It’s the end of summer, and what better way to celebrate than to watch a movie about a small town at the end of summer? And if it stars Marc Blucas, who still holds a place in my fangirl heart as Riley, even though I know I will get laughed out of every Buffy discussion ever? Count.Me.In! It’s time for Season for Love.
Autumn Reaser – who I feel like I should know who she is – is back home in Red Rock, Texas, with her daughter, and her mom, all seated uncomfortably three across in the front of a truck, for a summer they won’t forget. It’s already announced that there’s a festival in this town – and it will have something to do with BBQ. Her parents run Jo & Ray’s BBQ in town, and we found out that her name is Tyler, and her daughter’s name is Rosie. Tyler is divorced from Eddie, but it was amicable. Tyler also has a new Sassy Friend – his name’s George. We also learn that Tyler works in a restaurant in San Francisco, but she is super stoked about working at her mom’s lunch counter.
Cut to NYC scene, and Marc Blucas is a celebrity Texas chef named Corey Turner, who is launching his 3rd best-selling cook book. He’s also got a product line and three restaurants.
Tyler is wondering why it’s so slow at the lunch counter, and Sassy Friend George is reticent about the state of the business, until she beats it out of him with a well-placed eyebrow raise. There are 2 other BBQ restaurants in town, sucking up all the business. The nerve! Tyler is also wondering if her daughter wants to join a summer camp in a town where the teenager knows no one – because her mother apparently hates her. Oh, wait, this is a Hallmark movie. Rosie is going to make tons of new friends in this town. Sure.
Tyler is also good at fixing things – she just fixed their smoker. She’s gonna fix her mom’s restaurant with nothing more than pluck and a can-do attitude.
Corey has a scheduling conflict – a meeting with the network, or at trip to Texas to boost attendance at their BBQ cook-off. Where he’s from, when you make a promise, you stick with it. So he’s off to Texas, cruising down the main street in a gorgeous convertible driven by his BFF. Corey is so happy to be home! His best friend is so happy to see him! It’s a big bro-fest.
Ok, bone to pick with the set dresser. Cooks everywhere, please weigh in. Corey wants to make an omelet, and pulls out a ceramic bowl full of eggs. Why can’t they be kept in the carton they came in? Is this just more picturesque? Who really stores eggs in a bowl like this in their fridge?!?!??!?!?!?
Rosie is fine with going to summer camp because she’s an amazing teenager. Corey’s BFF is a counselor at this camp. It’s only for 2 weeks – where the goal is for the campers to have the best summer of their life. Rosie looks like she’s the oldest one there. I would so hate my mom if she did this to me, and my mom is super awesome.
Oh, we just found out that Tyler’s restaurant is closed (and apparently her ex husband and the investors were behind it – and she’s ok with that. She’s officially on the sainthood register at this point).
Tyler is going to enter this BBQ cook-off – to win $25,000 to help her mom’s restaurant, and to show her daughter that plain old gumption will move mountains. But she was not ready to be told that there will be a celebrity chef – Corey makes his entrance, and they’re both so happy for each other, and they walk around town. She’s wearing a cute dress and ankle boots and I don’t get that look at all. They hug and do that thing where they walk away but look back at each other at different intervals.
Tyler’s mom is pushing the Corey/Tyler romance pretty hard while they’re at the farmer’s market. Do all farmer’s markets have violin accompaniment, or just the ones in Texas?
Montage of Tyler smoking meat and trying to fix the old smoker. Tyler’s hair is super cute in this movie. I think I want to get that haircut. We also have a long-distance phone call with Tyler and her ex, Eddie, who has promised to get to Texas for Rosie’s birthday, but Tyler is not holding her breath. But Corey shows up – asks her out – and Tyler says no, because they’re competing against each other in the BBQ thing. That seems to be a dumb reason.
Round one of the BBQ – Chicken and a Side. Good luck to all.
Corey’s manager, Sylvia, is not thrilled that Corey is not prioritizing his network deal over the small town BBQ Competition. The nerve of him.
I refuse to believe that a trained chef like Tyler would cook all day in those ankle boots.
Corey is coming on strong with Tyler, and Tyler’s mom couldn’t be more thrilled. But Tyler’s all about the competition, except when she introduces Rosie to him at the local ice cream parlor. Rosie invites him to sit with them, and he takes bites out of all of their ice cream and mixes it up for vanilla mint-chip strawberry and that sounds disgusting. They are also eating ice cream with the smallest spoons ever, and Corey ducks a call from his manager and Tyler sees just the photo ID, and thinks it’s Corey’s girlfriend. Ah, the misunderstanding of a girlfriend. I was wondering where this ploy was.
Corey is not happy in his Bobby Flay lifestyle. He wants to get his hands messy and be in the kitchen again. His best friend can’t understand that.
Tyler is freaking out about this contest, because her family’s legacy was all winners, and she’s just got to be a winner, too. Mom has to talk some sense to her daughter, which she does with some food metaphors.
Day of the competition – it’s the smallest county fair ever. 3 hours for chicken and a side. Cooking montage! So many novelty pig aprons. So many shots of smokers. So much Marc Blucas grinning. Tyler’s is a chicken leg and a corn cob. Is there any doubt that Tyler will make the semi-finals? MC drags it out, but, like, duh. But before she and Tyler can celebrate this little victory, Sofia the manager shows up to get Corey back on a plane to New York! She shows up – at the fair – and still dragging her suitcase. On WHAT planet do you not just leave the suitcase in the car before you get out to do some kind of dramatic entrance? Seriously, that’s dumb.
Semi-Finals Menu – BBQ ribs and sides. They have four days to prepare. THIS IS THE LONGEST BBQ FESTIVAL IN THE HISTORY OF BBQ FESTIVALS.
Corey palms Sofia off on his best friend so he can spend more time just in love with his small town, but he also gets time with Tyler, where he can clear the air about Sofia not being his girlfriend.
All of Tyler’s cook-off machinations are paying off at her mom’s restaurant. They are so slammed that Corey gets to apron-up and help out in the kitchen, where all the food is being served on sheet pans. Montage with banjo music shows how busy they are! At the end of the day, Tyler and Corey are both too clean to have been working in a kitchen all day. She’s actually wearing a gauzy sky blue top that has no BBQ sauce on it at all. I call shenanigans. But they both had a great time in the kitchen, and now they get to dance together in the back of the restaurant, her and her ankle boots. Gotta give Marc Blucas his due – he’s got that longing, wow you’re like my favorite thing in the world, look going on. But KISS BLOCKED BY EX HUSBAND EDDIE! (My son has come down to sit with me, and he’s just predicted the whole ending, down to The Sad Times. We’ll see if it’s true!)
Best Friend and Manager are hitting it off at the festival. Rosie is paving the way that Tyler can move to Texas without guilt by the end of the movie. And now we get a scene of Corey and Tyler doing a cook-off demonstration about pulled pork to the ladies’ auxiliary of Red Rock, Texas…which I believe is redundant, because I’m pretty sure these ladies know how to cook this already. They are blinded by his big toothy grin. Tyler has definite opinions about Worcestershire Sauce and garlic.
Aww, they get on the Ferris Wheel together. Isn’t that nice? But apparently, they get stuck, and he’s afraid of heights, but he’s not afraid to try and steal another kiss, except they get unstuck and he’s kiss blocked by machinery.
Oh, man, dilemma! Eddie the Ex has an offer of a head chef position in a new restaurant in San Francisco. Isn’t this what she always wanted? What should she do? Stay in Small Town Texas where she’s fantastically happy cooking brisket, or do chichy French food in San Fran? Mom is suitably supportive about Tyler’s dilemma.
It’s Rosie’s birthday party and she’s playing pin the tail on the cow. How OLD is this girl????
Eddie spills the beans about Tyler’s job offer to Corey. He’s getting very shifty about it – is Corey entering the Sad Times? He tries to talk to Tyler but she’s got to cook her ribs for four hours at the next stage of the contest. Best Friend and Manager are really hitting it off, and we’ve got a lot of rib montages to get through before we get to the end of this segment. There’s a lot of applause when they plate their food. And DUH, Tyler wins this round. I mean, did you doubt?
Ok, Rosie flat out asked, did she have to go back to San Francisco. So there is your answer, Tyler, about that job offer. You do what is right for your kids.
There is a Festival Dance!!!!!!!!!!! Sassy Friend George shows up to be the conduit for another two-step between Tyler and Corey, who is sitting in his rented apartment, looking at pictures of Tyler and Rosie on his phone, wondering what to do about his love for his high school sweetheart. And we’re off to the dance, which is in a tent, so sadly, we get now breathless admiration as she arrives down the stairs.
Tyler refuses the San Fran job, and Eddie is ok with it. He’s ok with Rosie living in Texas. And then he leaves Texas, clearing the way for Corey to sidle up to Tyler for a dance. Or two. (Yes, she just left Sassy Friend George to find his own partner). Tyler tells Corey her Texas dreams, and Corey is just about to confess his undying love but OH SNAP! There’s a fire at Tyler’s restaurant! The smoker is toast, literally, but the structure is still standing. And luckily, they have insurance. But Tyler has no smoker to cook her award-winning competition meal, and now she’s having major second thoughts about living in Texas, and how her whole life is in San Francisco, and Corey’s whole life is in NYC.
But, up until a week ago, Corey thought he had a perfect life, until he saw Tyler and Rosie and now he can’t imagine what his life would look like without them, but she flat out denies this heartfelt speech and leaves him to sit on her mom’s front porch, all alone. Tyler, dude, you are so annoying. But what will change her mind? Will it be her daughter’s sketchbook? Yes. So now she’s at Corey’s apartment, eating humble pie because he has a better kitchen. Cue another food prep montage! So Many Montages!
Their aprons are way too clean. And after prepping all night, they still manage to dance their way to dawn. Yeah, that’s a thing. But now they’re late for the Festival Cook-Off – but she still manages to change into a freaking white spotted sundress. Good thing the cooking is all done.
Corey has to tell Manager he doesn’t want to move back to NYC, and she’s ok with it. She also brought her suitcase back to the fairground. Again – leave it in the car.
Winner of the BBQ – TYLER!!!!! (I mean!)
And she won more than $25,000 – she won Marc Blucas as well! And one year later, there’s the grand opening of the new restaurant, called “The Old Flame.” And Tyler’s got a nice sparkly ring on her finger. Good times were had by all and the end.
Oh my goodness. So many montages. So much BBQ. Good thing I’m not hungry right now, or my diet would be wrecked for this Monday night! All in all, a solid Hallmark B – nothing too major, but nothing too dramatic either. It’s the magic of small towns, I guess. Makes you realize the little things are important. My little things are waiting for me to kiss them goodnight, so I’m off to do that. Feel free to experience Season for Love – it’s going to repeat this weekend, I think. But if not, no worries. I did it, just so you don’t have to.