings us to our birthday boy of tomorrow. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DANIEL LISSING! And would you like to venture a guess as to what project I’ll be reviewing? No, it’s not Timeless, or Blindspot, not Last Resort, and most definitely not A December Bride; not on October 3rd. No, it’s one I never would have heard of if not for Mary Schmidt’s picture edit, (thanks, Mary!) It’s called The Cure, and boy! Did my breath escape me; I was glued to my seat! If you have Amazon Prime, it’s there. You can immediately tell it’s going to be a thriller of some kind from the beginning credits. The images are nothing interesting: just equipment making medication. But the music! Oh my goodness, it is so suspenseful! And then in the credits you see the title “Stunt Supervisor”, and you wonder what kind of stunts could be in a movie about scientists. Then you watch it, and 15 minutes in, you quit wondering. In fact, my eyes were so tied to the screen that I forgot to keep writing notes! 😛

Okay, from this point on, I will be revealing some major SPOILERS. So if you haven’t seen the movie, you want to, and you don’t want to know what happens, stop reading NOW.

It took me a little bit, but I figured out that even though the film takes place in San Diego, yeah, NOBODY is American. So far I’ve found Australia, New Zealand, Wales, and even one from South Africa. They do a pretty good job of covering them, but the accents do manage to peek through a few times. Kudos to them, though, because it took me a while to notice. Want to know a dead giveaway? When Beth goes to the bathroom, it says WC on the door. 🙂

I’ll tell you one thing I love is how they handled the past/flashbacks. The way Beth’s constantly reliving her memories of her father, the way they did such a good job making the actress look younger when she’s headed off to Harvard, and especially her hallucinations at the end when she’s fighting both the cancer and a gunshot wound. Whoever wrote the scene of having Beth envision herself running to her father’s hospital room with the formula for the cure to cancer was BRILLIANT! And her acting was AMAZING the way she was so delirious, and struggling to keep going through the pain.

I also really like the juxtaposition of the four main characters. Everyone is at a different spot on the scale. You’ve got Lionel, who has given himself completely over to the dark side, all for money; and he’s willing to kill those who get in his way. You’ve got Ted, who was once a very good man, and he loves his son dearly. But he made a deal with the devil, and has desensitized himself to do Lionel’s bidding, even at the risk of human life. And he keeps the cure secret. Then there’s Ryan, (Dan’s character). He’s not as noble and moral a person as we’re used to seeing him play. He’s actually kind of self-serving. He’s good and kind, he loves Beth so much, he gladly helps and supports her in her work and goals, and he would never dream of keeping the cure to cancer hidden away. He tells Beth he wants to leave their job, but that he’s not leaving without her. But on the flip side, he wants the credit and recognition he thinks he deserves, (along with the money!), he thinks more with his reasoning than his feelings, he’s frustrated that his girlfriend is always preferred over him at work, and he’s downright angry when he finds out that he “followed Beth” to their job. How those priorities change…but we’ll talk about that in a second. Finally, you have Beth: the hardest worker with the purest of hearts. The moment she finds out there’s been a cure to cancer for 11 years, she’s angry about the lives that have been lost in that time, and she immediately wants to anonymously release it to the world. She becomes very emotionally involved with Ted human subjects, does her darndest to save them, and weeps bitterly when she loses them. And when she finds out her almost-fiancé has been so underhanded as to deceive her, she’s furious enough to pull a gun on him. But then, (a credit to her character), she’s shocked and horrified with herself when the reaction dies down. It’s also a credit to Ryan that after he’s been held at gunpoint by Beth, he rushes to her side the moment she lowers the weapon, hugs her tightly (through the suit), and apologizes over and over. I would have held a grudge for at least a moment or two.

One of the best scenes that illustrate Beth’s personality, (besides the ones I’ve mentioned,) is when one of the goons is about to kill Ryan. Ryan is very much “the man” in this movie- telling Beth to stay while he runs toward the danger, taking most of the risk, etc. So he tries to sneak up and knock out the stooge, but gets distracted; and when he looks back, there’s a gun in his face. Being “the man” again, he tries to keep the attention away from Ted and Beth. When the trigger is about to be pulled, you hear a squishy sound. Beth had slipped behind, and stabbed the man with a screwdriver. Of course she only does it to save Ryan, but her terror and shaking hands at what she’d just done…it says a lot about her in this world of killing in almost every movie there is.

So let’s do some more in-depth discussion of that man she saves. Well, for starters, he takes her in his arms, helps her calm down, and helps her realize that there truly was no other choice. And something really subtle that I didn’t quite see until later in the movie was the pathway to his priority switch. He starts by saying, “Shouldn’t someone get credit?” But after Beth is shot, and she’s insisting that he go, it’s “I’m not going to let you die!…Whatever happens, don’t turn back!” And despite Beth’s very loud protesting, Ryan risks his own life to throw himself into a fight with the hired gun.

To end things up, my favorite two scenes. First, the proposal. Definitely…unique. It starts out with Beth asking if Ryan would ever consider, somewhere in the future, living on her family farm in Montana. He teases her that she should be finishing this conversation on one knee, then sobers to ask her if she wants him to. SHE teases HIM, asking if he has a spare diamond ring in his pocket; and he answers, “No. But I know a broker that might still be open.” Not the way I personally would want it to happen, but for scientists pulling an all-nighter, it’s pretty sweet. And then, the end! Oh what a sweet reunion, especially when Beth blacks out before you know exactly what’s happened. She regains consciousness in the hospital, and sees Ryan right by her bed reading a book about God, (more proof of his priorities changing.) First thing he says is a touch of levity: “Hey, sleepyhead. You’re finally awake!” She’s been out for 4 days, she’s been conscious for 4 seconds, and her first concern is for him: “Your face!” (He’d taken a beating during that last fight.) But he insists that he’s fine, and turns the attention back to her. She asks about Ted, (shot by hired gun,) he sadly reveals he didn’t make it, but takes her mind off it by saying the USB with the formula on it belongs to her. Her answer? “It belongs to everyone.” Then a beautiful and heartfelt kiss.

Geez, I’m panting! Just writing about the movie is making my pulse go up! Well, Dan, happy birthday tomorrow! We love you, and you’ll always be our Jack, (except for me with my son. 😀 ) This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

        

Who got the pun? I have a sneaking suspicion that the title of this movie was a play on words with the 1997 song Truly Madly Deeply. Did you think that? Clever really, since it’s probably been about a decade since I’ve even thought about that song. The plot is also very reminiscent of the Hallmark film All of My Heart: baker with a dream meets a businessman with a plan, and the two of them inherit shared property that they have to figured out what to do with. We also have our WCTH connection in the form of Milo Shandel who plays Mr. Jenkins the banker in WCTH, and Stanley Cardillo the lawyer here. He plays that kind of role so perfectly. You can see why he gets cast in them.

It’s funny: in the first 2 minutes, Nikki DeLoach’s character, Natalie, says that when she discovered baking, it was magic. My 4-year-old overheard, and “sweetly” asked, “Is that REAL magic???” Ah, the innocence of youth! And speaking of innocence, what about that question to test the man out? The fool-proof one that the best friend, Sam, (played by Karen Holness, Hattie in SSD: Higher Ground) agrees will get her hired by the FBI. “If you could have 1 superpower, flying or invisibility, what would it be?” So apparently, if a man answers “invisibility” it means he’s sneaky, and not trustworthy. Good to know!

The friends, Sam and Nick, are hilarious, aren’t they? It’s so sweet when the bakery is being inspected, and Nick and Sam seem just as invested as Natalie and Eric. They’re so cute together too! I love when the plot includes the best friends falling for each other too. Everyone and everything is so much happier! Nick becomes so comfortable with Natalie by the end of the movie, that he’s calling her “Nat”. His best line? “I burn water.” Then we have Sam. She’s just awesome! One of my favorite parts that illustrate her personality is right after Natalie spills the coffee all over Eric. You see her shocked reaction, but then you don’t see her face for the rest of the interaction. What you do see is her hand with a napkin and pen ready for Natalie to write her phone number on so she can pay for Eric’s dry cleaning. You also see Sam handing Nat a cupcake literally 1 second after she insists on giving Eric a free one to make up for the ruined suit. She’s totally synced with her best friend, and knows her next move almost before Natalie does. THEN she smirks, and reminds Natalie that she just gave her number to a MAN! Of course, there is the “best friend code” of subtle eye cues and head movements; now THAT is fool-proof!

Now let’s talk about our main attraction: Dylan and Nikki. They had really great chemistry; not too cold, not too syrupy. For instance, when they’re both heading to see Stanley Cardillo, I like how easygoing they both are. Or when she tries to fish for a comment about how uptight Courtney is, he teases her a bit, then completely agrees. They both readily acknowledge when they’re caught in an awkward situation.

And they’re very real. Take Dylan’s character Eric. When his daughter whines about wanting the crusts off her sandwich, what is his answer? A very clever one: “when you’re with me, you get the whole sandwich.” It fails, but good try! And Natalie at the bank, she doesn’t suddenly know all the financial jargon. She reminds me of me if I had to go to the bank alone. The best part about them happens when they have their climactic argument. The third party, Courtney, practically sold the bakery when they both told her to take it off the market, and Natalie thinks Eric went behind her back. The misunderstanding is cleared up right away; Eric doesn’t waste any time in telling her he had no such intention. She realizes she was wrong, but still fired up and shaken up. So instead of being too proud to communicate, and it goes on and on, it just turns into a regular argument because both people got angry. AND they both understand that they both overreacted, and promptly apologize the next day. Above all, they are both very generous with their words to each other, and very willing to give each other some slack. What a healthy Hallmark couple!

Hump Day has come and gone, so I will see you Friday for the next installment of #FanFictionFriday. No, it probably won’t be the last one. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

             

I think today’s blog would be best started with a tweet from Lori Loughlin:

It’s Wednesday. You got this! #WednesdayWisdom.

Yeah, that about sums it up. Very wise indeed, Lori. So how IS everyone’s Wednesday going? Other than my oldest staying home from school with a cold, we’re going along pretty normally here. Wow! I didn’t even do that on purpose. I just think it’s funny I would choose those kinds of words because they describe the whole sentiment of the movie we’re reviewing today. We’re doing a real classic! It’s the one that first introduced me to the names Janette Oke and Michael Landon Jr. And I was reminded of how good it was when it was recently featured in a movie event on Hallmark’s Movies and Mysteries on Saturday. Can you guess? It’s the first in a long, beautiful saga: Love Comes Softly.

The best thing about this film is it shows how low-key, everyday life can become something so lovely, and even romantic. Two people can fall in love while going about daily work. “Sometimes love isn’t fireworks. Sometimes love just comes softly.”

If you don’t know the story, a woman named Marty travels West (quite reluctantly,) with her husband, Aaron. The very morning after they reach their land, Aaron goes after a runaway horse, and is killed in a fall. You can imagine Marty’s shock and horror when just hours before, she had promised to remind Aaron that they could “get through anything”, as long as they were together. Everything happens in a flash. The funeral is the following morning, then a man named Clark Davis tentatively approaches with a startling proposal. He admits it’s crazy, and far from the right time or place; but he says both their situations will be solved if they marry. Marty will have a roof over her head when winter comes, and Clark’s daughter, Missie, will have “a woman’s hand” in her life. The preacher is leaving the area that day, and not returning until spring; so it’s now or never. A new friend reminds her that now is not the time to be “crying over wants. Your life’s about needs now.” So a distressing Marty agrees to marry a complete stranger.

Clark reminds me a lot of Jack. It stands to reason, since they were created by the same author, but seriously! Clark is older and simpler, but he is a good and noble man; a quiet hero. He’s gentle and careful with Marty, and even in the beginning of their arrangement, he bends over backwards to make her comfortable. She can’t seem to reciprocate at first, and she often lashes out with anger or impatience in her grief. But he knows what it’s like to lose a spouse, and he patiently lets her heal. Oh, and he also does some very simple things…delivering her baby (Aaron’s child) when no one else can get to her!

I think one of the best illustrations of this happens one night right as Clark walks in the door. Missie, who is not as understanding of Marty’s presence in her home, makes the poor woman run circles around the cabin. Marty’s trying to cook dinner, Missie tells her the fire is dying, Marty asks her to stoke it, and Missie says she’s not allowed to, (which is a lie). Marty goes to the fire, then Missie announces something’s burning. Marty rushes back to the stove to try to save the food, then burns HERSELF. Dinner is ruined. And all this after she had been sprayed by a skunk that morning! Clark comes inside just in time to hear Marty’s “Ouch!” What does he do? Frontier men came home from a hard day’s labor, and expected there to be supper waiting. And a meal could hardly be thrown together in 15 minutes the way it can now. Ever the saint, he immediately sits her down to spread butter on the wound, (a common remedy back then for taking the sting out,) and wrap her hand. He could have said, “Okay, all better. Now you can cook.” But he gets right back up, and says, “I’ll go see what we have for supper in the icebox.”

After being taken such good care of physically, emotionally, and spiritually too, you can imagine that Marty falls in love with Clark. How could she not? He had promised to pay her passage in a wagon train back East come spring, and she actually leaves with it, much to both Clark’s AND Missie’s dismay. But when Clark is on his knees begging his Father in Heaven to help him understand His plan, he finds the note Marty had written him asking him to ask her to stay. It had accidentally fallen under his bed. He races into the cabin, tells Missie to stay put, and takes off on horseback to bring her back. He does, and they live happily ever after…for this movie, at least.

Good night Hearties. And remember, you got this! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

           

Well, we’ve made it to Wednesday! Phew! We also made it past the anniversary of September 11th too. That’s always an emotional day around here. I didn’t lose anyone that day, but I was in a play about it. My role was a mom whose son calls her from the North Tower, so that really brought it home for me. I thought about reviewing a film or episode of a show that was about 9/11; but I decided it would be much more emotionally beneficial to keep my promise, and discuss the much happier movie Wedding of Dreams.

 

So, we now have a sequel to Summer of Dreams. What did everyone think? I think sequels can be hit or miss, and while I wouldn’t call this my favorite Hallmark Channel movie, I’d personally call it a hit. It was sweet and romantic, comfortable, and had just enough plot-driven drama. ALL of returning characters are original cast members, which is a HUGE plus in my book, (especially since that includes several WCTH alumni,) and the new characters were the perfect addition. Did everyone see that the redhead Penny was Mamie Laverock, aka ROSALEEN?! What a beautiful young lady she’s grown up to be!

 

I’m going to start out with the vegetables, i.e. the parts I didn’t care for, and get them out of the way. That way, we enjoy dessert SO much more. There aren’t very many though.

1) The students. They were such an integral part of the storyline in the first film, and their presence is so sparse here. I get that the movie is about Debbie and Noah and their journey to the altar; I just would’ve liked to see a little more of them, especially the returning kids, after so much relationship building in the first one.

2) Inconsistencies between the two films. There were only a couple as far I could see; I just found them slightly distracting. The glaring one was the character of Johnny. Don’t misunderstand me, I wouldn’t want to do without Mitchell Kummen (Gabe), but he said in Summer of Dreams that he was going to be 18 soon, and out of the system. And that was a year ago. He would have graduated. Why not make him Debbie’s TA? The character would have a steady job, (a desperate need he’d expressed,) and it would make sense for him to be there.

 

Okay, that’s done and over with. Time to focus on entrées and desserts! I want to start with Ray, Debbie’s manager/work husband. I REALLY LIKE HIM! I did some screen work when I was younger, (a few commercials and a couple videos,) and I thought my agent was really nice. But I’ve never dealt with an manager as an adult, and he seems completely ideal to me! He’s a true friend to Debbie, and really cares about her; I mean, he shows up to her small-town engagement party. He’s always working for her, networking, and finding her new opportunities. But when she makes her decisions, her supports those decisions 100%, no questions asked; and even if he doesn’t agree, he defends those choices to the big wigs. But the best part: he had the guts to tell Debbie she “may have to do some groveling” to get back in Noah’s good graces. No one EVER says that to a woman. Good man!

 

It would be impossible to be on the topic of good men, and not talk about Noah. He really is incredible! Once again, Hallmark has hit the bullseye with a romantic man. I mean, the guy uses countless candles and rose petals to propose to his love at a place that means the world to her. Hmm… 😉 But seriously, I love what he says. (He’s got SEVERAL great lines, actually.) He tells her that he wanted to propose in her music studio because music is the heart of everything she does, and she is HIS heart. Aww! He keeps going when he says, “Music is your heart and soul. It’s part of who you are, and I love who you are.” He really gets it. He understands that music is her passion, and that’s why he fell in love with her. So many times in films, one half of the couple expects the other half to abandon what they love, or their responsibilities; and it seems like it’s either it or them.

 

The fact that Noah’s a counselor might have something to do with how steady he is, but seriously, every time I thought he was going to get petty and dramatic, he was smooth and calm. The best example of this is when Debbie runs away after seeing him having a drink with the wedding planner. She’s not used to this idea of someone loving her enough to want to marry her, and she’s been very absent during the wedding planning, so I can understand her insecurity. But he chases after her right away. And when she ignores him and gets back in her cab, he drives over to the house THAT NIGHT. There’s no festering of the wound, or period of pouting. When he gets there, he doesn’t even knock, and Denise and Tim, (sister played by Pascale and sister’s husband played by Lane Edwards,) act like they don’t expect him to. Then they gracefully slide out the door so Noah and Debbie can talk things out. It just shows how comfortable they all are with one another.

 

And that brings me to my last point for this evening: the relationships. Everyone has everybody else’s best interests at heart. Tim goes to Noah with coffee to help him sort things out; he also very sweetly (and wisely) says “You’re MY rock star!” when Denise calls her sister a rock star. Denise (it’s still interesting to watch Pascale play such an understated character,) is always the reassuring, steady presence. She quiets Debbie’s fears about performing and the wedding plans, helps wherever she’s needed, and even reminds her future brother-in-law to not forget to share HIS feelings too. Ray (manager) and Sarah (wedding planner) have no designs on Debbie or Noah. There are no ulterior motives to their friendliness, and they’re honestly not trying to sabotage their big day. An of course, being a former choir geek myself, I love seeing the camaraderie of the kids supporting each other in class, and when they’re watching Debbie’s performance together at the studio. Feeds my soul!

 

Well, as it happens so often, my soul was fed to the point of overflowing, and I’ve run out of time. Happy Hump Day. Hope you have a great rest of your week, and I’ll see you back here for another installment of #FanFictionFriday. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off. May your heart let your hope blossom!