A Look at Hallmark's "Love to the Rescue"

Starring:  Nikki Deloach and Michael Rady

Released:  2019

Summary:  When a free-spirited woman and an organized man meet after their kids insist on adopting the same dog, the single parents co-foster the canine pal.

Image:  Crown Media, United States LLC

Nikki and Michael Are Two of My Favorites, But...

I adore these actors.  They are a perfect Hallmark match, especially in one of my favorite Hallmark Christmas movies of 2019, Two Turtle Doves.   Their performance in this movie is equally amazing, but the story line is very weak. 

Imagine your child and a stranger's child want to adopt the same pet.  Would you agree to co-foster the same the dog?

As great as pet adoption is, people go overboard when it comes to humanizing pets.  Still, I think many would draw the line at dividing a dog's time between two homes, like it's a product of a divorced family.

Wouldn't it be stressful for a dog to keep switching homes?

No parent likes to disappoint their kids, but that's life!  Flip a coin, heads keeps the dog, the end.

Have you ever taken your dog to obedience school?  If dog training involves teaching owners how to breathe and speak to a dog calmly, then our culture is hitting a new low.  If only people would take equal interest in helping their fellow man!  It's easy being good to a dog that doesn't talk back or have a differing opinion.

The dog trainer comments on the flirtation going on between Kate and Eric, which leads to a very embarrassing and awkward scene that isn't believable.  Most of us would just say, "No, we're not a couple" and continue with the session.  The script, however, has Deloach's character flip out, make a scene, and trip over things on her way out the door.    These are the antics of a 13-year old, not a grown woman.

Kate Puts Her Daughter First

One message I love from this movie is that Kate is a single parent, but she vows not to date until her daughter is grown.  Kate's concerned Sophia will become attached to a man who will end up leaving.

It's not necessary to go to such an extreme as a single parent.  After all, once your kids are grown and have lives of their own, where does that leave you?  All alone?  

The difference in this story is that Kate puts her daughter first.  There's nothing wrong with dating if you're divorced with kids, but too many adults put their own needs above their children.  Once you have kids, they become your chief priority. Your dating decisions have a major impact on them.  Worried they will end up alone, some adults push their kids to the side and focus on finding a mate at the sacrifice of providing the love, attention, and stability their kids need.  It's selfish, and it can long-term harm to your kids, if you're not careful.

Kate is willing to take things slowly when it comes to relationship, and this is wise.  She's a good mom.

Sophia and Owen Become BFF's?

Sophia and Owen bond over the dog, try to connect their parents romantically, become best friends, and seem to consider themselves brother and sister.

This is a fairytale.  Not reality.

Can two families blend this easily?  It happens but is undoubtedly rare.  Many kids resent step-siblings.  Brothers and sisters who are joined by blood bicker and feud endlessly, so the quick bonding between Sophia and Owen is hard to imagine.

Speaking of Sophia, why didn't the hair department on set not style her hair to hide those ears?  Poor kid.

Image:  Crown Media, United States LLC

If You Have an Ex, Is He or She Like Liam?

Liam and Kate meet in high school at age 17 and marry young.  He's a photographer, and she's a creative director who makes animated films.  Despite their split, they are on quite amicable terms.

Liam babysits for her while she's on a date--not just his own daughter, but Eric's son!  Wow!  Is that a stretch?  When Kate is afraid to let things become more serious with Eric, Liam is there to counsel and encourage her.  He even brings her back a gift from traveling abroad during his most recent photo shoot.  

If you are divorced, can you picture yourself confiding in your ex about your dating situation?  Can you see your ex still buying you gifts?

A few of you are nodding, "yes," but most just laughed out loud at the thought.  

Hallmark even makes divorce look happy!

Dumbest Animated Short EVER!

There is much ado about Kate's incredible animated short.  Everyone loves her concept, and they all pressure her to transform it into a love story.  Kate is asked to change the end, but she realizes the beginning is what needs tweaked.

After all this hype, Hallmark makes the mistake of actually showing the short during the fictionalized Georgia Animation Festival.

In my head, I'm thinking this is going to be better than a Disney Pixar short, which is usually witty and entertaining.  Instead, we watch two lightening bugs find each other in a very rudimentary production.  Hallmark keeps a tight budget for every movie, but I could have drawn stick people on a pad and flipped the pages to show them using the toilet and it would have been more appealing.

It would have been wiser just to talk about the short and let the audience visualize it instead of disappointing us with something a precocious 8-year-old could have created.

If this is the kind of crap that wins you an award for "Best Short" and paves your way to the Oscars, we all have a shot at fame. 

Another Dead Spouse

Did you know the average life expectancy of Americans is 78.87?

You'd never know it from watching the Hallmark Channel, where spouses kick off in their late 20's and early 30's with alarming regularity.

For every story that involves one of the characters having a child, apparently divorce can't always be the reason, especially if it means being forced to include an ex in the plot.  Hallmark has to kill off spouses before their time, or make the uncle responsible for raising his dead sibling's child.

Favorite Movie Quote

When Eric tries to convince Kate to make her animated short a love story, he tells her that love is the biggest motivator for courage:

The world is a lot less scary when, no matter where you go, you always know where you belong.

People tend to take greater chances for love.  Knowing you belong to someone creates a safety net.  Would you agree?

If you still love this movie despite it's pitfalls, you're in luck.  It's available on DVD.

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Hallmark's "Bad Date Chronicles"--Do You Have A Bad Date Story?

Starring:  Merritt Patterson and Justin Kelly

Released:  2020

Summary:  When a website blogger posts her own bad date experience with a rival newspaper editor, he decides to compete and publish his own bad date experience.

Image:  Crown Media, United States LLC

Have You Ever Had A Bad Date?

Conner Michaels and Leigh Ryness have plenty of material for their blogs because the bad luck they encounter on their first date hits epic proportions.

First, Conner's co-worker and BFF, Brad, spills coffee on his nice suit right before he leaves for his date.  He doesn't have time to go home and change, so he borrows Brad's extra set of clothes and looks like some punk, grunge rocker.  He's also shows up quite late. Next, the couple waits forever at the bar because their reservation was never made at the restaurant as intended.

Leigh knocks over a candle and sets their table on fire, so Conner throws water on her to extinguish it.  Conner escapes to the restroom to compose himself, but the door handle falls off, leaving him trapped, so Leigh pays the bill and leaves.

Whether you're single or have been married for decades, do any bad experiences stick out in your mind from your dating years?  If so, share them in the comment section at the bottom!  

I didn't get married until I was 33, so the extra dating years created a host of bad memories.  Here are a few:

  • There was the time a co-worker fixed me up with a guy who acted charming and tried to sweep me off my feet.  Next thing I know, he's stalking me because no one knew he was bipolar.  That was unnerving.
  • Another co-worker insisted her nephew looked just like Alan Jackson, the country singer.  Blondes aren't really my type, but since Alan Jackson was a handsome guy, I agreed to meet her nephew.  Turns out, he looked wizened and emaciated from too much smoking.  Nothing. Like. Alan. Jackson.
  • When one blind date walked up the sidewalk to my front door, I knew it was going to be a long night.  He acted nervous and jittery, like he just learned women existed, and we spent dinner in awkward silence because I could only keep the conversation going for so long.  Plus, his enormous Adam's apple stole the show.  He hoped for a goodnight kiss at the door, but I quickly darted inside and let Cupid know to discourage him from calling me again.
  • My dad thought he could do a better job picking men for me, so he fixed me up with a fellow law enforcement officer.  Don't get me wrong--I love our police and support our men in blue, but this guy was the stereotypical, arrogant, cocky jerk.  Instead of taking me to dinner in our small town, he drove us 45 minutes away, which meant a lot of awkward silence, since his favorite topic was himself, and he wasn't interesting enough to talk about all evening.
  • I started dating an absolute heartthrob, who seemed quite the romantic at first--until he knew he had me.  Then, the mask came off to show his harsher side.  We went horseback riding on his expansive property, but when our ride was nearly over, he gave my horse a command that sent it charging through the woods to the barn.  I was literally afraid for my life because I could have fallen off and been trampled or had one of the tree limbs I nearly hit gouge out my eye.  I figured the horse knew what it was doing, so I laid my face down on its back and hung on for dear life until it stopped.  
  • A local radio personality took me on a date to a World Series game with tickets he got from the station.  It was a chilly night, and he shivered the entire game.  Real men don't shiver.
I had to kiss a lot of frogs before one turned into a prince.  I am so thankful to be married to a good man because I never want to date again!


Worst Bosses Ever

Allison Richards and Milo Peters are the respective bosses of Leigh and Conner, and it's in their financial best interests for the successive dates of their employees to go awry.  They assume people don't want to read happy-ending blog posts, so they interfere in the dates to wreack havoc for headlines.

You might not like your boss, but has he or she ever pulled these stunts?

  • Keep calling your cell phone and the restaurant, pretending to be someone else, to interrupt your date.
  • Drop a ton of spice into your meal.
  • Bump your waiter's arm so his water spills all over you.
  • Set your dessert on fire.
  • Secretly unplug the karaoke machine when you're on stage to sabotage your performance.
  • Make your paddle boat sink so you get soaked.

It's a stretch for viewers to think unauthorized people would ever be allowed to get so close to the food or equipment to pull such pranks, but we ignore it because we're so grateful for a different Hallmark plot!

Allison even replaces Leigh's blog post with a completely fabricated account until her conscience finally wins out.

At the heart of Allison's and Milo's actions is greed.  We see it in our media in real life.  Greed makes publishers compromise their "journalistic integrity" and spread lies that often sell better than the truth.

At different times, both Leigh and her BFF, Erin, give Allison a piece of their minds, but the manner in which they do it would get most of us fired!

Opening Old Wounds

Both Leigh and Conner have wounds from past failed relationships.  When their interfering bosses convince each one they've been used for a good story, their past hurts rush back to stab their hearts all over again.

Don't we all have that happen from time to time?  Our hurt might not be the result of a failed relationship.  For us, it might be someone lying or betraying our trust, or an unkind word that lodges in our self-concept and makes us sensitive.

Just when you find yourself willing to overcome these attacks on your value and self-worth by taking a chance or making a fresh start, something always seems to come up to send us reeling back into the hurt.  How can this be prevented?  From a Christian perspective, I can tell you with assurance that when you know God and find your value in Him alone, the approval of others become unimportant.  When you understand that God can take all the crap life sometimes throws your way and turn it into something good, it stings less. 

How Old Are Merritt Patterson and Justin Kelly?

A common remark people make about this movie is that Justin Kelly looks like he's 12.  Maybe he just has the Dick Clark ageless gene because he's actually 27.  Merritt Patterson is 29.

Image:  Crown Media, United States LLC

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Hallmark's "Love in Store" QUIZ!!

Starring:  Alexandra Breckenridge and Robert Buckley

Released:  2020

Summary:  Rival home shopping hosts with different selling styles are forced together as they compete for a promotion, but they find themselves having on-air chemistry.

Image:  Crown Media, United States LLC

Kids Like Watching Home Shopping Networks?

In this movie, Terrie Carpenter reveals being a TV host on SHC's home shopping show is fulfilling her lifelong dream.  Being a child in a divorced family, she always looked up to Sharon St. Clair, the woman in charge of SHC, because she was a woman who had it all together when Terrie's life was a mess.  Terrie always watched the show with her grandma and dreamed of one day having her own segment on the show.

Do kids like home shopping channels?

I liked watching shows with my granny too as a kid--like Three's Company or The Andy Griffith Show, but I would leave when it was time for her to watch Rockford Files or Matlock.  (Yes, I am dating myself).  Still, had she turned on QVC, I would have bolted like I was shot from a cannon.  

I find it hard to believe a child would find a home shopping channel anything less than the most boring program on Earth. Any kid who is willing to sit around watching something that dull should be assigned chores or sent outside to play.

Your One Wild And Precious Life

The line "your one wild and precious life" is the catchphrase David is known for on-air, and it's repeated throughout the entire movie.

This mantra is a call to action.  It's not so much about accomplishing some enormous feat as it is living life to the fullest, since it's so short.

It was originally penned by Mary Oliver in a poem entitled, The Summer DayI will be honest--I hate most poetry.  On rare occasion, I'll stumble across a good one, but I find most of it meaningless, like someone couldn't think of a novel to write, so they slapped a few lines on paper and called it an accomplished piece.  Whatever.

The Summer Day introduces us to someone who has been strolling through the fields, trying to make sense of life.  The speaker admits to being blessed, but says she doesn't know exactly what a prayer is or who made the world.  Her solution to the brevity of life is to make the most of our time.

A pretty soulless poem.  The author analyzes a grasshopper's actions and draws parallels to her own life to find meaning.  Pretty sad when you turn to a grasshopper for significance. These musings make me feel sorry for her because she clearly does not know God, and without Him, life is pretty meaningless and temporal.

Break-Up By Text

Nothing scares away boyfriends faster than a girl talking marriage.

Noah has been dating Terrie for two years and initially says he's still not ready to take the next step?  How much time does a man need?

Have you ever been in Terrie's shoes?  Dating a guy forever with no long-term commitment?  It happens a lot.  Many guys aren't ready to put a woman first.  It seems their priority list includes career, hanging with the guys, working out at the gym.  In other words, their top three favorite people are Me, Myself, and I.   If your man is getting the milk for free, he is even less motivated to buy the cow--not that you're a cow.

After a year, the future of your relationship should start coming into focus.  One of the biggest mistakes women make is hanging onto a relationship that is going nowhere.  Some guys are skilled at stringing you along to keep your hope alive so you stick with them, even though they offer you no promises.

Before you know it, life passes you by.  If you're single, don't let anyone rob you of the best years of your life.  

After Terrie presses Noah about their future, he breaks up with her by text.  That's what she gets for all the time and love she's invested in him--he doesn't even show her the decency or courtesy of dropping the bomb in person.          

In my mid-twenties, before I married my husband, I dated a guy I thought was "The One."  I ignored all the red flashing alarm lights warning me to jump ship.  He often alluded to us getting married, and then one day, after a year of dating and shadow promises, I received a letter in the mail telling me it was over.  A letter in the mail!  I didn't have texting then, or else he would have probably opted for that, just like Noah.  As if that wasn't bad enough, I learned less than two months later, he married the girl he had dated right before me.  Double whammy!  I digress.

When Noah finally realizes he let a good one get away, he tries to win Terrie back by proposing to her while she's on the air selling diamond engagement rings, but it's easy not to feel to sorry for him.  He had his chance.  

They say you sometimes don't know what you had until it's gone.  However, the right guy should know.  If you have to break up with someone to get their attention, or if they only want you back because they are jealous you're with someone else,  it's all about their ego and not about you at all.

Escape Room

Did you like the escape room scene in the movie?  It was a welcome deviation from the usual activities couples do together in standard Hallmark plots.

Do you remember how Terrie figured out the puzzles so quickly?

She said, The trick is figuring out what is stopping you and work backwards.

That line served as a great metaphor for David in the movie.

Words Tell, Emotions Sell

Words tell, emotions sell is one way David's selling style differs from Terrie.  She prefers to research each product to educate viewers so they can make informed choices.  David prefers to make selling fun and less informative.

Books have been written on how to tap into people's emotions for selling purposes--words that create urgency, words that make something "exclusive," words that evoke anger or fear, or words that offer reassurance.  Marketers are trained on the right power words to use to get the desired response.

When we want facts, it's easy to Google the boring details. When you're watching something on TV, you enjoy engaging emotionally.  

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