Hallmark's "Journey of My Heart" QUIZ

Starring:  Rhiannon Fish and Darien Martin

Released:  2021-Summer Nights

Summary:  A wildlife biologist travels to Alaska where she finds inspirational guidance from a Native American family plus an unexpected romance with a rugged wilderness guide.

Rhiannon Fish and Darien Martin star in Hallmark's "Journey of My Heart"
Abby captures some great shots that will help her complete an updated eagle census.  
Image: Crown Media

Journey of My Heart Similar to Chasing Waterfalls

Rhiannan Fish and Darien Martin score two thumbs-up from Hallmark fans who love this story about a study of the eagle population on Native American land.

As always, Hallmark's focus remains on diversity, hence the inclusion of indigenous people in the script and cast, but non-woke fans enjoy it anyway.

After all, the scenery is breath-taking, even though the movie is filmed in Vancouver rather than the story's Alaskan setting.  

Hallmark's Journey of My Heart
Image: Crown Media

Just like Chasing Waterfalls where Cindy Busby falls in love with her rugged nature guide, Christopher Russell, Rhiannon Fish captures the heart of Darien Martin, her wilderness guide.

Busby is looking for a waterfall that has never been photographed, and Fish is searching for the hidden location of a large eagle population.  Both women agree not to reveal the coordinates of the sites, but oops, the geo-tagging on their photos make the secret locations public, aaaaand this upsets their men.  Both ladies have scary run-ins with bears.

At least Hallmark can't get in trouble for plagiarizing themselves.

Native American Spirituality

It's worth noting that many old Hallmark movies contained elements of the Christian faith, even though they were worked into the story discreetly and generically enough to serve as blanket sentiments that people of any faith could find relatable.

With Woke Wonya Lucas at Crown Media's helm, inspirational overtones stemming from the Christian faith have been bulldozed.  This especially affects Christmas movies.  Jewish traditions have found their way into a few movies, but the true reason for the annual celebration is ignored.  Instead, non-Jewish people are seen embracing what are only secular traditions, like tree lighting ceremonies, wreath-making, and reindeer relays.  

Hallmark's Journey of My Heart
Hallmark doesn't mind telling viewers about putting faith in eagles for protection, but you'd never hear them endorse putting your faith in Jesus. Image: Crown Media

While Hallmark clearly is worried about offending non-Christians with their holiday movies, they apparently have no qualms about making spiritism a focus.  Journey of My Heart talks about the Great Spirit, the idolization of eagles as messengers, talismans such as the eagle feather amulet, and nature worship.  Native American spiritism can't be disguised as a generic belief system everyone can relate to.  It's very specific.

Pretty hypocritical of Hallmark.      

You've Seen Fish And Martin Before

If Fish looks familiar, it's because you've seen her in supporting roles in Hallmark movies including, You're Bacon Me Crazy, The 27-Hour Day, and Aurora Teagarden Mysteries:  How to Con a Con.

What do you think of Fish as a Hallmark leading lady?  Be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section!

Hallmark's Journey of My Heart
Image: Crown Media

You may remember Martin from Chateau Christmas and Hannah Swenson Mysteries:  Sweet Revenge.  He star seems to be rising.  Would you enjoy seeing him again as a Hallmark leading man?

My take is that Fish is a fresh, new face, and she proved she could be a leading lady in this movie; however, she doesn't have strong star-appeal.  I will never hope to see her in a movie like I do Lacey Chabert.

Martin is handsome, but his acting is more stiff than charismatic.  In a ring of Hallmark leading men, he doesn't stand out in the crowd. 

The movie is enjoyable, but these two actors are like the B side of a record. 

Hallmark has openly acknowledged their pursuit of new talent, but could it be their financial woes are serving as the impetus? 

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Wes Brown Delivers Perfection In Hallmark's "Sweet Pecan Summer," But Christine Ko Bombs

Starring:  Christine Ko and Wes Brown

Released:  2021-Summer Nights

Summary:  Sparks fly between a woman and her ex-boyfriend as they work together to sell her aunt's pecan farm.

Hallmark's Sweet Pecan Summer Starring Wes Brown and Christine Ko
Wes Brown and Christine Ko definitely don't make a believable match.  Image: Crown Media

Hallmark Rolls The Diversity Dice Instead Of Casting Couples With Chemistry

After a long day, it's nice to unwind with a feel-good Hallmark romance movie.  Most of us don't care what race the couple is as long as the casting director paired two people together who can actually act and create sparks for the viewers.

When Crown Media CEO, Wonya Lucas, vowed to include more diversity in Hallmark movies, one might have assumed that meant adding more couples who were black, Asian, Hispanic, Italian, or from some other ethnic group.

We are finding that is not the case.

These days, Hallmark often sacrifices good story-telling and smart casting for identity politics.  Roughly 10% of the American population is in an interracial relationship, but you'd think that statistic is closer to 80% from watching the Hallmark Channel.  The focus of many recent movies has been so lasered in on diversity that the oddity of the matchmaking overshadows the poignancy of the plot.

It's almost as if Hallmark owns a set of diversity dice they roll when deciding on pairing their leading and supporting actors.  Occasionally, the dice land on two whites or two blacks, but more frequently, we are seeing people smacked together who don't go together at all.  You've probably noticed the latest batches of movies typically showcase a minimum of one interracial couple, but there are often two.  For example, The 27-Hour Day has two white people in the leading roles, so two interracial relationships are relegated to supporting actors.  Andrew Walker's "mom" is paired with a black man, and one married couple, a white man and a black woman, are staying at the retreat.  In Her Pen Pal, Mallory Jansen's white "ex" attends the wedding with a black date.  Since Candace Cameron Bure plays opposite Warren Christie, two whites, in If I Only Had Christmas, both of Bure's "brothers" are matched with South East Asian women.

This doesn't remotely reflect real-life.  It looks absurd. In fact, you could argue this over-exaggeration of mixed race couples is an insult to diversity.  What's wrong with featuring two people of the same race, regardless of which race it is?  

Hallmark focuses on Asians instead of the story in Sweet Pecan Summer
Who cares if the movie is ruined as long as the cast is diverse!  Image: Crown Media

While Hallmark claims to advocate for diversity so more people can see themselves in the movie characters, they end up making a mockery of diversity.  Ninety-percent of us who aren't in interracial relationships certainly don't see ourselves reflected in these characters!

Sweet Pecan Summer is a perfect example of diversity gone awry.  Wes Brown is one of the most talented Hallmark actors, and he delivers his lines in the movie to perfection.  He brings humor, warmth, charm, charisma, and depth of character to his role and has us eating out of the palm of his hand.  He does all this despite playing opposite Christine Ko, who completely stinks as an actress and contributes not even the faintest heartbeat of chemistry to their onscreen relationship.  Not even Aunt Carol can be coupled with another Asian.  For the sake of diversity, she, like her niece, must be paired with a white man. 

Hallmark Sweet Pecan Summer Cast
Hallmark Channel USED to focus on storytelling, but now they've now shifted to woke ideology.  Image: Crown Media

Ko's acting resumé is meager.  In college, she majored in communications and minored in finance, so entertainment isn't her strong suit.  

Since Brown's real-life wife, Amanda, wrote the original story about her Aunt Carol that Hallmark spun into a movie, it's only natural for him to be cast as the lead.  Ko did not do the script justice and soured the movie.

Ko has publicly discussed the limited roles for Asian actors in the U.S., so naturally, she found an ally in Hallmark, which has gravitated to assigning roles based on ethnicity instead of talent.

Is Heading In An "Unclean" Direction Next For Hallmark?

One reason viewers gravitate to the Hallmark Channel is that the network has long avoided any form of sexual innuendo.  You can typically watch these movies with your kids because they only include a little hand-holding and hugging with one or two great kisses.

Sweet Pecan Summer tests the boundaries.

Did you notice when Aunt Carol is alone and looking online, she says something about how she wouldn't wear that alone in the dark let alone with someone?  When Amanda enters the room, Carol quickly conceals what she's viewing.  You might have missed this, but clearly, she is looking at lingerie in anticipation of being with her boyfriend, Walter.  

Aunt Carol played by Lauren Tom in Sweet Pecan Summer
Lauren Tom should stick with her voice characterizations.  Image: Crown Media

When Walter arrives at the same time as Amanda's parents to help with the pecan harvest, Aunt Carol directs everyone to their rooms and laughingly says to Walter, "You know where you'll be staying!"  The implication is he will be in her room.

The movie fast forwards to the pecan harvest one year later.  We see Carol at, presumably, the beach home she purchased, and no mention is made of her and Walter having married.  Yet, she assures Amanda she and Walter have their bags packed and ready at the door to head her direction when it's time to help.  Are they living together?

This is new territory for Hallmark.  If Hallmark is testing the waters and setting the stage for more sexual content, it will further erode their brand.

Hallmark Plots Are Growing Tedious

For a long time, fans have lovingly chided about the predictable and recycled plots of Hallmark movies, but aren't they beginning to grow wearisome?  Enough is enough.  If you give a kid 20 Legos and ask him to make as many new creations as he can, there is a limit.  Eventually, the possible combinations reach a natural end.  

While the genesis of  Sweet Pecan Summer is attributed to Wes Brown's wife, it's not a new and inspired story.  At all.  The biggest differences in this movie compared to others is that the farm produces pecans instead of something else, like pears (Harvest Love) or grapes, and it's being sold intentionally rather than sinking from debt or lack of patronage.  The farm is "saved," and both J.P. and Amanda pursue and achieve their dreams.  

Isn't it time Hallmark stop rearranging the exact same pieces and start telling stories that are more unique?  If prior Crown Media CEO, Bill Abbott, can recapture the former glory of Hallmark on his new network, GAC-Family, that launches September 27, 2021, fans will likely migrate there and leave Hallmark behind.

The BEST part of Sweet Pecan Summer, aside from the pure awesomeness of Wes Brown and getting to see his real-life daughter cameo, is the hilarious performance of Chase Ramsey, who plays J.P.'s best friend, Chris.  Every time you see his character appear, you can expect to laugh.  The large doses of humor in this movie are a much welcome addition to compensate for the total flop of the rest of the cast.

Chase Ramsey plays Chris in Hallmark's Sweet Pecan Summer
Chase Ramsey makes a lot of funny cracks about parenting, among other things. Image: Crown Media

"A Little Daytime Drama" Quiz AND Vote For Your Favorite Jen Lilley/Ryan Paevey Movie!

Starring:  Jen Lilley and Ryan Paevey

Released:  2021-Fall Harvest

Summary:  In order to save her daytime soap drama from cancellation, head writer Maggie must convince Darin, her real-life ex-boyfriend, to return to the show.

Hallmark's A Little Daytime Drama Starring Jen Lille<br />y and Ryan Paevey
Jen Lilley and Ryan Paevey are cute together.  Image: Crown Media

Lilley And Paevey Reunite

Jen Lilley and Ryan Paevey stole our hearts in 2017 when they starred together in Harvest Love, the story of a doctor who visited her family's pear farm in order to reconnect with her son.  She also ended up falling in love with the farm manager.

Fans were excited to see Lilley and Paevey coupled again for another Fall Harvest movie, especially since both actors were once soap stars themselves.

Alice (Linda Dano) is getting ready to retire, and she hopes to pass the producer baton of her soap drama to Maggie (Lilley).  The ratings are dropping though, and the show is in danger of cancellation.  The top execs want to boost ratings by bringing Darin Mitchell (Paevey) back to the show, but since he and Maggie had a sour break-up, begging him to return stings her pride.

A Little Daytime Drama is a smidge more unique than typical Hallmark plots, yet many fans judge Harvest Love to be the better movie of the two.  Vote below to let us know what you think!

Out With The Old, In With The New

As much as Maggie adores Alice, she wants to make significant changes to their soap drama to modernize it and appeal to younger viewers.  At first, Alice resists, but she soon comes to see the value of Maggie's ideas and the need to move in a different direction to help the show survive.

If you've ever worked for an older boss, you may be able to relate to the frustration of wanting to infuse new life into the job when your boss wants to stick with the same-old-same-old methods that are in desperate need of a reboot.

Alice was smart to retire.

Linda Dano stars as Alice in Hallmark's A Little Daytime Drama
It's hard for Alice to retire and let go, but she quickly learns to enjoy herself! Image: Crown Media

If You Love Trivia, Try This Movie Quiz!

Let's have some fun with A Little Daytime Drama!  See if you can remember these details from the movie.  Trivia quizzes are a great way to relive the movie over again in your mind.  

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