Ho, ho, ho, Hearties! This completely goes against my self-proclaimed “Christmas Purist” nature, but what kind of hip, up-to-date blogger would I be if I didn’t do ONE post about Christmas in July; especially a blogger who talks about Hallmark Channel?! That sounds completely unthinkable! But before I get to that, we have some…Hooked Heartie Guild business to address. I received a question on my feedback survey from the screen name: mnavin. Here is the question:

“I was curious why Jack never got a promotion. When Doug came to town Jack called him constable and Doug said no I got promoted to Sargent when I took the job you refused. So Jack served and then even went to train mounties but never got promoted. Just curious WHY??”

Thank you for the question mnavin!  And thanks for answering the survey!  That IS a really great question; one that I wondered myself.  To be completely honest, I don’t KNOW the answer.  I’ve put the question to someone who knows more about the script than I, so we’ll see if I get a response.  I will let you know the moment I get one.  

So, I shall now bend my holiday principles with a movie from 2015, “Dashing Through the Snow”, (I cannot BELIEVE it’s been that long!  I thought it was from last year!)

The WCTH stars in this one aren’t any from the main cast, but they’re two good ones.  There’s Aaron Craven.  He played Mr. Elliot Garvey in WCTH, (one of the men who tricks Rosemary into going back to the States with them…before Jack intervenes,) and FBI Agent Sam Monroe in Dashing.  And then there’s Andrew Walker.  Oh boy…Andrew Walker.  He probably needs no introduction, but just in case…He played the conniving Billy Hamilton in WCTH, (which is a huge tragedy to many Hearties since they want him as Elizabeth’s new love,) and Agent Dash Sutherland in Dashing.  Get it?  Did you know he’s been in 15 HALLMARK MOVIES?  That’s a lot!  Kurt Evans, who played Agent Fletcher in Dashing, isn’t in WCTH, but there’s a fun link.  He played Stanley Malcolm, the real estate tycoon in “A December Bride”, Daniel Lissing’s movie.  We are all connected in the Great Circle of Hallmark!  Tee hee

To kick things off, I noticed that the carolers at the beginning were singing “Jingle Bells”, of course.  BUT, they started singing at “…in a one-horse open sleigh,” leaving out the very obvious first line.  Did they do it on purpose?  Who knows, but I thought it was worth mentioning.  There is also the year 1914 embossed on the café window, and the teenage baristas joke about putting a foam heart in a crush’s latte.  No, those tidbits probably weren’t purposely directed at Hearties, but as I said, worth mentioning.

And speaking of shows, did you hear all the show and movie talk?  I thought I was a movie buff, but these two, plus the mom, got me beat.  It was great to hear them quote so many lines, sing show tunes, even act out parts of “It Happened One Night”.  It just added to the charm.

Charm.  That describes Ashley to a T!  I LOVE the character of Ashley!  She is just precious!  She’s savvy, yet optimistically naïve; she’s grounded, but still has dreams; she has an eye for detail, but not obsessively; she sees the good in others, but is cautious when needed; she’s finds the joy in almost everything; and she has great philosophies and Christmas spirit.  Here are the prime examples:

  • She considers being a 35-year-old man and never married (because you just don’t want to be) a red flag
  • She reasoned a comparison of how long a broken leg needs to heal, so why shouldn’t the heart need as much, if not more, time.
  • “I’ve seen this movie, and I know how it ends!” (Explaining her trepidation of getting into a car for a 2-day ride with a total stranger. She also looked him up and down before calling him “quasi-attractive”
  • She has a “truth-o-meter”. And thinks someone is a good person if they believe in the idea of Santa Claus
  • She wants Dash to call his mom so she knows it’s okay to get in a car with him.
  • She tells Dash’s “mom” he could use a shave. YES!!! Ashley doesn’t like scruff.  A woman after my own heart!
  • She decorates the inside of a car for Christmas!
  • She sees nothing wrong with squealing, or hanging an ornament on a tree in front of a crowd.
  • “Miracles happen, and tomorrow is another day.” (Agent Hobbs said that, and Dash said Ashley said almost the same thing.)
  • There are no disabilities, only challenges. (wisdom learned from her recently deceased father
  • She thinks everyone should have someone to believe in them.

That sounds like an all-in-all amazing woman to me!  Add to that list that she can knit and craft, and speaks 3 languages.  I’ve been in love with sign language practically my whole life, so when she started signing, I about fell over.  Dash asks her how she learned, and she reveals that her father was deaf.  By this point, the movie is more than halfway through, and it’s the first time we hear that.  I think that says a lot about Ashley as a person, that she didn’t see her dad as “different”.  I think it also says something about her mother, who is hearing.  I’ve heard disturbing stories of deaf people being snubbed simply because they can’t hear, and it’s obvious Ashley’s mother didn’t think that way.  It didn’t stop her from falling in love with him, when someone else may have just written him off as disabled.

Compare that with Dash Sutherland, the FBI agent stuck (in his opinion) in the car with Pollyanna, and he’s recovering from a failed assignment…and he’s got a bit of a chip on his shoulder.  I really like that Andrew didn’t play him bitter, just sarcastic.  He had a hard job, having to find a way to get in the same car with Ashley, and make it look perfectly normal; but he had some great lines and mannerisms to illustrate his feelings.  They got off to a great start when she’s expressing concern over riding with him.  She calls him a “quasi-attractive, charming, friendly, wrinkled-shirt stranger.”  He retorts, as he’s walking away, with “My shirt’s not THAT wrinkled.”  He also calls the car a “squeal-free zone”, calls Ashley’s road knowledge “a minor in geekdom”, and asks if Ashley’s driving instructor was a little old lady from Pasadena.  And he’s an Eagle Scout to boot!  My brothers are Eagle Scouts, so that just made me smile.

Some of my favorite moments of him, though, were the unspoken ones.  For instance, the puppy.  When Ashley brings the puppy to the car window, all he does is look forward, and roll it up.  It was such a subtle move, but for some reason, he made it hilarious!  Then, also with the dog, he does the “I’m watching you” gesture, and I burst out laughing.  There are somber ones too.  Andrew did this really well.  After we find out he’s an agent, he’s struggling not to tell Ashley.  His face is so telling!  He has such a haunted look in his eyes, but tries to keep the carefree and sarcastic persona.  It makes for a really great juxtaposition of characters seeing him sit next to a joyful Ashley.  And his best silent moment: actually shivering and acting cold when he gives her his jacket, instead of the macho, “No, it’s 20 degrees out here, but I’m totally fine.”  Hard to do when filming in summer, even in Canada.

I really love how Andrew and Meghan work together.  The car banter is especially important to the plot since the two main characters are sitting still in a car so much of the time.  But they kept it moving; I never felt like the film was moving too slow.  They even play the jinx game with each other.  The BEST part, however, was the first kiss.  I know, you’re probably thinking, “Duh!”, but this kiss was really well done.  First of all, it’s not at the very end, thank heavens.  The lead-up is fantastic too.  When Dash discovers Ashley’s innocent of any wrongdoing, he drops his phone in a billiard pocket on their way out of the bar where they had dinner.  Now the other agents can’t listen in.  Immediately, you can tell the difference in his tone.  He asks Ashley to tell him basically everything about her, something he couldn’t do when they were being monitored.  When she tells him she wants to open a craft store called “Crafty”, he calls it terrible since that can also mean shifty and dishonest.  Then he stops her, and says, “You’re not any of those things, are you, Ashley Jane Harrison?”  He leans in, with a slight hesitation, for an absolutely adorable kiss, asks her if it was okay, then kisses her again.  May I say, that man is a GREAT screen kisser!  Sorry, Meghan, I forgot to watch you too!

Then the end.  Ashley’s found out Dash is an FBI agent, so of course, she feels betrayed, and plans to “sulk all day”.  But at the town’s festival, who shows up…and in a HAY WAGON?  Earlier, Ashley had expressed her sadness that there would be no hay rides because her father recently passed away.  So he shows up, in a hay wagon, and tells her he thinks she needs someone to believe in her the way her father did; and he wants that someone to be him now.  The man was LISTENING!  Smart man indeed!  Ashley, in return, doesn’t make him suffer.  She took him coming back in said hay wagon as a true sign that he wants to be with her.  She doesn’t pull the coy, cold, “What are you doing here?” routine; she runs straight into his arms, and they share a tight hug…and lift.  Not only is that great for the storyline, I think it gives one last indication of her trusting and caring character.  And that, my friends, wraps this Christmas movie up with a nice little green bow!

Thanks for joining me for Christmas in July.  Join me Friday for what I guarantee will be a #FlashbackFriday you don’t want to miss.  Cheerio, Hearties!   

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