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)

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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

January TV Movie Guide (Hallmark & Lifetime)

Hello Everyone!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday! We are back with a preview of ALL the January TV movies coming your way. The Podcast and Blog won’t be covering most of these movies, but I thought it would be a great resource for you!

My pre-viewing ratings are as follows:

Pour it Up (I’m all for it and am excited to watch.)

Let it Breath (I’m going to have to wait and see.)

Put a cork in it  (I will be hate watching or hating myself for loving it.)

Movie details (Date, actors and movie titles) are subject to change. I will update more information as it becomes available. Enjoy! As always, please share your thoughts on the movies on the blog, I love hearing from you.

 

Love on the Slopes (Hallmark Channel)

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Premieres: Jan 6th, 9 p.m. ET on Hallmark Channel

Stars: Katrina BowdenThomas Beaudoin

Synopsis via Hallmark

Alex copyedits for a travel magazine, but wants to be a writer. Now the magazine is holding a contest for a spot on the writing staff, and a plane ticket to anywhere in the world! Alex pitches an article on extreme sports photographer Cole Taylor, but is told to write about trying the risky sports herself. Her boyfriend Barton is supportive, but doesn’t see Alex as very daring. Determined, Alex heads to Colorado where she meets Cole and convinces him to be her guide. Though a klutz, Alex is soon skiing and zip-lining, all as Cole photographs her exhilaration and they fall in love. But when Barton arrives and tells Cole he’s part of the article, Cole feels betrayed. Later though, after reading the piece, Cole is happy for Alex, and even happier when she returns with a plane ticket and an invitation to join her on a trip, sure to be the first of many!

Thoughts

Hallmark’s Winterfest is like Hallmark Christmas movies with the Christmas removed, WHO WANTS THAT?!?!

However, I do like Katrina Bowden. Especially if she is playing a klutz. “Let it Breath”

 

A Tale of Two Corys (Lifetime)

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Premieres: Jan. 6, 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime

Stars:  Elijah MarcanoJustin Ellings Scott Bosely

Synopsis (Via Lifetime)

Feldman (Elijah Marcano and Scott Bosely) and Haim (Justin Ellings and Casey Leach) skyrocketed to fame after meeting on the set of the blockbuster movie The Lost Boys and quickly became young Hollywood heartthrobs. They collaborated on popular comedies including License to Drive and Dream a Little Dream and basked in being Tinseltown royalty in their early teens. But as their stars rose, their lives began to quickly spin out of control with endless partying and drugs. As their fame and fortune increased, dark secrets haunted them. Young and impressionable, the actors suffered through years of sexual abuse at the hands of industry insiders. With studio offers drying up and their reputations becoming tabloid fodder, Feldman eventually turned his life around by getting sober, getting married and having a son. Haim, however, continued his downward spiral and by the time the two starred in their own reality series, The Two Coreys, not even Feldman was able to save him.

 

Thoughts

I missed the whole Corey phenomenon originally and only know them from VH1. (Is that still a channel?) and reality TV. Corey Feldman is a producer on the project so I will “Let it Breath”.

 

Last Scene Alive: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)

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Premieres: Jan 7th, 9 p.m. ET on Hallmark Channel

Stars: Candace Cameron BureYannick BissonMarilu Henner

Synopsis via Hallmark

A Hollywood film crew descends on the town of Lawrenceton, GA to produce a film based on a book written by Aurora’s onetime boyfriend Robin Crusoe. However, when the lead actress, who is playing Aurora is killed, the real Aurora and the Murders Club must investigate a long list of suspects.

Thoughts

 

Candace Cameron Bure stretches her acting ability by playing an auburn haired woman. People like her, but I’m going to have to “Put a Cork in it”

 

Frozen in Love (Hallmark Channel)

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Premieres: Jan 13th, 9 p.m. ET on Hallmark Channel

Stars: Rachael Leigh CookNiall Matter

Synopsis via Hallmark

Mary faces the grim reality of her quaint but stagnant Denver store closing, she reaches out for some PR help to turn things around. At the same time, the handsomely wild, flashy “live-in-the-moment” Denver Royals hockey star Adam is sent to the same PR firm to fix his reputation, and the two are paired together in a seemingly mutually-beneficial buddy system: repair his image and give her the chance to reinvent the store and do something big to save it. Along the way, they both learn the important lesson that it doesn’t matter how many times you fall down, it only matters how many times you get back up again, which opens up two seemingly opposites for much needed change, and unexpected love.

Thoughts

Love Rachel Leigh Cook, but Niall Matter with anyone other than Erin Krakow is SCANDALOUS. “Put a Cork in It”

 

Past Malice: An Emma Fielding Mystery (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)

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Premieres: Jan 13th, 9 p.m. ET on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

Stars: Courtney Thorne-SmithJames Tupper

Synopsis via Hallmark

When archaeologist Emma Fielding is called upon to consult on a state historical project and discovers the body of another archeologist in a secret chamber beneath the castle, she calls in her pal, FBI agent Jim Conner, to help her sort out the evidence and determine whether the “Curse of the Chandlers” is real, or simply a local legend invoked to divert attention from the killer, who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Thoughts

Archaeologist?!?! “Put a Cork in It”.

 

Cocaine Godmother: The Griselda Blanco Story (Lifetime)

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Premieres: Jan 20th, 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime

Stars: Catherine Zeta-JonesRaúl MéndezJuan Pablo Espinosa

Synopsis via Lifetime

Academy Award and Tony Award-winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones stars in “Cocaine Godmother: The Griselda Blanco Story,” a Lifetime feature based on the life of drug lord Griselda Blanco, a pioneer in the Miami-based cocaine trade. At the age of 17, Griselda Blanco, made her way to the U.S. with a fake passport with her first husband Carlos. Living in Queens with her three sons , Griselda became enticed by the money the drug world offered, and quickly became embroiled with local drug runners. Griselda masterminded the use of beautiful women, the elderly and children as the mules and created false-bottom suitcases to smuggle cocaine from Colombia. With money rolling in, her sons abandoned school and entered the family business instead. A move to Miami would further expand Griselda’s empire, and lead to the death of her second husband Alberto (Juan Pablo Espinosa), giving the rise to her nickname, The Black Widow. Her willingness to use violence against her Miami competitors, led her rivals to make repeated unsuccessful attempts to kill her. In order to protect her youngest son with third husband Dario (Raul Mendez), Griselda moved to California where she was later arrested by the DEA and sentenced to a decade in jail. The case against her collapsed and upon her release, she was deported to Colombia, where she was ultimately gunned down in 2012. In her lifetime, Griselda’s drug distribution network spanned across the United States and she was suspected of ordering over 200 murders.

Thoughts

Academy Award AND Tony winner? “Pour it Up!”

 

One Winter Weekend (Hallmark Channel)

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Premieres: Jan 20th, 9 p.m. ET on Hallmark Channel

Stars: Taylor Cole & Jack Turner

Synopsis via Hallmark

A relationship writer at a women’s magazine has recently sworn off dating and joins her best girlfriend for a snowboarding weekend. A reservation snafu forces them to share a chalet with a couple of guys they’ve never met, one of whom is a company CEO who is also lying low on the dating front. However, once he and she get to know one another better, they begin to wonder if perhaps they should rethink their whole “non-dating” status, until each finds out what the other does for a living, and he bolts.

Thoughts

I will never be able to forgive Taylor for Christmas Festival of Ice! “Put a Cork In It”

Morning Show Murders: Mortal Mishaps (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)

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Premieres: Jan 21st, 9 p.m. ET on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

Stars: Holly Robinson Peete and 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

Could Hallmark be making progress on the POC issue? I think Rick Fox is a fox, sooooo “Pour it Up”

 

Faith Under Fire: The Antoinette Tuff Story (Lifetime)

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Premieres: Jan 27th, 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime

Stars: Toni BraxtonTrevor MorganYaya DaCosta

Synopsis via Lifetime

Seven time Grammy® Award winner Toni Braxton stars as Antoinette Tuff, a struggling single mom from Georgia who heroically averted a tragedy, saving hundreds of lives when she convinced a deranged gunman who stormed an elementary school to surrender. On August 20, 2013, shortly after arriving to work at the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Georgia, Antoinette the school’s bookkeeper, was in the front office when Michael Hill, a young man with a history of mental illness, snuck in, armed with an AK-47 and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. As the school went into lockdown, Antoinette was left alone with Michael, who repeatedly threatened to kill everyone. Showing enormous courage and empathy, along with nerves of steel, Antoinette convinced Michael to surrender by using her own life struggles to connect with him. Antoinette’s faith in God guided her through the toughest moments of her life, ultimately preparing her for that fateful day.

Thoughts

I’m like yay Toni Braxton, but then I’m like Lifetime school shooting movie??? “Let it Breathe!”

 

Winter’s Dream (Hallmark Channel)

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Premieres: Jan 27th, 9 p.m. ET on Hallmark Channel

Stars: Dean Cain and Kristy Swanson.

Synopsis via Hallmark

A former ski champion reenters the competitive world when a 16-year old downhill racer asks for help, leading her to reawaken an old passion and find a new love.

Thoughts

I have no clue what this movie is about, and I suspect neither does Hallmark. Even my prepubescent crush on Dean Cain can’t save this one. “Put a Cork In It”

Christmas in Mississippi (2017 Lifetime)

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Christmas in Mississippi

Listen to the Lifetime Uncorked Podcast! 

Stars: Jana Kramer & Wes Brown

Synopsis (via Lifetime)

Photographer Holly returns to her hometown of Gulfport, Mississippi for Christmas. The town is resurrecting their traditional holiday light show for the first time since a terrible hurricane struck five years earlier. Holly volunteers to pitch in, but soon has second thoughts when she discovers the festival is run by her high school sweetheart, Mike. Now Holly must spend the next few days with the man who broke her heart. With the help of Caroline (Faith Ford, her match-making mother and Mr. Kriss, the kind man who will play Santa in the town’s celebration, Holly begins to fall in love with her hometown, and Mike, all over again.

Thoughts

Holly is home for the holidays! It is just her and her Mom this year, since her father died? It isn’t clear really. Anyway while running errands and snapping photographs around town Holly runs into Her ex-boyfriend, Mike, who is running the Christmas festival (The first since the hurricane, 5 years ago) and she is not happy to see him. Apparently he broke her heart back in the day. (We even get a flashback!)

Since the festival is the first in 5 years, it is bigger and better than ever. Holly agrees to help Mike and is tasked with building a concession stand. When a little know it all kid helps her, she is amused. She asks him how he learned all about building and he says his Dad taught him. She then sees him go running over to Mike, could Mike be his Dad? She then sees Mike spinning around Betty at the festival, could she be his girlfriend?

Holly makes a lot of assumptions and and totally misreads the situation. She thinks Mike has a wife and child. She also thinks he is would be the type of guy to ask her on a date despite those things. She realizes her mistake when Betty tells her that the kid is Mike’s nephew and Mike is as single as the come. (This all could have been solved with some light social media stalking, Holly!)

There is a B storyline with the Mom and Mr. McGuire (Al from Home Improvement). Holly gives her approval for her Mom to date again, if she want to.

There is a C storyline with Betty and Benny who are getting married and have hired Holly to do the wedding photos.

Mike asks Holly on a date, but it turns out to be just hanging out with his nephew at his house. We find out that Jack’s Dad isn’t coming home from base in time for Christmas. Holly and Mike keep Jack entertained with trips to the city and wishing upon a star.

Later on a proper date, Mike and Holly get all dressed up and go out on the town. They stroll around town and drink milkshakes and even dance together to some country music. They almost end the date with a kiss, but are interrupted by Mom.

In the end, the festival is a hit. It is a very special moment because the town came together and face adversity to celebrate Christmas together! Then we get a light show! (Which is never as cool as in person…) Holly tells Mike she turned down her job offer (what job tho? IDK) and she will be staying in Gulfport with Mike! They almost kiss but are interrupted by Santa. (Who turns out to be Jack’s Dad back from war, all arranged by THE REAL SANTA!!!) Then, they kiss.

Side Note

My friend, Karen Murphy’s Mom was an extra in this movie.

This movie was low key America, not in your face patriotic like Hallmark’s Christmas Homecoming. The difference is this movie deals with an American town ravished by a hurricane and rebuilt by its citizens. There is also the whole fighting for our country angel that we see with Jack’s Dad. AND the fact that this film was filmed in the good old USA. (Gulfport, Mississippi.)

Overall rating

🎄 🎄🎄  (3 Christmas Trees)

🍷🍷🍷 (3 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2017 Lifetime