Cooking with Love (2018 Hallmark Channel)

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Cooking with Love

Stars: Ali Liebert & Brett Dalton

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

Hardworking and optimistic television producer, Kelly, doesn’t have time for love. Along with her mentor Amanda, Kelly dives into another season of The Little Gourmet, a kids cooking show, when hot-headed Chef Stephen drops into Kelly’s life as a last-minute replacement host. As the two struggle to make peace and a successful show, they realize they have a lot more in common than they thought—a love of food, the kids they encounter, and each other.

 

Thoughts

Kelly is a reality show producer (we know this because she wears airport headphones) with a heart of gold. Oxymoron much? She is a people-pleaser and just the nicest person. I mean she works with kids on a kid cooking show, The Little Gourmet. When Chef Betty slips a disk in her back the production team is tasked with a finding a replacement. Instead of going with the sweet red-headed Canadian chef, they go with hot-headed Stephen Harris. Stephen throws spaghetti on a food critic at his restaurant, but he would be good for social media engagement!  

Stephen’s manager, Adam, comes to the restaurant to convince him to do the kids’ cooking show. It will improve his image because his book tour has been cancelled and restaurant is less popular than ever. This is his opportunity to show the world he isn’t such a bad guy!

On set, Stephen and Kelly don’t hit it off. He is a total diva and refuses to wear the chef Boyardee hat (A Toque!), only cooks with copper pans, and won’t talk with the kids off camera. Since things aren’t going so well, Kelly is assigned to babysit Stephen by Amanda, her lady boss (who is moving on to an executive position and this will be her last season on The Little Gourmet). It is also revealed that Jeremy, the new guy, is up for the lady boss’s job, superseding Kelly’s rank/experience.

At a farmers market, Stephen tries convince Kelly to elevate the menu with things like radicchio. She tells him he needs to connect with the kids, because they are chefs… just like him! So they make hamburgers and sloppy joes! He gets what he wants and radicchio is added to the show! Too bad, his personality isn’t. Kelly tells him to try smiling, but it is terrifying. He won’t even let the kids make mistakes (it is a reality show); he just takes over for them.

Stephen is creeply listening to Kelly as she talks to a kid contestant and then later reads her idea notebook. He tries to talk her into pitching an idea. Later, In a production meeting, Kelly pitches the dea of doing Hometowns… just like The Bachelor. Basically, they would film on location with the kid’s families. Jeremy doesn’t like it (he is a hater), but Amanda does and greenlights the idea!

On set at the firehouse, Kelly is HEAVILY being flirted with by a fireman (Rick) while Stephen jealously, watches on. Right before filming the big chili cook off, Cody (one of the kid contestants) decides he wants to quit the show. He is worried he will let his dad down. Stephen talks him down by sharing a personal story about the time her cooked a burnt turkey for his dad. Kelly is impressed and maybe even falling in love??? After a successful day of filming they call a truce.

Out of the kindness of his own heart, Stephen takes Kelly to the kitchen to cook. She admits she doesn’t really cook, I mean she DOES make a “mean tray of ice.” They cook a sexy pizza together, somehow without getting into a flour fight! While they’re cooking, we learn that Stephen was an army brat who moved around a lot growing up. Jeremy totally interrupts just as things are getting hot and heavy (and by hot and heavy I mean Stephen touches Kelly’s face). Then Jeremy steals Kelly’s idea notebook!!!!!!!!

In case you forgot, this is a Valentine’s Day movie. Stephen and Kelly both realize they don’t have plans and awkwardly agree to meet at Stephen’s restaurant on Valentine’s Day. It is not a date though, it is a work thing. Kelly’s co-worker helps her get ready, she was going to wear jeans and a sweater!!! (We do NOT get a getting ready montage, so that was disappointing.)

At Stephen’s restaurant, Kelly is in red dress. (I’d say it was sexy, but it was pretty conservative.) Over dinner, Stephen and Kelly share more about each other. We learn that Kelly’s mom passed away four years ago and worked with kids too. That is why Kelly is so good with kids, but she wants to do more—make a real difference. Later, on a stroll through the city, they eat chocolates that the kids made, Stephen buys her flowers (Yellow for friendship…), and they talk about relationships and love finding you when your ready for it. Stephen walks Kelly to her door and tells her that he is glad he is working with her on the show—instead of kissing her.     

Kelly makes a home cooked meal! (Spaghetti with meatballs and chocolate chip cookies.) This time we get a montage. Kelly calls Stephen to tell him the good news. They have witty banter and after hanging up Stephen receives a call from his manager. Chef Betty is back and Chef Stephen is out.

Kelly immediately goes to the restaurant to invite Stephen to the taping of the grand finale, but he is flying out to LA for a new show he got to cross promote his new cookbook. He thanks her for everything because none of these new opportunities would be happening if it wasn’t for her.

Back at work, Kelly walks into a meeting where Jeremy is successfully pitching her ideas from the idea notebook. Kelly confronts Jeremy in the hallway; he denies everything and tells her that if she had the same ideas that she should have shared them sooner. Defeated and alone, Kelly receives a thank you card (A Hallmark Card, of course) from Tommy the first winner of The Little Gourmet.

At the grand finale, Stephen stops by (I thought he had a flight to LA??) to tell Kelly that he is offering an apprenticeship at his restaurant to the winner. While filming the LIVE episode, Chef Betty throws her back out picking up some peppers. (Seriously!) Kelly chases after Stephen to get him to host the show. Chef Becca wins! (Rightly so, because she shared her chocolate with Cody, who forgot to grab his.)

Jeremy’s sneaky notebook stealing gets found out and Kelly gets the rightful credit and the promotion! Kelly tells Stephen about her promotion and he tells her that he is turning down the LA gig to stay in town. He could say goodbye to New York, but not Kelly. He gives her a single rose and they kiss.

Side Note

Ali Liebert’s first starring Hallmark role was A Gift to Remember. (She has played the best friend role in MANY MANY TV Movies.)

Cooking Fact? “A julienne cut is ⅛ inch cut no more, no less!”

I didn’t hate the kids in this one, I guess child actors are better when they aren’t obsessed with Santa and snow.

First Hallmark movie I’ve seen where the girl gets the guy, promotion, AND he changes HIS plans to fit into her life.

Overall rating

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️  (4 Hearts)

🍷🍷 (2 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2018 Crown Media United States, LLC

Very, Very, Valentine (2018 Hallmark Channel)

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Very, Very, Valentine

Stars: Danica McKellar, Cameron Mathison, and Damon Runyan

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

When Helen, a kind-hearted and shy florist, meets the perfect man at a Valentine’s Masquerade Ball she enlists the help of her best friend Henry to track him down only to find that her perfect man may already be right in front of her.

Thoughts

Helen loves to creepily watch weddings she’s arranged flowers for. She works in a flower shop (All in Bloom) with her pushy Aunt Carol, whose first line is, “Any eligible handsome young groomsmen?” We aren’t even two minutes into the movie and we get a flower arranging montage to the tune of a generic pop song about what a beautiful day it is.

Henry Heart (handsome friend, who likes to nag her) stops by the flower shop to let Helen know he has entered her into the super bowl of flower breeding, the International Flower Competition. (Apparently, she breeds hybrid roses? The mystery rose.) Helen calls it “The Mystery Rose” because she hasn’t thought of a name for it yet.

Helen meets up with Henry for coffee and he invites her to the Annual Black & White Gala at the New York Botanical Gardens. It is a masquerade too! Helen declines his offer because she couldn’t possibly get ready for a gala the night of. Henry gives her the invitation anyway—in case she changes her mind. Pushy Aunt Carol and Beth, the new hire at the flower shop, won’t let Helen not go to the gala. They pull some strings to get her a dress and all ready for the ball. (No fairy godmother needed!) Helen wears her mother’s necklace to make the ensemble extra special. (Her mom is dead, of course. Died when she was 10.)

Backstory on Helen and Henry, they never dated and are just friends. They met in college in the botany program, and they were reunited by a flower shop mix up near Valentine’s Day. Helen accidentally delivered a “It’s A Boy” flower arrangement to Henry’s first day of work. They still laugh about it to this day.   

At the gala, Hallmark really puts the recycled Christmas lights to use and even splurged to throw in a few red candelabras. (Because it’s Valentine’s Day, people!) Helen starts babbling to a man who she assumes in Henry but isn’t; it’s hard to tell since Hallmark only hires white extras. Eventually they find each other and marvel at the spectacle of it all. They have “romantic,” but not really, banter. Then they put on their masks and hit the dance floor. Later, Helen is checking out the silent auction and runs into the white guy in a mask again who encourages her to bid on a painting that she is eyeing. (It is a painting of mother and daughter in a flower field.) Just as the stranger is about to introduce himself, Helen cuts him off to talk about the mystery rose he is wearing in his lapel. As they walk through the garden, Helen overshares her life story. Her mom was an artist, and  her father passed away before she was born and was in the Navy. She also talks about flowers having a language all their own. Yellow roses mean friendship, white flowers means purity or sympathy, and lavender represent love at first sight.

Later, Helen and the mystery man dance, but only for a moment before he has to leave suddenly, leaving behind his mystery rose boutonniere. Henry shows up just as the mystery man is leaving and Helen tells him all about her evening and how magical it was. If only she knew what his name was… Henry walks her home (to her door even) and they just say goodnight, like they aren’t going to get together in the end.

The next day, Beth comes up with the bright idea to look through the week’s receipts to see who would have purchased a mystery rose from the store. They narrow it down to Charles Bradfield. Helen goes on a delivery and then stops by to see if Henry can help her find the mystery man. Helen’s strategy is to chase down handsome men, shouting “Charles? Charles?!” Henry’s strategy is to Google it.

Just as Helen is about to give up on the whole thing and admit that she loves Henry, Henry finds Charles! Turns out Charles was looking for her, too. Charles is a world-traveling lawyer, rides horses, and speaks three languages. (Four if you count the language of flowers!) In order to pay back Henry for doing her a solid, Helen agrees to complete the submission for the competition and name her mystery rose.

Meanwhile, Henry is losing his job because the New York Botanical Garden is losing its funding and closing. He bumps into Charles and pull a Cyrano de Bergerac and helps him plan the perfect date with Helen. On the date, Henry shows up to give Helen a pep talk??? She gushes to Henry about how perfect the date setting is and how weird it is that Henry had been talking about wanting to go there. Charles eventually shows up and Henry leaves.  

Inspired by her new love Helen comes up with a name. Cupid Rose? Heartbeat Rose? Red Rose? Nope. She names it after a place she and Henry went in college, Crystal Quarry, where they took a leap of faith into a quarry… Crystal Valentine Rose is the stupid name.

Back to the Cyrano de Bergerac thing. Henry gives Charles advice for talking points for a family dinner that Helen is planning. Henry even gives him a first edition of Emily Dickinson poems, to give to Helen as a gift. Charles is kind of like, this is weird but… thanks bro!

At Helen’s dinner, Charles is being introduced to Beth and Aunt Carol. Things get awkward when everyone realizes that Helen has been changing herself to be more appealing to Charles. She pretends to like poker and carrot cake. Thankfully, they all just drink more wine. At the end of the night, Charles gives Helen the gift. She is touched and he totally lies and says he found it in a bookstore and thought of her (and reiterates that it is a first edition).

Beth mentions that she might be interested in Henry and then has chat with him in a coffee shop. She realizes that Henry loves Helen and tells him he is a good guy for putting Helen’s happiness before his own.

Turns out Charles works for the company that is closing down the Botanical Gardens. (He is building evil condos.) When Helen finds out she runs to Henry to see if he is okay. Henry tells her it is true and that he will be moving to Arizona for a new job in less than a week. Helen storms off into the flowers and he chases after her, with hot chocolate to make her not mad!

We get a Grey’s Anatomy emotional montage where Henry is packing and Helen is arranging flowers sullenly. I guess it is signifying the week passing? It is very random.

After saying goodbye, Helen is sad and looking for a sign that she made the right choice. She gets that sign immediately, when she receives the mother/daughter painting as a gift. Helen assumes that it was Charles and thanks him for it. He is all like “Ummm you’re welcome?”

Helen then learns that a big investor is at the wedding she is doing the flowers for and speaks the language of flowers to him and convinces him to save to the Botanical Gardens. Screw Charles and his condo development! He takes it in side and is maybe the right choice if he can forgive her for ruining his big deal. Helen calls Henry and realizes that he is the one that got her painting and that he is the one! She asks him to say, but he is like “nawwww, I’m getting on the plane.”

After crying to Aunt Carol in the flower shop, Helen receives one last Valentine’s Day bouquet to deliver to the botanical gardens. When she arrives it is empty, except for a single candelabra and HENRY! Who proposes! They take the leap together.

Side Note

“A flower takes time to bloom.” Aunt Carol wisdom.

Stop and smell the roses was actually said in this movie.

Overall rating

❤️ (1 Heart)

🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷(5 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2018 Crown Media United States, LLC

Her Stolen Past (2018 Lifetime Movie Network)

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Her Stolen Past

Stars: Shanice Banton, Darlene Cooke, Barbara Eve Harris

Synopsis (via Lifetime)

When Sonya Daniels finds the birth certificate of a kidnapped baby, hidden in her late mother’s home, she’s shocked. What was her parents’ connection to the missing little girl and could her mother’s murder somehow be connected? Sonya hires attractive detective Brandon Hayes to help her investigate. But someone will stop at nothing to prevent them from uncovering the truth. Determined to unravel the mystery, Sonya doesn’t realize how deadly the answers she’s looking for will be.

Thoughts

The movie begins with an elderly woman putting a mysterious envelope in a drawer and then later walking alone in a parking garage. She hears someone following her and start running to her car looking back. No, this isn’t an episode of Golden Girls, It’s LMN so the elderly lady is promptly shot and killed. (She does manage to get a sold left hook in though). At her funeral we discover that the elderly lady was Sonya Daniels mother. We also learn that Sonya has an Auntie who loves her, a white friend, and that she is being watched by a mouth breather.

Sonya is back in her mother’s home, reliving memories and sorting through her things. (Again with her white friend, while the mouth breather watched from a parked car outside the house.) Sonya is studying to be a doctor at John Hopkins and will be selling the home. The police don’t have any information on who killed her mom, but there have been a few break ins in the neighborhood.

Sonya finds a box with her name on it in her mom’s closet. Inside the box is a designer bag with a birth certificate for Heather Bradley. (Whose parents are Dawn & Olivia Bradley, one of the richest woman in town.) After a quick Illuminate (Fake Google) search, Sonya and her white friend (who we learn is a nurse!) discover that Heather Bradley was kidnapped from Church. The white friend (Seriously, why has no one said her name yet?) has a friend from tennis class who is a former police officer and is now a private detective. Sonya goes to meet Brandon Hayes (A handsome, casually dressed detective.) He tells her to go to the police because it is evidence in a missing persons care, but than quickly changes his mind and decides to help her??? (But he will need her birth certificate….)

After a break in, Brandon comes to check on Sonya and offers to take her to her white friend (Missy, she’s got a name now.) for the night. Missy tells Sonya that Brandon is single and recently divorced for some reason. Brandon comes over the next morning with news, there is no record of Sonya’s mother ever giving birth and he thinks that Sonya’s birth certificate is probably a fake. Sonya insists on going to see the Bradleys. She WILL get to the bottom of this, with or without Brandon. (Who she is paying to do this job, but she is very involved.)

At the Bradley’s house (Which is very big and has a statue.) Mr. Bradley recognizes his wife’s bag and introduces them to his son, Grayson. Grayson thinks Sonya is just another gold digger and is very rude to her. Then Olivia comes home from the gym and she looks a lot like, Sonya. (Just saying!) Olivia is very controlled by her husband, who also manages the business she inherited from her father. He force feeds her antidepressants and tells her she is acting crazy.

Sonya continues to do even more detective work. (Without Brandon, who is busy sitting at his desk?) She discovers via her Auntie that she is adopted and it was a closed adoption (So no records to check.) and she gets security footage from her Auntie’s new security camera to see who broke into the house. She also goes to the church and learns that her mother was in the church choir until the kidnapping happened. (But she still doesn’t think her mom is responsible.)

Brandon shows up again, after hours, and Sonya starts making out with him. Then cock blocker Auntie comes over and interrupts to tell them that Sonya’s mom was getting upsetting phone calls. Then she leaves!?? You came over just for that, Auntie?

While sleuthing some more, Brandon and Sonya find a dead body! (Rebecca Gold, the babysitter who lost Heather at the church.) Brandon vows to work with the police now that things are getting real. The police station a office outside of Sonya’s house to make sure she is safe. (That always works!) Brandon also stays over with Sonya and they eat Chinese and have a heart to heart. The next morning the police are back and they have the DNA results. Sonya is Heather Bradley. (We all knew that from the beginning though, right?)

On their way to tell Mr. Bradley, Sonya and Brandon are shot at in the parking lot. Brandon gets shot, but it isn’t a big deal. They tell Mr. Bradley who isn’t wanting to tell his wife, because she is too fragile. (Or he is behind keeping it all covered up….)

Then ANOTHER body shows up, it is the personal trainer of Grayson Bradley… Lifetime is working hard to misdirect. Brandon then learns that Olive has a history of violence and mental instability. Could she be the murder? I hope not because she is at Sonya’s house!!!

Turns out it wasn’t Ms. Bradley it was MR. BRADLEY! But why? He arranged to have Sonya/Heather stolen because she is not his daughter. Olivia had an affair, so he had the man killed and paid the babysitter to get rid of Sonya/Heather. It is a lot of backstory to get out in the last 5 mins. I honestly don’t think I fully understand the motives of Mr. Bradley. He tried to kill them but then Olivia shoots her husband to save Sonya/Heather.

With the horror behind her, Sonya/Heather moves into her mother’s house and transfers to a local doctor school to be close to her new family, and Brandon.

Side Note

Based on Lynette Eason‘s Harlequin Love Inspired – Suspense novel Her Stolen Past.

Every transition shot in this movie is an aerial shot of a random small town. EVERY SCENE TRANSITION!

Overall rating

🔪 🔪 (2 Knives)

🍷🍷🍷 (3 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2018 Lifetime, LLC

Simone Biles: Courage to Soar (2018 Lifetime)

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Simone Biles: Courage to Soar

Stars: Jeanté Godlock, Tisha Campbell-Martin, and Julius Tennon

Listen to the Podcast Episode about this movie! 

Synopsis (via Lifetime)

Based on her book, Courage To Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance, the biopic follows Simone Biles through her sacrifices and hard work that lead her to win 19 Olympic and World Championship medals and cemented her stake as one of the greatest gymnasts of all-time. Biles’ journey from foster care to the Olympic podium is full of life experiences that serve as an inspiration for every little girl with a dream.

 

Thoughts

It’s 2000, and Simone is in foster care because her drunk mom could not take care of her and her siblings. They are sent to go live with her step grandmother (who is rich RICH!). They have a trampoline in the backyard and a big beautiful house. They are a happy family with in their new surroundings when the drunk mom comes back after being rehabilitated. Simone’s siblings want to go back home, Simone wants to stay with her step grandparents. After some back and forth between foster care, their mom’s house, and their step grandparents’ house, the grandparents are legally named as  Simone’s guardians.

On a whim, Simone’s brother takes her to the gym and she is a natural. Quickly advancing to higher levels and on to the junior olympic track. Simone’s step grandfather takes her to practices and gets some-patronizing advice from the other gymnastic moms, until they realize that she is the girl who is killing it on all the skills.

Next, we get a montage of the real Simone Biles in competition. It is amazing to see how small she was and the crazy gymnastics moves.

Flashforward to teen Simone. She is getting bullied for having muscles by the kids at her private school. Her life is completely consumed by gymnastics, and she isn’t doing well in school. So Nellie (the step grandmother) goes to the coach to see if Simone can get to the next level or should they look for another coach. Her coach commits to get Simone to be her best in front of Marta Karoly and to the olympics.

Cue the training montage!  

It works and Simone gets into the USA Gymnastics Camp. She is thrilled to be there and trains with Marta Karoly, the music here is ominous to show their seriousness of the new head coach. This whole scene is very strange with the recent scandal with the camp, and Marta’s involvement.

At nationals, Simone failed to make the junior nation team by one spot and Marta decided to not invite Simone back for another year because she lacked focus.

We then see high school Simone who wants a normal life with a boyfriend and school dances. She comes off as bratty and spends the next few scenes complaining and yelling at her step grandparents. Eventually she decides to go with home schooling and kind of commit to gymnastics. She makes the junior nation team!

In practices, Simone is all attitude and rudeness to her coach. She is pissed that she gave up high school to train and resentful to everyone. She has a heart-to-heart with Nellie who encourages her to not worry about what other people are doing and focus on herself.

We get another montage of real Simone in competition intercut with the movie family in the stands cheering her on. She stumbles, falls, and injures her ankle. Marta come to the locker room and tells her to be 100% committed and do it for herself, not others. Simone decides to make it fun again, while her coaches up the difficulty of her routines.

Cue another training montage (this time with her family helping her at home too)!

Training pays off when Simone wins the women’s all around at worlds—when her coach Amy suddenly walks out and quits. Nellie isn’t having it and meets with Amy to convince her to come back. She even starts to build her own a gymnasium, so Simone can train.

Lifetime then touches on the family dealing the racist tweets that Simone received after winning worlds from a salty Italian gymnast.

We get even MORE training montages (This time to “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten). Simone injured her shoulder and had to rehabilitate herself to win worlds two more times, making her a THREE TIME WORLD CHAMPION. (Which is insane!!!) We had a HUGE time jump here in the movie and skipped over the rest of her high school. She now has to choose between going college or going pro for sponsorships. She complains about having to make a choice and cries, but decides to go pro.

 

On track for Rio, Simone automatically qualifies for the olympics! The gym is finally open too. Simone’s mom calls to check in and they have a strained conversation, where Simone calls her by her name (Sharon). She then thanks Nellie for being her actual mom.

At the olympics, Simone and the other girls decided to call themselves the Final Five. They are the final five girls that Marta will have coached.

We finally get some actual olympic footage intercut with Jeanté Godlock’s face close ups. We all know how the olympics turn out! USA takes the gold! We then see that Simone is gearing up for 2020. (And then a two title card about the scandal, like so short I could barely read it.)

Side Note

Lifetime certainly was hoping to capitalize on the excitement leading up to the 2018 olympic games. However, the timing of this movie seems off with the US gymnastics abuse scandal. (Of which Simone Biles herself was a victim of.) Larry Nasser was recently sentenced to 40 to 125 years in prison. 

Lifetime biopics are always hit or miss. This one had the benefit of Simone Biles herself involved in production. That said, the movie had no POV, except Simone Biles is good at gymnastics and her grandparents were cool/supportive.

Julius Tennon made this movie! He was hilarious.

Overall rating

🇺🇸 🇺🇸 (USA Flags)

🍷🍷 (2 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2018 Lifetime

 

February TV Movie Guide (Hallmark & Lifetime)

Get ready for THREE Valentine’s Day offerings from Hallmark this year. Plus Lifetime is offering up a Simon Biles bio pic, just in time for the Olympics!

We will be covering them all in Season 2 of the podcast! (Starting Feb 8th.)

My Secret Valentine (Hallmark Channel)

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Premieres: Saturday, February 3 9/8c (on Hallmark Channel)

Stars: Lacey Chabert and Andrew Walker

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

A young woman takes advice from the chalkboard notes that her mysterious house rental tenant leaves when a slick sales rep arrives with plans to buy her family’s prized winery!

Thoughts

Two of my FAVORITE Hallmark actors together in one movie?!?! Also, they are in a winery?!?!?  “Pour it Up”

 


Simone Biles: Courage to Soar (Lifetime)

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Premieres: Saturday, February 3 8/7c (on Lifetime)

Stars: Jeanté Godlock, Tisha Campbell-Martin, and Julius Tennon

Synopsis (via Lifetime)

Based on her book, Courage To Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance, the biopic follows Simone Biles through her sacrifices and hard work that lead her to win 19 Olympic and World Championship medals and cemented her stake as one of the greatest gymnasts of all-time. Biles’ journey from foster care to the Olympic podium is full of life experiences that serve as an inspiration for every little girl with a dream.

Thoughts

I was extremely excited for a gymnastics Lifetime Movie, especially if it is about Olympic GOLD medalist, Simone Biles. (Who is currently training for Tokyo 2020.)  However, with the Larry Nasser scandal I’m not sure Lifetime will handle the topic with tact or even at all. “Let it Breathe”


Very, Very, Valentine (Hallmark Channel)

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Premieres: Saturday, February 10 9/8c (on Hallmark Channel)

Stars: Danica McKellar, Cameron Mathison, and Damon Runyan

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

When Helen, a kind hearted and shy florist, meets the perfect man at a Valentine’s Masquerade Ball she enlists the help of her best friend Henry to track him down only to find that her perfect man may already be right in front of her.

Thoughts

So, this is reverse Cinderella? I’m here for that! That candelabra in this picture is gaudy as hell! (And is that repurposed Christmas decorations? No, Hallmark!) I’m going to have to “Put a cork in it.”


Cooking with Love (Hallmark Channel)

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 9.41.55 AM.pngPremieres: Sunday February 11 9/8c (on Hallmark Channel)

Stars: Ali Liebert & Brett Dalton

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

Optimistic and cheerful TV producer, Kelly, doesn’t have time for love. Bad boy celebrity chef, Stephen, doesn’t have time for anything besides cooking. Fun with a side of love ensues as Kelly and Stephen are paired on a children’s cooking show.

Thoughts

I liked Ali Liebert in A Gift to Remember. Will I like her is she is not playing the Sandra Bullock role in While You Were Sleeping? “Let it Breathe”


*Photo Credit: © 2018 Crown Media United States, LLC

*Photo Credit: © 2018 Lifetime

Cocaine Godmother: The Griselda Blanco Story (2018 Lifetime)

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Cocaine Godmother: The Griselda Blanco Story

Stars: Catherine Zeta Jones

Synopsis (via Lifetime)

The real life of Columbian drug lord, Griselda Blanco, who reportedly masterminded more than 200 murders. This film presents her life story from the time she was a young girl to the end of her life.

Thoughts

Academy award winning actress, Catherine Zeta Jones has hit a new career high playing Griselda Blanco in a Lifetime movie! The movies opens up with a disturbing portrayal of a young Griselda who is pimped into sex work by her Mother, Her Mom kicks her out of the house because she didn’t get the money she was owed. Griselda goes back to the John and shoots him for her money. Kicking off a life of crime.

Flash forward to the 1970’s (You can tell by the Men’s outfits and mustaches.) Griselda is over making counterfeit passports and is ready to move into the big leagues of drug smuggling bot Alberto Bravo. (Really? That’s his name?) She suggests using women models and hiding the drugs in their bras. Her husband is not having it and forbids her to work for a drug lord, he then asks her to get him a beer. Griselda does, she smashes it over his head and threatens to kill him if he ever interferes with her life again.

Griselda innovates more ways to smuggle drugs: Using old people, panty lining, and even smuggling drugs herself. But, don’t forget she has three sons! One son is an all star and the other two are dumb losers who want to get into the family business. Caroline (her lover?) takes care of the kids when Griselda is out doing drug things.

Everything seems to be going great, Griselda has her family, new husband and lesbian lover. It all comes crashing down when the DEA start to trail her. It doesn’t seem to matter THAT much because  she just moves into another house and kills whoever she wants. Seriously? Griselda gets a Joan Crawford manaion and puts a hit on her sons girlfriend’s father? WTF! (Speaking of Joan Crawford, Catherine Zeta Jones is going full on Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest in this movie.)

The number one rule when being a drug dealer is don’t do the drugs you sell. (So I hear!) Griselda doesn’t follow this rule and even pressures her love, Caroline, into doing cocaine. Of course, Griselda becomes a full blown coke addict. (And Debbie Harry lookalike!) She can’t blame the drugs for why she kills her husband in cold blood for cheating on her in a bathroom stall. It is a scene that is supposed to be suspenseful, but just looks cheap on Lifetime’s budget.

After a very long extended dance scene, Griselda now has a new baby and she is doing bumps in the hospital with the baby. They also plot to take out all their enemies and the DEA. Which only kicks them into high alert, and puts Griselda at the top of everyone’s hit list. When Uber (Griselda’s good son gone bad.) questions whether or not to kill a man’s kids, she grabs a gun and does it herself.

The DEA officer confronts Griselda’s third husband and convinces him to turn on Griselda. They set up a fake kidnapping of their son Michael and head to Columbia. Griselda catches on and orders a hit on her third husband to get her son back.

Things don’t work out for Griselda. Her lesbian lover (Caroline) OD’s, he sons are caught by the DEA and eventually murdered, and she herself gets taken in by the DEA. In jail they try to get Griselda to turn on other drug lords, but she isn’t afraid of prison. Her life has been a prison. At least she has a picture of Caroline to get her through it all.

Side Note

So much of this movie is underscored with salsa music… sooo much. (Like did we need two extended dance scenes?)

Catherine Zeta Jones received a lot of criticism for playing the Columbian drug lord. She herself is Welsh. When asked to comment by Entertainment Weekly she responded:

“This happens to be the third Hispanic I’ve played,” she said. “I played the lead in Zorro, and I screen-tested with six Hispanic women, and I got the role. I don’t know what to say. And I was a complete unknown at this point; it wasn’t because I had a name or box-office value.”

She added: “I have to take [the roles] I believe I can embody. I can’t be the person to fight against a very big issue, and I won’t take on that role. There have been so many actors who have played against type.’ That’s sort of what we do.”

Cocaine Godmother drew 1.85 million total viewers during its premiere.

Overall rating

   🔫  🔫  (2 Guns)

🍷🍷🍷🍷 (4 glasses of wine required)

 

*Photo Credit: © 2018 Lifetime

Deadly Delusion (2018 Lifetime Movie Network)

LT_DeadlyDelusions_30_saturday_SocialMedia_16x9_HD_1104x622-16x9.jpgDeadly Delusion

Stars: Haylie Duff & Teri Polo

Synopsis (via Lifetime)

Hoping for a fresh start, Julia, a troubled New York woman, moves to Los Angeles with her new boyfriend. After settling into a fancy new home though, mysterious things begin to happen. It’s not long before Julia becomes convinced that her demons have moved with her.

Thoughts

Haylie Duff (The kween of Lifetime Movie Network) is back at it again playing a woman in peril! This time with MORE lip fillers. The opening scene is literally her running from a man and the cops won’t help her. Turns out to be a dream, of course, and she has a melt down on a plane talking to her therapist on a laptop in the bathroom….. On an airplane?

Shane and Julia are moving to an LA for a fresh start! They have a beautiful new house (with terrible glass furniture and a broken banister.) and a blue car all courtesy of Arthur (The Canadian realtor, who is friendly but also creepy.) We find out Julia has been on suicide watch for the past few month., The first thing she asks is if her pictures arrived and then goes to look at them. (Her parents passed away or were MURDERED, maybe causing this paranoia?)

 

Next, we get an actual sex scene! (I’ve been only watching Hallmark, so I was kind of like… what is happening?) During their trist, Julia thinks she sees a man in the window and has a meltdown. After the all clear from Shane, Julia goes into the living room and watches old videos of her parents while drinking wine. (Which really made me want wine, I see what you’re doing LMN.)

Later in a bubble bath, while drinking wine (LMN stop!), Julia thinks she hears someone in the house and grabs a scissors and sneaks around her house in a towel. The TV is on and a snake is in the sink! When the building manager arrives, he says there is no snake… could it be a deadly delusion???

Julia goes to lunch with her friend Annie. Julia is distracted and a terrible lunch date, so Annie suggests they “destress.” I was expecting a shopping montage, but they instead go to the shooting range and then look at guns on a rooftop. Annie encourages Julia to get  a gun because LA can kill you.

After another meltdown, Julia and Shane get out the laptop and talk to the therapist. (Who is ALWAYS in her office?) The therapist makes her say “The shadow men are not real” a couple times and she is better???

On the mend, Julia goes to get a freelance job and is disappointed when it is for an orange juice ad. She is even more disappointed when she arrives back home to finds Annie in a towel. (Her buildings water is “out”) while Shane is making dinner and margaritas. Are they having an affair or is it a deadly delusion…

While taking pictures for the orange juice ads, a glass pane falls on Julia’s head and she gets concussed. In the hospital she accuses Annie or hooking up with Shane.

“Do you want to come over for dinner, drinks, and sex in our shower?”

Julia is at a paranoia high! She is convinced that Arthur is behind all of this. (I mean he IS creepy/Canadian!) When she confronts him at his real estate office, she gets even more proof that he is behind everything. The office has NO PRINTER, price tags on the furniture, and an employee was working with his monitor off. Shane talks her down and admits that they didn’t switch the medication she is on, Julia in on her old medication and everyone tricked her into thinking she was on new one. (This would make me extremely paranoid, but she mellows out.)

The paranoia doesn’t stay away for long. Julia break back into the real estate office and finds a surveillance room where there is video of her house! The next day she apologizes to Annie, who forgives her and tells her she left her a gun in the bathroom. Then Julia makes Shane go with her confront Arthur again. This time the screens only show the parking lot of the office, not the house.

Back at home Julia is literally tearing at the walls looking for cables to the camera in the AC vents. She does find them, but Shane AGAIN talks her out of it.  

Turns out Julia’s delusions weren’t delusions at all, but you know they were still deadly. She shoots the man who has been following her and realizes that Shane is in on the whole thing. Apparently it is some sort of live stream for rich men who like to watch her losing it and you know having sex? Shane was working with his boss and Arthur to run this exploitation of Julia.

Julia has to kill Shane before he kills her. Annie calls the cops on the boss and Arthur and they are taken away.  

We then get the classic LMN twist where all is revealed and the horror is not over. We see the therapist pimping out another mental patient who is being tricked into a exploitative relationship for men to watch on screens around the world.

Side Note

Why would the therapist agree to do this, and why does she get so much pleasure out of doing this?

Also known as The Lease

Overall rating

x1f52a.png.pagespeed.ic.HMLmHeH3BN.png x1f52a.png.pagespeed.ic.HMLmHeH3BN.png (2 Knives)
🍷🍷🍷(3 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2017 Lifetime