Okay, technically the movie doesn’t start by just showing that title card. We first get random shots of things with newspaper clippings in the background while Lori Loughlin looks at a key before we get this title card with a wacky “A” in “Sale”.
Now we see a car begin to pull up next to a house when it comes up and says “Two Years Ago”.
Hmmm….that seems a little unusual. I mean I expect a fake license plate that says “The Native State”…
but don’t movies usually start, then after showing something they cut to the present and say “Two Years Later”? No matter, a guy snoops around, there’s a lady in bed who opens her eyes, baseball cards, and somebody gets shot. Then we cut to “Present Day”.
I love that Loughlin’s shop is a real world antique shop called Country Lane Antiques in Fort Langley, British Columbia. Oh, but it gets better. The name Country Lane Antiques may sound familiar if you watched The Nine Lives Of Christmas cause Superman and McKenna from All Things Valentine ran near it.
The Nine Lives Of Christmas (2014, dir. Mark Jean)
Also, if you follow Glover Rd, which the shop is on, one block up, turn right, then go one block you will reach what used to be the Village Coffee & Tea shown in June In January.
June in January (2014, dir. Mark Griffiths)
Back to the movie though. An old friend of Jennifer’s (Lori Loughlin) comes into the store to tell her some good news. She’s closing her shop and is willing to give Jennifer first dibs on her stuff. What does Jennifer think of this?
Then Jennifer goes home to remind us that Lori Loughlin has been cast as a mother to K-12 children in four separate decades and is still believable in the role. Now we setup a Good Witch style subplot when Jennifer comes into her son’s room and makes sure we know he is good with computers.
Don’t be so hard on yourself, Jennifer! Looks like it’s just a couple of screenshots the art department sent over to be looked at using IrfanView. The one is some modeling program and the other is some Java code written in a text editor. I have to wonder why they went with an image viewer that happens to use such a recognizable mascot/icon. IrfanView is the image viewer with the red roadkill cat as it’s icon. You don’t forget that once you’ve seen it. Also, where did this code come from? You can see the name Jeff and Jeffrey in there. Makes one wonder.
Anyways, after Jennifer and her husband speak in exposition dialog to tell us more about the lady closing her shop, we get to the next day at Jennifer’s shop. Just as her husband did, Jennifer’s employee Dani (Sarah Strange) warns her about just going over to this lady’s shop and buying everything. It’s cause of this.
Look, all you need to know is that those random numbers in an Excel spreadsheet means the shop isn’t doing so well and that Dani hasn’t taken her salary for the last three months. Doesn’t matter because getting her friend’s stuff might help turn the business around. So Jennifer is off to her friend’s place called Past Perfect.
It’s also known as Sadie Ann McMurray Antiques and is located in Mission, British Columbia. The only thing better than that they left the actual phone number of the place on the building is that they gave it the same name as the database that museums and historical societies use to catalog their collections. My city’s historical society uses it.
Inside, Jennifer is in Canadian Pickers heaven. Unfortunately, she can’t possibly buy everything in there because there really is a lot of stuff. The lady tells Jennifer that’s not a problem, they should go eat, and she will explain.
They go to eat at the Mission Lighthouse Cafe, which is of course in Mission as well.
Before I explain the deal here, let me point out a humorous casting thing going on here. I am awful at remembering character’s names and even worse at going from IMDb glamour shots to the way they look in a movie so I don’t know which role Johannah Newmarch plays in this. However, I find it hilarious that she has been in three of the Garage Sale Mystery movies and happened to be in Lifetime’s The Unauthorized Full House Story.
Okay, the deal is this lady was once engaged and she thinks he ran off with another woman two years ago. She has hooked up with a new guy and has decided to move away. She remembered Jennifer and figured she’d just give her everything on consignment. Anything Jennifer happens to sell, she’s to send her 20%. Sounds like a good deal, but first we need to setup another Good Witch style subplot for Dani as they have done with Jennifer’s son Logan (Connor Stanhope).
Actress Valerie McNicol, who obviously stole my first name before I picked it out last year, comes into the store. She’s dressed up like she should be saying racist and anti-Semitic comments at a country club. She’s there to try and lure Dani away from the store. Spoiler alert! Dani ultimately declines her offer. Of course she does! Actress Sarah Strange doesn’t need what this lady has to offer. I mean she is going to be in Kindergarten Cop 2 with Dolph Lundgren after all!
Meanwhile, Logan’s subplot is playing out. I really think screenwriter Walter Klenhard may be a little bit of a fan of WarGames (1983). Just maybe. The deal here is that Logan’s friends want to break into the school’s computer system to change their grades. They want Logan’s help since apparently he’s got skillz! Even his friend’s DDOS attacks don’t work and apparently all the backdoors are closed up. It’s even got 64-bit encryption. What this means is that typing “Joshua” (the backdoor password from WarGames) won’t get you in, some technical jargon, and that apparently his friends have a bot net that they used to attack the school’s computer system. Yeah, his friends just casually mention this. To bring it down to plain terms, it means they have a bunch of computers that they have hacked so that they can use them to attack a particular computer or computers on the Internet to prevent people from reaching it and/or causing things like firewalls to crash. Hence the name Distributed Denial Of Service attacks. The school would have been all over this by now. Guess that’s better than Crackle’s movie The Throwaways (2015) where the hacker character warns a guy going into a night club that Bulgarian hackers are known for anti-virtualization. Yeah, somehow knowing that these hackers are good at writing viruses and malware that operate differently when being looked at by security professionals in order to make their jobs more difficult is important information to know when confronting them in person.
Before we return to the main plot, let’s follow this subplot to its end cause it’s kind of awesome. So with all this buildup, how does he get in? He just keeps trying passwords till he hits the right one. No explanation given. They didn’t even have him do it the same way as Matthew Broderick in WarGames. I mean sure, they couldn’t have him tell his biology teacher that his wife came up with asexual reproduction to get sent to the principal’s office and look at where they write down the password, but still. They could have done something here instead of him just typing in passwords.
He gets in and I believe his friends actually had gotten in on their own before this because what he does is go in to change their grades from A’s back to C’s. That’s an element from WarGames where Broderick changed Ally Sheedy’s grade to an A. Except here it’s done to show that he’s a good kid. Take a look at his computer screen just before he gets into the school system.
It actually says that the screenshot we are looking at is called “Logan’s hacking screen”. That’s just so great. Bravo, Hallmark! I don’t care if this was done on purpose or not. It’s a great easter egg in the movie.
So how do his friends respond to getting C’s? They want to tell the school they broke in and how they did it to become “cyber-security advisors”. That’s movie jargon for Pen Testers or Penetration Testers. They do what Robert Redford’s firm did in the movie Sneakers (1992) by having companies hire them to break into their systems, then tell them how to shore up their security to fix the holes. It’s what the infamous hacker Kevin Mitnick now does for a living. Of course he had to be saved by things like the “Free Kevin” movement to keep from being ridiculously punished by the federal government. These kids not only would get in trouble for breaking in, but would be charged with all the crimes of breaking in and setting up the bot net. I could give you Logan’s face after his friends say this, but I’m pretty sure “the stupidest person on the face of the Earth” clip from Ruthless People (1986) is still up and will do just fine.
Getting back to Jennifer, she finds out that not only does her friend have all the stuff in the store, but a barn full of stuff as well. However, Loughlin is in a series of movies made by people who are probably big fans of Murder, She Wrote. As a result, she stumbles on an underground area that even this lady says she didn’t know existed and there’s a body down there. This movie, just like Murder, She Baked: A Peach Cobbler Mystery, has a part where someone gives Jennifer the “another body!” line. Here’s what Jennifer thinks of that!
The rest plays out like the title suggests. The lady ends up getting arrested for the crime since the body turns out to be the guy she thought ran away with another woman 2 years prior. Jennifer works to figure out who really did it. The mystery is okay. It’s not too cryptic and basically tells you who did it pretty quickly. Jennifer is basically doing the Columbo thing of figuring out how this murder played out while having her strong suspicions of who it is. I’m not a mystery person, but my Dad is, and he seemed to enjoy it well enough. Of course I say this as a person who spent Super Bowl Sunday watching 7 murder mystery movies from the 1930s and 1940s. I’m weird.
There are only a couple of more things to mention. There are a few more locations that are from Mission, British Columbia. There are also a couple more computer screens, but they had nothing I think is worth noting. What I did like is the newspaper.
That story on the right is an actual story from the Calgary Herald with some of the names and facts changed. It’s actually a nice little story about a tow-truck driver who left a wallet with money he promised a friend to send to that friend’s mother in Ghana. The driver found it and turned it in. That’s why Fred Bediako considers bus driver Mustaf Gashi his hero. I wonder why they made the changes they did. I keep spotting Hallmark movies using actual articles from newspapers or official documents posted online. I wonder if they get permission, or need to, in order to use them like this.
All in all, I recommend this one. I just think they need to drop the subplots thing. That was stupid in the Good Witch movies and doesn’t need to be added here. If you want those characters to have a purpose in the story, then actually involve them in the mystery.
Just as with Meet My Mom, here’s Lori Loughlin judging me for taking too long to get to her movie.