Morning Show Mystery: Mortal Mishaps (2018 Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)

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Morning Show Mystery: Mortal Mishaps

Stars: Holly Robinson Peete & Rick Fox

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

Billie Blessings has gone from beloved chef, restaurant owner, and morning show segment host to #1 suspect in a murder case when one of the executives at the network dies from poisoning. When the head chef at Billie’s restaurant is arrested and held as a suspect, Billie takes matters into her own hands by digging deeper into a mystery that could incriminate people close to her while risking her own life in the process

Thoughts

I’m not familiar with this genre of TV movie, I’m not sure how Hallmark will pull of a G-rated murder mystery. I’m basically only watching this because HRP is their first black actor in a leading role… ever? So, here we go!  

As the opening credits role we see a mystery person in a gas mask baking a rat poison cake. Then cut to Billie Blessings (HRP) who is a TV chef who is filling in for Wake Up, West Coast TV morning show anchor. (Laney, who recently died from a hazelnut allergy.)  There is so much exposition it is hard to keep up. Lance is the male co-host, Rudy is a producer who wanted Billie to be the co-anchor and is fighting with his ex/boss (Gretchen), there is a assistant, and a camera guy. Everyone wants to eat the cake (Which is poison, but no one know it.)

Then we also meet, Aunt Kassandra, who wants Billie to start focusing on dating and make her restaurant a priority. Maurice, the head chef of Billie’s restaurant.

Producer Rudy is at his apartment, when he receives a cake from Blessings (Billie’s restaurant) that says “congratulations.” When he goes to his wine cellar to get some afternoon wine, he sees “RIP” scrawled in red on his wine fridge. Rudy arrives at the big TV network dinner disoriented and ill looking. As he makes the big announcement of who the new co-host will be he dies! The restaurant is immediately closed because the paramedics on scene determines it is cyanide poisoning. Cue the police on scene to investigate the murder. Lucky for Billie it is her old high school boyfriend, Ian, AND they are both newly single.

The next morning at the TV show, the new co-host is there. It’s Tiffany Moon, a girl with no experience and crippling stage fright. (Perfect choice, Rudy.) Billie talks to her and gives her advice like:

“If your asked a question you don’t know the answer to, repeat the question to buy yourself more time.”

Even mediocre advice can’t keep Billie on set, Gretchen (who is now the new producer) fires her. Back at the restaurant Maurice is taken into custody because he sent the cake to Rudy. Later, at the precinct Maurice admits to finding cyanide in the restaurant and hiding it in his car. (He didn’t want Billie to get in trouble.)

Billie, Aunt Cassandra, Assistant girl (Kiki), camera guy (Phil), and waiter man (Juan, of course.) all get together over coffee and pie (This is Hallmark, after all.) to figure out who done it. They create a list and star system for people with motives. Billie is on the case and goes to the investigate. She bumps into Ian and they compare notes, I was hoping in a flirty way but it turns out to be pretty tense and confrontational

While retrieving Maurice’s dog from his building, Billie takes cyanide from under his sink and hides it in her purse. When she gets home she finds “Stay out of this” written on a mirror with red lipstick (?) Billie doesn’t heed the warning and meets with Tiffany Mood to see if her and Rudy were dating. They weren’t but Tiffany is convinced that she is next to be murdered.

In between murder investigation and saving her restaurant, Billie and Ian share a romantic dinner. They catch up on what they’ve missed in each others lives and what could have been. Only to be interrupted by Maurice, who is now out of jail! Maurice learns that Billie is now the number one suspect.

Billie turns the tables on the situation and goes on air to confront Tiffany. She gets her to admit that she is being harrassed and then she tells everyone that Laney might not have had an allergic reaction, she was poisoned too. The police double down on Billie as suspect numero uno.

Things get crazy at this point. The Camera Guy (Evan) gets hit over the head and almost exploded in his house, thankfully Billie saves him. (Don’t worry, she is still a suspect.) Tiffany leaves a note that she is leaving town. Because, live TV is too stressful… not all the MURDERING?!?! Billie and assistant Kiki, track Tiffany down and take her to Rudy’s apartment to get the evidence to convict her for murder. Before they can, Billie and Tiffany are locked in the wine cellar and Kiki is “attacked.” Ian (Maybe the worst cop ever?) comes to save them but Billie ask for two more hours to solve the case.

Billie is convinced a recording has the evidence to prove who murdered Rudy and Laney. At the TV station, Billie is trying to log into Rudy’s computer when (Spoiler) the assistant pulls a gun on her. She had access to all of Billies passwords and keys, and she has the motive of wanting to be a co-house of West Coast TV. Kiki is apprehended by Ian and all is good. Billie and Ian summarize all this in a romantic chat on the terrace. Setting up successful (but predictable) new franchise for Hallmark.

Side Note

I didn’t hate this movie! HRP and Rick Fox has great chemistry. I also LOVED LOVED Aunt Cassandra. (Karen Robinson)

This is the first starring role for HRP in a Hallmark movie. She was previously the token black friend in “Angel of Christmas” in 2015 and “Christmas in Evergreen” in 2017.

Rick Fox is a fox.

Al Roker made a cameo. He apparently co-wrote the novel this movie is based on.

Random Note: I’m not too familiar with any of the mystery series on Hallmark, but apparently Lacey Chabert is set to star in “The Crossword Mystery,” about a brilliant crossword puzzle editor who helps a police detective (Brennan Elliott) solve crimes? By using crossword puzzles? Please explain this to me.

 

Overall rating

🔎 🔎 🔎  (3 Magnifying Glasses)

🍷🍷🍷🍷 (4 glasses of wine required)

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

 

Christmas Encore (2017 Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)

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Encore Christmas

Listen to the Podcast Episode about this movie! 

Stars: Maggie Lawson & Brennan Elliot

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

An aspiring New York actress who is considering abandoning her dream and taking a real job in Chicago following years of near-misses and bit parts, lands the role of a lifetime in a new production of A Christmas Carol. However, the play’s director is a successful TV actor, and the one she blames for her biggest professional disappointment.

Thoughts

Charlotte is an aspiring TV actress in NYC. She practices lines in the mirror, misses holidays with her family (Who want her to date Brad Pitt, because he is an actor too!) and is one just one audition away from “the big one.” (The big role, get your mind out of the gutter!)

At lunch with her pragmatic friend, Rachel (who is also a POC) and they reminisce about the good old days in college, but really just talk about Charlotte’s acting career. Because actors are narcissistic. We find out that Charlotte was up for a lead role on the hit TV series Thick or Thin but she lost out on the opportunity because she was partnered with her nemesis Julian Walker. (A former classmate, who got the role and is now a star.) and Rachel offers her a job in Chicago as a coordinator of employee events. But, Charlotte can’t think of that now because she has to get to work… she is a waitress at the restaurant.

Julian Walker is a big-time actor, he has a People’s Choice Award, who is directing a production of The Christmas Carol. He runs into Charlotte at her restaurant, where she pretends to NOT be a waitress. (Despite wearing a name-tag and a uniform) Even when her boss (Gary) gives her a tray of food to deliver, she uses her acting skills to act like “Who is this guy giving me a tray, he must think I work here… what a weirdo!”

The Christmas Carol is holding open auditions and Charlotte gets a call from her TV agent for the theater gig. But what part will she go for? Why not dream big and go for Scrooge! At the big audition Charlotte bails when she realizes that Julian Walker is the director. He chases after her attempts to get her back in the room, she storms off but not before he shouts “What are you so afraid of!” Realizing that she is afraid of being a waitress for ever she runs back to the theater to pitch her vision for production of a female scrooge and then delivers a really really dumb monologue. She lands the role and the auditors all give her a BIG group hug. (This really happens.)

The two work on the new script that Charlotte has pitched, because that is what actors do. (conceptualize, write, and star in someone else’s play that they auditioned for.) They work so long at the restaurant that they have to go back to Charlotte’s place to work through the night. She bakes cookies and they talk about acting.

At the theater during rehearsal, Julian calls everyone to a meeting because this production will be the last in the theater. The owner is selling the property because “Property is more valuable than sentimentality.” The theater people give passion speeches about saving the theater, it will take a Christmas Miracle.

For some reason, Charlotte and Julian visit their old acting studio. They then walk around Manhattan, and of course have a snowball fight and then (OF COURSE) Christmas Tree decorating!

In the middle of rehearsal a phone rings and it is Charlotte’s, she apologizes and then runs to answer the phone. The rehearsal takes five, so she can talk to her BFF Rachel. (This would never happen.) Rachel tells her that she got the job!

The twist in this one is when Charlotte is at Julian’s house, his ex, Samantha (a famous actress with big ears), shows up to make him a drink. Charlotte gets jealous (?) and leaves abruptly. TWIST!?

On the night of the big show, Charlotte tells Julian she has accepted the job in Chicago and will do the play but that is it. Before going onstage Charlotte meets with the building owner (Mr. Hayes) and gives him a picture of himself and his Dad in front of the theater he is closing down. She also gives Julian a cast picture and a thank-you note. (Which I always appreciate.)

We don’t see the play but we do hear the final line, said by the Scrooge character (Instead of Tiny Tim.)

“God bless us, everyone.”

The actors and whole production crew do a curtain call and then sing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Charlotte literally waves to her Mom in the audience and says, “Hi Mom!” and then points, “That’s my Mom!”

At the cast party, Mr. Hayes makes a BIG announcement. Due to the success of the theater on SOCIAL MEDIA (not the performances or production quality) he has decided to keep the theater in business and vows to revive the theater district of New York.

Charlotte and Julian ditch the party to talk in the snow. He is taking the artistic director position at the theater and she is NOT moving to Chicago. “You know what they say about rules…” Charlotte says, but before she can finish her sentence they kiss. The end!

Side Note

The writer of this movie, Jennifer Noats Shapiro, has written several of these Christmas movies. Including this year’s Lifetime movie, Wrapped for Christmas.

Overall rating

🎄 🎄🎄 (3 Christmas Trees)

🍷🍷🍷 (3 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2017 Crown Media United States, LLC