TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 5 (dir by David Lynch)


Well, there’s one thing that you can definitely say for sure about not only Twin Peaks but also about every other film that David Lynch has ever made.  (And make no mistake — they may be calling this the third season of Twin Peaks but it’s obviously meant to be more of an 18-hour film than a traditional television series.)  Lynch moves at his own pace.  He knows where he’s going but, often, he doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to get there.

And, quite frankly, that can sometimes to be frustrating.  David Lynch requires patience on the part of the viewer and a willingness to have faith in his ability as an artist.  To a certain extent, the modern world almost seems to be set up to make things as difficult as possible for an artist like David Lynch.  We’re used to things being fast-paced.  We’re used to having immediate (if superficial) answers to any and all questions.  In a time when movies are dominated by hyperactive editing and overwhelming soundtracks, David Lynch has the courage to portray moments of silence and stillness.  It’s what sets him apart from other filmmakers.  It’s also the reason why this critically acclaimed director has always struggled to get his films made.  In 41 years, David Lynch has had ten films theatrically released.  Michael Bay directed his first film twenty years after the release of Eraserhead and he has gone to direct twelve more.

Part 5 of Twin Peaks is a perfect example of Lynch’s deliberate pace.  As I watched it, I found myself occasionally saying, “When is Cooper going to get normal again!?”  I mean, Kyle MacLachlan is doing great work as Dougie/Cooper but how many more times am I going to have to watch him get confused over the need to urinate?  That’s a joke that’s getting old.

Yes, I was frustrated.

But here’s the thing:

As frustrated as I may be by the whole Dougie/Cooper situation, I’m not going anywhere.  I trust David Lynch and, throughout Part 5, there were scenes that reminded me of why I trust David Lynch.  The man is a genius.  I’m thinking of the three women in pink nonchalantly watching as the casino pit boss got beaten.  I’m thinking of the close-up on Amanda Seyfried’s face after she snorted the cocaine.  I’m thinking of Russ Tamblyn ranting.

I will follow David Lynch anywhere.

As for Part 5, it opened with Lynch’s camera prowling through the streets of Las Vegas, a city that seems especially Lynchian.

Out at the Rancho Rosa Development, the two hitmen who were sent to kill Dougie are still sitting outside of the deserted house that Dougie used for his lost weekend with Jade.  They’re watching Dougie’s car.  One of them calls a woman and tells her that they still haven’t seen Dougie.  She does not take the news well.  She sends a message to Argentina, where it is apparently received by a black box sitting in a basin.

In South Dakota, the coroner has found something in the stomach of the body that was found underneath the head of Ruth Davenport.  It’s a gold ring, one that has an inscription: “To Destiny, With Love, James C.”  (I’ve listened to the line about the inscription about a dozen times and I’m pretty sure that’s what the coroner said.  If I’m wrong, please let me know.)

(CORRECTION: According to Dylan Lange, host of Dylan Knows, the inscription read: To Dougie With Love, Janey-E.  Thank you, Dylan! — LMB)

In his prison cell, Doppelganger Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) stares at himself in his cell’s tiny mirror.  He flashes back to the time he and Killer BOB shared a laugh in the Black Lodge.  He sees himself smashing his face into the mirror at the Great Northern.

In Twin Peaks, we are reintroduced to Mike Nelson (Gary Hershberger), who was Bobby’s best friend and fellow drug dealer during the first two seasons of Twin Peaks.  (He eventually became Nadine’s boyfriend during the time that she had amnesia and thought she was 16.)  Mike is a grown-up, suit-wearing professional now, sitting in an office that is decorated with the mounted heads of dead deer.  Mike is conducting a job interview with Steve Burnett (Caleb Landry Jones), who appears to be a real loser.  Mike informs Steve that his resume is the worst resume that he’s ever seen and then kicks him out of the office.

At the Sheriff’s Department, Doris Truman (Candy Clark) comes by to yell at Frank (Robert Forster) about something.  Honestly, I kinda tuned out this scene and I hope that Doris doesn’t become a major character.  If anything, Frank is even more laconic than his brother.

Back in Las Vegas, Janey-E (Naomi Watts) finally gets Dougie/Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) out of the house.  She has to tie his necktie for him.  As she tells him everything that he needs to do, Dougie/Cooper stares at her with a blank look.  It’s interesting that, as frustrated as Janey-E gets with Dougie/Cooper, she still tries to rationalize his strange behavior.

At the Rancho Rosa development, Dougie’s car continues to sit there.  The two hitmen drive by again.  They are followed by five more guys, who are all in a black car and playing their music super loud.

Janey-E drops Dougie/Cooper off at his place of employment.  Apparently, Dougie worked for Lucky Seven Insurance.  However, Dougie/Cooper is less interested in his job and more fascinated by a statue of a cowboy pointing a gun.  In an oddly beautiful scene, he imitates the statue’s pose.  Finally, one of his co-workers wanders by and tells Dougie to “get the lead out” because they have a meeting.  That co-worker is carrying 8 cups of coffee so, of course, Dougie/Cooper follows after him.

At the meeting, which is full of vapid insurance people, Dougie/Cooper reveals that he can now tell when people are lying.  Apparently, whenever someone lies, a green light flashes across their face.  When Dougie/Cooper offends another agent (played by Tom Sizemore, no less) by calling him a liar, their boss, the wonderfully named Bushnell Mills (Don Murray), defuses the situation by giveing Dougie/Cooper several case files to take home with him.

Out in the hallway, Dougie/Cooper needs to pee but, like a panicking Sim, has no idea what to do.  Luckily, one of his co-workers, assuming that the men’s room must be locked, sneaks Dougie/Cooper into the ladies room.

At the Silver Mustang Casino, Rodney Mitchum (Robert Knepper) and Bradley Mitchum (Jim Belushi) demand to know how Cooper/Dougie could possibly have won 30 jackpots.  Rodney’s way of handling it is to beat up the pit boss (David Dastmalchian) while three women in pink stand in the corner of the room and nonchalantly watch.

Back at Rancho Rosa, Drugged-Out Mother (Hailey Gates) is passed out so her son leaves the house and walks across the street, intent on investigating Dougie’s bomb-laden car.  Fortunately, before the kid can set the bomb off, the black car pulls up.  The five men jump out of the car and tell the kid to “get the fuck outta here!”  They’re planning on stealing Dougie’s car for themselves.  Of course, as soon as the engine starts, the car explodes and takes three of the car thieves with it.  The kid runs back to his house, where the junkie mom is just now starting to come out of her stupor.

At a nearby carwash, Jade (Nafessa Williams) is getting her car washed when she comes across the key to Cooper’s room at the Great Northern.  She drops the key in a nearby mailbox.

At the Double R Diner — it’s Norma (Peggy Lipton) and Shelley (Madchen Amick)!  25 years have passed and they’re still exactly where we left them.  Except that Shelley now has a daughter named Becky (Amanda Seyfried) and Becky’s married to Steve.  Becky comes by the diner to borrow money from Shelley.  Then she goes outside and snorts cocaine with Steve.  Lynch’s camera gives us a close-up of Becky’s face as the drugs temporarily takes away all of her problems.  In this scene, not only does Becky look like Shelley’s daughter (Madchen Amick and Amanda Seyfried really do look like they could be related) but there’s also a disconcerting resemblance to Laura Palmer as well.

(Also, remember how Shelley used to say that she married Leo because of his car?  Well, Steve has a corvette of his own.)

Back in Vegas, Dougie/Cooper is still acting weird.  He doesn’t understand that, when riding an elevator, you’re supposed to get off when the doors open.  Some people get upset with him about that but Dougie/Cooper is more interested in going outside and staring at that statue.  Of course, Dougie/Cooper is still holding onto those case files.

At the Sheriff’s Department, Andy (Harry Goaz) and Hawk (Michael Horse) go through the Laura Palmer case files, searching for what’s missing.

In his trailer, Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) goes live online, delivering a rant about globalist corporate conspiracies and selling his gold-painted shovels so that his listeners can “dig yourself out of the shit.”  Nadine (Wendy Robie) and Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) listen appreciatively.

At the Pentagon, Col. Davis (Ernie Hudson) is informed that they’ve gotten another “database hit” on Garland Briggs’s fingerprints.  Apparently, in the years since his mysterious death, Briggs’s finger prints have shown up in 16 different locations.

At the Roadhouse, the kickass band Trouble is playing.  Meanwhile, a handsome but dangerous looking man (Eamon Farren) sits under a sign that says no smoking and smokes a cigarette.  When a Roadhouse employee tells him to put out his cigarette, the man hands over a pack of cigarettes.  Inside the pack are several hundred dollar bills.  So, apparently, the Roadhouse is still the center of the Twin Peaks drug trade.

When Charlotte (Grace Victoria Cox) tries to flirt with him, the man suddenly turns violent, grabbing her and taunting her with, “Do you want to fuck me, Charlotte?  Do you want to fuck?  I’m going to laugh when I fuck you, bitch!”  It’s a deeply unpleasant scene, as Lynch obviously meant for it to be.

The man’s name is not mentioned but, according to the end credits, he’s Richard Horne.  Presumably, he’s a member of the infamous Horne Family.  Is he a cousin?  Or maybe Jerry’s kid?  Or, even more intriguingly, Audrey’s son?  Whatever he is, Richard is bad news.

(And let’s not forget that, way back at the start of Part One, the Giant told Cooper to remember “Richard and Linda.”)

At FBI Headquarters, Tamara (Chrysta Bell) compares the finger prints of both Cooper and his Doppelganger.

At the South Dakota prison, Doppelganger Cooper finally gets his phone call.  The warden (James Morrison) thinks that they’ll be able to listen in on the call but Doppelganger Cooper has other plans.  After taunting everyone listening, Cooper pushes several keys on the phone, which somehow causes every alarm in the prison to go off.  While the warden tries to restore order, Doppelganger Cooper says, into the phone, “The cow’s jumped over the moon.”  As soon as Doppelganger Cooper hangs up, the alarms fall silent.

In Argentina, the black box changes into a small ring.

In Vegas, Dougie/Cooper continues to stare at the statue.

And so, the latest episode ends.  The story may be moving at its own pace but I can’t wait to see where else it leads.

Twin Peaks on TSL:

  1. Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
  2. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  3. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 — Traces To Nowhere (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  4. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 — Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  5. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone) by Leonard Wilson
  6. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Jedadiah Leland
  7. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  8. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  9. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.8 “The Last Evening” (directed by Mark Frost) by Leonard Wilson
  10. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.1 “May the Giant Be With You” (dir by David Lynch) by Leonard Wilson
  11. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.2 “Coma” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  12. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.3 “The Man Behind The Glass” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Jedadiah Leland
  13. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary” (dir by Todd Holland) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  14. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.5 “The Orchid’s Curse” (dir by Graeme Clifford) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  15. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.6 “Demons” (dir by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  16. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.7 “Lonely Souls” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  17. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.8 “Drive With A Dead Girl” (dir by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  18. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.9 “Arbitrary Law” (dir by Tim Hunter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  19. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.10 “Dispute Between Brothers” (directed by Tina Rathbone) by Jedadiah Leland
  20. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.11 “Masked Ball” (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Leonard Wilson
  21. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.12 “The Black Widow” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Leonard Wilson
  22. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.13 “Checkmate” (directed by Todd Holland) by Jedadiah Leland
  23. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.14 “Double Play” (directed by Uli Edel) by Jedadiah Leland
  24. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.15 “Slaves and Masters” (directed by Diane Keaton) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  25. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.16 “The Condemned Woman” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  26. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.17 “Wounds and Scars” (directed by James Foley) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  27. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.18 “On The Wings of Love” (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  28. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.19 “Variations on Relations” (directed by Jonathan Sanger) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  29. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.20 “The Path to the Black Lodge” (directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  30. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.21 “Miss Twin Peaks” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Leonard Wilson
  31. TV Review: Twin Peaks 22.2 “Beyond Life and Death” (directed by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  32. Film Review: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  33. Here’s The Latest Teaser for Showtime’s Twin Peaks by Lisa Marie Bowman
  34. Here’s The Newest Teaser for Showtime’s Twin Peaks by Lisa Marie Bowman
  35. 12 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Parts One and Two by Lisa Marie Bowman
  36. This Week’s Peaks: Parts One and Two by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)
  37. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Parts One and Two (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  38. 4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Twin Peaks Edition by Lisa Marie Bowman
  39. This Week’s Peaks: Parts Three and Four by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)
  40. 14 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Part Three by Lisa Marie Bowman (dir by David Lynch)
  41. 10 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Part Four by Lisa Marie Bowman (dir by David Lynch)
  42. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Parts Three and Four (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman 
  43. 18 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Part 5 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  44. This Week’s Peaks: Part Five by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)

 

 

 

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Lisa Cleans Out Her DVR: Nanny Seduction (dir by Emily Moss Wilson)


(Hi, everyone!  I’ve been cleaning out my DVR over the past week and, today, I’ve been sharing reviews of the film’s that I watched!  I recorded Nanny Seduction off of the Lifetime Movie Network on February 26th!)

Before I talk too much about Nanny Seduction, I want to engage in a little speculation.

First off, looking at the credits, I noticed that several crew members of Nanny Seduction have also been involved with some of the shark films that usually show up on SyFy in the week before the premiere of the latest Sharknado.  That wasn’t a shock.  SyFy and Lifetime movies often tend to be produced by the same companies.  But what I loved about Nanny Seduction is that, in the very first scene, a child is seen receiving a book about sharks for her birthday!  I’m assuming that was an inside joke and I absolutely loved it.

Secondly, I’m going to guess that Nanny Seduction and A Deadly Affair were both filmed at roughly the same time.  Not only do the two films share several actors in common but I’m also pretty sure that the main house in A Deadly Affair was also the main house in Nanny Seduction.  And again, I found that to be very charming.  One of the fun things about watching both Lifetime and SyFy movies is making the connections between them.  It’s actually rather fun to see a familiar face pop up and wonder what their role is going to be this time.  It’s kind of like when Dick Miller shows up in a Roger Corman film or Giovanni Lombardo Radice pops up in one of Michele Soavi’s movies.

As for the film itself, Nanny Seduction pretty much takes the standard Lifetime nanny film to its logical extreme.  Lifetime has a long history of nanny paranoia.  It makes sense, of course.  By hiring a nanny, you’re not only trusting your child with a stranger but, in a way, you’re also admitting that you can’t be two places at once.  You’re admitting that your powers are limited.  Of course, by hiring a nanny — who is inevitably always younger, prettier and more exciting than boring old mommy — you’re running the risk that the nanny will either try to run off with your child or your husband.  Nanny Seduction is one of the first films to suggest that the nanny might do both.

Of course, that’s not all that Kara (Austin Highsmith) has to worry about.  She also has to worry about the fact that her daughter, Erin (Lauren Gobuzzi), is adopted and that Erin’s birth mother (Erin Cahill) is apparently stalking her.  And then there’s the fact that Kara’s husband, Ben (Wes Brown), has a history of cheating.  Even more than the typical Lifetime protagonist, Kara has good reason to be worried when the new nanny, Alyssa (Valerie Azlynn), keeps hitting on her husband.

Speaking of Alyssa, she’s one of my favorite Lifetime nannies.  It’s not that she’s any more evil than the typical Lifetime nanny.  Instead, it’s just that she’s so unapologetic about it.  Most evil nannies at least try to be subtle but Alyssa never even pretends to be Kara’s friend.  She pretty much steps into the house and announces, “I’m going to kidnap your child and run off with your husband.  Deal with it!”  Alyssa is so joyfully and unapologetically evil and Valeria Azlynn is clearly having such a blast playing her that she elevates the entire film.

Nanny Seduction is a lot of fun.  It embraces the melodrama and thank goodness for that!

 

Hallmark Review: June in January (2014, dir. Mark Griffiths)


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I doubt that people who read my Late Night Cable reviews are the same people who read my Hallmark reviews, but there’s a connection here. There’s an actor named Frankie Cullen who is in a bunch of the movies that wind up on late night cable. The thing is he’s too good for those movies. He really isn’t a bad actor at all and usually raises the quality of the movie by being in them. June in January is the second Hallmark movie i’ve seen with actor Wes Brown and he also raises the quality of the movie just by being in it. I also saw him in Love Under The Stars where he always conveyed a deep sadness and concern for his daughter simply without saying a word. In fact, his words were usually upbeat, but he always made sure we knew what was going on underneath without spelling it out for us. He does that kind of thing in this movie too. Just like Frankie Cullen, Wes Brown is too good for these movies in my opinion.

This is also the second film i’ve seen with actress Brooke D’Orsay and she is pretty good here too just like she was in How To Fall In Love. She is possibly one of the few actors i’ve seen on Hallmark that can play against type. She naturally fits the irresponsible ditz, but is good enough to convincingly play other characters despite what her appearance tells us she should be. How To Fall In Love was also directed by Mark Griffiths.

With that out of the way, we start off the movie with D’Orsay and Brown getting ready to go somewhere seeing as they are dressing up. They are doing it in two different places. And as usual the woman in the movie tries on several dresses and always goes with a dress I don’t like.

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Oh, and that’s her mom who was frozen in the picture by evil witches and can only be released when her daughter has the perfect wedding. Just kidding, it’s her dead mom who will be a guiding spirit for D’Orsay through voiceover and flashbacks. Now D’Orsay and Brown go to a party and D’Orsay feels out of place because these are upper-crust people and she’s just a lowly nurse practitioner. Those non practitioner nurses are even worse. They just always sat around doing nothing on ER all the time. Someone actually left a review on IMDb complaining how this film bashes nurse practitioners and more specifically regular nurses even though the villains of the movie say it, but she stands up for herself and we see her helping people in her job.

This is when a Hallmark banner popped up to tell me they have a cannibalism related Valentine’s Day movie coming in February.

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Should be more interesting than The Cabin (2011) which I did watch, but since it didn’t have the Hallmark seal on it before the title card, among other things, I don’t think it is a real Hallmark movie and won’t be reviewing it. Also, it was pretty lousy and felt edited.

Anyways, we now meet Brown’s parents.

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That’s Marilu Henner who will be our Jaclyn Smith from Bridal Wave for this film. D’Orsay is always nervous around her because she feels like she’s always “auditioning for her.”

Meanwhile, this guy is eating a pizza in a bedroom.

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Back at the party, we meet the bitch played by Chelsea Hobbs.

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She just by coincidence also played the bitch in The Nine Lives Of Christmas. Yes, that is the best word to use. Even my Mom who has become rather conservative about cursing as of late started referring to her as such near the end of the film.

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The Nine Lives Of Christmas (2014, dir. Mark Jean)

Also by coincidence, this movie was shot in Fort Langley, British Columbia, Canada just like The Nine Lives Of Christmas. I know that because of this shot.

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What’s hilarious is that if you go to Google Maps Street View right now that building has a big Canadian flag hanging from it.

Anyways, after D’Orsay squats…

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she pulls out a book complete with her dream wedding flowers in it and a flashback to her talking with her mother. Then D’Orsay comes out to show her father herself wearing her mother’s wedding dress. This is probably as good a time as any to tell you that the father’s are both really decent guys in this movie.

Then we cut to D’Orsay at work to see just how damn incompetent nurse practitioners are when she is able to help a man who turns out to have Seasonal Affective Disorder without having to consult a doctor. Totally useless I tell you.

After a few things that are just there to remind us of the importance of their wedding, Brown drops a bomb on D’Orsay. He tells her that he’s actually named Luke McDonald and is a member of an anti-vampire church.

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Actually he’s there to tell her that since her character’s name is June and the film is called June in January, they are going to have to move to Cleveland for a new job he just received and have the wedding now in January. Why they couldn’t move to Cleveland and still have the wedding in June, I have no idea. Luckily, this is not a Hallmark movie that sends the message that her having her dream wedding is more important than marrying someone she loves. That’s extremely refreshing.

Meanwhile, the bitch has been assigned by Marilu Henner to do something about the upcoming wedding. Got to admit, I really thought she was Brown’s sister until late in the movie where she states she is just a friend of the family and works for Henner at her “design” business. Then Brown and D’Orsay check out some of the worst places possible to hold a reception…

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before settling on having the ceremony at Marilu Henner’s place. I say both reception and ceremony in there because while we do see the ceremony at the house in the end, but the places they visit look like where you would hold a reception so I’m not really sure.

Now it’s time to go back to find out that D’Orsay somehow, i’m sure by complete luck, cured the poor guy who was suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Believe it or not, that is one of those things that is terrible to have, but is surprisingly easy to fix. Simply having a special light bulb shine on you for a certain amount of time each day stops it. Rather remarkable. He will actually repay her by saving the day at the end of the film.

Oh, and it’s discovering I have taken screenshots like this that make writing these reviews for you worth it.

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No idea what was going on here.

At this point, the film kind of goes on autopilot. You have D’Orsay starting to panic, but quickly realizing that it’s marrying someone she loves that makes the wedding special. Her mother even left a note after her death for D’Orsay to make sure she remembers that. The fathers do there part to comfort D’Orsay and bring Henner down to Earth. Oh, and this happens.

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During this scene the bitch tries one last attempt to ruin the marriage by telling Brown that she has a crush on him. Look at Brown’s face. Without saying a word he could have simply gotten up and left and we would have completely understood his feelings on what she was saying. Surprise followed by disgust followed by sheer amazement that she would actually stoop this low. I’m surprised they actually had him say anything. Brown is good enough with his acting to convey everything with his face and body language. And a prenup gets thrown in at the last minute, but that goes nowhere just like any of the normal Hallmark speed bumps which just lead the characters to a better understanding of their love for each other rather than stupid panic.

But the bitch has one last trick up her sleeve after being fired by Henner. She tells the revered that the wedding is off so he won’t show up for the ceremony. However…

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that guy who D’Orsay cured by pure chance has a friend who can marry them and they live happily ever after.

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My summary thoughts on the movie are as these: It’s one of the best Hallmark movies i’ve watched especially considering it’s just about a rushed wedding, Wes Brown is a good actor, D’Orsay is no slouch herself, nurse practitioners and regular nurses deserve a lot of respect, and I carried that one joke on way too long.

Note: I’m aware that the IMDb reviewer’s main point was that the film can appear like it’s saying you have to be a nurse practitioner instead of a regular nurse in order to be taken seriously. I get the same impression from people when I tell them i’m transgender, but not on hormones so I can understand why it bothered her. My jokes still stand though because my point is that it’s ridiculous to look down on nurses as if they aren’t to be taken seriously and the film never really does that.

Val’s Movie Roundup #15: Hallmark Edition


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Citizen Jane (2009) – I was quite surprised that this was actually a Hallmark movie. The acting was strong. The story stayed focused. They actually bothered shooting in San Francisco. This almost could have been a small time B-Movie or something I would expect from Lifetime.

It begins with Jane Alexander’s (Ally Sheedy) aunt being murdered. Jane lives with a man named Tom O’Donnell (Sean Patrick Flanery) and it’s never really a mystery that he did it. The film is about how they prove it. Jane has assistance from Detective Jack Morris (Meat Loaf). I think Meat Loaf did a great job and so does Sheedy. We care, we follow, we get a decent movie. The only problem I found is the same one that was in the Lifetime movie Cleveland Abduction (2015). That movie was also based on real events. Even not knowing the true story behind it, you could tell that the film was a superficial treatment that needed much more time to properly tell the story. The same is true here. At times things will feel like they just jumped from one gear to another. Otherwise, it’s one of the most well made of the Hallmark mystery type movies. Even if there isn’t much of a mystery to it. More like mystery in the Columbo sense of the word where we know exactly what happened, but find out how the person is going to be caught.

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Garage Sale Mystery: The Wedding Dress (2015) – Again, it’s time for Jennifer (Lori Loughlin) to get involved in a mystery. This time she is at an estate sale and when she returns to her shop she discovers that among the things she has purchased is a vintage 1970’s wedding dress. Great! Except there are blood stains in a pocket. And thank god there are. I say that because this establishes a good reason for her to be investigating while the cops don’t. That’s really nice when it comes to the recent deluge of these murder mystery movies that Hallmark is producing. Usually the woman just comes across as a busybody who should just mind her own business. Here she has something that should spark her interest and the further she looks into it, the more she has a reason to bring her police officer friend into the case. It’s still heavily sanitized in the way you expect from these movies. However, for this series, I think it’s the best one I have seen so far.

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Love Under the Stars (2015) – When you boil it down to the basic plot, this is like the Hallmark movie Class (2010). Except it’s much better. It’s about a college girl played by Ashley Newbrough who needs to come up with her thesis in child psychology. Her college advisor played by Barry Bostwick has a niece that teaches a fourth grade class and has Newbrough go there for inspiration. She meets a guy played by Wes Brown who is raising a daughter as a single parent because the mother/wife has passed away. It plays out the way you expect it to and the way Class did, but it’s just better the whole way through. Especially Wes Brown. We can easily understand why she is attracted to him, but he also comes across well as a loving father who appears happy, but also has an underground river of fear and concern for his daughter constantly flowing through him. He is the real reason the film works as well as it does. Newbrough is pretty good too, but she basically walks around the film like she’s hot and horny, to put it bluntly, all the time she’s with him. It makes it difficult to take her character seriously as a real person the way we do with him. In particular, when it comes to her backstory of also losing her mother and the development of the relationship with the daughter. They should have had her dial it back a bit and act less like an infatuated teenager.

Also, the daughter (Jaeda Lily Miller) is a little annoying. I don’t think it’s the actresses fault so much as it is the way her character is written. I don’t think they give her enough credit and let her be more like a real kid with problems, then a cardboard cut out of a troubled child. A little tweaking of her character would have helped.

I really did like the use of the counting thing. When the father leaves her off at school or somewhere else, he counts down a few seconds because he knows she will turn around, usually opening a door, in order to wave to him one more time. She’s afraid he might be gone like her mother is forever. It’s a really nice touch that of course pays off in the end.

All around, this is one of the top tier Hallmark movies I have seen so far.

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Operation Cupcake (2012) – I mentioned not giving the character of the daughter enough credit in Love Under The Stars and the problem is in this film too. This is about Army Colonel Griff Carson (Dean Cain) who comes home on leave to his wife Janet (Kristy Swanson) who runs a cupcake shop. The whole thing is about Griff adjusting to civilian life while also awaiting a possible promotion to General. The problem is they don’t give this guy enough credit. Instead, they drag out his adjustment way too long. It shouldn’t have taken him so long and the change should have been more gradual rather than played for laughs as long as it could. He works at the shop with his wife, and there was at least one scene where you wonder if he actually comes from the Army. He is mobbed by a ton of people at the cupcake store that he suddenly has to service. He doesn’t really attempt to put some of his training to use in order take a bunch of unruly people and get them to act in a civilized manner. The scene doesn’t work and the movie just doesn’t really work either. I think they should have had Cain’s character transition more gradually rather than having him be essentially a brick wall that only comes down in the end. Hallmark avoided that with Recipe For Love and that’s why it is one of my favorites. I also think that Dean Cain was miscast. I have difficultly buying any kind of machismo from his character. He just doesn’t fit the part. This is one that’s fine if you wind up catching it by chance, but don’t put your lure out into the Hallmark waters explicitly to see it.

Final note: I didn’t even notice till I was looking at the credits, but Donna Pescow is in this. She was a baker at the store who has some back and forth with Cain. Of course for most people she is from Saturday Night Fever (1977), but I will always remember her as the mom on the TV Show Out Of This World. Makes me want to break out my bootleg copies of that show. To the best of my knowledge, they still haven’t released that show on DVD.