A Cry For Help (1975, directed by Daryl Duke)


Harry Freeman (Robert Culp) is a radio talk show host in California who specializes in abusing his listeners.  They call in and they tell Harry their problems and their opinions and then Harry tells them that they’re stupid and whiny.  Despite (or maybe because of) his abrasive style, Harry is very popular.  Everyone on the California coast listens to him in the morning.

When a depressed teenage girl named Ingrid (Elayne Heilveil) calls his show and says that she’s going to kill herself, Harry doesn’t taker her seriously and tells her to go ahead and do it.  It’s only after he hangs up on her that he realizes that she might have actually been telling the truth.  When Harry calls the cops to tell them about the call, they treat him in much the same way that he treated Ingrid.  They refuse to take him or Ingrid seriously.

Not getting any help from the police, Harry turns to his listeners.  He asks them to help him track down Ingrid and to keep her from harming herself.  The film alternates between scenes of Ingrid meeting people throughout the day and then Harry in his studio, taking calls from those people.  Since Ingrid is no longer listening to Harry’s show, she has no idea that people are looking for her and it becomes a race against time to find her before she carries out her plans.

A Cry For Help is largely a showcase for Robert Culp, a talented actor whose career was often harmed by his own independence and reputation for being abrasive.  That reputation made him the perfect choice to play Harry and Culp gives a terrific performance as a not particularly nice man trying to do the right thing for once.  Interestingly, the film keeps it ambiguous as to whether Harry has really had an attack of conscience or if he’s just trying to save Ingrid for the publicity and the ratings.  Even at the end of the film, it’s hard to know if Harry was really worried about Ingrid ending her life or if he was just looking to promote himself.

Along with Culp, the film’s cast is a who’s who of 70s television actors.  Among those who Ingrid and Harry deal with during the day: Michael Lerner, Bruce Boxlietner, Ken Swofford, Chuck McCann, Julius Harris, and Gordon Jump.  Seeing Jump in the film was especially interesting since he would later star in another production about the potential power of radio, WKRP In Cincinnati.

A Cry For Help is a suspenseful made-for-TV movie from 1975.  It’s never been released on DVD but it is on YouTube.

The Baltimore Bullet (1980, directed by Robert Ellis Miller)


James Coburn was one of those actors who improved any film in which he appeared in.  Take The Baltimore Bullet, for example.  Without Coburn, The Baltimore Bullet is basically The Hustler without any of that film’s grit or edginess.  With Coburn, it’s still a bad remake of The Hustler but at least it’s got James Coburn.

Coburn plays Nick Casey, who was once known as The Baltimore Bullet.  He was the top pool player in the country but now, he makes a meager but enjoyable living traveling the country with his protegee, Billie Joe Robbins (Bruce Boxleitner), and hustling people out of their money.  Nick’s plan is to raise enough money so that he and Billie Joe can go down to New Orleans, enter the national pool championship, and defeat the reigning champion, a man known only as the Deacon (Omar Sharif).  The episodic film follows Nick and Billie Joe as they travel across the country, having comedic adventures and trying to stay one step ahead of all of the people that they’ve cheated.   Along the way, they pick up an aspiring country singer named Carolina Red (Ronee Blakley, who somehow went from her Oscar-nominated debut in Nashville to this).

The Baltimore Bullet doesn’t work for any number of reasons.  A big problem is that Nick and Billie Joe’s friendship never really makes sense.  There’s no real reason for Nick to need a protegee and Billie Joe often seems to be more interested in playing poker than playing pool.  We never understand why Nick would take someone as erratic as Billie Joe under his wing.  Another problem is that The Deacon never seems like a formidable opponent.  He’s just Omar Sharif, looking bored and carrying a pool cue.  Because we don’t like Billie Joe and don’t care about the Deacon, we don’t really care who wins the tournament.  Probably the most interesting thing about The Baltimore Bullet is that, while it was obviously meant to be a rip-off of The Hustler, its plot, with a veteran hustler teaming up with a callow protegee, actually has more in common with The Hustler‘s sequel, The Color of Money (which would be released 6 years after The Baltimore Bullet).

All of that almost doesn’t matter, though, just because James Coburn’s in the movie.  James Coburn always came across like the coolest human being on the planet, even in something like The Baltimore Bullet.  There’s not much depth to Nick as a character but Coburn plays the role with a gleam in his eyes and a leer that looks like it belongs on the face of a cartoon wolf and it’s impossible not to like him.  While everyone else is struggling with the bad dialogue and their inconsistent characters, Coburn looks like he’s having the time of his life.  Coburn was an actor who was incapable of giving a bad performance and he’s the main reason to see The Baltimore Bullet.

Double Jeopardy (1992, directed by Lawrence Schiller)


Salt Lake City is riveted by the sensational murder trial of mountain climber Lisa Burns Donnelly (Rachel Ward).  Lisa killed her ex-boyfriend, Eddie.  She says that she did it in self-defense after Eddie raped her.  The prosecution claims that she murdered Eddie after he caught her cheating on him with another man.  Lisa’s lawyer, Karen Hart (Sela Ward), is up for a judgeship.  Her husband, Jack (Bruce Boxleitner) is Lisa’s ex-boyfriend.  What Karen doesn’t know is that, other than Lisa, Jack is the only person who witnessed what happened the night of the murder because, just moments before, he and Lisa had been committing PG-13-rated adultery in her shower.

One of the interesting things — in fact, maybe the only interesting thing — about Double Jeopardy is that several online sellers claim that the film stars Aaron Eckhart.  It is true that Eckhart is in the movie.  It was shot in Salt Lake City while he was a student at BYU and it was his film debut.  However, Eckhart has about a minute of screen time and about five lines.  He plays a Marine named Dwayne who someone meets in an airport.  His big line is, “Semper Fi, babe!”

As for the film, since it’s set in Salt Lake City, there’s a lot of talk about how Lisa is being unfairly judged for her unconventional (read: non-Mormon) life style and there’s a heavy-handed subplot about Jack trying to put on a production of The Crucible but it doesn’t add up too much.  It would probably have been easier for the movie to make a point about religious and moral persecution if Lisa wasn’t actually guilty of murdering Eddie.  Instead, the movie leaves you thinking, “Maybe those Mormons have a point.”

Double Jeopardy tries hard to be something more than your standard legal thriller but it’s pretty forgettable.  Rachel Ward was always a great femme fatale and Sally Kirkland gives a good performance as the cop who sees through both Lisa and Jack.  The film was produced for Showtime at a time when cable was still trying to prove that it could provide original content worth paying for so there’s some cursing and sideboob tossed in, as if to say, “See?  You don’t get this on NBC!”  Otherwise, this is a by-the-numbers made-for-TV movie.

Lifetime Christmas Movie Review: The Christmas Contract (dir by Monika Mitchell)


There’s a very clever scene at the beginning of The Christmas Contract.

Jack Friedman (Robert Buckley) is a writer who can’t get any of the big publishing houses to even take a look at his new book.  However, Jack’s agent informs him that they might change his mind if he does some ghostwriting.  One can see from Jack’s reaction that this is not the first time that he’s been asked to be a ghostwriter and it’s not something that he particularly enjoys.  Still, because one does have to eat, Jack agrees.

His agent tells him that he’ll be ghostwriting the latest installment in a very popular but critically dismissed series of romance novels.  He’s told to go read the previous book in the series and then to basically rewrite it, just changing a few details so that it can be advertised as a totally new book.  He’s given a list of plot points that the publishers want to be included in the book.  Again, it’s not particularly important how the plot points are integrated into the story.  Instead, they just have to be there.

Moonlight dance?  Yep.

Kisses under the stars?  Yep.

Oh, and the book needs to take place in Louisiana.

Now, you don’t have to be a part of the industry to realize that, in this scene, Jack is serving as a stand-in for every writer who has ever been assigned to write a Hallmark (or, let’s just be honest here, Lifetime) Christmas movie.  Don’t try to reinvent the season, just make sure that the basics are there.  Pick a new location and you’re ready to go!

With that scene, the makers of The Christmas Contract are acknowledging that, “yes, this is another Lifetime holiday movie.”  And yes, it’s going to remind you of a lot of other Lifetime holiday movies.  But, that still doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy it.  After all, the appeal of a movie like this is to be found in its familiarity.  In an often chaotic world, there’s something to be said for the comfort of a good, if predictable, romance novel.  The same can be said of a Lifetime Christmas movie.

Anyway, it’s a good thing that the publishers want the book to be set in Louisiana because that’s where Jack spends his holiday.  He’s actually accompanying a recently single woman named Jodie (Hilarie Burton) back to her home for Christmas.  Because Jodie’s ex-boyfriend is going to be visiting with his new girlfriend, Jodie doesn’t want her family to know that she’s single.  So, Jack pretends to be her boyfriend.  They even sign a contract ahead of time.  And, yes, you can guess exactly what ends up happening but, again, that’s kind of the point with a movie like this.

The cast, which includes several veterans of One Tree Hill, does a good job with the material but the true star of this film is the state of Louisiana.  This film makes full use of the beautiful Louisiana landscape and the celebratory nature of the state’s culture.  It may have been predictable but it was still enjoyable.  Spending the holidays with Jodie, Jack, and the family looked like a lot of fun.

Film Review: Double Mommy (dir by Doug Campbell)


Lifetime followed Mommy’s Little Boy with the American premiere of Double Mommy.

Double Mommy is another Canadian-produced Lifetime film.  This one is a bit of a spiritual cousin to Double Daddy.  Like Double Daddy, Double Mommy starts with a high school party, ends with the arrival of two babies, and finds the time to include some homicide in between.  It’s also something of a class drama, with the rich being very evil and the middle class being very saintly and the lower class being pretty much nonexistent.

In Double Mommy, Jess (Morgan Obenreder, best known to readers of the site for playing Charisma Carpenter’s daughter in Bound) is pregnant with twins, a boy and a girl.  However, she’s not sure who the father is.  She wants the father to be Ryan (Griffin Freeman), her perfect boyfriend.  But she suspects that the father might be Brent (Mark Grossman), Ryan’s former best friend.  One night, while Ryan was away, Brent gave Jess a drink.  He said it was nonalcoholic and the can said “Cola.”  But the way the camera lingered on that can before Jess actually drank it, everyone watching the movie knew that it was drugged.  Jess has only vague memories of the rest of the night but she knows what happened.

A paternity test reveals that one twin was fathered by Ryan and the other by Brent!  At this point, I said, “So, which one is going to be the evil twin!?”

Well, the film never really got around to answering that question.  Instead, it focused on the attempts of Brent’s rich father (Bruce Boxleitner) to pay Jess and her family off.  It turns out that Jess is not the first girl that Brent has raped and his father has been covering up for him.  Jess is determined to expose Brent as a rapist.  Jess hangs banners at school.  She posts Brent’s picture on social media.

Let’s give Double Mommy credit where credit is due.  In the characters of Brent and his father, the film makes a point about how one generation enables the bad behavior of another and how misogyny can be passed down from father to son.  Furthermore, Jess never allows herself to simply be a victim.  She’s a fighter who never apologizes for standing up for herself and who, most importantly, never blames herself for the rape.  But, with all that in mind, Double Mommy would have been so much better (and certainly more empowering) if Jess had gone all Ms. 45 or I Spit On Your Grave on Brent’s ass.

I mean, it’s true that, as a result of Jess’s efforts, Brent loses a scholarship and gets booed at a soccer game.  That’s all good but Brent was such a loathsome character that he deserved much worse.  If there’s ever been a character in a Lifetime film who deserved to be locked in a cage and beaten until he confessed to his crimes, it was Brent.  After an hour of Brent smirking, bragging, and drugging, I was ready to see Jess pick up a gun and blow his head off while uttering a priceless one-liner.  Instead, Brent just got embarrassed and eventually ended up running around with a gun of his own.  What could have been an empowering little revenge flick turned into a typical Lifetime movie.

That said, the film was well-acted and nicely put together.  Mark Grossman turned Brent into a disturbingly familiar villain.  (We’ve all known a Brent.)  I just wish the film had gone a bit further in giving Jess her revenge.

 

Val’s Movie Roundup #17: Hallmark Edition


Usually these roundups are short, and I like it that way, but not this time. Not by choice either. These movies just happen to give me a lot to talk about. To borrow from one of my all time favorite TV Shows Quantum Leap: “Oh, boy!”

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Strawberry Summer (2012) – Man, was this a stinker! This is like a prototype version of Recipe For Love. You have a girl who comes into the life of a male star with problems. That star is pretending to be something they are not. They have talent, but it’s being hidden by their fake persona. The girl helps him to throw that facade aside and be himself. The two walk off in to the sunset together. Simple. Shouldn’t be hard to do, right? Here’s how you screw it up.

In Recipe For Love, she is assigned to ghostwrite a TV cook’s cookbook. She was in a job position she didn’t care for, so she has a strong motivation to make this work and push past his initial standoff nature. In Strawberry Summer, she’s basically a stalker. She lives in a small rural town in the California Salinas Valley where they are going to hold a strawberry festival. She’s the queen. She uses the fact that the country singer’s manager is an old college friend of her’s to get him to come and perform. Then she all but proceeds to jump him. But of course she can’t, so instead she looks up information about him online so she can get closer to him. This all plays out rather innocently, but that’s what she’s doing. They screwed this up by removing any good reason for her to be in his life. She’s just a really big fan who thinks she can fix a celebrity she likes a lot. In real life those people have restraining orders put on them. Have his aunt live in town and she invites him to the festival where the rest of the film can then proceed. There, I fixed this part of the movie. I said this part because there are other blunders like the computer screens.

I don’t think I have seen any other Hallmark movie show the screens of a computer more than this one does. The computer screens are hilariously fake. You can actually see that the URL is a local file. In one case she is supposed to be looking at a pseudo Wikipedia page for the singer, but it’s referred to as “Internet Web Search Online Encyclopedia”. When she typed in the search it was called “Internet Encyclopedia Search”. The URL is called “C:\Users\LLP\Desktop\Jason Wiki Page.htm”. They couldn’t call it Wikipedia, but it’s in the URL of the page. And LLP stands for Larry Levinson Productions who seems to make all of these Hallmark movies.

In general, they have the most generic titles for things: “Video Search” and “search engine”. That’s not too uncommon in movies. Remarkably generic, but I’ve seen some stupid ways of avoiding saying Google. However, while she uses “Video Search” at the beginning to show her Mom a video of the singer, later in the movie the singer is talking to his manager and the manager says he saw what he did because there’s this thing called YouTube. But that’s not all! While she is doing a search on “search engine” we can see the box in the upper right corner of Internet Explorer for doing searches that says Google. I can’t do these justice. I apologize for the quality of these screenshots, but I watched this on TV and this was the only way I could get these.

IMG_7265 IMG_7266 IMG_7267 IMG_7268 IMG_7270Along with everything else, notice that the “Community Theater” has an area code for Mexico. They couldn’t even be bothered to do a Google search to put the area code for where the movie takes place. I’m guessing they just made it up. You might say I’m nitpicking and that of course I noticed because I have a degree in Computer Science, but the reason I bring up all these errors is because these screens don’t need to be there. All she does is look at the screen and read it out loud anyways. Have her look at the screen, but don’t show it, then have her talk or make a phone call to her local Mexican Salinas Valley Community Theater. There! I fixed this part of the movie too. But there’s more.

She is the head of a glee club. The members of the glee club want to do R.E.M. or Journey for the singing contest at the festival. But no, that would mean LLP would have to spend money on this production so it’s suddenly important for the kids to do When The Saints Go Marching In. She also says she picked it because it’s one of the top marching band songs. Marching band? I thought they were a glee club? If they are a glee club, then do Shiny Happy People. If they are a marching band, then do Separate Ways (Worlds Apart). In fact, when I went to Cal their marching band did that song. And if you were confused about which they were before the ending, then the performance itself isn’t going to help.

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I can only guess that they were going to do a marching band, but then must have realized how ridiculous the kids would look or it would cost too much, but they already had the uniforms and they couldn’t change the script. I don’t know! I don’t know! And no, they can’t sing well either. No worries though, because apparently the 11 other acts, which we don’t see, must be abominable and these kids win. But this part is even worse. The rationale she gives the kids for going with When The Saints Go Marching In is that the important part is taking a song and making it yours. Fine, but then why is the rest of the film about how the singer needs to stop riding his one hit wonder song that he didn’t write to do his own material instead? Oh, and since I don’t know where else to stick it, when he announces he actually grew up in New York City, he then corrects himself to say “not those parts”, but “the good parts”. What parts exactly are “those parts”? Parts that are so well known and looked down on by rural folk that it’s really important for him to say “the good parts”. Oh, and he can’t sing either. He just does a generic Hank Williams impersonation.

Oh, then there’s the scene where he eats strawberries. Apparently, he’s never eaten them before. Fine. Then he has a major allergic reaction to them. Fine. But then he gets miraculously better. Really? Then of course Hallmark has to show commercials for EpiPen, which is a device you would use for just such a violent allergic reaction. And while I didn’t see it myself, according to other reviews, he later pops a strawberry in his mouth and nothing happens. Of course.

I guess the last thing worth mentioning is that this is my second Hallmark film that wastes Shelley Long. Why? Why get her and then completely waste her? I actually paused the movie, went to YouTube, and watched the morgue fight and desert jump scenes from Outrageous Fortune (1987) just to remind myself that she can be funny.

And there’s three more of these Hallmark movies to review still! At least the next one is decent.

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Mystery Woman: Wild West Mystery (2006) – I’ll keep this one short. It’s like every other Mystery Woman movie I’ve reviewed except this one does something I really liked. It has Bruce Boxleitner in it, and instead of like Falling In Love With The Girl Next Door, which wasted him and Shelley Long, he has some great moments in this one. I loved the parts where he acted like a total slime ball. It was great! The movie as a whole is average, but it was so refreshing to see them actually use one of the older well established actors’ talents instead of squandering them. The plot is just an old Western TV star, played by Boxleitner, who does wild west shows and someone apparently is accidentally shot. Kellie Martin and Clarence Williams III are on the case. I just wish they had done Mystery Woman as an actual TV show so they could have dialed back on the complexity of the cases and actually developed Williams’ character’s spy past more instead of just teasing it all the time.

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A Gift of Miracles (2015) – I don’t know how this time around I wound up with three Hallmark movies that were really bad. At least this one is better than Strawberry Summer.

The movie is about a girl who is a PhD candidate who doesn’t realize you have to write appropriately for your audience. Her advisor at the college tells her that, reminds her that she needs to make this pitch for her research work in order to get her PhD, and sends her to meet with a guy who apparently is good at writing. He tells her the same thing and agrees to help her. Then she storms off. Apparently, her mother died when she was one, a window breaks at night, and she finds a box with things in it that also contains a list of people.

Now she goes back to the guy and soon the two are off on an adventure to get these items to the people who are supposed to have them. Somehow this is going to help her writing. I don’t know how, but the film tells me so. Also, this guy apparently has quite the imagination because he has the worst looking poster for Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange Land I have ever seen on his wall.

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Good thing they picked that book instead of Time Enough For Love. That one has the main character go back in time and hook up with his Mom. Seriously. But then again, why go with the book that is about a Christ-like figure and a hard line agnostic either? I’m not entirely convinced these people have actually read Heinlein. Maybe there’s something I’ve forgotten. It has been a long time since I read it.

Anyways, the two start going around and magical coincidences happen. Some aren’t so magical like running into someone you were looking for in a parking lot after you have to pull over having had car trouble. A few years back I was doing research on a club that was at my old high school in the 1980’s. Sometime in the next year or so after I was actual hit by someone in the club while in my car stopped at a light right outside that school. Really weird stuff happens. It didn’t mean my dead grandmother made it happen. I love when they bump into the lady in the parking lot and Rachel Boston, who plays the girl, gets a look on her face like she just saw Chuck Norris eat a Cadillac.

But apparently if you string enough of these things together, then a very scientifically minded person will start believing her dead mother is making things happen from the afterlife. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: FINE! But tell me how this has anything to do with her inability to recognize that you need to write for the audience who will read it? How is a belief that her mother is watching over her from beyond going to fix that? Why is that in the movie at all? Why couldn’t she just find the box. Set off to return the items. Place the romantic interest at a central point thru which she has to travel in order to return them like they did in My Boyfriends’ Dogs. Then she learns about her mother and believes she is watching over her. There! Movie fixed!

Oh, and her pitch that she needs to write to get her PhD is plagiarized from an actual WWF report (pg. 15, http://www.wwf.se/source.php/1154907/ebm_report%202006.pdf). Here’s her pitch and here’s the part of the real world report where they just ripped it off for the movie.

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We actually see her type some of it at the end of the movie just in case we thought for a moment that maybe she was just reading this report earlier in the film.

The part about her inability to write for people who aren’t an expert in her field and her need to do so to get her degree had no reason to be part of this movie. All it does is send the message that when you are too scientific, believing in the afterlife will mean you can suddenly teach difficult things in easy to understand sentences and deliver them with passion. Couldn’t have any similarity to Jesus, right? Nah! Hallmark isn’t a religious station anymore. At least it is harmless rather than offensive like it was with Your Love Never Fails. At least I hope this was meant to be a religious reference and not just really bad writing like Strawberry Summer.

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For the Love of Grace (2008) – Yes! We’ve made it to the last movie here and it also isn’t good. I have watched numerous Hallmark TV Movies that are obviously failed pilots, but this one is new to me. I swear it must have either been a three hour movie that was then edited down or was a whole season of a TV show that was edited together into a single movie.

Okay, she’s engaged to the guy who played The Shep (Kevin Jubinville) on Degrassi: TNG so we know he’s a douchebag already. The fireman who couldn’t look any more different from our Barbie main character grabs a piece of pizza, looks like he had his nose shoved in poop, then we see a couple pictures of a girl. That’s how we know his wife is dead. Then a fire happens, and for reasons I still am not sure of, he is walking by her house and saves her.

The most frustrating thing is how the female lead’s friend keeps telling her how much she changed after the fire. It’s infuriating because we only got to see her for a few minutes before the fire so there is no change as far as we are concerned. It’s just the way we see her in the first place. So, she’s suddenly into photography? Really, you don’t say. How does that matter to us! Oh, I mean except to sell Nikon cameras. Yeah, they make sure you know that camera is a Nikon camera. But honestly, why the photography when what she does is make a cookbook?

The rest is a love story that revolves around her finding out these fireman also do a lot of cooking. She was going to do a different book, but decides to do a fireman cookbook instead. And no, no one makes the joke about whether they serve dinner with Molotov cocktails.

The main problem with this film is that it has swiss cheese character and plot development. This could have been decent even though I kept looking at the two of them and thinking this would be awesome if that was Britney Spears and Danny Trejo. Yes, she has more chemistry with her female friend, but this still could have been okay if it didn’t keep making these leaps, then saying things as if we were there the whole time. It’s very annoying. However, this is the least worst of the three bad ones here.

Plus, it also has Justin Kelly from Degrassi: TNG in it as well! Obviously, the upcoming Lifetime Unauthorized Degrassi movie will be that while it appeared they were in school the whole time, they were actually starring in lots of Lifetime and Hallmark movies.

I really recommend that if you need to watch a movie with “For the Love of” in the title, then watch For the Love of Rusty. And while you’re at it: Adventures of Rusty, The Return of Rusty, The Son of Rusty, My Dog Rusty, Rusty Leads the Way, Rusty Saves a Life, and Rusty’s Birthday too. Cause German Shepherds rule!

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For those who read the beginning and made it to the end. Here’s a compilation of Oh, Boys! And yes, I’m aware that the show is basically about God sending a man around in time along with a guardian angel to fix things done by Satan.

Val’s Movie Roundup #16: Hallmark Edition


Sorry, but during this period my Mom has been having knee replacement surgery so my descriptions are going to be so so at best. Luckily, I know that when it comes to Hallmark movies, you really just want to know whether it’s worth your time. That I can do.

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Mystery Woman: Sing Me A Murder (2005) – This one has Kellie Martin’s character hosting a charity concert for an old timey folk band. At the same time Clarence Williams III is doing side work investigating a series of bank robberies. I reached the end where they explain what really happened and it made little sense to me. I watched that section a second time, and it still didn’t make sense. This movie is a convoluted mess. It’s a shame because I have been enjoying this particular series of films. On the upside, this movie has John Getz in it. Movie lovers might not recognize the name, but you will recognize him when you see him. He is the lover in the Coen Brothers first film Blood Simple (1984). Just with 21 years added on to him. If you don’t have to see all of the Mystery Woman movies, then you can skip this one.

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Falling In Love With The Girl Next Door (2006) – Ever wrote a paper for school, had absolutely no inspiration, but powered through it and churned out something to turn in? That’s this movie. You already know this by just reading that title. It’s about two people who fall in love, want to get married, their parents interfere, and the couple ultimately gets their way. That’s it! Nothing worth seeing here. There are a few big name actors in here, but Bruce Boxleitner and Shelley Long, for example, are completely wasted. A definite skip.

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This Magic Moment (2013) – A film crew comes to a small town to shoot scenes. A local screenwriter hooks up with their lead actress, but belongs with another girl. He ends up with the local girl. I was quite bored out of my mind. However, it did remind me that the movie Love And The Midnight Auto Supply (1977) was shot in a neighboring small town to where I live, so I will have to review it at some point. I even have access to the old local papers from back then when it was being made.

If you can follow the conversations in this movie better than I did then you will probably like it more, but it’s still not a particularly good Hallmark movie of this nature. I’ve reviewed much better love stories such as Recipe For Love and the recent Love Under The Stars. Also, just like Falling In Love With The Girl Next Door, this movie has two good actors that it completely wastes. Those being Charles Shaughnessy and Corin Nemec.

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Mystery Woman: At First Sight (2006) – The interesting thing about this particular entry in the Mystery Woman series is that Kellie Martin herself directed it. It doesn’t make a whole lot of difference, but she does at least as good a job as the others who have helmed other entries in the franchise. It begins with Kellie setting out to find her birth mother. She gets embroiled in a murder mystery that involves her biological family. It’s fine, followable, and not sanitized. That’s really the best you can ask for from a Hallmark mystery movie. At the same time, Clarence has his own plot that reveals or at least hints more at his mysterious background. Honestly, I prefer when Martin and Williams work together to solve the mystery, rather than each having their own plot to follow. I think they work well together. Oh, well. Even though this is my 5th Mystery Woman film, there are still six more of these to go. This one is perfectly fine to watch.