Hallmark Review: Karen Kingsbury’s The Bridge, Part 2 (2016, dir. Mike Rohl)


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I did say I would write this a few days after I watched part 1, but obviously that didn’t happen. My health problems hit me hard. That’s why I greatly appreciated the person who thanked me for providing instructions on how to find songs used in Hallmark movies in my review of Valentine Ever After. I also found it hilarious to receive a comment by someone who I believe thinks they know quite a bit about Hallmark movies seeing as they wanted to lecture me about them bundled together with personal attacks. They must have missed the recent Hallmark movie Hearts of Spring. It covered leaving nasty comments with personal attacks about how you know better than someone about something on that person’s blog when you disagree with their opinion and the damage it can cause. It was also about mint chocolate chip milkshakes.

But we aren’t here to discuss the wonderful world of writing movie reviews. We’re here to discuss this film, and hopefully have a little fun doing it. Especially with what happened today. Right, Ted?

Karen Kingsbury’s The Bridge, Part 1 (2015, dir. Mike Rohl)

Karen Kingsbury’s The Bridge, Part 1 (2015, dir. Mike Rohl)

The movie begins not quite where the first film left off. The first film had two kids named Ryan and Molly who go to college, meet, and fall in love before going their separate ways basically because there was a second part to the movie. The actual reasons are that there was an extra guy and girl along with Molly’s dad who came in between the two of them. It also had the story of Charlie and Donna who come together after a personal tragedy to create a bookstore whose main mission isn’t so much to sell books, but act as a place where people can bond over their love of reading. They called it The Bridge. The movie ended with Donna turning down Charlie to go back to church with him and standing at the checkout counter with “to be continued…” below her.

This film begins by treating us to that conversation between Molly (Katie Findlay) and Ryan (Wyatt Nash) from the end of the first film. That one where the phones were sometimes lit up near the character’s ear, and sometimes not.

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I’m still not sure why that was a thing. To my knowledge, all cellphones turn the screen black so that you don’t accidentally hit buttons with your face when you are talking on them next to your ear. I’ve seen other Hallmark movies do this right sometimes and other times incorrectly.

After that we cut to Seattle, Washington 7 years later. Seeing as the first film started in 2009 and took them to Christmas of that year, it would mean that this film takes place in 2016 during the holidays. I guess that’s why they originally planned to air this at that time. I can’t imagine what a disaster that would have been considering the plot of this film. Then they cut to this shot that immediately follows the title card, which told us when and where we are.

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I know A Christmas Detour had a litany of ridiculously photoshopped in Christmas stuff at the very beginning of the film. However, not only does director Ron Oliver have a sense of humor, but his movie was supposed to be a comedy. These two movies on the other hand are supposed to be rather serious. Plus, the movie then cuts inside to show us Molly and her dad (Steve Bacic) who-along with the sets-announce clearly that we are at his business. The establishing shot didn’t need to be there. Particularly if this was how it was going to look. While not needing to be there, I can’t say I’m shocked that it ended up there after seeing 170+ Hallmark films at the time of writing this review. Just like I’m not shocked that the dialog between Molly and her dad is there establish that she is on the brink of marrying the guy who wasn’t worth mentioning in my first review and becoming CEO of her dad’s company just before fate will intervene to bring her back to Ryan. That’s her Hallmark movie within this Hallmark movie.

Now we are reintroduced to Ryan who has just arrived home for the holidays. They decided to age Wyatt by having him grow a little facial hair.

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I’m sorry, but there’s just something about the pattern of his mustache hair that says Frollo Gaston from The Secret of the Hunchback (1996) to me.

The Secret of the Hunchback (1996, dir. Mike Joens & Ken C. Johnson)

The Secret of the Hunchback (1996, dir. Mike Joens & Ken C. Johnson)

While I really did think it was going to happen, Charlie does not sprout wings in this like Quasimodo does in that film to reveal he’s an angel.

If there’s anything they did to Molly to age her, then it’s so superficial that I didn’t even notice. Still, she does actually look like an adult instead of Emilia Clarke in Terminator Genisys (2015) who really looked like a teenager.

Then we are re-introduced to Charlie (Ted McGinley) as he goes around town saying the bookstore will be rebuilt and open for business soon. It’s at times like this in the film that I wonder if it was purely budget or if Hallmark trimmed a few scenes to make this fit the runtime they had for this early airing of the film. We never really see the storm except for a weird scene. Charlie enters The Bridge after talking to people on the street and then looks up at a hole in his ceiling when we get a flashback to the storm. It’s very short, but at first I honestly thought Donna (Faith Ford) had been struck by lightning.

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It’s a very short scene. I didn’t try to catch a screenshot like that. It’s how it came out. It’s also the only one I have that illustrates the lightning part of things.

In the first film, Charlie had a character who was thin as a playing card. In this second film, McGinley actually gets to do some acting as we see him trying to deal with the destruction of the bookstore. Of course good acting for Charlie is not meant to be here for some reason so he winds up getting attacked by a pole in his car and is out in a coma for the remainder of the film. That’s too bad cause for a brief period there, you really do get a glimpse of McGinley adding some depth to Charlie.

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Then Molly comes back to town and discovers this whole situation with The Bridge along with Ryan. By the way, that’s the whole movie. Charlie ends up in a coma because he shouldn’t have been behind the wheel in his state and hit a pole. Molly comes back to town and with Ryan’s help, rallies the community and leverages the Internet to rebuild The Bridge. Then we get Charlie waking up from his coma to find that all is well thanks to the bonds he formed with and between the people the bookstore touched. I would think Hallmark viewers would be expecting something more substantial seeing as they were being asked to wait a whole year for this second film.

There are a couple of little subplots if you can even call them that. It’s really just the film tying up a few loose ends/removing a few roadblocks concerning Molly and Ryan to make sure they can end the film on a kiss between them.

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There is one thing I found unintentionally funny about this movie.

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I get why there are no last names. I mean I have seen Hallmark movies populate lists of names like this with crew members, but I understand. What’s funny is the one on the bottom. I wouldn’t think it was worth mentioning the obvious thing people associate with the name Slim if not for something that happened while I was watching the film. I mean other than this obvious association with the name Slim.

 Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964, dir. Stanley Kubrick)

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964, dir. Stanley Kubrick)

I’m going to mention it because there is an actor in this movie that I kept mistaking for Wyatt Nash.

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It really took till this scene for me to know for sure that I was seeing a different character when the guy in the blue shirt was onscreen. So, of course I’m thinking “will the real Wyatt Nash please stand up” when I see the name Slim.

My final thoughts on this one are that they basically took a single Hallmark film and divided it in two. If this had been condensed to a single film, then it still wouldn’t have been that good honestly, but it would have been an actual Hallmark movie. To give Karen Kingsbury the benefit of the doubt again, I have to imagine that her book didn’t divide the story with a seven year gap. I’m guessing there was more time to develop their relationship and flesh out Donna and Charlie that builds to all the connections that developed through the bookstore ultimately allowing them all to survive the literal and metaphorical storm. With obvious religious stuff that I’m sure is more pronounced in the book thrown in.

Long story short, don’t bother with either of these movies. There are far better films Hallmark has made. Even their usual average B-Movies are also often enjoyable on some level. Even if that is just the enjoyment of riffing on them and noticing goofs they make. Even the screenwriter of Hello, It’s Me told me on Twitter she was enjoying my reactions to the dialog she had written. People have a lot of fun doing live tweets of Hallmark movies and the cast and crew will sometimes hop onboard to have fun with the audience too. At the end of the day, these reviews are to give you my opinion on the film and to hopefully guide you to ones you’ll enjoy. Even if that’s just because I’ve talked about it enough that regardless of what I thought about it, you decide it sounds like something you might enjoy.

As always if they list them, here are the songs:

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It seems to be a regular thing for me when I write these reviews to listen to a single song on an endless repeat. Might as well mention it as a little footnote for people. The song for this review was Holding Back the Years by Simply Red.

In retrospect, I probably should have been listening to Culture Club’s Do You Really Want To Hurt Me.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #152: Killing Mommy (dir by Curtis Crawford and Anthony Lefrense)


Last night, I gathered together with my three older sisters and I tried to make them watch Killing Mommy on Lifetime!  They all abandoned me after thirty minutes but I stayed for the entire film.

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Why Was I Watching It?

(Awwwwww!  That is one of the greatest tweets in which I’ve ever been mentioned!  Everyone please be sure to check out Awards Watch!)

What Was It Aboot?

Killing Mommy was the latest in a long line of Canadian-produced Lifetime thrillers.  It tells the story of two twin sisters!  Deb has dark hair, a tattoo, and a bad attitude.  She’s a recovering drug addict and she divides her time between having anonymous sex and going to jail.  Julianne has red hair and is about to graduate from college.  She is always smiling and she’s always spending money!

When Deb and Julianne were younger, their father died when a car mysteriously fell on top of him.  Now, their mom — who runs a charity of some sort — is on the verge of remarrying.  Deb is upset.  Julianne is supportive.  Soon, someone with dark hair is attempting to kill mom.  Is it Deb or is it just Julianne wearing a Deb wig?

What Worked, eh?

Killing Mommy was one of those films that got better the longer it lasted.  During the first hour, I thought it was way too slow and awkwardly acted.  But, during the second hour, the film got enjoyably weird and over-the-top.  It’s as if, during the 2nd half of the movie, the filmmakers suddenly realized that they just had to stop pretending like the movie would ever make any sense.  They decided to embrace the melodrama and good for them!

What Did Not Work, eh?

The second hour of Killing Mommy is a lot of fun but that first hour — oh my God.  See, the main problem with having a great second hour is that you have to get through the first hour to reach it and, if you first hour moves too slowly or features some less than impressive acting, you’re increasing the chances that viewers will never make it to that second hour.  The first hour of Killing Mommy was a real struggle to get through.  If you look at my twitter timeline, you’ll see that I tweeted a hundred times more during the second hour than the first hour.

Some of the acting, especially during that first hour, left a lot to be desired.  I think I may have compared some of the performances to the acting that you typically find in one of those “You got insurance?  With your health problems?!” MetLife insurance commercials.  However, I now think that some of what seemed like bad acting may have instead just been foreshadowing of the film’s 2nd hour twist.

Speaking of twists, there’s a flashback where a man working on a car yells at his daughter so much that she finally gets so annoyed that she lowers the car down on top of him.  (That’s not really a spoiler because what happened is pretty obvious from the minute the car crushing is first mention, especially if you’ve ever seen a Lifetime movie before.)  Anyway, I started giggling during that scene and I’m not sure if I was supposed to.

“OMG!  Just like me!” Moments, for sure

Julianne has red hair and she loves to shop!  How could I not relate to her?

On the other hand, Deb often wears black and has a sarcastic attitude.  How could I not relate to her, as well?

Seriously, other than all the murders, this whole movie had me going, “Oh my God!  Just like me!” over and over again.

Lessons Learned

I love, Canada!

 

6 Trailers Full Of Laughter And Somewhat Good Cheer


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Well, it’s Sunday again and that mean that it’s time for another edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Film trailers!  

Usually, on Sunday, I share trailers that feature a lot of violence.  That’s just the nature of grindhouse trailers.  But, today, I’m not in the mood for violence, even if it is deliberately over-the-top grindhouse violence.

That’s why these 6 trailers are all for comedic films.  They are full of the promise of laughter and good cheer.  Well, somewhat good cheer.  There really aren’t that many truly cheerful grindhouse trailers.

Laughter, of course, is not the solution to the world’s problems.  But, at the very least, it can make it easier to live from day to day.

Even the grindhouse understands that!

1. Beach Ball (1965)

2. The Groove Tube (1974)

3. The Chicken Chronicles (1977)

4. The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)

Our own Gary Loggins reviewed this film last year!

5. The Beach Girls (1982)

I reviewed this one last year as well.

6. Young Doctors In Love (1982)

 

Disney’s First Official Teaser Trailer for Moana


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Since 2012’s surprise hit Wreck-It Ralph, Walt Disney Animation Studio (you know the other one that’s not named Pixar) has been on quite a winning streak. With each new film this animation studio cranks out it’s building a portfolio of critically-acclaimed animated films that’s also huge hits with the audience. This year, the studio released Zootopia which seems to have surprised many with it’s staying power.

This Thanksgiving we’ll see the second feature-length film from this studio with the fantasy adventure Moana.

A story set in ancient Oceania and about a young girl with the natural born gift of being a navigator who goes on a quest to find a fabled island with the help of Maui, her favorite hero who also happens to be a demigod (voiced by Dwayne Johnson, who is as close to a real-life demigod).

Moana is set for a November 23, 2016 release date. Just in time for Thanksgiving.

Late To The Party : “The Boy”


Trash Film Guru

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In other reviews on this site of recent vintage, I’ve bitched about how a particularly brutal work schedule kept me from getting to the theater to see anything new for a few months, and one of the flicks I definitely wanted to check out that hit screens in this early-2016 time frame was director William Brent Bell’s The Boy. It must have been a really solid marketing campaign that sold me on the idea of seeing this one, because Bell’s previous film, The Devil Inside, was an uninspired, derivative mess, but what can I say? Stories about evil dolls, puppets, ventriloquist’s dummies, and the like have always been right up my alley. So I was pleased as punch when a free DVD “screener” copy of this (with no extras included, but I’m not complaining) showed up in my mailbox courtesy of Universal/STX Entertainment. I guess sometimes it pays…

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Baby, It’s “Cold In July”


Trash Film Guru

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So, here’s a tip : if you’re browsing through the titles available for streaming on Netflix and looking for something good — and I mean really fucking good — to watch, you aren’t gonna do much better than Jim Mickle’s 2014 indie crime thriller Cold In July, which was just added a couple weeks back. I know that it’s a cardinal sin in the “review game” to give away your final opinion on a film right out of the gate because people then have no reason to read any further, but seriously — you’re better off watching this flick than absorbing my words of “wisdom” about it anyway, so if you cut out right here and now in order to check it out, I promise I won’t take it personally in the least.

Okay, anybody still left? The let’s talk a little bit about why this movie is so…

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