Welcome back to When Hope Calls Week, everyone! It’s…Wednesday! We’re halfway through the week, and you’ve made it! Congratulations! Well, if you’ve been following the blog for the past few weeks, you might remember that I hinted at some big things coming. And if you caught Monday’s post, you’ll know I promised a big surprise. Now, it’s not as big as when Paul Greene dropped into town, that was iconic. It’s not an interview with one of the cast, that would be amazing! But this is still pretty darn awesome!

I have been invited to take part in the Hallmarkies Podcast to preview and review When Hope Calls! So from now until the end of October, all the #MondayMusings here at #HookedHeartie will be in the form of a podcast! Isn’t it cool? I was so excited and honored to be asked! Thank you so much, Rachel Wagner! So I “hope” 😀 you enjoy it too! There are three different ways to watch or listen to the preview show. One is below, and I’ve listed the other two in the comments; one is YouTube if you’re a visual person like me. I hope you like our speculations for When Hope Calls!

httpss://audioboom.com/posts/7353321-hallmarkies-when-hope-calls-preview-show

 

Post Script: 😉 Even though I’ve now done two posts this week, it’s Christian Michael Cooper’s (Timmy) birthday on Friday, so I might just have to squeeze another post in. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

 

How’s it going, everybody? Who’s got school starting this week? Who’s trying to shop and/or pack for school? And who’s still trying to recover from something already beginning? Good thing we have our happy place of Hallmark movies to relax on Saturday nights…or another night of the week with the blessed technology of a DVR. 😉 And if said movies have an actor or behind-the-scenes member from “When Calls the Heart” in them, there’s a very strong possibility you can read about it here. And lucky for us, “A Summer Romance”, (and the following post,) is one that #Hearties, AND #POstables can enjoy; even #Sleuthers had an iron in the fire, pun definitely intended. There were S’MORES involved in this plotline, and I had the worst craving for one! Those irons include Erin Krakow, of course, Geoff Gustafson (SSD), Ava Grace Cooper (WCTH), Sarah Strange (GSM), Kevin O’Grady (GSM, WCTH), and Milo Shandel (WCTH)

Photo credit: Stalkram  

But I’m going to start in an…unorthodox place: the music. I’m a theatre girl, and musicals have always been my specialty. Singer comes right after Actress, and right before Writer in my list of favorite hats to don, so I appreciate the power of music, and how it influences the movie mood. For that reason, I listened carefully from the moment wolves and coyotes were mentioned. Did you hear it? There was a single chord of foreboding melody that added the slightest bit of fear and suspense. Then when Sam tells JR that Simba the mountain lion “probably” will leave him alone, the notes sound like tiptoeing, insinuating the act of said fierce animal creeping up on his now suspecting prey.

I’m not a connoisseur of today’s popular music, especially not country songs; so I can’t tell you the titles of all the songs used or the artists who sang them. But I can tell you it was catchy! My boys were dancing and bouncing to it every time they heard even a hint. I can also tell you is that the lyrics played illustrated the journey taken by both characters very well, especially when Ryan Paevey pulled back the dressing room curtain to reveal himself in an extremely attractive “cowboy outfit”. But the best example is at the very end. It’s got the feeling of things being wrapped up, and the relief that feelings are out in the open. And the two lines that stand out the most, the ones that I think express how JR is feeling are: 1) “I wanna sweep you off your feet tonight,” AND………………… 2) “I’m head over boots for you!”

 

Two minor funny points that I want to stick in here just for a laugh:
• At the very end when JR is, in Buck’s words, “going after a girl,” he tells Sam that he “just needs 5 minutes.” Did anyone else find it funny, and maybe the slightest bit ironic that that was about how long the “angry drama” lasted? Not to mention that when he said it, there was basically 5 minutes of movie left. 😉
• A kiss interrupted by a mountain lion. Well, that’s definitely a new one! But I don’t know which is worse: the fact that a mountain lion interrupted the kiss; or that when he did, instead of saying, “We should get out of here as quickly as possible!” Sam said, “We should turn in.” What??? Where was the big poster that read, “Welcome, Simba! Please help yourself and eat us!” Maybe them holding hands created a protective force field that kept Simba at bay. 🙂

 

POstables, was Geoff a hoot, or what?! It was very different seeing him in a 3-piece suit, acting stuffy as all get out! I busted up laughing at his panic when Richard told Todd about all his new activities, then him placing an emergency call to the president of the board. And he just has such great comedic timing, that his interactions with Buck and Sam were so funny, but seemed so natural. I had forgotten he was a member of the cast, so it came as a fun and pleasant surprise. It’s always fun when I see actors from both my favorite shows in the same film. It’s very gratifying.

And speaking of that favorite show, how many nods to When Calls the Heart and other projects of Erin’s did we see? Easter egg hunt anyone? 😛 I started counting. And when I went on Twitter, (I hadn’t been able to watch and tweet LIVE,) I saw that several others had done the same thing. ♡

• The fresh start. This isn’t an exact reference to WCTH, but I find it very relatable. That’s exactly what Elizabeth has wanted and MADE for herself several times: Leaving home initially, leaving home after Season 2, New Year’s resolutions, getting her job back, getting married to Jack, picking herself up after Jack’s death to bear and raise her son…all kinds of ways!
• This is more of an anti-nod, but I had to mention it! The fact that Sam is such an amazing cook, and Elizabeth couldn’t evening boil water in the beginning.
• Milo Shandel played Hal Perkins, the banker. In WCTH, he plays Mr. Jenkins…the banker. 😀 He and Ryan Paevey are REALLY GOOD at portraying businessmen!
• The groceries will be fine in the back of the truck. Once again, this is more of a poke or an elbow nudge, but a similar situation happened in “Chance at Romance”. (Her name was Samantha there too!) Only in this case, it was her luggage left in the back, and it WAS stolen.
• The stranded camping. Yes, there have been many camping instances in WCTH, even 2 cases of stranded camping overnight…but they don’t include Elizabeth. No, I’m referring to the incident in “Chance at Romance” when gas is actually siphoned from a vehicle by a 12-year-old matchmaker. 🙂 Nothing that dastardly happened here, but we did get to see 2 people bond on a very spontaneous night away. 

  • This one is stretching it, but Erin’s tone was so similar. When JR is trying to get on the horse and Sam says, “It’s the other side,” who thought, “It’s the other knee”? 😉
    • The ever-coveted wood-chopping scene. Erin joked a while back on Twitter that it’s in her contract to have a similar scene in all her movies. But if it happens in the Royal Mysteries coming up in 2020, I’m going to believe her!
    • This one is just a funny joke Janette Stephens made on Twitter, but I loved it! When JR won her the bull/cow (which When Calls the Heart blog pointed out was similar to Lucas and Elizabeth at the carnival,) Janette commented, “PLEASE TELL ME YOU NAMED IT LIZZIE!” 😀
    • One of my favorites: when Sam got chocolate on her lip from the s’more and JR wiped it away with his thumb, that was TOTALLY the Jack smudge smear! Right?

Photo credit: It’s a Wonderful Movie 

• Final one, my other favorite: at the dance. When everyone has been asked to dance except Sam, JR stands right next to her, and holds out his hand. She’s doing the coy “I’m a wallflower” face until he does. Remind you of anything? Season 3, the Kindness Week dance, when Jack “saves” her from being “stood up” by Cody.

It’s always fun to watch movies like this, and see what we can find while enjoying the talent. So enjoy! And as luck would have it, we have two reviews on this movie, so head over to When Calls the Heart Blog, and see what she had to say. I will see you Friday for another of the #FlashbackFriday moments you suggested, and stay tuned for some BIG surprises coming in the next few weeks! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

Happy Wednesday, Hearties. How are you holding up with the end of summer looming closer and closer? 😉 My kids start school in eight days, so we’re trying to get everything ready, especially since Lydia is going to be a brand new kindergartener! So I’m trying to get lots done, and relax with Hallmark’s Summer Nights movies when I can.

And that brings me to today. Did you see “Love and Sunshine”? My husband and I went out with our girls Saturday night, so I didn’t get to watch and tweet LIVE; but I watched it, and LOVED it! I felt strangely connected to this film, even though it’s not one I would usually feel such a magnetic kinship with. Part of it was probably that my son (Jack) got all excited every time the dog appeared on the screen. That’s why I was so gleeful when I saw Christine Chatelain’s beautiful face on the screen. If you need a reminder, she plays Laurel Miller in WCTH, the only wife to get her husband back after the mine explosion; and she was the only link. But what a great link she was! She portrays Ally’s (Danica McKellar) feisty and comforting sister, Emma. Probably my favorite part about her is her blatant disdain for Ally’s pushy and controlling ex-fiancé, (played brilliantly by Peter Benson. Kudos for playing such a rotten character so well.) That, and she brought BUBBLES to hang out with her sister. What could be better? Well, suggesting a man buy a potted plant for her nursery-owning sister was pretty funny too!

Okay, I’m going to attempt to describe a few of the reasons this movie struck a chord with me. The first is a little thing, but I find it very poignant: the mention of 9/11. September 11th is what I see as this generation’s JFK assassination – we all know exactly where we were when we heard the news. The following year I was even in a play called “Hole in the Sky”, portraying a mother on the phone with her son who was stuck in the North Tower. So needless to say, the date means a lot to me, and I know it prompted several men and women to take action. While I don’t think it will ever be forgotten, I do think it’s overlooked every once in a while. So the fact that Jake decided to join the military as a result of that fateful day meant a lot to me.

Reason #2: the lack of petty drama. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that’s one thing that really can get under my skin in movie plots- a horribly inconsequential comment, a gross misunderstanding, tiny little things that threaten to undo the whole plot of a movie in 2 minutes. There were several opportunities for the characters to turn defensive or spiteful over insignificant things: Jake taking Sunshine back in the first place, Jake sneaking a peek at Ally’s sketches, Ally asking what it was “like over there”, Jake seeing Ally at dinner with Ben, Ally seeing Jake at dinner with Donna, Jake thinking Ally was trying to get back with Ben, and Jake breaking things off when his team gets called back. That’s a lot of opportunity to revert to immaturity, but they never do. There might be pause, but neither character refuses to speak to the other.

Photo credit: heavy.com 

I was going to save this reason for last, but it just flows too smoothly. Two words: Breakup Scene. Ordinarily, I hate these things, and watching them can be torture. But this one is done SO WELL! I’ve never dated a military man, but I’ve heard several real-life stories of said men breaking up with their sweethearts “for their sake”; so that if the worst happens, they’re not “stuck”. But you can see and FEEL how that is the last thing Jake wants to do. He’s trying not to sob! And when Ally tries to stop him, and he says, “You’re not going to make this easy, are you?” Do you remember how he said it? It’s a harsh, emotional whisper, with both his hands on her face, his forehead pressed against hers, and his eyes squeezed tight against the tears. And hers are just free falling. Then Jake does something you hardly EVER see in this kind of breakup scene: he kisses her forehead; and it’s not just a tiny little peck. It’s the kind of kiss that tells the audience Jake believes he won’t see Ally again, and he’s reluctant to break the last romantic touch he’s initiated.

Finally, there’s reason #4. Nobody laugh at me, but “Love and Sunshine” isn’t a #OneKissWonder. YAHOO! I think so many #Hallmarkies are desperate for sequels to these films because the first kiss is in the last 30 seconds, and we want to see the couple’s relationship develop and blossom into something deeper. But this time it’s different. The first kiss is an hour and thirty minutes in, and it was perfect! I was afraid when the fireworks interrupted that kiss, that they wouldn’t go back. Not only did they go back, but TWICE. And the way they both smile during the kiss makes their characters’ happiness and relief shine through. Then we get to witness them become a precious and comfortable couple; complete with teasing, kissing the top of the head, celebrating for no reason, and adorably keeping track of their time together to the DAY. Then when he proposes, and all is right again, they interrupt their kiss with smiles again, proving just how happy they are. His proposal speech is just too endearing, so I decided to quote the whole thing. You’re welcome!

“[Sunshine] has a new job now. I’m entrusting her with the most important thing in the world to me – you. Sunshine, I’m counting on you, girl. You’re gonna take care of Ally for me. If any potential suitors come along, you make sure you chase them away; because when I get back, if she’ll have me, I’m gonna marry her!”

Then she replies with a phrase that only holds meaning for those who have been paying attention. Jake has been helping her with several things as a thank you for taking care of Sunshine., and because he’s just a sweet guy. Every time she tries to insist it’s not necessary, he gives the same answer to explain his reasons. So after he proposes, when he’s nervously rambling that he’s not sure he should ask her to wait, she says, “Ask me to wait? You didn’t ask, I offered.”

Photo credit: hallmarkchannel.com  

My only complaint was that those events didn’t happen earlier in the plot, and time constraints caused the ending to be a little abrupt. I would have liked to see that reunion when Jake returned from his tour. But we can’t have everything we want, right? So I leave you, a bit later than I would have liked, (sorry!) with the image of two people promising to belong together. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

We’re at #WonderWednesday, Loretta style! If you missed Monday, we are celebrating Loretta Walsh’s birthday a little belatedly since we were smack dab in the middle of Christmas in July when July 9th occurred. 🙂 We also talked about much Loretta loves the theatre. While I adore her for that, (I majored in Theatre in college,) I admit it gave me a challenge to overcome. The #WonderWednesday installment of a person’s spotlight week reviews one of their non-WCTH projects. With her, that is a little difficult because, well, I can’t just fly to Vancouver to write a review of one of her productions. And her roles on camera are a little limited. But I FOUND one!

You know, when I was little, I watched bits of pieces of the movie “Big” with my “big” brothers. From that day on, and for the LONGEST time, Tom Hanks was “the guy from ‘Big’” for me. While I have somewhat outgrown that, and I’m old enough to look up names now, there’s still that little giggle of delight that unconsciously escapes my mouth when I see a cast member from WCTH on another show. I just love seeing them play different roles.

Photo credit: google.com

And on that subject, I have to add how proud it made me to watch Loretta in this program. I was watching “Night at the Museum” with the audio commentary once, (a resulting action from lots of down time, zero energy, no cable, and consistently full hands after my oldest was born,) and something struck me. The director, Shawn Levy, talked about the attitudes of actors he’s met with. Some, he said, get a guest spot on “Gilmore Girls” (just an example, not an actual experience with one of them,) then declare “I don’t do auditions”. Obviously, that was very distasteful to Shawn. Then, in walks Bill Cobb, Mickey Rooney, and Dick van Dyke. These three actors have been in SO much, two of them in some of the most iconic films in American history! If anyone had a right to demand skipping the audition process, it’s them. And they came into that audition fully prepared, no favors expected, and ready to put their best foot forward.

Photo credit: Musings by Us  

That’s how I picture actors like Loretta. “When Calls the Heart” may be Hallmark Channel, but it’s got a HUGE following and fan base. Loretta’s character is not exactly small either. And here she is, not the least bit afraid to appear in a kids’ show. It’s fabulous! The show is called “Project MC2”. (Funny enough, her partner in crime, Johannah Newmarch played a villain in this same series. I rest my case on BOTH of their team – playing attitudes. Amazing, in a word.)

Photo credit: amazon.com 

It’s actually a very cute show; helpful, educational, and very clever and entertaining. Another Hallmark favorite, Danica McKellar helped create it to help young girls see how much fun STEM can be (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). My daughter also happens to love it, so it made for good quality family time. If you have a daughter between the ages of 8-13, or somewhere there abouts, I highly recommend it.

The basic premise is five teenage girls make up a juvenile secret agent team, and use STEM to solve their dilemmas. Danica plays the agent they report to. Loretta is in the final season, including the series finale. Coincidental part is Jay Hindle, (Nigel, Viola’s fiancé in WCTH Season 2) shows up as one of the girl’s long-lost father. Who’s thinking “it’s a small world” right about now?

So Loretta plays Charlotte Adele, a dairy farmer who is very…enthusiastic about the environment, and protests the huge water purifying company that came to town. That being the case, she becomes the girls’ prime suspect when a bomb fueled by fertilizer almost goes off at the huge water bottling plant.

In order to test Charlotte’s fertilizer against a sample of the fertilizer from the bomb, the girls devise a rather sneaky plan. 😉 Adrie’s family, (the team member from Spain,) owns a business called Café Atoms. Catchy, huh? So, they tell her she’s won an all-you-can-eat buffet; two of the girls serve her, two go test the fertilizer, and the last one is doing something else mission-related. So Charlotte sits at a table, hand on hip, eyeing the menu critically. Apparently, “I can’t decide” is her problem, not because of lack of appropriate choices, but her insatiable appetite, and her glee at finally winning something. She laments with a pinched, sour face, and a total Southern farmer accent: “Only thing I ever won in my life was a ham, and I had to give it back. I’m a vegetarian. The idea of hurting another creature, makes me wanna cry.”

Well, the problem isn’t in the lack of choices, but in the lack of food. Charlotte is so taken with the “culinary chemist” Adrie, that she cleans her out. There’s a really well done, and disgusting-looking shot of stack after stack of filthy dishes, then the camera pans to Loretta, eyes closed, savoring the last bite of her latest dish. The two teenagers gape in shock and horror, and Adrie whispers in exasperation, “How can a person THAT size eat the ENTIRE contents of a walk-in fridge???” Well, if nothing else, it’s a compliment to Loretta’s girlish figure.

The last thing we hear from Loretta is the title of today’s post. We find out the big businessman is the big bad wolf masquerading as a sheep. He’d been stealing the town’s water supply, causing a drought, then bottling it, and selling it as HIS water with brain-enhancing minerals. As Adrie would say, “No bueno.” So the girls ask Charlotte if they can use her farm equipment to take the water back. Since she never knew she was a suspect, and Adrie brings along a little dessert for her, she readily agrees. And after hearing what happened, Charlotte curbs her tongue, and calls the bad guy a “son of a rooster”! 😀

I hope you enjoyed more proof of how versatile Loretta is. I still have a hard time understanding how any Australian could make their accent completely disappear; that was always the accent I had the hardest time with. Have a great evening, and we’ll see you Friday for a Flo moment. 😉 This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

Well, my friends, we have arrived! Today is the final day of the Hooked Heartie Christmas in July celebration. It’s been fun, huh? I’m not ready to put my tree up, by any means, but I’m happy we did this. Never hurts to combat the summer blues (like wrangling children all day everyday, or coming home from vacation, right?) by infusing life with a little Christmas spirit. So, here we are at our last step.

Step 4: Experience a little Christmas magic, and make a big announcement that will make someone squeal!

 

Paul Greene tweeted a few days ago, “It’s #paulgreene day over on the @hallmarkchannel check out the moving pictures.” No joke! Hallmark Channel aired a rebroadcast of both “The Christmas Detour” and “A Wish for Christmas” in one day! And not too distant from them, there was “Christmas in Angel Falls” too! It was awesome, especially because I seem to be having a “Paul Greene Summer”. I’ve covered other subjects, of course, and other people; and not all the movies I’ve reviewed have starred him. But then the wheel turns, and up he pops again…and I’m not complaining one bit!

 

It was a tough decision, choosing which film to review, but I finally settled on “A Wish for Christmas” for two reasons: 1) I’m a sucker for Christmas magic, real and imaginary, and 2) there are three WCTH actors in it, instead of just two. 😉 We obviously have Paul, then also Laura Bertram, and Andrea Brooks. I’d forgotten that Paul and Andrea had done a project together outside of WCTH, and even though I’m an actor, it still felt weird seeing them as “not a couple”. Did it for you too?

 

Her character drove me nuts in the beginning! She was so flaky and manipulative, then she’d turn around and say something sweet and supportive. It was frustrating! It made me crazy how Molly would sympathize with Sarah about her being walked all over, then she’d turn around, and expect her to do all her work! Grr! But after Sarah gets her Christmas wish of courage from Santa at the company party, nothing gets her down, including Molly!

 

It was funny, because Molly does another contradictory move right here: Sarah walks up to her superior, Dirk, to finally tell him off for stealing all her ideas to impress their boss, Peter (Paul). At first, Molly is frantically whispering, “No, Sarah, NO!” to keep her back. But once Sarah starts talking, Molly is right beside her, giving Dirk the stink eye, and providing examples of how Dirk had used her. Brownie points for being supportive in public!

 

But what I really like is Molly’s moment of truth. After Sarah takes a breath from the Dirk incident, she goes off on Molly, privately, which is good. But Sarah makes Molly realize that she’s missing an element in being a true friend: not taking advantage. Too often, Molly guilts or bugs Sarah into doing her work, which is just like everyone else around her. But Molly realizes it, accepts responsibility for her behavior, and promises things will be different. Good girl! 

 

Then we have the lovely Lacey Chabert, not of the WCTH series, but fits in with them seamlessly. I think all of us, at some point in life, no matter how brief, have been Sarah: walked on, passed over, and taken advantage of. And it’s NOT fun! But Lacey embodies that shy, submissive, hard-working girl to a T. Then with the signal of a boom and a magical tinkling, the Christmas wish overtakes her. Lacey does a really great physical change when this happens, so it makes it all the more believable.

 

The best part is, she doesn’t just use this gift to help herself. Her unselfish nature crosses over to the wish. You see the change come over her when she convinces a car rental clerk to spare some wheels for a mother (Laura) and her little girl to make it home so Santa can find them, and that causes the mom to be a wonderful Christmas Good Samaritan as well, and give them a lift.

 

But my favorite selfless act is when she’s desperately trying to do her part of healing a rift between Peter and his dad. There’s absolutely nothing in it for her, she just wants her boss to be fond of Christmas again, and have a happy family.

 

The other best part is after the wish ends. Sarah was warned that it would only last 48 hours, and she was scared she would lose all her confidence, and mess up the “Christmas 365” business pitch Peter had brought her to present to a client. Well, that client is incredibly rude and disrespectful, and her last act WITH the wish is telling him off. Obviously, that causes some bad feelings between Sarah and Peter, and he leaves her at the airport to travel home alone. But Sarah doesn’t go home yet. She goes back, and finds Mr. Wilson Taylor getting into his limo; she climbs in right after him. But she’s very apologetic, and asks if they can “talk, just you and me.” The sound effects are different. There’s no boom, and the tinkling is different. You get the feeling Sara has found the magic in herself. And when she gets home, and goes to the office to tell Peter, she doesn’t make a huge announcement, or stand on ceremony. She quietly hands him an envelope, and wishes him Merry Christmas. It’s beautiful!

 

Well, we can’t talk about this movie without mentioning Paul, can we? He was great here. I’m noticing that he likes playing slightly cynical guys who are running away from Christmas. 🙂 But his arc and his journey are really well done. He goes from being the tough and business-like CEO who makes some employees work on Christmas; to the lost and prodigal son afraid of facing his estranged father; to a guy reluctantly crushing on a colleague, and being backed into a corner by his mom and aunt; to an angry executive who didn’t get an account; to a cheerful boss who’s made peace with his dad, fallen in love, and provides holiday pay and Christmas dinner for his employees.

 

Okay, Part 2 of Step 4: The Big Announcement. You’ll have to watch the video to find out! 😀 And will the winner please message me her address! Good night, #Hearties! Merry Christmas in July, and I’ll see you Monday! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!